Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Star Trek Motion picture collection (Updated)

Star Trek is personally my favorite franchise of all time (which is no small accomplishment), not just in regards to the movies but the whole TV franchise as well. With the new Star Trek movie coming out this summer, it’s really gotten me back into my good old nostalgic Star Trek fandom. So to celebrate, let’s look over the Star Trek motion picture library in chronological order, as I express my own personal opinions on them.

                               Star Trek movies based on the original Star Trek Show
    The original Star Trek TV show is definitely a classic for its time but it’s honestly not my favorite series in the lineup of different Star Trek TV shows. Personally, the movies based on this series feel more timeless then the actual TV show, like this is the classic series that really started everything.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1980)

 My overall score is 4 out of 10
It’s ironic that of all twelve Star Trek movies, the first film is my absolute least favorite. Despite being credited for re-launching the series and introducing us to the awesome musical score composed by Jerry Goldsmith, this film just can’t redeem its painfully slow passé, overly long run time, and it’s completely empty story that doesn’t focus on the characters. Some of the ideas in this film are interesting, there's some good atmosphere, and the visuals are spectacles for its time, but that’s all this film is, just one long, slow special effect that doesn’t do anything meaningful with its iconic cast. It’s a very rare case in which the first movie is the worst and all the sequels (even the bad ones) are far superior, but that's just my opinion. 

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)

 My overall score is 8.5 out of 10
Any hard core Star Trek fan would label this film as the best of the series, however while it’s personally not my absolute favorite, “The Wrath of Khan” is undeniably the classic movie that started everything. The performances are all stronger, especially from Ricardo Montalban who’s downright chilling as the villain Khan. The story is structured very firmly and focuses on the characters first before spectacles. But more than anything, it’s the films deep-context regarding life and death that make it one of the most meaningful entries in the series. 

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) 

 My overall score is 7 out of 10
Even though the story isn’t structured as well as its predecessor and features some really odd plot points, it's never the less a really fun adventure to embark on with the classic crew. There's lots of high-teak Sci-Fi charms, some of the best character moments in the series run, including a very touching ending, plus Christopher Lloyd and his Klingon’s are a lot of fun to watch. 

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

 My overall score is 9 out of 10
Of the six original films, “The Voyage Home” is my personal favorite. The plot is very odd but so well constructed, combining themes and morals with a very fun time travel concept and lots of comedy. The whole movie experience is just a real joy to watch, providing lots of excitement while still teaching the viewer simple life lessens along the way. There’s just no other way to describe this movie other than a simple, lighthearted and completely joyful experience.  

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

 My overall score is 4 out of 10
Often regarded as the worst of the Star Trek series and for good reason, “The Final Frontier” provides a ludicrous story, with constant plot wholes, really bad visual effects, painfully stupid hummer, boring villains and there’s just one ridicules event after the next. However, there are at least some really good character moments and even some good statements on accepting the pain in one’s life, but that’s still not enough to save this disaster of a movie.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

 My overall score is 9.5 out of 10
I stated earlier that “The Voyage Home” is my personal favorite of the original six, which it certainly is, however, I honestly consider “The Undiscovered Country” to be the absolute best. It just gets everything right, boasting an intriguing, character-driven mystery plot with lots of incite on themes of prejudice, forgiveness, betrayal, nationalism and the fear of an un-known future. The result is a genuinely thrilling and even inspiring motion picture that’s nothing short of a masterpiece.   

                           Star Trek movies based on Star Trek: The Next Generation

    Star Trek: The Next Generation” is personally my favorite TV show of all time, the characters are just so much more interesting and their adventures were so engaging that it started my whole admiration for the series. Even though the original movies are more timeless, I have more nostalgia for this series of films and this particular group of characters.  

Star Trek Generations (1994)

 My overall score is 7 out of 10
The average story, annoying scenes and slow passé keep this from being the great first installment that the TNG franchise deserved and is probably the weakest of their four films, however, it certainly isn’t terrible. For all its shortcomings there are still enough dramatic moments, charismatic charms and power house scenes to make it worthwhile. Plus, it’s a real treat to finally see Captain Picard and Captain Kirk together on screen.  

Star Trek First Contact (1996)

 My overall score is 10 out of 10
This is the Star Trek movie that seems to have something for everyone, whether their fans or not. The story is exciting, there’s plenty of action, some stealer visual effects, a beautiful musical score composed by Jerry Goldsmith and standout performances from James Cromwell and star Patrick Stewart in his respected roll as Captain Picard. Plus the film manages to juggle a relatively dark, even frightening overtone involving the popular Borg villains with plenty of humanity, good character structure and even a subtle touch of hummer. It’s just an excellent film on all grounds and it still stands as my personal favorite of all twelve Star Trek movies.   

Star Trek Insurrection (1998)

 My overall score is 8 out of 10
The internal conflicts of the film are really one-sided, resulting in a serious problem regarding the films sub-text, and the main plot is very reminiscent of several TNG episodes. However, the premise is engaging enough as Picard and crew deify their superiors and defend a planet from a global invasion, which just happens to be their very own Star Fleet. This leads to some exciting action sequences, and it's a cool situation to see our hero's in. There are plenty of Trek charms, fine performances and it’s the only film that allows us to just have a fun time with the next generation crew. Plus, from a personal point of view, this is my favorite Star Trek movie to look at. I love all the scenery, landscape, spaceship interiors and all of the dazzling effects provided in this film. For all it's faults, this is sill a personal favorite of mine. 

Star Trek Nemesis (2002)
 My overall score is 7.5 out of 10
I’ll admit this movie has some areas that could be improved upon, but never the less I consider "Nemesis" to be very underrated entry in the TNG series, and personally it's another small favorite in the Star Trek motion picture line up. The premise gives the TNG crew more of a character themed story than any of their other films, and there are even some intriguing concepts of nature versus nurture. More than anything, it’s the conflicts between Captain Picard and the villain Shinzon that elevate the enjoyment and character depth of this movie. Throw in some incredible visual effects, another terrific score provided by Jerry Goldsmith, some of the best action scenes in Star Trek history, including a powerhouse climax and you get a mostly worthy installment in the Star Trek cannon.   

                   Rebooted Star Trek movies themed around the original Star Trek show 

    In 2009, producer J. J. Abrams released a new Star Trek movie that was both a prequel and a reboot to the franchise. This film then launched a new series of Star Trek movies that feature the same characters from the original series, however, these new films are not directly based on a TV show the same way the first 10 movies were. The characters are all younger, taking place before the original series but it’s also in an alternate reality which allows events to unfold differently but with just enough threads still connected to the original series to keep it from being a standalone spinoff.

Star Trek (2009)

 My overall score is 9.5 out of 10
Just like “First Contact”, this film is a spectacle that non-trek fans can enjoy and even more importantly it proves that an old franchise can still thrill and excite audiences for a new generation. The characters feel fresh and new while still keeping their timeless and charismatic charms intact. The story is very engaging, heavy on classy Sci-Fi elements, boasted by some stellar set pieces, livened up by some really good hummer, and electrified by some awesome action scenes. Finally, everything is presented in a vary energized tone, which makes the whole experience nothing short of a fun time. I don’t even know what else to say about this one, it’s just a really fun movie that’s sure to win the franchise some new fans.

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)

My overall score is 7 out of 10

Even though the plot is very similar to "The Wrath of Khan", there's just enough smart twists and turns to hold it's own in the series. There's some really good character themes, and dilemmas that are once again balanced with some thrilling action scenes, breath taking visual effects, and an amount of energy that never dies. Oh, and I almost forgot, Khan is back and just as awesome as ever, that alone makes this film worth while. 
Star Trek Beyond (2016)

My overall score is 9 out of 10
The third entry of the new reboot series gives us a fast paced adventure set on a planet for once, which is a refreshing change of pace, and allows for some gorgeous scenery. This is arguably the best looking Star Trek movie sense “Insurrection” back in 1998. Aside from all the visual appeal and spectacular action, this film really stays true to its roots, pays respect to the characters, and is just a wonderful love letter to the legacy of this 50 year old franchise. The banter and interactions between the cast are some of the most enjoyable to date, and new characters like Jaila help breathe some new life into the film.    .

And where this series will boldly go from here, we’ll just have to wait and see. For now, if I were to rank every film from favorite to least favorite, it would probably go like this...

#1 Star Trek First Contact (1996)
#2 Star Trek (2009)
#3 Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
#4 Star Trek Beyond (2016)
#5 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
#6 Star Trek Insurrection (1998)
#7 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
#8 Star Trek Nemesis (2002)
#9 Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
#10 Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
#11 Star Trek Generations (1994)
#12 Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)
#13 Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1980)

Live Long, and be Awesome!