According to ancient myth, Star Trek films have a pattern. All the even-numbered releases are ‘good,’ and all the odd-numbered releases are ‘bad.’ Strange isn’t it?
Any rational mind would question such a state. Why would the quality jump around from film to film in a predictable pattern?
Well, there is such a thing as a self-fulfilling prophecy. When Jonathan Frakes was tasked with directing the ninth film, Insurrection, he mentioned the pattern, and said he’s happy to direct the film despite the fact that it is going to suck.
I’m willing to bet he half-assed the work because of this.
But does it hold up? Well, with the Next Generation films… kinda. First Contact was one of the best films I’ve ever seen, and Nemesis was a fun little romp.
Insurrection, I honestly liked when I first saw it, and when I first reviewed it. Though more recently I heard arguments against the film’s moral message, so now I kinda have to agree with the bad guys in that film. However, that being said, it was well executed, and generally, that’s all that matters.
Generations was shit. The only good part was Data’s emotion chip.
So for the most part, those four films maintained the pattern. But how did this all start? How did this pattern come to be? Well… I have no fucking clue. Because for the first six films, starring the cast of the original series. The pattern is non-existent… at least, in my view.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
The series started with the first film, oddly titled, The Motion Picture. It’s sorta been retconned as the film’s subtitle.
It all starts when a giant cloud appears in Klingon space. So, naturally, the Klingons attack it.
It’s a cloud! Why would you do that!?
But the cloud fights back and both ships get digitized. No seriously, it’s the best descriptor I could come up with. They were digitized.
But it’s just a cloud! How could it do that?
Well, Starfleet quickly realizes that it’s not a cloud and it’s on an intercept course with Earth. But since the Klingon’s were able to take it on in normal space, it’s obviously flying at sublight speeds and will take a century or two to get there, right?
Nope, they only have about three days. Apparently, it’s travelling at warp speeds. So how the Klingons engaged it is anyone’s guess. Oh sure, they have warp drives. But engaging an enemy at warp is next to impossible, in any circumstance. Also, their warp drives were not engaged. Those things normally glow, and stars normally whisk by when they are.
At any rate, it’ll be at Earth in three days, and someone needs to intercept before then.
Meanwhile, in orbit over Earth, the USS Enterprise, the first one, has been undergoing a refit over the past eighteen months. I guess because they didn’t want to bother rebuilding the old sets from the original series, which would have looked a bit dated when the film was released, a decade after the series was cancelled.
The ship still has most of the same crew, except for a new commanding officer, Captain Willard Decker, played by the bad guy from No Ordinary Family; a new science officer, Commander Sonak, a vulcan; and a new chief medical officer, Doctor Nurse Chapel from the original series. Kirk is now an Admiral, and Chief of Starfleet Operations, and Spock is… doing something on Vulcan. I have no idea what. Apparently it’s an ancient Vulcan ritual to purge the last of their emotions. How exactly is that done?
Whatever, so as Spock is about to be given a metal for excellence in apathy, he stops the ceremony because apparently he senses the cloud. And that means they need to stop? Why not finish the ceremony first!? No, seriously, why!?
Now, what about McCoy!? Well, apparently he’s retired and has since started touring the galaxy as part of a Bee Gees tribute band.
Let’s skip ahead, Kirk arrives and tells Captain Decker that he’s taking command of the Enterprise, and leading it to rendezvous with the cloud. Decker is going to stay on as First Officer, but he’s still not happy about the situation. But it makes sense that one would want a veteran Starfleet officer in command on a mission of such grave importance. I’m sure Decker’s competent, but Kirk has decades of experience over him.
Also, Captain Decker is being demoted to Commander. Um… why? No, seriously, why? I don’t see a reason for this. In later films we see the Enterprise survive quite well having a first officer holding the Captain rank. So what’s so different about this situation? Kirk’s still an Admiral, so he’d still outrank him. Unless Kirk’s a Captain now too. But that doesn’t make sense either.
Kirk also drafts McCoy, pulling him out of retirement and back into sickbay. Of course the guy is not happy about it, but apparently McCoy’s so awesome only he can handle such an important mission.
I never really got into the original series. But I love McCoy. He’s a certifiable curmudgeon and nut. We’re introduced to him as Uhura explains that he refuses to beam up with everyone else. I actually don’t blame him. If it were me, I’d want to step into those things as infrequently as possible.
Speaking of transporter phobia, what about Sonak?
Son of a bitch!!! Yeah, turns out some moron at Starfleet decided to beam Sonak (and someone else) up to the Enterprise while the ship’s transporters were being repaired. So he’s dead. And Kirk’s really broken up about it. Or… at least I think he is. Geez Shatner, take some acting lessons or something. Choke a bit.
So regardless, the Enterprise takes off to rendezvous because they’re the only ship in range and… hang on. They’re the only ship in range? This is Earth! Capital of the Federation and location of Starfleet Headquarters! Why would they only have one starship stationed there!? You’d think they’d have, I don’t know, a fleet! I’d buy: They’re the most capable ship. But, only ship!? No, sorry, try again.
So regardless, they take off, and en route, Spock shows up to help the crew with their warp drive issues that I don’t really care about, and Kirk starts swooning over him.
The strange thing about Spock’s arrival is this: It’s so fucking awkward. The crew is quite happy to see him, but Spock reacts with… nothing, he doesn’t react. He just decides to get straight to work. Which is what you’d expect, I mean he is a Vulcan. They’re a race that operates on pure logic, they don’t waste time with sentiments. But everyone reacts to his non-reaction with confusion, as if they expected a smile and a hug from him, when they shouldn’t. He’s a fucking Vulcan.
Okay, he’s half-human genetically. But still, he follows Vulcan philosophy, therefore, he’s a Vulcan.
Meanwhile, Kirk has an ego the size of a bus and needs to be taken down a few pegs by his best friend, McCoy.
I noticed something odd about the cinematography in this film. Half the time an odd technique is used to keep both the foreground and background in focus at the same time. Where it seems the scene was shot twice with the foreground in focus in one take, and the background in focus in the other. Then the two takes are spliced together.
Yes, that bald guy in the background was very crucial to the plot. Obviously better lighting and a smaller aperture were alien concepts to the film crew.
But back to Spock, he explains that the real reason he arrived was because he wanted to join them in their rendezvous with the cloud, since it may hold the answers he seeks. Um… what answers? …What questions?
So they arrive at the cloud, enter it, and a column of energy suddenly appears on the bridge, probing the computer, attacking crew members, and killing a redshirt.
Then stuff happens, and the dead redshirt reappears on the ship, as an envoy for the cloud, V’Ger. Then Spock takes a spacesuit, and goes into the cloud and tries to mind meld with it, because he’s an idiot. It’s the weirdest thing I’ve ever seen as he flies past planets and into some type of space vagina!
But we learn here that my digitization explanation was actually quite accurate. It seems that’s exactly what happened. They were digitized and stored. This would make for a great Star Trek/Tron crossover.
The cloud vomits him out, and he’s brought back aboard the Enterprise. Apparently distressed by what he found. But that’s irrelevant. The cloud is getting closer to Earth and is trying to signal its creator. Why Earth? We don’t know yet. But it should be obvious. It was created by humans, but transformed in some way.
Anyway, it’s not getting a response, and is pissed. Spock suggests treating it like a child, and Kirk says he has an explanation, but will only give it to V’Ger directly. Naturally, it starts throwing a temper tantrum. I think this film is trying to take the piss out of itself.
Skip ahead a bit, Kirk, Spock and Decker face the ancient remains of the Voyager 6 space probe. You may be wondering, what’s Voyager 6? Well, they made it up. It doesn’t exist. But from the name, I’ll assume it was part of the Voyager program, run by NASA back in the 70s. Voyagers 1 and 2 are still out there, sending back information from beyond the solar system. They’re among the first interstellar craft we’ve ever launched, and the only ones that are still operating. Bit presumptuous of the writers to think there’d be a Voyager 6, and that we wouldn’t have moved on to a new model. I’d think we’d be running something much more advanced before we would’ve been ready to launch a “Voyager 6.”
Also, it appears this film is supposed to take place in the 2270’s. Yet Decker says it was launched over 300 years ago, meaning this fictional and futuristic probe, was launched before the film was released, in 1979.
They should have just said Voyager 2, it would have simplified things.
Fuck it! So “Voyager 6” wants to merge with its creator, since it reached the limits of its own evolution or something. So Decker sticks his hands in the craft, and together they become a being of pure energy. How? Why? What!? I don’t know, this is stupid.
Yes, this whole film is stupid. It’s sufficiently epic, granted, but that’s not saying much. There are too many plot holes, and too little plot. You see the pacing is at a snail’s pace. I get the feeling that this story could have been told in thirty minutes, but they keep padding it out with long boring shots where absolutely nothing happens and the visual effects guys jerk off. Watching this a second time, years after I first watched it, I decided to actually start cleaning my house while it played, and I’m pretty sure I missed nothing.
So with that, the film is over. And we can move on to the next one, Wrath of Khan.
If you don’t know who Khan is, well, neither did I. So I looked him up.
Apparently, he was a one-shot villain from the original series, who tried to take over the Enterprise before Kirk stranded him on a planet somewhere and that’s how the story ended. I never watched it, and I don’t care to. But thankfully the necessary parts are summarized by Chekov, now first officer of the Reliant, to his captain. Since the two find themselves on Ceti Alpha 6, the same planet Khan was abandoned on.
Actually, no, that’s not true. They were abandoned on Ceti Alpha 5, but as Khan explains, Ceti Alpha 6 blew up after they arrived, and that destroyed 5’s ecosystem, and shifted its orbit, making the crew think it was Ceti Alpha 6.
Hold on. You’re telling me that when they arrived in-system, no one noticed a planet missing!? No one stopped and said, ‘Hold on, the system’s configuration doesn’t match our databanks. Perhaps we should look into this first!’? And Chekov never considered mentioning the fact that a known criminal was marooned in-system!
Actually, wouldn’t that data be stored in the Reliant’s memory banks!? They should have some massive data storage in there, I would assume they include copies of all starship logs.
I’m just saying someone should have picked up on it.
Meanwhile, Kirk is still Admiral, and Spock is the new Enterprise Captain. The new science officer, Kirstie Alley with pointy ears, is in a mock-up bridge at Starfleet Command taking a test called the Kobayashi Maru. Basically it’s a character test that depicts an unwinnable scenario, which is a real-world possibility. Sometimes the outcome of an incident is never ideal, and you can only make it less worse. For instance, you can choose to abandon a ship in distress, or go in and rescue them, knowing full well it’s in enemy territory, and such a move would be considered an act of war.
They admonish her for her lack of constitution during the test, and this keeps on coming up throughout the film.
Also meanwhile, mother-son team of astro-bio-phys-psudo-technobabble-ists, are developing a machine called the Genesis Device. Basically, it’s a rapid terraformer. You release it on a planet and it creates a complete and stable ecosystem. One catch, release it on a planet with life already on it, and said life will get wiped out. So they need to find a barren planet to use as a test site.
That’s why Chekov and his captain were visiting random planet number 47. They were looking for a test site. So Khan finds out all about Genesis, and uses magic plot-device bugs to get the two on his side, and take over the Reliant. He stages a message, of Chekov ordering the handover of the Genesis materials, by order of Admiral Kirk.
Of course, that’s a fucking lie, but the scientists don’t know that. So they call Kirk, but due to Khan’s interference, he gets mostly static. After a brief talk with Starfleet Command, he decides to bring the Enterprise out to check on the station where Genesis is being developed. Unfortunately, the ship is being manned mostly by cadets. However, since Earth, the capital, is the most under-defended planet in the Federation, they’re the only ship available. So, they take off, and Spock hands over command to Kirk.
Meanwhile, one of the two scientists, David, starts bitching about how terrible the military is and how they were always going to take away Genesis. Of course his mother is more reasonable, since she’s not insane, and tries to talk him down.
Apparently, David’s a conspiracy theorist. So fuck him.
Kirk briefs McCoy and Spock on Genesis, and they begin a moral debate, McCoy complaining for some reason. I really don’t see the issue. So they developed a device that can create a full ecosystem in a matter of days, foregoing the millions of years of evolution that would otherwise be necessary.
Actually, that’s the funny bit, McCoy just says, ‘this is wrong,’ without explaining why. I find it perplexing that he doesn’t give any reasoning for his objections. Why is it such a bad thing? I’m asking honestly, because you’d think he’d provide it.
This is what I find most perplexing. Most of the time, when we debate morality, we give reasons. McCoy gives nothing. His arguments aren’t just facetious, they’re non-existent. Come on man! Give us something!
This is a major problem for me, since this could easily be a scene I could get into. But I can’t since there’s nothing to work from.
Then, the Enterprise encounters the Reliant, en-route to the station. At this point, completely unaware that Khan had taken it over. As far as they know, a Federation ship is approaching them, at radio silence.
On the Reliant, Khan starts talking to Kirk, who can’t hear him, so I don’t see the point of that. Then they open fire, but since the Enterprise was taken unawares, they’re hit pretty damn hard. Khan then opens communications and starts to taunt Kirk directly. Kirk offers himself, alone, and asks Khan to spare the crew. Then the nut reveals he also wants Genesis. Why? Who knows.
But then the admiral uses the open com-channel to hack into the Reliant, and lower their shields before opening fire.
So Reliant quickly withdraws, taking way too much damage. And as the Enterprise is getting ready to begin repairs, Scotty arrives on the bridge, with one of the engineers in his arms, charred to a crisp.
Sickbay’s on Deck 7, moron.
So they arrive at the station, and Kirstie Alley, Kirk and McCoy beam over. They find nothing, but several dead bodies. Seem’s Khan killed most of the staff, but a few are unaccounted for. They also find Chekov and his captain, thankfully alive.
They find the transporter, and hit redial, ending up deep underground. Then David quickly attacks Kirk without provocation, like an idiot.
He also screams that Kirk killed everyone on the station, like an idiot.
His mother, Carol, sets him straight, but not before Chekov and his captain reveal they’re still under Khan’s control. They have him beam the Genesis device up, but he orders them to kill Kirk first.
But apparently that’s too much, and both overpower their programming, the captain shooting himself with a phaser and Chekov resisting so much that a bug crawls out of his ear.
Okay, I don’t get it. What!?
Kirk then takes the opportunity to taunt Khan, so Khan beams the device up, and declares he’ll maroon Kirk, just like Kirk marooned him. Then comes the strangest and most unusual scene in the film. As Kirk screams:
…for no reason. It makes no sense and is just bizarre as a scene.
It’s shit like this that pulls me out of a film.
I know some people say: this is the greatest scene and the most epic scene in the entire film!
Yeah, no, sorry, I’ll have to disagree. It’s just pointless and without purpose. If instead he screamed: “CUUUUUUUUNT!!” It would make sense, because he’s cursing the man out. Instead he just screams the man’s name, so Khan could go: “Yeah that’s my name, we’ve been over this. So what’s your point there?”
So, cut off from the Enterprise, and deep underground, the scientists show Kirk and co. the Genesis Cave, where they did their first test.
I’m not gonna ask where the goddamn light is coming from.
A little chat between Kirk and Kirstie Alley comes up, where she decides to ask a simple question: What was his solution to the Kobayashi Maru test from the beginning of the film?
Turns out he cheated. Cunt.
He says he doesn’t like to lose, but that just makes him look like an arrogant prick. What makes him so special? No one likes to lose, it doesn’t mean you cheat!
He then calls up to Spock, who beams them back. Which confuses Kirstie, since earlier Kirk told them to leave an hour earlier. Because apparently she’s an idiot.
Naturally, the communique from earlier in the film was steganographed. A coded message within a different message. I love steganography. It’s camouflage for data.
Basically, Spock told him how long repairs would take, while telling Khan, who they knew would be eavesdropping, exactly what they wanted him to hear.
But what surprises me is how easily Khan fell for it, and how Kirstie didn’t notice it. Because they weren’t subtle.
Anyway, they’re hiding from Khan on the other side of the planet, and a plan is needed, since the Reliant is in better shape than the Enterprise.
It’s time for clever space battles. Which is what Star Trek does best. They go to a nebula that blinds the sensors on both ships. Making me ask why they don’t use a glass viewscreen instead of what is functionally a television. Since I doubt a giant window would get obscured by static.
So eventually they take Khan out by out-thinking the nut. But in the process, the warp drive gets damaged. Not a big problem. But Khan decides to activate the Genesis device. They need to outrun the explosion, and they can’t without warp.
So Spock heads down to engineering, and has to enter a compartment that’s been flooded with radiation to repair the drive.
It works, they outrun the blast, which transforms the nebula into a planet. Da fuq!?
Regardless, Spock’s dead, and they hold a big funeral. It’s actually kinda sad.
I actually can’t say I like this film, and when people say it’s the ‘good’ Star Trek movie, I have to laugh. It’s not terrible, but it’s certainly not great. Honestly, I think the first one was better.
I know, I know, but pacing problems aside, the first Star Trek film felt more like a film, than another episode of the TV show. Spock’s death aside, it doesn’t really feel sufficiently epic in my mind.
Okay, there’s Genesis, which adds a lot to the plot. In fact, I’m pretty sure Genesis is the plot. Since Khan, the title character, is more like a footnote in the film.
Oh, but Spock’s death! What about Spock’s death!? That’s a pretty big deal isn’t it!?
Oh, it would be, if it weren’t for the next film, Search for Spock.
Search follows up from the last film, with Spock’s death. His casket landed on the newly-formed Genesis planet. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
We’ll begin by mentioning a new character, Doc Brown, as a Klingon, who just found out about Genesis. Buying the information from another Klingon, whom he immediately kills.
What a prick.
Meanwhile, Enterprise has returned to Earth and her crew is told that she’s being decommissioned. Why? Who the fuck knows!? Apparently it’s because she’s 20 years old. But I’ll remind you: the Enterprise has constantly been the only ship ‘in the area!’ If that’s ever possible, then decommissioning is probably a bad idea. Just keep her in orbit over Earth. Since it’s apparently the only ship there!
The admiral delivering the news also explains that Genesis is now considered classified, and the planet under quarantine. Political issues, apparently.
Meanwhile, at Genesis, David, and Kirstie Alley are- WAIT! Who the fuck is that!?
Yes it seems the character played by Kirstie Alley in the last film was recast. She’s now played by a new actor no one knows or cares about.
|Kirstie Alley as Saavik||Someone Else as Saavik|
I don’t get it! They don’t even look alike! They might as well be two separate characters. In fact, they should have been two separate characters. Which is just as well, because here, she’s pretty much a block of wood.
They’re on the USS Grissom, doing scans of the planet below. And why didn’t she stay on the Enterprise, her assigned vessel? Oh, fucked if I know.
Also, where’s Carol? David’s mother. Who the fuck knows!?
Anyway, they find a photon torpedo casing on the surface of the planet. Spock’s casket. Oddly, they detect a living lifeform within. The two ask to go down and investigate, but the captain has his head up his ass and refuses, at least at first.
Meanwhile, back on Earth, McCoy’s acting like a nut. I mean more than usual.
The rest of the crew is meeting at Kirk’s crib, when Sarek, Spock’s father, arrives. He admonishes the admiral, for not bringing the body to Vulcan.
Okay, this confuses me. If it’s Vulcan custom to be buried on the homeworld, rather than shot out of a torpedo shoot, wouldn’t the captain of the Enterprise know this?
I guess Kirk thought the same thing, given how confused he is. Apparently, Spock was supposed to inform someone of this telepathically, before he died. And Sarek assumed he told Kirk. They investigate, and discover that he did tell someone: McCoy. Spock also transferred his consciousness into McCoy, which is why he’d been acting so batty.
Kirk asks permission to return to Genesis and retrieve Spock’s body so they can preserve the Vulcan custom, but he’s admonished by the head of Starfleet. After all, Genesis is quarantined, and such. Plus it’s just some hockey superstition. Yes, that’s why McCoy had obviously lost it, because of superstition he didn’t know about.
But it begs the question: Why not mention Ambassador Sarek? As an ambassador, he probably has a lot of influence. Couldn’t he get them to lift the quarantine, even temporarily? What the hell!?
Meanwhile, McCoy gets himself thrown in prison trying to get back to Genesis. So Kirk, in an effort to blatantly violate orders, busts him out with Sulu’s help.
Has Sulu always been a badass? I love it!
Then the entire crew minus Uhura, but with her help, hijack the Enterprise, and head straight to Genesis. They even go so far as to disable the warp drive of the only other ship in spacedock. I’m glad they did that, since there should be another ship in spacedock.
Meanwhile, on Genesis, ersatz-Alley and David find Spock’s casket, empty. Eventually, they do find Spock’s body, alive and well, but much younger. It appears that the radiation from Genesis resurrected him.
Some may think this is bollocks, but given what this thing does, I’ll actually buy it.
Before they can beam up, the Grissom is attacked and quickly destroyed by Doc Brown and his Klingon Bird-of-Prey.
David and Saavik realize what happened, and decide to take Spock and make a run for it, realizing they’re probably next. Which is actually true.
While they hide, David confesses something with heavy plot significance: The planet is unstable. Due to something called protomatter, used in the construction of Genesis, the planet has an extremely limited lifespan. The entire project is a failure.
Saavik asks how many have already died because of this. He didn’t mention anyone dying. Nor did anyone mention any accidents related to the project. So, why would she assume otherwise?
Regardless, it’s also causing Spock to age rapidly, which gives us a new problem: Pon farr, the Vulcan puberty.
For those not in the know, pon farr is actually life-threatening. When a Vulcan undergoes pon farr, there are only three options: deep meditation, which doesn’t always work; koon-ut-kal-if-fee, a ritualistic battle to claim, or refuse, a mate; or a good fuck. Those are your only options, otherwise the pon farr would build and build, and eventually kill ya.
Yes, it does happen to Spock, and Saavik tries to help him through it. How? Well, David already took off to distract the Klingons searching for them (I assume), leaving them alone. The rest is left up to our imagination. It’s possible she used some telepathic technique to suppress it, which only worked because of his rapid aging. It’s also possible they fucked. If they kept Kirstie Alley I’d probably accept the latter a bit more easily.
Meanwhile, the Enterprise has arrived, just as Saavik and Spock are captured. Quite suddenly as a matter of fact. I guess after a good lay Vulcans get pretty sleepy.
Brown demands the information on Genesis, but Saavik points out it’s a failure, since the planet’s about to break up. But they don’t want it for it’s terraforming abilities. They want to use it as a weapon, because they’re Klingons.
Skip ahead a bit, we get an epic space battle, where the Enterprise is damaged, pretty badly at that. Cue standoff between the Klingons and Kirk, where Brown accuses Kirk of developing a WMD. He threatens to start executing prisoners, unless they surrender.
The Klingons kill David, and Kirk seems pretty broken up about it for some reason.
Oh, I forgot to mention: David is Kirk’s son. They practically met yesterday, I should point out, the two of them barely know each other. Regardless of blood, I don’t see why he’s so upset about it. Probably regret, that he didn’t know the kid sooner. But still, it’s a bit melodramatic.
Regardless, since he’s worried that Saavik and Spock are next, he surrenders the Enterprise, but not before setting the self-destruct, and beaming to the surface.
The Klingons beam aboard, and it takes them about thirty seconds after entering the bridge to notice that the self-destruct was armed. Actually, I don’t think they ever notice until they blow up.
Klingons are stupid.
Meanwhile the Enterprise crew are on a dying planet. They find the Klingons still holding hostages, and take them down. Realizing they have to get off the planet, Kirk taunts Doc Brown, trying to get beamed up. Instead, he beams down, and has everyone but Kirk and Spock beamed up. Seems Brown still wants Genesis, and Kirk claims he has the information.
We get a pretty awesome fight sequence, as the planet breaks apart around them.
Kirk emerges victorious, and posing as Brown, gets beamed up with Spock, who has aged to the point that he can be played by Leonard Nimoy again.
Only one Klingon is left on the ship, so Kirk and the crew take it over quite easily.
Once they figure out how to fly the ship, they make a beeline for Vulcan, where they meet Sarek and Uhura, and begin a rare ceremony to transfer Spock’s soul from McCoy, and back into his own body. And apparently it takes a while, which confuses me since the technique to implant the soul into McCoy was pretty damn quick.
Anyway, Spock has yet to make a full recovery and is not quite himself yet, but shows signs of remembering his old friends, making us hopeful for the future as the film ends.
Here’s the perfect time to make an essential point: I honestly think Search for Spock is way better than any Star Trek film that came before it. It does feel sufficiently epic, and is more fantastic than earlier entries. I can’t exactly say why, I just like it better.
But that’s not to say it’s the best.
Because regardless of everything else, Kirk, McCoy, Sulu, Scotty, Chekov, and Uhura are now fugitives. Since they violated several direct orders they are now, basically, in exile. And that transitions well into the superb follow-up, The Voyage Home.
The Klingons accuse Kirk of terrorism, in front of the Federation President and its… Parliament? Anyway, the Ambassador making these accusations has one hell of an imagination, I must add.
Even as this Federation was negotiating a peace treaty with us, Kirk was secretly developing the Genesis torpedo, conceived by Kirk’s son and test detonated by the Admiral himself! The result of this awesome energy was euphemistically called ‘The Genesis Planet’; A secret base from which to launch the annihilation of the Klingon people! We demand the extradition of Kirk! We demand justice!
Where the fuck are they getting this!? This might be the first, and only, time we see Klingons portrayed not as brutal warriors, but as frightened paranoid schizophrenics. The only thing they got right was the name of the planet!
Anyway, The President points out that Kirk will be duly punished, under Starfleet regulations, as I mentioned earlier. The Ambassador is not happy, but fuck the nut!
Back on Vulcan, the crew have been exiled for the past three months, and decide it’s time to head home, and face their fate. On their stolen Klingon ship, dubbed the HMS Bounty, they take off.
But first, Spock is training his brain to restore his former abilities, as he’d been doing for the past few months. But he reaches an impasse with a simple question: “How do you feel?” His human mother walks in and tries to remind him of his human heritage, and emotions.
Spock joins his friends, intending to testify at their trial. Saavik stays behind… for some reason. In fact, why would she still be on Vulcan? Wouldn’t she have been reassigned to another ship? She’s still in Starfleet. She didn’t violate orders. What the hell!?
Meanwhile, a giant cylinder is heading straight for Earth. Disabling any ship it comes across. Once it arrives, the entire planet begins to blow up. Okay, the oceans blow up, resulting in violent storms across the planet.
Seems this is caused by a signal its sending out. A signal no one can understand.
The Bounty receives word of the crisis, and quickly determines the nature of the signal: It’s whale sounds. Specifically the humpback whale, which went extinct back in… well… now.
So with the Earth under threat, and the only solution apparently being a fucking whale, they hatch a plan: Travel back in time, and find a whale.
Some may be wondering how this makes any sense. Well, basically, they’re saying whales are sentient, and are capable of communication. The cylinder is trying to talk to the whales, unaware of the damage it’s causing. Also, it’s likely been here before. And while they could simulate whale sounds, they don’t know whale language. I’ll buy it, and I love it.
One issue: I think they’re also saying the whales have actually been communicating with the race that sent the cylinder, and it was sent to investigate why they lost contact. Sorry, I will not buy: Whales also developed interstellar communication. They’d need thumbs to do that.
So, with a bit of math from Spock, they stage a slingshot time warp manoeuvre around a star. Travelling back to the film’s release date.
We get a surreal sequence where CG models of the heads of the cast turn into heads of other cast members, while suspended in a bed of fog. What the fuck was the point of that!?
They land in a park, somewhere in San Francisco, taking full advantage of the Klingon cloak. I do find it perplexing that in the last film, the cloak was visible as a subtle ripple in space, but in this film, the cloak is almost perfect.
Anyway, they split into three groups: Kirk and Spock go off in search of whales; Scotty, McCoy and Sulu look for the materials to build an aquarium in the cargo bay; and finally, Chekov and Uhura are searching for a nuclear reactor.
You see, because the Klingon craft is so shit, the dilithium was drained in the jump. So Chekov and Uhura have to find a nuclear reactor to collect radioactive emissions to re-crystallize the dilithium… Yeah, I’m not sure either.
Anyway, this results in several really stupid scenes where we learn that the people of the 23rd century forgot all about the Cold War.
Speaking of which, I find it quite odd that Kirk says, “Many of their customs would doubtless take us by surprise.” Since they are visiting their home planet.
I have a hard time believing they wouldn’t already be somewhat familiar with Earth’s historical culture. Do they not have period dramas in the 23rd century? Then again, let’s be honest, a lot of our own period dramas probably gloss over, or omit, the more bizarre aspects of the past.
For instance, Doctor Who has had several episodes taking place in the ancient world, yet we never see slaves.
So, Spock dons a bandana to hide his extraterrestrial features, and they head out.
It’s not long before Team Whale find their goal at an aquarium in Sausalito. It’s perfect. They’re easy to find, and they have one male and one female. Unfortunately, people would notice them missing, which is a bit of a problem.
But they find a bigger problem when their tour guide mentions that the whales are going to be returned to the wild because of lack of funding.
Things get worse when Spock tries a mind meld on one of the whales, pissing the tour guide off. I should also mention that she’s also the assistant director. More proof that the place is underfunded.
Anyway, she assumes they’re crazy, and kicks them out. But apparently, she has a change of heart and picks them up off the street, where Kirk offers to take the whales somewhere safe, away from hunters. But he doesn’t give many details.
Which seems kinda pointless considering, over dinner, Kirk tells our whale-lover that he’s from the 23rd century.
Naturally, she doesn’t believe him. But that all changes when she learns the whales were annexed early by her boss because of stupid reasons.
She panics, and goes to the park she last left Kirk, offering to help them find the whales, getting beamed into the ship.
So much for a Temporal Prime Directive, eh? Or was that not implemented at that point. Did Starfleet never think, once they discovered time travel, to immediately initiate a rule that says, “hey, no messing with the past, since that could kill you.” Paradoxes and so forth. There’s no record of time travellers from the future. You gotta be careful.
I gotta say, I love Spock in this film. He still hadn’t fully recovered from pulling a Jesus, so he’s a bit out of it. Nonetheless, some of the film’s best moments and jokes, come from Spock. For instance, his simple and direct approach at dealing with an irritating cunt playing loud music on the city bus, his inquiries on Kirk’s liberal use of profanity, and his reaction when they learn that their tour guide noticed he referred to whales going extinct in the past. I fucking love it!
Meanwhile, Team Tank, trying to find the materials they’ll need, look through the Yellow Pages, of all things. They find a factory that manufactures plexiglass, which they’ll need a lot of to finish the job. Unfortunately, they don’t have a whole lot of money… actually, they don’t have any money. But they do have a bit of future technology, so they sell the formula for ‘transparent aluminum’ to one of the managers of the factory. A PhD mind you. It seems hiring people who were grossly overqualified was in vogue back then.
By the way, ‘transparent aluminum’ hadn’t been invented yet. So yeah, we can safely say our heroes don’t seem that concerned about causing a paradox or two. Yes, predestination counts.
They also requisition a chopper to load the plexiglass into their ship. Which we actually see happen, and I have to say, they’re not very subtle.
You wouldn’t think the Enterprise crew would suck at stealth.
Then we got Team Nuke, who manage to find a naval vessel housing a nuclear reactor. Uhura and Chekov beam into the ship, and collect the necessary radiation, but once they’re done, due to lack of power, only one can beam back at a time. Uhura goes first, but before Chekov can follow her, he gets captured by a couple of soldiers.
Yes, it just so happens the Russian is captured by Cold-War-era US soldiers. That’s not contrived at all!
Obviously, they suspect he’s a Russian spy. But they also suspect he’s retarded or something (not my words!), since he claims to be a member of Starfleet. I would think they’d assume he was telling the truth, since the alternative is way too fucking absurd. The alternative is that a ‘retard’ or delusional schizophrenic, or what have you, managed to penetrate every level of security you have and access the main reactor. And/or, Moscow would recruit a spy with mental difficulties.
Regardless, Chekov tries to make his escape, is severely injured in the process, and brought to hospital.
So now, McCoy, Kirk, and Kirk’s shoehorned love-interest have to sneak in and find him. Along the way, McCoy is naturally horrified at the sight of 20th century medicine.
Think about it, if a modern doctor went back to the 18th century, he’d be livid! You’re doing what with leeches!? Hey! You ever hear of soap, asshole!?
He takes the opportunity to spread a bit of modern medicine, and stops the doctors from performing their barbaric practices on Chekov, before repairing the injuries and absconding with him.
Kinda makes you think. The doctors wanted to drill a hole in his head to relieve the pressure. But McCoy said they needed to repair the artery instead. I can assume they didn’t have the technology to do that. In fact, I’ll wager we still don’t.
As you may already know, I injured my hand relatively recently. Had to undergo surgery to repair the nerve. I say, ‘repair the nerve,’ but apparently, all they did was stitch the myelin back together. I still can’t feel anything in half my left ring finger, and holy shit, the scar tissue. It’s been over five months! You’d think I’d feel something here, dammit!
Of course the reason they didn’t repair the actual nerve, was because we don’t have the technology to do that. At least not yet. We will one day, I’m sure of it. Until then, we have stop-gap measures, and medical kludges.
So, anyway, they bolt out of the OR; and the police guarding it, after taking a few seconds to realize what was going on, run after them, as the Benny Hill Theme plays in my head.
They make it to the elevator and are beamed away out-of-sight.
The scientist chick helps them find the whales, and demands to come with them, back to the 23rd century. Kirk refuses at first, but apparently changes his mind when she interrupts his transport.
She has no idea how that thing works! How did she know that grabbing onto him wouldn’t interfere with the beaming, and kill them? That’s what I’d assume!
So, they find the whales, as they’re being harassed by some whalers, and decloak, scaring the cunts off.
Yeah, you see some shit like that, you fucking run.
They beam up the whales, and the water, and head back to the future with perfect timing.
They crash straight into the ocean, likely damaging the craft, and the cloaking device, since the Federation still doesn’t have one in the 24th century.
They manage to get out of the sinking ship, and open the cargo bay, releasing the whales into the ocean. Finally, the whales respond to the cylinder, and it flies off, saving Earth.
And with that, the film ends. Oh, no wait, we still have some unfinished business, as the crew stand trial for their crimes. Spock standing beside his friends, despite the fact that no charges have been levelled against him.
But due to their Earth-saving efforts, the majority of the charges are dropped. All that’s left is the charge of disobeying orders levelled at Kirk. I kinda like that, since technically, the others didn’t disobey orders. They were following orders, from someone who was disobeying them.
Regardless, Kirk is demoted to Captain, and given command of a starship. Hardly seems like much of a punishment, I find.
But what starship? Well, the new NCC-1701-A USS Enterprise. Bit contrived, but I like it.
And what about the time travelling whale lady? Well, she’s assigned to a different ship… for some reason. Yeah, nevermind introducing a new recurring character. They already tried that with Saavik, it didn’t turn out well.
So what do I think of the film? Fan-fucking-tastic! One major complaint is the ‘saves the whales’ message they include. And I’ll give them credit, it’s a noble message. Humans hunting any animal species to extinction is bollocks. I think we, as a species, should eventually decide to fucking stop. We’re smart enough to do that. Now true, species go extinct all the time. Most of the time, in spite of our influence. But if we’re causing it, if we’re definitively causing it; I think, as a species, we should learn to stop.
Besides, what exactly are they using the whales for? Piano keys? I’m sure we can find an alternative material. Same with sharks. Did you know shark fins actually taste like nothing? I wish I was making that up!
But of course, for me, this message has to fall on deaf ears, because much like the Christmas Episode of My Little Pony, the moral message is followed by: …or something will destroy the fucking planet!
Be friends, or malevolent ice spirits will cover the land in frozen death!
Save the whales, or an alien probe will tear the planet apart!
I’m sorry, but that’s bullshit. And I’m quickly reminded of religion, and Christianity. Let’s face it, most religion is based on a moral code, and the threat of eternal torture for violation of that code. Since, after all, humanity is composed of self-centred sociopaths.
It pisses me off to no end, but speaking of religion, now it’s time to hit the nadir. The lowest fucking shit I’ve ever- oh fuck! Welcome to hell! For we have now reached the fifth film. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Further subtitled: Fuck you! You wanted a good movie!? Well, you can suck my dick you little cunts!
Oh Higgs! I hate this film!
We open on a fucking planet I don’t care about. Some type of joint venture between the Klingons, Romulans, and Federation. I don’t care. All you need to know is that we’re introduced to Sybok, a Vulcan. He meets an impoverished human in the middle of the barren wasteland who he helps to release his emotional pain. We later learn this somehow hypnotizes people to do his bidding. It’s a bit bollocks to say the least.
He tells the man they’ll need a starship. Wait… he doesn’t have one? Well how’d he get on the planet? No, seriously, how’d he do that unless he had a starship? And why is he there to begin with?
And why is it such a big deal that he’s a Vulcan!?
Well, we do at least learn why he’s there. Since representatives from the three governments are holding station on the planet, and they’re miserable. Nonetheless, they are ambassadors, and as such, important officials within their governments. So, holding them hostage would most certainly bring a starship to the planet.
Let’s move on to something less stupid.
The crew is on vacation, and Kirk is doing a bit of rock climbing, up a sheer cliff, with no visible safety gear.
I understand the activity itself, for the sake of recreation. But no safety gear? Nothing? Not even a little belt that would slow your decent were you to fall to your death? How about an emergency teleport, that would beam you to safety were you to otherwise die!? No, nothing, he has nothing. Which becomes extremely apparent when Spock arrives on rocket boots and I have to call bullshit on that, since those things do not look stable.
Anyway, yeah, he arrives on rocket boots, and Kirk slips off the mountain, but the Vulcan flies down and catches him, because he’s awesome like that.
But what about the rest of the crew? Scotty and Uhura are on the Enterprise-A, one repairing it, the other establishing romantic undertones with Scotty. Well, this is coming out of nowhere, I must say.
But suddenly, they receive a message from Starfleet, telling them to attend to the situation on Planet I-don’t-give-a-shit.
Sulu and Chekov are hiking in… somewhere, when they get lost and are told they need to rendezvous at specific coordinates. Chekov gives us a bit of comic relief, and Uhura frees them from the embarrassment of a starship navigator being lost, and I wonder why they can’t beam up from where they are.
McCoy is with Kirk and Spock, camping. They talk a bit, have a heart-to-heart, and marshmallows. Then there’s the sing-along, where Spock questions the meaning of Row, Row, Row Your Boat. Actually, he makes a good point, most songs actually have meanings behind their lyrics. They aren’t a random collection of words.
McCoy: The words aren’t important. What’s important is that you have a good time singing it.
Spock: Oh, I am sorry, Doctor. Were we having a good time?
Did I ever mention that I love Spock?
They go to bed, but their night is interrupted by an arriving shuttlecraft. It seems Kirk left his communicator behind. Of course. They pick him up and head off to the random planet somewhere.
Now, it’s worth noting that the Enterprise is a wreck, and repairs are ongoing. And I feel obliged to point out that Kirk’s arrival on the bridge feels a bit off. Like no one’s ready and everything’s off-kilter. Which is something I like. Every other time we’ve seen Starfleet in action, they’ve been ready and on their feet at a moment’s notice. Here they’re shuffling around like they just woke up. It feels more casual and laid-back, and a bit right given the circumstances.
So Kirk receives his briefing, and mentions that they’re not ready for any sort of mission, there must be someone else available. Which there is, but they want the most experienced man possible, and that’s Kirk.
I’m glad they got rid of the ‘they’re the only ship available’ cliché. It was pretty pathetic, and a bit lazy.
So they’re off, and en route, they receive a package on the situation, containing a video from the aggressors, with some of the worst acting I’ve ever seen in Star Trek. Stop changing your fucking inflection you Romulan cunt!
Spock mentions that he knows Sybok. The man was on his way to becoming one of the great Vulcan philosophers, until he abandoned the teachings of logic, and started giving into his base emotions. He was subsequently banished from the planet.
They arrive and stage a stealth extraction mission. A mission that features Uhura dancing on a sand dune in the buff.
… I hate this film.
So they get in, but their cover is blown all too quickly, and a firefight breaks out.
Sybok is horrified. He proclaims that he never wanted bloodshed. Well, maybe you should have thought of that before kidnapping three ambassadors! What exactly did you expect!? Did you think they’d just give in to your demands!? Sorry, it doesn’t work that way.
So Kirk and co. find and grab the hostages. But it doesn’t matter anyway, since it turns out that they have taken Stockholm Syndrome to a new level.
Yes, the hostages are now the accomplices of Sybok and friends. How? Well, Sybok’s hypnosis powers, as we later learn.
Regardless, it’s not long before he explains his villainous plan. He wants to steal the Enterprise and… actually we don’t know yet. He asks Spock to join him, but of course our resident captain of awesomeness and logic, refuses.
Whatever, it’s time to head up in their shuttlecraft. Which they do, but en route the Enterprise decides to raise shields, to protect against a Klingon attack. Which means the shuttle can’t dock. But Sybok refuses to change course. However he allows Kirk to radio in, and implement a manual landing procedure, which’ll allow them to keep the shield down for only a second or two. I bring this up not because of plot-significance, because there is none, but because he doesn’t even try to use this opportunity to send a stenographic duress signal, so Chekov knows to have security teams waiting in the hanger.
He only fights back after they land. And during the fight, Spock manages to get his hands on a gun, but he refuses to shoot Sybok, since they’re brothers.
Spock, I don’t care if he’s you from the future. If he’s evil, you shoot him!
Oh, wait. Maybe he plans to act as a double agent, and gain Sybok’s trust before turning on him when he least suspects it.
Well, no, since he immediately declares he’s on Kirk’s side.
Was his brain removed!? …again!? …for a third time!?
As they are led away, Scotty witnesses the event, and it’s not long before he breaks Kirk, McCoy, and Spock out of the brig.
Meanwhile, Sybok successfully hypnotizes the rest of the main cast, and announces to the crew that he intends to find the planet Shakari. He doesn’t say why, because he’s a cunt.
Oh, also, he thinks it’s in the centre of the galaxy, past the Great Barrier, which no starship or probe has ever returned from. Yeah, so it turns out he’s not just an evil cunt; he’s a crazy, evil, suicidal cunt.
So as Kirk and the rest are planning their repossession of the ship, Scotty manages to knock himself out on a steel beam, because he’s an idiot.
The other three make it to an empty turboshaft, and start to climb up… or down, I really can’t tell, since if they were heading up the deck numbers would be descending, not ascending. It’s a ship, not a building.
As Kirk and McCoy climb, Spock arrives with rocket boots, significantly speeding up the process. But they can’t handle the weight of three people, so they slowly start to fall. Then, just as Sulu enters the shaft, Spock engages the afterburners to skyrocket to deck one… or 78, I’m not… There are not 78 decks!!! The Enterprise-D from The Next Generation had 42, I refuse to believe that it was smaller than its predecessor.
Anyway, Kirk manages to get to a communications terminal, and sends out a distress signal, which is intercepted by the Klingon ship I mentioned earlier, but he doesn’t know that.
Oh, yeah, by the way, there’s a Klingon ship, that I don’t care about. It was sent to rescue the Klingon ambassador that was kidnapped.
Moving on, Sybok manages to confront them, and says their fear of the Great Barrier is a fear of the unknown, comparing himself to Columbus, and those who broke the sound and warp barriers.
Yeah, except for one thing: none of those people forced others to take the risk. Yeah, sure Sybok, here’s a shuttlecraft, go through the Great Barrier, the rest of us are gonna fuck off back to Earth.
Also, Columbus didn’t take any risks, they knew the Earth was round back then. He was actually a failure, he wanted to find a path to India, not Florida. He thought the Earth was much smaller than it actually was, and everyone else knew he was full of it.
The point is, if you want to make yourself look good, don’t compare yourself to Columbus.
Then he declares that he wants Kirk’s respect. Here’s my response, as Kirk: No. You will never get my respect. You just hijacked my ship at gunpoint, and now you plan to drag us into a potential death trap, against our will. Even if everything you say is true, even if the Great Barrier is perfectly safe, and we find Shakari, and whatever other nonsense you think is out there, none of it will matter. You’re a terrorist and a criminal. I will never respect you.
Meanwhile, in sickbay, Scotty comes to, and is being hit on by Uhura. Da hell!?
Anyway, Sybok tries his hypnotism on Spock and McCoy, which is basically nothing more than forcing them to relive painful memories. I don’t understand how that works. Wouldn’t that have the opposite effect? Oh, gee, thanks for making me relive a moment I’d rather forget. I guess I owe you. What the hell!?
Nonetheless, their allegiance to Kirk does not change. So, wait, it’s not hypnotism? Then why did the others betray Kirk so easily!?
I honestly don’t get it! Why did they abandon their captain!? They appear to still be in their own faculties. Especially after we see Spock and McCoy go through it. So that tells me that they weren’t hypnotized, which means Kirk would be fully in the right to have Sulu, Chekov, and Uhura court marshalled. Why weren’t they court marshalled?
As Sybok leaves, he mentions that he had a ‘vision,’ given by ‘god.’ Wow, he really is nuts.
They fly in, and surprisingly make it. They find Shakari, and Sybok turns command back over to Kirk. But of course, Kirk doesn’t respond by turning around, like he should. Instead, he leads a shuttle mission to the surface.
Oh, sure, he has a sense of exploration or whatever. That’s cool. But if I were him, I’d turn the ship around out of spite. Then come back without Sybok to investigate.
Am I the only one who recognizes that regardless of motivations, a terrorist is still a terrorist!? Oh sure, he never killed anyone, but damn near close enough, I say.
So, yeah, mission to Shakari, with Sybok. Kirk’s a bit of a moron here, isn’t he?
So they land, and meet something, or someone, that claims to be God. He even manages to change his image, to emulate different gods, including Santa Claus!
Holy shit! He’s real! Santa’s real!
He then asks to use the Enterprise to leave the barrier.
Of course Kirk has an isolated moment of intelligence, and asks, “What does God need with a starship?” Apt. Seriously, it’s a good question.
McCoy interrupts, saying, “Jim, you don’t ask the Almighty for his ID.” Uh… yeah you do. Actually that should be one of the first things you do. Otherwise anyone can talk you into anything.
God: Hi I’m God.
McCoy: Really, I thought you were a bum on the street.
God/Bum: Now kill Kirk.
So ‘God’ starts to kick their asses. I’ll accept that. I’ve always assumed God was a cunt. Here’s proof!
No, it’s not God, it’s someone else pretending to be God. What else is new?
Stupid story short, Sybok throws himself into the creature… for some reason, and the others make their escape.
The film ends with a bit of peace with the Klingon ship, and then, a campfire sing-along… for some reason.
So, yeah, it’s shit, and stupid, and no one gets court marshalled, which is what really pisses me off.
I did not like this movie. It had a few good moments, but they were few and far between. Which is an understatement. It started off relatively well, and was, in my view, well-directed… kinda. But the A-plot was shoddy and Sybok was just an ass, and I don’t feel like he got his just deserts. Also, much like Wrath of Khan, it didn’t really feel like material for an epic film, but a shit episode.
Overall it was just badly written. There’s not much else to say.
And now that that trainwreck is over, it’s time for something much better, as we end this expedition into Star Trek history, with the finale, The Undiscovered Country.
This film is fantastic, to say the least. We have here an epic plot combining a murder mystery, and conspiracy thriller. It was a more than sufficiently epic sendoff for the original cast, and as such, was like a cherry, on top of a peanut butter, hot fudge, and turd sundae.
Don’t over think that simile, please. But seriously, Star Trek V sucked.
The film opens with the destruction of Praxis, one of the moons of Qo’noS, the Klingon homeworld. The event is picked up by the USS Excelsior, commanded by Captain Sulu. Apparently he got promoted, and rightly so. Oddly, he’s the only one, but I don’t really care.
Anyway, the shockwave from the moon’s destruction rams the ship like a tsunami.
… Okay, two things: One, how close were they to Praxis? I honestly don’t understand, if they were to feel the shockwave from the moon’s destruction, they would have had to have been within the Klingon system, which seems impossible. Okay, sure maybe the explosion was strong enough to reach, but then the shockwave would have to be travelling at warp speed, which should be impossible. I’m pretty sure I remember seeing an episode where they said very explicitly, that no natural phenomena can travel at superluminal speeds. You need a warp drive to pull that off.
Actually, hold on… Okay, I can confirm that’s the case, from an episode in the original series.
[Episode 3×18, “The Lights of Zetar”; First aired: 31 January 1969]
Kirk: No natural phenomena can move faster than the speed of light.
Was this retconned!?
Oh, no they claim it was a ‘subspace’ shockwave. Which I’ll actually buy, but I don’t see how an exploding moon could create that. What exactly exploded!?
Second, what was the scale of this explosion, such that it could do that, and yet not destroy Qo’nos!?
Well, apparently it comes close, decimating the planet, and the Klingon economy. Because of this, the Klingon Empire can’t afford to feed its citizens and maintain a persistent cold war with the Federation. So, their leader, Chancellor Gorkon, played by Sark/Dillinger from Tron, decides to kill off the population- I mean, declare peace. It’s the Klingons, either one was plausible.
It’s interesting to note that David Warner also appeared in The Final Frontier, but I couldn’t be arsed to mention it.
Anyway, Spock’s been helping to open negotiations. Meanwhile several of Starfleet’s brass voice their concerns, which come off a bit racist in my mind.
“To offer the Klingons a safe haven within Federation space is suicide. Klingons would become the alien trash of the galaxy,” says one admiral.
“You cunt,” I reply.
“The opportunity here is to bring them to their knees,” he continues.
“You fucking cunt,” I reply again.
Seriously, what the hell!?
Even Kirk comes off a bit Ann Coulter, but on reflection, he’s not as extreme as one would expect from a man whose son was killed by Klingons.
Which is good, because he’s the one assigned to escort the Chancellor.
It kinda makes sense, and Spock argues by using an old Vulcan phrase, “Only Nixon could go to China.” Wait, what!?
You know, I’ve never got that phrase. Primarily because I know nothing about Nixon, other than he’s a crook, and by extension, a liar. Best guess, it means: only someone who has every reason to hate them, could pull it off. And Kirk certainly has every reason to hate the Klingons, and they him. So if he can broker a peace, it’ll stick.
They take off and we meet our replacement Sulu, Lieutenant Valeris, or as I like to call her, Saavik with bangs.
I wish they just brought Saavik back.
Anyway, as they leave, Kirk starts to reflect on his own biases, and prejudice. You don’t often hear a racist admit he’s wrong. He also admits he might not be able to get past it.
Regardless, they meet the Klingon Chancellor, and extend every possible courtesy. Dinner starts off reasonably well, until someone says the wrong thing, and paranoia takes over. But the Klingons bring up an interesting point: Despite the fact that there are supposed to be around 150 member worlds in the Federation. The Enterprise, their flagship, holds a majority human crew. You’d think we’d at least see the four founding members equally represented.
Actually, on that note, I looked into it. Only Humans and Vulcans are even acknowledged to exist throughout the franchise. Andorians and Tellarites are virtually non-existent. You see none of them serving on any incarnation of the Enterprise, or on Deep Space Nine, or Voyager. This is bullshit!
I remember one episode of TNG mentioned that Geordi’s mom commanded a starship with a majority Vulcan crew. Too bad it never appeared on-screen. Come on, those ears can’t be that expensive!
Anyway, the film. Kirk compares a Klingon to Hitler, and things go downhill from there. But it’s worth pointing out that no one is suggesting the Klingons join the Federation, only that the Klingons stop trying to kill them.
But apparently Gorkon likes a challenge, and is still willing to work at it. They return to their ship on relatively good terms, as Kirk looks over a photo of his son. Whom he only knew for ten minutes. Oh, get over it, chap. I’m still not buying this. Mourning the death of a son you knew well is one thing. They barely met!
Also, that meeting wasn’t exactly bright and cheery, since it opened with David attacking him.
Anyway, just as Kirk is getting to sleep, he’s called to the bridge when they notice an anomaly near the ship. Then, it appears as if the Enterprise had begun to attack the Klingons. But they didn’t. Not even close.
Long story short, the Chancellor is murdered, and the Enterprise is framed for the attack. As the Klingon ship is about to retaliate, in a brilliant diplomatic move, Kirk immediately surrenders and offers assistance. But McCoy fails to save Gorkon’s life and with his dying breath, the Chancellor tells Kirk not to let it end this way. Both Kirk and McCoy are arrested, obviously, since all evidence points to their culpability.
Meanwhile, on the Enterprise, Spock begins the necessary investigations.
Back on Earth, we meet the Federation President, Kurtwood Smith (Red from That 70’s Show).
Well, now see, that’s fantastic. A non-human leader of the Federation, specifically, an Efrosian. Kinda takes the air out of the Klingon’s ‘humans-only club’ argument. Well… just a bit. Let’s face it, even after the election of Barack Obama, racism didn’t go away in the United States. But for the most part, it proves that they’ve moved on.
It’s also worth noting that this President is supposed to be blind. Well, that’s a new one.
I honestly wish we got to see more of him.
So, he’s informed of the situation by the Klingon ambassador, but isn’t happy about it. He doesn’t want to simply abandon the men, but his hands are tied. He can’t violate interstellar law.
He’s briefed by Starfleet brass on a possible extraction mission. But he rejects it out of hand, on the basis that it could trigger a full-scale war. Even the Romulan ambassador starts coaxing him into it.
Yes, the Federation would decimate the Klingons, but at what cost? Is it really worth it? Do you really want people to die? I think it’s safe to say these pricks are psychopaths.
Meanwhile, Gorkon’s daughter has been appointed Chancellor. Really? Huh, I didn’t think Klingon’s were that progressive. Anyway, she contacts the President to arrange a follow-up meeting at a neutral site. On the condition that Kirk and McCoy stand trial and are not extracted through military means. The President agrees.
Meanwhile, the new Chancellor is dealing with her subordinates coaxing her into war. They fear the Federation will make them slaves.
So, on one hand, we have a group of psychopaths, on the other, schizophrenics.
Was this common in the original series? Because I never saw this kind of portrayal in TNG, DS9 or Voyager.
So Kirk and McCoy stand trial, and are defended by Worf, who shouldn’t have been born yet.
Actually, this Worf is actually the other Worf’s grandfather. They’re not the same characters, they just share the same name and actor, Michael Dorn.
They accuse McCoy of negligence since he was drinking, much like everyone else that night.
They also accuse Kirk of bigotry, using one of his personal log entries against him. Something they shouldn’t have access to.
They deny any wrongdoing.
Regardless, the prosecution argues that even if Kirk did not order the assassination of the Chancellor, he’s still responsible for the actions of his crew. I don’t know if I can agree with that.
They are found guilty and sentenced to life at the Rura Penthe penal colony.
At the close of the trial, Spock makes a break in his investigation, when he finally determines who fired the torpedo. Eliminating the possibility that the Enterprise fired it (all photon torpedoes were inventoried), he determines that a cloaked Bird of Prey fired on them. Which should be impossible, but apparently isn’t.
Spock orders the entire ship searched for the MagBoots that were used by the assassins who killed Gorkon.
Unfortunately, Starfleet is demanding their return to Earth. Oddly enough, the warp drive just broke down. How unfortunate. Heh heh heh. I didn’t know Spock could be so cheeky.
Meanwhile, on Rura Penthe, Kirk and McCoy have already settled into prison life.
So as Kirk is getting his ass kicked, he manages to kick his opponent right in the balls, which happen to also be his knees. I don’t know whether to laugh at that.
He walks away and a fellow inmate offers him a way of escape, but is quite coy about it.
That night, Kirk and McCoy are chatting, and the captain reveals that he suspects another assassination attempt shall be made soon, since Gorkon’s death did not end the peace conference.
Back on Enterprise, Chekov finds a spot of Klingon blood in the transporter room. Which is pink, oddly enough. As such, Spock orders all uniforms searched. Which turns up nothing except the MagBoots.
Seriously? While searching for blood they find the MagBoots? Hey keep looking for MagBoots, you might find more blood.
Anyway, turns out the boots were found in Crewman Dax’s locker. Which is impossible since his feet are so fucking messed, there is no way they would have fit in those boots. They look like they melted.
Either that or it was the result of Chekov dropping the MagBoots on them.
Seriously, what the hell!?
So, back to square one.
McCoy and Kirk make their escape, and the Enterprise notices, since Spock placed a special tracking device on them. Okay, why didn’t the Klingons notice?
But the surface of the planet is a frozen wasteland, so the Enterprise legs it to the prison, and uses a bit of cunning linguistics to pass as a Klingon ship.
Back on the planet, the woman who helped them escape is suddenly revealed to be working for the Klingons who set them up. Long story short, she’s killed by her own employers, and Kirk and McCoy are beamed up at the very last minute.
Scotty finds two uniforms covered in Klingon blood, as Kirk and co. find the crew members who owned them, dead in a corridor. Wow, one step forward, two steps back. This is pathetic. But it does do a great job at raising dramatic tension.
But Kirk decides to take advantage of this, quickly spreading the word that the crew members are somehow still alive, to flush the assassin out. It works, and the traitor is revealed to be… Saavik with bangs!
Of course! It all makes sense now! I think…
Well, at least we know why it’s an entirely new character. Say what you will about Saavik, she’s not a traitor.
So, the Vulcan refuses to give up her comrades, and Spock uses a mind meld to extract the information. There’s the cunt admiral from the beginning, Gorkon’s chief of staff, and the Romulan ambassador that tried to convince the President to go to war. I guess we shouldn’t be too surprised at those names. But I have to ask: why? Why were they trying to foil the peace conference? Why do they want the war to continue?
Let’s look at this honestly, the Romulans are obviously worried that a Klingon-Federation alliance will spell problems for the Empire, since they’re crazy like that. In fact I’m willing to bet the Romulans orchestrated the whole thing. But why are the Klingons and Humans worried? Perhaps neither group feels they can trust the other, but apparently they trust each other enough to ally as they do. They ally to murder their own heads of state, so they can continue to go to war?
Are the Starfleet guys worried they’ll lose their jobs? Since when do societies dismantle their military, just because it’s peacetime? They scale back, sure. But Starfleet does much more than fight battles. They’ve always been primarily about exploration and scientific research, not warfare.
And the Klingons? Oh, they just like fighting. Okay, that makes sense. Wait- No it doesn’t! I have a hard time believing any Klingon would assassinate their own Chancellor, just so they can continue fighting. They’re much more noble than that.
I guess we just have a few nuts trying to tear everything down. There’s always a few crazies sneaking around, so it’s not entirely impossible.
Anyway, Spock fails to get anything else out of her. Which sucks because in order to foil the conspiracy, they’ll need to know where the conference is located, and they really can’t trust anyone else to do it for them.
They contact Sulu, who we’ve seen very little of in this film. In fact, I forgot he was even there. What the hell!? He gives them the location of the peace conference, which is being held at the Command Center from Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers.
They leg it. Arriving just as the conference is about to begin. It’s not long before a cloaked Bird of Prey opens fire, while remaining cloaked, confirming Spock’s theory. They are slowly torn apart by the vessel, before Sulu arrives to back them up.
Spock determines an inherent weakness in the cloak, and with the help of McCoy, builds a homing torpedo that targets engine exhaust.
That’s fucking brilliant! How come we never see something like that in any future iterations!?
No, you can’t tell me it only works on cloaked ships. That makes no sense.
They wipe the ship out, and quickly beam down to the planet’s surface. Just in time, as a Klingon fires a sniper phaser at the President. Kirk saves the President’s life, and Scotty kills the assassin, who falls out of a balcony window. But it turns out, he’s not a Klingon, but a human. Wow, that’s sad.
Anyway, all the conspirators are arrested, and Kirk makes an unusual speech, which is short, and kinda meaningless, but everyone acts like it’s the most poignant thing ever uttered.
They return to the ship, and we get a brief scene with the crew telling us how awesome Sulu is, despite the fact that he did next to nothing in this film. Suddenly, a call comes in from Starfleet, telling them to report to Earth for decommissioning. I don’t see why, I guess it’s because they no longer have only one ship in the area, so it’s the perfect time.
But Kirk takes them out on one last cruse, straight into a nearby star, and the film ends.
I know I was nitpicking a bit, but this was a fantastic film, and a brilliant end to the series. If you’re gonna end a franchise, end on a bang, not a whimper.
Certainly a lesson other shows can learn from. Or one could take Jimmy Carr’s advice and end with something unpleasant and irritating, that way we can all say, “Thank fuck that’s over.”
But it can’t just be one thing, like Star Trek V, it has to be a series of terrible entries.
I guess that’s what Hasbro’s attempting with My Little Pony. They’re trying to torpedo their own franchise. So when it’s cancelled next season, we won’t be depressed, but relieved.
So that’s the Star Trek film franchise, and while the series isn’t perfect, it really doesn’t have to be. Like any series, there are always hiccups and speed bumps you have to get past. And overall, it’s one of the best science fiction franchises ever produced.
Since the cancellation of the fifth TV series, Star Trek: Enterprise, in 2005 there have been attempts at continuation, such as Star Trek: Final Frontier. This story takes place in the 26th century, in the middle of a post-apocalyptic Milky Way, devastated by a series of Omega explosions. OOO!! Callbacks! As a result, the Federation and Starfleet have completely abandoned their former ideals, and are now a very protectionist society.
Then there’s Star Trek: Federation, which takes place in the 31st century, where we also see the fall of the Federation, but this time as a result of political and social stagnation. Which is possibly even more interesting.
Sadly, it’s safe to say both stories are dead to rights. Which is a shame, because personally, I would have loved to see either series in the light of day. If only because the idea of the Federation collapsing, only to pull itself up by its own bootstraps, or a new Enterprise captain; is both fascinating, and inspirational, to say the least.
Instead, the series continued with something completely different. A pointless return to the original series era, in a combination follow-up/reboot, bizarrely and simply titled Star Trek.
Which I will talk about, some other time.