Star Trek the Motion Picture (Tm): The Universe and Beyond

By Bankers, Peter | American Cinematographer, February 1980 | Go to article overview

Star Trek the Motion Picture (Tm): The Universe and Beyond


Bankers, Peter, American Cinematographer


Paramount Pictures' STAR TREKTHE MOTION PICTURE is what the magic of imagination is all about.

The power to soar beyond Earth, to be unshackled among celestial forces, to float freely in that dimension of space where time exists without boundaries or borders.

It is a reality that exists a million light years away from now. Yet as close as the wind to one's touch.

If art imitates life, science fiction has attempted to imitate the beyond. Science fiction is a boundless terrain, stretching the limits of possibility (and impossibility) to its nth degree.

For the hundreds of artisans involved-actors, technicians, production coordinators-STAR TREK-THE MOTION PICTURE has meant three years of dedicated work to bring to cinematic life that which has never before been seen on the screen. The goal: to dazzle the senses, to make visions soar. To make possible that journey to the second star to the right, straight on until morning.

This Gene Roddenberry Production of a Robert Wise Film reunites the entire "Star Trek" cast, headed by William Shatner as Captain Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Spock and DeForest Kelley as Dr. Leonard "Bones" McCoy. Also on board are James Doohan as Chief Engineer Montgomery "Scotty" Scott, George Takei as SuIu, Majel Barrett as Dr. Christine Chapel, Walter Koenig as Navigator Pavel Chekov, Nichelle Nichols as Communications Officer Uhura and Grace Lee Whitney as Transporter Chief Janice Rand. Newcomers to the cast include Stephen Collins as Executive Officer Willard Decker and Persis Khambatta as the exotically beautiful and sensuous Ilia, from the Planet Delta Four. The filming required the use of eight huge soundstages at Paramount Studios.

It is the 23rd century, and STAR TREK-THE MOTION PICTURE hurls us into the universe and beyond.

This is the credo of the Starship U. S. S. Enterprise, the most sophisticated spaceship on Earth, equipped with the most powerful weapons system in the fleet: "Space, the final frontier. The Starship Enterprise's mission (is) ... to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before."

Now the Enterprise is challenged by a destructive force of intense magnitude. The stage has been set for the great adventure.

Whether or not one is a fan of the original series (and "Trekkies" have become part of international folklore), STAR TREK-THE MOTION PICTURE is the culmination of an audience phenomenon unsurpassed in our time. For millions of devoted followers, the launching once again of the U. S.S. Enterprise is an historic occasion. For those unfamiliar with the series, it will serve as an introduction to a gallery of colorful characters etched by the original cast members re-creating their famed roles.

The demands of the large screen have meant a complete refurbishing of the Enterprise. Four huge soundstages on the Paramount lot were taken over by the Enterprise, with technicians building advanced technological computerized equipment. Each station on the new Bridge of the Enterprise was completely operable. Each cast member was required to learn how to use the complex instruments on the panels and to know the coding of the various flashing lights, signals and screens. Many months were devoted to the intricate designing and building of the sets, with every minute detail precisely structured.

The highly advanced technological apparatus-including such gadgetry as phaser guns, photon torpedoes, communicators and tricorders-and the flying ships were the result of extensive research. Among the groups furnishing advice on the film was the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), including its Jet Propulsion Laboratory. The object of the research was to extend science fiction into the science fact of tomorrow.

With the imposing demands of the giant screen, audiences will view the complex world that is self-contained in the U. S. …

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