It has been a long while since I had seen this movie. While not one of my favorite Star Trek movies, it does have a rather interesting plot. As far as plot goes, I am not talking about the 'going back in time to save the whales' part of it. What I am referring to requires looking at the plot just a little deeper.
So, what happens in Star Trek IV? First, the movie is a continuation of the plot from movies II "The Wrath of Khan" and III "The Search For Spock." In the second movie, Captain Kirk's son is developing a device "the genesis device" that could instantly terraform a desolate planet, making it habitable. Khan and his clan of eugenic super-villians, who were exiled years before, just so happen to be living on the planet being used in the genesis project. Upon learning about the genesis device, Khan naturally plans to steal it and a star ship and use them as weapons to return to power. In the end, Spock sacrifices himself to save the Enterprise from Khan who self-detonates the genesis device.
In "The Search For Spock", Captain Kirk convinces his crew to steal the USS Enterprise and search for Spock's body that was resurrected by the genesis device detonation. Spock has cheated death by "melding" his mind/spirit into the body of Dr McCoy. The hope is that Spock could be restored to life by locating his body, and reuniting his spirit and body. In the process, Captain Kirk is forced to destroy the Enterprise to keep the genesis device secret from the Klingon's.
"The Voyage Home" is a continuation of the story from movies II and III. In this movie, Captain Kirk, Spock and the Crew are preparing to travel home to Earth anticipating that they will "face the music" f0r all the laws they broke in trying to save Spock and McCoy. However, en route, the Earth is threatened by a mysterious alien probe that is attempting to communicate with the then extinct humpback whale. The power emissions from the alien probe were overwhelming all the power systems on Earth. Upon deciphering the intent of the probe, Kirk and company conduct a timewarp slingshot around the sun to travel back to the 1980's and bring a breading pair of humpback whales into the 23rd Century to satiate the alien probe. Kirk gets the whales, whales talk to the probe, probe leaves, and Kirk and company are credited with saving the Earth yet again.
At the end of the movie, Kirk and Company stand before the Federation of Planets Council and the many charges of conspiracy, theft, murder, sabotage, destroying the Enterprise, etc are brought before them. However, the council rules that because the "extenuating circumstances" of the case all the charges except one will be dropped. Kirk alone is found guilty of "disobeying orders" and court-martialed from Admiral to Captain. As punishment, Captain Kirk is returned to his command as Captain of the Enterprise.
On an even deeper level, the storyline in Star Trek parallels current conspiracy theory. I find it interesting that the current conspiracy theory first told by Bill Cooper coincides with the storyline very closely. So, apart from aliens, super-weapons, eugenics, mind-control, unnatural prolongation of life, spirit possession, etc; could there be some sort of "predictive and neuro-linguistic programming" associated with the plot?
1. Nobel ends justify any means. Kirk and company conspire, lie, cheat, steal, murder, and sabotage to save Spock.
2. Tribalism. Breaking the law is acceptable to save a brother. The Good of the one does outway the good of the many if the one is family. Kirk's concern for Spock outways any consideration of others.
3. Indulgence. Just as you could pay money to receive forgiveness of sins, or start up some non-profit foundation or sponsor a children's hospital to make amends for selfish and destructive business dealings, Kirk and Co. found that their good deeds at the end washed away their previous sins.
4. Guilt. Star Trek attempts to instill in the viewer a sense of responsibility and guilt for A. the use of money B. environmental pollution C. overall depravity of modern society. The truth is that "The Powers that Be" are the real architects of our world and are responsible for our current monetary system, pollution, and the majority of social ills.
5. Federalization (Liberty for Safety). Fear of powerful external threats requires that we sacrifice individual liberty in exchange for safety. The Federal Government must be empowered such that it can defend us by any means necessary.
6. False Flag Terror. Khan and his band of eugenic supervillans are an interesting bunch when you realize that Captain Kirk is responsible for their creation. Kirk exiled them on the planet. As we look at the history of CIA black ops, we see that many of our current enemies are the product of our own creation. Saddam Hussein, Al- Qaeda, Turkey, etc etc were all once on the CIA payroll. Our government is responsible for arming these people and then when they become a threat down the road, the people who created these villains become heros for working to get rid of them. The continual external threats serves to justify their existence and power and distract from any threat from within.
7. Environmental Threat. In the movie, the Earth was being threatened by destruction due to the extinction of the humpbacked whale. Today we are told that carbon dioxide (the product of life) is a pollutant and will destroy the Earth. Legislation is being considered to tax us every time we exhale.
8. Alien Threat. While this is the major plot device used in Star Trek, many conspiracy theorists believe that the globalist government has suppressed technology such as magnetoplasmadynamics and plasma stealth together with space-based holographic projection to fake an alien invasion to unite the people under a global government.
9. ET gods. Several Star Trek and the StarGate plot suggest our religion and gods are merely just derived from interaction with ET's.
10. Galactic Threat. Just like the power systems in the Star Trek Earth failed, Documentaries continually fearmonger that the Earth is constantly threatened by astroids, supernova, cosmic ray bursts, and solar storms that will cause massive failure of the power grid, and justify building apocalyptic seed banks, and underground 2012 shelters and Apocalypse Complexes. However, as I see it, knowing God took great care in creating the Earth, I don't see the economy in destroying it so soon. However, the Bible does speak of the End of the World and a great burning and destruction. The fear and dread associated with these apocalyptic themes are easy to manipulate.
11. Fall of America. If the Enterprise is a metaphor and symbol for America, then the storyline could carry some deeper significance. In the end the Enterprise is sacrificed for the supposed greater good. In the end, when Captain Kirk stand trial for his misdeeds, the Federation Council gives him a standing ovation and although he receives a court martial, he is rewarded with the only thing he really ever wanted, command of the Enterprise as captain and not a bureaucratic desk job.
I believe the parallels between conspiracy theory and plot elements in Star Trek are undeniable. However, the argument could be made that Hollywood just feeds into the fears of the people, and that peoples fears reflect what they watch on TV in some sort of sick spiraling cycle. And some say asking which came first, is like talking about the chicken and the egg. And it is definitely a jump to think that a group of wrinkly old men stayed up one night to think up a plan for world domination. And it is even a bigger jump to think that they would leak elements of this plan in Hollywood movies in an attempt to subconsciously and neuro-lingistically program the masses in an attempt to bring their plans to fruition. Unless you are already awake to the reality of the Matrix we live in, this post will likely not convince you.