Star Trek The Motion Picture earned its bad rep but it isn’t without its own merits.
It’s rather sad, that after about a decade on the shelf the best that Gene Roddenberry and the Star Trek crew could come up with was The Motion Picture. The first film after the show was canceled in the 60s, Star Trek The Motion Picture was supposed to bring the franchise back to prominence.
And instead, it nearly killed it. The franchise did the best it could at the time but they were clearly rudderless. They put too much emphasis on how the film looked and not enough into the story, and the story is arguably the worst the franchise has ever told.
It’s truly bad, and it deserves its reputation. The story is boring, the dialogue doesn’t challenge anything or anyone, and it all boils down to them trying to make a movie that would rival Star Wars.
How goofy was that? The changes to the franchise were all to be that next big sci-fi franchise, just like Star Wars had become in the interim. In doing so, they nearly killed the franchise. Yet, even though the plot doesn’t speak to many people, it did do something that lives on; it elevated the expectations of fans for the visual presentation of not only Star Trek, but cinema in general.
Star Trek The Motion Picture continues to be a source of inspiration
When you watch modern films like Top Gun: Maverick, the thing that you think of is “this is an experience for theatres”. Granted, that’s never been my bag, but that is what a lot of people said about the second Top Gun film.
In a lot of ways, that’s what The Motion Picture was for Star Trek, it was the experience of the late-70s. The visuals were not only impressive then, but they’re still impressive now. Even before all the remastering and touch-ups that it has undergone, the original’s visuals are still stellar. Even more so when you realize they did it with technology far inferior than we have now.
Yes, the film doesn’t hold up as a story, but the visuals are still something to admire all this time later.