I posted my Star Wars Movie Rankings this week, but this post is a little harder to get out. See, Star Trek has eleven movies to Star Wars’s six, and those eleven are not as clear-cut as Star Wars either.
So, I’m just going to go ahead and get started. I have seen all eleven, multiple times, and these rankings are due to charge quite often, especially as more movies are released.
11. V: The Final Frontier
Where else am I going to turn here? It was a mess (and the inspiration for the name I use for my little company … Deck 78), but it is still Trek. This will famously go down as “Shatner’s Trek”, but I don’t know if anyone could have saved this mess of a movie. Just bad.
10. I: The Motion Picture
This was the hardest movie for me to place, mainly because it has some really good scenes (the reveal of the Enterprise still gives me goosebumps). However, it has earned its name as “The Slow Motion Picture” with pacing that is lethargic at best and catatonic at worst. Would have made an excellent episode, but not a good store for a film.
9. X: Nemesis
A decent space battle, but overall a disappointment. The cast seemed to be phoning it in even more than Insurrection, but it did have a few redeeming qualities (like Troi and Riker finally getting married, Data, etc.), but the weakest antagonist since Sybok (hello Star Trek V) didn’t help things at all. A bad sendoff for the TNG crew.
8. VII: Generations
Think the death of Data was disappointing? The death of Kirk was criminal. Overall the movie wasn’t terrible, but the death of Kirk in such a … oh, I can’t even go there. It was bad. The guy deserved better!
7. IX: Insurrection
Riker’s moment finally comes and he doesn’t disappoint (wish we had more Riker in these movies). A decent look at how depraved a bureaucracy can be, it is the second-best TNG movie (which isn’t saying much so far). I like it quite a bit and a more renegade Picard is always fun to hang around with, but overall the storyline is just a little weak.
6. III: The Search for Spock
The end of the first Enterprise is sad. The middle film in what might be considered the only Star Trek Trilogy is a fun look at just the main characters and some extremely good lines from Scotty. Stealing the Enterprise is a great bit of music and mischief and Kirk is at his best when he is playing the pirate, or sorts. The Spock reincarnation is a little hokey, but I’m willing to let it slide. Also … Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon. Yessir.
5. IV: The Journey Home
The final movie of the Star Wars Trilogy is the lightest as well. It involves whales, it has quite a bit of comedy, and you get Kirk and Spock wandering around in 20th century San Francisco. Also, Scotty tries to use a Macintosh … which is good stuff. Still a good watch even today.
4. VI: The Undiscovered Country
Definitely a period movie, filmed as a commentary on the end of the Cold War, it is still great to watch as old enemies dine together and ultimately get together to try and forge ahead into the future as partners. They should have just left the TOS crew alone and had this be their final sendoff instead of making Generations. I’m still upset about it. Also, Sulu and Kirk both giving commands to fire on the Bird-of-Prey … priceless.
3. VIII: First Contact
The best TNG movie by far and a good movie in its own right. A massive space battle against the Borg and one of my favorite ships makes an appearance (hello there Defiant). A good look at the seduction of power, First Contact, and the hopelessness of the idea of defeat from the enemy you know too well. Just a great movie.
2. XI: Star Trek
I like it. I like it a lot. The Abrams Star Trek has finally given me hope that there is a future for Trek and that it is bright. It was great to see the crew get back together and have an entirely new playground to work in. The destruction of Vulcan is a huge gamble and we will have to see how it ultimately pans out.
1. II: The Wrath of Khan
How could it be any other. It’s Kirk vs Khan and … it is amazing. The pacing, the cinematography, the actors, the script, the music … everything is top-notch in this movie. So many little threads can be followed, so much good dialog, and the final battle just tops it all off. Couple that with the death of Spock (a scene that still makes me tear up) and you have the best Star Trek movie by a mile and it will take quite the effort by Abrams and company to top it. Live long, and prosper.
There you have it, my completely biased rankings that will ultimately change as time goes on.