Tribute to the True Trek Talent, Part I

Hi folks! Kevin Phoenix here, formerly known as Phoenix Inferno. I’d like to begin by reintroducing the legacy that was / still is Star Trek and why IMO, “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” should’ve been the last Star Trek movie for a good while at least until Rick Berman met a gruesome end…as far as Star Trek goes anyway. I’ll be going in depth with each Star Trek film from “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” to “Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country” and explain why each one carried on the legacy of Gene Roddenberry’s creation in ways that Rick Berman never can/could, starting now with “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”.

First off, ever since Rick Berman took over the franchise, it has gone downhill ranging from steadily with Generations to rock bottom with Nemesis. If I even had to even consider just one TNG movie to be a survivor of the 4 Berman-induced creations, it would have to be First Contact. Now for all you TNG fans out there, please don’t get me wrong. Patrick Stewart and company were fine actors/actresses and they did do a fine enough job in carrying their roles in TNG films. But the reason those movies didn’t do as well as TOS films was because of one man: Your enemy, Facer’s, and mine, Rick Berman. Oh, and you can also blame Stuart Baird in part on the box office flop, Nemesis. But that’s not what I’m here to discuss now, is itr

Star Trek had a real magic to it back in the 70’s. What began as a 3 season series that at first harfed in the ratings returned in syndication with a vengeance thanks to the undying support of the fans who took on Gene’s concept of a future where poverty, hunger, money, and other terrible things that plague our world today no longer exist in this future (at least on Earth and within the
Federation). The entire concept of IDIC (Infinite Diversity in Infinite Combinations) truly reached out to many icons in our history ranging from Martin Luther King to Mae Jemison to Stephen Hawking.

When “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” first came out in 1979, it was a box office success. It spawned what would become the opening theme song for The Next Generation and some of the future Trek movies, and its musical score overall was very colorful ranging from the introduction of the refitted USS Enterprise to the scene where Spock enters the V’Ger orifice and explores the
interior of the alien spacecraft. The cast made an excellent transition from the small screen to
the big screen and almost all of the main crew got nice entrances into the storyline. James T. Kirk arrived via shuttlecraft. Dr. Leonard “Bones” McCoy beamed to the Enterprise with a beard at first, having been brought out of retirement. Spock got an especially warm welcome when he returned from Vulcan to the Enterprise. And Montgomery “Scotty” Scott was there to greet Kirk and take him by small shuttlepod to the newly upgraded Enterprise for the first time. And of course, we can’t forget Pavel Chekov, Nyota Uhura, and Hikaru Sulu.

Then there was the special guest stars Stephen Collins as Will Decker who had to take a back seat to Kirk as First Officer and then there was the beautiful Persis Khambata who played Lieutenant Ilia. Persis Khambata, unfortunately, died of a heart attack back in 1998 before the “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” DVD was to be released.

Moving on, the scenes were for the most part, well done. The ones that really stand out IMHO are:

  • The Klingons attempting to combat the huge mysterious cloud and ultimately get killed by the plasma energy blasts.
  • The introduction of the newly redesigned and refitted USS Enterprise.
  • The wormhole created by the ship’s engine imbalance when it went into warp the first time.
  • The USS Enterprise’s initial contact with the cloud and the attack that would’ve destroyed them had it not been for Spock’s quick thinking.
  • The scenes of the variousparts of the cloud as the Enterprise was flying through it.
  • Ilia’s “death” and return as a probe to represent V’Ger.
  • Spock’s thruster suit flight deep into the innards of the V’Ger spacecraft.
  • In the Director’s Edition DVD that was newly released in 2000, the shot of the V’Ger spacecraft as a whole as it approached Earth.
  • The discovery of Voyager 6 and the resulting evolution of V’Ger as it disappears in a brilliant display of light, especially more so in the Director’s Edition.
  • And finally, the wonderful sendoff as the Enterprise jumps to warp as “The human adventure is just beginning…”

Even though the movie could’ve been better from the start back in 1979, it still turned out real well and was an excellent launch into the world of feature films for the original cast. And with the Director’s Edition DVD of The Motion Picture, it could finally be seen the way it was meant to be seen in the eyes of the director, Robert Wise.

Stay tuned because in Part II, I will give a look back into “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan” and how it is considered to be the best of the Star Trek movies hands down.

To be continued…