Star Trek I

Sunday | June 2nd, 2013


82 digits of pi

Star Trek I is what people call this, but when it was released no one ever thought of there being a second or third or twelfth film. It’s just Star Trek: the Motion Picture—a title to differentiate it from the television show canceled nearly ten years prior. When tv scripts get generated now which turn the show over to the big screen, now people just say “the movie”, we’ve lost the “motion picture” moniker.

I liked this Star Trek when I was a kid. Watching it now I see that I haven’t seen it since I saw it in the theater that one time. I also see how little of the movie I understood and what stuck out the most. Scenes like the weird ship appearing with Spock (to join the crew), the bald lady, and the fact that the whole ship was just a Voyager satellite. As an adult, I like this Star Trek movie. Even its goofy parts like Bones in a leisure suit with a gold medallion.

The structure of this Star Trek sets a structure that most of the eleven other films follow. First, an alien problem appears (here it’s an energy cloud), ships are destroyed (klingons here); then we go back to Earth (Starfleet), we find the captain of the Enterprise doing something serious (harassing another Vulcan), the captain finds his ship (in space dock), then we’re treated to a lot of ship porn: long, slow shots of the hull and markings and nacelles (breasts?). Then, we get on the ship, but it doesn’t leave right away to stop the problem, instead the captain and other crew talk and talk and talk about stuff. There is usually a minor problem of some sort here it’s a transporter malfunction that kills two people, one of which is the Vulcan Kirk was bothering earlier. Finally, the ship pulls out of space dock and zips off to tackle the big problem.

The odd alteration to this structure is a long weird scene with Spock on Vulcan not speaking but looking distressed, being offered a necklace of colorful triangles, and then rejecting the necklace (maybe he wanted circles or hot dogs).


Something forgotten, the wormhole. Apparently this happens when your math is bad and you travel too close to a star. This is the only Star Trek where shit like this happens.

There is a lot of 2001 in Star Trek the Motion Picture. The part with Spock and his necklace has something to do with knowledge and seeking a higher intelligence. Then there’s this sequence:


Spock leaves the ship and flies into the unknown thing …


‘Oh my god—it’s full of stars’ (but the connection is to the novel and not the film), but the tight head shots in the space suit with surrounding light imagery is.


* None of the images in this post are mine.


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