(release date: November 26, 1986)
Story: Leonard Nimoy & Harve Bennett
Screenplay: Steve Meerson & Peter Krikes and Harve Bennett & Nicholas Meyer
Director: Leonard Nimoy
Amanda: Jane Wyatt
Sarek: Mark Lenard
Federation Council President: Robert Ellenstein
Bob Briggs: Scott DeVenney
Dr. Gillian Taylor: Catherine Hicks
Admiral Cartwright: Brock Peters
Klingon Ambassador: John Schuck
Lt. Saavik: Robin Curtis
Captain's Log: After having spent three months on Vulcan following their retrieval of Spock from Genesis and the reunification of his katra with his body, the former crew of the Enterprise choose to return to Earth to face the consequences of their actions. While travelling home in a borrowed Klingon Bird-of-Prey, they learn that Earth is being devastated by a powerful, mysterious probe, which is draining all power as it sends a strange signal toward Earth's oceans. Spock determines that the signal is the song of humpback whales, but unfortunately, humpback whales have been extinct for two hundred years. In order to save Earth, Kirk formulates a plan to go back in time to the late twentieth century to find some humpback whales and then bring them to the 23rd century in order to talk to the probe. After a series of misadventures, the crew find a pair of humpback whales, George and Gracie, under the care of cetologist Dr. Gillian Taylor, and transport them back to the 23rd century, where they're able to successfully communicate with the probe. Having saved the Earth from the probe, the charges against the Enterprise crew are dropped, with the exception of disobeying a superior officer - the result of which is that Kirk is demoted from Admiral to Captain and given command of the new Enterprise.
Whoops!: Let's start with the big one: how is it that no one has bothered to go retrieve/arrest Kirk and his crew after the events of the last movie? This is an incident so severe that the Klingon ambassador is complaining about it in the Federation council chambers and threatening to derail the peace talks that have apparently been going on between the Klingons and the Federation, and yet Kirk is still roaming free? Now, you might argue that no one knows where Kirk is - except the ambassador knows that Kirk saved Spock's life, so therefore you'd think he'd know they're still on Vulcan. Does Vulcan weirdly not have an extradition treaty with the Federation? It's almost like everyone treats the place like some obscure backwater world, rather than one of the primary members of the Federation.
How is it that the erstwhile Enterprise crew are the only ones who've thought to process the sound so that it sounds like it's underwater? Surely this idea must have occurred to someone else. [Maybe it did, but they lacked the power to follow through with it.] And if the probe wants to contact humpback whales, why is it vaporizing the oceans that the whales would need to survive?
Why is Saavik remaining on Vulcan? She's still a Starfleet officer, and she's not implicated in any of the crimes that the others committed, so why not go with them? [Maybe she can't handle the stench of the ship; observe McCoy's comments here and then compare them to T'Pol's in Enterprise.]
Everyone worries about the possibility of Scotty's giving the formula to transparent aluminum to Dr. Nichols being a predestination paradox, but no one seems to worry that the bit with Kirk's glasses threatens to be the same thing. [The obvious possibility is that the pair McCoy gives Kirk in The Wrath of Khan isn't this pair from this moment, but rather the original 18th century pair without any time travel (well, other than the standard form); that pair then subsequently traveled back in time to 1986 and then went somewhere else, rather than ending up as a birthday gift in 2285. The only concern is that that contradicts the theory of time travel established in the original series (usually in scripts by D.C. Fontana), where people and objects can't exist simultaneously in two places at once, even if they're at different moments of their personal time stream - see "Yesteryear" for the most obvious example of this. So did the original pair of glasses suddenly wink out of existence when Kirk arrived in 1986?]
A number of visual oddities to end with: Scott is back to commander after having been made a captain in The Search for Spock [and it's not like anyone has been around to demote him]. The cloaked Bounty leaves a deep impression in the ground of Golden Gate Park and even flattens a trash can - yet the grass itself remains upright. No one aboard the Enterprise aircraft carrier seems to care about Chekov's attempted escape as he runs through the corridors while a security breach is announced over the loudspeakers, content instead to casually stroll along in the background. The Bounty only casts a shadow over the whaling ship in the long shot. When Kirk is demoted at the end, he changes his rank insignia to captain but doesn't change out of the gold-trimmed uniform jacket that we've only seen admirals wear. And we love Majel Barrett as much as anyone, but why is she billed in the opening credits when all she has is a quick cameo and a single line?
Classic Lines: This script is chock-full of quotable lines, including:
"Damage control is easy. Reading Klingon - that's hard."
"May fortune favor the foolish."
Spock to Kirk, after Gillian catches them out: "Are you sure it isn't time for a colorful metaphor?"
Amanda: "Spock, does the good of the many outweigh the good of the one?" Spock: "I would accept that as an axiom." Amanda: "Then you stand here alive because of a mistake, made by your flawed, feeling, human friends. They have sacrificed their futures because they believed that the good of the one - you - was more important to them." Spock: "Humans make illogical decisions." Amanda: "They do indeed."
McCoy: "You really have gone where no man has gone before. Can't you tell me what it felt like?" Spock: "It would be impossible to discuss the subject without a common frame of reference." McCoy: "...You mean I have to die to discuss your insights on death?" Spock: "Forgive me, Doctor, I am receiving a number of distress calls." McCoy: "I don't doubt it!"
Spock about Kirk: "He is a man of deep feelings."
McCoy, bluffing his way past policemen: "Dammit, do you want an acute case on your hands? This woman has immediate post-prandial upper abdominal distension! Now out of the way! Get out of the way!" Kirk, after they've gotten past them: "What did you say she's got?" McCoy: "Cramps."
Policeman: "How's the patient, Doctor?" Kirk: "He's gonna make it!" Policeman: "He? You came in with a she." Kirk: "One little mistake..."
Technobabble: Yominium sulfide crystals have a chemical formula of K4YM3(SO73ES2). [K is potassium, Y is yttrium, S is sulfur and O is oxygen. There are currently no elements with an atomic symbol of M or E. (Unless YM is meant to be Ym, the (fictional) yominium in question. This would suggest that ES is in fact Es - einsteinium - and that SO may be So, which is not currently an atomic symbol.)]
In 1987, computers were cloned from carrots. [We have no idea what this is meant to mean; it's one of the written answers Spock gives during his testing.]
Don't Wear a Red Shirt: Chekov suffers from a torn middle meningeal artery after falling off the deck of an aircraft carrier. By 20th-century standards he wasn't expected to survive, but McCoy is able to quickly and easily repair the artery using 23rd-century technology.
Alien Love: There seems to be a mutual attraction between Kirk and Gillian, but neither act on it - and Gillian only gives Kirk a rather chaste kiss on the cheek at the end of the movie.
Library Computer: Earth was threatened by a large, mysterious probe, which looked like a massive, stone-like right cylinder, with an opening near one of the ends of the cylinder from which a glowing blue sphere emerged, held in place by a bright white beam of some sort. The probe was so large it dwarfed Spacedock. This probe was transmitting a signal on an amplification wave so powerful that it was draining the power from any nearby vessels and stations, causing them to run on emergency power and leaving them in dire need of rescue; this signal had caused two starships and three smaller vessels to lose power, while the Klingons had lost two vessels to it, shortly after the probe was detected entering Federation space. Spock believed it was unaware of the destructive nature of its signal, believing those who controlled the probe to be highly intelligent. This signal was directed at Earth's oceans; Spock determined that the probe was in fact attempting to contact humpback whales, ionizing the atmosphere and vaporizing the oceans in its attempt to do so. As the humpback whale had gone extinct in the 21st century, there were no whales present to answer the call until Kirk and his crew brought a couple back from the late 20th century via time travel. These whales were able to answer the probe's signal, at which point it ceased transmitting, withdrew the sphere into its body, and left Earth behind, apparently satisfied. [We never learn anything about the origins of the probe or what it actually wanted, beyond Spock's speculation that it was wondering why it hadn't heard from any humpback whales in a while.]
The U.S.S. Saratoga was a Miranda-class vessel [like the Reliant in Star Trek II], with the registry number NCC-1887. The captain of the Saratoga was a black woman in her 40s, with shoulder-length hair. [This is the first time by airdate/release date we see a female captain in Star Trek.] The science officer was a younger white male, while the helmsman was a non-human commander with long white hair, a pronounced white mustache (albeit without the middle part), and some minor ridging on a prominent forehead. [Behind the scenes this species was called an Efrosian, after unit production manager Mel Efros. Another Efrosian will show up as the Federation president in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.] The Saratoga was patrolling Sector Five, [Klingon] Neutral Zone when it encountered the alien probe and was disabled by it.
The Yorktown was a Federation vessel that was also affected by the probe; they lost all power and were attempting to create a makeshift solar sail that would help generate enough power for life support. [No word if they succeeded, but given the overall tone of the movie we can probably assume they did.] The captain of the Yorktown was a man of Indian descent, [named Joel Randolph in the script, though not on-screen].
Starfleet Headquarters is still in San Francisco. The person in charge during the probe crisis is Admiral Cartwright, a human male of African descent with short hair. In Headquarters we also see a pale-skinned alien with three large cranial lobes, yellow eyes, and large, pointed ears. [There's no official name for this species; the contemporary Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update supplement to FASA's Star Trek Role-Playing Game called him an Arkenite, which seems as good as anything else.] He's wearing a sort of black vertical headband that runs down past his chin, ending in a small blue light on either end. We also see Christine Chapel, now a medical Commander, and Janice Rand, working as a communications officer. [This movie marks Majel Barrett's final appearance as Chapel.]
The Federation Council chamber is located in San Francisco. It's a long, white-ish room, with seats along the long sides of the room for people to view the proceedings and a large viewscreen on one end. Each end of the room has a small series of steps leading up to a large marble dais, with either the aforementioned viewscreen or tall sliding doors on the far wall. The council members appear to be wearing an emblem indicating their status as council members. It looks like a vaguely P-shaped design that turns into a set of spread wings, with a diamond attached to the bottom of the wing; there is a circular design with stars inset into the diamond shape. Aliens seen in this scene include two bald people in white robes wearing elaborate breathing masks over their faces [apparently called Aammazarans; the breathing apparatus is the same as that seen on the Zaranites in Star Trek: The Motion Picture, suggesting they might be related - and note the appearance of "zaran" in both names]; a number of Andorians; an alien with a smooth white face, pointed at the bottom and broad at the top [rather like someone had squished down a stereotypical "Grey" alien head], and two large strips of brown hair running lengthwise down the scalp, separated by a large smooth strip of skin [the Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update calls them Arcadians]; a couple vaguely reptilian people with sloping, protuding foreheads and flattened mouths and jaws [Ariolo, according to the aforementioned Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update]; a couple cat-like people, including a Starfleet Admiral [these are almost certainly Caitians (The Animated Series)]; four human-looking bald men in white robes, with large metal jewelry either around their necks or on their heads [Deltans (Star Trek: The Motion Picture), most likely]; a couple Tellarites; a number of Vulcans and Romulans [some of the Vulcan-like people smile and grin, suggesting they're more likely Romulan than Vulcan, but this isn't made explicit]; and a couple aliens with flowing grey hair, wearing what looks like gold welding masks with blue lenses [Xelatians, according to the Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update. There are four other species mentioned in the Star Trek IV Sourcebook Update: the Alpha Centaurans, the Bzzit Khaht, the Edosians (e.g., Arex from the Animated Series), and the Kasheeta. Production photos of the Bzzit Khaht and the Kasheeta exist, and while the aliens in question do appear on screen in the background they're not actually distinguishable. The Bzzit Khaht look vaguely fish-like, with large green eyes surrounded by big brow ridges and huge fin-like ears. The Kasheeta are hairless, with long faces with huge mouths and small yellow eyes set on the side of their heads. The Edosians and Alpha Centaurans, as far as anyone can tell, don't actually appear in the movie.]
The president of the Federation is currently a Caucasian human male, bald with a fringe of white hair and a very full goatee. He's dressed in a long black robe with thick white embossed paneling on the chest and down the lapels. The president has the power to declare a planet distress signal, which he does when the probe is approaching Earth.
The Klingon ambassador to the Federation is an older male with grey hair, dressed in an elaborate white version of the typical Klingon design, with long white braids running down the length of his tunic, ending in tassels mid-shin. The ambassador accused Kirk of murdering a Klingon crew and hijacking a Klingon vessel and of secretly developing the Genesis torpedo to use against the Klingons [a rather selective interpretation of the events of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock] and demanded his extradition - a request which the Federation had already denied, noting that Kirk had been charged with nine violations of Starfleet regulations. He also claimed that Vulcans were well-known as the intellectual puppets of the Federation. During the events of Star Trek III, a peace treaty between the Federation and the Klingon Empire was being negotiated, but Kirk's events seemingly placed that peace in jeopardy; the ambassador vowed that there would be no peace between the Federation and the Klingons while Kirk was still alive [but see Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country].
Kirk and the rest of the former Enterprise crew have spent the last three months in "exile" on Vulcan. During that time they've been retrofitting the Klingon Bird-of-Prey that they commandeered (Star Trek III): the computer is now able to interface with Federation memory banks, Scott has upgraded the dilithium sequencer, and the bridge has been heavily remodeled since the last time we saw it, with consoles at the back instead of just at the front, a lower captain's chair, and a larger viewscreen. [This is because no one bothered to keep the Klingon bridge set from the last movie, so they just made a new one that served their needs.] There's also an escape hatch in the ceiling on the starboard side of the bridge. Chekov and Sulu have also spent time making certain that weapons and the cloaking device are in working order (so that they aren't fired upon by their own people while in an enemy vessel). We also learn that the cargo bay of the ship is about 60 feet long and 10 feet tall, and that it has an explosive release lever to manually open the bay doors. McCoy sardonically named the ship the HMS Bounty. The crew unanimously voted to return to Earth to face the charges they knew were waiting for them after the events of the last movie.
On their way back to Earth, however, they discovered the actions of the probe and its attempt to contact humpback whales. Since, as mentioned before, the humpback whale had gone extinct, the HMS Bounty went back in time to when humpbacks were still alive - a maneuver accomplished by slingshotting around the sun [as previously seen in "Tomorrow Is Yesterday"]. The Bounty arrived in the early morning of December 18, 1986, above San Francisco. [The San Francisco Register newspaper seen in an early scene is dated Thursday, December 18; the year is difficult to make out on the Blu-ray, although it's definitely 19XX. December 18 was a Thursday in 1986 (the year the movie came out), so assuming the dates in Star Trek line up with the real world 1986 seems like a pretty safe bet.] The crew of the Bounty split up to perform their assigned tasks: Kirk and Spock went to track down whales; Sulu, Scott, and McCoy went to find a way to hold the whales (and the water) safely in the cargo bay of the Bounty; and Chekov and Uhura went to find a nuclear reactor in order to obtain high-energy particles needed to recrystallize the dilithium so that the Bounty could return to the 23rd century, as the Klingon crystals were decrystallizing as a result of time travel and would strand the crew in the 20th century unless they were recrystallized. As money was still used in the 20th century, Kirk pawned the 18th century American-made glasses that McCoy gave him for his birthday (Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan), for which he received $100, which he then divided among the three groups.
Kirk and Spock located a pair of humpback whales named George and Gracie [after George Burns and Gracie Allen, presumably], being held in captivity at the Maritime Cetacean Institute in Sausalito. George and Gracie wandered into the San Francisco Bay as calves and were brought to the Cetacean Institute. Now mature adults, they each weighed about 45,000 pounds and ate two tons of shrimp a day. [This last fact may be an exaggeration.] Gracie was heavily pregnant. Due to the cost of their food and the fact that no humback calf born into captivity had survived, George and Gracie were due to be released back into the wild by being flown in a special 747 to Alaska - an event which ended up occurring late on December 18. [As far as we can determine, no humpback whales have ever been held in captivity for any meaningful length of time - they're simply too big. Consequently, the comments about humpback whale calves not surviving in captivity likely derive from a similar fact about orcas - as of filming only one orca born in captivity had survived longer than a few days.] George and Gracie were unhappy with their species' treatment by humanity and were willing to travel forward to the 23rd century to talk to the probe. They liked Dr. Gillian Taylor very much. (These last facts were ascertained by Spock via mind meld.) They were fitted with radio transmitters broadcasting at 401 MHz in order to keep tabs on them.
The Cetacean Institute was run by a man named Bob Briggs, a middle-aged Caucasian male with brown hair and eyes. The Assistant Director of the Institute was Dr. Gillian Taylor, a Caucasian woman in her mid-30s with shoulder-length, permed blonde hair and blue eyes who was still willing to take tour groups around the Institute. She drove a 1975/1973-1974 [depending on the scene] Chevrolet C-10 pickup truck. Dr. Taylor had a deep attachment to the whales and was somewhat upset that the Institute was planning on releasing George and Gracie into the wild, although she understood the reasons why. However, when Kirk offered to take the whales forward to the 23rd century, she (rather remarkably) believed him, and she aided him in tracking down the whales shortly after they'd been released. Dr. Taylor chose to return to the 23rd century, arguing that no one else there would have the necessary knowledge of humpback whales and that she had no one in 1986 that would miss her. She had a photographic memory, and she can recognize the D.H. Lawrence poem "Whales Weep Not!" After the events of this movie she joined a science vessel, with the goal of catching up on the last 300 years of knowledge.
McCoy, Scott, and Sulu traveled to Plexicorp, a plexiglass manufacturer, in order to procure the plexiglass needed to convert the Bounty's cargo bay into a water tank for the whales. The plant manager was a Dr. Nichols, a middle-aged, somewhat overweight Caucasian male with receding brown hair and large glasses. He wore a button that announced that he had quit smoking. Dr. Nichols was willing to exchange the plexiglass that Scott needed to enclose the bay and withstand 18,000 cubic feet of water (six inches thick) for a formula for a substance called transparent aluminum, which could perform the same task as the plexiglass but be only one inch thick. Nichols was willing to make this exchange even though he knew it would take years just to work out the dynamics of the matrix. McCoy was concerned that giving Nichols the formula for transparent aluminum would change the future, but Scott pointed out that it could have been the case that Nichols was in fact the inventor of transparent aluminum.
Chekov and Uhura headed to the naval base in Alameda in order to locate a nuclear-powered vessel; their purpose was to collect high-energy photons from the nuclear reactor, which would then be used to recrystallize dilithium. The naval vessel they located was the USS Enterprise (CVN-65); Uhura and Chekov were able to beam in and extract the photons, but the energy drain was noticed by the Enterprise personnel and, while Uhura was able to beam out with the photons, Chekov was captured. While trying to escape, he fell off the deck of the Enterprise and suffered severe head trauma, after which he was sent to Mercy Hospital, in the Mission District. The doctors there were planning to try to evacuate the hematoma to relieve the pressure, but McCoy intervened and repaired the torn middle meningeal artery.
Kirk is a bit put out by Spock's slight lack of familiarity following his return from the dead. He seems remarkably at ease in the 20th century, altering his speech to include more cussing (or "colorful metaphors", as Spock puts it) and able to have relaxed conversations with the locals, even if he occasionally gets the details wrong (such as calling LSD "LDS"). He's originally from Iowa, and he can quote the poem "Whales Weep Not!"
Spock is still recovering after the events of the previous movie. While his intellectual knowledge seems intact (complete with being able to focus on multiple assessment computers simultaneously), he's missing some of the social cues he'd had prior to his death. His mother notes that his retraining has happened in the Vulcan way, which is why he's having difficulty with his feelings. However, by the end of the movie he seems to have gotten a better handle on them. He didn't review the philosophical disciplines while on Vulcan. He's able to perform a mind meld on the whales [it's not clear if he melds with one or both of them], in which he's able to convey the Bounty crew's intentions to take them to the 23rd century. He has difficulty with "colorful metaphors" and not always telling the truth to help in social situations. He knows his Hamlet and dislikes Italian food. Among the knowledge and abilities he demonstrates in the testing room on Vulcan, he can adjust the sine wave of a magnetic envelope to allow anti-neutrons to pass through it but not anti-gravitons.
Sarek was impressed with Spock's handling of the probe crisis. He acknowledged that he may have been in error when he initially opposed Spock's joining of Starfleet, calling Spock's comrades people of good character.
McCoy was extremely critical of medical procedures in the late 20th century, comparing them to the Spanish Inquisition and the Middle Ages. He saw no problem with dispensing medicine to a kidney dialysis patient that regrew her kidney for her in a very short time. He doesn't like the smell of the Bounty, and he assumes after they're all court martialed that they'll be mining borite for the rest of their lives.
Scotty was unfamiliar with a 20th-century mouse-based computer system (an Apple Macintosh Plus, to be specific), although he could use the keyboard. He could read Klingon, albeit with difficulty, and Klingon food packs give him a sour stomach. He found damage control to be easy. Prior to the events in this movie he'd never beamed up 400 tons before.
Sulu was born in San Francisco. He's able to recognize a Huey 204 helicopter and remarks that he finds them old but interesting. He flew something similar in his Academy days and is able to pilot this helicopter without too much difficulty (although he does accidentally activate the windshield wipers).
Chekov's service number was 656-5827D. He's unaware of the potential issues regarding someone with a Russian accent inquiring about nuclear vessels in 1986 America.
Saavik chooses to stay behind on Vulcan instead of travelling with the others on the Bounty. [No reason why is given; early drafts of the script had her pregnant with Spock's child, following his pon farr in Star Trek III, but that's not stated in the final version.]
The charges against Kirk and his crew included conspiracy; assault on Federation officers; theft of Federation property, namely the U.S.S. Enterprise; sabotage of the U.S.S. Excelsior; willful destruction of Federation property (namely the Enterprise); and disobeying the direct orders of the Starfleet Commander. In light of the crew's actions in saving Earth by bringing two humpback whales from the past to answer the probe's call, all the charges were dropped except disobeying a direct order, which was directed solely at Admiral Kirk. His punishment was to be demoted to the rank of captain and to then take command of the U.S.S. Enterprise-A.
The area of Vulcan the crew have been staying near includes a large, flat public space along a cliffside, with a number of wide paths crisscrossing the space. We also see two large obelisks, with a large flame between them. There are some Vulcans helping with the Bounty, dressed in simple white garments with tall red hats that curved forward. There are birds on Vulcan.
The Federation has no way to recrystallize dilithium [although see the Short Treks episode "Runaway" and its Discovery follow-up "Such Sweet Sorrow"]. However, using high-energy photons from a nuclear reactor (a technology abandoned at the start of the fusion era), Spock and Scotty are able to recrystallize the Klingon crystal. The photons are collected via a handheld device with a blinking LED "X" pattern on it, which is placed on the outside of the reactor - although it takes it some time to penetrate the reactor's shielding.
As noted before ("I, Mudd"), there's a city named Leningrad on 23rd-century Earth.
According to the San Francisco Register, on December 18, 1986, nuclear arms talks had stalled, leaving a Geneva summit in doubt.
The literary "giants" of the late 20th century include Jacqueline Susann [author of Valley of the Dolls] and Harold Robbins [probably best known for his novel The Carpetbaggers].
Money is no longer used in the 23rd century. [But compare with earlier episodes of Star Trek, where it's suggested that some form of money-like object is still in use.]
Radiation can cause Klingon phasers not to work properly.
Spacedock (last seen in the previous movie) still contains the U.S.S. Excelsior. There's also a Miranda-class vessel inside; both it and the Excelsior are affected by the probe, with Spacedock unable to launch any vessels. Later we see an Oberth-class vessel and the new Enterprise - NCC-1701-A - inside as well. Other than the revised registry, it looks the same as the original refit version.
T'Plana-Hath was considered the matron of Vulcan philosophy. She was quoted as saying, "Logic is the cement of our civilization with which we ascend from chaos using reason as our guide."
The first conclusive advances made on toroidal space-time distortion occurred in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on Earth in 2138 [we think; it's difficult to make out the year, even on the Blu-ray, so it could be 2158].
The molecular formula of yominium sulfide crystals is K4YM3(SO73ES2).
The universal atmospheric element compensator was developed on the Loonkerian outpost on Klendth. It was a significant contribution to bio-engineering.
In 1987, computers were cloned from carrots and the New York Times was the last magazine to close its doors; these were the principal historical events on Earth that year.
A Klingon mummification glyph is a complex design, consistently roughly of a diamond shape attached to a trapezoid, with the left side being squared off and the right side pointing inward, leading to a vaguely arrow-shaped base. There are also some abstract geometric shapes surrounding the main design. [Given the later treatment of Klingon dead we see in things such as the Next Generation episode "Heart of Glory", this may be an ancient glyph.]
Kiri-kin-tha's first law of metaphysics is that nothing unreal exists. [The Enterprise episode "The Forge" indicates that Kiri-kin-tha was a Vulcan.]
Final Analysis: "You're proposing that we go backwards in time, find humpback whales, then bring them forward in time, drop 'em off, and hope to hell they tell this probe what to go do with itself!" If The Wrath of Khan reestablished Trek's action credentials for the big screen and The Search for Spock reestablished the character relationships, then The Voyage Home is the big-screen version of one of the series' comedy episodes. The trip back in time allows for lots of fun "fish out of water" moments, and happily, everyone in the main cast gets stuff to do, while none of the jokes feel particularly mean-spirited (something that won't be the case in the next movie). It also helps that the plot is easy to understand and something fairly relatable, and the "save the whales" plot is handled with suitable gravity. It's easy to see why this remains one of the most popular of the Star Trek films.
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Page originally created: March 17, 2020
Page last updated: April 7, 2020