Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)


Dave’s 3-Word Review:
Hilarious, but Absurd

For many, Star Trek is an inspiring series with numerous lovable characters and plotlines that never get old. Others may be more adapt to watch a Star Wars film over and over instead. Neither is better off than the other, but at least Star Trek has gone above and beyond what they could have ever imagined the series go. One of the films that is played multiple times on TV is Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Interestingly enough, this is the one film in the franchise that is really…the least like a Star Trek film…yet it’s actually done rather well.

Somewhere in the deep of space, a menacing ship hovers over earth broadcasting an eerie sound that resembles a long-lost extinct animal race, the humpback whale. This ship is about to end all life on Earth, and the boys from the U.S.S. Enterprise must travel back in history to retrieve two hunchback whales from the past, take them into the future to save the world, and simultaneously, save the race from extinction. How well, however, can the Enterprise team fit in on an Earth in the late ‘80s?

The first thing you will notice as you start watching this film is that it is consistently rolling along. Ever since The Wrath of Khan, this series has been back to back with the plots. It leaves no questions unanswered, and for a film series to do this, rather than a TV series, is remarkable, it’s still relatively new…and that’s really saying something about the series. The next thing you would realize, and this is a biggie…it is a ‘save the whales’ film. Yeah, it’s really about saving the world, but we’re not stupid…it’s about saving whales. Heck, in a sense, this is actually really satirical. It talks so much about important issues of that time in a really well-done light. A passive tone about the pollution in the air, the slow advancements of psychiatric care, and yes, our disregard towards sea life.

Next, the movie is hilarious. Even for today’s standards, the writer knew exactly what he was doing. Modern comedy is often unable to make you laugh as hard as these older movies can, because you love and adore these characters. They have been around now for (at the time) twenty years. To get a better picture about how much influence these characters give…the plot sucks when you’re talking about Star Trek. The plot is absurd in general…whales are going to stop an alien invasion…because the aliens sound kind of like whales? Finally…there is NO U.S.S. Enterprise in this film (apart from the last 15 seconds of the movie). That is huge, considering the Enterprise ship is considered a character all by itself. These characters are able to hold a film together just by themselves. That’s huge…no other film that I can think of is able to do that.

Then of course, the acting is actually a lot better done this time around, the special effects are way better than the previous films, and it somehow still feels like Star Trek. While as a Star Trek film, it’s actually pretty bad in comparison, it is just a good…funny…movie with a lot of heart. Nowadays, we are flooded with comparisons, and we really forget how it was like to watch a movie just to watch it. To enjoy it. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home gives a perfect example of how a film should be enjoyed. They were four movies in out of a total of twelve films now…why not have fun with it? They certainly did, and their risk of changing things up for a movie played off rather well.

It may feel slightly like a jumping-of-the-shark moment, but it is truly entertaining. Watch it, have fun with it if nothing else. It’s not a bad flick. Not at all.


2 thoughts on “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

  1. This was the first Star Trek movie I remember seeing and I watched it because it looked like a good comedy and not just because it was part of Star Trek. I liked the whole fish out of water subplot


    1. This was the *only* Star Trek movie I think I ever saw until J.J.’s in 2009. I remember thinking it was funny, but re-watching it really had me laughing hard, harder than a lot of modern “comedy greats” do


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