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Author Topic: ST Rewatch: The EMotion Picture (long)
Posts: 5
Post ST Rewatch: The EMotion Picture (long)
on: October 18, 2015, 15:13

I’ve been meaning to send this to you for several years now. Here it is.

ST Rewatch - Star Trek the Motion Picture

Three Klingon ships led by Spock's moonlighting dad encounter something they don't recognize or understand so of course they shoot at it. It ignores their photon torpedoes and shoots back with a special effect borrowed from Metropolis, completely destroying all three ships. The battle is witnessed by the captain and crew of a Federation scout which report back to space station Epsilon. It appears the intruder is a colossal negative space wedgie of great power surrounding an unknown ship and it's headed right for earth. Why should that be any surprise.

On Vulcan, Spock (with a long hairstyle I wish he'd kept, it looks great) is in the midst of preparing for the Kohlinar ceremony certifying that he's purged himself of all emotion. Just before they give him the award, he gets a telepathic nudge from up in the sky. The high priestess (Edna Glover) looks into his mind and says whatever it is, it concerns his human half, so he hasn't achieved Kohlinar. They do NOT give him the parted hand salute when they leave, is this significant?

James T. Kirk, looking natty in grey pyjamas, is in Starfleet HQ and meets Cmdr. Sonak, a handsome Vulcan with kickass eyeliner and a mellifluous voice (he's Sultanzade Jon Rashad Kamal Bey Effendi) who is supposed to be his 2nd in command. The Big E is going on the mission to find out more about the intruder. Apparently Captain Decker was supposed to be in charge but Admiral Nogura changed it and put Admiral Kirk in the driver's seat.

Kirk beams to where Scotty is in the repair/refitting dock. The transporter effect looks like a lot of little spinny wheels. This didn't look that great, even in 1979. Apparently Kirk isn't crazy about it either. The transporter on the Enterprise is messed up and they are fixing it. The refittings of the ship are still going on and Scotty takes Kirk in a travel pod to a stupendously impressive flyover. Kirk has tears in his eyes looking at his beautiful ship, and so do I. This part was exactly the right length. The travel pod plugs into the ship's USB port and Kirk gets into the elevator. He shuts his eyes and lets it all sink in like a Neil Young devotee listening to Like A Hurricane. Live.

We now go inside and are greeted with a lot more technology flying around. All this would have been done with Industrial Light and Magic, as they didn't have computers yet. There are several shots that you can tell are animated drawings. That's alright.

At first I thought they'd changed to a really nice male computer voice, but it's really somebody on the P.A. Kirk is welcomed enthusiastically by the good old bridge crew in the midst of all the chaos. May I just say that Mr. Sulu has the most beautiful smile and is cute as hell. Kirk asks where Will Decker is and Sulu says he's in the -- you think he's going to say bathroom but he says Engineering instead. Kirk goes to Engineering and meets Decker, who was supposed to be in charge on this mission and is not happy, putting it mildly. He doesn't look like much of a Captain to me, partly owing to his his nondescript hair style, nondescript voice and non-military posture. That uniform really doesn't do anything for him either. I suppose this was meant to contrast with Kirk, who is THE CAPTAIN. Except Kirk's acting like such an ASS about it here I'm not wild about him either. Let's get rid of both of them and put Uhura in the driver's seat.

In the middle of this, the transporter screws up beaming Cmdr. Sonak and someone else aboard. I suppose they meant to keep this as PG-rated as possible, but the woman's screams are some of the most nightmarish I've ever heard. We're not sure what's happened, other than two nauseatingly ghastly deaths. Now Kirk needs a new second in command and he still wants a Vulcan (why? Does he just know he works well with Vulcans?) but there are none certified. Still that problem with too few Vulcans joining Starfleet, I see. Didn't they ever change the rules so that Vulcans requesting home leave have to be granted it immediately, no questions asked? ... Wait a minute. I've still got that problem of thinking early Kraith (http://www.simegen.com/fandom/startrek/kraith/) is canon.

(Apparently Roddenberry thought Kraith was canon, too, or the next thing to it. In a 2010 interview for the National Fantasy Fan Foundation magazine, Kraith author Jacqueline Lichtenberg says she was told that Roddenberry actually had copies of Kraith Collected in his office during the writing of the movie script, and encouraged everyone to read it. More at http://fanlore.org/wiki/Kraith.)

Now Kirk goes and briefs the entire crew assembled on the hangar deck, personally. He explains what they are up against. In the middle of things the Epsilon station that watched the Klingons earlier sends a message. The commander of Epsilon is mind-boggled by whatever it is -- its size is 82 AUs, whatever that means (it's not explained) and it responds to the Epsilon station's scans by destroying them. Everybody on the Enterprise gets to see it.

I looked up AUs and it means astronomical units. One astronomical unit is equal to distance between earth and the sun. 150 million kilometers, or approximately 93 million miles. So if it's about 82 AUs, then it is about the size of the distance between the earth and the sun TIMES 82. (In the director's edition, they made it *two* AUs instead.)

At the last minute the navigator, Lt. Ilia, comes aboard and everyone is supposed to be flabbergasted that she's Deltan. I'm flabbergasted how much she looks like Rotwang's model in Metropolis. She has a lovely deep voice. She is Persis Khambatta. Chekov and even Sulu are smiling over what I suppose are meant to imply that they'd better not try to get up from their seats any time soon. There's a lot of backstory behind her that didn't make it into the film, but she appears to know Decker fondly and has an "oath of celibacy" for some reason. I suppose they felt that the backstory, being known to the fans, they didn't have to explain it to the non-fans just watching for curiosity, or to the fans' moms or dads who came along for the ride the way mine did at Christmas 1979.

Ilia is a leftover from the abandoned Star Trek: Phase 2 project. The backstory on her is that she is from the SEX PLANET. As if all planets weren't a sex planet. Sex is "like shaking hands" there. Apparently, being "sexually advanced" means you have sex with everything. It's part of polite conversation, business deals, and everything else. This is such a Roddenberry idea. How would you get anything done?! Her people consider earthlings "sexually immature" and the oath of celibacy is to make sure she doesn't "take advantage" of them. In his book Roddenberry writes that men instinctively perceive her as being naked even though she's in uniform. You see, both Deltan men and women give off PHEROMONES which trigger hormonal responses in the opposite sex! And humans don't? (Apparently http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/are-human-pheromones-real/ the scientific jury is still out on human pheromones; in other words, Ilia is a silk moth. But would Deltan pheromones affect Earth people? And would gay men be immune to her presence? What about Lesbians?)

There was also some notion floating around that once a Deltan woman has sex with you, that's it -- but *what* it, they couldn't decide. We've heard various dire warnings: 1) She can't be satisfied by anyone else and you have in effect married her. 2) You can't be satisfied by anyone else so you have in effect married her. 3) Gene says in his book that if Ilia and Decker had actually consummated their relationship "Decker would not be here". Where would he be, then -- back on Delta baking bread and taking care of the baby like John Lennon? 4) YOU GO INSANE! (#2 and #4 were apparently said by Persis Khambatta and she was just kidding, but apparently taken as canon. The insanity part was repeated in the novelization for The Wrath of Khan.)

As if this weren't enough, they are also "the finest navigators in Starfleet". What happened to the Medusans? Maybe that should be changed to read "the prettiest navigators in Starfleet". Sigh, another potentially interesting character reduced to a Gene sex toy.

Ilia's also slightly annoyed with Jim for taking command away from Decker, who is (at the very least) her dear friend. That's why she tells him her oath of celibacy is on record. She's saying HE, Kirk, Mr. Big Shot Fancy Starship Captain with all the Space Babes, has no chance with her, the incredible Deltan bald (or balled) sex goddess queen, not just because he's sexually immature but because he's immature immature.

Dr. McCoy comes aboard. He has a big beard and looks great. He sounds off at Kirk about getting drafted into this. Kirk says he asked for McCoy because there's a THING OUT THERE and McCoy starts raving about how unknown stuff always gets called a THING. Don't ever show him The West Wing, he'll have a stroke. Later, he says he doesn't like the medical section because it's like a damned computer center. I distinctly remember that he said "god damned" in the movie theater and that there was something very right about Dr. McCoy saying this. I also remember that there was something about his being on the Fabrini planet all this time, and that he was learning their veterinary medicine as well as for people. He has a medallion on, which I am going to assume is his Fabrini wedding emblem and that he still considers himself married to Natira. (Dammit Jim, I liked that episode.)

Another set of gorgeous shots of the Big E as it leaves the dock. God, it's iconic. Right here, I remember sitting in that theatre thinking ”In the sixth grade I felt like the only person in the entire universe who watched this show, and now look.'

To get to the intruder sooner, they're going to go into warp drive while still in the solar system (risky). They end up in a wormhole effect, which lasts about two, two and a half minutes -- about 90 seconds too long. The bridge starts shaking, and while everybody doesn't fall out of their chairs, I can't help but think this was done partly to give us a good look at Ilia's jiggling jugs. OUCH! I don't care what planet you're from -- get a bra, lady! A small asteroid gets pulled into the wormhole with them, and somehow shooting at it gets them out of the wormhole. The sound quality was so bad here I'm not really sure what they said. Decker countermands Kirk's order to use phasers, and orders photon torpedos instead.

Scotty reports the engines are still messed up, Captain retorts they have to get to the intruder as far away from earth as possible, and reams out Decker for countermanding his orders during the wormhole. Turns out Decker had a good reason, blah blah technobabble etc., and he gives Kirk a ration about his unfamiliarity with the new design of the ship. See, Captain, this is because you're OLD. REALLY OLD. Just wait till they make "Generations". McCoy says Decker is right and that Kirk is obsessed just like he was with the last gaseous cloud he had to deal with. He reveals he knew how Kirk got command. It wasn't just Nogura assigning it. He TALKED Nogura into it. He's obsessed with Getting His Ship Back. Because it's HIS SHIP and HE'S THE CAPTAIN. *headdesk*

Now I know the Doylist explanation is that William Shatner is supposed to be playing Captain Kirk. But it doesn't seem realistic that Starfleet Command would allow such a thing. Plus why demote Decker? That's terrible! Like Ilia, Decker is a holdover from the ST Phase 2 project -- that seems to be the only reason he's even in this.

Plus the guy playing Decker gives off no "Starship Captain" vibes whatsoever. Either because the actor just doesn't have enough oomph, or because he was told to play it this way, Decker gives the impression of not having sufficient command presence to pull it off. He looks pleasant enough, and maybe even would have been a good Captain, but he hasn't developed that larger than life quality. So he's no real challenge or believable adversary for Kirk to play against. That is, he isn't portrayed as being one. With slightly different hair style, camera angles and lighting, and better posture and slightly more forceful/dynamic body language, he could have been shown as being like a very young version of Kirk. This way he just looks like a glass of milk, which isn't fair to him or the actor.

In another astounding slightly too long flyover scene, a courier shuttlecraft aproaches and requests permission to dock. Chekov jokes about it being the mailman, but... It's Spock! God, it's good to see Leonard Nimoy. You talk about sheer presence. And dressed very spiffy. Everybody's glad to see him, but he doesn't respond and gets right to work. He's acting very stiff and remote, of course, coming off Kohlinar, and his voice sounds almost metallic. But he helps Scotty fix the engines and that's the important thing.

How anyone could think Kirk and Spock would ever had a love affair is beyond me. He can't even get Spock to sit down in a chair, much less on his thing. McCoy says Spock was studying Kohlinear and Spock says it's KohlinAHR. McCoy goes on to tell Spock that it's the discipline by which all emotions are purged. Thank you, Dr. Exposition. Spock explains that while on Vulcan he started picking up telepathic signals from an enormous super-intelligence that "may hold his answers". So he hitched a ride. Or so he says. McCoy worries that if Spock finds what he needs he may just take off all his clothes and swandive right into it leaving the Enterprise in the lurch. Nah, he wouldn't do that. Would he? Kirk just tells Spock to page him if he decides to take off all his clothes that if he gets any more ESP signals, report 'em.

They run into the intruder which of course has energy of a type never before encountered. Wouldn't be much of an intruder if it didn't. Since Station Epsilon reported that the entity might have misinterpreted even a simple scan as a hostile act, Kirk says no scanning, nothing, not even shields. The intruder has 12th power energy. Everyone is gobsmacked by this. Spock picks up telepathic waves again, which apparently say "one of our planets is missing" -- er, "We have been contacted, why have we not replied?" So then it shoots at them. The shields are put up, but are failing of course. Chekov gets a nasty burn from his overloaded console and screams his head off of course. Dr. Chapel comes in, Ilia says, "I can stop his pain" and does so psychically. Then Chapel takes care of the injury with a magic spray can.

Persis Khambatta didn't really have very much to do in this picture, but she was trying hard to be not just another Roddenberry bimbo. We learn a lot about her, and about Deltans, in a few brief lines and expressions. She's a little like Deanna Troi.

Spock says he can fix the computers to transmit messages to the intruder at a frequency it can understand. The thing shoots at them again, but the energy blast or whatever it is simply disappears as soon as it gets the message. There's more conflict between Decker and Kirk, but of course Kirk proceeds because he's awesome. *eyeroll*

Now they're inside the cloud and they go on a very long psychedelic trip. Cut between the crew's befogged, boggling reactions and the befogged, boggling special effects. I would really like to have this part of it on tape for watching while stoned, because it really is very wonderful, it just goes on way too long for a movie like this. Ilia looks like she might be picking up on something too (probably is, as [more backstory] Deltans are telepathic). It starts flashing lights at them (don't watch if you have seizures). Then we see what look like chromosomes which part to reveal a giant ovum inside a star-shaped Spirograph. Sulu looks completely dazed and confused. Uhura can't communicate with Starfleet Command, so Kirk says to fly in parallel with the ship. This is to show the audience that next to it, the Big E is like a microscopic moth.

Now we see the heart of it, or what we are supposed to THINK is the heart of it, and as we fly over and get a good look, there's more electrical stuff and a lot of lights come on. This is all still "the alien", or "the entity". Or its ship. They think that's what it is -- a ship with a crew like theirs. Interesting that this whole deal, the way they investigate this all, and ultimately save themselves, is by non-action. Golly, Cap'n Zen! When Decker suggests a maximum phaser strike, Spock gets all Kohlineary on them and says any show of resistance would be futile.

An intruder alert sounds, a huge beam of light comes in and Spock says it's a plasma-energy probe. It checks out each one of them and Kirk warns everyone not to do anything, stay calm, it's just checking out the ship, just checking out the people, just downloading everything off the computer ...... AGH! Spock tries to run AVG and the probe kicks him in the ass. Ilia gets schlooped up and disappears dropping her tricorder on the floor and unfortunately it clatters like a cheap plastic toy.

[Note: With all the humans on the ship, it schlooped up a Deltan. Couldn't it tell the difference? Or was it just trying to get a telepath? Good thing it didn't get Spock! If it had gotten a human being its mission would be accomplished. End of film.]

Trying to break free will wreck the ship, so they let a tractor beam pull them into ... the NEXT part of the alien experience! With even more Spirograph/kaleidoscope effects. Uhura reports "the aperture is closing" and now we are inside whatever it is. It's all lit up and gorgeous. Spock says these alien dudes must have insatiable curiosity and Kirk, figuring the Enterprise crew does too, edges the ship forward slowly. Let's take a look, he says -- they can't expect us not to look them over, now that we've got them just where they want us. That is such a great line!

Speaking of Metropolis, there's some hot action in a sonic shower. The alien has sent a sophisticated mechanical probe in the exact image of Ilia. As if she didn't look enough like Rotwang's model already, now we've got a False Ilia! She does not do a hootchie cootchie dance however. [All the men were supposed to be driven insane by regular Ilia already, so there's that analogy.] Kirk pushes a button to put a short robe on her to keep the G rating. There is a jewel at her throat which Spock says is a recording device. (There was supposed to be a scene where we saw millions of these little jewels zooming around inside the alien ship.) Talking like Nomad in a filtered voice she speaks about the carbon-based life forms infesting the ship and how she's been sent by VEE-GER. Wow, I could have had one of those with breakfast this morning! VEE-GER wants to find out more about them before disassembling them to atoms, reconstituting them in its database, and then returning to the third planet to sterilize merge with The Creator. (Gene Roddenberry?)

Since this probe appears to have replicated Ilia down to the last eentsy molecule they assume it has all of Ilia's memories too. When Decker appears the probe smiles and says "Decker!" in a more natural voice. So they tell it Decker is the best one to show it about the carbon based life forms, thinking they can get it, and V'ger, to understand them and not destroy earth.

They begin by showing the probe some things about Ilia's homeworld. Dr. Chapel finds a fancy ribbon that is worn on festive occasions and puts it on the probe. It takes a good look, adjusts the ribbon and starts to respond as Ilia and recognizes Dr. Chapel. I'm so glad she's Dr. Chapel now. I know Dr. McCoy isn't because he says other doctors will contradict his diagnosis. He would be happier if there were nurses. I would be even happier if the nurses were men.

Ilia now really recognizes Will and you can tell this now is Ilia and not some damn alien gadget. She looks unutterably sad. He asks her if she can establish direct contact with V'ger, and she says she can't. She also reveals that V'ger doesn't know the exact nature of the Creator. That's one of the things it's trying to find out.

The problem with this movie is that after a while you get tired of being stoned and you would just like to be straight for a while.

Meanwhile, somewhere in the bowels of the ship, Spock nervepinches a technician and puts on a space walk suit. He starts recording a running narrative explaining exactly what he's going to do and how. When Kirk finds that Spock is out there, he just says to get a fix on his position and see what happens. But a bit later Kirk is out there in a space suit also. BECAUSE HE JUST LOVES SPOCK SO MUCH. Cue slash writers thinking this, anyway.

Having noticed that there's another one of those portals that opens and closes at intervals, Spock times it so that he zooms right into the center of it. He sees a 3D representation of the Epsilon station, then V'ger's home planet, then enormous detailed recordings of every planet V'ger's ever been to. Everything points to V'ger being a living machine, not a ship with a crew. A representation of Ilia appears and Spock decides to try to mind meld with it. Not a good idea. You think he screamed his head off when he mind melded with the injured Horta! Fortunately he floats right back to the Big E and Jim picks him up. Cue slash writers throwing confetti and clinking their champagne glasses.

Maybe every fan knows this next scene by heart. In Sickbay, Spock appears to be catatonic or meditating, but then starts laughing and says "I should have known. A life form of its own, a conscious, living entity." Its home world was populated by living machines too. Its knowledge spans the universe, but something is missing. Again, he says "I should have known" and goes back to meditation. Jim asks him what, and he looks up and takes Jim's hand. Cue slash writers having an orgasm. "This. Simple feeling is beyond V'ger's comprehension. No meaning, no hope. Jim, no answers. It's asking questions. Is this all that I am? Is there nothing more?"

Never mind the slash writers. That was truly beautiful.

Message from Starfleet. V'ger has arrived at Earth. By the time they get to the bridge it's transmitting something. Ilia probe says "V'ger signals the Creator." [Hi, this is the Creator. I'm not in right now, but if you leave your name and number...] Spock says it's using a carrier wave signal. Radio, of all things. Radio?! But there's no one who can understand those signals any more. Terrestrial radio has been dead for centuries, shot down by satellite channels and the internet and the RIAA and federal regulations up the wazz. How can Earth send a response if they don't know what the question is? (42?) V'ger starts shutting earth down and prepares to commence Planet Blowzupski. Told that the carbon based units are part of the planet and are what make Earth what it is, Ilia probe says that the carbon units "are not true life forms" but itself and the Creator are, and McCoy realizes the Creator has to be a machine too.

Now Jim goes into driving-the-computer-crazy mode. He says he knows why the Creator's not responding, but will only explain when V'ger withdraws the weapons. Ilia probe sensibly responds that V'ger will withdraw the weapons when the carbon units give it its answer. Hah! Kirk demands to see V'Ger itself, and the ship is pulled into the center of the complex. If nothing else works, Jim orders Scotty to blow up the ship.

Spock is crying. This is another heartfelt beautiful scene, one that everybody knows. Spock empathizes with V'ger because he was just like that himself, until now, when he knows that logic is not enough. V'ger needs to know the nature of its existence as Spock has now found his. (So much for Sondra Marshak and her BDSM-laden Ayn Rand portrayal of post-TMP Spock, and Vulcans in general, in "The Prometheus Design".)

They get to the very center, and for a minute it looks like the Enterprise actually lands. More like it docks. An area like a stone bridge appears, and Kirk, Decker, Spock, McCoy and Ilia probe come out of a door near the edge of the disc, adding to the sense of unreality and displacement. They walk over the bridge into the center of the complex and discover what we all now know, the heart of V'ger is Voyager 6 with part of its nameplate obscured. NASA sent it out 300 years ago and it came back all dressed up by the living-machine aliens, who didn't bother to clean off the nameplate. Can you imagine if the VGER part had been messy and it was known far and wide as OYAG? Now it is an AI which seeks all the knowledge in the universe and thinks independently.

Kirk now knows what V'ger needs. V'ger's radio signal to Earth must have been "Ready to transmit collected information". Transmit it where? He calls Uhura on his 2-Way Wrist Radio and asks her to get the old-time radio code for "Proceed to transmit" from Starfleet. It's a sequence of numbers. They send it to V'ger, and V'ger lights up -- but it sounds more like a squirrely Don Joyce sound effect, and Spock says it's not transmitting its data.

Now, here is where I stopped understanding what was happening when I saw this in the theater. Part of my not getting it was because I couldn't hear, and not just because I have an auditory processing disorder. Apparently the focus was supposed to be on the sound effects rather than the dialogue. Throughout the film, they were using surround sound, and something about it made the spoken dialogue echoey and very far away. I could hear their voices, but I could not make out most of what was being said unless I could read their lips. The only one whose speech I completely understood, every word he said, was Leonard Nimoy.

Also, this last part of the film had been revised 64 billion times. There were six people, including Shatner and Nimoy, who had script approval, and they all kept trying to change it. I also think that a lot of this explanatory dialogue at the end was cut from the theatrical version, as Spock's crying scene was.

This time, I was listening with earphones, and this is what happened as I understand it.

Kirk has told V'ger that "We (carbon-based beings) are the Creator", i.e., we are not an infestation stopping the Creator from doing its job. He says the fact that they have the code V'ger recognizes is the proof of this. Ilia probe reminds Kirk that "the Creator must join with V'ger" (and you can see again that this is Ilia -- with tears in her eyes).

Spock says V'ger didn't receive the final sequence of code, and reveals that it's deliberately snapped its antenna leads. It doesn't want to receive the code long distance. It wants to physically connect with the Creator. And if carbon-based beings are the Creator, V'ger will have to connect with a human being. The way V'ger connects with things is what it's done with Ilia, which is more or less the process from "By Any Other Name". It dissolves things to atoms, then re-creates them as data recordings that look exactly like the things.

Now, all the way through the picture, Spock has been saying that V'ger knows it wants something, but doesn't know what. And that it's empty because feelings and emotions, which help to give experiences meaning, are not in its programming. It keeps saying "Is there nothing more?" Decker suggests it might want things like speculation about other dimensions, alternative universes, anything that can't be comprehended intellectually or with reason and logic. V'ger can't study these things on its own, because it's 100% logic.

Decker still has the "Proceed to transmit" code in his tricorder. He steps forward and twists the antenna lead wires back together, then types the code right into the Voyager itself via "the ground test computer" (presumably V'ger's). Kirk tries to stop him but Ilia probe knocks him on his ass. What Decker has done is to volunteer himself as the human being. (It can't be Ilia, because she's not from Earth, where Voyager was created.) He says "Captain, I want this. As much as you want the Enterprise, I want this." This is the most initiative he's shown throughout the entire picture. It was difficult to get enough sense of him as a person, a character, let alone a Starfleet captain passionately devoted to exploring the unknown, to understand why he thinks what he's doing is the greatest thing since sliced quadrotriticale, other than that it gives him the chance to be where Ilia is. But he says that's what he wants, so go for it and let's see what happens.

In one last gorgeous special effect, he goes all sparkly, wind starts blowing his hair, with the nicest music in the picture so far, and then Ilia probe steps forward with a very slight smile. Ilia's memories are at front, you can tell this is something she herself is doing, not just V'ger. She moves up to stand next to Decker.

A member of my family was for a brief time a believer in a Victorian era belief system, Theosophy, a lot like today's New Age. Like the ascension of Christ, each of us is supposed to be able to ascend bodily into heaven (or the next plane of existence, or other dimensions, the things V'ger wants to know about) once we have lived our many lives here on earth and learned all there is to learn. And for each of us, somewhere in this universe, there is a twin soul, a twin ray, an affinity, a polarity, someone who is your opposite, your perfect complement. Literally made for each other. And to Ascend together is some people's ultimate longed-for dream. Whether Decker and Ilia were this, or whether they simply cared deeply for each other, love was a part of their equation. And when I saw those swirling blue-white sparkles embrace the two of them, how they slowly dissolved, merged, and became one in a great light which spread out and encompassed all of the entire gigantic V'ger complex, I thought about that belief. If there is Ascension and twin souls, I thought, if it doesn't look like this when it happens, it should.

And the whole huge V'ger complex completely disappears, leaving the Enterprise sailing serenely through space above the earth.

The bridge crew talk in awed tones about how they've witnessed the birth of a new life form, and how it got what it needed; illogical human emotions, the things that drive us, passions, fears and dreams. Kirk offers to take Spock back to Vulcan and he says he has no business there. His task on Vulcan is complete. Uhura says Starfleet wants them to come back and have an inspection, but Kirk says belay that and orders the ship into a shakedown cruise, course heading "out there somewhere."


This was a lot nicer than I remembered. When I first saw this, I didn't care for the new uniforms, but they kinda grow on you. Maybe they could have made differently colored ones to show the different departments, like in TOS but with light colors. Or just different colors on the collars or trim. And God knows they were a damn sight better than the militaristic tomato red ones they came back with in "The Wrath of Khan." I guess grey pastel and white looks too much like "wimpy" explorers and not enough like ACTION shooting the bad guys.

When this first came out, I was as disappointed as everybody else. It felt like we'd been promised a triple-flavored hot fudge sundae and gotten a tiny scoop of gourmet pineapple sherbet on a very fancy sampling spoon. It was a clear rehash of several other episodes, providing an excuse for a special effects festival (the influence clearly not Star Wars but 2001: A Space Odyssey). Its great wonders and small appealing touches would have been better received if the film as a whole hadn't been so bland. There were too much special effects and not enough people, one reason the few "people" moments are what's memorable in the long term, and are what keep me coming back to watch this now and then. It's not great, but it is good.

Rating: Warp 4 with intermittent reduction to impulse power.

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