In 2273, a Starfleet monitoring station, Epsilon Nine, detects an alien force, hidden in a massive cloud of energy, moving through space towards Earth. The cloud destroys three of the Klingon Empire’s new K’t’inga-class warships and the monitoring station en route. On Earth, the U.S.S. Enterprise is undergoing a major refit; her former commanding officer, James T. Kirk, has been promoted to Admiral is serving as Chief of Starfleet Operations. Starfleet dispatches Enterprise to investigate the cloud entity as the ship is the only one in intercept range, requiring her new systems to be tested in transit.
Kirk takes command of the ship, angering Captain Willard Decker, who had been overseeing the refit as its new commanding officer. Testing of Enterprise’s new systems goes poorly; two officers, including the science officer, are killed, and improperly calibrated engines almost destroy the ship. The tension between Captain Kirk and his first officer, Commander Decker, increases when the captain demonstrates his unfamiliarity with the new systems of the Enterprise. Commander Spock arrives as a replacement science officer, explaining that while on his home world he felt a consciousness that he believes emanates from the cloud.
Enterprise intercepts the energy cloud and is attacked by an alien vessel within. A probe appears on the bridge, attacks Spock and abducts the navigator, Ilia who is replaced by a robotic doppelgänger, a probe sent by “V’Ger” to study the crew. Decker is distraught over the loss of Ilia and becomes more troubled as he attempts to extract information from the doppelgänger. Spock takes a spacewalk to the alien vessel’s surface and attempts a mind meld with it. In doing so, he learns that the vessel is V’Ger itself, a living machine.
At the heart of the massive ship, V’Ger is revealed to be Voyager 6, a 20th-century Earth space probe believed lost. The damaged probe was found by an alien race of living machines that interpreted its programming as instructions to learn all that can be learned, and return that information to its creator. Spock realizes that V’Ger lacks the ability to give itself a focus other than its original mission; having learned what it could on its journey home, it finds its existence empty and without purpose. Before transmitting all its information, V’Ger insists that the Creator come in person to finish the sequence. Realizing that the machine wants to merge with its creator, Decker offers himself to V’Ger, creating a new form of life that disappears into another dimension. With Earth saved, Kirk directs Enterprise out to space for future missions.
The sets, camerawork and special effects are great and show off the technology available at the time.
The storyline was bad and at the ‘power struggle’ for the captains chair between Kirk and Decker felt forced. The worst part of the movie was the costumes. The new starfleet uniforms make everyone looks like grey and tan lumps. Star Trek: The Motion Picture starts developing the ‘new’ look of the Klingons that will continue for the rest of the movies and future TV series wiich is a nice improvement to the klingons of the Original Series.
Sadly, for me, the negatives outway the positives and I feel that Star Trek: The Motion Picture is the worst Star Trek movie of them all.