on July 15, 2003
With many fans disappointed following the release of the third "Star Trek" film in 1984, "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock", Paramount Pictures produced one of the best "Star Trek" films of all time in 1986: "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home". Returning to the director's chair for what was only his second directorship of a big-screen motion picture was Leonard Nimoy, but this time, Nimoy had much better material to work with from the films many writers. Nimoy (who actually took on-screen credit for writing) worked with returning writer Harve Bennett to write a brilliant story, and Bennett worked on the screenplay along with three additional writers: Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes and Nicholas Meyer (who directed the highly successful "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn" in 1982). Under the watchful eye of Gene Roddenberry, these men were able to recapture the spirit of the original "Star Trek" television series more than any other preceding or proceeding "Star Trek" film.
Having restored Spock's (Leonard Nimoy) life via the Genesis planet and a return to the planet Vulcan during the third film, the crew of the lost U.S.S. Enterprise now waits on Vulcan for repairs on their captured Klingon scout-class ship, as well as for Spock to retrain his mind, before returning to Earth to face various charges for having disobeyed orders. The crew includes Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Commander Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott (James Doohan), Commader Hikaru Sulu (George Takei), Commander Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Commander Uhura (Nichelle Nichols). The Klingons are also very angry with Kirk as expressed by the Klingon Ambassador (John Schuck) to the Federation President (Robert Ellenstein) in front of the full Federation Council, but the cool logic of Vulcan Ambassador Sarek (Mark Lenard) prevails. While on Vulcan, Spock gets to spend time with his human mother, Amanda (Jane Wyatt, who once played his mother in the 1967 "Star Trek" television series episode "Journey to Babel"). Also, a brief appearance is made by Lt. Saavic (Robin Curtis), who unfortunately never returns in any other "Star Trek" film. With their Klingon ship ready for departure, Spock and his Enterprise shipmates begin their voyage to Earth; but unknown to them, a bizarre space probe also en route for Earth has been wreaking havoc on any ship that approaches it. Arriving at Earth first, the probe turns Earth's atmosphere into chaos as it waits for a signal that the Federation cannot discern. Receiving a planetary distress call from Earth, Spock identifies what the probe wants: communication with long extinct whales. To save Earth, Kirk makes the decision for them to travel back in time to bring back whales to the present.
"Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" has more memorable scenes than could be mentioned here, but some of the best include: McCoy's conversations with Spock, the crew on the streets of twentieth-century San Francisco, Uhura and Chekov looking for nuclear vessels, McCoy and Scotty visiting the production facility, Kirk & Spock on a city bus, Kirk & Spock's conversations with Dr. Gillian Taylor (Catherine Hicks), Kirk's dinner with Gillian, and McCoy with Kirk & Gillian at the city hospital. Everyone's acting (including Shatner) was very good for this film, but what makes this film stand out from the rest is the emphasis on all of the original crew members. Each of the crew members have time on screen, contribute to the story and have a reasonable amount of dialog. Other familiar "Star Trek" characters have cameos in the film: Dr. Christine Chapel (Majel Barrett) and Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney). Another cast member in this film who later plays a pivotal role in the sixth "Star Trek" film is Admiral Cartwright (Brock Peters).
Overall, my rating of for "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" is a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. This film, along with the 1982 film "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn" and the later 1996 film "Star Trek VIII: First Contact", are the three best films ever made of the franchise; but this film will always stand out as being the most humorous, having the best & most memorable dialog and having the greatest spirit of the three. I highly recommend it to everyone who, in any form, has liked "Star Trek".
on September 3, 2002
Star Trek IV The Voyage Home, in my opinion, is clearly one of the best out of the TOS six. Although not as high in the suspense aspect, like Leonard Nimoy says, it was good to lighten up a bit and have a good time with Star Trek. While other reviewers might feel the humurous aspects of this film wearout after repeated viewings. I understand that statement, but don't feel the same. I can still get a laugh out of these scenes even though I've seen them more times than I can remember. I especially love the scene with Scotty being handed a mouse and him trying to talk to it. Again, one of the best Star Trek films out of the original six. If you're one of the few people who've not seen this or are new to the genre, I definitely suggest you add this DVD to your collection.
on March 4, 2003
First of all, I want to set the record strait. Reviewer stinky-but-nice said 9 minutes were cut out. Maybe someone somewhere made a running time mistake, but I just bought and watched this DVD, and it is, minute for minute, scene for scene, the ORIGINAL movie. Nothing was cut out (I've seen this movie MANY times.)
That being said, WOW. Great stuff. Nimoy and Shatner's commentary was a bit personal, and sometimes off subject, but never boring. The 6 hours of bonus footage comes mostly in the form of well produced featurettes, some of which were downright educational in a Science Channel kind of way. But it's all on topic, and GOOD. I enjoyed it all immensely.
On a final, bit more personal note: Most DVD's I buy or rent that have added features lack something very important to me: subtitles on the featurettes. I am hearing impaired, and often have trouble understanding all the stuff being said. To date, all the Star Trek special editions have full subtitles for the hearing impaired on their featurettes. With over 6 hours of added features on Star Trek IV, this obviously enhances my experience of the DVD greatly.
If you are a Star Trek fan, or just someone who saw this movie and loved it, this will be a great addition to your library.
on June 13, 2003
Star Trek IV Review
With the success of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, writer-producer Harve Bennett and director Leonard Nimoy were given the green light by Paramount to wrap up the storyline that began with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. There were several plot strands left to tie up, after all, what with Spock having to be re-educated and Kirk and his crew facing a court-martial for the actions they took in the rescue of their half-Vulcan comrade.
Set barely three months after the events of the third film, Star Trek IV opens with a mysterious alien probe cruising toward the Terran system. Its passage immobilizes any starship it passes as it inexorably makes its way to Earth.
Meanwhile, on Vulcan, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) hurriedly undergoes retraining of his mind. In a wonderfully written scene, the former Enterprise science officer breezes through the quizzes a computer tosses at him until he is stumped by the question "How do you feel?"
Spock's human mother, Amanda (Jane Wyatt, reprising her role from The Original Series' "Journey to Babel") hears the computer repeating the question over and over and sidles over to her son. "What's wrong?"
"I do not understand the question, Mother," says a puzzled Spock.
Amanda explains that the retraining of Spock's mind has been in the Vulcan way, but that the computer knows that Spock is half-human, and that his feelings will surface. Spock is skeptical about the concept of having human emotions (since in the series he strived to be more Vulcan-than-thou), but his mother explains that he is alive at that moment because his friends acted out of their emotional nature, disregarding the "logic" of simply obeying Starfleet orders and refraining from fetching Spock from the Genesis planet.
On Earth, the Klingon ambassador (John Schuck) warns the Federation that there will be no peace while Kirk remains alive and unpunished for stealing the Klingon Bird-of-Prey and defeating its crew (preventing Cmdr. Kruge from obtaining the secrets of Genesis). The Federation president promises there will be a court martial, but the Klingons scoff at this.
Even as the Enterprise crew - aboard their stolen Klingon vessel - races home to face the consequences of their actions, the alien probe arrives. Sending a signal to Earth's ocean, it disrupts the planet's climate, causing chaos and world-wide disasters.
The Voyage Home had a tortuous development. At first, the original screenplay by Peter Krikes and Steve Meerson focused on a time travel story tailor-made for guest star Eddie Murphy. Fans heard about this and - as with the death of Spock and the destruction of the Enterprise - protested. Paramount also resisted the idea of mixing two of the studio's franchises, so Murphy and Star Trek never did mix. There was also some nasty behind-the-scenes wrangling about the screenplay, because the Krikes-Meerson version was heavily rewritten by Nicholas Meyer and Harve Bennett - an incident overlooked in the documentaries and commentaries. Eventually the original writers won shared credit for the screenplay, and The Voyage Home was released in the summer of 1986. Notably, this more light-hearted film had major crossover appeal, charming not only Star Trek fans, but also wider audiences.
With its clever script and wonderful mix of sci-fi adventure, social commentary, comedy, romance, and drama, Star Trek IV became the most popular entry of the 10 movies made between 1979 and 2002.
This Collector's Edition offers one disc with the theatrical cut of the movie, enhanced with a new menu, Dolby surround sound, a commentary track by director Leonard Nimoy and actor William Shatner, plus a text commentary by Star Trek Encyclopedia authors Mike and Denise Okuda. The second disc comes with the usual documentaries, interviews, and the theatrical trailer.
on March 27, 2003
After the often overshadowed Star Trek III, producer Harve Bennett and returning director Leonard Nimoy wanted to make a light-hearted adventure with no deaths. That was understandable because III had the destruction of the Enterprise, the death of Kirk's son, and an overall serious revival adventure for Mr. Spock. After a script by Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes (with Eddie Murphy originally supposed to have a role because he was a big Trek fan), Harve Bennett needed a rewrite. The man chosen: Nicholas Meyer, writer and director of Star Trek II.
What we have here is one of the magnum efforts in the series. Not only does it deliver solid laughs from start (ok, more so middle) to finish, it is also a grand adventure that Roddenberry probably loved. The relationships between the characters are fully exploited here and Nicholas Meyer even takes advantage of Spock's rebirth as humor. The laughs? Filled with classics like Scotty's "Hello computer" scene or the hospital chase scene, this film perfectly blends urban realities with the world of Star Trek in a similar way to Beverly Hills Cop's blending of action and comedy.
The only thing that flaws this film is Leonard Rosenman's somewhat lackluster score. The film manages to blend (or hide, depending on if you like the score or not) the music enough that you really don't notice it. I still would've preferred James Horner or Jerry Goldsmith, but I'm not complaining.
Hate Star Trek? Watch this film. Even if you hate Star Trek, this will keep you entertained. An excellent film in every sense of the word with great humor abounds. Some people may claim II or VI as the best, but this one's got its share of moments. If you're looking for great humor and a decent story (ok, it's corny... "save the whales", so what?), this one's for you.
on January 31, 1999
The first time I saw this movie, I didn't like its distracting late-eighties setting, but when I viewed it again several years later... I began to appreciate its humor. My favorite visual stills: Spock's crossing a San Franciscan street and his flowing Vulcan robe's graceful accentuation of his long-limbed movement; his little dip with the whales in Alameda; and the lovely sequence of Spock's rendering unconscious a particularly abrasive punk on the BART with his Vulcan neck pinch. If you are a Spock fan, you'll love this film, where his nascent memory restoration gives his character a frustrating but adorable naivete, and where one gets a rare, more three dimensional peek at how the other members of the Enterprise function when they are AWAY from the inflated, eclipsing presence of William Shatner (Mr. Creosote's mental twin?). Even if you're not a trekkie, I think you will enjoy this film for its lack of esoteric trek culture and technobabble (despite Shatner's titanic ego, which mushrooms in all things trek anyway). Star Trek IV: the Voyage Home is a thoroughly entertaining experience with an ethical message too: save the whales to prevent apocalypse.
on November 15, 1999
We watched this the other night and were very impressed with the quality of the sound and the transfer - not to mention the humour. I'd be interested to know if anybody else hears "interesting" sub-woofer noises during the probe sequences. It sounds like a tuba-player sped up 100 times mixed with fingernails scratching a blackboard (very scary & hard to describe). It made me check my sub (a high-end B&W ASW-2000)- which is fine. Otherwise a great movie that even the kids can enjoy. I never realized how much better the scene (where she picks up Kirk & Spock in her truck) is when you can actually see all 3 characters at the same time in widescreen. Kirk says "You're not exactly catching us at our best" & Spocks retorts "That much is certain!". It still cracks me up. A DVD worth getting.
on August 18, 2004
THE STORY: Kirk and crew must go back in time to late 20th century San Francisco and bring back a couple of humpback whales to save 23rd century Earth from a strange alien space probe that is attempting to commune with whales, but can't because they've become extinct (!!).
The movie's title, "The Voyage Home," is appropriate not only in terms of the film's plot, but also represents the revival of the fun character interplay and spirit of adventure that have endeared the original cast to ever-growing legions of loyal fans (although, admittedly, we enjoyed a nice little dosage of this in the previous film in the series). Shatner referred to this quality as the joy of living. This joyful energy that the characters possess would at times verge on tongue-in-cheek but would never cross the line and the best Star Trek hours include this texture. He pointed out that there's a fine line that the actors and writers have to walk in order to maintain a sense of reality and keep from devolving into camp. They did a fine job of walking this line in The Voyage Home; some of the dialogue and situations are so absolutely absurd that the film is somewhat of a comedy, but the pic strangely maintains a sense of reality throughout, avoiding the rut of camp. (The next film in the series wouldn't be as successful in this regard).
One amusing recurring theme is the characters' attempts to add profanities to their every-day speech in order to fit into present-day America. Their efforts are noble but it goes without saying that they fail abysmally, especially Spock. Kirk's first attempt is in response to a cab driver who calls him a "Dumbass!" for walking in front of his cab. Kirk responds by giving a quick uncertain glance at his comrades and then spouting, "Well, a double 'dumbass' on you!"
The cast members have unanimously expressed that The Voyage Home was the best Star Trek feature film, or at least one of the best. Nichelle Nichols felt the first movie was certainly good science fiction but it wasn't a faithful adaption of the television Star Trek (i.e. it lacked the action, humor and character interplay), the second film was centered around Spock dying and the third around bringing him back to life. She pointed out how there was never enough time to introduce the qualities that made Star Tek on TV so great. She believed these qualities successful came to the fore with The Voyage Home.
FINAL ANALYSIS: Everything magically comes together on this fourth film outing to give us a tale every bit as good as the best TV episodes. In fact, it's BETTER because it's a feature film and looks so good (unlike the cheap sets of the original three-year TV run). I gotta hand it to Leonard Nimoy for coming up with such an intriguingly bizarre and original tale involving humpback whales that communicate with aliens. If I didn't know better I'd think he was influenced by some trippy foreign substance. Needless to say, the film's great fun and grand entertainment of the highest order -- even if you're not a Trek fan. In other words, this is the most accessible of the feature films for non-Trekkers.
FINAL WORD: Without a doubt, the best of the film series -- the most entertaining, the most popular and the most profitable.
on March 16, 2007
As time moved on for the aging crew of the Starship Enterprise and its fanbase was also growing older and more(dare I say it!) sophisticated (on a purely geeky scale, of course) the producers decided it was time to start turning away from the sheer-fan aspect of the gene-pool and try and find other targets in the demographical arena that was middle class America. Namely, the kiddies. Now, what kid wanted to watch a bunch of old geezers up on the silver screen acting all sci-fi and cool? Not many. I was 16 when Star Trek IV came out and I gotta tell ya, another Star Trek movie wasn't high on my list of priorities unless the ticket for the theatre was hidden in the bra of a 16 year old girl. So the old dudes started doing a lot more one-liners than before. The surly Dr. McCoy as a regular stand-up comedian. Spock was the naive sraight-man to most of the jokes. It was funny. They were making fun of things that we could relate to.
Earth is under attack by some weird cylindrical probe which is vaporizing the oceans and blotting out the sun. All systems have crashed in the wake of the probe's sheer power. Earth is doomed. In their exile on Vulcan with the recently resurrected Spock, the outlaw crew of Enterprise decide it's time to head home and face the music for their actions. They Sabotaged another starship, disobeyed orders, and destroyed The Enterprise. Court-martial? Definitely. On they way back to Earth they get the distress call. Avoid Earth at all costs! Spock, having listened to the transmssion the probe is sending, deciphers that the message cannot be answered because it is intended for Humpback whales and they are extinct in the 24th century. Ooops! Back in time they head! Earth! 1986! San Francisco! The calmities begin there.
Of all the Star Trek flicks, this is probably the funniest. Not the most intriguing, certainly not the worst, either (Search For Spock gets that award or Generations). I prefer Wrath Of Khan. But it is fun to watch. Deadpan humor. A look back at the mid-80s. Worth a look every now and again. Nimoy directs.
on December 27, 1999
I was completely astounded by the quality of this DVD. This is the first time Paramount has used a dual-layered disc for the "Star Trek" films. The quality is 2 times better than the other Trek DVDs because they use 2 times the data. It's unfortunate that Paramount didn't have the foresight to use dual layered discs for their other Trek DVDs. Popping this DVD in the player was like watching the movie for the first time. The sound quality and picture quality is absolutely flawless. The quality of the transfer is remarkable. I've been use to watching the film on fuzzy VHS and poor quality broadcasts, so this was an exciting discovery for me. I can't wait for the ST III to come out on DVD, I'm sure the film quality will also be a big improvement. Go buy this DVD, you haven't seen this film until you buy it.