Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.5. USA, 1986. Paramount Pictures, Industrial Light & Magic. Story by Leonard Nimoy, Harve Bennett, Screenplay by Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes, Harve Bennett, Nicholas Meyer, based on the television series Star Trek by Gene Roddenberry. Cinematography by Donald Peterman. Produced by Harve Bennett. Music by Leonard Rosenman. Production Design by Jack T. Collis. Costume Design by Robert Fletcher. Film Editing by Peter E. Berger. Academy Awards 1986.
Fantastic continuation of the equally enjoyable predecessor, this time with an environmentally-minded message at its centre. On their way home from saving Spock, the crew of the Starship Enterprise (still aboard the Klingon vessel that they acquired in Part III) intercept a distress call that they can’t understand, directed at earth from an alien race that they are unaware of. When they discover that the aliens are communicating in a form of language only understood by humpback whales, they must go back in time to a century when the animals still lived on the planet before their extinction thanks to human ignorance. The aliens are so upset at not being able to make contact with their old friends that they are preparing to destroy the planet in order to protect themselves. Landing in the twentieth century circa 1986 A.D., the crew’s voyage through our contemporary society is a lot more treacherous than you would think, particularly considering their inability to understand contemporary standards and morals. Catherine Hicks stands out as a marina employee who is particularly attached to a humpback whale and doesn’t understand why these strange people want to take it away. Featuring crisp direction by Leonard Nimoy and fantastic writing, this was as good as the series would be until First Contact ten years later. The cast’s work as an ensemble is perfect, and the photography and visual effects are gorgeous.