Star Trek (series)
Synopsis of Movie
“Evaluation, Mr. Spock.”
The original Star Trek series went off the air in 1969, a victim of a poor time slot and the accompanying low ratings. But like any martyr to the cause, the show only became more beloved after it was gone. Die-hard fans made Star Trek a perpetual favorite in syndication, and Star Trek conventions actually became more popular and well-attended as the years rolled on. After toying with the idea of a new TV series (and after a short-lived animated series), Paramount and series creator Gene Roddenberry decided that the franchise’s new course would be set on the big screen.
Accompanied by months of fanfare and legions of salivating fans, Star Trek: The Motion Picture finally arrived in theaters in December of 1979, two years after Star Wars had proven that sci-fi was alive and well in Hollywood. Robert Wise, who had helped pioneer modern movie sci-fi with 1951’s The Day the Earth Stood Still, was brought in to direct the film, and the series’ original cast was rounded up and sent back into action.
The film’s plot hinges on a enormous outer space phenomenon which is headed toward Earth, destroying all in its wake. The only vessel close enough to intercept is the U.S.S. Enterprise, newly refurbished and sitting in drydock. Admiral James T. Kirk, who hasn’t been at a ship’s helm since the original Enterprise’s five-year mission, is tapped by Starfleet to take command of the overhauled Enterprise from up-and-coming Captain Willard Decker.
Kirk reunites his old crew, including the logic-driven Vulcan Spock, Dr. Leonard ‘Bones’ McCoy, engineer Montgomery ‘Scotty’ Scott, helmsman Hikaru Sulu, navigator Pavel Chekov and communications officer Nyota Uhura. Together, these old friends inspect the new Enterprise, then head out for a close encounter with the phenomenon and its controlling force, the strictly logical V’ger.
Anticipation was high for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and the film became a smash hit. Ten years of technological advancements made for impressive special effects, enough to earn the effects team an Academy Award nomination (along with the art direction team and composer Jerry Goldsmith). Star Trek had been reborn, and the franchise continued with several more features over the next two decades.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, considered by many to be the best in the movie series, arrived in 1982. This sequel features the return of Khan Noonien Singh from the “Space Seed” episode of the original series. This time, the exiled Khan hopes to harness the power of the Genesis Project, a Starfleet program to spread life on desolate planets. Taking control of a Starfleet vessel (and a few Starfleet officers), Khan lures Admiral Kirk back into active duty for a battle of wits and wills, capped off by a noble and surprising sacrifice.
Another huge success, Star Trek II paved the way for 1984’s Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Directed by “Spock” himself, Leonard Nimoy, the third film picks up where the second left off. Spock’s father, Sarek, informs Kirk and crew that Spock’s spirit is being held inside the thoughts of another crew member. Only by reuniting spirit and body on the planet Vulcan can Spock be restored to his usual logical self. Unfortunately, Kirk is without a starship, as the Enterprise has been assigned to the scrap yard. Risking their careers and reputations, the crew sets out to save their old friend, battling the evil Klingon Kurge along the way.
Leonard Nimoy continued his directorial work in 1986’s Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Inarguably the silliest installment, the film is also another popular candidate for best of the series. Spock does, indeed, rejoin the crew, but his memory is less than perfect after the events of the previous two films. Kirk and company have more pressing concerns, however. First, a Klingon official has accused the crew of murder, basing his charge on Kirk’s activities in the earlier films. Second, a strange probe is nearing Earth, causing catastrophic weather conditions. The crew discovers that the probe’s signal is an imitation of the humpbacked whale’s call, but in the 23rd century, humpbacked whales have been hunted to extinction.
Boarding the Klingon Bird of Prey they acquired in Star Trek III, and against Federation rules, the Enterprise crew travels back to the 20th century, circa 1986. As Kirk and the still-addled Spock search for a suitable pair of humpbacked whales, Chekov and Scotty try to secure a source of nuclear power to help the Bird of Prey get back to its own time. This being 1986, the only nearby source of nuclear power is in the hands of the U.S. military, and Russian-born Chekov isn’t exactly a welcome visitor on a nuclear U.S. Navy ship.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home was the most financially successful Star Trek film yet, and star William Shatner (Kirk) decided that if Spock could direct a hit Star Trek movie, he could, too. The result was 1989’s Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. More ponderous than the earlier films (especially Star Trek IV), the fifth film tackles the issue of God himself. Responding to a planetary crisis perpetuated by Vulcan cult leader Sybok, Kirk and crew soon find that Sybok was merely luring them into his trap. Taking over the Enterprise, Sybok pilots the ship toward the “Great Barrier,” beyond which may lay God and the secrets of the cosmos.
While not of the same hit caliber as Star Trek IV, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier was still a successful film, proving that the franchise was as popular as ever with its core fans. 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country solidified that reputation, delivering a story with surprising parallels to the contemporary end of the Cold War.
As the film opens, the Klingons are facing a sudden loss of their planet’s ozone, forcing them to make a grudging alliance with the Federation. The soon-to-retire Kirk and crew are sent out as the Federation’s diplomatic arm. Kirk, Spock, Bones and the rest have an inherent distrust of the Klingons, and vice versa, but a dinner with Klingon reps Chancellor Gorkon and General Chang goes less terribly than it could have.
Before the negotiations can continue, a pair of torpedoes appears to be fired from the Enterprise into the Klingon vessel, and when Kirk and Bones beam aboard to help, the two old friends are arrested for the assassination of Gorkon and crew. As Kirk and Bones struggle to escape from the snowy prison to which they’re sent, Spock works to discover who really is sabotaging the peace talks.
The original Star Trek crew announced their retirement after Star Trek VI, and for the most part, they kept their word. Kirk, Scotty, Chekov and Sulu did return for the next film, 1994’s Star Trek: Generations, but they were strictly torch bearers, passing the flame on to the cast of TV’s Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Commander William Riker, android Data, engineer Geordi LaForge, Klingon Lieutenant Worf, Dr. Beverly Crusher and Counselor Deanna Troi were the real stars of Star Trek: Generations, kicking off a new run of films with a new cast. In this installment, the crew faces the threat of mad villain Dr. Soran, a man desperate to return to a cosmic paradise known as “The Nexus.” Unfortunately, to get there Soran plans to destroy an entire solar system. When Picard beams down to stop Soran, he is swept up into the Nexus himself, and after locating Kirk inside the Nexus, Picard arranges a cross-generational captains’ assault on the mad Soran.
With the Next Generation crew officially launched, Paramount moved ahead with Star Trek: First Contact in 1996. More action-heavy than most of the earlier films, this episode features the return of the ever-popular Borg, a collective consciousness made up of infected beings from every species in the known universe. When the Borg skip back to the 21st century to wreak their malevolence, it’s up to Picard and crew to time travel back and stop them. As Picard, Data and others battle the Borg and their creepy Queen aboard the Enterprise, a delegation that includes Geordi, Troi and Riker (Jonathan Frakes, who directed the film) beams down to Earth to convince future/past hero Zefram Cochrane to fulfill his destiny.
The latest (to date) chapter of the evergreen Star Trek movie franchise arrived near the end of 1998. Jonathan Frakes once more took the director’s chair for Star Trek: Insurrection, a sci-fi update of classic “fountain of youth” themes. On an observational mission to a peaceful planet, the crew discovers that the planet’s rings give eternal youth and vigor to its residents, the Ba’ku.
After Data seemingly malfunctions, the team also discovers a plot by an aging, hideous race known as the Son’a to remove the Ba’ku and harness the planet’s youthful radiation for themselves. Even worse, the Federation itself is on the side of the Son’a. Rebelling against an unjust system, Picard and company join the Ba’ku, fighting the Son’a and their leader, Ru’afo, for the fate of a peace-loving people.
Another international success, Star Trek: Insurrection proved that this wildly popular franchise has plenty of impulse power left in its engines. Gene Roddenberry’s legacy has lived on for more than thirty years, and ongoing fan support by “Trekkers” around the globe ensures that the Star Trek spirit will continue to live long and prosper wherever it goes.
Movie Release History1979 - Star Trek: The Motion Picture
1982 - Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
1984 - Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
1986 - Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
1989 - Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
1991 - Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
1994 - Star Trek: Generations
1996 - Star Trek: First Contact
1998 - Star Trek: Insurrection
Movie Sub Categorieslive-action
CastAdmiral/Captain James T. Kirk William Shatner
Commander Spock Leonard Nimoy
Commander Leonard 'Bones' McCoy, M.D.* DeForest Kelley
Commander Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott James Doohan
Lieutenant Commander Hikaru Sulu George Takei
Lieutenant Pavel Chekov Walter Koenig
Lieutenant Commander Nyota Uhura Nichelle Nichols
Dr. Christine Chapel Majel Barrett
Lieutenant Ilia Persis Khambatta
Captain/Commander Willard Decker Stephen Collins
Chief Petty Officer Janice Rand Grace Lee Whitney
Klingon Captain Mark Lenard
Alien Boy Billy Van Zandt
Epsilon Technician Roger Aaron Brown
Airlock Technician Gary Faga
Commander Branch David Gautreaux
Assistant to Rand John D. Gowans
Cardo Dock Ensign Howard Itzkowitz
Lieutenant Commander Sonak Jon Rashad Kamal
Chief DiFalco Marcy Lafferty
Epsilon Lieutenant Michele Ameen Billy
Chief Ross Terrence O'Connor
Lieutenant Cleary Michael Rougas
Woman Susan Sullivan
Crew Member Ralph Brannen
Crew Member Ralph Byers
Crew Member Paula Crist
Crew Member Iva Lane
Crew Member Franklyn Seales
Crew Member Momo Yashima
Klingon Crewman Jimmie Booth
Klingon Crewman Joel Kramer
Klingon Crewman Bill McIntosh
Klingon Crewman Dave Moordigian
Klingon Crewman Tom Morga
Klingon Crewman Tony Rocco
Klingon Crewman Joel Schultz
Klingon Crewman Craig Thomas
Vulcan Master Edna Glover
Vulcan Master Norman Stuart
Vulcan Master Paul Weber
Security Officer Joshua Gallegos
Yeoman Leslie C. Howard
Technical Assistant Sayra Hummel
Technical Assistant Junero Jennings
Alien From Planet Vega Steven Lance
Crewman Louise Stange-Wahl
Crewman Bjo Trimble