And so it begins. My mission: to watch all of the Star Trek movies, in order. Most I have not seen since I saw them in the movie theater. One of them I have seen so many times, I have lost track. You know which one that is. I already know it's the best of the lot. But there's no getting around it. I have to start with Star Trek: The Motion Picture. A movie I have never heard anyone defend as underrated. [Editorial update: I re-ordered these posts so you can scroll down to read them in order, rather than having to go backwards. Yes, that's right I messed with the space-time continuum. Also, if you're wondering what this little project is doing on a blog that is supposed to be about books, all I can say is that 1) while I watched a good bit of the original Star Trek in re-runs in the 1970s, I mostly remember specific plots from these paperbacks we had that had different episodes as short stories and 2) it's my goddamned blog and I'm going to do what I want with it.]
1. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
Well, now I know why I've never felt the need to go back and watch this one again. That was two hours and nine minutes that only felt like three and a half hours. I'm glad, for the whole Star Trek universe, that Star Wars gave everyone involved enough confidence to revive the franchise. But man what a dog. A slooooooooow dog. The lesson they seem to have absorbed from the success of Star Wars was that people really, really want long tracking shots of ships in space. This was not the right lesson.
Overall: C -
Plot: B This had potential -- the whole Voyager thing is actually kind of cool, when you think about it. They just took way too long to have us think about it, then wrapped it up in a nonsensical three minutes.
Costumes: D Honestly, most of the crew, and especially Kirk in the shortsleeved white jumpsuit, look like dental hygienests heading for a swingers convention, circa 1979. They can't help the 1979 part, I know. But the rest of the aesthetic is just silly. What are those belt buckles in the front for anyway?
New cast members: B+ I had a big crush on Stephen Collins when he was in Tales of the Gold Monkey, which was an Indiana Jones-ripoff TV series that came on a couple years after this movie. I guess I'm glad he was able to recover from this and have a career. I liked Ilia OK -- I remember when the movie came out that her shaving her head was a BIG DEAL. Because she was Indian? I can't remember. And I just looked up on IMDB and saw that she died in 1998, of a heart attack, which is a real shame. I don't think she had much of a chance to act here but she was very expressive with her eyes, especially when she had to deal with that pulsing thing in her throat.
F/X: B-Technically they were OK though the rainbow strips when they went to warp were kind of odd and the wormhole effects were just silly. The grade would be higher if they hadn't been so in love with the effects and just made the whole movie about 60 percent longer than it needed to be.
Series by rank: 1 for now, but that's only until I watch more. I'm sure it will end up somewhere near the bottom.