In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, director Leonard Nimoy establishes a light-hearted, but very high stakes, action-packed environment. Voyage Home is in no way an action movie–the action sequences mostly consist of chases and comedic subterfuges–but there’s a new one every few minutes. The screenwriters came up with a scenario where there’s always danger, but always an almost immediate comic relief.
Flipping between that danger and relief is where William Shatner is so important. He’s able to activate the intense concern momentarily, a grin ready for when the implications have surfaced. Shatner has the most to do in the film, but owns it the least–he’s got some flirtation with Catherine Hicks, but nothing as substantial as most of the other cast members. When he’s out with Nimoy in modern day San Francisco, he’s usually just there to set up Nimoy’s laughs.
The modern day setting is an incredible success too. Nimoy is able to so convince his audience of the 23rd century setting at the start, the trip to the audience’s own time takes them out of water too.
DeForest Kelley gets a lot to do, sort of switching between sidekick for Shatner, Nimoy and finally James Doohan. Kelley and Doohan are great together.
As a director, Nimoy’s sensibilities–especially for comedy–are strong. For a Star Trek film, he’s surprisingly uninterested in complicated space effects. He sticks to the grounded stuff.
Nimoy and company engage the franchise’s iconography to excellent result. Just great.
Directed by Leonard Nimoy; screenplay by Steve Meerson, Peter Krikes, Harve Bennett and Nicholas Meyer, based on a story by Nimoy and Bennett and the television series created by Gene Roddenberry; director of photography, Donald Peterman; edited by Peter E. Berger; music by Leonard Rosenman; production designer, Jack T. Collis; produced by Bennett; released by Paramount Pictures.
Starring William Shatner (Kirk), Leonard Nimoy (Spock), DeForest Kelley (McCoy), James Doohan (Scotty), George Takei (Sulu), Walter Koenig (Chekov), Nichelle Nichols (Uhura), Mark Lenard (Sarek), Jane Wyatt (Amanda), Robert Ellenstein (Federation Council President), John Schuck (Klingon Ambassador), Brock Peters (Admiral Cartwright), Robin Curtis (Lt. Saavik) and Catherine Hicks (Gillian).
- Splash (1984, Ron Howard)
- Boomerang! (1947, Elia Kazan)
- And When the Sky Was Opened (1959, Douglas Heyes)
- Planes, Trains & Automobiles (1987, John Hughes)
- North by Northwest (1959, Alfred Hitchcock)
Star Trek series:
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979, Robert Wise), the special longer version
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982, Nicholas Meyer), the director's edition
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984, Leonard Nimoy)
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986, Leonard Nimoy)
- Star Trek: First Contact (1996, Jonathan Frakes)
- Star Trek (2009, J.J. Abrams)
- Star Trek Into Darkness (2013, J.J. Abrams)