The first Star Trek film released in 1979. When the original television series was cancelled in 1969, Trek creator Gene Roddenberry asked the production company, Paramount, to keep the franchise going by making a film. Prior to the success of Star Wars, it was being developed as a television series titled Star Trek: Phase II. The film is set in the twenty-third century, when a mysterious and immensely powerful alien cloud called V'Ger approaches Earth, assimilating and destroying everything in its path.
The film was critically maligned and did not meet Paramount's financial expectations compared to what it cost to make. As a result, Roddenberry's creative control and involvement on all other films was greatly reduced. Because of this, it is the only Star Trek film that fits into strict Roddenberry-canon. It is also notable the film's novelization was written by Roddenberry himself. The novel greatly refines and expands what is considered "official" canon by Paramount and Memory Alpha, far beyond what's seen in the film. Roddenberry's next and last major Trek endeavor, the first two seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, share many commonalities with the Motion Picture including the Jerry Goldsmith Trek theme.
Roddenberry places two prefaces before the start of the novel. This first is written from the perspective of Admiral Kirk. Kirk explains that Earth is governed by a network of telepaths called New Humans, and that people who join Starfleet are viewed as primitive traditionalists that value individuality and occasionally want to experience excitement outside the utopia of Earth.
The second is from the author's perspective, claiming he is shocked that Admiral Kirk has chosen him for this project. Kirk was highly critical of his inaccurate accounts of events that unfolded during his five year mission. Unlike what transpired on the Original Series, the events depicted in the Motion Picture have been confirmed by everyone involved.
The film opens with three Klingon battle cruisers attacking the invading V'Ger cloud in their boundaries. The attack is led by Captain Krase of the IKS Amar, who orders three photon torpedoes fired at it. After watching the torpedoes get harmlessly absorbed outside the cloud, Krase orders evasive maneuvers. While attempting to flee, he sends out a distress signal that is picked up by Federation outpost Epsilon IX. The two other cruisers get completely vaporized almost instantly by single plasma energy projectiles fired from the cloud. Krase orders aft-torpedoes fired in a attempt to stop the projectile from reaching the Amar. The torpedoes have no effect on the projectile and the Amar vanishes ust as quickly as the other two cruisers. Epsilon IX is able to monitor these events via drone feeds and warn Earth about the approach of V'Ger.
On Vulcan, Spock is being judged by elders at the end of his attempt at the Kolinahr ritual, to purge all remaining emotion and attain pure logic. At the same time, Spock begins sensing thought patterns of exactingly perfect order from the void of space. Master T'sai is about to place a symbol of Total Logic medallion around his neck when he suddenly stops her hand. T'sai promptly mind melds with him and determines that this consciousness calling him from space "touches his human blood" and he has not achieved Kolinahr. T'sai tosses the medallion on the ground and walks away with the other Masters. Spock examines the symbol of Total Logic with a hint of lamentation.
On Earth, the Enterprise is tasked by Starfleet to the stop giant alien object. Admiral Kirk is anxious to use the emergency as an excuse to re-assume command of his of his old vessel, citing his five years of experience of dealing with the unknown in deep space. Kirk meets with Vulcan Science Officer Sonak in San Francisco who thanks him for his recommendation. Kirk insists that Sonak will report to him in one hour after his meeting with Admiral Nogura, whom he believes will hand over command of the Enterprise to him during this crisis.
Kirk meets Scotty on his journey to the Enterprise. The pair travel together on a transport pod and stare in awe at newly refit Enterprise. Once aboard, Kirk assumes command and is also reunited with Uhura, Sulu, Chapel and Chekov on the bridge. Sulu informs Kirk that Captain Decker (son of Commodore Decker from The Doomsday Machine) doesn't know he's assuming command. Kirk confronts Decker on the engineering deck and is met with a bit of resentment that segues into continuing friction throughout the rest of the film.
Kirk is called to the transporter room at one point where Rand is having trouble beaming Commander Sonak & Officer Ciana aboard. The process malfunctions and Starfleet confirms what they got back didn't live long. This presents a problem as the Science Officer must be replaced and Kirk feels he needs a Vulcan at that station. Soon after this, Kirk calls a meeting with all crew members on the recreation deck. He shows them the Klingons futile attempt to destroy the intruder and a live feed of Epsilon IX being quickly scanned and destroyed as the Enterprise likely will be.
Lieutenant Ilia, a Deltan navigator comes to the bridge and informs Admiral Kirk about her oath of celibacy immediately upon meeting him. Ilia is surprised to see Decker, who reveals he was very well aquatinted with the Lieutenant on her home world, Delta IV, where he left without even saying goodbye. Kirk is then informed that the chief medical officer is reusing to be beamed aboard. In the transporter room, a bearded McCoy appears, angry about being beamed on a faulty transporter and "drafted" by Admiral Nogura.
With old and new crewmembers aboard, Enterprise finally exits Spacedock. The use of warp drive while still within the solar system has to be risked and the ship ends up getting caught in a wormhole effect. A meteor comes to to making impact on the ship and torpedoes are used to thwart it. Eventually a Vulcan shuttle arrives and Spock emerges, greeted by Chekov. Spock goes to the engineering deck and fixes the Warp drive.
When they arrive at the intruder, Kirk gives orders to not raise shields or return scans as that had been done by all the other victims. Spock changes the computers to transmit lingual code at V'Ger's rate of speed to answer its message, answering the message saves the ship from the familiar plasma projectile. After this a beam of energy appears on the bridges and starts scanning things. It quickly moves to computer and starts running records on Earth's defenses and Starfleet strength, which cause to destroy the controls the energy is using. After this it gets hostile and starts shocking Spock with bolts of energy. It also targets Ilia and she vanishes as quickly as the Klingon cruisers and Epsilon IX.
V'Ger later sends a probe in the form of Ilia to the ship. This so it can communicate better with the carbon based units that "infest" the ship. After several tests and scans are performed on the probe it demands to be taken on tour of the ship and given explanations. They comply and send Decker with in hopes that may what's left of Ilia inside the probe.
Eventually Spock goes rogue, nerve pinches a security officer and takes a thruster suit to explore the depths of V'Ger. After journeying deep into the heart of V'Ger, Spock attempts a mind meld which results in a massive energy transference and Spock is left unconscious. Kirk finds out about Spock and takes a thruster suit out himself to rescue him. In sickbay, Spock explains V'Ger's motivation and compares it to a child. The mystery begins to unravel as they track the source signal at the center of the cloud.
Within the center of V'Ger, the Ilia probe guides them to the source of the radio signal. Kirk recognizes the NASA craft and upon closer inspection learns that it is Voyager 6, a three hundred year old deep space probe. No one on Earth can answer centuries old signal, until Uhura learns the code on he console. Decker and Ilia probe fuse and become a new form of life. Aboard the Entrpirse Kirk and Spock ponder if they witnessed the next form of human evolution.
- William Shatner as James T. Kirk
- Leonard Nimoy as Spock
- DeForest Kelley as Leonard McCoy
- Persis Khambatta as Ilia/Ilia probe
- Stephen Collins as Willard Decker
- James Doohan as Montgomery Scott
- Nichelle Nichols as Uhura
- George Takei as Hikaru Sulu
- Majel Barrett as Christine Chapel
- Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov
- Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand
- Mark Lenard as Klingon Captain