Movie Monday: Star Trek The Motion Picture

Back in 1991, I took my fist step into full Geek-hood by becoming a dyed-in-the-wool gaberdine Trekkie. You might have heard me mention this before, how I had t-shirts, books, comics, toys, videos, the full nine yards. I had strong opinions on what was good Trek and what was bad Trek. Like many, I subscribed to the thought that the even number movies were excellent, and the odd numbered movies were poor, even placing “Star Trek V” above “Star Trek The Motion Picture” because of the Phasers, and even though watching Kirk, Spock, and McCoy sitting around the campfire singing “Row, Row, Row Your Boat” was pretty horrid, it still wasn’t as boring as watching Scotty and Kirk fly around the Enterprise for about 7 minutes, showing off the new model they built for the movie. This was my opinion 20 years ago, which recently had me thinking, do I still feel like that?

Well, yes and no.

For those who aren’t aware, or for those who only really know “Star Trek” through the more recent television series’ and the reboot movies, “Star Trek The Motion Picture”, released in 1979, was the first new “Star Trek” than fans had seen since “The Animated Series” ended five years before. I don’t recall any of this, because I was about 2 and a half years old when it came out, but I’ve heard enough about it over the years to know people were excited about this new story with Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and the rest of the original crew. However, clocking in over 2 hours, it was accused of not having much action, instead showing off the models and the visual effects by using long establishing shots, often backed by an excellent score.

This all bored the living heck out of me when I was a teenager. Now that I’m in my mid-thirties, I thought I might be able to appreciate it more. I have since found out that no, no I do not appreciate it more. I do appreciate the model work, and the effects work that was done during the time period, and the long establishing shots, while boring, do show off a lot of that work very well, but it’s still, well, boring. So very boring! I tried to keep watching it, but every time I was able to be distracted by something, I walked away. Did laundry need to be folded? Time to fold it! I’m hungry, should I cook dinner, or just make something really quick? Nah, I’ll just cook. I’ll have time as they’re flying around the Enterprise. Should I just start on the blog post now, as Spock is flying into the cloud’s anus? Sure, why not.

I know there are people out there who appreciate this film, but give me the “Wrath of Khan” or “First Contact” films over this, any day. Yes, I love the design of the Enterprise, and the pajamas they use for uniforms really do scream “Star Trek,” but it puts me to sleep every time.

“Star Trek The Motion Picture” is currently available on Netflix Instant Streaming, but I know it’s also out there on various digital and physical formats. If you’re going to purchase it, though, please do so in one of the multi-film box sets, so you can get some of the better versions of the “Star Trek” films with it.

Live long and prosper,


  1. says

    This movie’s always been a strange outlier in the Trek universe to me. Not enough motion, and I think the plot’s a bit too high-concept for the first movie in the series. Perhaps if they’d built up to it. I haven’t seen it in years–I just remember not understanding a lick of it, and being bored to tears.

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