When I last reviewed this film I came to the realization that unlike other fantasy franchises (Lord of the Rings or Star Wars) part of Trek’s (and Battlestar Galactica’s) appeal was that it was just like real life. I saw this film at age 12 and it changed the course of my life. I saw it numerous times in the theater and taped it off of HBO and watched it countless times afterwards. I’d have it on in the background as I did homework. I never tired of it, never will. I say without irony that it is one of the greatest films ever made. Even my mother liked this film. Leonard Nimoy is actually a good film director and the comic timing in this film as top notch. And while William Shatner is, I agree, a big joke, he manages a very tough performance in this film. He has to be the captain — headstrong and firm — yet he’s completely out of his element. He is the butt of jokes, he’s getting a little older and fatter, yet he still has to believably woo the whale chick. He’s basically riding three horses with one behind. Shatner’s impossible to listen to in commentary tracks, I agree (only Robert Plant, Paul Simon, Peter Bogdanovich or Charlie Rose can top him for obnoxiousness) but let’s be fair and call this a difficult and great performance. The only regret is that the Sulu B-story had to be cut due to lost time; as a result, he’s hardly in the film. Years later the “Generations” film would pass the torch from the Kirk to Picard era, but the massive success of this film is “The Next Generation’s” true genesis. Before we’d get to film number V, we’d have two seasons aboard NCC 1701-D.
June 2, 2004
December 5, 2010
May 25, 2009
Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.
He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.