YMMV / Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Following his deception in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and being characterized differently in this film and the former, did Admiral Cartwright undergo a Face–Heel Turn in between his appearances, or was he an Evil All Along Bitch in Sheep's Clothing Manipulative Bastard from the get go who fooled Kirk and his colleagues into trusting him as a fellow honest Starfleet officer for him to begin his nefarious plot under their noses in his next appearance and use Kirk as his Unwitting Pawn?
  • Angst? What Angst?: Gillian is not particularly upset about being thrown 300 years into the future. True, she said she had no one at home but still, such an upheaval should have warranted some shock.
  • Anvilicious about its Green Aesop. It definitely is; opinions vary on whether people have a problem with that. During the scene where Kirk and Spock are in a tour group hearing about the damages being made to whales there's a scene in which Gillian appears to be looking directly into the camera as she talks about how whaling needs to be abolished.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: The bizarre dream sequence that occurs during the first time-jump.
    • That sequence was largely filmed with primitive CGI. Since this was The '80s, the technology couldn't be used to render anything remotely realistic, so they simply nixed the realism part in order to pioneer a new filming technique.
  • Blue and Orange Morality: The probe. It's willing to sacrifice an entire planet just to make contact with an alien species, and yet it (or its designers) see nothing wrong in this. Could be a case of badly-programmed AI or AI without empathy, but even so, it makes no sense to us.
    • It's possible the probe would just keep repeating its message until it got an answer, that in effect it could not be turned off until it did. It's still poor planning, as what would happen if there never was an answer hadn't been considered by the programmers.
    • One of the Expanded Universe novels had Kirk and crew re-encounter the probe and attempt to make contact with it. Turns out it was a combination of oversight on the part of its creators (a cetacean-like race that saw humanoids as little more than "mites"), and damage to its sensors from a prior encounter with some "mites" in a cube-shaped vessel (the Borg). Once the crew repaired the damage and showed the probe the havoc its full-power signal was causing, it agreed to be more careful.
  • Broken Base:
    • While it's one of the more popular installments, there are fans who see it as a glorified version of Tarzan's New York Adventure.
    • Some fans state the film recycles the plot to Star Trek: The Motion Picture: giant, inscrutable probe comes to Earth and threatens to wipe out mankind while searching for something unrelated to it.
  • Crowning Music of Awesome: Leonard Rosenman's opening theme.
  • Fanon: It's suggested by official sources, though not confirmed, that the Enterprise-A was not a brand new ship but was the ship Yorktown (mentioned early in the film as suffering from the probe's effects) and was rechristened to be the Enterprise. In any case it is question of how quickly they were able to make a new USS Enterprise when the first was destroyed only about 3 months prior in story. This story did have the backing of Word of God, as the Yorktown was the original name of the starship in Gene Roddenberry's first pitch of Star Trek. Such a concept would be used in a later series, where the USS Sao Paulo is redubbed the USS Defiant.
    • An alternate theory is that the Enterprise-A is a new ship, originally ordered with a different registry, but then that wouldn't explain why Starfleet would be so keen to retire the ship less than a decade later. The Yorktown theory would fit, as it was around at the time of the original series.
  • "Funny Aneurysm" Moment:
    • Dr. Nichols is seen wearing an "I quit smoking!" button. Leonard Nimoy would die from COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) caused by years of smoking even though he himself quit around the time the movie was made.
    • Chekov almost being killed in an accidental fall and having to be rescued so 24th century medicine can save him is quite a bit harder to watch after the bizarre accident that claimed the life of Anton Yelchin, who played Chekov in the first three reboot films.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
    • Thought one might argue there's also a bit of Heartwarming In Hindsight too: Bones can finally discuss Spock's insights on death now.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Sulu's line "San Francisco, I was born there..." has gotten more hilarious since George Takei came out of the closet. Originally it was funny just because of the fact Takei was born in San Francisco, but the revelation adds even more humor to:
    Sulu: I love this town!
    • It also set off a number of jokes about just how Sulu convinced the helicopter pilot to loan him the vehicle - to say nothing of the way he takes Chekov's hand helping him onto the Klingon ship after he gets rescued.
    • Catherine Hicks, who plays Dr. Gillian Taylor, went on to play Mrs. Camden on the TV series 7th Heaven. Her on screen husband, Stephen Collins, played Commander Willard Decker in Star Trek: The Motion Picture.
    • Alternatively, Kirk really is from outer space.
    • In 20th century San Francisco, Kirk tells his crew "You look like a cadet review".
    • In the beginning of the film, the Klingon Ambassador says "There shall be no peace, as long as Kirk lives!" The plot of the sixth movie is about a new Klingon-Federation peace treaty, and Kirk is instrumental in getting it ratified and preventing another war. The very same Ambassador is shown in that film as well, begrudgingly applauding Kirk's efforts.
    • Scotty, after overcoming his initial uncertainty over how to use a Mac Plus: "The keyboard? How quaint!" Back then, ironic as mice and GUIs were cutting edge. Now, "just using the keyboard" is quaint; made even more ironic given smartphones and tablets (made popular by the same company) mostly eschew keyboards and have introduced voice activation (which Scotty was trying to do with the Mac Plus). Sorry, Scotty, no Siri in The '80s. It's also doubly funny considering the Trek shows from TNG onwards showed the use of "pads," a technology very much like our modern tablets.
    • Transparent aluminum is becoming a reality 19 years after Scotty gave the formula away.
  • Insane Troll Logic: The Klingon ambassador's tortuous case for how Kirk was supposedly a terrorist trying to use Genesis as a weapon/secret base to destroy the Klingon Empire would appear to be this, depending on whether or not you consider it outright propaganda or at least extreme wishful thinking on the part of the Klingons in order to save face.
    • Fridge Brilliance: This is the exact same rationale Kruge gave for breaking protocol, crossing the Neutral Zone, and firing upon a Federation vessel in the first place. He did so completely on his own initiative (even telling Torg "tell this to no one"), but it becomes brilliance when you consider that the Klingons figured out in hindsight WHY Kruge would have gone to Genesis, and latched on to that as the only defensible explanation. Not having all the facts hurt them (the Ambassador specifically says the Genesis device was test-detonated by Kirk himself, which is a double falsehood), but with Genesis' existence already causing galactic controversy, protecting their interests makes sense for them.
    • The Klingon ambassador's attempts at rebutting Sarek fall into this: Yes, we killed Dr. David Marcus in cold blood. Yes, we blew up a Federation science vessel and killed 80 Starfleet officers. Yes, we committed espionage and stole classified materiel. But it's ok since we are trying to preserve our culture which prizes honor and courage above all else. Sarek calls him out on this with a glorious Armor-Piercing Question in front of the entire Federation Council.
  • Memetic Mutation:
    • "Nuclear Wessels"
    • "Admiral! There be whales here!"
    • "Yeah, well, a double dumbass on you!"
    • "Hellllllllloooo, Computer."
  • Never Live It Down: Good luck finding anyone who knows much more about Jacqueline Susanne and Harold Robbins than them being mocked as "the giants" of late 20th century literature in this film. For those unfamiliar, the joke is that they were the authors of popular trash novels at the time. The modern equivalent would be something like Spock saying that [1] and [2] were the "giants of literature."
  • Nightmare Fuel: Though pretty lighthearted compared to previous entries this comedic entry does have some very creepy scenes, such as the Federation ships being de-powered by the Probe, and the strange montage that plays out in Kirk's head when they're going forward in time.
    • Also, the very real footage of whale slaughter playing in the museum.
  • One-Scene Wonder:
    • The punk on the bus that Spock gives a Vulcan neck pinch to. Quoth Kirk Thatcher, who was also the Associate Producer of the film: "I could win the Nobel Peace Prize and my grave would still say 'Punk On Bus – Star Trek IV'."
    • The white-haired helmsman of the Saratoga has a striking and memorable design and manages to convey stoic wisdom in mere seconds of screen time. No surprise that his race (Efrosian) showed up again, in the person of the Federation President, no less, in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: The film manages to play the trope straight and subvert it at the same time. The entire film is a sci-fi jaunt, and there is no real "Save the whales!" handwringing. No, it only needs 2 minutes to hit audiences with the message hard and unforgettably, by showing Real Life whale hunting, with bodies being carved up graphically, leading to this potent exchange between Spock and Gillian before returning to the sci-fi adventure.
    Spock: To hunt a species to extinction is illogical.
    Gillian: (Death Glare) Who said the human race was logical?
  • Strawman Has a Point: The pompous Klingon ambassador demands justice in response to Kirk killing Kruge's crew in the last movie, which cues Sarek to explain just how villainous they really were. The Federation president assures everyone present that Kirk will face Federation justice, which the Klingon ambassador scoffs at. Out of all the things the crew did in the last movie, no one is going to bat an eye over what happened to Kruge's crew. However, the Klingon ambassador nonetheless winds up being right to scoff at "Federation justice." All charges of theft and sabotage of Starfleet property are dropped, and Kirk's violating the chain of command is "punished" by a demotion to Captain and the command of his own ship - the two things he wanted anyway.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The whales. It got to the point where US fishing authorities were brought in and criticized the producers for being around them. All the while not realizing they were just small scale animatronic models.