Leonard Nimoy: Star Trek: TMP Left Franchise As ‘Beached Whale’ + He Is ‘Played Out’ As Spock | TrekMovie.com
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Leonard Nimoy: Star Trek: TMP Left Franchise As ‘Beached Whale’ + He Is ‘Played Out’ As Spock May 23, 2012

by TrekMovie.com Staff , Filed under: Celebrity,Nimoy,Star Trek (2009 film),Star Trek Into Darkness,TOS,Viral Video/Mashup/Images , trackback

A couple of weeks ago we posted the first part of an LA Times video interview with Star Trek’s Leonard Nimoy. The second part has just been posted online and you watch it below, where Nimoy talks about the link between Star Wars and Star Trek and even does does his impersonation of William Shatner! Most interesting, Nimoy critiques Star Trek: The Motion Picture, saying he doesn’t think of it as a Star Trek movie. He also says that he is "played out" with Spock.


Nimoy: Star Trek: The Motion Picture is not a Star Trek movie + Shatner impersonation

In part 2 of Leonard Nimoy’s interview with the Hero Complex show on the Nerdist Channel (www.youtube.com/nerdist), Nimoy talks Star Wars/Star Trek, typecasting, and even does an impersonation of his Star Trek co-star William Shatner.

One of the interesting bits, Nimoy gives his view of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, noting that producer Harve Bennett had to come in for Star Trek II after TMP left the the franchise as a "beached whale." He went on to talk about why he felt things didn’t work out for the first Trek film.

I think [Robert Wise] and Gene Roddenberry were looking for a [2001: A] Space Odyssey kind of thing, like [Stanley] Kubrick had done. A cold, cool “we’re out here in space and it’s kind of quiet and things move very slowly.” [laughs] There was a lot of that and a lot of cerebral stuff. There wasn’t enough drama. It just wasn’t a Star Trek movie. We had the Star Trek people, but it didn’t use us as Star Trek characters very well.

Leonard also said he is happy to be done with Spock and to hand off the role to Zachary Quinto, noting in part:

I am very pleased as to where the character is and I had a good time on the last film – dropping in there – particularly playing a scene with him, which was really interesting. I feel good about the character. I feel the character is still very, very useful and interesting but still somewhat enigmatic. I feel I had pretty much played out any enigma about the character. People pretty much new who I was and what was going on with me. But Zachary has the opportunity to explore new territory.

Watch the video below

CLICK HERE to see Part 1.


1. BeyondtheTech - May 23, 2012

I’m glad someone on the inside, especially on the frontlines, spoke up about TMP. Out of the entire movie series, I just can’t get myself to want to watch it. I can from TOS to TNG, TWOK to NEM, but TMP is something that never felt part of the franchise.

2. I'm Dead Jim! - May 23, 2012

ONE…MORE… TIME!!!!!!!!

3. I'm Dead Jim! - May 23, 2012

Yes, but TMP gave birth to a wonderful E!

4. ice sypher - May 23, 2012

well well well !!!!

5. Amish Electrician - May 23, 2012

it was at least a start of a good run

6. Landru's cousin, Dandru - May 23, 2012

I know I’m in the minority, but I consider it one of the best films in the series.

7. New Horizon - May 23, 2012

6. Landru’s cousin, Dandru – May 23, 2012

As do I, especially the directors edition.

8. BrF - May 23, 2012

TMP is deeply flawed, but I’m surprised to read parts of Nimoy’s take on it here. Spock has an big honest-to-God character arc in the movie. It’s an important movie for the character and every movie that follows depends on it.

9. MJ - May 23, 2012

“I think [Robert Wise] and Gene Roddenberry were looking for a [2001: A] Space Odyssey kind of thing, like [Stanley] Kubrick had done. A cold, cool “we’re out here in space and it’s kind of quiet and things move very slowly.” [laughs] There was a lot of that and a lot of cerebral stuff. There wasn’t enough drama. It just wasn’t a Star Trek movie. We had the Star Trek people, but it didn’t use us as Star Trek characters very well.”

Well said, Mr. Nimoy. I agree 100%

10. BrF - May 23, 2012

I would submit that the great flaw of TMP is that in the end none of our best known, best loved characters — Kirk, Spock, McCoy — get to resolve the threat in the movie. It’s Decker who is the self-sacrificing hero in the end. And Decker’s not a bad character, but who really cares about Decker? If Kirk had been the true agent of the resolution of the V’Ger threat, his decision to wrest back control of the Enterprise would have been felt satisfyingly justified, and the movie would have had a satisfying resolution instead of just kind of, I don’t know, feeling like it fades out. And, yes, I think Nimoy is certainly right that they were going for a Kubrick kind of thing with the movie. If the editing had been tightened up, if Kirk (or Spock, or Kirk, Spock, and McCoy together) had been give the chance to be the hero, I think it could have been a pretty strong film. There’s a nice sense of humanity to all the characters in the film; there are some great moments between them. Bones coming off the transporter and confronting Kirk comes to mind. And the sequence of Enterprise leaving dry dock will never be beat. You believe you’re watching something gigantic.

11. Agrippa - May 23, 2012

Collector’s edition filled in a lot of the gaps. It could have been a great movie, actually. Like he said, just needed a little more drama.

12. TonyD - May 23, 2012

#6 – Same here; for my money TMP is one of the better Trek movies and with all due respect to Nimoy, his character takes a huge leap forward during the film and you can point to his experiences in TMP as the point where he really reconciled his human and Vulcan halves – something that was very evident in his later performances as Spock.

TMP is also probably comes the closest of any Trek movie to espousing Roddenberry’s vision of an optimistic future where problems are not always solved by violence.

And lastly, TMP has easily the best production design of any Trek film, easily trouncing every film that followed it. And the TMP engine room leaves the brewery in the dust! :)

13. JGLJR89 - May 23, 2012

No offense BrF, but I would submit that the great flaw of TMP is that in the end it was as boring as watching paint dry on growing grass.

14. Whalealein - May 23, 2012

TMP is a masterpiece. Maybe Mr. Nimoy didn’t agree with the direction it took, but it’s great film in it’s own right. The film had epic scope and was visually stylish and grand. I love all the Trek films…in one way or another! Only Insurrection and Nemesis were not worth seeing in my opinion…

15. NCC-73515 - May 23, 2012

TMP made Spock realize that he needs emotions and cannot find answers seeking logic alone. Big change, big revelation.

16. Shilliam Watner (Click to see Darth Vader's zipper) - May 23, 2012

6. Landru’s cousin, Dandru, 8. BrF and others-

I agree. I really like TMP. I have to disagree with Nimoy, and that is rare. There are actually a lot of great character moments in this film, and a lot of heart. Nimoy, especially, gets a great character growth moment, and Kirk’s role foreshadows his role in TWOK – older, out of practice, and making mistakes, but still able to beat the no-win scenario.

None of the Trek films is perfect. Another thing TMP does well, actually better than any of the other films, is showcase the Enterprise. Wise understood that the ship was an important character in Star Trek, and gave it huge respect. God bless him for that.

TMP is one of my favorite Trek films. Sorry. That’s just my opinion.

17. Ben - May 23, 2012

I agree with everything he says . . . except the not liking it part. He’s right — it’s slow, cerebral (tried to be, anyway), and more like 2001 than Star Wars.

But I enjoy it for those reasons. And agree with all the people above who say Spock actually has an arc in that movie.

It wasn’t perfect. It wasn’t what people wanted. It wasn’t exciting. And I like it when Trek is all those things, but I also do enjoy watching TMP.

18. Vultan - May 23, 2012

Yeah, funny he says that, because I think TMP has the best character arc Spock ever had.

The flick’s in my top 5 (somewhere).

19. jas_montreal - May 23, 2012

TMP might not have been what we deserved, but it was what we needed.

20. Allen - May 23, 2012

The biggest problem with TMP is the fact that they didn’t have the whole script before they started filming. It was rushed and the 2nd half suffers terribly as a result. I love the first half it is star trek and not even Leonerd Nemoy can take that away from me.

21. JGLJR89 - May 23, 2012

To each their own, I tried to watch the director’s cut & couldn’t get through it. It’s still the Motionless Picture. This is coming from a guy who likes Menagerie. Hell, for a long time SFS was my favorite. 1, 5, & 10 were awful.

22. Chain of Command - May 23, 2012

I never had a problem with TMP at all. I saw TWOK first (Love it, of course) when I was 8 years old. Rented TMP a few months later on VHS and loved it just as much. It was a different movie from its’ successor, but I still thought it was really cool.

Just my two cents…But I really like the film and always will. I enjoy it more than ANYTHING the TNG producers “puked” up, that’s for sure.

23. Chain of Command - May 23, 2012

Well said, Number 12.

24. Ivory - May 23, 2012

I actually think that TMP is one of the better films in the series. With the exception of ST09 it is the only film that feels like a film rather than a big tv episode.

25. Shilliam Watner (Click to see Darth Vader's zipper) - May 23, 2012

TMP was really brave in one big sense – it wasn’t afraid to portray Kirk as imperfect. In fact, he was downright devious and ambitious. Having regretted ever giving up command, he weasels it away from the rightful captain of the Enterprise. If you think about it, that’s not a very flattering portrayal of Kirk. It makes him very human, and very flawed.

It also takes Spock from being a cold, disillusioned Vulcan to a person who finally learns he MUST embrace his human side to survive.

Both great story arcs. I wish we could have learned more of Bones and Scotty and the rest, but as I said, it wasn’t a perfect movie. But it brought Star Trek back, and quite beautifully if you ask me.

26. RobertZ - May 23, 2012

I love TMP! and the GROWTH in the Spock character in that movie.

27. SoonerDave - May 23, 2012

The Directors Cut of TMP was a substantial improvement, but it still didn’t overcome the movie’s fatal flaw-poor writing. That the ship interiors were a monument to mausoleum shades of blue and gray didn’t help matters, ..nor did Wise’s staid direction.

As successful as TWOK was, I cant help but wonder how the future of the would have differed had it been the first “reunion” movie. We’ll obviously never know.

All that said, I still enjoy the nostalgia of popping in my TMP DVD
and remembering the spectacle of seeing the grand, new.Enterprise flying on a new adventure when I was only 15.

28. BrF - May 23, 2012

I tip my hat at “motionless picture,” JGLJR89. The movie, for me, is a frustrating mixture of great treatment of the characters and, yes, some painfully slow stuff.

Another good or at least ambitious/interesting thing to call out: the idea of making Kirk a fish out of water on his own (former) ship is an interesting and bold one, and the movie gets some great use out of it.

If nothing else the movie was an honest effort to treat the material and characters and world of Star Trek seriously and with a first-class production, and given the pedigree, that seriousness of purpose (and budget) surely wasn’t an automatic. A lot of good has followed from at least those pieces of the movie.

29. Vultan - May 23, 2012


Well put.

Also brave in the sense it didn’t go the obvious route of trying to mimic the then recent mega-hit Star Wars but a film from 11 years before, 2001: A Space Odyssey.

And ironic Trek would take another 30 years before going full “hyperspace” on us, for better or worse.

30. Shilliam Watner (Click to see Darth Vader's zipper) - May 23, 2012

24. Ivory – I mostly agree with you. TMP DID seem like a motion (not motionless, sorry) picture, in spite of its imperfections. But I also think TWOK had the same feeling. The battle in the nebula at the end harkened back to Trek’s source material, the Horatio Hornblower novels. It was like Master and Commander in space, a great naval battle between two bitter enemies. It took the movie off the small screen and made me feel the largeness of the movie screen. None of the other movies did that for me. Aside from TMP, TWOK and First Contact, the rest of the Trek films seemed like glorified TV episodes. Some of them were good episodes, but they didn’t feel like motion pictures.

31. dave - May 23, 2012

I disagree with LN somewhat about STTMP. What he attributes to admiration of Kubrick is really Wise’s almost invisible signature. I refer him to ‘Run Silent, Run Deep’ and ‘The Sand Pebbles;’ particularly for the Kirk-Dekker subplot in the case of the former; in the latter for some Kirk-Dekker as well as the ‘epic’ wide-shots of the San-Pablo/Enterprise. Robert Wise was a very ‘stoical’ filmmaker, and that stoicism was part of his reaction-formation to GR’s intimacy with Star-Trek. Nimoy is correct about the under-utilization of the Trek cast; as Wise was an outsider vis-a-vis the family-intimacy of the cast. Of course the problems of STTMP are not limited to only these factors; given the studio-crisis of scraping the various forms of ramp-up before inking Wise (who BTW first met GR at Desertcon/Tucson, AZ in 1977 and there agreed to screen episodes and ally together for the feature-film.) Politics of honoring GR’s vision and placating the studio put Wise into the only possible path that he instinctively knew, and in this Nimoy is correct: STTMP is incongruent because it is “technocratic”– something which in my opinion is far more satisfying than the slavish space-opera vision that kept the movie-franchise going; while ignoring the deeper ramifications of crossing the gap between where we as a culture are now and the ST-universe where we all want to be. Wise knew the military-culture. By the 1980s the military-elements in GR’s early scripts of STTNG are evident; looping-back to The Cage/Christopher Pike; while the JJ Abrams reboot suffers a failure insofar as Christopher Pike would have to be a Fleet-Admiral to give a command to warp an entire fleet in unison.

32. Shilliam Watner (Click to see Darth Vader's zipper) - May 23, 2012

29. Vultan – Indeed.

33. Shilliam Watner (Click to see Darth Vader's zipper) - May 23, 2012

31. dave – Magnificent analysis. I WILL play devil’s advocate on the Pike problem state in your last sentence. This isn’t the navy, and it is hundreds of years in the future. Perhaps Pike had such authority.

Either way, there are always these kinds of problems with films. I liked ST09 quite a bit, but it displayed some pretty serious flaws to me. Not enough to keep me from enjoying the new vision, but I’m hoping for better in their sophomore effort.

34. VZX - May 23, 2012

While I agree with Mr. Nimoy about the lack of use of the characters in The Motionless Picture, I still liked the movie. But, yeah, it’s not a real Star Trek movie. The uniforms were particularly dated (soooo 70s) and boring. I liked the update of the uniforms from TWOK, but am not crazy with how military they look. IMHO: the best movie uniforms are from the 2009 Trek movie.

Anyway, it’s a great movie to fall asleep to.

35. MJ - May 23, 2012

@27 “The Directors Cut of TMP was a substantial improvement, but it still didn’t overcome the movie’s fatal flaw-poor writing. That the ship interiors were a monument to mausoleum shades of blue and gray didn’t help matters, ..nor did Wise’s staid direction. As successful as TWOK was, I cant help but wonder how the future of the would have differed had it been the first “reunion” movie. We’ll obviously never know.”

Agreed. I like TMP as a good hard scifi film, but it was a poor Trek film. There is a good reason why a lot of Trek fans back in the early 80’s refered to it as “The Motion Sickness.”

36. Jet - May 23, 2012

Meh, TMP was the best star Trek film ever made. Now all we get is space villians.

37. Lil' Shat - May 23, 2012

Things… happening… slowly…!

I think Leonard Nimoy is starting to confuse good cinema with William Shatner’s trademark delivery.

There are things I don’t like about TMP (the startling change in uniforms really bugged me), but it is certainly one of the better Star Trek films.

I do agree that they were probably going for a Kubrick feel there, but that’s not a bad thing IMHO and I felt it suited Trek’s triumphant return to live action very well.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with Abrams’ revisioning of Trek, but I do think it’s wrong to assert that anything slow and cerebral about the franchise equates to a “beached whale.” It seems to me that Nimoy may be getting a bit hung up on modern day action flicks–although you can’t blame him after working… with… someone….



…their lines… like… THIS…

…every DAY…!

38. Sebastian S. - May 23, 2012

I like ST-TMP as a *science fiction* movie, but I also agree that it’s not necessarily a good Star Trek movie. ST is traditionally more space opera than cold science fiction. However, I like ST-TMP nevertheless. Then again, “2001: A Space Odyssey” is also my favorite sci fi movie, so there you go…

And yes, I agree with Nimoy again; the baton has been passed. The Spock character is now in the (very capable) hands of Zachary Quinto. Nimoy is very gracious to acknowledge that.

LLAP, Leonard Nimoy…. ;-)

39. Jet - May 23, 2012

TMP was humans evolving beyond humanity and exploring the unknown, “Kahn” was about oiled pecs.

40. Jim Nightshade - May 23, 2012

Geee Leonard is complaining that tmp tried to be like 2001—thats not a bad thing…hes complaining that its too smart—he may be right about that—i had no problem with that….how can benedict leonard say its not a star trek film….as others have mentioned his character went thru the MOST important arc of his entire lifetime of trek—affecting the rest of his characters life….yah it was mostly more sterile on purpose—it was intelligent even cosmic–and the best looking big e ever–efx better than any up to 2009 trek—-music soundtrack better than most—yup—tmp is one of my favorite treks—sorry mr nimoy i disagree—-i do agree with one observation—that 2001 n TMP are both in a class by themselves—no mistake that trumball did efx in both movies…

41. BrF - May 23, 2012

@35: Good point about villains. We’ve been looking for the next Khan since 1982. (Maybe now more than ever.)

42. Grand Lunar - May 23, 2012

“I think [Robert Wise] and Gene Roddenberry were looking for a [2001: A] Space Odyssey kind of thing…”

That’s the impression I get when I watch TMP.
That is was an attempt at a sort of ‘2001’ like take on ‘Star Trek’.

I think Nimoy has done enough for the role of Spock.
Time for him to rest, and enjoy life.

43. Grand Lunar - May 23, 2012

“I think [Robert Wise] and Gene Roddenberry were looking for a [2001: A] Space Odyssey kind of thing…”

That’s the impression I get when I watch TMP.
That is was an attempt at a sort of ‘2001’ like take on ‘Star Trek’.

I think Nimoy has done enough for the role of Spock.
Time for him to rest, and enjoy life.

44. Beer Guy - May 23, 2012

I don’t think TMP would have been better if one of the three main characters had been the hero at the end. Some very good TOS episodes were resolved by people or powers outside of Kirk, Spock and McCoy – not the least of which was the “Doomsday Machine” and it’s death at the hands of Matt Decker, father of Will Decker.

Personally, the strength of story and confidence of character required to relinquish the hero role to a guest cast member or to a higher power always seemed to me to be a hallmark of Star Trek.

45. Shilliam Watner (Click to see Darth Vader's zipper) - May 23, 2012

I think TMP and FF are the most polarizing films of the TOS movies. You can always expect a lot of passion and nastiness when both are discussed.

46. Beer Guy - May 23, 2012

I suppose I should have said that the “Doomsday Machine’s” death was inspired by Matt Decker, but I think that situation just elevates the role of Will Decker who sort of redeems his father in TMP.

47. Red Dead Ryan - May 23, 2012

“The Motion Picture” was a great idea. But the execution of it could have been better. It takes too long to get to the heart of the matter, and I couldn’t care less about Decker and Ilia. Robert Wise might have been a good director, but he wasn’t the right guy for TMP.

And the rec deck was ridiculously too big. There was no way it would fit behind the bridge. The uniforms, apart from Kirk’s admiral variant, were pretty cheesy.

48. Shilliam Watner (Click to see Darth Vader's zipper) - May 23, 2012

47. Red Dead Ryan – as a teenager when TMP came out, I found myself caring a lot about Ilia ;-) Some of science fiction’s best legs, if you ask me.

49. Jet - May 23, 2012

Nah, TMP was epic. And the costumes were a lot better than those ugly red jackets. Every Star Trek after the first, save for the “reboot”, feels half assed- the stories not quite fleshed out or interesting.

50. Vultan - May 23, 2012

Hair or no hair, Persis Khambatta was a beautiful woman.
Sad she’s no longer with us.

51. Shilliam Watner (Click to see Darth Vader's zipper) - May 23, 2012

50. Vultan – Agreed. Her face was as magnificent as her legs. And I thought she did a great job of acting during a couple of scenes, especially the V’ger probe scene. Her expressions are quite terrified and vivid.

52. shpock - May 23, 2012

TMP music!!!

i wonder if there are other Shatner readings of “HUMAN”

53. nc trek fan - May 23, 2012

I love the look and feel of TMP, but it is boring. The remastered director’s cut helped a little.

54. Animan - May 23, 2012

TMP was a bad movie. Wise was tired and played out. Decker was a textbook Mary Sue – a character out of nowhere who shows up Kirk and saves the day, while the characters we actually care about are left standing around with their mouths hanging open.

55. Jim Nightshade - May 23, 2012

its ok for a movie to to be more cerebreal less action oriented–also ok to be more visceral and more action oriented–tmp n jjs trek each have their own style—different but equally valid—also from what i remember nimoy n shatner changed a lot of their lines they had a lot of input…

56. Basement Blogger - May 23, 2012

I liked Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In some ways, it was ore like the series than the film series. Cerebral. Nothing wrong with that. As an adult, it’s one of the things that draws me to Star Trek. And Nimoy always says Star Trek works on many levels.

There were execution issues with ST: TMP. The spent too much time in V’Ger with those hypnotic first person shots. Not enough danger. Still, it makes one think. What is life? Can synthetics become sentient. A question made in the video games of Mass Effect 2 and 3.

57. freddy - May 23, 2012

FINALLY some from trek had the balls to tell the truth about the super long ultra boring shame of a trek movie !

58. trekker77 - May 23, 2012

HUGE fan of Mr. Nimoy, but FINALLY some STMP fans finally have the ballz to stand up to, well, him and all the other naysayers and announce, “hey! not all of us have to get in line with the drones and declare TWOK the King of all Treks”. STMP rocks and if you don’t see it, too bad.

59. Gary S . - May 23, 2012

For me , it doesnt have anything to do with TWOK,
I just didnt like TMP.
It may not have been “TheMotionless Picture”,
But I clocked the uncut docking scene of The Enterprise at approximately 18 minutes .

60. Space Bunny - May 23, 2012

I have to add that I personally feel Star Trek: The Motion Picture is one of the most Trek-like movies of the series.

Of all the Trek movies, it doesn’t feature an over-the-top villain-of-the-week (with no insult intended to some of the better villains), focuses primarily on the very human characters and their interactions between each other, and focuses on a very alien and seemingly unknown construct of mind-boggling proportions that defies human understanding.

Despite the re-use of the “lost human space probe comes back with a vengeance” theme as seen in a TOS episode, the entirety of the V’ger vessel was mind-blowing to me, totally alien, and imagination-prodding. And seeing the crew react to it, trying to wrap their minds around it and make contact with it seemed more Star Trek to me than Kirk getting into another brawl with another humanoid enemy.

Star Trek is about the unknown, about humans diving in head-first and seeing what’s out there, about how they handle themselves and each other, how they can grow as a result of new understandings. By the end of TMP, despite Decker being the one to save Earth, it was Kirk, Spock, McCoy, and doubtlessly some of the others who came out of it with growth of character. And like others have said, this was an important movie for Nimoy’s character too, his character’s growth especially, making it ironic that he thinks little of it.

Despite all the troubles the movie had getting off the ground, politics between the writers, Roddenberry, and so on, TMP speaks to me…and I’d welcome a new “cerebral” movie like TMP over the next attempt to recreate Khan.

61. TrueTrekFan - May 23, 2012

Star Trek the Motion Picture may have lacked in character development but it tackle big issues, what more is there than the universe Spock? The visual effects were state of the art at the time, and no Trek film until the last one by JJ matches the detail of special effects shots and revealing the scale of the Enterprise in comparison to the space that surrounds it. This film was truly epic in scale. It was at age 12 when I first saw this film on the big screen and even then I knew the film had a lot more to say than Star Wars. It was a film to be experienced on the big screen, about the exportation and the solitude of deep space. Every-time I see the film I actually feel as if I am transported, traveling through space with the crew of the Enterprise, of all of films this still remains the most outstanding.

62. LizardGirl - May 23, 2012

I completely agree with you. I think Spock found himself in TMP. In the TV series Spock was on a reset loop. He would do something out of the ordinary, like express anger, sadness, lust, or happiness–but it was always caused by some other force, never his own. We know that while Vulcans can control their emotions–they do have them. Also, Spock’s half human, but again–no emotions.

In TMP, he cried…without the aid of a plant or some alien presence. It’s a great movie for Spock fans. Also, I think, for lack of a better phrase, he “loosened up” after that. The following movies showed that growth from TMP. That character development didn’t reset itself but continued on.

While I did think the pace was very slow, I enjoyed the scenery and the story idea. I believe I watched the Special Edition with added CG.

63. LizardGirl - May 23, 2012

Sorry maybe it was the Director’s Cut that I saw. Anyways they added some extra CG in it.

64. dave - May 23, 2012

re 31. Shilliam Watner…thanks for your reply. Your point about the Naval aspect delightfully takes us into “angels on the head of a pin” issues with regard to Canon. I for my part take-for-granted the Hornblower-element; with which I believed the grounding of my argument was basic; insofar as belief-systems would justify the consistancy of trope-crossover of “grade-and-rank.”) To be fair, everyone has their private vision of what Canon should be– the loose-overlap in the so-called “rules-of-the-game” by which we all critique. In this particular Hornblower-trope my bitter thought resides in the surpreme irony that Bill Shatner did not properly figure the equation of what made Kirk so mythical. He thought heroism-mythos could be demonstrated by complacency (Kobyashi-Maru) and hysteria (movie-5, brig). According to Canon (or this one anyway) he didn’t get the crucial-memo: “Douglas MacArthur.” In other words, for a time Shatner was bigger than John Wayne. Abrams seems to be making the same mistake in conforming Chris Pike to that misstep in the Canon; while at least showing some realism that the decks of ships can resemble beer-making facilities. BTW, the Late Robert Wise, when asked about his most-disappointing project, cited STTMP; for reasons already stated. As to the fixation with Kubrick, (re the ‘slowness’ and ‘uniforms’ which are albatrosses) that edgewise STTMP shot looking-down at Kirk in the Capt’s-chair has got to be the most credible shot whether military-or-not, 2001 or Star-Trek. For that moment we’re really onboard. However, that realism did not last, for the editor of ‘Citizen kane,’ the nadir of the picture arrives soon thereafter with the wormhole plot-device which, (while beautifully-realized in the state-of-the-art at the time) gets the ship right from Jupiter to the V’ger-cloud. One of the most egregious edits I’ve ever seen. Since I haven’t yet seen the Director’s Cut, can anyone confirm that this was fixed with story-padding? By the same token, can anyone tell me if the Kirk-Dekker story runs-its-course? (Which was sacrificed in the STTMP 1st-run due to studio pressure to keep the expensive SFX in the picture.) To see the Kirk-Dekker relationship-prototype, see ‘Run Silent, Run Deep’ for Kirk as Clark Gable and Dekker as Burt Lancaster.

65. LizardGirl - May 23, 2012

What I thought was a nice touch was when the mystery of V’Ger is solved. That it wasn’t alien at all but some relic from Earth’s past coming back home. And as Space Bunny @60 states, there was an episode where this already happened (The Changeling) but it was still a very nice touch.

66. Jerry Modene - May 23, 2012

I have read, some years ago, that there was a draft of TMP that had Spock, not Decker, making the ultimate sacrifice. His going out in a thruster suit to confront/contact V’ger was what was left of that particular story direction.

TMP was, indeed, a science fiction film in the truest sense – one that tried to examine the human condition and how humanity might relate to the rest of creation.

The other movies, entertaining as they were, were more space opera/adventures than true science fiction.

Of course, Star Trek was never really supposed to be “true” science fiction, although the writing on the original series was good enough that they were able to make many SF commentaries on humanity and where we are going.

Remember, though, that “true” science fiction is a pretty narrow field; Isaac Asimov once noted (before his books started hitting the best-seller lists) that an SF novel might reach 10,000 readers – Star Trek, OTOH, reached 20 million viewers (great numbers for today, but never better than #35 back in the day).

So that may be the difference – TOS and the non-TMP movies were designed to give mass appeal while still trying to make some salient points. TMP eschewed that and went for something epic, in the “2001” or “Rendevous with Rama” vein, something that an Arthur C. Clarke might have written.

67. maffc - May 23, 2012

Simply disagree, i love the motion picture

68. Mark - May 23, 2012

TMP – The best Star Trek Movie so far, in my opinion

69. Wes - May 23, 2012

Nimoy just lets his personal feelings affect his thoughts about the movie. It was chaos between Roddenberry and Livingston and Wise and the cast. Constant hell and rewrites plagued the film. My question is, when was the last time he saw the film? Has he viewed the newer version? No one has asked these questions.

70. BeatleJWOL - May 23, 2012

@64 There was no “wormhole plot-device”. The wormhole was created around the ship while it was traveling at warp speed; when the asteroid caught in it was destroyed, the Enterprise was thrown back out of warp. It was not until Spock arrived that he and Mr. Scott could fix the engine imbalance and return to warp speed. There were no “wormhole” short cuts.

71. Pauln6 - May 24, 2012

I also love TMP but I agree that it was too slow and needed more character moments and more action. I think if a sizeable landing party had left the ship to explore an inner V’ger complex instead of say an elongated wormhole scene we could have had some old-fashioned Trek action before the cerebral finale. I think saying it was a decent sci fi movie but not a good Trek movie is as accurate as saying that Trek 09 was a great action blockbuster but not a good Trek movie.

I loved the washed out, sterile look of the ship and the much more interracial crew than we’ve ever had before or since. They just needed to inject a bit more humour and more interaction between the supporting cast (giving them each a scene to own like they do in Trek 09 would have been best). I like TMP so much that I started to write a comic strip on Youtube exploring how others genres can be melded with Trek lore to make interesting stories.

72. Spock/Uhura Admirer ;-) - May 24, 2012

I liked TMP. I wouldn’t change it.

73. Commodore Decker - May 24, 2012

I will never forget the incredible, massive audience ovation and ongoing, thunderous roars as each of the characters made his or her first screen appearance in TMP. After so many years, it didn’t seem possible that Star Trek would ever return … and there it was! It was so nice to be re-introduced to the characters and at the same time, be in an audience surrounded by people who felt the same way about the characters. The storyline didn’t really matter. For me, the movie was a welcome and exciting reunion!

74. Chris Freeman - May 24, 2012

TMP has grown on me over the years. I used to hate it, but I’ve come to appreciate its subtleties. It really is about the crew coming back together so they can be the Star Trek family again. This theme is really apparent in the performances, which is not an element of Trek that is usually messed with and we as viewers aren’t used to looking for. All of the characters are wooden and stiff at the beginning of the film, but by the end, Kirk is his old cocky self again, ready for adventures. And Spock’s arc is integral to his character.
It takes itself too seriously, the production problems are apparent, we aren’t really shown enough about the characters before they get back aboard the enterprise (just one short scene of Kirk behind a desk pushing papers and hating it would be so strong), but the ideas are there if you know what you are looking for.
All the directors cut commentaries and the extra web-only commentaries really brought me around and pointed out the strengths of the film.

75. Khan is not the easy route - May 24, 2012

For as slow as TMP is (which does make it boring), I still enjoy the movie. The big expansiveness lends to the epic tale that the movie was portraying. But, they could have told it with much more drama and action.

76. JB - May 24, 2012

Love TMP, hate it, or somewhere inbetween, you gotta love David Gerrold’s humorous alternate titles:

“Star Trek: The Motionless Picture”

“Where Nomad Has Gone Before”

“Spockalypse Now”

77. Tom - May 24, 2012

Part of TMP’s problems was not having a completed script at the very beginning. There were constant rewrites, even on-set during the day scenes were being filmed.

Though I admire Nimoy and think he’s one of the few people who understand Trek from a production aspect, he actually contributed to the problems on TMP. Spock was added to the script almost literally at the last minute (Lt. Xon was to be the science officer) and had to be written into the script. In addition both Nimoy and Shatner had script approval and needed to sign-off on script changes. That’s a potential disaster in the making.

Even with all that, TMP still remains one of my favorite Trek films. As other have said, it’s aesthetic and story arc for Spock have had an impact on all subsequent TV and films, even the 2009 re-boot

78. CmdrR - May 24, 2012

Loved TMP at the time, because it was Trek on a BIG budget. But even in 1979 everyone looked out of character, except for Bones. It was like they were all suddenly allergic to humor, or any emotion for that matter. Now, it’s impossible to watch TMP without noticing how much the film rests its full weight on some pretty no-so-special effects (how many shots of George reacting to blurry animation can you watch?) and a big twist reveal that we’d already seen in “The Changeling.” TMP broke the ice, but never warmed up.

79. CJS - May 24, 2012

The irony of course being that one of the things TMP achieved was the resolution of Spock’s internal conflict between his human and Vulcan natures. The scene with Spock and Kirk in sickbay after his encounter with V’ger remains one of my favorites out of the entire Star Trek canon, because it resolved Spock’s major conflict from TOS. And for not thinking much of the film Nimoy was quick enough to steal one of its plot points, renegade probe threatens to destroy earth, for Star Trek IV.

80. Mark Lynch - May 24, 2012

As much as I admire Leonard Nimoy, I just can’t agree with his assessment of TMP.
With the Director’s Edition we see a great character arc for Spock that I don’t believe was done as well in any of the other films.

I also think it was the most realistic we have ever seen the characters and indeed ever will.
And let’s face it, we got the most beautiful looking Starship ever, with as much attention paid to detail inside as it was outside. Things by and large fitted where they were supposed to be. For an engineer-y type like myself that just made it all seem even more realistic and so much better.

I’ll avoid the obvious JJA bash
***cough***Shuttle Bay***cough***
Okay, I couldn’t resist… :-)

TMP is an often under rated gem in Star Trek movie history.

81. Christopher Roberts - May 24, 2012

The trouble is Star Trek The Motion Picture did very well at the box office. Just like Star Trek (2009) did very well. It just goes to show you, $$$$$ doesn’t necessarily equal quality. The public were hungry for sci-fi. The fans were hungry for Star Trek, but perhaps not best placed to criticise or see its flaws. A little bit of time and distance, then more will start coming out of the woodwork and say what bothered them.

82. New Horizon - May 24, 2012

When I was a kid, ST:TMP wasn’t very high on my list of Trek movies. I liked Wrath of Khan best because it had ‘splosions, action, and KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAAN! As I got older though, I went back and rewatched TMP after many, many years and I found many things that I had missed. It really is an adult movie and after purchasing and viewing the directors edition, I actually rate it slightly above Khan. There was plenty of drama in TMP, it’s just not as in your face.

83. Dom - May 24, 2012

TMP was a pompous drag of a film that was too big for its own boots. It’s supposed to be a Star Trek movie, not 2001! Watching the film, the sheer pomposity of the piece is breathtaking. All those overly serious stilted discussions, and endless FX just have me yelling at the screen ‘Get over yourself!!!’ It’s like watching a TNG episode with pastel uniforms.

You get the impression that Roddenberry came to believe Star Trek was something bigger than it really was: a fun action adventure sci-fi show with dashes of humour, sex and some philosophy.

You know you’re in trouble when Jerry Goldsmith’s beautiful (but in the context of a Star Trek film hopelessly overblown and pompous) score comes on and you spend two minutes looking at stars before you get the titles on a black screen, followed by some cool Klingon stuff, followed by more music and FX.

I have to say, my assessment of the Director’s Edition is somewhat different. As one of the DE producers said, the new version ‘found’ Kirk, because the miserable humourless git you see in the theatrical and TV versions is a character with the same name, played by the same guy, but he’s not James T Kirk.

My biggest problem with the film is how ship-orientated it is. Star Trek was about human characters going to strange new worlds meeting new life forms, arguing with them, fighting with them and, indeed, making love to them.

The characters in this film are basically impotent. They spend the majority of the time staring at screens, the ship’s own engines don’t work and she’s controlled by V’Ger, who continually goes to the crew in the form of energy weapons or probes. They don’t ‘beam’ anywhere (one of the coolest things in the old show), the ‘villain’ is a piece of junk metal and Kirk’s abused Exec is the guy who takes the initiative and saves the day. Everyone is just so damned . . . passive!

Star Trek, to me, was about taking the initiative and going to new places. In TMP, they go almost nowhere. V’ger comes to them. That’s dull. Sorry.

84. BrF - May 24, 2012

I think you put your finger on it in your second post, Beer Guy. In “Doomsday Machine” Decker père provides a nugget of information that Kirk and the gang recognize, understand, and act on to resolve the episode. At the conclusion of TMP Decker fils figures things out and solves the problem, while our old friends mainly get to gape in wonder. Again, Decker’s not a bad character, and his relationship with Kirk offered a lot of rich possibilities, but we just met the guy and we’ve know everyone else for years and we’re just getting to see them again and my Monday morning screenplay quarterbacking is that Kirk, Spock, McCoy should have played some more essential part in that final sequence.

Anyway, it’s been good to read all these varied thoughts on what people think worked, didn’t work.

85. Damian - May 24, 2012

The first Star Trek I ever saw was TWOK, then I saw Star Trek III, but I was not yet a Trekkie. Then I saw TMP sometime in 1986 when I rented it out. That is what made me a Star Trek fan. After I saw TMP, then I started watching the original series and went to see Star Trek IV. TMP made me want more Star Trek. A Star Trek fan was born.

For me, TMP is my favorite Star Trek film. That is the movie that made me a Trekkie.

86. boxker - May 24, 2012

I love The Motion Picture. In fact when I little I hated Star Trek until I saw it at the age of 6. My mother loved the tv show and watched it every weekend at 6 pm. I thought it was boring. Then I saw TMP and loved it ever since.

87. drumvan - May 24, 2012

ok, i may have been wrong all these years but isn’t it pronounced “nee-moy” and not “ni-moy” like the interviewer did during the intro? i need to get this straight.

88. Greg2600 - May 24, 2012

I loved TMP. Especially the Wise Director’s Edition with the improved special effects.

As I recall, Shatner and Nimoy played a pretty big part in how the TMP plot went. Together they pitched a number of changes to Wise, who usually accepted them. They were usually the more human elements in the film.

That all said, TMP was the greatest reason Roddenberry could not be involved in the films. By that time, his interests had gone off pretty far off the TOS path.

Nimoy is still such an incredible interview, just a wealth of stories.

89. Adam Bomb 1701 - May 24, 2012

#66 – I remember reading something years ago; maybe in one of David Gerrold’s books, in which it was Spock who had the affair with Ilia in one of the early drafts, and it was Spock, not Decker, who joined with V’Ger at the film’s end.
Robert Wise said in his “DE” commentary that “Kirk is a very dark character in the first half of the movie,” echoing what “Shilliam Watner” said in post # 25.
I’ve always loved “TMP”; having seen it seven times during its theatrical release. Starting on its first day of release, back in 1979. I remember someone in the theater saying “Romulans” as the Klingon ships were shown approaching V’Ger. Watching the DVD on my 40″ HDTV screen probably comes as close to re-creating the theatrical experience as I’ll get. Unless my sister gives me her 50″ HDTV. (wink)
#47 – The rec deck was not behind the bridge. It was in the starboard rear of the saucer section. The Enterprise model was built to match the layout of the deck. Watch any scene showing the back of the ship. You’ll see two rows of (IIRC) four windows. That’s where the Rec Deck was supposed to be. Behind the bridge was the airlock where Chekov met up with Spock.

90. Rocket Scientist - May 24, 2012

Gotta throw my vote in with the “Love TMP” crowd. It was groundbreaking. At times its reach exceeded its grasp but it was an honest attempt to make a real science fiction Star Trek movie, as opposed to space opera. I am not blind to its flaws, but it succeeded in so many ways. Bravo for the audacity!

Let’s not forget the epic scope of the film, from the cinematography to the score. It’s a movie worth revisiting periodically.

(This is not to say that space opera is bad. Trek often excelled in that genre too!)

91. spock - May 24, 2012

People pretty much new who I was and what was going on with me.

Star Trek and even does does his impersonation of William Shatner!

was this written by a dyslexic

92. chrisfawkes.com - May 24, 2012

It was more Star Trek than Nemesis.

And Generations and maybe even Insurrection.

But i know what he is saying.

93. Mark Lynch - May 24, 2012

Hear, hear…

Well said sir!

94. chrisfawkes.com - May 24, 2012

I do need to see TMP again. Last time was in 79.

95. Elias Javalis - May 24, 2012

TMP, good movie! TWOK is better:)

96. Daoud - May 24, 2012

Can anyone pinpoint the timemark on this long interview where the Shatner impression is?
And TMP…. at least put life back in the whale to propel Trek into its hey days of the 1980’s. Because honestly, Phase II with Roddenberry running it would have *killed* Star Trek once and for all.
The Kirk-Decker-Ilia-Xon relationship worked *much* better after multiple revisioning into TNG”s Picard-Riker-Troi-Data.

97. Horatio - May 24, 2012

Count me in as a lover of TMP, warts and all. The Directors Edition is a big improvement on the original theatrical release. In the film commentaries Robert Wise takes on the critiques that were made about the film (Vger flyby length, etc) and defends them. Also as stated above by others, the whole movie was really about Spock and his finally concluding that he needs his human side to be whole.

I don’t – nor will I ever – understand the haters.

98. Anthony Thompson - May 24, 2012

The biggest flaw of the movie is that none of the major characters other than Kirk really wanted to be there. The joyful reunion the fans were expecting was instead a dour and dull affair. The “bad karma” movie.

99. dave - May 24, 2012

@70 Sorry. I was thinking like a filmmaker.

100. bsantin - May 24, 2012

TMP is my favourite trek film. Certainly not the most energetic, but the most artistic, grand, beautiful and “cerebral” of the films. I can’t believe Leonard Nimoy said TMP was too cerebral…isn’t that what the Desi-Lu executives said about “The Cage”?

Nothing came along on the scale of TMP until the 2009 film, where it felt large and cinematic.

Amazing scenes with the beauty shot of the Enterprise in drydock and the crew being re-united on the bridge.

I loved the warmth and action of the later movies as well, but sometimes I miss a bit of the “cerebral” nature of the original series and TMP when I watch them.

As for the comparison to Kubrick — definitely! That’s a GOOD thing.

101. Jim Nightshade - May 24, 2012

The crew were mostly different ….they were coming together again after years apart….they worshipped kirk…kirk had his own issues stealing command from decker, hating his desk job plus an extremely serious planet killing emergency situation that was grim….because of all this being less emotional and less humorous n entertaing is totally understandable…add ultra emotionless spock in contact with the ultimate emotionless intellect does make one wonder whos side will spock be on..this is positively brilliant epic cosmic yet very human storytelling…yeh the pacing was too slow but i think the crews story arcs are brilliant original and perfect for the dusparate crew coming together again n learning to be themselves again…n spock becomes at peace with his human half..making him more open…caring n funny in future adventures..even his arc of helping the romulans fits in with this growth in him…

102. Erik - May 24, 2012

Side note: this interview is awfully, awfully lit. Horrible. 2x fill on the left and zero on the right. Gah.

103. Symar - May 24, 2012

Aside from the fact that ST:TMP was a bald-faced ripoff of the “Changeling” episode from TOS, I have never watched any move (Trek or otherwise) where the actors spent so much time staring out a window, at a viewscreen, and at each other. And the outer space shots? Okay… we get it… the Enterprise is BIG, and V’ger is really, REALLY BIG!! No need to spend ALL that time on those shots.

I could probably write all the meaningful dialog on the inside of a matchbook cover. :P

104. THX-1138 - May 24, 2012

I like TMP. Personally I find such vitriolic hate expressed for it to be terribly churlish and uninformed.

Of course everyone is free to express their opinion. I was happy to see a movie that didn’t have a “villain”. It had an antagonist in the form of V’ger. That is not the same thing.

105. George Zip - May 24, 2012

Respectfully disagree with Mr. Nimoy here; TMP remains one of my favorite Trek outings. IDIQ and all that, eh; to each his own.

106. Kev -1 - May 24, 2012

TMP is the only Trek film with any semblance of exploration. Also the Enterprise is an important character; in later movies the ship is underpowered, easily defeated, or (as in V) a joke. Great score. What TMP lacked is TOS color and pacing, so I understand Nimoy’s comment. He was excellent as Spock in TMP. The beauty of that movie for me is I can watch it as Trek, or as a “fly on the wall” look at this fantastic starship and crew heading out to save Earth.

107. Horatio - May 24, 2012

Big thumbs up #106!

TMP is the only film where the Enterprise is treated as a character. Later films the Enterprise was demoted to being an appliance that was cool to blow pieces out of.

I am hoping (fingers crossed) that Orci, Abrams et al will restore Enterprise as a character rather than machine that looks really good to knock around in CG. Remember, the Enterprise was – and is – Kirk’s only real true love.

108. Lt. Bailey - May 24, 2012

My only complaint with TMP is the terrible uniforms… when I first saw that, I was disappointed and never got over those non-starfleet uniforms.

Then I get to meet John Povil at the 2010 Vegas Con when he came to the SpaceQuest casino where I was playing Star Trek slot machine. So I asked him about the reason the uniforms were so drab, he told me that Bob Wise wanted the focus on the characters and not the uniforms. Makes sense now that I heard it put that way. He also told me about the secret bet he made with Walter Koenig about TMP. There’s another inside story you don’t get to hear too often.

Its really not bad if you have the DVD of the directors cut, I enjoy the film for what it is but it is not my favorite of them all… which we all have our opinions and thats the way it should be.

109. Battle-scarred Sciatica - May 24, 2012

I love Star Trek TMP.

It does have a different feel but its a great movie.

Its more Star Trek than ST2009 can ever hope to be.

just sayin’


110. William Kirk - May 24, 2012

In my opinion the only Star Trek movie that actually feels like a movie, rather than an extended TV episode (I don´t count Trek09, that´s another story :-).

111. Michael Hall - May 24, 2012

Nimoy has been using the phrase “beached whale” to refer to TMP at least since 1982, pretty much appropriating it from Harve Bennett after a Trek film had finally been produced that was safe for everyone to appreciate. While my respect for him as an actor, photographer, and social activist is huge–in spite of his participation in and endorsement of a film I consider to be pretty dreadful*–I think he’s just wrong on this one, for reasons that some of the posters here have touched on. TMP may have been considered something of a disappointment in 1979 (though it was by no means a total critical failure), but its willingness to take on big subjects, however imperfectly, along with a genuine sense of wonder make it look better in retrospect, especially after thirty years’ worth of films that increasingly treat the Enterprise as some sort of cosmic gunboat dedicated to the defeat of chest-thumping villains, rather than a ship of exploration. I still feel the film’s biggest weakness is the scenes reuiniting the cast after more than a decade, which it’s painfully obvious the writers, Bob Wise, and the actors had no idea what to do with. Nick Meyer (and J.J. Abrams, for that matter) had the right idea in that department: forget the tributes and just get on with telling the damn story. But there’s still an awful lot that’s right about TMP as SF, and cinema, even if it wasn’t all that much fun for the actors to make.

* Of course, in Nimoy’s view that opinion that makes me a “d**ckhead.” I’d love to discuss that with him, but sadly suspect that it won’t happen in this lifetime.

112. PEB - May 24, 2012

I really liked parts of the motion picture from a cinematic angle but to be really honest, I always found myself (even when I was a kid) sort of dropping off and losing interest after Spock comes aboard and fixes the warp problem. I enjoyed the early scene on Vulcan, I liked the reintroduction of Kirk and crew piece by piece and I even liked the little banter on the bridge at the very end of the movie like they used to do at the end of a lot of TOS episodes but other than that I get what Nimoy is saying. It didnt feel like a Trek movie but more like a long winded tribute. It was more about the big screen effects, and models and saying “hey look, it’s the crew you all know and love!” But none of it was used in a way that made a compelling, fun STAR TREK movie.

113. thebiggfrogg - May 24, 2012

I love TMP. Granted it could do without a few dozen of the slowly moving “look-we-can-do-great-specia- effects-now-like Star Wars scenes” and at points the characterizations were a bit cold. But honestly the big three should have no complaints, Nimoy most of all. Spock went through a very interesting arc in that film (I recall an old Starlog article by David Gerrold that discussed this in detail). McCoy was great, as always (my favorite) and had some good lines. And we got to see an interesting and less savory side to Kirk’s ambition. The supporting cast probably have reason to gripe, especially as more screen time was given to walk-in newcomers. The one thing it lacked was a bit of the ol’ Trek joie de vivre (sort of like Serenity to Firefly). Despite its flaws I liked it. Definitely beats the tar out of the Trek V slapstick (although I admit I like some of the cheesy character moments around the campfire and the somewhat less cheesy “I need my pain”–again loved my favorite character, McCoy’s scene there).

114. thebiggfrogg - May 24, 2012

. . . and, while, Trek ’09 had some of the joie de vivre, it was a bit hackneyed, same ol’ same ol’ stuff (though I liked the introduction to the characters, for the most part).

Hmmm, spent all night up working and now I’m done for a bit. I think I will toss TMP into the DVD player and check it out again.

115. thebiggfrogg - May 24, 2012

Unintended consequence of TMP: George Lucas saw it and thought, “Star Wars needs more gratuitous, navel-gazing special effects shots!” And so, he did for the next 33 years.

(The worst I remember, maybe from Empire Strikes Back, in the middle of the action Vader says, “Take me to my shuttle” and they show him stomping off and flying away and completely breaking the dramatic tension. Because after all in the next scene where he is on the Star Destroyer everyone is scratching their heads, “HOW DID HE GET THERE?!? I didn’t think they had transporters in Star Wars!)

Enough geeking out for the day (other than TMP, that is! Gotta’ dig those disco-era civvie clothes in San Fran HQ).

116. thebiggfrogg - May 24, 2012

111. Exactly. Though, I disagree on some of the gang back together scenes. I enjoyed them (but maybe that is a fanboy thang).
BTW, McCoy’s entrance in TMP is especially priceless. Gotta’ love the beard.

117. Shilliam Watner (Click to see Darth Vader's zipper) - May 24, 2012

Like I said earlier, TMP is a divisive film among fans.

But I still remember how it felt when seeing Kirk once again, exiting the tube and striding purposefully for what would amount to a tiny coup. And it was great seeing Spock again, and hearing the Vulcan language for the first time. I hated Bones with a beard, but once he became Bones again, it was great.

And the Enterprise was GORGEOUS! And I loved that they showed her forever, from every angle, showing us for the first time how awe-inspiring this ship really was! I loved every minute of that long beauty pass. The movie had a grandeur the others do not. I did not mind the slowness at all, and I was a teen at the time.

Mind you, I love Terrence Malick, and long, epic movies. This was an early one for me. I loved it. The director’s cut is an improvement. The pacing is actually a bit faster, but this is still a deliberately paced film.

That’s my two quatloos.

118. dep1701 - May 24, 2012

Two cool vintage tie-ins to the Enterprise as seen in TMP I will always treasure;

1). David Kimble’s awesome, beautifully rendered 4ft. long cutaway poster of the ship orbiting Earth that shows the relation of every set in the film and how they fit in the ship. I’ve had a copy of that poster rolled up for 33 years and finally got it mounted and framed two months ago. When I brought it in to the shop to get it framed, the framer just about had an orgasm. It’s gorgeous.

2). Milton Bradley/South Bend’s modular “Electronic U.S.S. Enterprise” toy. In fact this toy was in stores in October…two months before the movie was released! The electronic bit is little more than an engine hum whose pitch can be adjusted by turning a knob. Not terribly impressive by today’s standards. When you reach the top a pulsing “Phaser firing” sound is heard while a red light in the bridge flashes. Also, it’s not entirely accurate ( in fact the detailing matches the earlier version of the ship, before Andrew Probert added all the art-deco finishing touches ). But the really fun part was that the components could be rearranged and snapped together to create other ships, like Franz Joseph’s Scout/Destroyer and Tug class vessels from the “Star Fleet Technical Manual. Lots of play potential there. Here’s an article with some pix of it.


119. Dr. Image - May 24, 2012

Always liked TMP. MORE than I like TWOK. Oh well.
#111- Well said.

120. Shilliam Watner (Click to see Trek Ships Poster) - May 24, 2012

118. dep1701 – I remember that poster! I need to find that online. In the meantime, click on my name for another poster. I can send you a higher res version if you want. It’s not as cool as the cutaway poster though.

I never knew that toy existed! How cool that it can be made into ships! I want one.

121. Shilliam Watner (Click to see Trek Ships Poster) - May 24, 2012

119. Dr. Image – My favorite movie is probably a tie between TMP and TWOK. They both serve such different purposes, and achieve different awesome things. None of the TOS movies had a chance after those two, as far as I’m concerned.

122. cgrest - May 24, 2012

I’m a big TMP fan. Spock is as cold and emotionless as ever, which was great. McCoy’s arrival was classic. Decker’s character was unique because he was adversarial towards Kirk and Spock and challenged them on serveral occasions. No other character ever did that. And I loved the fact that you didn’t really know till the end what the Enterprise crew was up against.

I’ve always said that at the heart of TMP was a very great story. It just wasn’t told in the best way possible. Its a little too slow at times, and the dialogue and interaction between the characters is lacking. Had the production team been given more time to screen the movie and edit it properly, the end result would have been a superior movie.

I still get great enjoyment from what the movie is, however, and I respectfully disagree with Mr. Nimoy.

123. darendoc - May 24, 2012

I’m gonna have to throw my hat in the ring and oppose Mr. Nimoy on this one as well. I think he has just been influenced by the negative press, and the fact that it didn’t speak to the popcorn audience like Trek II did.

The truth is that, at least in my opinion, TMP gave the Spock character a much needed depth… Giving him what he thought he wanted… cold, emotionless logic… and showing him the outcome of that desire. V’Ger is the perfect realization of Spock’s early goal of perfect order. Total Logic. It is what he is striving for at the beginning of the film with the Kolinahr Ritual. It is the ultimate character arc showing Spock realize his goal, and achieve it with his own insatiable curiosity that he shares with V’ger. When he glimpses into the sensor in the heart of V’ger, he sees what would lie in store for himself… barren, cold. No hope. No meaning.

It is this epiphany that changes the Spock character and makes it possible for him to embrace his human side. It is a touching story… if you give it a chance.

I’m sorry Mr. Nimoy can’t see that, blinded by bad feelings from the first film… when he felt misused by the studio, and unprotected by the director.

I choose the story of TMP over the whitewash kiddie fest that is trek III and IV… which Nimoy is obviously proud of. I just wish he had clear vision of what the differences are between those and the more adult vision of the 1st film.

124. Jack - May 24, 2012

122.Yeah, it’s a good movie despite the flaws. It’s interesting how a lot of people talk about how roddenberry believed human conflict/drama wouldn’t exist in the future (and TNG shows this), yet this is, arguably, the only movie (Roddenberry’s only Trek film) where a big part of the struggle/conflict is between the shipmates. Spock was even colder than ever and damaged, and really desperately seeking a solution to… life. All three of them were kind of a mess without (any or all of: each other, the ship or a mission). It was missing that comfortable Trek camaraderie , but that was kind of the point, it seems.

125. VulcanFilmCritic - May 25, 2012


I’m glad that so many feel that TMP was a pretty good film and tackled some adult issues, rather than simply going for feel-good space opera.
I saw the movie when it premiered and the feeling in the theater that night was very different from the one you get watching the movie on a small screen or your TV, no matter how advanced. We sat in the dark that night and cried like babies. And so did everyone around us. We were overwhelmed by the style of the movie. It’s too bad Mr. Nimoy felt he was out of his comfort zone on TMP, but for an actor, staying in your comfort zone leads to boredom.

Look, by 1979, ST:TOS was beginning to look a little bit kitschy. When 2001: A space Odyssey came out, sci-fi fans were livid. Livid that our movies didn’t get the star treatment and that TV shows like TOS had to resort to such primitive special effects that it was almost like looking at a play or something where you had to use your imagination most of the time. Spinning lights and smoke machines and sparkle dust were hardly special effects worthy of good sci-fi.

ST:TMP finally gave us what we craved and felt we deserved. When you see Vulcan for the first time (instead of just some sand, paper mache rocks, and red lights) and when you see the fly-around the Enterprise and a scene with the entire crew gathered…well, it was just stirring.

I agree that the script was lame. It just came to a screeching halt once McCoy comes on board. There were so many missed opportunities for drama: re-uniting the crew, tension between Kirk and Spock, Deltan vs. Vulcan, etc. They really should have eliminated the character of Decker and had Kirk faced with wrestling control of the Enterprise from Spock, a Spock who’s gone through Kohlinar. ST sparkles when these two go at each other.

But TMP did address some emotional issues that set the stage for the rest of the movies and for tons of fan fiction (to fill in the gaps between the end of TOS and TMP). Aging and the passage of time made for a lot of interesting scenarios, rather than keeping them preserved in amber, the same as when TOS ended.

TMP is the Star Trek movie that I watch the most. Not because it’s the best; far from it, but because of all the possibilities it opens up.

126. Mark Lynch - May 25, 2012

It’s great seeing ST:TMP getting the praise it deserves. In the past I often felt I was the only one that thought it was good.

127. Bernd Schneider - May 25, 2012

Nimoy isn’t doing justice to TMP.

He says that “It just wasn’t a Star Trek movie,” which sounds a bit like “George Washington just wasn’t a US President”. Seriously, at the time TMP was being made it was influenced by 2001 and by Star Wars, besides TOS. So what. The later Trek movies relied on motives from other flicks of the respective time.

Some if not most of the later Trek movies had even much less in common with the very idea of Star Trek than TMP. Especially the fact that in nearly every Trek movie since “The Wrath of Khan” there was a villain whose only goal is to destroy the Enterprise, Kirk, or Earth, or all of them, is a clear sign that Trek movies have lost perspective of what Trek is about. While TMP was based on “The Changeling” story-wise and may not have had enough drama, it is still better than always trying to repeat the success of “The Wrath of Khan”.

Also TMP created the look and feel of the second and by far most important generation of Trek (movies 1-10, TNG, DS9, VOY, ENT), which should not be forgotten.

128. Damian - May 25, 2012

108–While TMP is my favorite of the Star Trek films, I do agree with you on the uniforms. I think they were trying to go for an updated look from the TV series and it didn’t work.

126–It is nice to see a lot of the love for TMP here. The Enterprise certainly got a lot of love in this movie, which was nice to see. And I agree with others that this was the only movie where it wasn’t just some appliance being used for target practice.

I loved all 11 films, but this one always topped my list. Like I noted before, this movie made me a Trekkie.

I have a great deal of respect for Leonard Nimoy and find myself agreeing with most things he says about Star Trek. But on this point, I’m afraid I must disagree.

129. Astronut - May 25, 2012

One word no one is using: VIBE

For all the things it got right, ST:TMP was lacking in vibe. All the parts were brought together into one room but it was as if the heart and soul were drained on arrival.

The characters were, for the most part, flat. No matter HOW you want to justify their behavior — they were dry.

You know how some people just have “sex appeal” and some do not? It has very little to do with LOOKS, it’s more about how they carry themselves and how positive their “vibe” is…….. no matter how “technically” awesome ST:TMP looks, the characters are sorely lacking in the VIBE department.

The sex appeal of this film was limited to long, drawn-out shots of the Enterprise.

Don’t get me wrong, I actually like the film a lot but mainly for technical reasons… the cast getting back together after ten years, the potential realized with new special effects, all that stuff is great.

But when it comes to heart, soul, vibe…. the characters are limp. It’s like the saying, “The lights are all on, but nobody’s home.”

That’s how I have always viewed ST:TMP

130. thebiggfrogg - May 25, 2012

Um, despite my love for TMP. I commented on the lack of joie de virve, basically another word for ‘vibe.’ As much as I love most of TMP (sans the overly long effects bits) it missed that aspect of TOS. The Wrath of Khan, another very different favourite, got that right, but as others have noted, started the cycle of villain of the moment space opera flicks (though The Voyage Home, also refreshingly breaks that mold too–perhaps it is a worthy combination of TMP and TWOK).

131. thebiggfrogg - May 25, 2012

TWOK was a great Trek entry that ushered in a formulaic approach thereafter. Same in TNG with the Best of Both Worlds. The ep was great and TNG really came into its own, but then the TNG-era series tried to capture the formula ad infinitum and we got the big, unstoppable film du jour over and over and over again (boring): Borg, the Founders, Species Whatever, and the Xindi. Yawn. As said earlier TMP was one of the few to really do the who “to seek out” aspect of Trek instead of ad infinitum gunboat diplomacy. Even with the formulaic story arcs in the TNG-era shows they were able to hit some of the exploration motifs occasionally. I think that is why Trek is best on TV, especially in the era of Transformers and other box offic big bang drek.

132. Astronut - May 25, 2012

Was not aware of the phrase ” joie de virve”… sorry

133. thebiggfrogg - May 25, 2012

No problem. That is what I get for using A French term, Gotta’ take every chance to use a foreign language. I live in China now and my Chinese sucks, so got to break my monolinguism somehow.

134. ME!! - May 25, 2012

I’m one who liked TMP when it first came out, but over time I gradually thought less and less about it eventually feeling it to be the least of the films to that point. Final Frontier came out and while I do think it had some of the best character moments of the original crew films, it lacked everywhere else and became the bottom film in my list, elevating TMP slightly.

Then Paramount did the Director’s Cut and that changed everything. The film was FINALLY complete and worked great. It’s now my favorite film of the series, including the TNG films.

And of course, leave it to Rick Berman to elevate Final Frontier a notch or two…Nemesis is now at the absolute rock bottom of my list. It may have superior effects and production values, but it is an atrocious film.

Anyway, if you haven’t seen it, by all means do yourself a favor and watch Robert Wise’s Director’s Cut of TMP. Even if you still don’t care for it, you’ll have to admit…it’s a definite improvement.

Now, if only Paramount will spring the money to remaster it in HD.

135. ME!! - May 25, 2012

I’m with you Bigfrogg. TMP captured that exploring the unknown that made Trek so great. After that is was just “let’s try and do TWOK again” even into the TNG films and especially with my least favorite one, Nemesis. That was Berman’s admitted goal with that one and he failed miserably to even comprehend what exactly made TWOK work. We as an audience have to care about these characters. If we’re going to have a villain from a main character’s past, we need to be familiar with that villain or we’re not going to relate to the situation. That’s one of the things that made TWOK work.

136. Jai - May 25, 2012

Re: #116:

“BTW, McCoy’s entrance in TMP is especially priceless. Gotta’ love the beard.”

And the medallion. Don’t forget the medallion. McCoy was in full Saturday Night Fever/Bee Gees mode in that scene.

Ah, gotta love the 70s ;)

137. Jai - May 25, 2012

TMP is one of those sophisticated, philosophical movies you appreciate more when you’re a bit older. It’s not necessarily the right vehicle to relaunch a franchise that gave the world the wonders that are KirkFu and BanterOnTheBridgeAtSpock’sExpense, but it still hits the right targets in many other ways. There are obvious comparisons to 2001, but it’s also much more in the spirit of Gattaca and Bladerunner than the more traditionally Trekkish movies.

I also think TMP is one of the most realistic Star Trek movies, in terms of depicting what it would actually be like for humanity to explore the “great unknown” of deep space, and especially what it would be like for us to encounter extraterrestrial civilisations hundreds of thousands — or millions — of years more advanced than us. TMP captured that epic, awe-inspiring and somewhat spooky vibe just right.

138. dep1701 - May 25, 2012

@120: Nice poster ( I looked at it previously ) I wouldn’t mind a high res version. Would make a cool desktop.

Re: South Bend Enterprise – You can occasionally find them online on ebay, but as the article says, be prepared to pay around $100. for one. The original price of mine was about $15.00, IIRC. When the movie failed to connect with the kiddie audience, you could find them in stores for as cheap as $7-8.00. Wish I’d bought about ten of ’em now!

139. Spock/Uhura Admirer ;-) - May 25, 2012


“TMP captured that epic, awe-inspiring and somewhat spooky vibe just right.”

There you go. I liked the sense that the universe is big, and that maybe exploring space is really self-exploration because we are the universe and the universe is us, and what does that mean? I thought that was interesting. For what it’s worth, movie captured me the whole way through. *Shrugs*

140. Dom - May 25, 2012

I agree with consensus that the film was big, epic, cinematic and so on, but it’s a tin man with no heart… or at least only a deep frozen one! With a dash more colour, better dialogue and an opportunity for the actors to emote a little more the film could have been something truly special.

The Director’s edition is a huge step up. The bridge sound effects make it much more Trek-like and I don’t mind the change of emergency klaxon. It always seemed stupid to have that jarring noise and a voice barking out ‘Intruder Alert!’ only for someone someone like Sulu to turn around and tell Kirk there’s an intruder alert! I think the nice man guessed that, dearie!!! ;)

141. MC1 Doug - May 25, 2012

#6″ I’m with you. ST-TMP remains my favorite of all the films.

142. MC1 Doug - May 25, 2012

#49: “Nah, TMP was epic. And the costumes were a lot better than those ugly red jackets.”

Every time I see those uniforms STII – STVI, all I can think of is the Gestapo. I’m sorry but I hate those things.

143. Red Dead Ryan - May 25, 2012


“Every time I see those uniforms STII — STVI, all I can think of is the Gestapo. I’m sorry but I hate those things.”


144. MC1 Doug - May 25, 2012

If you think about it, more people saw ST TMP than all of the other films.

IF, as I recall, ST TMP’s theater gross was $140 million dollars. This site converts movie grosses for its period into current (2010) dollars.

Accordingly, based on 139 million dollars equates to around $444 million 2010 dollars.

Answers.com says the average movie ticket cost $2.50 in 1979. = nearly 57 million tickets. I’m no expert, but I don’t think ANY of the other TREK films can make that claim.

Box office receipts aside, in scope, character development, set design, special effects, music and maturity, I still think ST TMP is the best of all of them. I’m sorry, Mr, Nimoy, but I respectfully disagree.

145. Vultan - May 25, 2012


They look more marching band than Gestapo, I think.
Maybe if they were black…

146. Red Dead Ryan - May 25, 2012


Wrong. More people went to see “Star Trek” 09 than any other Trek film, including TMP. Even after inflation is taken into account.

147. MC1 Doug - May 25, 2012

You read it right, Mr, Red Dead, those uniform, aside from the color, remind me of Nazi Germany’s military uniforms. Those gawd awful things are completely different than every other version of TREK, and look completely out of place in the history we’ve come to know.

Feel free to disagree, it is your prerogative. It is how I feel and your incredulity will change nothing in that regard.

148. Red Dead Ryan - May 25, 2012


I would think if they did look like Nazi uniforms, Nick Meyer would have said something to the costume designers. Especially since he, Leonard Nimoy, and William Shatner, are Jewish.

Comparing the TWOK uniforms to the ones worn by Nazi officers is pretty ignorant. And uncalled for.

Poor taste on your part.

149. Vultan - May 25, 2012

Nick Meyer said something about seeing Trek as Horatio Hornblower in space. The uniforms in TWOK seem to reflect that, along with Horner’s very Navy-sounding score, the E and Reliant firing “broadsides” at one another. In retrospect, maybe they overdid it just a bit.

Just to compare, here are Nazi uniforms:


Sorry, Doug… I don’t see much a resemblance there.
They looked more old school British military to me.

150. MC1 Doug - May 25, 2012

My point being, the uniforms are a retrogressive step backwards from the progressive uniforms (light, breathable, non-confining,etc. we’ve always seen on TREK… these ugly things strike me as ugly, a bit hot, uncomfortable and impractical.

Considering that both Shatner and Nimoy wore Nazi uniforms in “Patterns of Force,” I fail to see how your indignant “paint ball” has any bearing on the three’s religious affiliations.

151. Shilliam Watner (Click for the Spiderwoman) - May 25, 2012

Hm, well the costumes really WERE a product of their time. Science fiction costuming was still pretty bad back then. It’s the only thing that dates the movie, now that the FX have been spruced up.

Still, I just couldn’t find it in myself to feel strongly either way. I actually enjoyed the militaristic feel of TWOK. They were very clever to do the naval battle metaphor. Well done, and still exciting today.

But it should have come to that. Kirk should have been a better captain, and not get caught with his pants down. Still just as fallible as he was in TMP. And really, he doesn’t even save the day. He saves the ship, but if not for Spock, Enterprise go BOOM! Still, there was something touching about his fallibility. Kirk had finally aged, and they made it a thread through the entire film.

They forgot that pretty much in the rest of the films, with Shatner going so far as to have Kirk be an expert rock climber.

I thought that was too bad. It was great subtext. TWOK is really not a simple film as some people seem to claim. And it is the penultimate film for the Kirk/Spock relationship.

The first two films did different things well. They complement each other really well, I think. Definitely my favorite TOS films.

152. Red Dead Ryan - May 25, 2012


Shatner and Nimoy, as Kirk and Spock, disguised themselves as Nazis in “Patterns Of Force”.

The uniforms worn by Kirk and Spock were meant to be worn in Starfleet. Why would they look like Nazi uniforms? If they did look like the Gestapo, people would be outraged. It would be bad PR, even if it was unintentional.

They do not look like Nazi uniforms. Period.

153. Vultan - May 25, 2012

If you want to see Nazi inspired sci-fi uniforms, check out the officers of the evil Galactic Empire in Star Wars.

And Spaceballs.


154. MC1 Doug - May 25, 2012

First off, I never said “they look like.” I said “they remind me of.” Period,

155. Shilliam Watner (Click for the Spiderwoman) - May 25, 2012

Cat fight!

156. MC1 Doug - May 25, 2012


157. Keachick - rose pinenut - May 26, 2012

#150 – “My point being, the uniforms are a retrogressive step backwards from the progressive uniforms (light, breathable, non-confining,etc. we’ve always seen on TREK… these ugly things strike me as ugly, a bit hot, uncomfortable and impractical.”

I agree. TOS uniforms are the best. Exactly – “light, breathable, non-confining”. For some reason, the new producers seemed to have lost the plot a bit by trying to turn Star Trek into Star Armada to judge by the uniforms they had the characters wear in TWOK. I remember feeling so disappointed that Star Trek had become more militarised.

“Considering that both Shatner and Nimoy wore Nazi uniforms in “Patterns of Force,” I fail to see how your indignant “paint ball” has any bearing on the three’s religious affiliations.”

You are taking this out of context. Kirk and Spock donned Nazi like uniforms in order to infiltrate a bad organisation to see who was behind it. I seriously doubt that either Shatner or Nimoy would have ever allowed their respective characters to wear a Nazi-looking official Starfleet uniform.

Jews are a race of people who may also belong to the Jewish religion, Judaism. I did not know that Nick Meyer was Jewish, but I did know that both Shatner and Nimoy are Jewish by race and both were brought in the Orthodox Jewish faith. I believe that Nimoy is still part of the faith but I don’t know about Shatner. Hitler didn’t give a shit about the religion of Judaism – he just saw the Jewish RACE as being “untermenschen”.

158. VulcanFilmCritic - May 26, 2012

@ 147 MC1 Doug
Yeah, I agree, the uniforms for ST II-VI were weird. I didn’t think they looked like Nazi uniforms but they were excessively militaristic, and I would agree with @145 Vultan, that they do look like a marching band. I can’t imagine sitting on the bridge for hours in that get-up. And when running, the officers just looked ridiculous.

I think the uniforms for ST:TMP struck a nice balance between structure and function, even if the actors were a little bit uncomfortable in them. At the time we thought William Shatner looked AMAZING in his uniforms. The only problem was that they were all kind of beige and white so that they were a little boring. If they had a bit more color, like on TNG, they might have been better. TNG probably has the most sensible uniforms of all.

I think by the third season TOS got the uniforms right. In heavy double knit, rather than velour, they were more flattering to slightly aging male and female figures.

I hope with the new movie, we will get to see some snazzy costumes in civilian and alien life. I really miss Bill Theiss’ far-out creations.

159. Red Dead Ryan - May 26, 2012


Regardless, you mentioning how they “remind” you of Nazi uniforms was purely asinine and uncalled for.

160. Kev -1 - May 26, 2012

WWii German officer uniforms, SS, I think, do have a sleeve band there. This is where people are getting this similarity.

161. MJ - May 26, 2012

Again, I like TMP as a good hard scifi film, but it was a poor Trek film. There is a good reason why a lot of Trek fans back in the early 80’s refered to it as “The Motion Sickness.”

162. Johnny Ice - May 26, 2012

Actually you are wrong. More people went to see TMP than SO9. If we calcuate 2009 numbers, S09 grossed approx: 386 million divide by average 2009 ticket price $ 7,50. We will get approx 51,5 million tickets compare to TMP 139 million divide by $2,50= 55,6 million ticket sold. So S09 came close but it didnt break the TMP record.
Also if we adjust this numbers to 2011 than TMP grossed approx: $441 million worldwide compare to S09 $ 408 million.

163. Jack - May 26, 2012

162. Is there not an official record of the number of actual tickets sold somewhere?

From Box Offfice Mojo:
Domestic grosses Adjusted for Ticket Price Inflation
1 Star Trek Par. $273,620,300 (2012 $) $257,730,019 (2009)
2 Star Trek: The Motion Picture Par. $259,556,600 (2012 $) $82,258,456 (1979)

Trek 09: widest release: 4,053 theaters
TMP: widest release 1,002 theaters

Of course, the bigger single-screen theatres then were a LOT bigger.

Has Anthony ever settled that question on here? Which Trek sold the most tickets? Which made the most, totally (including international grosses), with inflation? Which Trek film made the most profit? We seem to have this discussion a lot.

164. Shilliam Watner (Click for the Spiderwoman) - May 26, 2012

157. Keachick – rose pinenut – I understand what you’re saying. A lot of people didn’t like the militaristic look, but I always saw Starfleet as the military of the future. A kinder, gentler military, but a military nonetheless. Military uniforms made more sense to me than the jumpsuits. That doesn’t mean I liked their design. I often didn’t, but I thought it was more realistic.

165. Dan - May 27, 2012

I really loved TMP. To me it’s still the best trek movie ever. It’s so visual and atmospheric…

166. Johnny Ice - May 27, 2012

Really there hasent been settled completely.
There has been mantra from Paramount to talk down TMP to beef up movies that came after it. Nimoy remarks fall in line to this mantra. I find this rather unfair towards TMP. TMP defiantly had problems but it had a lot of heart and it meant well. That all i have to say. I dont want say negative remark towards Nimoy but i want point out Star Trek is/was Roddenbarry creation and i am pretty sure he ranks TMP a lot higher then Nimoy and that is good enough for me.

167. Bob Tompkins - May 27, 2012

Very interesting statistic. I had done this calculation for myself at one time and was not totally surprised by it.
For a long time box office adjustment for inflation was a premium feature of the movie site Box Office Mojo, but they have again made it available to anyone who cares to look.
Adjusting for inflation, Star Trek 2009 is the top domestic grossing Star Trek movie- barely eking out Star Trek: The Motion Picture for the honor by about 14m 2012 inflation -adjusted dollars.
As a gross of production costs, TMP was more profitable than ST2009 by a wide margin, grossing more than 2X its budget, which is the traditional ‘break even’ margin for grosses on a movie when considering production budget, theaters’ share and advertising budget…..ST 2009 did not realize a profit on its domestic release based upon the 50% of gross to the studio rule; it did so only after foreign grosses were added in.
ST:TMP was a ‘beached whale’ that some studios would have killed for.

168. Bob Tompkins - May 27, 2012

It was also interesting that while JJ Abrams wanted to broaden the appeal of Trek overseas, as a percentage of gross, First Contact, Generations, and Nemesis [!] all did better as far as percentage of gross from foreign markets.

169. Michael Hall - May 27, 2012

“My point being, the uniforms are a retrogressive step backwards from the progressive uniforms (light, breathable, non-confining,etc. we’ve always seen on TREK… these ugly things strike me as ugly, a bit hot, uncomfortable and impractical.”

Remember the scene when Kirk and the landing party beam back up to the Enterprise from the Genesis Cave? The ship is half-blown to hell, Khan is gunning for them, yet they take precious moments to have the Style Ensigns replace their field gear with those ridiculous uniform jackets. . . as though the sight of naked turtlenecks on the bridge would have sent the enlisted personnel into a faint.

Much of TWOK is wonderful, and some of it is goofy, but that scene is wonderfully goofy. :-)

170. Anthony Pascale - May 28, 2012

RE: Biggest Trek film ever
I have written about this before, but here it goes again

There can be no doubt that Star Trek 2009 is highest grossing domestic film. There is a debate as to whether TMP has higher grossing global number. It depends on if you use 1980 or 1979 numbers vs 2009. While the film came out at the end of 1979, the international releases were in 1980. WHen you use 1980 numbers, ST2009 also comes out as #1 global. Also I am not sure the BOM numbers for global sales are accurate. It has an unusually high proportion of global sales both for the era and certainly for a Star Trek film. But there are few details. When you look at the UK (Treks biggest market outside the USA/Canada) then again ST2009>TMP. So I have always wondered where all those reported TMP global sales came from.
So to summarize, I believe it is accurate to say that ST2009 (even after inflation) is highest grossing Trek film of all time, with TMP close behind and then STIV (globally). Domestically you would flip STIV and TMP.

In addition comparing a 2009 movie to a 1979 movie is apples and oranges. Back then there was no home market for films. So movies stayed in theaters for months and months and people went multiple times, as opposed to once (or twice maybe) and then waiting for video. Certainly when you factor in total gross with box office plus home market, Star Trek 2009 wipes the floor with TMP.

As for profit, only Paramount knows. However it is notewrothy that after TMP they essentially fired the team who made the movie and brought in new producer/writer/director/effects team/etc for the sequel. As opposed to ST2009 where Paramount went out of their way to keep the team, both trying to lock them down before release and choosing to wait for JJ Abrams to finish Super 8 instead of taking a risk on a new team. I think of any measure, that is the most important one from the studio POV. Paramount looked at TMP as a disappointment, and ST2009 as a huge success.

It is possible that Paramount were convinced that TMP should have done Star Wars numbers and maybe that was unreasonable, but the film was also not that well received by fans/critics. It was also a strained production that was barely finished on time. As opposed to ST2009 with a production that ran smoothly, and was a big hit with fans, critics and general audiences…all coming after concerns that the franchise was dead.

ST2009 had to fight the headwinds of a dormant franchise and doubts about recasting. TMP was coming after a decade of Trek’s resurgence though syndication and in a new era of big scifi epics following Star Wars.

Does that answer your question?

171. Bob Tompkins - May 28, 2012

No doubt that factoring in home video makes 2009 the big winner; I also have no doubt that Paramount was hoping for Star Wars like numbers out of TMP, which influenced the direction future movies took- action filled movies on a shoestring budget to guarantee top return on investment. ST 2-4 made Paramount a ton of money compared to their investment in the budgets. Without a home video market, that was about the only plan that made sense.
After sleeping on the profitability of TMP, another line of uncertainty crept into my thoughts. I was a reasonably young man when TMP was released, living through the high infation/interest economy of that period..TMP probably made profit in the 25- 30% area. When considering interest rates at that time were in the 15% range, perhaps that was on shaky financial ground. Why make that movie when you can bank the money and make nearly as much? 2-4 showed profits in the 200- 250% area, not too shabby at all in any economic circumstances.
I am just happy Paramount decided it was worth it to keep the ball rolling.

172. Red Dead Ryan - May 28, 2012


Thanks, Anthony!

I think the facts you provided should end this arguement once and for all.

173. Johnny Ice - May 29, 2012

Anthoney is just voicing his opinion like everybody else. Anthony question if we should use 1979 or 1980 numbers but he uses than 1980 numbers instead of 1979 despite approx 60% of the TMP domestic gross was in 1979. Anyway all major box office sites calculate TMP in 1979 numbers. So it is only fair that we use 1979 numbers too right. But like Anthony said it is apples and oranges and maybe comparing TMP vs S09 at box office is almost impossiable task as time passed is too much. But i just bring up this topic whenever i can to show how this socalled ‘beached whale’ wipes the floor compare to other TOS films at least at the box office.

174. Anthony Pascale - May 29, 2012

To clarify, my numbers are based on using the 1979 inflation numbers for the domestic box office and 1980 numbers for the int’l box office. As I noted, the global money came in 1980. And actually much of the domestic also came in from 1980. Being that inflation was so high back then it makes a difference. The only right way to do it is to mix the 1979 and 1980 numbers…and when you do (as I have) then ST2009>TMP. And as I point out, I still dont even believe the TMP global numbers to begin with, nor is it an apt comparison.

So again, Star Trek 2009 is undeniably the most successful film of the franchise.

As for the TOS films, again STIV is the most sucessful domestically even when adjusted for inflation. TMP (if you believe the reported int’l sales) is greater than TMP. But again if you asked any Paramount Exec at the time which film they view as a bigger success, I’m pretty sure they would have said STIV.

But getting to Nimoy’s point, the ‘beached whale’ view was really related to content of the film and how it was received by fans and critics. I would also argue that STV, Insurrection and Nemesis also left the franchise as a beached whale from that perspective. After all of those films, Paramount took a step back before deciding how to continue with the franchise.

For II, III, IV, VI, Gen, FC and ST09 the studio always responded “that was great, now make another one”, although with VI it was already decided they would be handing over from the TOS team to the TNG team, but that was not due to a view that STVI was not a success, just time to move to the new crew.

175. Johnny Ice - May 29, 2012

Yeah i can see your point Anhony to use 1979 numbers for adjusting domestic gross and for overseas gross use 1980 numbers. That is only fair So overall S09>TMP>TVH :) i have no problem with that and hopefull the new movie will do evan better anyway enough with numers and box office.
Anyway back to topic. It is just evident that Nimoy just dosent like TMP and thinks it is ,,beached whale,, ;) it is just funny remarks to me when 2 biggest stars in TVH was …… and fair enough it his opnion but to say TMP isent a Star Trek movie is quite harsh. I am not sure if Shatner would agree to this or the late Roddenbarry and Wise.

176. Jim Nightshade - May 30, 2012

Can anyone look up…back when dune came out harlan ellison wrote a review which reminded me of tmp because most of what he said about dune was also true about tmp… ahead of its time…the headline was innovative epic finds fantastic future….he called star wars a witless space adventure….

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