The Human Adventure Is Just Beginning..

Star Trek: The Motion Picture gets a lot of flak, which is regrettable, as I quite enjoy it.

People complained about it being slow and ponderous, and untrue to the original series.

I have to disagree.

Is the films slow moving? It could be construed as such, but I like to see it as getting acquainted with old friends. I mean, there’s the whole tour of the Enterprise via shuttle pod, which has no real merit on the story, it certainly doesn’t move the plot forward, the dialogue is minimal, it’s just one beauty shot after another. And I love it.

We get slowly introduced to all of our favorite characters, seeing them together for the first time since their original voyages, both live action and animated.

Once the crew is re-united and set out on their voyage to stop what is simply known as The Intruder, the film shifts to what the original series was always about, the wonder of exploration, be it the self, or something more than that.

The film does take it’s time as they explore the spatial cloud and the construct housed within it, which we learn is called V’Ger. But, I enjoy every moment of it, we get to see how the starship runs, how the crew interacts, we see Kirk, McCoy and Spock trying to reconnect after three years apart, even if Spock isn’t willing to at the beginning.

I also like the uniforms, both the long sleeve and short sleeve ones. While the red jackets to appear for the rest of the film series are very cool, I do like the relaxed look of the short sleeve duty shirts. The wrist communicators were a cool touch as well, though apparently it strayed to far from the things people loved about the original series, because communicators similar to the original series made their appearance in the second film (though I remember wearing my watch face to pretend in my mind that it was one of those communicators).

The redesign of the Enterprise was gorgeous, and still my favorite incarnation of her.

Then, there’s the fantastic score by Jerry Goldsmith. That score gets a lot of play on my iPod, and is probably one of my favorite Goldsmith scores (that, Alien and The Black Hole).

Overall, the film tends to be one that I put on, and have it playing in the background while I do other things, but I’ll be delivering the dialogue alongside the cast, and pausing to watch scenes I love.

But see, that’s part of the problem… There was only the one adventure set in those uniforms, and that time. Don’t get me wrong I enjoy all the movies, even Final Frontier but I know them all so well. I want new adventures, I want to spend time with Kirk & Co. in new adventures.

So I did something I haven’t done in a long time…

I turned to the Star Trek novels, looking explicitly for something in the same time-frame.

And I came across this…

This book was exactly what I was looking for!

The story picks up days after the V’Ger incident, and the repercussions of it as well as the problems of crew and ship becoming used to one another, and old friends trying to find their places on this new ship.

It also uses a revisit of a classic Trek episode “For The World is Hollow, and I Have Touched the Sky” as the crux of its plot.

Having saved the Fabrini once, freeing them from virtual enslavement from an artificial intelligence known as The Oracle, they are called to help them again.

A religious war is on the verge of sweeping the planet and tearing the people apart. Kirk and crew travel to help, and get swept up in planetary events, as extremists believe that their own AI will become a new god in the same manner that Voyager evolved with Decker and Ilia.

But the story doesn’t just use those two stories as connective tissue, the author Christopher Bennett makes callbacks to other characters, other incidents, and immerses the entire world so completely into the Star Trek universe, that it feels like an actual second film set in the same time period as The Motion Picture.

Between that and re-watching Deep Space Nine, my love for all things Trek has resurfaced, and I think I’ll see if I can’t find another few Trek novels to read. I do miss traveling about with Kirk, Spock and McCoy.


The Human Adventure Is Just Beginning…


4 Comments Add yours

  1. After reading your blog post, I will have to find a copy of Ex Machina. I like how you mention wanting stories set around the time period of The Motion Picture. My favorite book of all time fits this bill, I think. It’s The Entropy Efffect by Vonda N. McIntyre. The cover art depicts the refit Enterprise and TMP uniforms, though the book itself could be any time period. By the time I first read it, Star Trek II had already become the greatest movie I had ever seen or ever would see and so I imagined the story taking place on the refit Enterprise and sometime prior to Kirk being promoted to admiral. I just feel so strongly about that book I thought I’d mention it. It is a fantastic story!

    1. TD Rideout says:

      I remember The Entropy Effect 🙂 It was in one of the first book collections my parents ever bought me when I was a kid, it came with that one, Web of the Romulans, and The Klingon Gambit. There may have been one more in there…
      I really do love the TMP era, and the uniforms, except for the feet, I may have to go back and read some more Trek in the very near future!

  2. Jim Kelley says:

    What a beautiful tribute to a fantastical era I also believe is too often dismissed in this casts lore. Technical advances and new understandings of the universe mixed with current storytelling not withstanding Kirk and company will always be the strongest cast and crew behind this fabled story. And the STTMP era is a fascinating and underexplored realm of this tale I have also longed to see or hear more about. Cheers to your enlightened look at this film. I stand hopeful along side you friend to learn more. It’s been a wonderful adventure so far. One I’m proud to have been part of. I saw The Motion Picture sitting on phone books and pillows at the drive in in my mom’s car in 1979. I was 6. I was amazed. And it will always be my favorite memory of things I did with my mom. Live long and prosper!

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