Food & Adventures

Thursday 12 January 2017

Ranking the Star Trek Movies

I am a self confessed geek and one of my favourite realms (is realms the right word, who knows) of geekdom is Star Trek. I've enjoyed all of the Star Trek TV shows since I was a kid but my favourite entries into the Star Trek timeline has always been the movies. This past September marked the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek Franchise and to celebrate the TV channel SyFy had a Star Trek Season where the showed all of the film so I decided to have a binge and watch them all and after watching them I have decided to share with you my preferences from least favourite to absolute best.

13. Star Trek: The Motion Picture

To start the list we must go back to the beginning. Star trek had been off TV for a while, a few attempts had been made to resurrect it but never came about. Then another star based franchise arrived and the bosses at Paramount saw dollar signs and rushed a movie out. My problem with this film is that is doesn't feel like a Star Trek film. I've heard the script was originally not for a Star Trek project and was adapted by the studio to shoe horn in Kirk, Spock et al. The plot I quite like, a probe heading to earth leaving destruction in it's wake turns out to be on ancient earth probe (ancient as in from the 20th century) that was lost in a black hole is found by a race of living machines on the other side of the galaxy, given an upgrade and sent back home.

12. Star Trek : Nemesis

Of all the TV shows The Next Generation is my favourite but the films involving the TNG crew were largely disappointing. This was the most disappointing, The premise centres on a coup d'etat of the Romulan Empire by a clone of Captain Picard. The Romulans were always my favourite baddies and I think they have been underutilized in the films (with the exception of the 2009 reboot). The film is a bit of a mess and never really makes sense and even a starring role from a young Tom Hardy can't save this one.

11. Star Trek: Insurrection

This one feels more like an episode of the TV show, they story is good enough but just doesn't have the grandeur of a film. The Federation top brass is involved in a secret plot with some aliens to move another group of aliens from their home and steal the planets regenerative resources for their own diablolical ends.

10. Star Trek Into Darkness

Although it's not last on the list, this film disappoints me most. It is a good film, but it could've been so much better.  Bringing back the character of Khan Noonien Singh and having him played by Benedict Cumberbatch could have been sooo good but was just a bit flat. I appreciate that the rebooted films have to have a different take of things due to the alternate timeline but Khan would never have worked for Admiral Marcus in his nefarious war plans.

9. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

This film centres on the theological questions, Is God out there in the universe? and if so, Can we find God. Spock's half brother Sybock has started his own cult in search of God after he had a vision telling him where to look. Sybock hijacks the newly commissioned Enterprise, brainwashing the crew on the way. It turns out God isn't there but instead a malevolent, quasi-omnipotant entity (probably a member of the Q continuum for any fellow ├╝ber geeks who are reading) who has been trapped at the edges of the universe and wants to be free.

8. Star Trek: Generations

This is the film all trekkers were waiting for. Captain Kirk teams up with Captain Picard to stop a madman from destroying planets in an attempt to return to a mysterious energy wave that gives anyone who enters immortality in their very own paradise. The film is great but just doesn't quite hit the heights of the other films.

7. Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

Spock is dead, there is s newly formed planet called Genesis and the Klingons are knocking about looking to get their hands on the ultimate WMD, the Genesis Device. This is a great story to show Kirk getting out of a no win situation and getting one over on the old enemy by blowing up the enterprise and nicking the Klingons ship (bird of prey). The actual search for Spock part is a bit convoluted with Spock's dead body being re-animated and regenerated as a side effect of the way the Planet Genesis was created and his mind being trapped in the head of Dr. McCoy.

6. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Of all the Star Trek films I think I've seen this one the most. Whenever there was a Star Trek film on TV when I was a kid it always seemed to be this one. A probe is heading to earth leaving destruction in it's wake (hang on, that sounds familiar). This time there is no communication from the probe and Earth is almost devastated. Spock deduces that the probe is trying to communicate with Humpback Whales but unfortunately they are extinct in the 23rd century. Kirk decides to try time travel, coz that seems like and easy thing to do in a stolen Klingon Bird of Prey, head back 1980's Earth and pick up a couple of Humpbacks.

5. Star Trek Beyond

When I saw the trailers for the most recent Star Trek I wasn't that blown away and was expecting to be disappointed. I could not have been more wrong. I really enjoyed this film ( I wrote a full review of it here) it was a fairly original story and as the future of the Star Trek franchise hadn't been fully sorted upon release the danger faced by the crew was genuinely threatening and you didn't know who was going to survive.

4. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Kirk and McCoy are accused of assassinating the Klingon Chancellor and are sent to prison on an inescapable prison planet. They soon escape (obviously) and uncover there is plot by both some Klingons and high ranking members of Star Fleet to prevent peace between the Federation and the Klingons. This film is great as Kirk has to overcome his own prejudices about Klingons in order to preserve peace in the galaxy, it also has Christopher Plummer as Klingon General Chang quoting Shakespeare as he tries to defeat Kirk.

3. Star Trek

By 2009 the Star Trek franchise was faltering. There were no Star Trek shows on TV any more and the films had been pretty stale. Something drastic was needed and what we got was the J.J. Abrams reboot which reset the whole Star Trek universe by establishing a new time line. The Romulans finally get a good outing as Nero (played by Eric Bana) comes back in time to seek revenge on the federation after his home planet is destroyed by an catastrophic accident and in doing so changes everything.

2. Star Trek: First Contact

For me The Next Generation series was all about the threat from the Borg. So it's no surprise that the best of the TNG films would also feature the Borg. The seemingly unstoppable collective of living machines (I wonder if they are the ones who found the probe in the original movie?) have been trying to wipe out all forms of life and add their biological and technological distinctiveness to their own. After a heavy defeat the Borg head back in time and stop humans from ever achieving warp drive technology and thus prevent the inception of the United Federation of Planets and can then take over the galaxy. But Picard and the Crew are hot on their trails to show that resistance in NOT futile.

1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

There are some good films in the list but head and shoulders above them all is The Wrath of Khan. Khan Noonien Singh was a genetically engineered Human who first locked horns with Kirk during The Original Series. After Kirk bested Khan he was banished to a planet with his remaining followers and has been planning his revenge ever since. Ricardo Moltanban plays Khan brilliantly, hell bent on vengeance and quoting Captain Ahab from Moby Dick in his pursuit of Kirk. I love everything about this film and would go as far to say this is one of my favourite films of all time.

Live long and prosper.



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