109 of 115 people found the following review helpful
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With many fans disappointed following the release of the third "Star Trek" film in 1984, "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock", Paramount Pictures produced one of the best "Star Trek" films of all time in 1986: "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home". Returning to the director's chair for what was only his second directorship of a big-screen motion picture was Leonard Nimoy, but this time, Nimoy had much better material to work with from the films many writers. Nimoy (who actually took on-screen credit for writing) worked with returning writer Harve Bennett to write a brilliant story, and Bennett worked on the screenplay along with three additional writers: Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes and Nicholas Meyer (who directed the highly successful "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn" in 1982). Under the watchful eye of Gene Roddenberry, these men were able to recapture the spirit of the original "Star Trek" television series more than any other preceding or proceeding "Star Trek" film.
Having restored Spock's (Leonard Nimoy) life via the Genesis planet and a return to the planet Vulcan during the third film, the crew of the lost U.S.S. Enterprise now waits on Vulcan for repairs on their captured Klingon scout-class ship, as well as for Spock to retrain his mind, before returning to Earth to face various charges for having disobeyed orders. The crew includes Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Dr. Leonard 'Bones' McCoy (DeForest Kelley), Commander Montgomery 'Scotty' Scott (James Doohan), Commader Hikaru Sulu (George Takei), Commander Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Commander Uhura (Nichelle Nichols). The Klingons are also very angry with Kirk as expressed by the Klingon Ambassador (John Schuck) to the Federation President (Robert Ellenstein) in front of the full Federation Council, but the cool logic of Vulcan Ambassador Sarek (Mark Lenard) prevails. While on Vulcan, Spock gets to spend time with his human mother, Amanda (Jane Wyatt, who once played his mother in the 1967 "Star Trek" television series episode "Journey to Babel"). Also, a brief appearance is made by Lt. Saavic (Robin Curtis), who unfortunately never returns in any other "Star Trek" film. With their Klingon ship ready for departure, Spock and his Enterprise shipmates begin their voyage to Earth; but unknown to them, a bizarre space probe also en route for Earth has been wreaking havoc on any ship that approaches it. Arriving at Earth first, the probe turns Earth's atmosphere into chaos as it waits for a signal that the Federation cannot discern. Receiving a planetary distress call from Earth, Spock identifies what the probe wants: communication with long extinct whales. To save Earth, Kirk makes the decision for them to travel back in time to bring back whales to the present.
"Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" has more memorable scenes than could be mentioned here, but some of the best include: McCoy's conversations with Spock, the crew on the streets of twentieth-century San Francisco, Uhura and Chekov looking for nuclear vessels, McCoy and Scotty visiting the production facility, Kirk & Spock on a city bus, Kirk & Spock's conversations with Dr. Gillian Taylor (Catherine Hicks), Kirk's dinner with Gillian, and McCoy with Kirk & Gillian at the city hospital. Everyone's acting (including Shatner) was very good for this film, but what makes this film stand out from the rest is the emphasis on all of the original crew members. Each of the crew members have time on screen, contribute to the story and have a reasonable amount of dialog. Other familiar "Star Trek" characters have cameos in the film: Dr. Christine Chapel (Majel Barrett) and Janice Rand (Grace Lee Whitney). Another cast member in this film who later plays a pivotal role in the sixth "Star Trek" film is Admiral Cartwright (Brock Peters).
Overall, my rating of for "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" is a resounding 5 out of 5 stars. This film, along with the 1982 film "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn" and the later 1996 film "Star Trek VIII: First Contact", are the three best films ever made of the franchise; but this film will always stand out as being the most humorous, having the best & most memorable dialog and having the greatest spirit of the three. I highly recommend it to everyone who, in any form, has liked "Star Trek".
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
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Star Trek IV Review
With the success of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, writer-producer Harve Bennett and director Leonard Nimoy were given the green light by Paramount to wrap up the storyline that began with Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. There were several plot strands left to tie up, after all, what with Spock having to be re-educated and Kirk and his crew facing a court-martial for the actions they took in the rescue of their half-Vulcan comrade.
Set barely three months after the events of the third film, Star Trek IV opens with a mysterious alien probe cruising toward the Terran system. Its passage immobilizes any starship it passes as it inexorably makes its way to Earth.
Meanwhile, on Vulcan, Spock (Leonard Nimoy) hurriedly undergoes retraining of his mind. In a wonderfully written scene, the former Enterprise science officer breezes through the quizzes a computer tosses at him until he is stumped by the question "How do you feel?"
Spock's human mother, Amanda (Jane Wyatt, reprising her role from The Original Series' "Journey to Babel") hears the computer repeating the question over and over and sidles over to her son. "What's wrong?"
"I do not understand the question, Mother," says a puzzled Spock.
Amanda explains that the retraining of Spock's mind has been in the Vulcan way, but that the computer knows that Spock is half-human, and that his feelings will surface. Spock is skeptical about the concept of having human emotions (since in the series he strived to be more Vulcan-than-thou), but his mother explains that he is alive at that moment because his friends acted out of their emotional nature, disregarding the "logic" of simply obeying Starfleet orders and refraining from fetching Spock from the Genesis planet.
On Earth, the Klingon ambassador (John Schuck) warns the Federation that there will be no peace while Kirk remains alive and unpunished for stealing the Klingon Bird-of-Prey and defeating its crew (preventing Cmdr. Kruge from obtaining the secrets of Genesis). The Federation president promises there will be a court martial, but the Klingons scoff at this.
Even as the Enterprise crew - aboard their stolen Klingon vessel - races home to face the consequences of their actions, the alien probe arrives. Sending a signal to Earth's ocean, it disrupts the planet's climate, causing chaos and world-wide disasters.
The Voyage Home had a tortuous development. At first, the original screenplay by Peter Krikes and Steve Meerson focused on a time travel story tailor-made for guest star Eddie Murphy. Fans heard about this and - as with the death of Spock and the destruction of the Enterprise - protested. Paramount also resisted the idea of mixing two of the studio's franchises, so Murphy and Star Trek never did mix. There was also some nasty behind-the-scenes wrangling about the screenplay, because the Krikes-Meerson version was heavily rewritten by Nicholas Meyer and Harve Bennett - an incident overlooked in the documentaries and commentaries. Eventually the original writers won shared credit for the screenplay, and The Voyage Home was released in the summer of 1986. Notably, this more light-hearted film had major crossover appeal, charming not only Star Trek fans, but also wider audiences.
With its clever script and wonderful mix of sci-fi adventure, social commentary, comedy, romance, and drama, Star Trek IV became the most popular entry of the 10 movies made between 1979 and 2002.
This Collector's Edition offers one disc with the theatrical cut of the movie, enhanced with a new menu, Dolby surround sound, a commentary track by director Leonard Nimoy and actor William Shatner, plus a text commentary by Star Trek Encyclopedia authors Mike and Denise Okuda. The second disc comes with the usual documentaries, interviews, and the theatrical trailer.