February 25, 2007

Best Star Trek movies (in order)

During my five-day (including the weekend) lay-up, I took the opportunity to rewatch "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country" and this afternoon "Star Trek: First Contact" was on the SciFi Channel. I thought I had previously posted about the Trek movies; I had, but it wasn't a "best of" where I put the flicks in order from best to worst. Nevertheless, I'm doing it now, with much of the movie synopses culled from that previous post.

#1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. The best Trek movie of all, it brings back the Ricardo Montalban character "Khan," a genetically enhanced superman that led the "Eugenics Wars" of the late 1990s. Originally seen in an episode of the original Trek series, Khan is discovered by, of all people, Chekov, on the planet on which he was marooned. (Trek factoid: Chekov wasn't yet even a character on "Trek" in the original Khan episode "Space Seed"! DOH!) From there on it's rip-roarin' Trek action. And who can forget Kirk's "KHAAAAAAANNNN!!!" That, or Khan's "He tasks me! He tasks me, and I shall have him!" I can't, but then I have no life!

#2. Star Trek: First Contact. Narrowly beats out "Trek VI" in my book. 'Ya gotta get Trek's coolest bad guys into a movie, eh? Enter: The Borg. The nasty cyborg collective attacks Earth, but unlike in the "Next Generation" series where the Federation had little defense against them, this time Starfleet pummels the Borg vessel mercilessly! But just before it's destroyed, the Borg ejects a "time sphere"! It's purpose: To go back in time and assimilate Earth some 300 years earlier! But Picard and the spankin' new Enterprise-E are in hot pursuit! Woo-hoo! Purists may not like how humanity's first warp flight was assisted by folks from the future, but it's done so well you really shouldn't care! One down side: Zephram Cochran as a rock 'n rollin' boozer. C'mahn.

#3. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. Excellent flick centering on the Federation's desire to make peace with the dastardly Klingons. Or is it the other way around? Christopher Plummer is clutch as the Klingon General Chang who quotes Shakespeare ... in English and Klingon! Good parallel to modern-day middle east (Israel and Palestinians) where peace seems so impossible, and extremely brave and noble people must make extraordinary efforts to secure that peace.

#4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Definitely a keeper as the Enterprise crew travels back in time to 1986 to nab a couple of humpback whales in order to ... yep -- save the friggin' Earth. Classic moments abound: Spock learning profanity (and nerve pinching a punk rocker on a bus); Scotty trying to talk to a Macintosh computer (while divulging the secret of transparent aluminum); and, Kirk trying to convince a female marine biologist that he's from the future. My personal fave is Chekov looking for where the "nuclear wessels" are: "Yes, Alameda, that's what I said!"

#5. Star Trek Generations. The first Trek film to incorporate the Next Generation cast, it also neatly weaves Capt. Kirk into the picture -- and provides a Trek historic moment: Kirk's death. Malcolm McDowell plays a scientist obsessed with finding the "Nexus," a time anomaly where normal time does not pass and where its occupants are granted anything they desire. Gee, y'think this "Nexus" will play a role in how Kirk and Picard meet one another? Worth a look if not just to see what the Enterprise-B looks like. Oh yeah, and the Enterprise-D gets obliterated. And how could I forget? Data gets emotions. Finally.

#6. Star Trek: Nemesis. Years ago, the Romulans planned an elaborate deception whereby a clone of Picard and copy of Data were to infiltrate the Enterprise and Starfleet. Those plans were eventually sidetracked, but the clone -- Shinzon -- grew up on the Romulan sister world Remus, and became a leader. Now, he and the Remans plan to not only take over Romulus, but the entire galaxy! MU-HAHHAHAHAHHAHA!!. Seriously. And he has the means to do it with the ultimate fighting ship ever witnessed in Trek history, armed with the deadliest weapon. Would have done better at the box office, but was released when Trek fever was at a very low ebb.

#7. Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Much anticipated and not as lame as you may remember. If you can make it past the interminable "ooh-ing" and "aah-ing" of re-encountering the starship Enterprise in spacedock (awaiting Kirk and co.'s arrival), the story is neatly done. The ending actually could make for a cool sequel. Also, much speculation has it that the planet V-Ger encountered was the Borg homeworld! Sure seems plausible given what we see in the film and the amount of time it would've taken V-Ger to scoot back home to Earth!

#8. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. Like the Motion Picture, not as lame as you may remember, particularly because "Reverend Jim" Christopher Lloyd plays the Klingon bad guy. And hey, 'ya can't kill off Spock! So, they bring him back. Noteworthy for the destruction of the original Enterprise. Oh, wait -- the series "Enterprise" changed all that. Never mind. Make that the second starship Enterprise.

#9. Star Trek: Insurrection. Just what it says: Picard leads an insurrection against anti-Starfleet orders. A Starfleet admiral and a race called the Son'a want what the Ba'ku planet has -- a special type of radiation that reverses the aging process. But since the radiation can't be "harvested," the Ba'ku will have to be forced off their own world! How un-Federation is that, yo?

#10. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. The worst Trek movie of all time, hands down and the only Trek film I cannot sit and watch all the way through ('cause I get bored silly). Not only does it stretch science, but its own science fiction (like, the Enterprise traveling to the center of the galaxy under regular warp drive? No wonder Gene Roddenberry wanted to consider "Trek V" as "apocryphal.") At any rate, Kirk and crew journey to meet "God." It ain't really him. Oops. In addition, we meet Spock's half-brother. Another item Roddenberry would have liked to forget.

Posted by Hube at February 25, 2007 07:52 PM | TrackBack

Comments  (We reserve the right to edit and/or delete any comments. If your comment is blocked or won't post, e-mail us and we'll post it for you.)

Undiscovered Country should be number 2 or number 1.

At the time it came out it was more a post cold-war epic. Russians - now in financial ruin after Soviet collapse - ready to make peace in order to continue to exist in some form.

Posted by: AnonymousOpinion at February 25, 2007 11:20 PM

Generally a good analysis. I'd switch #2 and #4 around and put Nemisis in the #9 slot. Nemisis was awful, IMHO but I won't go into why (though I will say - awfully generous of Starfleet to let Riker use the Enterprise as his personal transportation for the honeymoon).

Posted by: Ivan Wolfe at February 26, 2007 06:51 PM

Ivan: Even though I dug Trek IV, it had two WAY cheap plot devices -- esoteric alien who's mistakenly thought of as "bad" (though its intentions are actually noble), and then the cheap time-travel gimmick. Oh, and the obvious politicking ("Save the Whales!").

Posted by: Hube at February 26, 2007 07:34 PM

Did a post like this last year. Here was my ranking:

1. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
2. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
3. Star Trek: First Contact
4. Star Trek: The Movie
5. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
6. Star Trek: Generations
7. Star Trek: Nemesis
8: Star Trek: Insurrection
9. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
10. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Glad we agree about #10 but I was disappoinnted you didn't rank #4 higher. Very campy - even if the "Save the Whales" message was hit pretty hard.

Posted by: Rick Moran at March 1, 2007 09:34 AM

Wrath of Kahn gets my #1. To this day, I still cannot believe there aren't more that dispise the way in which Kirk died. I would have thought going out in a blaze of glory on the Enterprise against a fleet of Klingons or something. We killed him off in a fight falling off a bridge. All those years, all that stuff and he falls? The character deserved better.

Posted by: JDD at October 3, 2008 08:49 AM

What the heck:

Star Trek: The Movie
TNJ : All Good Things
DS9 : What You Leave Behind
DS9: Emissary
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Star Trek: Nemesis
Star Trek : 2009
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Star Trek: Generations
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Star Trek: Insurrection

Posted by: jo at May 10, 2009 10:23 AM