Am I boldly going where no man has gone before? Nope.
Am I even going where I haven’t before? Nope.
But, having just done my Star Wars countdown, you know I just had to do a Star Trek countdown as well. 😉
These are, of course, only my opinions, which, I would love to hear how you, my wonderful audience, would rank the Star Trek movies. 🙂
13) Star Trek: The Motion Picture
The one that started it all. The movie that brought the classic television show to the big screen! A landmark achievement at the time, all the more so for how it actually used the same cast and characters and everything else, instead of what happens with most every old TV show that’s turned into a movie these days.
That said… well, I’m rather glad the series survived its first big screen experience. Even as a kid, I found the first one to be soooo booooring. Thus, it lands squarely at the bottom of the heap, completely uncontested.
12) First Contact
A great leap straight upwards from the bottom, we enter the area of the pack that’s a bit tricky for me to decide on. The latest incarnation of movies, chronicling the alternate adventures of a young Kirk and his young crew, may be a bit more oriented towards adrenaline than intrigue, but First Contact seems to have been trying to go in that general directions without doing a particularly good job of it. Or maybe they wanted to craft something more like a horror film, complete with Captain Picard facing his personal demons and nightmares, which both empowers and cripples him simultaneously. It’s interesting, but for the mighty borg, scourge of the universe, to finally be bested pretty much single-handed by Data’s subterfuge was a bit much. I mean, did they really… never… at all… in their entire history of an unstoppable rampage across the stars that extinguished countless alien civilizations… encounter even so much as one android?
I will say this, though, it certainly was distinct from the movies of the previous generation, as the first that was carried entirely by the Next Gen cast.
11) Into Darkness
The second movie of the latest generation, it delved into the darker corners of the Federation’s soul, in the form of its leadership going astray and opening the door to a mad man’s evil. Many good people paid the price for this, and those who survived were confronted with the dark desire of vengeance. It peeked beneath the civilized exterior to poke around a little at the brutality beneath. And yet, for all of that, the solution to the problem was, basically… make the Vulcan mad, and just hit the problem until it stops hitting back. Which seems a bit counterproductive. Still the reversal of a particularly classic scene was an unexpected twist.
Hey, it’s a movie where Kirk doesn’t obviously get with the girl! Honestly, that freed the both of them up for so much more character development. They face down a threat that comes from the edge of the Federation’s frontier, and from its own past, a ghost of old hatreds. It’s all right, and I like how they had to use their brains more instead of just beating the problem to death. All in all, though, it’s a fairly standard ride for a vicarious adrenaline junkie.
9) Star Trek
Interesting how the latest movies are all towards the bottom of the list… I wonder if that means that, despite my enjoyment of the adrenaline-fueled action movies, I feel like they maybe lost something in terms of quality somewhere along the way? Hmmm. Food for thought.
That said, the only real disappointment I had was in the ending. I was fairly expecting them to time travel and put the timeline right, to save everyone the enemy killed. Hm, maybe that ought to have been what they did with a finale film. Oh, and I hated how much they used the new theme song, one or two times too many! But they certainly put together an interesting, thrilling story, with fantastic elements that developed the characters and was generally pretty fun and satisfying.
8) The Wrath of Khan
I may be cast down for Star Trek heresy here, but I liked Wrath of Khan the least of the original movies, except the very first one. I know, I know, it’s arguably the best of them, but it’s really not my favorite, ya know? It just felt long and plodding and tragic as a kid, and when I grew up it felt more contrived, especially the solution they pull out of their hats with tricking Khan and that name-screaming thing. I mean, seriously? Melodramatic, much? Oh, and they killed Spock. I mean… one can’t just love that, you know?
That said, there is a certain… romance? Of a sort with the older generations of movies that just make them more fascinating than the latest crop.
7) The Final Frontier
Where this one loses me is the whole “center of the universe” schtick, and thinking that thing trapped beyond “the great barrier” could possibly be the deity of all creation. Up until that point, it was funny, adventurous, intriguing, and it was great to see the characters facing their personal demons, their pain. I didn’t understand how it was wiped away or whatnot, but I loved Kirk’s declaration about how we need our pain to define us and give us strength. I love the bond we see between the cast, too, as seen through their shore leave and how they watch each others’ backs.
While I wish they’d done something with this, and the repercussions of events here, in later movies, I have to say, it was pretty dang cool. It was sort of more towards the action of the later movies, but better done than most others, if only for how such was used so well to further the plot. And I love how all the high and holy platitudes were basically just a veneer for what lay beneath, as the themes were driven by the plot which was driven by the characters. We saw the best part of the Federation fight for what it really means, even if it meant defying the authorities which defiled its very heart and soul.
5) The Search for Spock
The second of a three-part adventure, the ramifications of Wrath of Khan begin to unfold. Not only does the power unleashed by Khan attract greedy, murderous eyes, but Kirk’s command team has a chance to possibly reclaim their lost comrade. Such a simple quest, and yet they must defy their own superiors and face down cunning enemies whilst a planet falls apart around them. And the cost… the cost is personal, and so very high. Yet, finally, in the end, they get Spock back. And somehow I really like that!
4) The Undiscovered Country
Kirk finally faces true and lasting defeat as he is framed for a crime he did not commit. He faces his own prejudices, and his antagonism with the Klingons is finally dealt with and put to rest. He and his comrades journey through the very pits of the abyss and only together, with their wits, will, and love for each other, do they overcome. It is a masterful crescendo for their original crew’s adventures together.
(except for killing off Data) 😦
Kirk and Picard fighting side by side against a savage enemy who has simply gone mad with a desire for happiness. It’s a final culmination of Kirk’s story, and a launching pad for Picard’s time on the big screen, as both captains face the same temptation that has already consumed the villain, and make a different choice. It is, in short, fantastic.
Oh, and Data has emotions. Heh.
1) The Journey Home
My most favorite for how much fun it is, how it wraps up the three-part story of the second, third, and fourth movies, how it vindicates the heroes, and how it advises us to treat our planet with a bit more care. Mind you, I’ve grown out of my environmentalist phase, but it’s still a sweet little story about preserving the wonders of the world around us before we even look to the stars, and how some choices need to be made simply because they are the more human choices to make.