Sci-Fi Spotlight: The One with the Whales

I know things have been a little rough the last few weeks.  So, to try and spread a little joy in these trying times I’m going to tell you about two of my favorite things; my public library and Star Trek.  Like most people my age with massive student debt I am more often than not, broke.  It’s just a fact.  On the bright side, the library is always there for me.  They do so much more than books.  They have music, movies, and free internet.  They have people that can help you with your taxes.  There are dozens of activities and clubs to join from gardening or anime to regular old fashioned book clubs.  My library even has ukuleles you can borrow.  One hundred percent free of charge, you can leave the building with a ukulele.

Libraries are fantastic and in this modern age, they do modern things, like offer digital services.  My library works with several different organizations to provide a massive digital catalog to its patrons.  The best of these services is Hoopla because it offers a lot of different materials.  You can borrow ebooks, music, and even comics.  Most importantly, they let you stream movies.  The number of movies you can watch, or borrow, at a time will depend on your library.  I highly recommend that if you have a library card you give this a shot, especially if you’re looking for something different to watch and are tired of scrolling through Netflix.

Now, I’m going to recommend a film that you can find on Hoopla or any number of other places online.  Let’s talk about Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

The Voyage Home is the Star Trek film that takes place immediately after Captain Kirk sets out on a mission to bring Spock back from the dead.  This is also the one with the whales.  I think this film is a good example of why Star Trek has stuck with people for so long.  The Voyage Home is a silly and fun ride bookended by more serious attempts at film making.

When Star Trek started back in the 60’s it did make serious commentary about the times.  It is set in the future were segregation is no longer a thing and no one is worried about how they’re going to get by.  There’s even an episode that became infamous for broadcasting the first-ever interracial kiss on television.  Star Trek went pretty hard.  At the same time it also didn’t.  Arguably all of the episodes are making some sort of statement.  Mixed in with all of that though you have episodes like “The Trouble with Tribbles”.   You can argue that this episode is about the dangers of invasive species, but that doesn’t change the fact that a bulk of the run time is taken up by Captain Kirk getting increasingly frustrated with balls of fluff.

The Voyage Home is a lot like that.  It has a very serious message about wildlife conservation, but it’s wrapped up in a good time.  The movies that came out before this were “The Wrath of Khan” and “The Search for Spock”, which were both very serious and at times dark films.  Kirk in “The Wrath of Khan” spends most of the film struggling with depression over his age, in the next film he’s depressed because his best friend has died.  Those films are largely about what it means to truly live and how do we value our existence.  It’s pretty heavy and kind of a downer when you think about it.

Then along comes “The Voyage Home”.  Which is a lot less subtle in the emotions it wants you to feel.  It also gives us a simple story of lets save some whales.  It is a film that touches you emotionally, but overwhelmingly the emotion it seems to be striving for is joy.  The crew does a lot of silly things to get to their goal.  This is the film where Chekov famously asks “where are the nuclear wessels?”  It’s silly, it’s fun, and in the end, they accomplish their goals.  The Enterprise crew saves the whales and Spock learns about friendship.

It’s a great movie and I think it exemplifies what’s great about Star Trek.  While it’s capable of being very deep and meaningful, it can also just be a good time.  You don’t always need something deep or thought-provoking.  Sometimes you just need to smile.

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Sarah Bieniek

Sarah Bieniek

I live in the desert and spend a lot of time reading comics and any science fiction I can get my hands on.
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I live in the desert and spend a lot of time reading comics and any science fiction I can get my hands on.

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