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Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Updated on July 26, 2016

Animaniacs Star Trek Parody

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Director: Leonard Nimoy

Writers: Gene Roddenberry, Leonard Nimoy, Harve Bennett, Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes, Nicholas Meyer

Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Jane Wyatt, Catherine Hicks, Mark Lenard, Robin Curtis, Robert Ellenstein, John Schuck, Brock Peters, Grace Lee Whitney

Synopsis: To save Earth from an alien probe, Admiral Kirk and his fugitive crew go back in time to 20th century Earth to retrieve the only beings who can communicate with it, humpback whales.

MPAA Rating: PG

Note: In honor of the upcoming new film, "Star Trek Into Darkness", I've taken it upon myself to review every "Star Trek" movie ever conceived; with the notable exception of the 2009 reboot because I already reviewed it.

Star Trek Reference In "The Wonder Years"

Documentary on the sad future of Humpback Whales (Warning: Contains Disturbing images that may not be suitable for children. Parental Discretion is Advised)

Mr. Spock, you made a Star Trek movie with a pro-environmentalist message? Are you out of your Vulcan mind!?!

Although most Trekkies consider "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" to be arguably the best movie featuring the original cast, I always found "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" to be my personal favorite out of all the ones featuring the original cast. Granted, it lacks the intense character driven build up that the second movie has, but it makes up for that with a cleverly written screenplay.

Unlike the previous "Star Trek" stories, you don't need to know anything about the franchise to understand what's going on. In fact, that's one of the reasons why this film is considered to be one of most successful films of the franchise. Not only appealing to die hard Trekkies, but to non fans as well. Although some Trekkies have accused this film of essentially ripping off plot elements from the first movie, I would have to respectfully disagree.

Granted, there are similarities. In the first movie, it involved a mysterious alien entity that threatened to destroy the Earth if didn't receive contact from it's alleged creator. In this film, it involves an alien probe that could destroy the 23rd century Earth if it doesn't get into contact with the long since extinct humpback whales. Yeah, I can see the similarities there. However, there are quite a few differences as well.

For starters, this film does carry more of a pro-environmentalist message obviously; which is something the first movie never did. Also, those same Trekkies that compare this film to the first one forget that "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" was set up as more of an experience film like "2001: A Odyssey"; where it tried to mesh old school Trek with an outer body experience type of movie. Sadly, in the end, it failed miserably, and just became an overly drawn out boring film. Granted, it wasn't terrible by any means, but it was just boring to watch.

Whereas "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home", it keeps the focus of the movie on the characters themselves, and the relationships they have with each other. Plus, unlike the other Trek films, this one abandons the whole space exploration concept, in favor of sitcom-esque comedy to entertain the audience. Another key difference between this movie, and the first one. Sadly, this has caused some fans to resent this movie because of this one aspect. Therefore, I will simply say this. If you're one of these purist fans that expects every "Star Trek" film to be either about space exploration, or something that heavily appeals to Trekkies exclusively, then you're going to be disappointed by this film.

However, if you keep an open mind about this movie, and accept it for what it happens to be, then you'll find that it's arguably the most entertaining "Star Trek" film ever made. In fact, I loved every minute of this movie. Not only was the comedy well written in this story, but it's done in such a subtle way that it never resorts to making the characters seem like a parody of themselves. No, this is nothing more than a light hearted adventure film featuring the original cast, as it's chalked full of memorable moments.

It's especially entertaining when the film explores the whole "fish out of water" concept with the enterprise crew, as they interact with our modern world. The end result is a movie that's not only entertaining, but definitely worth checking out.

As for the story for this movie, it essentially takes place after the third film. Kirk and his crew must head back to the federation, in order to receive their punishment for the events that happened in the prequel. Along the way, they find out that an alien probe has come to Earth to try to communicate with the long since extinct humpback whales. Although the probe doesn't seem to be hostile, but if no way of communication is found, then Earth could be destroyed by this mysterious threat.

Luckily due to Spock's planning, Admiral Kirk and his crew go back in time to the 20th century, to find two humpback whales, so they can repopulate the species. Unfortunately, things are easier said than done, but if the enterprise wishes to save the Earth, then they must succeed at any cost. And, that's all I can tell readers without giving away too much.

As for the special effects, they're really not that bad at all. If anything, they would still hold up to this day. Plus, all the actors play their parts well, so it's never dull to watch.

Overall, if you're a die hard Trekkie that doesn't like the idea of sitcom-esque comedy to be meshed in with your "Star Trek" movie, then I'd probably avoid this at all cost. However, if you're like me, and you have an open mind when it comes to most films, then you might find "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" worth checking out, at a rating of four out of four.


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