To save Earth from an alien probe, Admiral James T. Kirk and his fugitive crew go back in time to San Francisco in 1986 to retrieve the only beings who can communicate with it: humpback whales. (from IMDb)
It's a common belief in the Star Trek fandom that the even-numbered films are all the standout movies in the series. Exhibit A was Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan while exhibit B is Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (and exhibit C is Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and exhibit D is Star Trek: First Contact; the theory doesn't really hold up from there, though). Completing the three-movie arc of Star Trek II and III and now IV, The Voyage Home was director Leonard Nimoy's attempt at lightening things up after such a heavy thematic run of movies. After all, Star Trek: The Motion Picture was all-around too stiff and serious, II was violent and saw the death of Spock and III saw the death of Kirk's son and the demise of the Enterprise. I agree that these characters definitely earned a lighter adventure.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home finds the crew of the Enterprise piloting Kruge's Klingon vessel from The Search for Spock. Kirk and his crew are definitely out of their element here as they decide to take the vessel home to Earth where they know they're going to face judgment for their rogue behavior. But when they get there, they find a space probe speaking an unknown language and its presence is wreaking havoc on the Earth's atmosphere. When they realize the language is the same as humpback whales from Earth's past, the Enterprise crew decides to travel back in time to 1986 to find whales and take them back to their time to save life as they know it.
Yeah, the plot for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is a bit preachy when it comes to environmentalism, but I suppose that's not entirely foreign to the themes in Star Trek. Still, the story makes for a fun fish-out-of-water (no pun intended) tale of our futuristic space crew getting dumped into the oddities of the mid-1980's to try to accomplish their mission. It's often silly, but always fun, and its more lighthearted approach may seem out of left field after the movies that came before it, but I agree it was a needed change of pace. Seeing Uhura and Chekov standing on a San Francisco street corner asking every passerby where they can find the "nuclear wessels" - in the mid-80's no less - is pretty dang funny. Meanwhile, Kirk has found himself entertaining an attractive and spunky whale expert by the name of Gillian who he enlists the help of. Overall, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is probably the most "fun" Star Trek movie, until J.J. Abrams' helmed soft reboot in 2009.
The content for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home is mostly tamer, but since the story brings them to the streets of San Francisco in 1986, you can expect a little more language. There are 2 uses of the "S" word, a series first for Star Trek, as well as 2 "g*dd*mn," 1 "S.O.B," a few uses of the "a" word, and a slew of other colorful phrases. (It's a bummer, too, because its nautical theme makes The Voyage Home a little more appealing for kids.) While there is some minor violence, the only notable moment is when Gillian is giving a tour of the aquarium and they stop at a monitor that is showing the horrors of whaling and the butchering of these magestic animals. The video starts out showing some whales in bloody water and having blubber being sliced off, and escalates to much more gory, real-life imagery of them being slaughtered and cut up, with a few disturbing images of blood-soaked ship decks and chunks of whale meat. It's short but pretty intense.
Of the four films, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home probably looks the best in 4K UHD. A lot of that has to do with the brighter visuals, sunlight on the California streets, and water scenes. It's the most fun Star Trek could be back in the 80's and a memorable entry in the still-growing film series.
Along with the feature film on Blu-Ray and 4K UHD sets (which are two separate 4-disc collection cases inside a cardboard slip case, for a total of 8 discs across the four movies), are the following, previously released extras for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home:
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home 4K Ultra HD
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Blu-ray
Disclaimer: All reviews are based solely on the opinions of the reviewer. Most reviews are rated on how the reviewer enjoyed the film overall, not exclusively on content. However, if the content really affects the reviewer's opinion and experience of the film, it will definitely affect the reviewer's overall rating.
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