Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

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The first in the long running movie franchise was a huge departure from the ethos of the series it was based upon, and as such disappointed the majority of fans who were expecting more of the same kitsch hi-jinx and polystyrene sets that endeared themselves to so many.

The Motion Picture prefers to take its cues from more grandiose, epic sci-fi tales such as 2001: A Space Odyssey and although its inspirations are very obvious, it does very well in capturing a sense of awe and wonder that space exploration conjures up. The stars of the show are most certainly the pairing of special effects legends Douglas Trumbull and John Dykstra and the visuals of this film are still astonishing to this day, and the addition of Jerry Goldsmith’s suitably operatic score makes the original Star Trek film an audio-visual feast. The ponderous pace of the film will certainly put a lot of the Abrams generation off, but it is littered with many lovely character moments that are done with a lot more subtlety and sophistication than the increasingly silly and kitsch sequels, and Leonard Nimoy’s Spock once more dominates the proceedings as his inner struggle with his emotions is echoed by the mysterious machine that threatens them. The plot is simple but clever and effective and the art design alone makes this film well worth the watch.

It won’t be to the taste of action junkies but those with a penchant for cerebral sci-fi can’t fail to enjoy what for me is still amongst the very best of the Star Trek franchise.

7/10

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