Visually and musically fabulous but otherwise dull
JTurner - wrote on 05/31/09
Long after STAR TREK became a pop culture phenomenon, creator Gene Roddenberry began conception on a second TV series. Due to the success of STAR WARS, however, it was decided to turn Roddenberry's concepts into a feature-film that hit theaters in 1979. Its financial success spawned several sequels, turning it into a legendary film franchse. However, you wouldn't know it by watching STAR TREK--THE MOTION PICTURE, which, despite some breathtaking visual effects work by Douglas Trumbull and a classic score by Jerry Goldsmith, never comes to life. The whole film feels very much like a television episode stretched out to more than two hours; this naturally leads to a lot of excruciatingly slow and boring scenes which take forever to get through, with a lot of stiff, emotionless acting. The concept--which involves a mysterious cloud absorbing anything in its path on a course for Earth--is pretty sound, but the screenplay doesn't provide much in the way of a stable plot to carry it by, nor does it give the cast (in bland, eyenumbing costumes) much to do. A subplot involving two new characters (a bald woman and an officer who becomes Kirk's rival for the Enterprise) is similarly uninteresting for that reason too. STAR TREK--THE MOTION PICTURE is not a bad movie by any means, but it's too long and dry for its own good. That said, the director's edition (which includes some "enhanced" visual effects shots) does somewhat boost the film. Otherwise, I'd recommend II, III, IV, or VI instead.