#705 – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

I ranked my favorite Star Trek movies but realized I hadn’t watched a lot of them for a long time. I am watching them again in chronological order and sharing some of my thoughts after a fresh viewing. Maybe some of the movies will have a chance to move up my list after watching them again.

Last week I watched Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. This week I watched Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Star Trek 4

I wish I could remember the order in which I watched the first six Star Trek movies. I definitely didn’t watch them in order but some part of me remembers watching The Voyage Home first.

The Voyage Home is one of the most beloved Star Trek movies among both fans and critics. It’s definitely a more lighthearted affair without a central villain or much violence. As a child I liked it because it had whales but, upon my most recent viewing, I appreciate it because of the relationships.

I’ve said it many times, but Star Trek is at its best when focusing on the relationships among the different crewmembers. Without an evil antagonist or photon-filled battles in space, The Voyage Home is able to spend even more time with the crew of the NCC-1701. We obviously get to see the relationship between Kirk and Spock, but we also get further development in the relationships of the other crewmembers.

Here are some other thoughts I had while watching Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Conservation

The Voyage Home definitely has a message about the need for conservation and the responsibility humans have to care for the environment. While I’m not tying myself to any trees, I care about conservation. I don’t think we should kill endangered species and I think it would be wise to find alternative forms of energy. I’ve never understood why so many Christians are opposed to conservation and taking care of the environment. Since “liberals” support the environment then I guess that means evangelical Christians in America can’t support the environment. That’s dangerous rhetoric, which blinds us to God’s call to work and take care of the earth. God’s creation is good and it is his; we are simply stewards of it.

People Matter

I love how Spock’s axiom, “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one” gets flipped around in The Search for Spock and The Voyage Home. We love when Spock sacrifices himself to save the Enterprise. But, even though it’s not logical, we also love it when Kirk and crew sacrifice themselves for one person. And in The Voyage Home Spock shows his humanity in his assertion that they must rescue Chekov, even though he is only one person. Humanity is at its best when we realize that individual humans matter. It’s easy to ignore people when we group them together, either literally or just through stereotypes in our minds. However, if we can see the value that each individual person has, we’re more willing to make sacrifices for him or her, even if it isn’t the logical thing to do.

Whales

I loved the whales in The Voyage Home. I actually love whales period. They’re totally awesome. Humans feel a kinship with whales because, while they live in the ocean, they are mammals just like us. I love that while swimming through the oceans whales will propel themselves out of the water, just jumping around because they can. Even if no humans had ever seen a whale jump out of the water, they would have still done it because it’s what they do. I love that whales glorify God by simply being whales. A whale best glorifies God when it is at its whale-iest. And we best glorify God when we are most human, which means modeling the life and behavior of Jesus.

I originally listed Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home as my fourth favorite Star Trek movie. I still really like it and I don’t see it moving too far up or down on my list. It’s funny and shows that Star Trek can have as much heart as it does warp speed and aliens.

What are your thoughts about Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home?

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12 Responses to “#705 – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home”

  1. It’s my favorite Star Trek movie.

  2. Bethany E. Says:

    It’s been a while since I’ve seen it, but I’m pretty sure what stuck with me most was, “We are looking for the nuclear wessels.”

    Spock is a great character. Why do we find it so endearing to have a character who is not-quite-human exhibit human qualities? Data is unquestionably my favorite TNG crewman (even though Captain Picard is such an amazing character) because he is always trying so hard to understand us. And you can’t help but love the Doctor when he shows loneliness or fear. Sherlock is constantly belittling anyone who isn’t him, but when Mrs. Hudson is attacked, he fiercely protects her like a son (and my heart goes ZING). Even Barney in How I Met Your Mother, as much as I would be put off by him as a real person, is suddenly lovable when you find out he really does want Marshall & Lily to have a baby.

    Is it just me, or does everyone have a thing for those kinds of characters?

    • I don’t know anything about How I Met Your Mother except that Maria Hill is in it.

      As far as Spock and Data go, even though they’re not human, I think they’re the human heart and soul of their respective shows. I’ve been thinking about that for a while and I’m trying to put into words the feeling that you expressed.

      Also, I think you might swoon at anything Benedict Cumberbatch does. 😉

      • Bethany E. Says:

        You know, not really! I realized the other day I really don’t find him that exciting in anything else (yes, ̶e̶v̶e̶n̶ especially as Khan). I think I just really like Sherlock’s character. Which is horrible! He’s a jerk!

  3. It’s a fun movie with a great heart, really epitomizing the “can-do,” positive attitude of Trek at its best. “Well, I guess we just have to go find some whales, in the past! No problem!” OK, they don’t treat it that flippantly; but Kirk never really seems to doubt they can pull it off. It’s a very enjoyable movie, still, even if it is no longer my Best Movie Ever as it was back in 1986. (It was the first Trek film I saw in the theater as a Trekkie, so I was way excited. And I will say the reveal of the NCC-1701-A, to the strains of Courage’s fanfare, still makes me misty-eyed, a little bit.)

    Another theme that occurs to me is because I misread your first subheading and thought, “Oh, yes – conversation *is* a very important theme!” 🙂 But it’s true. The probe is looking to initiate or continue a conversation with the whales. Spock has to learn how to have normal, healthy, “human” conversation with Kirk and McCoy. The Klingons aren’t interested in having a conversation with the Federation (which will change by ST VI). Bob doesn’t converse with Gillian to tell her the whales are being shipped out. Spock has a mental conversation with Gracie… And on and on…

    Great post, great series!

    • Somehow I missed this comment last week. Sorry about that.

      I always get thrown off when hearing Jerry Goldsmith’s theme because I always think about TNG.

  4. We had each of the first five on VHS, but this one played more because it was so light. When it was time for a lazy afternoon, something heavy like Wrath of Khan (or The Motion Picture, or The Search for Spock, or The Final Frontier…well all of them but this one) just seemed like too big of an emotional investment. So I re-watched this. Kirk and Spock’s little Abott and Costello routine still makes me laugh. And I don’t know if Shatner was ever more unsettlingly charming than at lunch with Dr Taylor. (“I’m from Iowa. I only work in outer space.”)

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