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Ranking the Star Trek Films 
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Post Ranking the Star Trek Films
I have now seen them all, and I can safely say this is not the worst series I've ever prioritized (Friday the 13th was a particularly rough year) nor the best (Red Riding was amazing.) But I like ranking things like my wife likes string cheese, so let's go.

1. The Wrath of Khan

Though I debated putting this #2, its superior storytelling can't be denied. Thrown in an excellent Ricardo Montalban, some great interaction between Kirk/Spock/McCoy and an emotional ending, and it's the high point of the series.

2. The Undiscovered Country

Love the Cold War connection, love Christopher Plummer as the villain, love the exciting plot and Shakespeare connections, and love the emotional sendoff to the original cast. Strongly considered placing this one as number one.

3. The Voyage Home

No gunfire, Spock communicating with whales (and, hell, a whole plot about saving the whales) and yet the damn thing works completely. A very fun film and one of the series highlights.

4. Star Trek

The reboot isn't perfect, but it does introduce a likable cast whose future adventures I'm looking forward to seeing. It's also the last film on this list that I can give a reasonably positive recommendation for.

5. The Search for Spock

Christopher Lloyd makes a decent villain, but this film just doesn't have enough reason to exist. Its entire purpose is its last 10 minutes, and a lot of the rest seems like padding. Some decent moments throughout, but nothing special.

6. First Contact

I didn't like this one as much as everyone else seems to, but it's still the best of the TNG cast movies (none of which got so much as *** from me) by a fairly significant margin.

7. Insurrection

The biggest charge that can be leveled against this film (other than the fact that it largely sidesteps the moral quandary at its core) is that it just feels like a double-length episode of a TV show. It's not terrible, it's just mediocre

8. The Motion Picture

And now we enter the bad. Incredibly turgid, with very little excitement and some endless special effects sequences that don't hold up at all, the first film has very little to recommend it.

9. The Final Frontier

Row, row, row your boat...William Shatner's turn at directing a film in the series is really quite terrible. I'm not sure rock monsters would have made this one better, but they could hardly have made it worse.

10. Nemesis

Just watched it, and found very little to like. I guess, objectively it might be better than The Final Frontier, but I like the original cast much more than the TNG cast that it falls just behind.

11. Generations

The opening scene with Kirk's "death" is terrific. The rest of the film is really, really bad. It introduces the TNG cast with no thought towards people who don't watch the show, it's incredibly poorly-paced, features lots of scenes of Picard and Malcolm McDowell standing around yelling at each other across a forcefield...ugh I'm getting bored just describing it.

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Wed May 15, 2013 10:03 pm
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
Nemesis is actually one of my favorites, where the Motion Picture is my least favorite, that one was just a total bore from beginning to end. I think Wrath Of Khan is a tiny bit overrated.


Wed May 15, 2013 10:13 pm
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
Interesting that you cite the special effects as one of the failures of TMP. I thought that was one element of the film that was unquestionably rock solid. Perhaps the most impressive effects of any Star Trek movie.

Your movies in the top three are same as mine, save that I'd transpose the second and third. The common denominator here is Nicolas Meyer, perhaps not an A-list filmmaker or even an A-list Star Trek fan, but a great storyteller who gets right to the heart of what makes a good Star Trek movie. I recently watched his first feature, Time After Time, which showed his inexperience and its low budget pretty prominently, but also showed a lot of heart and a taste for grand ideas that would fully flower once he got his hands dirty with Star Trek.

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Wed May 15, 2013 11:02 pm
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
1. Wrath of Khan - a near masterpiece. Loved everything about it.

2. First Contact - the borg are such an awesome villain. And the borg queen rocks too. Terrific action, an amazing performance from Patrick Stewart and an incredibly lovely ending to top it all off.

3. Insurrection - Yep, you read that right. I loved everything about the movie. Beautiful visuals. Great story. Very funny and playful but still dramatically compelling. One of the more underrated Trek movies.

4. Nemesis - Another underrated gem. Shinzon is a great bad guy. It's a really great story with themes of identity and how the events in our lives shape who we are today. And then there is the incredibly sad ending and yet the very last scene put a smile on my face.

5. The Undiscovered Country - A great final chapter for the original crew. Exciting and touching as well.

6. Star Trek (2009) An inventive and clever rebooting of the franchise. By having the timeline changed, JJ Abrams has done something very clever. He's lay the path for him to do whatever he wants without damaging the past of Trek. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto are solid, but it's Karl Urban who steals the show, doing a dead on impersonation of DeForrest Kelly. Leonard Nemoy and Bruce Greenwood are also excellent too. And I really liked Chris Hemsworth in his bit part playing Kirk's father in the beginning of the movie.

7. The Final Frontier - I never got that hate for this movie. The story is riveting. Spock's half brother, Sybock, stealing the Enterprise to take it to the center of the universe to see God. And what they find is something they were not expecting. Sybock is an interesting, well written character and the actor who plays him is very good in the part. There are some great Kirk/Spock/McCoy moments, especially early on. Love when they are camping and sing Row Row Row Your Boat. And Kirk climbing the mountain at the beginning. Or the "stand back" Morse Code moment where Scotty rescues the three from being in the brig. A very nice movie that isn't deserving of the ire it got.

8. The Search for Spock - A solid Trek movie. An interesting story involving what Spock did to McCoy before he sacrificed himself at the end of the previous movie, the scene where Kirk and co. risk their career and lives and steal the Enterprise to go back to Spock's body, being hunted by the Kling-ons which leads to one of the most saddest and tragic moments in Trek history. And Kirk sacrificing the Enterprise and blowing her up as well. All leading to a well deserved, crowd pleasing and immensely satisfying conclusion. Only some iffy acting moments and some cheesy moments mire the film.

9. The Voyage Home - One of least favorite movies. It's enjoyable and entertaining but also lightweight and inconsequential. I know it's probably one of the more popular Trek movies, but I always felt it was just a little too silly at times. I still enjoyed it though.

10. Generations - I enjoyed the action, the humor, the scenes between Kirk and Picard, some wonderful small moments and it's themes about time. But this is weakest of the Trek movies. Weak villain, weak ending. But worst of all, you have this is really interesting idea, this whole idea of the nexus, but the movie never does anything with it. It's little more than a plot device to get Kirk and Picard to team up together. This could have been one of the best Trek movies. This could have been something special. But instead it wastes it's potential and just hurries the plot along too fast. A letdown. Albeit, it's still an enjoyable letdown.

11. Into Darkness - Easily my least favorite of the franchise. I've already gone over what I didn't like about the movie. You can see in other threads if you wish to know why this is my least favorite Trek movie.


Haven't listed The Motion Picture because it's been so long since I've seen it, I need to give a re-watch first.


Last edited by ilovemovies on Sun May 19, 2013 11:52 am, edited 1 time in total.



Thu May 16, 2013 4:05 am
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
1. ST6: The Undiscovered Country
2. ST2: The Wrath of Khan
3. ST4: The Voyage Home
4. ST11: Star Trek
5. ST1: The Motion Picture
6. ST3: The Search for Spock
7. ST8: First Contact
8. ST10: Nemesis
9. ST7: Generations
10. ST9: Insurrection
11. ST5: The Final Frontier

As you can see, I much prefer the movies starring the original crew, with the exception of The Final Frontier, which is plain bad on every level and incompetently made. Sorry, ilovemovies, there may be one or two good ideas buried under a heap of dung, but I'm not going to dig around in it to find them.

I personally think that the movies starring the Next Generation crew don't do them justice. Particularly from First Contact on, Cpt. Picard is turned into an action movie hero, when one of his character defining traits in the TV series is that he is more of a diplomat and a true, what's the word, executive, i.e. he is delegating jobs to his specialised staff rather than doing them himself. The android Data receives an "emotion chip" in one of the movies and acts all sorts of crazy when his non-human qualities as an artificial intelligence were what made him interesting. All other crew members are basically extras and don't get their moments to shine (which stands in stark contrast to movies such as The Undiscovered Contry, which allowed characters such as Chekov and Uhura small scenes, in which they could contribute to the success of the mission).


Thu May 16, 2013 5:27 am
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
Unke wrote:
there may be one or two good ideas buried under a heap of dung, but I'm not going to dig around in it to find them.

Hot damn. Somebody call Bartlett's.

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Thu May 16, 2013 5:50 am
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
Tiers Approach:

The Best
The Wrath Of Khan
First Contact
The Undiscovered Country
The Voyage Home

The Pretty Good
Star Trek
The Search For Spock

The Merely Okay
Insurrection

The Bad
Generations
The Motion Picture
Nemesis
The Final Frontier

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Thu May 16, 2013 10:49 am
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
I've only seen the first four and the reboot. I thought all were good. "The Wrath of Khan" is one of my favorite movies of all and I guess I like "The Search for Spock" much better than most.

The Wrath of Khan
The Search for Spock
Star Trek (reboot)
The Motion Picture
The Voyage Home

I used to love Star Trek, but along the way I grew tired of it and stopped watching. Same with Bond films.


Thu May 16, 2013 11:55 am
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
Unke wrote:


I personally think that the movies starring the Next Generation crew don't do them justice. Particularly from First Contact on, Cpt. Picard is turned into an action movie hero, when one of his character defining traits in the TV series is that he is more of a diplomat and a true, what's the word, executive, i.e. he is delegating jobs to his specialised staff rather than doing them himself. The android Data receives an "emotion chip" in one of the movies and acts all sorts of crazy when his non-human qualities as an artificial intelligence were what made him interesting. All other crew members are basically extras and don't get their moments to shine (which stands in stark contrast to movies such as The Undiscovered Contry, which allowed characters such as Chekov and Uhura small scenes, in which they could contribute to the success of the mission).


Agree completely. I never got at all what Troi does on the ship other than have boobs. Hell even Worf, who I gather is supposed to be pretty important, never seemed really necessary on the bridge.

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Thu May 16, 2013 4:04 pm
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
Jeff Wilder wrote:
Tiers Approach:

You've done well... my young apprentice.

JamesKunz wrote:
I never got at all what Troi does on the ship other than have boobs. Hell even Worf, who I gather is supposed to be pretty important, never seemed really necessary on the bridge.

Worf's purpose is to get his ass kicked within the first five seconds of the confrontation, thus conclusively demonstrating that the villain of the week is a total badass and not at all that Worf's Klingon warrior skills aren't all they're cracked up to be.

Troi's purpose is to have boobs. And occasionally spell out the subtext for the kids in the cheap seats.

And have awesome '80s power hair.

I think Marina Sirtis herself pointed out that Troi's intelligence covaries with how high her neckline is.

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Thu May 16, 2013 4:54 pm
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
Ken wrote:


Jeff Wilder wrote:
Tiers Approach:



You've done well... my young apprentice.


Sorry dude, tiers became mainstream after my James Bond thread. You may have been Nikolai Tesla, but I'm Thomas Edison.

Ken wrote:
Worf's purpose is to get his ass kicked within the first five seconds of the confrontation, thus conclusively demonstrating that the villain of the week is a total badass and not at all that Worf's Klingon warrior skills aren't all they're cracked up to be.

Troi's purpose is to have boobs. And occasionally spell out the subtext for the kids in the cheap seats.

And have awesome '80s power hair.

I think Marina Sirtis herself pointed out that Troi's intelligence covaries with how high her neckline is.


You make me laugh. In a good way

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Thu May 16, 2013 4:59 pm
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
1. The Wrath of Khan - 8/10
2. First Contact - 8/10
3. The Voyage Home - 7/10
4. The Motion Picture (Director's Edition) - 7/10
5. The Search For Spock - 7/10
6. Trek 09 - 7/10
7. The Undiscovered Country - 7/10
8. Insurrection - 7/10
9. Generations - 6/10
10. Nemesis - 6/10
11. The Final Frontier - 5/10


Thu May 16, 2013 10:58 pm
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
Just got back from watching Into Darkness and where does it fall in my ranking? Not sure just yet. Have to think about it. But I'm pretty sure it's my least favorite of all 12 movies.


Fri May 17, 2013 2:02 am
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
ilovemovies wrote:
Just got back from watching Into Darkness and where does it fall in my ranking? Not sure just yet. Have to think about it. But I'm pretty sure it's my least favorite of all 12 movies.

Ouch. That bad?

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Fri May 17, 2013 6:24 am
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
Ken wrote:
ilovemovies wrote:
Just got back from watching Into Darkness and where does it fall in my ranking? Not sure just yet. Have to think about it. But I'm pretty sure it's my least favorite of all 12 movies.

Ouch. That bad?


Disagree completely. I can see people finding this to be a bit worse than it could have been, but bottom of the 12? That's astonishing. For me, it ranks #4.

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Sat May 18, 2013 8:17 pm
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
JamesKunz wrote:
Ken wrote:
ilovemovies wrote:
Just got back from watching Into Darkness and where does it fall in my ranking? Not sure just yet. Have to think about it. But I'm pretty sure it's my least favorite of all 12 movies.

Ouch. That bad?


Disagree completely. I can see people finding this to be a bit worse than it could have been, but bottom of the 12? That's astonishing. For me, it ranks #4.

Yeah, no way in hell it's at the bottom, if you re-watched The Motion Picture, i'm pretty sure you'd put that one at the very bottom.


Sat May 18, 2013 9:03 pm
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
1. First Contact
2. The Wrath of Khan
3. The Undiscovered Country

Easily the top tier. I think FC is front-to-back great, WOK is great but some bad acting pushes it down a bit (the underground sequence has nearly put me to sleep in the past because Dr. Marcus and David are played by poor actors, and the infamous "KHAAAAAAAAAAAAAN!" takes me out of the moment every time). Similarly the prison sequence and all of the silliness surrounding the Enterprise's rescue of Kirk and McCoy hurts TUC, which otherwise I love.

4. Generations

While I get the criticisms of this film that have been voiced already, I still think it's immensely entertaining. Stewart nails the grieving scene, the Enterprise crash is spectacular, the supernovas are cool, but the scene in stellar cartography is astonishingly great.

5. Star Trek

Some silly plot devices and moments, but well done overall. I enjoyed the new cast and loved that they decided just to go hog wild in changing the universe rather than merely recasting the parts and doing a prequel, which is what I thought we'd be getting when it was greenlit.

6. Insurrection

I enjoyed this movie, though some of the pastoral, romantic stuff is silly. I also didn't like that Data was basically written as if the last two movies didn't happen.

7. The Voyage Home

There's little wrong here, but there's also little of consequence. It's entertaining, but silly.

8. The Search for Spock

I think I'd like this one more if Saavik hadn't been recast. As such, we spend a good portion of the movie with two bad actors and a mute Spock. Ugh. Kelley's performance is a highlight though, and the theft sequence was very well done.

9. Nemesis

Cut out B4 and this would have been much better. We're now getting into the not good movies.

10. The Motion Picture

One of the worst things about this one is that they act like it hasn't been 16 years since the TV series ended, something that was immediately rectified in Khan. It's also terminally boring.

11. The Final Frontier

Ludicrous. That's the best adjective for this pile of garbage.


Tue May 21, 2013 3:39 pm
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
GREAT

1. Wrath of Khan - Best possible Star Trek movie. A nearly perfect adventure movie. Also gets in some really good thematic stuff: the aging, the sacrifice, the facing the death, etc. J. J. Abrams can crank Star Trek up to 11 all he wants, but he's never going to touch "I don't like to lose [CHOMP] [MUSIC SWELL]" for sheer badassery.

(1a. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World)

2. The Voyage Home - When I haven't seen it for a while, it tends to drop a little in my estimation. Then I watch it again--and it just really really works. Also, yes, still the funniest Trek.

(2a. Galaxy Quest - OK, no, this is the funniest Trek. And also works really well when it does the straight-forward-Trek stuff.)

VERY GOOD.

3. Star Trek (2009) - A pretty great adventure movie. Kirk eating the apple during the Kobayashi Maru is pretty much the greatest thing ever--at least until Nimoy's entrance. And "a trick I learned from an old friend [MUSIC SWELL]" is a solid 9.0 on the Scale of Awesome Star Trek Moments. Still irks me that Kirk became the Captain so quickly. Especially when I re-watch the series and hear references to his years as a Lieutenant. Here's rooting for a subplot in Star Trek 3 where some 20-year lieutenant quietly stews between shifts and plots the baby-captain's demise.

4. First Contact - Hasn't aged all that well, but still a good Trek adventure, and the Ahab stuff mostly works. Still, you really need to know these characters well beforehand if you're going to understand everything.

GOOD.

6. The Undiscovered Country - A little heavy-handed with the Shakespeare stuff (Chang basically has no original dialog), but as Manchurian Candidate In Space, it mostly works.

7. Into Darkness - I'll definitely need to see it again, but while the action stuff was all pretty good, some of the shoe-horned WOK references didn't quite gel for me. The villain felt like a lost opportunity, as well.

FINE, I SUPPOSE.

8. Insurrection - I've only seen it once, and can't remember much, but I remember it being a pleasant enough two-parter.

UGH.

9. Generations

10. Nemesis

11. Whatever The Subtitle of V Is - When I first saw it as a kid, I really liked the Row Your Boat scene. Kids are stupid.


Tue May 21, 2013 7:48 pm
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
Why did Master and Commander make it in?

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Tue May 21, 2013 8:07 pm
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Post Re: Ranking the Star Trek Films
JamesKunz wrote:
Why did Master and Commander make it in?


I guess it's not so much that Master and Commander is a Star Trek movie as it is that Master and Commander and Star Trek are all Lord Cochrane movies. They play with similar themes and archetypes. As far as hitting all the main Star Trek benchmarks, Master and Commander does a better job than any actual Trek movie (other than Khan). J. J. Abrams said in doing Star Trek 2009 that he used Star Wars as a sort of model or guide. Whoever takes over for III should strongly consider using Master and Commander as a model. So I tend to mentally slot it in whenever ranking Star Trek movies.


Tue May 21, 2013 8:18 pm
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