Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (PG)
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Many people will tell you "The Wrath of Khan" is the best Star Trek movie ever. And on a certain level, I suppose they're probably right. Of course, many people will also say this is one of the better Trek movies; because, of course, it is a commonly held rule of thumb (or at least it was until "Nemesis") that even-numbered Star Trek movies are the best. Well, personally, I think this is my favorite. I'm not sure, but it may well be the first Star Trek movie I ever saw. Of course, it came out the year before the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered, so it was right around this time that my Trek fandom was really getting started in earnest, even if I'd seen some reruns of the original series when I was younger.
In any event, what I can tell you about this movie, first and foremost, is that it is two things: One, a comedy. Any Trek movie is probably going to have at least a little humor in it, but this one had far and away the most humor of any Trek movie before or since. In a way, it's almost disappointing that it should be so unabashedly a comedy, but still... the humor is mostly why I love it so much. And more importantly, the comedy doesn't really take anything away from the basic story of the film; in fact, I think it dovetails quite nicely with the concept. Which brings me to point two: It's a message movie. Star Trek has, since its very inception, always been something of a morality play. It deals with cultural issues that are important at the time. And in the mid-1980s, one of the biggest issues on people's minds was, of course, the environment. Endangered species, and all that. It's been on people's minds before, and certainly since, but this, I think, was the heyday of ecological awareness. So it made sense to make a movie about saving whales at this point in time, I guess.
I feel compelled, secondarily, to mention that this film wrapped up the loose trilogy that began with Star Trek II. I'm going to assume if you're reading this that you've already seen the films which precede this one, so it shouldn't be a spoiler to say that at the end of that movie, Spock dies. Nor to say that in Star Trek III, his life is restored, in rather a complicated fashion which owes its very possibility to the other major events of the Star Trek II. Well, here in Star Trek IV, our heroes were making their way home following the events of the third movie, which is, one supposes, where the title "The Voyage Home" comes from. However, they get sidetracked on their way back to Earth, and have to take a trip to the late 20th century (har har, what could be funnier than people from the future visiting the past, letting us see our present through their eyes?), for reasons I'll get to in the next paragraph. So the bulk of the movie has no real connection to the previous two films, other than timing. And then at the end, when they finally get home, we see the consequences of certain events from those other movies, though those consequences are perhaps alleviated somewhat by the events of this movie. So yeah, it's a trilogy, I guess. But like I said, a loose one, and this movie's connection is rather looser than that of the other two.
Well, it's here that I should get into the plot, but not before I rewatch the movie sometime, which probably won't be for quite awhile. All I've said up til now is just a few thoughts I wanted to jot down, that happened to enter my mind while I was setting this up as a holding page. What I really should have said was "Review to come."