Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Year: 1986

Synopsis: After successfully saving Spock from death itself, the crew of the Enterprise is prepared to return home for judgement over their rogue actions. They soon learn that the Federation is being crippled by a probe of unknown origin, and must find a means of answering the probe’s call in the past.

Pros:
• Was a strong plot driven by actors comfortable in their roles.
• Almost insane desperation ran in the DNA of the plot from redeeming themselves in the eyes of Starfleet authorities to saving the Earth from an unknown force.
• The surreal time travel sequence was truly breathless.
• Fully embraced the hilarity of being 23rd century time travelers in 1980s San Fransisco. Was very strong on how no one can really know all the details of their own people’s history, as Kirk and crew were never historians.
• Successfully showed an original environmentalist story with the characters we all love.
• Perhaps the best soundtrack of all the Star Trek films.
• No true antagonists, only devastating misunderstandings.

Cons:
• Those unfamiliar with the prior films might have been a bit confused about Spock’s memory problems from doing too much LDS back in the 60s.
• It did seem a bit convenient that Kirk and crew were in the right place and time to uncover the secrets of the mysterious probe.

Discussion:
“Gracie is pregnant!”

Not only was this entry a great bookend to the storyline began in Wrath of Kahn, but also a great film. It had just about everything and more: rogue heroes out for redemption, a recovering Spock, time travel, environmentalism, and even a touch of Cold War. The idealism of Star Trek was confirmed and expanded here. Though far from shedding the cerebral elements of the franchise, they were far better integrated here than other installments. There are always consequences to actions, and whole species going extinct can be devastating, often directly creating problems for us humans. Sure, the Dodo was probably not of extra terrestrial origin, but the metaphor of an alien probe seeking to learn what happened to the colony was a good and direct metaphor for the often unpredictable consequences of extinction. Going back in time as a means to solve a problem might be seen as cheating to some, but Kirk and crew succeeded. With the humpbacked wales not yet extinct in the real 21st century, perhaps we can help to save our little home before the time travel cheat code is utilized.

Related:
Star Trek Franchise


Official Website

Rotten Tomatoes — 85%

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