Seeing Star Trek:The Motion Picture in a New Light

The other night I had a moment to watch a little TV, and thought I’d find a movie. Paramount+ had a list of movies leaving at the end of August, and among them was Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I hadn’t seen it in so long I figured it was a good time.

After years of easily dismissing it I was surprised and delighted to realize that I not only did I like this movie, but LOVED it! Quite a difference from my initial viewing 43(!) years ago.

In December of 1979, I was among the hundreds locally who came out to see it on its first night. Comparing what I saw that premiere night, and what I just watched the other night were of two different people in two realities. How the first Star Trek movie would be reacted to was somehow very personal to me. When I came out of the theater that night, I was happily saying to people in line “It’s great!”. But inside I was not too pleased, an opinion that regrettably stayed with me all these years, to the point of never wanting to see it again.

You see, through my then 18-year old’s eyes, this movie was going to be my redemption, my “I told you so!” to all the people who mocked me for my Trek devotion the whole past decade. But my concern about how non-Trekkies would take it was almost central to my enjoyment of the film. Seeing that attitude now, I admit with slight embarrassment that I was WAY too concerned with physical elements of the movie, than the actual plot. Kind of like not seeing the forest for the trees. My ‘trees’ here were things like:

  1. The Klingons are bumpy!!
  2. Oh, God, is everyone going to like it?
  3. That’s a bad wig, Spock!
  4. Oh, God, the actors look so old!
  5. Why are those uniforms so bland and awful? Where has all the color gone?
  6. Why is the dialogue so soft while the music and sound effects are SO LOUD?
  7. Why is the intro to the Enterprise taking s-o-o-o-o lo-o-o-o-o-ng?
  8. Why is Spock so wooden?
  9. Why did Ilia have to be bald?
  10. Are Ilia and Decker going to take over the Enterprise?
  11. What’s up with Scotty’s mustache?

My 61 year old brain can answer all that now …

  1. The Klingons are what Gene wanted them to be.
  2. Maybe not at the moment, but in time it will age better.
  3. Yes, he needed a better long hair wig, but that’s a minor point.
  4. Wow, they all look so YOUNG here!!
  5. Well, the uniforms were what they were. very 70’s. Fortunately they were all recycled into a better look in the sequels.
  6. This was mostly the fault of the poor audio equipment at the theater I watched it at. I remember many people calling out “Turn it up!!”
  7. The Enterprise intro is a big ‘Welcome back you beautiful ship’ presentation. Still a tad longer than it needed to be, but I get it. That’s what fast forward is for; the same for the long slide into V’Ger’s realm.
  8. He did seem unnaturally stiff before his space walk, but I understand now that Spock’s search for total logic was turning him inward.
  9. After years of seeing new aliens, Ilia’s lack of hair really was no big deal, (and dear Persis was so gorgeous).
  10. Of Course Not!!
  11. It’s the 70’s, man!

I was too ‘stressed’ with these ‘pressing’ concerns to appreciate the beauty of a story I had been waiting for10 years to culminate into reality! Seeing it now, although I still think it needed better editing to move it along more quickly, I appreciate it so much more. My impressions follow.

First of all, this was a beautifully remastered director’s cut of the piece. As your eyes delve into a field of stars, it begins with the graceful and sad, yet soaring overture of Ilia’s Theme by Jerry Goldsmith. Ilia’s theme grew a whole new meaning for me since I had last watched this movie, It really stresses a deep longing, the almost unbearable yearning to find something more that must be out there.

I felt compassion for Ilia this time too instead of seeing her as an ‘other’ or just sexy window dressing. Ilia is tragic because she is swept into the vortex of V’ger before she barely serves on the Enterprise. The small blinks of her real self that flicker from the shell of her V’ger persona are almost heartbreaking. “Deck-Er!” she voices in familiarity as she touches his face. So close yet so far.

Spock too is torn. Feeling a call from V-Ger, he is drawn back to the Enterprise. He cannot focus solely on his devotion to total logic. As he has failed the Ko-li-nahr to rid himself of emotion, so he is now determined to figure out the mystery of V-Ger, even at the risk of his own life to save his fellow crew members. This is a theme that carries through to the sad conclusion of The Wrath of Kahn. After his harrowing space walk into V’Ger, Spock rediscovers and embraces his humanity. The small chuckle he gives recovering in sickbay brings us back to the Spock we knew was still there.

At it’s core, Star Trek: The Motion Picture is very much true to the formula of the original series; set in outer space, but finding ourselves through personal conflict. It is not heavy on action, but it has suspense, which is always favorable, to me at least.

Technically, it was a marvel at the time, and a joy to see the Enterprise stream into warp drive with it’s strobe-rainbow effect. The new Enterprise was beautiful sleek upgrade to the original. Remember this was still a model-driven special effect department, and CGI was still in its infancy. The Klingon ship was ruggedly detailed and far more 3-D than ever before. Spock’s voyage into V’Ger and the steep stair set surrounding V’ger were remarkable, although I was concerned that these ‘ancient’ actors at the time would trip and fall!

Costume-wise were hits and misses. The variety of duty uniforms still didn’t make much sense to me. The beige/gold, pale blue/gray palate was probably considered quite futuristic at the time, al though they still had more of a 70’s Space 1999 vibe at the time. But their blandness made the actors blend in more with the cooler tones of the New Enterprise. Thankfully, Khan brought back more color and a less leisure suit look back to the series* and Star Trek: TNG brought back the classic gold/blue/red department shades. Also, the laughable, sporty, short sleeved uniforms here were so terribly preppy before preppy became a thing in the early 80’s. What, were these the Sunday leisure uniforms? They still make me laugh, and for heaven’s sake, grown men should never wear Penguin Suits and Onesies! (TMI! TMI!)

Thank heaven we had two glorious and elegant costume moments — Spock’s first entry on the bridge in a luxurious black cape and stove-pipe trousers, and Ilia’s white mini-robe with salmon pink stand up collar.

All I can say now , is that if you haven’t seen it in a long time, you might just enjoy it as much as i did. It is still a LOT better than Shatner’s ego-fest of Star Trek V!

And now All 6 Original STAR TREK Films Beam Down on 4K Blu-ray in September, Plus TMP Director’s Edition & Special Longer Version • TrekCore.com

*The reason for the red and black uniforms of STII was budgetary — the ST:TMP uniforms had to be recycled and the only colors they could be dyed were deep red and black!

Would You Pay to See ‘Spock Amok’ ? (Poster!)

I came across the site MyCast yesterday where one can create fantasy story-lines that they’d like to see become a real movie, TV Show or video game.

I couldn’t resist – so I created a story-line, cast and even poster for an imagined biography of Leonard Nimoy called Spock Amok! I would love to see this become a reality, but do you think anyone would be interested in it?

I’ve had this idea for years and actually mentioned this idea to the delightful Terry Farrell (Dax of Deep Space Nine and wife of Adam Nimoy) about a year ago on a live chat, and she said that no one had considered making a Nimoy bio, but I think she liked the idea!

When I made the poster, I thought up the by-line “How does one live in their own Shadow” and the idea of Nimoy’s Spock shading Adam Driver seemed a good option! I was delighted to find a pic of Mr. Driver looking down, a bit sad. It helped that he was dressed a but like Leonard used to also. And by the way, if Spock here looks a little odd, it’s because I photo-shopped Mr. Driver’s eyes, nose, and mouth into the image of Nimoy’s Spock!

I created my fantasy cast too, although I’m sure I can add more. Adam Driver as Leonard Nimoy, Danny Devito and Rhea Perlman as Max and Dora (Spinner) Nimoy, Jessica Chastain as Sandra Zober Nimoy, Michael Douglas as Gene Roddenberry, Kellan Lutz as William Shatner, Sandra Bullock as Susan Bay Nimoy, Karl Urban (of course) as DeForest Kelley and Lauren London as Nichelle Nichols. It would be written by Julie Nimoy and directed by Adam Nimoy! I’ll add more cast as I think of them.

So I have to ask, would you pay to see a Nimoy biopic? Maybe if I get enough people to vote their choices here, we can make it a reality! Please vote here! And enjoy.

Like what you see here? Don’t forget to support trekkerscrapbook and buy me a cup of tea!

Bill Boldly Went!!! “The Blue Sheet Torn Away!” Shatner the oldest person to go into space! (FULL VIDEO)

I am so happy for William Shatner and the crew of the Blue Origin Rocket Blue Shepard who touched the edge of space yesterday! Bill is now the oldest human at age 90 to go into space. I just wanted to hug him. Enjoy this marvelous footage from the PBS News Hour (with blessedly little commentary from the hosts) as “Captain Kirk” meets reality and this life-changing moment. I have tears of joy watching this, you might too!

In his post flight interview he is clearly overwhelmed by the technical magic he just went through and his most poignant comments involve how thin our blue ‘sheet’ of atmosphere is all there is between us and blackness. He equates it to life and death. Beautiful. Congratulations Bill! SO happy for you.

A Bit Late but no less Sincere- Shatner 90th Birthday Collage!

Hi Everyone! I know I promised this last week, but life happens (I had a nasty fall last week, but I’m fine now) and I finally finished this today. (Working on a belated Nimoy 90th tribute too)

Happy Belated 90th Birthday to Bill Shatner – what a life! I think I’ve captured a moment from all nine decades you’ve been around. If you look closely, you’ll see pictures with a few couplings of Bill with actors he worked with more than once, dappled with some memorable Kirk moments as well as LOTS of humor. I especially like all the “Bills” having a group ‘hug’ at the bottom. Even Spock is having a laugh! So be sure to zoom in to see all the details!

I hope we can all be as sharp and active as The Shat Man is when we hit 90! Best wishes Always, Therese.

Leonard’s Heavenly 90th

Hi Everyone!

As many of you know, today, March 26th, would have been Leonard Nimoy’s 90th Birthday! I haven’t forgotten, and as I am almost done with William Shatner’s 90th Birthday collage, I also working on Leonard’s 90th Birthday Tribute Collage too! I would have had both done today, but I had some glitches with my computer (probably from making so many collages!) But I hope to have them BOTH posted here tomorrow!

By the way, Today, in Honor of Leonard’s 90th, Leonard’s home town of Boston Massachusetts has declared today “Leonard Nimoy Day”! I’d like to think he’s enjoying it from above <3

This declaration of Leonard Nimoy Day makes me so Happy! <3

Thank you for your patience, and for now, enjoy this, some of my most favorite photos of Mr. Nimoy ever ! <3 What a pleasure to have lived in the same time period as he did! Happy Heavenly 90th Birthday Sir! We’ll never forget you! <3

(I took the photo on the right in 2013, a happy day)
If anyone knows what show this is from…
You can almost hear the laugh.
We’ll always have Paris…
Kitty Love
Most Logical.

William Shatner is 90!!!

Hey Everyone! Before the day ends I have to send a birthday greeting to the one and only William Shatner who, as of today, is an official Nonagenarian! Happy Birthday Bill, and I hope I’m as active as you when I hit your age!!

I am working on a collage to commemorate Bill’s milestone, but for now, a few pics of this delightful man, who probably never imagined he’d become an icon to millions. I will post the new collage tomorrow! 3/23!

Spock on CUE Magazine, Dec 7, 1979

As I was sorting through some stuff in my basement, I came across this beautiful, flat cover from CUE magazine, dated Dec 7 1979. New York CUE was a weekly city entertainment guide. (You know, the analog age!) As its focus was the latest in city culture and big time movie and TV releases, it makes perfect sense that our dear Mr. Spock was on the cover! Star Trek: The Motion Picture was just about to be released and the anticipation was high!

I guess I must have bought the magazine solely for the beautiful publicity shot of Leonard Nimoy and his melting brown eyes. “Spock Has the Right Stuff” indeed. Alas, I did NOT keep the rest of the magazine! I was happy to find this cover in beautiful condition though.

My Cover (only) of the CUE magazine

Eager to read the contents of the article, I scrubbed the ‘net for a copy of the article, and fortunately, found these images on eBay. (If you’d like to bid on/buy the whole magazine, here’s the link.)

Excellent article “Star Trekking to Hollywood” by Michael Musto. It includes quotes from Nimoy, Shatner, and Roddenberry, and Robert Wise credits his wife with saying “With no Spock, there can be no Star Trek!”

She was right at the time, of course. But I bet they never realized that this movie would launch a fleet of even newer voyages in Roddenberry’s Universe. Although at the time I was not too thrilled with the final product, in these 41 years since (!) I have found the story of ST:TMP as true to the original source material as it could have been: To explore strange new worlds , one often ends up discovering Themselves. I’m very thankful that ST:TMP was made, it gave Trek to a new generation, and marked it in the foundation of American Pop Culture.

If you’ve never seen it, I highly recommend it! (just fast-forward through the overly long close ups of the Enterprise). The only thing I couldn’t get past were the jumbo onesies on the crew; so glad it was changed to something more sophisticated and flattering in Star Trek II!

There’s a bonus side bar by Daphne Davis about the other blockbuster hitting the screens that year too – The Black Hole.