Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a film that doesn’t deserve its bad reputation. When it hit theaters in 1979, it marked a return from the brink for Gene Roddenberry‘s sci-fi franchise, one that was kept alive through fans who desperately wanted to see the Enterprise in action again. Make no mistake, there is action in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Yet this is a film that is more concerned with exploring “the human adventure” than throwing slam-bang phaser fights into the faces of viewers, many of whom seemed to forget that the original series was also more about concepts that action. So some fans who expected constant Star Wars-esque thrills from this new Trek were disappointed in how the picture took its time to allow viewers to once again experience the majesty of the 23rd century in a feature that was more akin to classic Hollywood than the frenetic pacing of ’70s cinema. (Which isn’t to disparage that decade’s many excellent releases). This factor isn’t surprising, given how director Robert Wise — who helmed favorites like West Side Story, The Sound of Music, and The Day the Earth Stood Still — was as classic Hollywood as you could get.
The movie developed a reputation as being “slow,” and, more irritatingly, gave birth to the wholly inaccurate cliché that the odd Star Trek films are bad and the even ones good. (Just watch Star Trek III: The Search for Spock to have this theory, a favorite of lazy film critics, shattered). The truth is though that Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a great space adventure filled with the essence of what makes Star Trek great, and deserves a re-evaluation.
Meanwhile, the Tron franchise went from disappointment to joke to cult hit to indifference to sensation again (as evidenced by the growing call for a follow-up to the under-appreciated Tron: Legacy). So those who love that sci-fi world can appreciate the plight of Trekkers who wish that the Enterprise crew’s first silver screen effort was more appreciated. It’s a safe guess that one of these individuals was Patrick Collins, a video editor who created a mind meld of both sci-fi sagas. His short Star Trek: Legacy aims to silence the haters by editing Star Trek: The Motion Picture into a 22-minute mini-episode that utilizes Daft Punk’s acclaimed score to Tron: Legacy to great effect.
Watching Star Trek: The Motion Picture‘s jaw-dropping visuals combined with Daft Punk’s otherworldly synths is a great experience that honors the films that provide its source material. Take a chance and give it a view and find yourself remembering how exciting the human adventure of watching unfairly maligned sci-fi films can be.
Throughout the coming months, we will be reprinting old posts as part of our Summer of Sci-Fi series. This article originally ran in September of last year.