Happy 35th Anniversary, Star Trek: The Motion Picture!

“Mister Scott, an alien object of unbelievable destructive power is less than three days away from this planet. The only starship in interception range is the Enterprise. Ready, or not, she launches in twelve hours.”

st-tmp-35thCan ya believe it? Thirty-five years ago today.

Warts and all, it’s still an indelible part of my childhood. I remember standing in the lobby of the theater waiting to go into the auditorium, and looking at the ginormous display they’d erected. The brand-new Enterprise in all its glory, along with monster-sized heads of Kirk and the rest of the crew, including the weird-looking bald lady who was intriguing to my 12-year-old brain on a level I couldn’t quite fathom at that point.

I’m oversharing again, aren’t I?

Anyway, Star Trek: The Motion Picture gets its share of well-earned criticism. At the time, 12-year old me didn’t think it was as good or entertaining or fun as the original series. Like 2001: A Space Odyssey or Close Encounters of the Third Kind to name a couple of examples, I only learned to appreciate it much later. For whatever the hell my opinion’s worth, it remains the one Star Trek film that really tried to be something other than an expanded episode of its parent television series. It was a flawed yet noble effort, and it paved the way for the juggernaut that became and remains “the Star Trek franchise.”

So, yeah, I have a soft spot for this flick. A few years ago, I wrote about it for Tor.com as part of a “Star Trek movies” theme week they did, covering a bit of its troubled production and what I at least think I saw in the (sorta) finished product at the time, and why it’s managed to still grab my attention every so often in the years since:

Tor.com – “Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Big Ideas Worthy of A Return”

And if that’s not enough, check out this poster, which is just painted in Awesome:

The film also features what I still consider to be the best Trek film score to date.

On a selfish note, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was also the beginning of Pocket Books’ association with Star Trek publishing. It’s a relationship that continues to this day and which has produced hundreds of books including novels, anthologies, technical manuals, episode guides, art books, calendars, and all sorts of other cool stuff. Thanks to Pocket’s run of Star Trek: Strange New Worlds writing contests, I have what laughingly passes for a “writing career.”

So…you know…thanks, Pocket, for all of that 🙂

Happy Birthday, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, you imperfect yet strangely lovable beast, you.


10 thoughts on “Happy 35th Anniversary, Star Trek: The Motion Picture!

    1. Overall, I think it’s an improvement. Some of the “fixes” with the new effects don’t quite work for me, but the edits and scene restorations Wise made to adjust the pacing are the biggest plus. That, and the improved sound mix is a definite thumbs up.


      1. Ditto. I’m still holding out a smidgen of hope that we’ll get a Blu-ray version. (CBS will have to order new VFX, since the DVD ones weren’t HD-ready, but they’ve gone all-out with other Trek releases, so I suppose it’s possible…)


  1. Right with you, Dayton. “Flawed but noble” is a good description. It’s a far better film — both a Star Trek film, and a film in general — than most people give it credit for. It’s certainly the most visually stunning of the Trek movies, too.


  2. I enjoyed the film, with its flaws. More than the other movies, it actually creates a seamless futuristic world of incredible detail ( I sound like the movie now). I feel like a fly on the wall when I watch it. I love the other movies, but they are much more aggressive in chasing the audience than the first. Roddenberry’s “strange is not necessarily wrong” theme is in evidence in TMP.


Lay it on me.

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