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Episode 83 – “Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home”

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Buckle up, nerds, for MY FAVOURITE STAR TREK MOVIE, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, AKA: The One with the Whales.

This movie has it all:

1. Hand-claspingly earnest environmentalist commentary

2. The Office-style Fourth-Wall-poking Hey The Past You’re Doing It Wrong plotline

3. A starship crew visiting the super-gross present and having no idea how anything works

4. EVERYONE LIKING EACH OTHER

The crew standing in the middle of 1980s San Francisco. Left to right: Chekov, Scotty, Spock, Bones, Uhura, Sulu, Kirk.
LOOK AT THESE SPACE DORKS

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Voyage Home, our intrepid crew, on their way back to earth to face a Court Martial for their actions in the previous two movies, discovers that Earth is under attack from a mysterious probe that is whipping the Terran climate into destructive storms and threatens to destroy all life. It’s also beaming some kind of communication signal towards Earth’s oceans, but nobody can understand it. Our heroes do a bit of quick sound mixing and intuit that the signal is – wait for it – whalesong! The aliens are looking for humpback whales! The only problem? That particular species was driven to extinction by crappy humans over two centuries ago.

What’s a heroic crew of technically-right-now-space-pirates to do? Why, travel back in time to find some whales, of course!

The humpback whales, George and Gracie, in the tank aboard the H.M.S. Bounty.
George and Gracie would like their money back, they were promised first class and this is clearly Economy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is a great movie for people who don’t know anything about Star Trek, because it’s just… a delight. You get just enough information about the world to be situated, and the chemistry between the characters is solid and established: these people have known each other a long time, and like each other, and work well together. And the plot is wacky, but not so wacky that it drives you up the wall or feels out of keeping with the universe. This is in fact the second time the Enterprise has used the slingshot-around-the-sun method to time-travel, and as an episode format kicks of a tradition of the same kind of time travel story multiple times in each future franchise. Trek’s blatant social commentary is never so blatant as when the world of the future is juxtaposed against our present, and the environmentalism in this movie is so straightforward that most of the dialogue wouldn’t be out of place in an episode of Captain Planet. It’s also the only Trek movie up to this point with no deaths and little to no physical violence.

Actress Catherine Hicks as Dr. Gillian Taylor, cetacean biologist.
Although so, so much 80s hair. Hi, Catherine Hicks! Hope you enjoy science in the future!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Highly recommended, 10/10 (or, well, 3/4, if you’re going by hosts, because Kim has no joy in her heart). A fun, happy story with a happy ending. Watch it and have a good time.

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