I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Friday, May 2, 2014

Star Trek - The First Six Films

Posted by Charlene // Tags: ,
I usually comment on each season of Star Trek by ranking my favorite episodes, but for these films I will comment on and rank each of these TOS crew films starting with my least favorite or basically the worst of the films.  It was so interesting to see how they transitioned the series to the big screen - there were some uneven plots and some really weird plot developments but when they got it right, it was an awesome thing!  So starting with last place -

6.  Star Trek: The Motion Picture (the first Star Trek film)

Literally, my first thoughts while watching this was WTF??  The uniforms are horribly bland and boring, I was amazed at how much time they took showing the new Enterprise (I get it, they have the Enterprise back) and also the lighting was really dark sometimes (or just me and my tablet?  Or maybe I'm just so used to the brightness of the TV show).  I don't know, everything was so lackluster about this film, and it should have been awesome since it's the first time we get to see the crew after 10 years!  And Spock reuniting with the crew again was so anticlimactic!  I get that he doesn't like to show emotion, but it seemed like he had a problem with them that I thought would be explained later in the film but there was never any reason for his almost hostile attitude to being back on board the Enterprise.  It was an iffy story as well, with some very excruciatingly slow pacing in some parts.  After watching this, I was just like "No."

5. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (the fifth Star Trek film)

While I really enjoyed this film, and it had some great moments (like the camping trip with my favorite boys - Kirk, Spock, and McCoy) I put this at #5 because the plot was very mediocre and I think Kirk gets to show off a bit too much in this - someone should have reigned that in a bit.  (BTW I wonder why they didn't show his regrets?  That would have been some good character development.)  The sense of family that I got between the Star Trek crew was so nice to see though, as was seeing Kirk, Spock, and McCoy banding together against the influence of Spock's brother.  Who was also an interesting character in his own right.  I would have liked to know more about their relationship though.

4. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (the second Star Trek film)

I feel like I have to defend placing this iconic film in the #4 spot, but it is getting very difficult for me to rank this now, so I can only say I enjoyed the later films a tiny bit more than this one.  I did not know that the recent Star Trek: Into Darkness film drew so heavily from this one though, so seeing all the similarities was really surprising.  And also having seen it, I definitely think this film is superior to Into Darkness despite the Benedict Cumberbatch.  If only because the friendship of Kirk and Spock is much more powerful having seen them go through so much in 3 seasons and 1 horrible movie.  It also helps that this film is 5000x better than the first film btw.  And somehow I think it was more emotionally powerful to have Spock make the sacrifice than for Kirk as he does in Into Darkness.  Anyways, the other best part of this film was seeing Kirk get the better of Khan, who is a fantastic villain.  Although I am surprised that he is so full of revenge when really Kirk had no choice in what he did in the TV show, and it was pretty fair to Khan to give him a chance to make something of a barren planet.  Also I was not expecting that ending with Spock - I really thought he would be revived somehow by the end.  I can't imagine how it must have felt for people watching the film when it first came out to wonder if Spock was really dead!

3. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (the fourth Star Trek film)

OMG.  What was this awesomeness?  This movie was pure fluff, and I enjoyed every moment of it.  From whales on the Enterprise, to the crew adjusting to 1980's San Francisco, this was just pure enjoyment although I never really took it very seriously.  But that doesn't matter because they made such a perfectly fun time travel film here!  And really plumbed the potential of Kirk and Spock as a comedy duo!  Every crew had a great "moment" as well in this film and this was a very well-rounded story.  The romance with Kirk was a little unnecessary, but it was sweet so I really had no complaints there.  This was just a fun movie.

2. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (the third Star Trek film)

This film reminded me of a recurring theme to Snow White and Charming's love story in Once Upon A Time - "I will always find you."  The BFF feels in this are off the charts and it made me giddy with happiness.  I also loved how the crew goes rogue and they each have their own moment to show they are a force to be reckoned with.  Especially Sulu and Uhura!  I was very surprised to see Christopher Lloyd in this, though I could have done with less Klingon make-up...  Kirk's bad-assery was another reason I really enjoyed this one!  I was only a little put off by how Spock was revived - he died, and then he was re-formed?  WEIRD.  I mean it seems unlikely that he is exactly the same person, it's a little disturbing.  It's just... weird!

1. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (the last Star Trek film)

What a gorgeous film!  It's a wonderful homage to the legacy of the crew, to the message of the franchise to embrace peace and tolerance and it ties up the TOS crew's stories while also feeling like it passes on the torch to the next series.  The plot is fantastic too - there's mystery, betrayal, and an urgency in the end that only the TOS crew can save the day.  It also gets really dark when Kirk and McCoy are taken prisoner and put on trial, but luckily McCoy brings a wonderful comedic touch with his unexpected one-liners.  The writing is just brilliant as well (and I am a bit biased because there are so many literary references here.)  Bonus too that Christopher Plummer is one of the villains (although I again could have done without the Klingon make-up marring his beautiful face :D)  This was the best film for me, because I was so caught up in the story and all of the crew played an important part.   I wanted to hug this film when I finished it.  Also cry because it's the last one with my crew.  *sob*

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  1. I have to admit I expected your ranking to, in some way, fit the pattern. The most generic review of the OTS movies is that the odd ones are bad (1,3,5) and the even ones are good (2,4,6).

    I have to admit I love 4 also. It is so much fun! And I was a kid when I saw it so all the whales and the humor worked so well for me.

    6 is also awesome.

    Yeah - when I saw into Into Darkness I was one of those people that was disappointed on how much it drew from Khan. I really like the new universe and the new actors and so I wanted more for them. To have their own story and their own adventures. Why create such wonderful possibilities in having a parallel universe if you're just going to rehash the old stories? Stories that had more depth and context for having the foundation of the tv show to build on. I wanted so badly to like it more than I did.

  2. Ha ha ... I agree that the first movie is so hard to watch. I think I had to try several times to watch that movie because I kept falling asleep. I think Wrath of Khan is my fave and then Search for Spock.

  3. I didn't know the good and the bad broken down by numbers like that! That is very handy!

    I saw the recent Star Trek films before I got into the franchise so I found them very enjoyable, but I look forward to revisiting them again after I go through all the series and watching them with a different perspective! I just hope that the next Star Trek film will have a unique story - you are right, there's no reason not to do a new wonderful adventure!

  4. Yeah, I think I found myself doing other things while the first movie was going on - I wanted to get through it fast to watch Khan! :) Oh yay, I'm glad you like Search for Spock too! It's a really fun story!

  5. I've only seen the first three so far. The first one, I really liked the idea behind it, but they basically took an episode and then doubled the time with a lot of filler. Like they hadn't figured out how to write a full-length movie yet.
    II and III were both pretty good. I liked II better just because it felt like a more complete story. There were parts of III that I liked a lot, but it was weird to me that they basically spent the whole movie undoing the previous movie. (SPOILERS - Spock's death being the big one, but also the Genesis planet itself and David... "Kirk has a long lost son! Okay, we're done with that...") But I LOVED the last five or so minutes.
    Also, seeing Wrath of Khan AFTER having seen Into Darkness, and having heard the complaints about it... I was surprised by how different the two movies were. Using Khan and Carol Marcus, and obviously the big scene at the end (and I do feel like they did a good job setting up the role reversal), but those are really the only similarities. Either way, I'm excited to see where they go with the next film. (And to watch IV, V, and VI of the old ones!)

  6. You are completely right about the first movie - it felt very like an elongated episode! I thought it had some similarity with that episode The Changeling - when the probe thinks Kirk created it.

    And now that I've read your comment maybe it's also because III undoes so many things in II that I don't appreciate Wrath of Khan as much. (Just the opposite of you!) It's the same for Into Darkness because I knew Kirk wouldn't be dead, and he soon wasn't, and in Wrath I was also expecting that, but it didn't happen, so Wrath was a bigger impact... until I read the title of the third film, haha.

    I kinda wish I had seen Wrath before Into Darkness though - it would have been interesting to make the comparisons the right way round - with the original in my head first. I am really excited for the next film too - it will be fun to go see it in theaters as a fan! (and yay, I hope you'll let me know what you think of the last of the TOS films!)

  7. Yes, very similar to The Changeling. I'd say story/concept-wise I do prefer the movie... if only it had been done WELL!
    Maybe I like it so much, despite the fact that the movie itself is terrible, because Voyager actually left the solar system not long ago... kind of makes it a cool tie to real life, instead of just some vague made-up future event.

  8. I was surprised to see Wrath of Khan at 4, but only because EVERYONE is like "OMG Wrath of Khan is the best Star Trek movie EVER, but I don't agree with those people. I do think it's good though. As far as it versus Into Darkness, it's tricky... I find Into Darkness a lot more watchable and enjoy it more, but Wrath of Khan is probably a better film with all the dynamics of it and everything. Plus, it's the original, not the rip-off.

    I'd probably rank these 6 movies (from most favorite to least favorite): 6, 4, 2, 3... and then 1 and 5 would probably tie for last. So basically along with the pattern Annie mentioned of liking the even ones more than the odd ones. It's also been a while since I've seen most of these movies, so it is hard to say for sure.

  9. You are going to look at the 2009 movie VERY differently after you watch the whole run of the series. You'll still enjoy it, but you might be a little more upset about a couple of things. I had only seen TOS before watching the 2009 movie, but after I watched all the series and movies and watched it again, it definitely felt different.

  10. Oh ok, it will be interesting to get such a different perspective! And I am looking forward to recognizing the little nods to the old series in the films! I barely remember there was a tribble in the Into Darkness film - I'm sure there were more things!

  11. The Voyager tie-in was really cool - it's interesting to imagine that really happening many years in the future! Although of course I hope it doesn't! :D

  12. Into Darkness is a much nicer looking film, with the technology and the better filmmaking techniques but I agree with you that the dynamics and that it is the original make it more appealing to me. I'm glad our rankings are pretty close! Do you have a favorite of all the Star Trek films?

  13. Yes, my favorite is one of the TNG films, First Contact.

  14. Honestly - I seriously tried watching these last summer the show ...and didn't make. So then I thought ok maybe they are to 'dated' for me so I skipped to Next Generation...I couldn't even do that either (and I'd loved that in highschool or was that elementary) anyways so now I better try the movies. I like all the more current spin offs though.

  15. Oh ok, I'll get to that one soon-ish! Just four more seasons of TNG to go! :)

  16. Oh I understand not getting into the Original series - it is pretty dated, and I do happen to like old TV shows, so that helped me. And I learned that the Next Generation doesn't really pick up until the 3rd season so maybe that is why you couldn't get into TNG? Maybe you saw the later episodes when you were younger! But the current films are really good as well, so nothing wrong with just watching those! :)

  17. This makes me want to rewatch all the films! I need to get the blueray set!

  18. I should re-watch these on the big screen- it will bring a new level of appreciation after mostly watching these on my iPad! :)