[Originally published in Movietone News 64-65, March 1980]
Regarding the immense, murky, superintelligent cloud that threatens to destroy the planet Earth, one anonymous spaceperson remarks, â€œThere must be something incredible inside generating it!â€ I wish the same could be said for the immense Star Trekâ€”The Motion Picture,which disappoints by seeming to have no driving force at its center. The â€œsomething incredibleâ€ that the Enterprise goes up against during Old Home Week Among the Stars is a living machine wishing to collect all human knowledge and to link up with its Creator. Itâ€™s called … well, phonetically, Veejerâ€”so that the cast sounds very silly when addressing this almost godlike entity. I wouldnâ€™t dream of spelling out the explanation of that name, but it almost seems to have been suggested by the title gimmick of Zardoz(the name of an old book called The Wizard of Oz compressed into the futuristic word). Itâ€™s clever, anyway, and the whole Veejer episode is pretty engaging, just as the really good episodes of the old Star TrekTV series are.
Warner Home Video releases a quartet of DVD debuts, all with troubled critical histories: loved by some, disliked by many, largely ignored by most. And that’s what makes their arrivals so interesting: it gives us a chance, an excuse even, to revisit the films. That said, I’m up to my eyeballs in the Seattle International Film Festival and thus only had time to see one of them, but it was a revelation.