Complete A-Z list

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (4K restoration)


Stars: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takei, Walter Koenig, Persis Khambatta, Majel Barrett, Stephen Collins, Grace Lee Whitney, Joel Marston

Director: Robert Wise

Back on more than 100 screens nationwide, this is the first of six spin-off films featuring the cast from the iconic TV series. Muted in impact and stickily scripted, the over-inflated slice of sci-fi would be followed by the best of the series, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - also to be re-released in a few weeks - the pair forming a decent tribute to the talents of the imposing Nichelle Nichols (alias Lt Uhura), who died last month.

Director Wise, who made such science-fiction classics as The Day the Earth Stood Still and The Andromeda Strain, unwisely returned to the genre for this one. Glamorous Khambatta joins the series regulars as a bald-headed Deltan beauty who forms part of a desperate Earth bid to reunite the original crew of the starship Enterprise and stop a seemingly irresistible force hurtling towards our planet.

Special effects are good, as well they might be in the hands of Douglas Trumbull of 2001: A Space Odyssey and Silent Running fame. So are the set designs and Jerry Goldsmith's music. But the principal cast often seem undecided as to whether the venture should be played straight or tongue-in-cheek.

'Dammit, Bones, growls Shatner to Kelley at one stage. 'I need you - badly.' Not as badly, Admiral Kirk, as you needed some better lines.

David Quinlan

USA 1979. UK Distributor: Paramount. Metrocolor.
136 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: PG.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 0, Violence/Horror 1, Drugs 0, Swearing 0.

Review date: 14 Aug 2022