Film: Star Trek Motion Picture series: Original Cast

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Film:

Star Trek Motion Picture series: Original Cast

Director: Robert Wise, Nicholas Meyer, Leonard Nimoy, William Shatner
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Distributor: Paramount

Spanning two decades and countless light years of interstellar adventure, Star Trek: The Motion Pictures Collection is a testament to the enduring goodwill of Gene Roddenberry’s optimistic sci-fi concept. Long before Star Wars sparked an explosion of big-screen science fiction, Roddenberry had planned a second Star Trek TV series; the project fizzled, but its pilot script evolved into the first film in Paramount’s most lucrative movie franchise. Despite its sluggish pace and bland “pajama” costuming, Star Trek: The Motion Picture

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Spanning two decades and countless light years of interstellar adventure, Star Trek: The Motion Pictures Collection is a testament to the enduring goodwill of Gene Roddenberry’s optimistic sci-fi concept. Long before Star Wars sparked an explosion of big-screen science fiction, Roddenberry had planned a second Star Trek TV series; the project fizzled, but its pilot script evolved into the first film in Paramount’s most lucrative movie franchise. Despite its sluggish pace and bland “pajama” costuming, Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) offered a welcomed reunion of the “classic Trek” cast, packed with Douglas Trumbull’s still-dazzling special effects. Trekkers were even more ecstatic when The Wrath of Khan (1982) revived the spirit of the original series, even though director Nicholas Meyer was a Trek neophyte. With Leonard Nimoy directing, The Search for Spock (1984) began where Khan left off, with a thrilling (albeit contrived) obligation to resurrect the formerly ill-fated Mr. Spock.

A box-office smash, Nimoy’s The Voyage Home (1986) is the franchise’s most accessible adventure—a high point offset by William Shatner’s comparatively dreadful Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989). Meyer (and his penchant for quoting Shakespeare) returned for The Undiscovered Country (1991), a conspiracy thriller that put the series back on track, inspiring fans to invoke the “even number” rule in rating their franchise favorites. Generations (1994) gracefully passed the torch to TV’s The Next Generation, bidding farewell to Captain Kirk with honor and integrity intact. Highlighted by the evolving humanity of Brent Spiner’s android Lt. Comdr. Data, First Contact (1996) explored Star Trek history with a logical (hint) surprise encounter, and Insurrection (1998) provided an adequate expansion of the successful TNG series. Taken as a whole, these nine films demonstrate the consistent vitality of Roddenberry’s original vision, stoking any Trekker’s appetite for “ongoing missions” in Nemesis and beyond. —Jeff Shannon

Series Titles

Film:Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek: The Motion Picture: 1st in Original Cast series

Robert Wise

Back when the first Star Trek feature was released in December 1979, the Trek franchise was still relatively modest, consisting of the original TV series, an animated cartoon series from 1973-74, and a burgeoning fan network around the world. Series creator Gene Roddenberry had conceived a second TV series, but after the success of Star Wars the project was upgraded into this lavish feature film, which reunited the original series cast aboard a beautifully redesigned starship U.S.S. Enterprise. Under the direction of Robert Wise (best…

Film:Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan: 2nd in Original Cast series

Nicholas Meyer

Although Star Trek: The Motion Picture had been a box-office hit, it was by no means a unanimous success with Star Trek fans, who responded much more favorably to the “classic Trek” scenario of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Inspired by the “Space Seed” episode of the original TV series, the film reunites newly promoted Admiral Kirk with his nemesis from the earlier episode—the genetically superior Khan (Ricardo Montalban)—who is now seeking revenge upon Kirk for having been imprisoned on a desolated planet. Their battle ensues over…

Film:Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock: 3rd in Original Cast series

Leonard Nimoy

You didn’t think Mr. Spock was really dead, did you? When Spock’s casket landed on the surface of the Genesis planet at the end of Star Trek II, we had already been told that Genesis had the power to bring “life from lifelessness.” So it’s no surprise that this energetic but somewhat hokey sequel gives Spock a new lease on life, beginning with his rebirth and rapid growth as the Genesis planet literally shakes itself apart in a series of tumultuous geological spasms. As Kirk is getting to know his estranged son (Merritt Butrick), he must also do…

Film:Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home: 4th in Original Cast series

Leonard Nimoy

Widely considered the best movie in the “classic Trek” series of feature films, Star Trek IV returns to one of the favorite themes of the original TV series—time travel—to bring Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov from the 23rd century to present-day San Francisco. In their own time, the Starfleet heroes encounter an alien probe emitting a mysterious message—a message delivered in the song of the now-extinct Earth species of humpback whales. Failure to respond to the probe will result in Earth’s destruction, so Kirk and company…

Film:Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier: 5th in Original Cast series

William Shatner

Movie critic Roger Ebert summed it up very succinctly: “Of all of the Star Trek movies, this is the worst.” Subsequent films in the popular series have done nothing to disprove this opinion; we can be grateful that they’ve all been significantly better since this film was released in 1989. After Leonard Nimoy scored hits with Star Trek III and IV, William Shatner used his contractual clout (and bruised ego) to assume directorial duties on this mission, in which a rebellious Vulcan (Laurence Luckinbill) kidnaps Federation officials in his…

Film:Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country: 6th in Original Cast series

Nicholas Meyer

Star Trek V left us nowhere to go but up, and with the return of Star Trek II director Nicholas Meyer, Star Trek VI restored the movie series to its classic blend of space opera, intelligent plotting, and engaging interaction of stalwart heroes and menacing villains. Borrowing its subtitle (and several lines of dialogue) from Shakespeare, the movie finds Admiral Kirk (William Shatner) and his fellow Enterprise crew members on a diplomatic mission to negotiate peace with the revered Klingon Chancellor Gorkon (David Warner). When the…

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