One of the earliest films I ever remember seeing is Star Trek: The Motion Picture. I think it’s a bit misnamed since nothing actually happens in the film. I’ve seen it more times than I can count and will always have a soft spot for it, but let’s face it. It’s flawed in a way few films are.
Let’s start with what we know. First, it was to be the pilot for Star Trek Phase II. It was about an hour long. I don’t see much changed from that except for Spock being rushed in and Will Decker being offed. The bulk of the film is made up of long slow shots of the Enterprise moving through space or the alien ship intercut with shots of the crew looking at the viewscreen in awe. Not exactly what I’d call an action film.
There are some nice character moments. The effects are quite good except for them walking to Vger at the end. It’s not a terrible movie. It’s just not a good movie either. I’ve always had this dream of taking the film into Premiere and cutting it down just to see how short we could get it. Make it the one hour pilot it was meant to be. Then again, I abhor the idea of taking someone else’s work and retooling it because I think I can do a better job. That leaves me with one option.
I’ve been a fan of Mystery Science Theater 3000 since it debuted on The Comedy Channel back in ’89 and this movie is perfect for riffing. All the bizarre space tunnel sequences make me sing the Doctor Who theme in a falsetto. The fact that Sulu flies the ship through a giant space sphincter writes it’s own jokes. I believe the “alien probe” is actually the combined will of the audience forcing something to happen finally. Not to mention the pompous nature of the whole damned thing makes it the biggest target I’ve ever tackled.
I may have to get the guys together and riff the hell out of this thing.