Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Star Trek Movie Rankings and Other Thoughts

Since I am way too busy this weekend to actually see the Star Trek movie reboot, I decided I’d still do up an article summarizing some of my thoughts on the Star Trek movie franchise as a bonus Trek Tuesday post. I also thought it would be a good time to re-rank the movies and compare my ranking now to my pre-Countdown ranking. I had completely forgotten about the movie ranking that I put together way back when the Countdown to Trek was just beginning. It wasn’t until I was recently sorting out the mess on my desk that I came across the envelope and remembered making the list and sealing it all up.


So, here is how they all stack up . . .

#10 – Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Pre-Countdown rank: 8th fell 2 spots

I ended up liking this movie more than I thought I would, but I also ended up liking a couple of other movies more than I thought I would, and this one, just doesn’t fit with the excitement of the other Star Trek movies. I almost think that the plot is such that it could be any Sci-Fi movie, instead of feeling like a Star Trek movie.

#9 – Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

Pre-Countdown rank: 9th no change

This movie was pretty much how I remembered it. It felt like an extended epilogue for Star Trek II and is one of the movies that I don’t feel like I’d ever watch all on its own.

#8 – Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Pre-Countdown rank: 10th rose 2 spots

This was definitely one of the big surprise moves amongst my ranks. I think my pre-countdown ranking was based more on the opinions of others than on the movie itself. I thought the movie got back to Star Trek’s exploration roots and also had some interesting choices with the direction. Then there was just the right amount of cheesiness that reminded me of some of the original series episodes.

#7 – Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

Pre-Countdown rank: 7th no change

I think everyone should watch this movie at least a few times during their lives just to appreciate Kirk’s classic “KHAAAAAAAN!!!” moment, not to mention to appreciate the wonderful acting of Ricardo Montalban.

#6 – Star Trek IX: Insurrection

Pre-Countdown rank: 3rd fell 3 spots

Another rather surprising outcome. I think it’s probably I enjoyed so many of the movies that came before this one, and watching them in order was reminded of that. It felt a lot like a Star Trek episode, except I felt that they moved away from the grand feel of the Star Trek universe a bit too much for me.

#5 – Star Trek VII: Generations

Pre-Countdown rank: 5th no change

I think the movie was pretty good but could have been more about The Next Generation crew instead of the Original Series crew. A few cringe moments as they enjoyed the freedoms of a movie vs.. a tv episode, but they were stretching their wings a bit with this one.

#4 – Star Trek X: Nemesis

Pre-Countdown rank: 2nd fell 2 spots

Don’t get me wrong, I still like this movie. I was just reminded of how much more I like some of the other movies. This movie was darker too. While I do like it when they give the Star Trek universe depth, I think Shannon was ultimately right when she said that this one didn’t have the same hopeful Star Trek feel.

#3 – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Pre-Countdown rank: 4th rose 1 spot

Part of the ranking for this one is pure nostalgia. Watched it a lot when I was younger. There are so many moments that still make me laugh, it gets a lot of points for re-watchability. Plus, I also find it a ‘feel good’ kind of movie.

#2 – Star Trek XIII: First Contact

Pre-Countdown rank: 1st fell 1 spot

This is my favourite movie with The Next Generation crew. It does so many things right and I felt like all the plot lines really meshed together well. It has enough plot material from the series that the hard core Star Trek fan can really appreciate the issues that they deal with, but is also its own complete story so that a newcomer could also jump in without feeling as though they are missing out.

#1 – Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Pre-Countdown rank: 6th rose 5 spots

Biggest mover on the list was this one. I think it has the best supporting cast of all the films and definitely has a grand feel to it. Despite the relative smoothness of their heads, the Klingons are given a great deal of the depth in how they are portrayed in this movie.

Other Thoughts

One of the things that I kept noticing as I watched the movies was how they were continually changing to reflect the movie era that they were being filmed in. The movie franchise starts out at a time when Sci Fi movies were much more philosophical than action packed which sharply contrasts with the way the more recent Star Trek movies have to pack in the explosions and fight scenes in order to keep up with their competition.

In terms of the crew, their is a huge difference between The Original Series and The Next Generation. In movies that feature The Original Series, the crew really doesn’t show much progress in terms of their skills and development. We see that they are getting promoted and are definitely wiser in comparison to the tv show, but they all fall back to the same traditional roles that they had in the tv show*1. In the movies that feature The Next Generation crew, by the end of their run of movies, I felt as though most of crew members were ready to move on to roles that were more challenging. They were really ready to all be more independent from one another. The movies even catered to that since the course of action in The Next Generation movies often required the crew members to be demonstrating their skills instead of being interdependent on one another. The only crew member who really gets that kind of attention in the first six movies is Kirk, but that’s the way it’s always traditionally been.

If there were one thing I would change about the movies . . . without a doubt . . . I would stop the Enterprise from getting beat up all the time! I know it was kind of necessary for the plots, and I know they needed new ship designs (and I wouldn’t want them to take those parts out), but I felt almost as though they were beating up one of the crew members every time the ship got beat up.

*1 The only exception to that might be Sulu’s character, who seems to be comfortable stepping up and being a fellow Captain to Kirk in Star Trek VI.

WordPress Tags: Trek, Movie, Countdown

1 comment:

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

Awesome post! I loved your comparative lists (I did the same thing - it will be up tomorrow) and we had a lot of similar faves. It is so true that the films really reflect 'their time' - I never noticed that before except for IV where it is so directly shown.

I totally agree about the Enterprise, shouldn't she make it from one film to the next in the later ones, I mean she really is a good ship!

Thanks so much for playing along Jenn!