After a three-month stay on Vulcan, following the events that transpired in the previous movie, Kirk & Co decide to go back to Earth and face the consequences of their actions. A huge alien vessel is however also making its way to Earth, emitting strange sounds that disrupt everything in its way, ultimately threatening all life on Earth.
Spock figures out the vessel is trying to contact something on Earth, like maybe... Humpback whales. But whales have been extinct for centuries, so they all time-warp back to San Francisco in the 20th century, in an attempt to find a couple of whales, and a nuclear power source, and then beam on back to the future! It all goes well, and apart from the whales they also bring with them Marine Biologist Amanda, played by Jane Wyatt (who I really hoped would have a bigger role in the sequels).
It's an entertaining clash of cultures, between the perceived future and the present as it was at the time the movie was made, and compared to the prequels the change of setting feels much more natural. The main characters put on a good act too, making it seem like they really don't belong in their own time, even if they also make it seem like they're... pretty stupid. Considering they come from the future, they shouldn't have such a hard time adapting, should they?
There's not as much special effects in this as in previous movies, but it's a refreshing change, and what effects there are look good. There's a bit more comedy, and character development, and it all feels refreshingly oldskool (I've always liked the past more than the future anyway).
They eventually do make their way back with their whales, but what awaits them on the other side? And can Spock make an accurate guess as to their warp co-ordinates that compensates for the added tons of water and whales they bring with them? Since his recovery at the end of the last movie, he's not quite himself yet, and the clash between Vulcan and Human is both a major point of entertainment and a character development side-story here.
I really liked this movie, even if the mood isn't always as somber as it could be, and the future not all that uncertain. Though the alien probe reminds of the very first Star Trek 'Motion Picture', it felt refreshingly different from the prequels. Good watch.
rated 4/5: fo shizzle