Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Genres - Science Fiction  |   Sub-Genres - Space Adventure  |   Run Time - 143 min.  |   Countries - USA  |   MPAA Rating - G
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One of the most successful syndicated television series ever makes a rocky transition to the big screen in this Robert Wise film. This was a runaway production, with special effects problems that ended up driving the project's cost past 40 million dollars, more than twice its original budget. The problems' eventual effect almost wrecks what could have been a fine film. Many of the movie's difficulties begin with a story by Gene Roddenberry, Harold Livingston, and Alan Dean Foster that introduces bland new characters, borrows from several of the TV shows' plots, primarily the episodes "The Doomsday Machine," "The Carbomite Maneuver," and especially "The Changeling," and seems tired and unfocused. The editing of the film's last two acts seem especially slack; no surprise, as the special effects problems rushed the film through post-production. Many other problems can unfortunately be laid on Wise's shoulders. The movie's excellent new sets and extraordinary special effects gave the franchise a greater reality that carried through the sequels, but the trademark tight, clipped, humorless tone that works so well with Wise's Run Silent, Run Deep and The Day the Earth Stood Still eventually clashes with the show's operatic wit, leaving fans wondering where their favorite characters went. The sequels avoid the first movie's mistakes. They have stories that focus on the characters and not the special effects, because this film left non-fans bewildered and Trekkers with a metallic taste in their mouths.