Posted in movie reviews, Rewatch, Star Trek, Television shows

The Rewatch 78: The Voyage Home

Star Trek: The Search for Spock (1984)
Rating: PG
My Grade: B

Notable Guest Stars:

Catherine Hicks – Gillian Taylor.  She is known for her role on the TV series 7th Heaven
Mark Leonard – reprising his role as Sarek
Majel Barrett – Appearing as Commander Christine Chapel, MD. Her appearance is very brief, but apparently there is deleted footage of much more significant scenes.
Jane Wyatt – Amanda Grayson.  She has only a brief scene but points out to Spock that he needs to accept his human parts as much as his Vulcan parts, which is an ongoing storyline for Spock.
Robin Curtis – Lt. Saavik.  She is there briefly to say goodbye.  More comments on this later in the review.
Madge Sinclair – Captain of the Saratoga and the first Female Captain shown in Star Trek.
Grace Lee Whitney – Janice Rand.  I wish she would get bigger bits, but we have to wait till Voyager comes around.
Brock Peters – Fleet Admiral Cartwright. Known for To Kill a Mockingbird.  He would also appear later as Joseph Sisko, Captain Sisko’s father on DS9.
Michael Berryman – Starfleet Officer.  He would appear on Star Trek many times over the years.


The Voyage Home is my favorite TOS era film.  It has many things going for it to be that.  Its a fun, more lighthearted movie then the others.  It has more character moments given to the ensemble.  It has Whales!  And technically it was the first Star Trek released during my actual life time.

The film begins on Vulcan, a few months after Spock was returned to his body.  Spock is still getting readjusted to living again, and the others aren’t sure what they will get as a reception when they return home.  However, after three months, they all agree it is time.

Saavik remains behind with Amanda, but Spock decides that he too should go back to Earth to relate the events he was privy to.  This surprises everyone, but pleasently.  

However, almost home they find out that a unidenfied probe has come to Earth and is destorying it with its signal.  Spock, for a reason not said, has some knowledge of whales and when Uhura managed to filter the signal to its actual sounds he recognizes it as a whale.  He then narrows down his parameters to find out its specifically a humpback whale.

Which are extinct because humans over hunted them in the 20th century.   McCoy sees the idea bloom in Kirk’s mind and tries to stop him from doing it, not seeing it as plausible.  However, Kirk has his mind set.  They have to save their home, and time travel is the way to do so.

They make their way back to 1980s San Fransisco, where they find Fred and Gracie, a pair of Humpback whales raised in captivity about to be released into the wild.  The crew finds it odd to fit into the world as it is, but manage to complete their seperate duties.

Uhura and Chekov are sent to find nuclear particles to help restructure the dilithium crystals.  They manage to find the USS Enterprise, a naval ship of the time with a nuclear reactor.  Chekov happily sees it as a sign this was meant to be.   They sneak in and collect the particles.  Scotty is able to beam Uhura out of there, but Chekov is stuck behind and gets captured.  

Scotty, McCoy and Sulu are sent to develop a tank to hold the Whales.  Scotty & McCoy pretend to be a professor of polymer science and his assistant to get some plexiglass for the bounty.  However they may have altered history by giving the plant director the formula for Transparent aluminum.   Sulu meanwhile finds himself a Huey heliocoptor and learns quickly to fly it.

The third team – Kirk and Spock – confirm the whereabouts of the whales and find themselves confronted by Dr. Gillian Taylor, the resident biologist who is in charge of the Whales welfare.  She can tell something is up, especially after Spock defrocks and swims to meet gracie in his continuing need to mind-meld with every creature.    Kirk tries to charm her over dinner but she doesn’t quite buy it.

I like Gillian as a character because she comes off at first as being the love interest for Kirk, but she really isn’t.  He seems interested in her (and she’s his type – brainy and blonde) but she’s more interested in science and whales.

Another element to like about this movie is that the people of the time period all recognize that the characters are out of place but kind of shrug and figure oh well.  Gillian thinks that Spock is a bit scatterbrained, and the military thinks Chekov is not all there but a spy.  

McCoy is just about done with 20th century medicine.

The ending of the movie is pretty predictable, but the movie overall is great.  Its humorous and doesn’t take itself too seriously.  Every character gets to have an active role and not just be sitting in the background.  No one is killed off for the sake of angsty motivation.

Plus you get to see Sarek take  down an Klingon Ambassador.

I rate this movie an A.  I don’t think its necessary if you are watching just for future shows to see this film, but I love it and will probably rewatch this one before any of the others involving TOS.  Actually maybe even the TNG crew ones.

Interesting Notes:

  • Directed by Leonard Nimoy
  • Written by
    • Steve Meerson
    • Peter Krikes
    • Nicholas Meyer
    • Harve Bennett
  • Highest grossing TOS movie


  •  Whales!
  • Every character gets scenes in this film
  • No one dies


  •  The concept that Saavik was pregnant.  I know it was cut out of the script during the final edits but I’m still kind of squeaked that it was there in the first place.


A thirty-something Graphic Designer and writer who likes to blog about books, movies and History.

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