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AESTHETICALLY MARVELING OVER 'STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE'

Title: STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE Year: 1979 Rating: ***1/2

All the Original Cast STAR TREK films have titles that fit the plot... from a former villain's revenge to seeking a possibly dead Vulcan to a visit back to Earth... except THE MOTION PICTURE, unless you count Robert Wise's direction as more of a deliberately massive presentation of special effects from the teams behind both 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY and STAR WARS, visually progressing what was on the small screen onto the big screen... .

And there's not much plot except what's borrowed from an episode where an enigmatic vessel has returned for, most likely, a lethal intention... only this much larger, shapeless foe is created for the audience and reunited crew to marvel upon in a cerebral epic that, while on the heels of the George Lucas orbital dog-fighting blockbuster, is actually more in the deliberately slow-paced science-fiction vein of Stanley Kubrick's pioneering classic...

William Shatner in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE

Providing William Shatner his last time looking like an older version of the original square-jawed handsome Captain Kirk rather than, beginning with the next installment, a young version of the old Shatner while Leonard Nimoy's fan-favorite Spock's eventual shuttled-in entrance isn't a surprise as we've already seen him on his home planet during the intro, sensing the massive space storm that's destroying both Federation and Klingon ships — with Earth its next target...

Other than attempting to make the right command-decisions on the bridge, Shatner's motivation is to keep ahead of a competitive replacement captain, having taken over for the semi-retired Kirk in a retooled Enterprise...

William Shatner in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE with Stephen Collins and Leonard Nimoy

Enter Stephen Collins as Decker alongside bald beauty Persis Khambatta as Ilia, both more than capably joined with veterans Nichelle Nichols as Uhura, George Takei as Sulu and Walter Koenig's accident-prone Chekov... who actually has more worth than endearingly-stressed third banana Doc McCoy or faithful engineer Scotty ala DeForest Kelley and James Doohan respectively...  being on the wrong side of a few zapping contraptions... 

As the entire crew (including a cameo from Grace Lee Whitney as Rand desperately running a lethally flawed beaming transport) unite for a proverbial chess match against this formidable rival in a maligned MOTION PICTURE that, while going on too long, provided Jerry Goldsmith his grandest score and is perhaps the most awe-inspiring manifestation of special effects ever filmed, despite the human characters coming up short in the process.

William Shatner in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE with DeForest Kelley
Nichelle Nichols in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
Spock's shuttle from STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
William Shatner in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE with DeForest Kelley
William Shatner in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
Nichelle Nichols in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
From STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
Leonard Nimoy in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
William Shatner in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE with Leonard Nimoy
William Shatner in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE with George Takei
From STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
Moving Office from STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
Moving Office from STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
David Gautreaux in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
George Takei in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
From STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
From STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
RIP Nichelle Nichols here from STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
Grace Lee Whitney and James Doohan in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
Stephen Collins and Nichelle Nichols in STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
Spock Shuttle from STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
Spock Shuttle from STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
From STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
Spock Shuttle from STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
Leonard Nimoy from STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE with Walter Koenig
William Shatner's Kirk returns for STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE

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