Douglas Trumbull painstakingly crafted the visual effects for Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Faced with an impossible timeline, him and his team completed more composites in six months than both Star Wars & Close Encounters of the Third Kind combined.
See a rare screening of a 35mm print of Star Trek: The Motion Picture one more time on November 1 at 9:15pm only at TIFF Bell Lightbox.
Star Trek relaunched on the big screen with this massively scaled sci-fi epic, which finds the reunited Enterprise crew venturing out to meet a mysterious cosmic threat.
A decade after the original series went off the air, Star Trek was relaunched on the big screen during the peak period of studio sci-fi. When a seemingly unstoppable force approaches Earth, Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) reassembles his old crew aboard a new and improved Enterprise and sets out to meet the mysterious alien threat. Although the film's plot (penned by Alan Dean Foster, a long-time writer of ancillary Trek properties) has the familiar structure of a Trek episode, The Motion Picture distances itself from its televisual origins via a truly massive scale — sporting a $46 million budget and special effects from Douglas Trumbull, TMP looks as stunning as Close Encounters, Star Wars, or 2001 — and a weightier, philosophical air in contrast to the swashbuckling and occasionally cheeky tone of the series. That attempt to give Trek some big-screen gravitas was both a strength and a weakness: while the film was a solid hit, its astronomical budget cut into the profits, and fans were disappointed with how far it departed from the spirit of the original. However, the years have been kind to the Enterprise's first theatrical voyage, and TMP now stands as a bold attempt to expand the parameters of the Trek universe.
Footage from Star Trek: The Motion Picture – Courtesy of Paramount Pictures