Review: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

Directed by: Leonard Nimoy | 119 minutes | comedy, adventure, science fiction | Actors: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols, Jane Wyatt, Catherine Hicks, Mark Lenard, Robin Curtis, Robert Ellenstein, John Schuck, Brock Peters, Michael Snyder, Michael Berryman, Mike BrislaneGrace Lee WhitneyAne WiedlinVijay AmritrajMajel BarrettScott DeVenneyAlex Henteloff

This final installment of the Star Trek “trilogy” picks up where Star Trek III: The Search for Spock left off. The Enterprise crew prepares to leave the planet Vulcan with the Klingon ship they hijacked and return to Earth. Spock (Leonard Nimoy) hasn’t regained his memory yet, but is ready to take on his task on board again. Nearing Earth, they receive a warning from Starfleet not to come any closer. The planet is under the influence of a huge cylinder in space, which not only emits a mysterious sound but also vaporizes the seas and creates storms everywhere. The crew analyze the sound of the cylinder and Spock recognizes it as the song of whales. With whales long extinct in the 23rd century, Spock, McCoy (DeForest Kelley), and Kirk (William Shatner) get the bright idea to go back in time and get a whale or two so the animals can use the cylinder. could communicate and thus save the world. They manage to do the “time warp”, but then comes the hardest part: arriving in San Francisco in the 80s (of the 20th century), they have to find whales, build a basin to transport them and get hold of nuclear particles to get their ship working again.

It’s no surprise that this impromptu time travel is causing all sorts of hilarity. First of all, there’s Spock, who still walks around in his Vulcan robes and then covers his eyebrows and ears with a headband, making it look like he just came from karate class. However, he is less conspicuous than Chekov (Walter Koenig) who, with his Russian accent, asks passers-by for directions to army ships with nuclear material on board. Another memorable moment is when Scotty (James Doohan) tries to get a computer going by talking to it. Speaking of talking, when Kirk explains to Spock that it’s normal these days to use expletives in every sentence, the Vulcan takes it a bit literally at first.

‘The Voyage Home’ is often called perhaps not the best but the most beloved of all Star Trek films. The plot is far from serious but still contains some sort of warning about our future (in this case ecology). And other typical Trek values ​​such as friendship and trust are also discussed. The mutual relationships between the crew members are played more than in ‘The Search for Spock’ – also directed by Nimoy – and there is room for bickering between Spock and McCoy, or Spock and Kirk, for example. It is clear that the cast is now almost twenty years removed from the original series and you can tell; they all play a bit more resigned and less hyperactive – which is of course especially noticeable with Kirk. But this doesn’t have to be a disadvantage, the actors have gotten older and the Trek content is still high enough to satisfy the fans. And, as in ‘The Search for Spock’, there is a maddening moment when the mission is successful, this time in the water.

For those unfamiliar with Star Trek, this film might be a fun way to get acquainted with the characters and the subject matter. It is in itself not very important that the film is part of a trilogy, the story is quite understandable without having seen the two previous films. Everything may seem a bit hilarious in the beginning, but there were more science fiction films in the 80s, just think of ‘Back to the Future’ for example.

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