Well, after the meandering pace of the first, the very good second, and the frustration of the third, I didn't hold out much hope for the fourth Star Trek: The Voyage Home. However, my memories of having watched ST4 as a kid were good though, with me remembering I really enjoyed it and thought it was funny! And now having just watched it again last night for the first time in 15 years, I can honestly say I think it's great!!! :)
I had no idea that Nimoy actually directed and co-wrote the story for this, and was surprised since I always thought he was a bit of a straight up serious guy. But this movie is just plain funny! Out of the 4 I've watched so far, this is the first Trek movie to not take itself too seriously! I know there are diehard Trekkies out there with their blood boiling over this movie, but I can totally understand why there is a large percentage of the general population that think ST4 is one of the best Trek movies - it's because it has some actual humanity to it, some irreverent humour, and just something we can all relate to!
The earlier Trek movies were so damn serious and esoteric, the average movie-goer just couldn't get into them! Too serious, with perhaps too much reliance on understanding the whole backstory and characters. Here in ST4, I think it was great that they grounded the story in the present (well, the 80s of the time). Who doesn't love a fish-out-of-water story, especially with this crazy crew?!?! :)
Obviously the best parts of the movie are those when the crew mingle about in 80s San Francisco. There were so many times where I just cracked up laughing! I mean, that "double dumb ass" scene below was pure 80s classic humour :) What about when Spock ties his headband on?!? LOL!! And the punk rocker and "dipshit" scenes? Loved them all!!!
On the whole, I think the acting by the whole cast was generally better than all previous movies. Earlier, they were all so serious in depicting their character traits, they just didn't seem normal to me. But here, the cast seemed more comfortable, and actually came across as a crew of friends. Splitting up the crew into small teams I guess gave each cast member some decent screen time, and they all looked to be having fun!
I think even pacing of the story was great. There was actually suspense built, especially the lead up to the crew returning to earth the first time, and then saving the whales. The way the plot was executed in this movie made me care more for the fate of the crew and whales than in the earlier movies!
Still, there are a heap of inconsistencies and conveniences that result in massive plot holes. I mean, you're trying to tell me a couple of people can just walk into a military area and somehow find their way onboard a frickin Navy vessel!?!? And Sulu just walking up to some guy working on a helicopter and climb in and chat away!?!? And just getting into some medical garb and barging in on a surgery past some cops!! And an invisible spacecraft that noone actually runs into in the middle of a park?!?! And everything seemingly happening within a 24hr timeframe!?!?!
But despite all that, I still really enjoyed the movie!! I could put that aside because the movie didn't take itself seriously!! Perhaps that's the exact reason why so many diehard Trek fans hate this movie, and perhaps that's the difference between how the "average" person and the Trek fan see each other!
For me, The Voyage Home has actually made me want to watch the fifth movie, no matter how bad it might turn out! Somehow, I relate more to the characters now than from any of the previous outings. I mean, Spock had a "guess", the crew smiled and actually showed some emotion, and Kirk actually had some sexual tension with another person besides Spock!! :)
So yes, overall, definitely my favourite original Trek movie so far. I give it a 7.5/10! Recommended for the average movie fan :)