“My friends…we’ve come home.”
Like its predecessors, Star Trek IV makes nods to the other series. Time travel was explored three times in the original series. “The Naked Time”, “Tomorrow is Yesterday”, and “City on the Edge of Forever”. Like “Tomorrow is Yesterday”, it has the crew visit the current-day Earth (of course, “Tomorrow is Yesterday” took place in the sixties. This story is set in the 80’s)
After the events of Search For Spock, the Enterprise is destroyed. The crew is put on trial for what happened in the previous movie, but they cannot continue the trial because a probe has been detected. The aliens who sent the probe are sending signals similar to whale-song. However, in the future of Star Trek, whales no longer exist. The crew realizes they must travel back in time to find two humpback whales and bring them to the future to answer the probe and repopulate their species.
The movie is the most humorous of the original series. In a way, it is the odd one out. There’s lots of “fish out of water” humor as our heroes must contend with the technology of the 80’s. One of my favorite moments is when Scotty has to old an Apple computer and thinks the mouse is a voice interface. I also like the scene where Spock and Kirk are on a bus and a patron is playing his boom box too loud. Spock applies a Vulcan neck pinch and the patron is knocked out, shutting off the radio.
I’ve heard complaints about how preachy the movie is with its “save the whales” message I see the point, but it wasn’t uncommon for the original series to be preachy. For example, the episode “A Private Little War” was a critique of the Vietnam War. I like that its funnier than the others, especially considering the darker tone of 5 and 6. (especially 6)
In September, I will continue this series by covering what is considered the worst of the movies, “The Final Frontier”. I’ll also be counting down the top 10 best and worst episodes of the original series.