Saturday, March 28, 2009

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) [PG] ****

It’s the late 23rd century, and Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and his crew are in exile on the planet Vulcan, readying a captured Klingon spaceship for the voyage home to Earth, knowing that upon their arrival they will be charged with conspiracy and other high crimes. Regardless, they embark on their journey, and as they approach Earth they hear a planet-wide distress signal. An alien probe is attempting to communicate with a marine intelligence, and, in the process, its high-energy transmission is vaporizing Earth's oceans.

Science Officer Spock (Leonard Nimoy) deduces that the probe is attempting to communicate with humpback whales, a species that had been hunted to extinction over two hundred years earlier. With no alternative, Kirk and his crew decide to attempt time warp, in order to return to the Earth of the late 20th century, find a pair of humpback whales to bring forward in time to the 23rd century, so they can respond to the alien probe, save Earth and repopulate themselves.

The film's save-the-whales environmental theme, its sympathetic story line, and its setting in the late 1970s San Francisco Bay Area insured that Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home would be hugely popular when it was released in 1986. The familiar supporting cast includes Chief Medical Officer Leonard McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Chief Engineer Montgomery Scott (James Doohan), Helmsman Hikaru Sulu (George Takei), Communications Officer Nyota Uhura (Nichelle Nichols) and Navigator Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig), and is amended by the lovable Catherine Hicks, who plays Dr. Gillian Taylor, a biologist at the Cetacean Institute in Sausalito, CA, which just happens to have two humpback whales in captivity.

There are a number of humorous bits in the film, as well as some memorable dialogue, and despite the film's dated appearance it is easy to understand why Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home has remained a sentimental favorite of Trekkies over a quarter of a century after its theatrical release.

Labels: adventure, comedy, sci-fi, space-time

Internet Movie Database
RottenTomatoes Averages (critics=69,viewers=70)

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