In honor of Star Trek's Golden Anniversary this year, which featured a new Star Trek movie, a rousing weekend marathon of The Original Series on BBC America and not nearly enough marketing to promote the greatness of this occasion, I have gone through and listed al 13 Star Trek movies in order from worst to best, in my humble opinion. I have seen all of these movies multiple times and more than half of them (the last 7) in the theater. I've seen a lot of people talk about what their favorite one is or which one is the absolute best, but I haven't seen too many people take the time to rank them all in order, so without further ado here is my ranking on all 13 Star Trek movies in order:
13 - STAR TREK V: THE FINAL FRONTIER
This is the only Star Trek movie that I actually consider to be bad, and wow is it BAD. Earlier this year William Shatner, who co-wrote the story and directed the movie, actually apologized for it, I hear. It took him long enough, but I accept the apology. The plot of the movie is as follows: Spock's half-brother Sybok takes control of the Enterprise and its crew with his power of "brainwashing through hugs", to take the starship to the center of the galaxy to find God. I'm not kidding, that's exactly what the plot is and it's only a fraction of the bad with this movie. In many ways, I would rather watch "Spock's Brain" twice. Seriously. If you're a Trekkie, you know the craziness of what I just suggested. Definitely the bottom of the list.
12 - STAR TREK NEMESIS
A lot of people look at this one as a bad movie as well, but Tom Hardy as Shinzon saves it for me. This one doesn't have a great plot either as it involves The Remans, the lesser known race of the Romulan Empire, taking control of the senate and building a massive ship to destroy Earth and The Federation in a very convoluted revenge plot that personally involves Captain Picard. There are slow moments, silly moments and moments that just don't make any sense, but Hardy is REALLY, REALLY good as the villain. Seriously, this was long before he got big and became Bane in the The Dark Knight Trilogy and I could tell then that he was going to be a fantastic actor and he damn well is today. If not for him, this movie creeps closer to Star Trek V territory for me, but that plus some spectacular visual effects sequences make it a decent movie at best.
11 - STAR TREK INSURRECTION
This one feels like a two-hour long episode of Star Trek the Next Generation, which isn't the worst thing in the world. The plot is a solid morality tale about the forced relocation of a slightly Amish race of people from a paradise planet just to satisfy an agreement with another alien race that not only wants the planet for themselves, but also wants to wipe the other race out. It's one that fans of TNG can appreciate for what it does and how the crew works together, but not a great standalone for the general audience. Still solid and hardly the worst of the Trek movies.
10 - STAR TREK GENERATIONS
I still feel like this one is guilty of flagrant false advertising because......SPOILER ALERT......Captain Kirk and Picard don't join forces until the last half hour of the movie and the posters and marketing led you to believe otherwise. Not that their team-up wasn't awesome, but it was still a letdown all things considered. In any case, this is still a very solid movie and was a solid first cinematic effort from the TNG cast. They found a great villainous actor in Malcolm McDowell, gave him a great motivation, involved the Duras sisters from the TV show and filmed one of the greatest model VFX sequences in movie history when the Enterprise-D saucer crashed on Veridian III. Definitely a good enough movie to make the Top 10 on this list.
9 - STAR TREK THE MOTION PICTURE
Ok, I know this movie has been criticized for being slow, boring and way too cerebral, but I have to vehemently disagree with Sheldon from The Big Bang Theory and agree completely with Raj that Star Trek V is worse than this one. For one thing, Jerry Goldsmith's score is fantastic for this whole movie and it gave us the theme for TNG later on. Second, it's visually STUNNING for 1979. The V'Ger fly through sequences alone are incredible work, despite the fact that barely anything happens for about an hour of the movie. It's visually epic in so many ways and is just light on the action. Really, REALLY light on the action. Very solid story that quiet as its kept had ramifications on the Star Trek universe for generations to come, but just takes forever to get all the way through it and doesn't give you the greatest payoff at the end either. Still a solid movie, though.
8 - STAR TREK III: THE SEARCH FOR SPOCK
I feel like this one gets overlooked a lot because it's kind of just there and people don't really remember it. It's the middle film of The Genesis Trilogy that started with Wrath of Khan and ended with The Voyage Home, and both of those movies get talked about much more than this one, even though it's a pretty critical movie. After Spock made the ultimate sacrifice at the end of Star Trek II and gave his life to save the ship and crew, The Search for Spock is all about how the senior staff, Kirk and company, are willing to do the reverse and toss away their careers in Starfleet just to bring him back to life. I mean seriously, how many crimes do they commit just to steal the Enterprise to go get Spock's body? It's the ultimate friendship movie and events within it have ramifications on the rest of the series, especially Star Trek VI. It deserves more credit than it gets, in my opinion.
7 - STAR TREK IV: THE VOYAGE HOME
This is the funny one. The Star Trek comedy, if you will. The plot is classic Trek in which a probe of unknown origin arrives at Earth and fires destructive transmissions at the planet, destroying its atmosphere and jeopardizing billions of lives, only to be discovered by the crew of the Enterprise that what its really doing is trying to talk to Humpback whales that have been extinct since the 21st century. On their way home to face judgment for all the crimes they committed in Star Trek III, the crew takes a detour to 1986 San Francisco via time warp to find Humpback whales and bring them to the future to stop the probe, which creates the great "fish out of water" scenario for the crew as they are genuinely unprepared for 20th century Earth's society. Hilarious observations of just how "primitive" we are that range from our use of money to the Cold War itself are all over the place and it's probably the best movie Leonard Nimoy ever directed. Some Trekkies consider it their favorite and it was mine when I was younger. For now, it's in the Top 10 toward the middle because what's ahead of it is just really, really good.
6 - STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS
I'm a die hard Trekkie that loves the new movies, so I have them all rated pretty high starting with this one. Into Darkness is a fantastic tribute to Wrath of Khan and The Original Series episode "Space Seed" that introduced Khan Noonien Singh to the Star Trek universe. It's easy to look at it as a ripoff of those things and a completely unoriginal script, especially when lines and scenes are literally recreated from Wrath of Khan for this movie, but it's an alternate reality, one in which the crew came together nine years earlier than they should have and to me, this movie is a reminder that certain events or people are still destined to cross the Enterprise's path no matter how much the timeline has changed. I loved the way they flipped Kirk and Spock's perspectives throughout the movie, showing great growth between those two characters and with all due respect to Ricardo Montalban, Benedict Cumberbatch is a FANTASTIC Khan. He is the perfect blend of cunning, savage intelligence and brute physical strength and intimidation. This movie shouldn't have worked as well as it did, but it's the highest grossing Star Trek movie to date for good reason.
5 - STAR TREK (2009)
I saw this movie four times in a row in its opening weekend and twice in IMAX. I couldn't believe that it was THAT good as far as rebooting the whole franchise for a new generation. To be able to find that balance between respecting the original characters and performances while still updating everything and making it a modern movie for today's audience was just a phenomenally well executed task by everyone involved. A lot of credit for that goes to composer Michael Giacchino, who managed to make a completely new Star Trek theme and score that still made the movie feel like Star Trek and established a great new feel for an old and revered franchise. The cast from top to bottom played all of their roles well with great respect for their original actors while still bringing new twists to the table. It's one of the best reboot movies ever made, in my opinion.
4 - STAR TREK FIRST CONTACT
Not only is this the best Star Trek movie featuring the TNG cast, it's one of the best Star Trek movies ever made period. The Borg was one of the show's strongest if not the strongest villain and to bring them into the movies was a stroke of genius. First Contact is action packed from start to finish while still telling a very emotional story about Picard and his obsession with The Borg since they assimilated him at the end of the third season of TNG, something that he has never ever fully recovered from and we see it in full swing in this movie. It's well written, well acted by the TNG cast and supporting roles from James Cromwell, Alfre Woodard and Alice Krige as The Borg Queen, and is an example of Star Trek at its finest.
3 - STAR TREK BEYOND
Yes, the new one is this high on the list and completely deserves it. When Simon Pegg told us to ignore the first teaser trailer and promised us that the movie was going to be good we should have listened to him. It felt just like an episode of The Original Series, which was a great thing and paid incredible tribute to that show in so many ways, even surpassing the respect for the show that the other two new movies have done. Giacchino did his best Alexander Courage homage with his score for the film and just helped it evoke all of the feelings and emotions that you would get watching an episode of the old show. A great adventure with a compelling villain by Idris Elba and a classic Trek twist that spins the morality tale web so well in the end. There's a moment in the movie towards the end that got me choked up a bit and was just an awesome shoutout to the original actors that brought the crew of the Enterprise to life from 1966 to 1991 and for being the movie that commemorated the 50th anniversary of the show, it was pretty close to perfect.
2 - STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN
Many, many Trekkies consider this their number one Star Trek movie and with good reason. It's the complete antithesis of The Motion Picture for one thing, full of action and suspense right from the beginning, but still tells a great story about age, duty, loyalty and vengeance that is just incredible to watch. Ricardo Montalban reprises his role from Space Seed as Khan Noonien Singh and is out for revenge on Kirk and crew 15 years after he and his own crew were left on planet Ceti Alpha V after a failed attempt then to take over the Enterprise. The dialogue from Montalban and Shatner in this movie is worth the price of admission itself, but it's also another VFX classic from 1982 that looks pretty good and James Horner's unique score gives it a vibrant, fast paced feel that is relentless at times and full of tension at other times. It is a fan favorite by so much of the fanbase and rightfully so, but only comes in second on my list because of my own personal feelings on what makes the best Star Trek movie.
1 - STAR TREK VI: THE UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY
The final journey of the original crew of the Enterprise is my number one Star Trek film. There is so much to love about this movie, but I'll start with it being the ultimate allegory for real life. Star Trek VI mirrors the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Cold War so well with its story about the end of 70 years of hostility between Starfleet Command and The Klingon Empire that its almost eerie. They found the perfect Klingon villain as well with Christopher Plummer, who has just too much fun as General Chang, a great dramatic foil causing major trouble for the Enterprise crew. In addition to that, the subplot with Kirk's angst against the Klingons, the racial undertones, the Shakespeare stuff, and the political intrigue all over just make this movie absolutely incredible and a fitting tribute for what was the 25th anniversary of the franchise at the time. It was a near perfect sendoff for the original crew and just a very well put together movie all around and I consider it the highest mark for Star Trek cinema that there is. I know I'm likely in the minority on this one, but that's how I feel about it.
So there's my Star Trek movies in order list. What do you think? Sound off in the comment section below or let me know on Twitter @TheFliteCast or on the Facebook page!