I love Star Trek for a lot of difference reasons. One of the main reasons is that it can provide fans with a wide variety of stories within the franchise’s fictional universe. This is true of a lot of long lasting and ever evolving franchises but Star Trek is still one of my favourites because it does it well and even when it completely misses the mark, there is a lot left to enjoy. That’s true of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and it’s even truer of Star Trek: The Motion Picture: The Novel (that title!).
I didn’t really like Star Trek: The Motion Picture the first time I saw it. I’ve always thought it was interesting – how can it not be considering all the characters begin in a different situation than what we’re used to seeing, the uniforms are different, everything feels fresh and new – but I didn’t think it was good. It didn’t compare to the good Star Trek movies. The more I rewatched it, the more my opinion changed. I started to like it because the more I watched it the easier it was for me to notice the thematic elements at play (on full display but difficult to notice due to the slow pacing of the film), the surprisingly poignant character arcs (mostly Kirk, Spock, and McCoy, again, difficult to notice because they’re portrayed differently than we’re used to seeing and that’s the whole point), just how long those damn lingering shots of spaceships and the Intruder are (way, way too long). It also became apparent that the movie’s pacing actually supports the character development which also happens to be the heart of the movie. Having a slower pace allowed for more character reaction, anticipation, and boiling over of emotions, all of which fuel character interaction and allow for the thematic development of the relationships between humanoid to humanoid and human to unknown sentient beings.