Column 2: Electric Boogaloo – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

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Of all the original Star Trek motion pictures, the fourth instalment is by far the best: a stupendous blend of sci-fi, comedy and drama. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home has it all.

Instead of traversing around in a disc-shaped spaceship in the future, the crew find themselves hauled into present day, or our past if you want to be pedantic as the film was released in 1986, in search of some whales. Yes, this film has the second strangest plot-line you could ever read, short of Rubber (2010) (seriously read the plot-line for Rubber; the crew were pretty whacked-out). The crew find themselves stranded in 1986 in search of a pair of the aforementioned sea creatures to take back to the future to mate and save the universe from an alien probe searching for whale life only to find they are extinct. So, normal everyday life for Kirk and Spock here; ‘go somewhere and examine what they’re doing and don’t get involved’ actually means ‘go there, don’t just watch but get really involved to the point where you’re near death’.

“Any film with time-travel to the 80s is always a winner”

There are undoubtedly many Trekkie fans out there who are pleading for a Voyage Home remake but the fact is folks this would be near impossible; the original has more original points than you could shake a whale-seeking probe at. Number 4 is by far better than number one because it actually goes somewhere in a proverbial hurry; number one was only really for the rock-solid Trekkie fans. It had a great plot-line on paper – the crew are pulled into the unknown void that has always been spoken of for the entire series in the 60s and 70s and find themselves closer to all the mysteries of the universe, including the knowledge of God’s existence – but in watching the film is slow and has more dialogue than action and not a very good balance of the two either. Four has just the right consistency of dialogue, action and suspense, all mixed in with the best future-past humour ever. The best part for me was the discovery of an old computer by Scottie and Dr McCoy – “a keyboard, how quaint” after thinking the mouse was a radio.

Along with this, the film is the source of the iconic image of Captain Kirk and Spock on what looks to be an American tramline from the 80s. That was what sold the film for me; any film with time-travel to the 80s is always a winner.

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