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Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

‘Star Trek: The Motion Picture’ on screen again

Since "Star Trek" debuted on U.S. television on Sept. 8, 1966, the show that Gene Roddenberry created has fascinated its fans.

And whether you call them Trekkies or Trekkers doesn't really matter (except, maybe, to them). Because though they weren't able to keep the original series (TOS) in production, they've kept it in syndication for the past five-plus decades.

Not to mention the various spinoff series, both live-action and animated, the merchandise and the movies.

Speaking of those big-screen events, the 40th anniversary of the first picture — "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" — is coming to two area Regal Cinemas theaters for screenings on Sunday and the following Wednesday. The film will screen at 1 and 4 p.m. Sunday at Northtown Mall and Coeur d'Alene's Riverstone Stadium, and at 4 and 7 p.m. the following Wednesday.

"Star Trek: The Motion Picture" was directed by Robert Wise, a two-time Best Director Oscar winner, and stars all of the original cast, including William Shatner as James Kirk, Leonard Nimoy as Spock, DeForest Kelley as Dr. McCoy — and so on.

The plot, which is credited to Harold Livingston (and based on a story idea by Alan Dean Foster), features Kirk and crew cruising to intercept an alien object heading toward Earth and the problems that ensue, first between Kirk and his first officer (played by Stephen Collins) and then with the object itself.

The film premiered on Dec. 7, 1979, and received mostly mixed reviews. Among those was this comment from Variety: "The expensive effects (under supervision of Douglas Trumbull) are the secret of this film, and the amazing wizardry throughout would appear to justify the whopping budget."

That budget, by the way, is officially reported as $35 million. That's peanuts by today's standards but was fairly pricey for the time. As a comparison,  Ridley Scott's "Alien," which premiered on the previous May 25th, boasted a budget of $11 million.  

Yet fans could care less about such things. One more opportunity to see Kirk, Spock and the rest in action — even muted action — should suffice.