In 2286, a large cylindrical probe moves through space, sending out an indecipherable signal and disabling the power of ships it passes. As it takes up orbit around Earth, its signal disables the global power grid and generates planetary storms, creating catastrophic, sun-blocking cloud cover. Starfleet Command sends out a planetary distress call and warns starships not to approach Earth.
On the planet Vulcan, the former officers of the USS Enterprise are living in exile (after the events of Star Trek III: The Search for Spock). Accompanied by the Vulcan Spock, still recovering from his resurrection, the crew—except for Saavik, who remains on Vulcan—take their captured Klingon Bird-of-Prey starship and head to Earth to face trial for their theft and destruction of Enterprise. Hearing Starfleet’s warning, Spock determines that the probe’s signal matches the song of extinct humpback whales, and that the object will continue to wreak havoc until its call is answered. The crew uses their ship to travel back in time via a slingshot maneuver around the Sun, planning to return with a whale to answer the alien signal.
Arriving in 1986, the crew finds their ship’s power drained. Hiding their ship in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park using its cloaking device, the crew split up to accomplish several tasks: Admiral James T. Kirk and Spock attempt to locate humpback whales, while Montgomery Scott, Leonard McCoy, and Hikaru Sulu construct a tank to hold the whales they need for a return to the 23rd century. Uhura and Pavel Chekov are tasked to find a nuclear reactor, whose energy leakage will enable their ship’s power to be restored.
Kirk and Spock discover a pair of whales in the care of Dr. Gillian Taylor at a Sausalito museum, and learn they will soon be released into the wild. Kirk tells her of his mission and asks for the tracking frequency for the whales, but she refuses to cooperate. Meanwhile, Scott, McCoy, and Sulu trade the formula of transparent aluminum for the materials needed for the whale tank. Uhura and Chekov locate a nuclear-powered ship, the aircraft carrier Enterprise. They collect the power they need, but are discovered on board. Uhura is beamed back but Chekov is captured and severely injured in an escape attempt.
Taylor learns the whales have been released early, and goes to Kirk for assistance. Taylor, Kirk, and McCoy rescue Chekov and return to the now-recharged Bird-of-Prey. After transporting the whales aboard the ship, the crew returns with Taylor to their own time. On approaching Earth, the ship loses power and comes down in San Francisco Bay. Once released, the whales respond to the probe’s signal, causing the object to reverse its effects on Earth and return to the depths of space. All charges against the Enterprise crew are dropped, save one; as punishment for disobeying a superior officer, Kirk is demoted to the rank of Captain. The crew departs on their ship, the newly christened USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-A), and leaves on a new mission.
Are you the kind of geek that like the time traveler who comes to the audiance’s present and has to deal with being out of time? Yes? Then you’ll love Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. After Capt. kirk and crew travel back to 1986 in search of whales they must adapt to our ‘primitive’ ways. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is my favorite of the original, numbered Star Trek movies. Director Leonard Nimoy was able to get command level performances for the entire cast, making sure to give the entire cast an opportunity to shine.