ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Film Review: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Updated on December 21, 2016
Film Frenzy profile image

Jason Wheeler is the Senior Writer and Editor at Film Frenzy. He reviews films from across the cinematic landscape.


In 1986, Leonard Nimoy released Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, based on the 1966 television series Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry, as the fourth film in the franchise. Starring William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, DeForest Kelley, Catherine Hicks, Majel Barrett, Madge Sinclair, Jane Wiedlin, Brock Peters, and John Schuck,The film grossed $133 million at the box office.


Prepared to face the consequences of his previous actions, Kirk heads back to earth, but another powerful alien probe is making its way there as well, wreaking havoc with the environment and technology. The crew deduces that the probe is searching for humpback whales, but they’re extinct in the 23rd century. As such, the they use a Klingon Bird-of-Prey to travel to 1980s San Francisco to retrieve some.


What really makes Star Trek: The Voyage Home such an interesting entry in the series is that it doesn't follow the usual formula. Despite that, the film manages to be hilariously funny and really good. A lot of the film’s humor comes from the fish out of water scenario the crew finds themselves in. They all, minus Spock, think they know what they’re talking about when it comes to the culture, but being from the future, they really don’t. Kirk doesn’t know that $100 really isn’t very much and apparently none of them really have any historical knowledge to realize why a Russian looking for nuclear vessels in the middle of Cold War United States might not be a very good idea. There’s also the hospital scene and McCoy thinking they’d kill Chekov because their medicine is so primitive and when he finally gets there, he finds himself aghast at what he thinks is complete barbarism and gives an old lady on dialysis some pills that completely regrow her kidneys. Spock doesn’t see how getting into an aquarium tank with two whales could possibly be considered odd, but reacting to the punk who wouldn’t shut his music off by administering a nerve pinch is particularly funny. Neither of those may really be the culturally appropriate response. To him though, they are logical and since he’s not really paying attention to his human side for most of the film, doing so is the correct thing to do.

In the middle of all the humorous misunderstandings going on, Sulu is able to acquire a helicopter, presumably without any problems, and just shows up with it carrying the whale tank.

There’s also a lot of great moments that really finish the character arc Spock started in the second film. Spock spends the first part of the film really only embracing his Vulcanness and not paying any heed to his human half. However, in certain points throughout the film, his humanity comes out, with it ending on embracing both halves. It's seen when asked if saving Chekov is the logical thing to do, he asserts that it isn’t, but it is the human thing and when the crew is put on trial, he stands with them because they are his shipmates. Finally, he tells his father to tell his mother that he’s fine, showing that he will acknowledge the fact that he’s half human.

Gillian is quite an interesting person as well. She cares about the whales like they were her own children because they practically are and knows that they’re going to be leaving the aquarium and sees it like her children are growing up. Viewing them like that makes it so she doesn’t want to say goodbye. It really makes sense how she reacts when her boss tells her they released them when she comes in because anyone would react that way when confronted with the fact that they’re children went off into the world without saying goodbye. She joins the crew and it makes sense, because the whales were the only thing she really had.

The name of the film, The Voyage Home is pretty notable as well considering it has two meanings. The first is that the crew was making their way back to Earth to face the consequences of their actions but the detour with having to travel into the past turned their direct route into a voyage with a directive to find humpback whales and bring them back. They have to do all of this before they can really go home. The second touches on when the crew come across the newest incarnation of the Enterprise at the end of the film, showing that they made their voyage through the entire story and have returned to their true home.

4 stars for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

the postings on this site are my own and don't necessarily represent WNI's positions, strategies or opinions.

Awards won

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Costumes

ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards

  • Top Box Office Films

Genesis Awards

  • Feature Film - Adventure

Nominated for

Academy Awards

  • Best Cinematography
  • Best Sound
  • Best Effects, Sound Effects Editing
  • Best Music, Original Score

Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards

  • Best Science Fiction Film
  • Best Actor (Leonard Nimoy)
  • Best Actor (William Shatner)
  • Best Supporting Actor (James Doohan)
  • Best Supporting Actor (Walter Koenig)
  • Best Supporting Actress (Catherine Hicks)
  • Best Director
  • Best Writing
  • Best Make-Up
  • Best Special Effects

American Society of Cinematographers Awards

  • Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography in Theatrical Releases

Hugo Awards

  • Best Dramatic Presentation

Young Artist Awards

  • Best Family Motion Picture - Drama


This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)