Director: Leonard Nimoy
Special Effects: Industrial Light & Magic
Cast: William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Deforest Kelley, James Doohan, Nichelle Nichols, George Takai, Walter Koenig
This film marks the change in attitude for the "Star Trek" franchise, from serious minded cheesy science fiction dramas to light-hearted silly science fiction romps. The introduction of comedy and the redefinition of the core cast to have goofy personalities nearly ruins the film and the other two that follow it, but fortunately this one is saved by a well-paced script and some awesome special effects. The renegade crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise is flying back home in their stolen Klingon ship from "Star Trek III: The Search For Spock" (1984), when they are called upon to deal with a nasty alien probe that is wreaking havoc on Earth. It is determined that Earth's salvation lies in retrieving a humpback whale from twentieth century Earth, so the Enterprise takes a nice little trip back in time to do just that. You can only imagine the silliness that ensues as they try to accomplish their mission, but it's still a lot of fun. Kirk (William Shatner) is pardoned for his crimes and demoted back to the rank of Captain, and he and his crew are assigned to the newly constructed Enterprise (the U.S.S. Enterprise-A).