The big screen adventures of Starfleets’ finest have had their fair share of ups and downs. For a time it was believed that you could track the quality this way: even numbered films are good, odd numbered films are not so good or just plain awful. While I agree there’s something to that theory (as the top two entries on this list are even numbered) I think the pattern has been broken. Perhaps it’s going the other way now?
We’ll have to wait and see where Star Trek 12: Into Darkness fits. Until then, here is my take on the best and worst Star Trek feature films.
11. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
By far the worst trek film was the first. The Original Series was cancelled in 1969, but by 1977 the world was going ga-ga over Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. People could not get enough sci-fi. So the smart minded suits at Paramount were like, “We’ve got a ‘star’ thing. Let’s bring it back!”
They first attempted a new show called Star Trek: Phase 2, but scrapped that and went for the theaters. It’s been said that they wanted to go a more intellectual route than Star Wars, striving for more of a 2001: A Space Odyssey feel.Well, it definitely does not feel like Star Wars. It’s like anti-Star Wars. It’s like anti-fun, anti-excitement, anti-staying awake. Seriously, I didn’t make up these other names for this movie:
The Motionless Picture
The Slow Motion Picture
The Motion Sickness Picture
The Plot for the film is kinda interesting.They used the script for what would have been the first episode of Star Trek: Phase 2. But that was the problem. They took a script for a 40 minute tv show and stretched it to a nauseating 2 hours and 13 minutes.
It’s long, boring and doesn’t look or feel like the Original Series at all.
10. STAR TREK 5: THE FINAL FRONTIER
This is a silly mess about Spocks’ brother and the search for God, who apparently lives in the middle of space. It was William Shatners’ single go at directing, but you can’t blame a lame movie on just the director. Blame the writer and star: William Shatner.
9. STAR TREK: NEMESIS
I honestly haven’t watched this one in a long time. I initially enjoyed it quite a bit, but on repeated view it seemed to fade in greatness. The plot deals with a young clone of Picard (played by a young Tom Hardy) starting a revolution of sorts with the Romulans. There’s a few action scenes that fall flat on intensity, and the Next Generation crew is looking old and fat. But the final space fight is epic in scale, and it’s probably the last time we will ever see these characters. It’s hard to say goodbye.
8. STAR TREK: GENERATIONS
Bridging the gap between the old guard and the new, 1994’s Generations was the first time we got to see Picard, Data, Geordi and the rest of the crew on the big screen. It told the story of a cloud thingy called the Nexus which feels really good when your’e in it. A crazy dude really wants back in the Nexus, so he plots to hijack the enterprise to get him there. It features some memorable stuff; like Data getting emotions, the enterprise crashing, and a Picard/Kirk team-up. Worth the price of admission right there.
7. STAR TREK 4: THE VOYAGE HOME
There’s a probe flying around space sending out a message in a mysterious language. Nobody can decipher it and the probe begins to destroy Earth. The Enterprise crew ( in a Klingon ship this time around) figure out the language is meant for humpback whales. Since all the whales are extinct, they travel back in time to get a whale from the past. Sounds silly, but you should watch it.
This one is a lot of fun, mostly from watching the future crew trying to interact with the then-modern 1986 society. Spock swearing is priceless. Most say this is a good one for non-trekkies.
6.STAR TREK 3: THE SEARCH SPOCK
As a direct sequel to The Wrath of Khan, we find Kirk depressed from the loss of his friend. But mysterious plot twists ensue and Kirk, McCoy, Sulu, Scotty, and Checkov disobey orders to….wait for it…..search for Spock. The stakes get raised super high, and repercussions will affect the rest of the films featuring the original crew. Plus, Christopher Loyd plays a Klingon!
5. STAR TREK 6: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY
The movie begins and a brooding, intense musical score sends chills down my testicles every time. This is a good thing.
The Undiscovered country is all about trying to make peace with long-time federation rivals The Klingons. Kirk and McCoy get framed for murder, and Sulu has his own ship. From the start, you can see the jump in special effects quality. I’m not saying the graphics in the previous Trek films were bad, they just look way better here. The crew looks pretty old in this, and you’d be hard pressed to see an action film nowadays starring such an elderly cast this side of The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. It’s kinda refreshing. The relationships between these characters and these actors is what makes this movie shine. And the final battle is quite intense.
4. STAR TREK: INSURRECTION
No other Next Generation film captures the feel and tone of the tv show like Insurrection. That is an absolutely huge positive for this outing, even if it may sacrifice a big-screen event feel. The bad guy is not that impressive, and the crew seem to breeze through this mission with little threat. The whole “insurrection” part of it doesn’t seem that big of a deal, considering how often we’ve seen these guys disobey Starfleet orders. Never mind all that. Star Trek 9 is great fun. All the Next Generation movies highly favor screen time to Picard and Data, and this one is no different. But we do get to see Riker in command again, and that is always awesome. FOR THE LOVE OF LOVE, PARAMOUNT! GIVE ME A CAPTAIN RIKER SHOW! EVEN IF HE’S OLDER AND FATTER!
3. STAR TREK
Boy, was I skeptical of this reboot. I dont wanna see anybody else play Kirk! But somehow, everything came together beautifully to give us one of the most action-packed and lively Trek pictures ever. They managed to capture the tone of the original series, even better than some of the original series films. We see young Kirk meeting a young Spock and young McCoy, flirting with young Uhura and running around a snow planet with young Scotty. There’s also a sword fight with young Sulu. It’s a little suspect to see all the characters get promoted within, like, 10 minutes. A lot of coincidences going on. And Spock is kind of a dick. Even so, it’s still painful to watch him lose control and lose command of the enterprise. I would have liked more “Bones” McCoy. All in all, it’s a great time. I think the franchise is heading in a good direction. Still want that Riker show, though….
2. STAR TREK 2: THE WRATH OF KHAN
What can be said that hasn’t already?
This is the true beginning of the Star Trek revival, after the first one stunk like a street-fried diaper. It has one of the greatest onscreen villains of all time. It’s got sharp, snappy dialogue. It has some frightening little creatures that are unforgettable. The threat level is through the roof. The whole movie is basically one big chase scene. It also is very emotional, and if you were going to cry in a Trek movie, this would be the most likely to tug those tears. If you have never watched a Star Trek movie, watch Wrath of Khan. If you consider yourself a lover of cinema, watch Wrath of Khan. If you have any bit of humanity at all, watch Wrath of Khan.
1. STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT
Ok, so everything I said about Wrath of Khan can be applied here, with more modern film sensibilities. The Borg were already one of the greatest adversaries in Trek lore, and with the introduction of the Borg Queen, it put them on the top. The Borg go back in time to kill the man who invents warp drive, which eventually leads to the beginning of the Federation. So the Picard and friends follows them back, and then everything crazy and awesome happens. Borg take over the Enterprise. There’s a shoot-out battle with space suits on the outside of the ship. There’s a holodeck scene. It features the most badass new Enterprise ever. Geordi gets contact lenses. Deanna Troi gets drunk.
Everything about this picture is perfect. It’s like they took the best of all that had come before, put it in a blender, added some sugar and robot zombies and BAM! You gotta pizza pie!
And guess who directed this one?
you sly devil.