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on June 1, 2004
I'm probably going to hack a few people off but...
I grew up with this movie; both the theatrical release and the "Special Edition" Laserdisc. (God, I'm old) This is ALMOST my favorite movie. Having watched this movie so much and having studied all the character development in it, some might say this makes me bias.
If you don't mind having dialog removed; scenes switched around; and generally questionable editing for the sake of time and new special effects, then you'll love this version.
I was VERY disappointed in the "Director's Edition". Don't get me wrong. The new special effects; WONDERFUL; like the new San Francisco scene. Cleaning up the visuals; EXCELLENT. I even overlooked what he was trying to do with the music.
I am, however disappointed because the director took a perfectly fine movie, (the Original "Special Edition") and BUTCHERED it. Granted, it's his movie. He can do what he wants. I just wish he'd have asked folks like me before he took a blade to it.
Scenes, which gave this film such character development, were cut out. Background noise showing what might be "real life" on a Starship, edited out. The noise level in the new version is almost like a morgue. The energy and tension you feel, while the crew is preparing the Enterprise against an impossible deadline, is non-existent.
The computer translation, of the Klingon language transmission at Epsilon 9, was edited out.
Little shots that gave this movie feeling were edited out. Such as, the shot of Uhura, staring in disbelief at the view screen, and Kirk having to REPEAT HIMSELF to turn the, "Viewer off!" to shake her from the horror she had just witnessed, was edited out.
The snip of Kirk blowing off McCoy saying, "Get out of here, Bones" was edited out. Kirk was ignoring what he'd done to get this new position. He wanted to ignore what he should face.
A scene showing the absolute power Ilea, as a Deltan, has over the human male, with Sulu stumbling all over himself, was cut out.
A shot of Ilea, staring longingly toward the turbo-lift door, as Sulu is trying to get her attention, was cut out. This scene showed how she was dealing with seeing Decker again, without having to utter a word. GONE.
While Kirk and Bones are talking to Spock in the lounge, the Director STUCK a CGI warp engine in the background. It looks amateur.
The editing on the Enterprise fly-over was poor.
The editing on the V-Ger fly-over was poor. I could go on.
And with ALL the stuff done to this version and the big deal made over this thing, the director still, STILL didn't fix the arm bands on Spock's and McCoy's jackets, in the last scene on the bridge. Apparently during a break in shooting, Nimoy and Kelly got their jackets mixed up.
I know a FEW people who like this, but not many.
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on January 15, 2007
If ever a film benefited from being released on DVD, this is it. The movie itself is problematic. Ten years after the original series' ignominious end (let's face it, that third season left much to be desired), the cast was reunited for another romp through the cosmos. And the end result was an intellectual journey, long on special effects wizardry (at the time, the most expensive movie ever made) and short on action. Over the subsequent years, ST: The Motion Picture was denigrated as a colossal waste of time, where VHS quality diminished the awesomeness of the effects, and highlighted the dearth of story. However, with its rebirth on DVD, I have to revise my opinion. The plot and dialogue problems remain, but this is a gorgeous motion picture. Rightly revered by special effects practitioners, we can now too marvel at the technological wonders on display. Yes, CGI has produced some impressive visual films, but that perhaps is why this continues to look so good. In a day and age where CGI and fast cut editing overwhelm the senses, ST:TMP takes you, as well as Kirk and co., on a methodical symphonic journey. You simply will never see anything like this again. We are treated to some wonderful extras here as well, including footage from the abandoned Star Trek television series.

When all is said and done, this is a film worth another look, whether you're a Trek fan or not. It is moviemaking hubris on a scale that would have pleased Orson Welles or Howard Hughes. In the end, yes, it is a flawed epic, but an epic all the same.
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on July 16, 2004
When "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" premiered in 1979, many fans of the original series were elated--and many more disappointed. The problem wasn't that the film was cheap or puny in scale, nor that it hadn't finally reunited the primary "Star Trek" cast members, some of whom hadn't been before cameras in years. Thanks mostly to "Star Wars," sci-fi fans by then had developed a ravenous taste for big-budget space opera and because the series had become more cartoonish as the 1960s wore on anyway, they now expected something that would outdo the George Lucas shoot-em-up.
What they got instead was a bold, if flawed, attempt to return things to the more serious and understated tones of "Star Trek"'s first season while simultaneously pushing the special effects envelope. And though "Star Trek" always was space opera with harder sci-fi leanings, "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" mistakenly abandoned most of the space opera standards altogether--interstellar battles, "ray gun" fights, scantily-clad "moon maidens," strange and menacing aliens--in favor of an approach that was more in keeping with "2001: A Space Odyssey." The story of the revamped Enterprise's rush to stop a cloud-like entity's march toward earth became, in the end, mostly a platform for technical, not cinematic, achievement.
In the years following the film's release, Director Robert Wise did not conceal his disappointment with both the movie's final cut and its critical reception, but thanks to the advent of sophisticated computer graphics, he finally got his chance to complete the film as intended two decades later. The result is a mixed bag.
Certainly, the director's cut is more streamlined than its predecessor--several edits speed up the action, and even some of Jerry Goldsmith's excellent orchestrations seem faster. The reimagined special effects are, for the most part, an improvement (watch carefully, for instance, to see a shuttlecraft from the series depart the San Francisco port), though anyone expecting images on the order of "The Matrix" or the later "Star Wars" films will be disappointed. (I'm guessing the technicians had to match image quality to that of the 1979 release.) The credits definitely look better.
But the major flaws of the film, including a second half that just seems to drag compared to the first, are intact. Worse, because at least one version of the film with additional footage already shows us what is possible, some of the choices of what to cut and what to keep are questionable. Gone are some great character moments like Kirk telling Bones to get out of his quarters and the computerized translation of the doomed Klingon captain (though some make it as deleted scenes on the bonus disk). Perfectly adequate sound effects, too, have been replaced by others that seem tinny, and many of these effects compete rudely with Goldsmith's score. All in all, the Director's Edition seems a tradeoff, worth viewing mostly by the diehard fan, who will also likely find the second DVD more interesting than the usual chatter and mugshots tossed into the mix.
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on April 17, 2004
"Star Trek The Motion Picture" is always harshly criticised for being bland and lacking in action,but that's not what
Star Trek is all about.The first Star Trek movie is a STORY-
it's about an Earth space probe that merges with a machine
lifeform and itself comes to life.But still it wishes to return
to Earth to join with it's creator.Even if along the way 'V'Ger'
destroys a few spaceships and "absorbes" two Enterprise crew
members it's inttentions are good.Most of the movie revolves around the Enterprise's journey through the emmence V'ger vessel and the problems it encounters.So it's the only Trek
movie that's rated G-it comes off as more dialog then action
but for those with an open mind and an interest in great
stories this will be for you.
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on February 15, 2004
To be fair, this is not a horrible film. In fact, while the original theatrical edition did have it's flaws -it was cold, and emotionaless, this DVD "director's cut" helps establish why the film only worked part of the time. Robert Wise, with 20 plus years behind him, can now look back and see his film in a different light. But, no matter what tweaking you do, you still cannot change the story, which was bland and done before. The script is weak in many area's, but that weakness could've been overlooked had the producers tried to keep the chemistry between Shatner, Nimoy and Kelly going, just like the TV series. Trek has proven that when your charatcers are more 3-dimensional, the silly story works. In The Motion Picture though, the characters are treated like estranged relatives. Had they taken the essance of the roles, as was done in Trek II, and made them what they were -friends -this movie would've worked better. The new version is slightly better, as Wise has had a chance to "finish" his film. Caught between the success of Star Wars and Paramount's aborted 4th network attempt, The Motion Picture was fast tracked to get it ready for Christmas 1979. The thing was, the script was mess, the director had not worked on such a heavy effects ladden film before and the visual effects themselves were untested. Mix these altogether, and you got what you got. The new DVD offers us some "enhanced", CGI effects. Wise gives us a detailed reason in the commentary track, on how and why these effects were added. He also goes into great detail on the point of the story, which he admits was one of the films flaws. It's brave when a director can go back and see and tell where his film went off the tracks. The film is still a snoozer, but I've always had a soft spot for this film. I don't mind the endless scenes of V'jer and the great amounts of no dialogue that goes with those scenes. Wise has almost saved his own film. And for that, I recommend this film.
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on January 20, 2004
This is a great Trek film, despite what most critics say. The movie does a wonderful job of linking the original show to the movie franchise that we all know and love. The special effects are outstanding, the cast performs brilliantly, and the plot is deep and interesting. Not for an audience craving hardcore action, phaser shootouts, and great battle scenes. This film takes a more intellectual position and does Star Trek a great justice. Granted, there are several scenes that invite you to just sit back and enjoy a graphically-charged sensefest, and these could have been made shorter. They don't, however, detract from the effect of this film, and I truly believe that TMP belongs in the list of greater Trek movies.
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Director's Edition is the one to watch for the newer special effects sequences and restored scenes and cut of the film. While certainly not as action packed as other Star Trek's, especially the newer JJ Abrams versions, this first movie of the original cast is a thinking person's Trek and makes you contemplate what it is to be human, and the value of emotion, wonder and curiosity as both Spcok and V'Ger discover.
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on April 23, 2013
What can we make of this film so many years later. If today we see this film as not memorable as a cinematic experience its effect on cinema and the movie experience is still something to think of? I recall when this film first came out around christmas of with the christmas tree, snow, the holiday season and the film like the end speaks of a birth, a mystical birth which is at the heart of the film. The film was promoted like no other by Paramount, I recall coming to my home the glossy and expensively produced circulars and pamphlets and I also recall the fotonovels and novelizations. The studio went to some expense hoping to spur fan interest and the fans came out for the first film, and a few others, but it was not that successful. Its important in film industry for really changing the way films were produced like Star Wars with its emphasis on special effects. A story being told through visuals, and much money expended and often dialogue is written around the visuals. Another way and more important sense that films were changed was that many old TV shows were made into films, and I think it was this film which started this trend and this film was the most successful as it was future oriented so its ethos can be maintained situated in the future the other shows were in the past, of a different ethos, and the new films could not recreate the past in the present, they were ok but somehow it didnt gel? Maverick was an exception..but this industry was spurred by this film..a classic. CReator gene roddenberry who wrote a novelization was not always the best writer of the series..and after thirteen or so TV shows a new producer writer was hired and the show was rejigged and much successfully away from his creation..another creation of his is STar trek the next generation which is quite a different idea than the majority of shows under a subsequen tproducer. So here we have the Star Trek the next generation creator, and the first 13 or so episodes of the old show..bringing back his original show and trying to create a classic like Metropolis, Things to Come, 2001 A Space Odyssey..which are classics! The other films which suceeded this one are serials like Flash GOrdon(Buster CRabbe)..if we recall the old serials with continuing shows more on this later. Here we have a classic a philosophical speculation derivative of a few old shows and sprinkled with a new storyline as the cast is reassembled and Earth is in jeopardy as an object is about to destroy imperfections on earth..and mysticism..being one with the creator fusion with the ultimate and a sense of fulfillment and why did the audience not particularly like the film and the results less than expected? Since they went back to the first thirteen shows..and largely though I like this film and have watched it numerous times, and like Things to COme it is a film with man and his destiny as its subject, and in a way it seems written with this kind of film in view with its didactic qualities, imperfect present society and how we can find fulfillment but here man's fulfillment is seen in mystical terms but like Things to Come in a cosmic sense. It really tries to tell the future and our place in it characterization is not built up do characters relate that much at all..thats why I say its a classic in its thematic structure..such a film with cosmic speculations and religious philosophical discussion was not likely to be a success..and after the film Roddenberry was removed actually from future films and new production people brought in, and they made films like the post original 13 TV shows. The shows with a different producer which were more popular, structured like the old flash gordon movie serials, with its cliffhanger endings, and very much like the popular TV show with its humane qualities and better and more earthy writing where contemporary situations are juxtaposed with adventure among the stars and humor built on characterizations harking back to the tv show..Roddenberry may have found this kind of campy..although his name was still executive producer..he disliked this kind of old serials type films(thats how i see it?). An example is WRath of Khan a sequel of an original show based on the subsequent producers coscript(i think)..showing at this studio the company was not happy with the film, and tried other people to go back to the original show and try to recreate its flavour..and they largely succeeded in subsequent films..Wrath of Khan may be its best. PLus all those filmed tv shows, which have largely disappeared from cinema, Maverick was probably on eof the better ones, a phase in cinema and I write this as a new film is about to explode like this film first did at christmas 1979(i think)..and there's an early christmas scene in the film Things to COME..the first film the only one which succeeds in being a classic if you like Descartes looking for the ghost in the machine and making sense of it?
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on July 4, 2004
Star Trek: The Motion Picture was rushed into theaters without time to edit it, and as such, the picture CRAWLS at times. This Director's Edition completes/adds some things that were storyboarded but unable to be accomplished at the time, and is also edited by director Robert Wise. I admire the decision by the effects people to make the new effects look like they could have been accomplished in the late 70's (as opposed to modern CGI), and for the most part they succeeded. As for the editing, this is also an improvement, but the initial V'Ger flyover sequence is still approximately 10 minutes long -- that's just way too long to have to sit and watch effects shots without dialog (there may be SOME dialog, but not much). At any rate, I really enjoy the first half hour, but after that it's hit-and-miss.
As for the DVD itself, they did an excellent job. There are lots of documentaries, trailers, and TV spots, as well as all of the footage that was deleted/trimmed from the film. Well done.
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on June 4, 2004
"Welcome aboard." - Admiral James T. Kirk welcomes an old, pointed eared, friend aboard The Enterprise in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture"
The first of ten films in the "Trek" saga gets off to a whimper instead of a bang.
An alien known as V'ger with immense energy and power is on a course for Earth, destroying and absorbing anything in its path. The only Federation ship in the vicinity is, of course, the U.S.S. Enterprise. Kirk and crew are sent to destroy the being before it reaches Earth. But, when Kirk & co. find out that V'ger is more of a sentient being with human origins than alien, the crew tries to find out what V'ger wants and why, before time runs out & Earth becomes part of V'ger.
Overall the film is o.k. Most fans were excited to see Kirk, Spock, McCoy and the rest of the crew with The Enterprise up on the big screen for the first time in film history, no matter what they did (personally, I never saw the film when it was in theaters).
With the cult status that the T.V. show gathered in reruns over the years since its cancellation, it was inevitable that "Star Trek" would be revived again in some form another. Originally, Paramount saw "Star Trek" as a way to start its own television network that could rival NBC, ABC, & CBS, with the new incarnation of "Trek" being its headlining show. But, with the monsterous success of "Star Wars", studios were scrambling for any script they had with a sci-fi element. 20th Century Fox immediatelly greenlighted "Alien" with Paramount taking "Star Trek" & turning into a big screen feature instead of a headlining television show. "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" was released for the Xmas season of 1979 with mixed reviews.
The film isn't really that bad. It falls along one of the more medium, likable episodes from the series (say not as bad as the episode "Catspaw" but no where near as good as "Space Seed"). Its great to the see cast on the big screen, but, the problem is they've aged since the series, but, don't seem to act it. In other words there is no backstory to what has happened to the crew since the end of there original five year mission ("Star Trek II" handles this perfectly). The disco style uniforms with the Dick Tracy style communicators don't help either.
The new 2 disc DVD edition is definitely worth looking at, for all of the new CGI work done to the film (henceforth, my four star rating to an otherwise three star film). Also, included are all of the deleted scenes that have info containing whether or not the scene was included in the original ABC broadcast, or if it was on the extended VHS edition, or if it was just plain deleted from the film itself. The trailers are a blast from the past with, known other than, Orson Welles giving the narrative to all trailers and t.v. ads. The featurettes on the making of the film and the restoration are great.
If you've seen all of the other "Trek" films (and stomached "Star Trek V") then "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" is worth watching.
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