Star Trek Beyond comes out this week!!! Are you excited?!? I know I am! In preparation for the new movie (#13 to be exact) I’ve been watching the entire Trek movie canon. It’s been a fun journey and I thought I’d rank the 12 films here. This is entirely my personal preference– I’m not a film critic, just a trekkie. 🙂
12. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier – By far the worst Star Trek film. But Star Trek is kind of like Pizza. Even when it’s bad it’s pretty good. There are some great scenes in this film- especially with Kirk, Spock, & Bones around the campfire.
11. Star Trek Nemesis – Often called the film that killed the franchise, the main problem with Nemesis is often put squarely on the director, Stuart Baird. He lacked an understanding of the characters and Roddenberry’s universe. Still, it’s better than V.
10. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock – Honestly, the only reason I watch this film is that it bridges the gap between II & IV and without it Spock’s journey is incomplete.
9. Star Trek Into Darkness – Again, this film has its moments but overall doesn’t fit into the Star Trek universe. Meant as an homage to Star Trek II, the film borrows too much of its plot from the classic. It feels more like an issue of the IDW Star Trek comic book series than as a major motion picture.
8. Star Trek Insurrection – I really struggled with where to put this film on the list. It could go much higher, actually. It holds up as a really good 2 hour episode of Star Trek TNG. But lacks that special something that makes a good motion picture.
7. Star Trek Generations – This was the first Star Trek film I saw in the movie theatre. It holds a very special place in my heart because of that. I love seeing Kirk and Picard working together. Honestly, sentimentality puts it so high on the list. I mean, my god, the Enterprise D looks AMAZING on the big screen!! Sadly, it’s destroyed in the film.
6. Star Trek (2009) – The first 10 minutes of this film are the most emotionally powerfully Trek on film. Director JJ Abrams does a great job bringing Star Trek to a new generation. It would be much higher on the list if 1) the plot didn’t rely so heavily on unbelievable conveniences or lazy writing 2) the engineering room didn’t look like a brewery and 3) the villain was developed better.
5. Star Trek The Motion Picture – Some people call this “Star Trek The Motionless Picture” because it’s a high concept slow moving intellectual film. This is pure Roddenberry, baby!
4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home – Most non-trekkies (can we call them muggles?) would site this one as their favorite. My husband calls it “the one with the whales”. This is Trek comedy at its best! And it has a nice little environmentalist message in the end.
3. Star Trek First Contact – By far the best of the TNG movies, First Contact proves that Picard’s crew has what it takes on the big screen. It’s thrilling, funny, scary, and all around perfection. My only problem with this film is the villain. The Borg are the ultimate Star Trek villain, but the creation of the Borg Queen undercuts what makes the Borg so scary. They are terrifying because they cannot be reasoned with. They are a hive mind- a mass of being with one single thought and goal. They are not conflicted, they are Borg. Paring all that down into a Queen makes them much more vulnerable.
2. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country – This is my Star Trek! I didn’t catch this movie in the theatre- but I owned on VHS as soon as it came out. I was 12 at the time and I was OBSESSED with The Undiscovered Country. I wore out that VHS tape. I used to move my mom’s recliner into the middle of the living room and pretend it was Captain Sulu’s chair in the open scene. When the shockwave hit the USS Excelsior I would throw myself onto the couch and hell “TURN HER INTO THE WAVE!”. Years later this film still holds up. Now I understand the parallels with the cold war and Nicholas Myer’s brilliant direction. Now I get teary eyed at the end when each actor’s signature signs off.
1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn – I don’t mean to sound like cliché but Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn is the ultimate Star Trek film. Period. The credit goes to Nicholas Myer and producer Harve Bennet who took the leftovers from The Motion Picture & a tiny budget and relaunched the franchise helping it to fulfill its potential.