Sunday, May 19, 2013

Sunday Best: Star Trek Movies

In recognition of this weekend's premiere of the latest Star Trek movie, this Sunday Best article is a ranking of that film and the the previous 11 from worst to best.

I've had to leave Star Trek Insurrection off of the list, because I have not yet seen it.

11.  Star Trek The Motion Picture

 From the director of The Sound of Music comes a science fiction movie that is so preposterously boring and pretentious that it could be the second cousin of 2001: A Space Oddessy.

10.  Star Trek Nemesis

 This movie feels like they dusted off an old Next Generation script and inflated it into a full length feature.  Plus there is such a horrible cheat at the end that it loses all of its emotional weight.

9.  Star Trek Generations

I wanted to like this movie so much.  And the parts with Kirk are awesome, but it always leaves me a little flat.

8.  Star Trek: First Contact

This was one of the most action-packed in the series.  It was taught and tense.  Probably the best of the Next Generation movies.

7.  Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

William Shatner's vanity project fails on nearly every level, except when he focuses his scenes on the complex friendship of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.  Moreso than any of the films, do you see the archetypal space that each character inhabits.

6.  Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

This used to be my favorite, but the time travel story now feels dated.  It's environmental message also feels a bit too preachy.  But once you get past that, it is one of the funniest and enjoyable of the Star Trek movies.

5.  Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

 This might be the darkest of all the Trek films.  It takes the characters to places that are not always comfortable.  Watching the Enterprise fall or seeing Kirk fall out of his captain's chair with grief always get me.  This one has actually gotten better with time.

4.  Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

 You would think that the last film with the entire original cast would be one of the worst.  Instead, it is one of the best.  It is a mystery.  It is a thriller.  It is epic space opera.  It hearkens back to the past movie and breaks new territory.  No Star Trek fan should miss this.

3.  Star Trek: Into Darkness - (full review to come)

2.  Star Trek (2009)

 I've probably watched this one more than any of the others.  JJ Abrams made a sleek, exciting, and epic film full of fun and adventure.

1.  Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

 I don't think I truly appreciated this film until years of watching.  It's story structure is perfect.  It's villain is one of the best I've seen onscreen.  It's themes are rich and multi-layered.  It reminds us that science fiction takes us to strange new worlds only to use them as a mirror to examine the unexplored depths of the human heart.  It has the most moving moment in the entire series that always stops me in my tracks.  It has the best performances of the entire cast.  People often mock Shatner's shouting of "Kahhhnnnn!" or Montalban's scenery chewing performance.  But that is only because in any other setting done by any other actors, it would not have worked.  But here it is pure movie magic.  

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