Monday, September 28, 2015

Short Treks Movies - 4

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Star Trek IV
Release Date: November 26, 1986
The Voyage Home

I told you the Bird of Prey was awesome. See they gave it to the movie’s stars.

Looks like the manipulations the Extra Galactic Invaders ran to get the gang back together in an improved technology ship were for naught. The new Enterprise is gone, the Excelsior is disgraced, Spock is all Vulcanized again and the rest of our heroes are looking at desk jobs for the rest of their careers.

What’s a conspiracy minded Energy Being to do?

Why - send in V’ger Mark II of course.

Come on, you didn’t buy the whole humpback story, did you?

An alien race that was able to hear the songs of whales THROUGH OUTER SPACE sent (another) giant, energy sucking probe that took three hundred years to arrive at the exact moment Kirk and company are giving themselves up. 
It then tries to talk to the sea creatures it has supposedly been buddies with for quite a while by VAPORIZING THE OCEANS.  Humans are on every fifth plant they pass in their exploration, but these aliens were talking with a species that ONLY existed on Earth and is now extinct.

Those Kelvan/Melkotian/Excaliban/Organian/Talosian/ whoever they are lack a bit of subtlety don’t they.

It’s all obviously a ruse to generate a crisis that can only be handled by the Enterprise crew as
A) They have experience with time travel and know how to do it.
B) They’re the only ones with the space cojones big enough to try something that insane.

Its times like this that having a cast with the ability and chemistry that they do pays off.  Deforest Kelley voices, in story, exactly how ludicrous the plot of this film is. This is followed by Shatner countering, in full command mode, by asking if he has anything better.   Bones’s rant absolves the viewers from pointing out the silliness themselves, and Kirk’s confidence makes them accept it’s the only solution.

Therefore the entire emergency was crafted to insure that Spock had an adventure with his human friends that returns him to his previous, emotionally accepting state, while insuring the rest of the crew would be rewarded by a fresh, technologically advanced, and loudest cheer I’ve ever heard on opening night inducing, space exploration assignment.

Some general notes:

The heaviness of the previous two films is often cited for why this one was lighter. My guess is part of the success came from the much stronger need of a light and hopeful outer space film after the Challenger disaster.

We see the first Indian captain of a Federation vessel, and the first Black AND Female Captain. They both do absolutely nothing against the probe, except get shut down and call for help. Oh well, points for trying, I guess.

Klingon Ambassador Shuck, I mean Kamarag, has some pretty detailed video footage of the inside and outside of the Enterprise.  I wonder where he snagged a VHS of The Wrath of Kahn in the twenty-fourth century.

Sarek once again proves he is the only ambassador the Federation has who isn’t a complete butthead.  Amanda’s no slouch in the awesome department either. Nimoy gets a great moment with each, Mom at the start and Dad at the end.  It’s a shame they only teamed up for publicity photos and didn’t get to all act together once more.

Rand and Chapel cameo again, doing important looking stuff in Starfleet Command and attending the trial. They’re kind of like the fifth Beatle, or maybe the fifth and sixth Beatle, or maybe the eighth and ninth Beatle.  But they don’t sing.  Maybe they sing? Some of the regular cast does.  OK, forget the whole analogy, its more work than it’s worth. Still, nice to see them.

Michael Berryman is at Starfleet HQ too!  Coming soon, The Nacelles Have Eyes!

Kirk keeps telling Spock to call him by his first name. Spock clearly hasn’t forgotten everything, as he still remembers his extensive knowledge of Earth history. (Thank you Amanda, since he told us, "My mother was a teacher.".)
One cannot simply demand a “Jim Moment,” one must let them happen naturally. 

Nimoy was one of the greatest straight men who ever lived, wasn’t he? 

This is the funniest and most family friendly of the Trek films. It also has the most profanity.  There’s a lesson in there somewhere, but one that’s probably served better in other posts.

Kirk specifically states - and shows by his actions - that money isn’t used where he comes from.  This is further proof that only the unscrupulous will use cash in the future.

Scotty plays the outraged, self-important engineer like a second skin.  It also makes perfect sense that he’d not expect a keyboard, coming from a future that doesn’t store or transmit text on their computers.  That said, he does use the classic “engineer style” high speed, two finger hunt-and-peck method at its usual, effective level.

No reason to bring this up, other than it deserves mention: Chekov is a complete pisser throughout this film.  Nuclear Wessels…hee hee.

Though mostly played for comedy, Pavel’s injury is critical to the plot and the Andromedan plan.  It is the danger to the life of “his boy” that snaps Spock back into understanding what, “the human thing to do,” is.

This movie has my favorite “beam up” out of any Star Trek property. I like to think that, even in the future, everyone’s first transport goes with exactly as much screaming as Gillian’s.

Kirk says, “Scotty, beam me up.” That’s as close as it ever gets, folks.

The Enterprise crew is certainly a heck of a lot more cavalier about time travel in their old age.  Then again, they almost wiped out all of reality only three or four times. No biggie.  
Bonus points to the effects team for the time abducted cetaceans.  The fake whales were convincing enough that environmental groups complained.

Out of all of his shipmates, McCoy helps Spock get along, feel comfortable, and return to himself the most.  And that’s why Bones got his Katra in the first place.

I’m tempted to give the ad libbed water party the Awesome Ending Line nod. I won’t because
1) There’s no dialog.
2) It’s followed by the greatest cheer I’ve ever heard on an opening night, and dialog addressing that cheer causing starship. 

The Awesome Ending Line, spoken once more by the newly reinstated CAPTAIN Kirk, is exactly what we were all thinking about the NCC-1701-A.

“All right, Mister Sulu, let's see what she's got.”


longbow said...

"Whales to Rama: nothing but a bunch of bi-ped tossers here now. Beam us up then obliterate the place"

That's what they could have sent. Kirk took quite a risk that the whales were going to give a favorable report.

Jeff McGinley said...

Very good point. The whole plot is wafer thin if you stare at it too hard, but its fun, so who cares.

I still blame the non corporeal invaders.


longbow said...

I'm telling you this is going to happen and yet it is still going to happen: at some point in the future I am going to purposely do something stupid in front of you to goad you into calling me a dumb-ass so I can fire a "double dumb-ass" back at you.
Then you will fall to ground in spasms of laughter.
Even with this warning , it will occur.

Jeff McGinley said...

Honestly, I'm pretty sure that has occurred at some point.

And if it happens again, I will likely fall to ground in spasms of laughter again.