Back when the first Star Trek feature was released in December 1979, the Trek franchise was still relatively modest, consisting of the original TV series, an animated cartoon series from 1973-74, and a burgeoning fan netw... more »ork around the world. Series creator Gene Roddenberry had conceived a second TV series, but after the success of Star Wars the project was upgraded into this lavish feature film, which reunited the original series cast aboard a beautifully redesigned starship U.S.S. Enterprise. Under the direction of Robert Wise (best known for West Side Story), the film proved to be a mixed blessing for Trek fans, who heatedly debated its merits; but it was, of course, a phenomenal hit. Capt. Kirk (William Shatner) leads his crew into the vast structures surrounding V'Ger, an all-powerful being that is cutting a destructive course through Starfleet space. With his new First Officer (Stephen Collins), the bald and beautiful Lieutenant Ilia (played by the late Persis Khambatta) and his returning veteran crew, Kirk must decipher the secret of V'Ger's true purpose and restore the safety of the galaxy. The story is rather overblown and derivative of plots from the original series, and avid Trekkies greeted the film's bland costumes with derisive laughter. But as a feast for the eyes, this is an adventure worthy of big-screen trekkin'. Douglas Trumbull's visual effects are astonishing, and Jerry Goldmith's score is regarded as one of the prolific composer's very best (with its main theme later used for Star Trek: The Next Generation). And, fortunately for Star Trek fans, the expanded 143-minute version (originally shown for the film's network TV premiere) is generally considered an improvement over the original theatrical release. --Jeff Shannon« less
Jax M. (Destructa) from SAN JOSE, CA Reviewed on 4/26/2010...
I enjoyed this movie when I was a kid--the V'Ger "twist" is pretty jaw-dropping if it hasn't been spoiled for you, and the V'Ger interior special effects were leaps and bounds beyond the TV series. Later came to find that most people considered it boring, and that production was wrapped in a panicked rush, effects shots were missing and the film never even got test-screened. When it was televised, extra footage was often added in, slowing the pace down even further.
32 years later, The Director's Edition remedies much of that, taking a page out of Lucasfilm's book and sprucing up the visual effects in sometimes startling fashion--always to fulfill Robert Wise's original vision. Much of the film has been re-edited for pace and coherence, with newly finished scenes integrated and some molasses removed. The astonishingly emotional Goldsmith score is still intact, but new sound fx flesh out the audio atmosphere. Overall, the tone is still rather sedate, and at times feels like a heavily padded TV episode (which it essentially is), but for me this one holds up better than films V and VI. There are no fisticuffs, and the only time the Enterprise fires weapons is to detonate an innocent asteroid, but not every adventure needs to be Rambo. Ironically, this may be more in line with Roddenberry's original concept of Trek as seen in the "too cerebral" TV pilot.
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Brad S. (Snibot) from DALLAS, TX Reviewed on 3/4/2010...
The special effects are from 1980, so you have to give it a little forgiveness. Fortunately they don't ruin the story.
We get to see some remarkable performances here by the original cast, with some crew members that you have never seen before (or since for that matter.) Ilia and Decker have phenomenal onscreen chemistry. The effect that they were going for in this film was to present that vastness of space, which they do a fantastic job of, in even the first 10 minutes of film, we get to take a sweeping journey over the hull of the enterprise, a wonderful and now quite nostalgic trip.
The film is well written, the story is interesting, this film does what it intended very well.
While the film has a PG rating (the older video was actually G) kids will probably only get the one good watch out of it, while a more mature audience will be able to appreciate the work for what it is. I really can't suggest making this a permanent movie though, unless you are a die hard fan.
1 of 1 member(s) found this review helpful.
Star Trek: The New Motion Picture (advanced screening)
Captin Kirk | heaven | 10/26/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I got the DVD about 4 hours ago. The second that I peeled all those security stickers off my DVD box, I popped it open, place the disc in my player, turned up the Dolby Digital, my super sub-woofer... my high density screen, shut down all light sources, put my PowerMac G4 to sleep, turned off my phones, and laid back for what I hoped would be a nice treat.Paramount should be ashamed of themselves. This edit should be in theaters. This isn't a minor achievement in quality increase. This is now a great film. I am literally stunned right now.It isn't a matter of effects, so much as it is about dynamics of motion... The tightening of scenes.... Little tweaks here and there.... An added scene here, a missing one here... Revealing more about the characters, keeping a character from being less than he should be.First off, the Visual Effects shots are absolutely superior, while remaining exactly of the same palette as the original film. These new shots add a consistent sense of grandeur that Wise achieved so very well in some scenes, yet not at all in others. Now... Now the film is a sweeping science fiction epic... Man facing the unknown that comes from that place where no man has gone before.The picture quality was gorgeous... the richness of the colors... Everything just gorgeous. The new sound... DEAR GOD, it was magnificent. The remix was handled to perfection and not bungled like those that were toying with SUPERMAN recently. From beginning to end there is a quality increase in the sound that never once falters to my ears on this great sound system of mine.I'd like to tell you about the new visual effects shots, but to be honest... I can't. They are that seamlessly integrated. I'm sure that there were scenes of the Enterprise passing into the great V-GER ship that I had never seen, but they were intercut with old ones so well that all I got was an increased feeling of motion and dynamics of shots. The results were exactly what was needed.Suddenly this film feels like it belongs in Trumbull and Dykstra's Filmography. It always was nice... but before it always felt like a travelogue, and not at all threatening and ominous and creepy and moody and scary and mysterious. That's right, these new shots actually ADD to the ATMOSPHERE.For the first time in too long, I'm looking at not only real STAR TREK, but frankly... This is Star Trek where it should always be. Smart Science Fiction told by great Narrative Filmmakers and folks of vision.... Not the fumblings of visionless hucksters that have kidnapped the franchise since the death of Roddenberry.I have yet to venture into the second DVD... The one loaded with deleted scenes, documentaries and the behind the scenes joys... That will be what I do tomorrow. For now I'm in the afterglow of watching perhaps the best STAR TREK movie and dealing with the realization that due to the lack of vision of cowardly executives, this final masterpiece of Robert Wise's will never be projected upon a Silver Screen as it so needs to be."
22 years in the making, and worth the wait!!!
Robert Jenkins | Celina, TX United States | 11/15/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Star Trek: The Motion Picture was, until now, a classic example of a film which suffered from a rushed post-production. It is well known in ST fandom how the film that was originally hired to do the effects for this movie bascially fell flat on their collective face, leaving Robert Wise and Co. with only a few months to start from scratch on their effects, and a release date that was carved in stone. They went to superhuman effort in order to get everything done by the deadline, and they barely made it. The final effects sequences actually had to be physically spliced into hundreds of copies of the film, right before their delivery to theaters! The fact that the effects were as good as they were is truly miraculous. This is the most cinematic of all the ST movies to date, although The Wrath of Khan comes pretty close. The soundtrack by Jerry Goldsmith is one of the GREATEST film scores ever.Of course, the main feature of this DVD is the fact that Robert Wise got to go back and take his time re-doing the effects scenes that he had to rush through in 1979, and then insert them seamlessly into the scenes shot 20 years ago, and make it all fit. Overall, it works extremely well. Some of my favorite improvements:(1) The star field effects over the overture theme and opening credits - Sure, the moving star field over SF movies has been done many times since, but Star Trek invented it. The opening wasn't complete without it. The credits themselves have also been re-worked. The opening credits were one place where the post-production rush in 1979 really showed. It was a nice touch to clean this up.(2) The scenes on Vulcan - Vulcan looks more "Vulcan-like" now, and the removal of the moon seen previously makes the film conform to previously-established Star Trek canon. Another nice touch that is important for continuity. Also, the Vulcan subtitles have been re-worded just a bit to make it a little less obvious that the Vulcans were really just speaking electronically-distorted English.(3) The new shots of Starfleet Headquarters - totally awesome improvement to another casualty of the 1979 rush. As much as I loved that shot of the Starfleet Headquarters seal, it was painfully obvious that some missing effects shots were here. Also, the scene between Kirk and Sonak has been re-done to make the landing area seem much larger. Nice echoing to the dialogue.(4) Insertion of some original-series sound effects, particularly the transporter operation.(5) The scenes when they flew through the cloud and over V'ger were tightened up a bit. Good editing, these secnes were DEFINITELY too long originally. Thank God, though, they left the Enterprise inspection/flyover alone! This is one scene that was just fine all along, and they wisely didn't cut it at all.(6) When you look out the windows of the officer's lounge, you can now see the warp nacelles. Nice touch.(7) The scenes of V'ger attacking the Earth. I always wanted to see a shot of the whole thing at once!(8) The new shots inside V'ger - It's pretty obvious that these are CG, but the creation of the bridge between the Enterprise and V'ger is pretty cool anyway.(9) But, the absolute BEST improvement was the re-working of the Red Alert klaxon and the removal of that infuriatingly annoying computer voice. I got so tired of hearing that thing go "Travel pod available, Cargo 6", and "Intruder Location. A Sonic Shower.", and "Red. Alert. Red. Alert. The Ship. Is On. Red. Alert!" If they did nothing else to the movie, this alone would make the DVD worth buying. Thank you Mr. Wise!The DVD also contains a bunch of bonus features, including the original scenes that were edited, the delightfully cheesy movie trailers and TV commercials, and the scenes that were added for the 1983 TV version and then re-dropped. Some of those scenes were kinda nice, but they didn't really do anything for me. The worst one was the shot of Kirk leaving the Enterprise in pursuit of Spock. You can see the scaffolding on the set! They're baically non-essential, but it's nice to have them anyway. The TV commercials are a lot of fun to watch.This is not the best ST move by any stretch, but it's MUCH better than its detractors think. If you haven't seen it in a while, now is the perfect chance to see it again. The acting is great. If the actors seem uneasy at first, that's because the CHARACTERS are uneasy due to the myraid conflicts that they are undergoing as the movie begins. As the conflicts are resolved, they get more comfortable. It's truly a great SF movie. Pick it up!Oh and Emma, if you're out there, sounds like you got a defective case. Return it and get another copy."
The Human Adventure is Just Beginning
Hank Drake | Cleveland, OH United States | 11/08/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"In December of 1979, when Star Trek The Motion Picture was released, it was apparent to audiences that this was no ordinary "shoot 'em up" science fiction movie--this was a serious film with complex plotting and "big" ideas. Yet, somehow the whole film seemed "off," and lacking the TV show's charm. What was not generally known at the time was that, with the premiere date looming and numerous visual effects sequences not completed--and never having had a test screening--Director Robert Wise basically assembled what he could and physically carried the print to the film's debut. (The final visual effects sequence was literally cut into individual prints of the film before they were express shipped to theaters.)
It says something for Wise's ability to work under pressure (he edited Citizen Kane, after all) that, despite mixed reviews, no major critics were able to deduce that they were viewing an unfinished film. It's also a testament to everyone involved in the project that Star Trek The Motion Picture received Academy Award nominations for Visual Effects and Musical Scoring. Nevertheless, I remember seeing the film as a 12 year old, and hearing my father complain "This movie is so slow moving." And for 22 years, that has been the general consensus--ambitious plotting, great score, mostly good visual effects, poor pacing, little chemistry between the characters.
For this DVD issue, Paramount has allowed Robert Wise to do what he wanted to do all along: finish his picture. Nearly every scene has been reedited--either radically or merely fine tuned--to bring more drama, better pacing, and more emphasis on the characters. Some of the clunkier bits of dialogue have been excised, along with some unnecessary technobabble. The new editing also gives greater subtext to the story, and hints at why V'Ger's probe chose to assimilate Lieutenant Ilia rather than, say, Mr. Spock.
The new visual effects shots flesh out the movie, adding visual excitement without drawing attention to themselves. The technicians have even added film grain so that the new shots fit in seamlessly with the originals. The sound mix is livelier also, with use of some of the original series' sound effects, together with new elements. Jerry Goldsmith's superb score has been altered to conform with new versions of several scenes, particularly the early exploration of V'Ger. The score has been edited in such a way that it still makes musical, as well as dramatic, sense.
The picture quality is vastly superior to previous VHS issues, and a modest improvement over my widescreen LaserDisc. Colors and flesh tones are more vibrant, and the image seems sharper overall. While the film appears to have been cleaned, radical computer "scrubbing" has not been done, so effects-heavy shots (which were built up element-by-element) show some grain.
This new Director's Edition is now the definitive version of Star Trek The Motion Picture. Retaining all the grandeur of the original, with none of the ponderousness, this is probably the closest realization of Gene Roddenberry's humanistic vision for the future. After 22 years, The Motion Picture finally takes its rightful place near the top of the Star Trek film canon."
Thomas E. O'Sullivan | Knoxville, Maryland United States | 11/11/2001
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Even after 22 years on screen, on video, on television and now released in this special edtion DVD, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE is still a work in progress. Robert Wise returns to his often muddled, too long and struggling mess of a film that relaunched the STAR TREK franchise onto the big screen - and is allowed to make the changes he wanted, add the effects that were never completed in time and remaster the score to pitch perfect quality - and even after his final seal of approval, it's still a work in progress... and it is still a wonder to behold. It also is one of the "must buy, must own" DVD's for this holiday season - for both fans of the series and those new to the franchise. The script is intelligent, the performances (a bit uneasy at the start, but well seated by the close of the film) are top notch and the added effects and the new edits to the film both tighten and expand its appeal. Much of what was left unfisnished has been completed and added neatly into the story - we now get to see the V'GER ship as it orbits the Earth. We get more detail and background of the cloud, we have added scenes (a whole new V'GER chamber, a CG Enterprise, a brand new Vulcan without moons, and what is perhaps the first CG Star Trek cast to make it to the screen), and we have scenes cut shorter to make for better pacing. The audio commentary is informative and entertaining, while the text based commentary is almost overloaded - appearing and disappearing so fast that you dare not blink for fear you might miss something. The new transfer is clean and very pretty and the second disc is packed with features, deleted scenes, advertising (how many of you remember that Orson Wells provided the narration for the previews?) and docmentaries (of which only one was too short for my taste, the PHASE II era of STAR TREK is glossed over all too quickly - but does feature for the first time the original test footage of the new Enterprise and uniforms - pick up the book: STAR TREK: PHASE II for expanded information plus the original IN THY IMAGE script), plus an inventive menu design featuring V'GER. PARAMOUNT has finally done right by STAR TREK, and STAR TREK fans and THE MOTION PICTURE is not to be missed."
"Star Trek" in its most classic form
Christopher H. Jansmann | Green Valley, AZ USA | 12/23/2004
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I must admit, I was extremely excited when I heard that Robert Wise had been given the green light to revisit this movie and "properly complete it" as envisioned in 1979.
For me, this was the first "new" Star Trek I had ever seen. Up to that point, I'd only had exposure to the reruns of the Original Series, so getting to see this fantastic cast together again -- combined with what was then state of the art visual effects -- made for an event that equalled only the original "Star Wars" movie. To be sure, the original cut of the movie was a bit lethargic, but even back then, the dazzeling special effects managed to pull the movie together pretty well. Just seeing the redesigned USS Enterprise alone was worth the price of admission!
Now, all these years later, to see the movie in its "complete" form is a real treat. All of the sound effects that were supposed to be in the original release are now there, and several special effects that did not make it into the film have been added -- including a few new shots of the Enterprise that you'll be hard pressed to pick out from the original cut. The pacing is much better and far more dramatic, allowing both the cast and the effects to underscore what is perhaps the truest "Star Trek" adventure filmed to date.
At its core, Star Trek has always been about the positive philosophy of human discovery and this film serves that end like few others in the franchise. The themes delved into here -- friendship, the quest for knowledge, emotionality, transcendance -- are the most basic to the series and are expressed beautifully. Even without the extra special effects, though, this movie still looks fresh and holds up very well.
Aside from the movie, the bonus features are huge. The audio commentary features Wise, Douglas Trumbull, John Dykstra and the late Jerry Goldsmith, whose score for this movie is perhaps the best in the ten movie franchise. Michael Okuda provides the unique text commentary which includes many insider items on the production. Retrospective documentaries cover the little known Star Trek Phase II series that begat the movie, as well as the production history of the movie itself. Many of the deleted scenes from an earlier VHS release are also included.
Overall, I think this movie has withstood the test of time and is well worth viewing again. These days, it is like a good friend that you just don't seem to spend as much time with as you would like."