Comedian Patton Oswalt explains why the 1979 movie “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” is a terrible sci-fi movie. Gene Roddenberry’s original groundbreaking “Star Trek” disappeared from television screens in 1969. But ten years later, the sci-fi franchise got a new lease of life with the release of a feature film appropriately titled “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.”
The production of this first “Star Trek” movie on the big screen, as you know, faced many obstacles, including huge problems with special effects. The resulting film had a fairly good box office, collecting $ 139 million with a budget of $ 44 million, but, nevertheless, disappointed many fans with its super-serious approach to the “Track”. However, the film has been re-evaluated in recent years, and now it has many defenders who argue that its deliberate pace and heavy tone are actually virtues, not mistakes.
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However, one person who does not believe in this “Star Trek: A reassessment of the movie” is the comedian Oswalt. In a video for GQ breaking down his personal five best and worst sci-fi films, the “Eternal” star turned to work on the 1979 “Star Trek” on the big screen, criticizing her for not being able to convey the spirit of the “Star Trek” TV show. He said:
“Star Trek: The Motion Picture” is an oatmeal—colored uniform on a gunmetal-colored ship. Everyone is in a bad mood. Nothing really happens. They get to this thing at the end when it’s the Voyager spacecraft, but he thinks it’s God, and you say, “I’ve seen this story a million times.” In fact, I think it was the plot of the Star Trek series. I’m glad that Star Trek: The Motion Picture exists because it’s such an absolute failure in adapting the source material that it made them do Wrath of Khan. In fact, Wrath of Khan should be called: “Sorry for the first one. Here’s the second one. We will make it really good.” I don’t think you need to understand the source material, but you should have a sense of fun and a sense of joy, know at least what the engine core is that makes it work, and know how to use that. This is what you need. These are beige people on a gray background in a bad mood for two and a half hours. That’s what they should call “Star Trek: The Motion Picture.” Beige track.
Oswalt’s “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” does raise many of the same issues that have been noted by the film’s detractors over the years: the slow pace, a story about a cosmic god that seems all too familiar, and a general lack of fun in the film. presentation of characters. Defenders of the film, however, will argue that the film’s impressive effects and heavy philosophical ideas make it worthwhile, although it may not convey the atmosphere of the original show well. As Oswalt himself notes, the second Star Trek movie, 1982’s Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, was more of a fun adventure, although this movie also became quite emotional.
The takeaway from the whole Star Trek story ultimately is that the franchise is vast enough to facilitate a lot of different approaches when it comes to storytelling and character approach. You can arrange a fun dizzying space adventure, such as “Star Trek III: In search of Spock.” You can also create a story about time travel, which will turn into a comedy, for example, “Star Trek IV: Journey Home”. Or even a political thriller like Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. In the 1979 film “Star Trek: The Motion Picture”, it turned out to look at science fiction in the style of 2001, trying to evoke a sense of surprise and philosophical stimulation. This approach just doesn’t work for many Star Trek fans, including Oswalt. But the Star Trek buffet, thankfully, includes plenty of other items for those who find Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a bit sterile and ponderous.