Thoughts on the Original Star Trek Movies

The other day I bought the new Star Trek – The Motion Picture Trilogy (Wrath of Khan, Search for Spock, and The Voyage Home) and I’ve watched them all today. As much as I enjoyed the new Star Trek these three are still my favorite movies of all time.

Wrath of Khan is still the best of all the Star Trek movies. I did discover that I was a little bored by all the talking in the movie, though mainly due to the fact that I’d heard it all a dozen times before. I do think I understand better what some people meant by the originals being more philosophical, however I also do like the action a bit better and I think there were some philosophical elements to the new Trek, just not as obvious. I also noticed that this movie has just as many plot holes, problems with bad science and odd character choices. Why was Kirk so nervous about Savvik “piloting” the Enterprise when she was just giving orders in the command chair and Sulu was in control the whole time? Why did Scotty bring the injured cadet to the bridge instead of going right to sickbay? And how the heck Genesis work in a Nebula? Khan is awesome as bad guys go but his insanity isn’t any better than than Nero’s – Nero went out of his way to have his revenge on those he thought hurt him, as did Khan. Both would have been better off just making their own way in the galaxy but no the had to have their revenge and that’s what ultimately destroyed them. And after all this time Spock’s death scene hits like a punch to the gut – even knowing what comes next.

Quotes from Wrath of Khan

Spock: The Kobayashi Maru scenario frequently wreaks havoc on students and equipment. As I recall you took the test three times yourself. Your final solution was, shall we say, unique?
Kirk: It had the virtue of never having been tried.

Spock: If I may be so bold, it was a mistake for you to accept promotion. Commanding a starship is your first, best destiny; anything else is a waste of material.
Kirk: I would not presume to debate you.
Spock: That is wise. Were I to invoke logic, however, logic clearly dictates that the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.
Kirk: Or the one.
Spock: You are my superior officer. You are also my friend. I have been and always shall be yours.

Kirk: Spock!
Spock: The ship… out of danger?
Kirk: Yes.
Spock: Don’t grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh…
Kirk: …the needs of the few…
Spock: …Or the one. I never took the Kobayashi Maru test until now. What do you think of my solution?
Spock: I have been and always shall be your friend.
[Holds up his hand in the Vulcan salute]
Spock: Live long and prosper.

McCoy: He’s really not dead… as long as we remember him.
Kirk: “It’s a far, far better thing I do than I have ever done before. A far better resting place I go to, than I have ever known.”
Carol Marcus: Is that a poem?
Kirk: No. Something Spock was trying to tell me on my birthday.
McCoy: You okay, Jim? How do you feel?
Kirk: Young. I feel young.

Search for Spock – As Spock says “there are always possibilities” – so naturally Spock’s “death” wasn’t really the end of that story. While it’s an awesome story about friendship and how far people will go for their friends I did find that this movie had far too many story killing plot holes. Such as why wouldn’t Kirk have known about the need to bring Spock’s body to Vulcan? Shouldn’t it have been in his records? Why didn’t Spock tell his best friend about it? I suppose you could argue that it was something deeply private that no Vulcan would ever speak of but even Sarek seemed surprised that Spock wouldn’t have told Kirk. Also there’s no reason why it had to have been so hard to get permission to go back and retrieve Spock’s body – surly they could have used the fact that Ambassador Sarek was requesting that they go retrieve his son’s body as reason enough to send Kirk and company back to Genesis. Granted if they had done that they probably would have been given another ship and then we wouldn’t have the really fun scenes of Kirk and company getting McCoy out of jail, stealing the Enterprise back and making the new and advanced Excelsior look pathetic.

I also found that I really didn’t like the fact that Uhura didn’t go with them in the first place – and they don’t even give a reason why she didn’t. Another thing I realized is if she’s supposed to be a linguist – why doesn’t she know Klingon? You’d think that would be something she’d know and if she had been with the others she could have helped once they got the Klingon ship with translating everything to help fly it. It’s like the writers didn’t know what to do with her in this movie so they sent her away to not be used at all. Sure she helps them beam onto the Enterprise and everything but after that, nothing. She ends up on Vulcan with Sarek so maybe she made sure he knew what Kirk and company were up to? Which brings up another thought – how did she get away without being questioned bay anyone? Did she go to Vulcan with Sarek? Did he have his own ship or was he on a transport? Did they both end up going to Vulcan together? Did Sarek hide her from Federation authorities? We never did see other ships trying to go after Kirk and company – why not?

Then there’s the whole convenience of Spock’s coffin not having burned up in the planet’s atmosphere and then Spock himself being reanimated by the Genesis wave. Isn’t it amazing that the Klingons destroyed the Grissim before the others could beam back – insuring that young Spock would continue to grow? Isn’t it amazing that they didn’t leave until Spock reached the exact age that he should be?

Quotes from Search for Spock that pretty much sum up why I love this movie despite it’s faults.

[As they’re watching the Enterprise burn up in the planet’s atmosphere]
Kirk: My God Bones, what have I done?
McCoy: What you had to do, what you always do. Turn death into a fighting chance to live.

McCoy: [to an unconscious Spock] I’m gonna tell you something that I… never thought I’d ever hear myself say. But it seems I’ve… missed you. And I don’t know if I could stand to lose you again.

Sarek: This cost you your ship… your son…
Kirk: If I hadn’t tried, the cost would have been my soul.

Spock: My father says that you have been my friend. You came back for me.
Kirk: You would have done the same for me.
Spock: Why would you do this?
Kirk: Because sometimes the needs of the one… outweigh the needs of the many.
Spock: I have been and ever shall be your friend.
Kirk: Yes. Yes, Spock.
Spock: The ship …. out of danger?
Kirk: You saved the ship. You saved us all. Don’t you remember?
Spock: Jim …. your name is Jim.
Kirk: Yes.

The Voyage Home – Okay, yes this one is rather silly and I’m not sure how bringing only two whales back to the future was enough to stop the probe from destroying Earth. Granted it is just a machine and it’s probably programed to only listen for the whale song and gather data – not pick out how many whales there are. Good thing though! On the other hand what the movie does do is bring everything back full circle – Spock rediscovers himself and in the end Kirk gets his command and his ship back. And the crew is back together exploring strange new worlds and seek out new life forms and new civilizations, as they should be. It’s also a fun light-hearted movie after all the drama and angst of the last two, and a movie that anyone can enjoy – Trek fan or not.

Quotes from The Voyage Home:

Amanda: Spock, does the good of the many out weigh the good of the one?
Spock: I would accept that as an axiom.
Amanda: Then you stand here alive because of a mistake made by your flawed, feeling, human friends. They have sacrificed their futures because they believed that the good of the one – you – was more important to them.
Spock: Humans make illogical decisions.
Amanda: They do indeed.

Kirk: Mr. Spock, have you accounted for the variable mass of whales and water in your time re-entry program?
Spock: Mr. Scott cannot give me exact figures, Admiral, so… I will make a guess.
Kirk: A guess? You, Spock? That’s extraordinary.
Spock: [to McCoy] I don’t think he understands.
McCoy: No, Spock. He means that he feels safer about your guesses than most other people’s facts.
Spock: Then you’re saying… it is a compliment?
McCoy: It is.
Spock: Ah. Then I will try to make the best guess I can.

Sarek: As I recall, I opposed your enlistment in Starfleet. It is possible that judgment was incorrect. Your associates are people of good character.
Spock: They are my friends.

[the crew is on a shuttlecraft pondering what their new ship will be]
Sulu: …I’m counting on Excelsior.
Scotty: Excelsior? Why in God’s name would you want that bucket of bolts?
Kirk: A ship is a ship.
Scotty: Whatever you say so… Thy will be done.
[the new USS Enterprise 1701-A emerges]
Kirk: My friends… We’ve come home.

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