Coming on the heels of the thematically dark Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, The Voyage Home was comparatively lighthearted and comical. As with The Search for Spock, actor/director Leonard Nimoy was heavily involved in production from day one, hand-selecting the script writers and effects teams while brainstorming with co-writer Harve Bennett a storyline that would bring the crew of the USS Enterprise to "present day" 1986. The result can easily be considered a success financially, critically, and (most importantly) to Star Trek fans. Also starring William Shatner, DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, and George Takei; 1986.
The high point for most viewers of this movie is when Kirk and Spock, seeing a bus-side ad for the humpback whale exhibit at the Cetacean Institute, immediately hop on board the bus. They're not stymied by the fact that the bus doesn't actually go to the Institute (because how else do you know the destination of a bus if not from the ads on the side?) but by the concept of 'exact change' (they probably use bitcoin). When they do make it on a bus, it's not on Golden Gate Transit or any of the other buses that do go across the Golden Gate Bridge, but on Muni, which does not go across the bridge. Regardless, the bus' filthy and neglected appearance, as well as the general miasma of discomfort and misery exuded by all the passengers, make the ride, if not the route, a bona fide Muni experience.
But of course, none of this addresses why the scene is so fantastic. That would be young GG Allin here:
Although the above is definitely not a whale tank, it is the outside patio of a real aquarium- the Monterey Bay Aquarium, over a hundred miles away. Note how the San Francisco skyline has been edited into the distant horizon to further authenticate the aquarium's supposed setting in southern Marin County. Aside from this strange little fiction, almost everything else is true to life- the aquarium is filmed almost exactly as-is, and the movie even used the Monterey Bay Aquarium's real logo for the fictional Cetacean Institute.
One of the first locations where the crew of the USS Enterprise find themselves is at the intersection of Columbus, Kearny, and Pacific. You can see the base of the Transamerica Pyramid in the left of the shot, and on the right, a donut shop that has changed names but today still sells donuts. Smack in the middle is the copper-plated building owned by Francis Ford Coppola. In other shots at this location, Kirk is almost plowed over by a taxi in front of one of my favorite coffee shops, Réveille Coffee.
Authenticity: 6.5/10- Like finding Mission Dolores where the Ferry Building should be. Authentic, but huh?
Fashion Crimes: 9/10- Andre Leon Talley says this is some drastic shit! I'm still trying to decide if it's great or horrible.
Overall: 7/10- It's a safe excursion to the Star Trek universe for people who can't tell the difference between a Vulcan salute and The Shocker.
References & Further Reading
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home on Wikipedia
Thanks for reading, and remember, until next week-- I HATE YOU!!!