Star Trek : films

The series so far:

  1. The Motion Picture
  2. The Wrath of Khan
  3. The Search for Spock
  4. The Voyage Home
  5. The Final Frontier
  6. The Undiscovered Country
  7. Generations
  8. First Contact
  9. Insurrection
  10. Nemesis
  11. Star Trek

1979 / cinema

Star Trek: The Motion Picture
[Spock and Scotty]

Nicknamed The Motionless Picture , for good reason.

Also called "Where Nomad Had Gone Before", because of the striking plot similarities with "The Changeling" episode.

Rating: 5.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

1982 / cinema

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

[Khan] One of very few 'sequels' to be better than the original film (not that that would be difficult...)

[Saavik] Ricardo Montalban reprises his role as Khan from the episode Space Seed ; he's out to avenge himself on Kirk for the death of his wife, and doesn't care who else gets hurt in the process. All Kirk has to stop him is an Enterprise full of trainees, his old bridge crew, an old flame, and his son(!).

Kirstie Alley is a great as the half-Vulcan, half-Romulan Saavik -- a pity she didn't play the role in later films.

Rating: 2

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

1984 / cinema

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

You didn't really believe Spock would stay dead, did you?

The crew rush off to the new planet, where Spock's busily growing a new body, in order to download his mind from McCoy's head.

Rating: 3.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

1986 / cinema

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
[Spock in disguise]

The funny one, where the crew, with a barely recovered Spock, go back in time to 1987, and save the whales.

"Don't tell me. You're from outer space."
"No, I'm from Iowa. I only work in outer space."

Rating: 3

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

1989 / cinema

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

The old crew go to the centre of the galaxy to find God

Gharlane responds to comments about whether ST:V is canon, and how bad it is, and that it's all Shatner's fault...

You neglect the fact that the movie which was shot was NOT the movie that Shatner set out to do; his script was Massively Messed With by at least four other people before it was shot, and when Shatner bucked a little bit, Paramount chopped a good many millions out of his production budget, IN FLIGHT, just to show him who was boss. (This is NOT something you do with a movie in production; it makes it too danged hard to finish!) Then, after the movie was done and turned in, they took it away from him and re-edited the whole thing, messing it up even worse.

Please note this; I am not a Shatner worshipper. I do not think he is a great actor, a great director, or much of a writer. But I do try to bear in mind that when he graduated from McGill in the early fifties, he had several plays he'd written, in production, and his acting, on stage and TV, won him a number of very prestigious awards in the fifties. While he may not be the world's greatest actor, producer, director, writer, etc, he is competent to do all these things, and is one heck of a show-runner; he's quite good at getting something together and produced, and doesn't mind giving the star shots to someone else as long as he gets to have a good time. ( I'm thinking of a "KUNG FU" episode he directed; he has to have been the one responsible for the "Trek" references about the nutcase bad guy... "I should have known he'd be a Trekkie...." ) I've been told, by a relatively reliable source, that the original version of the script was a slam-bang satire, with Kirk using his chutzpah and egomania to face down the One True God, a swaggering martinet triumphant, etc. ..And the script version I got to read was FUNNY as heck, and would have been a heck of a good story as well as a hilarious pan of "Trek" itself. IF they'd just let him shoot what he'd written.

Shatner's been doing this sort of thing for literally half a century, now, and he understands how to tell a story on stage or on film. (Think of his "TEKWAR" franchise; he found a ghost for the novels, found production funding, knocked out four TV movies, of which three were watchable, and then managed a series which wasn't entirely bad; in point of fact, it was vastly superior to much of the Paramount Product, although I admit that's not necessarily saying much.)

Also note that Shatner was just as steamed off over Paramount's decision to track over Nichelle Nichols' singing with some Japanese chickadee, as he was over the demolition of his script. Nichols has a fine set of pipes and knows how to use them, just as Shatner, for all his faults, was capable of delivering a vastly better movie than Paramount would accept from him!

-- Gharlane of Eddore,, 15 January 1998

Rating: 4.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

1991 / cinema

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

[smell the hostility!] The Battle for Peace has Begun.

We learn how the Klingons become the good guys in time for ST:NG , even though Kirk can never trust them (because they killed his son). Christopher Plummer is gorgeously over the top as a bald Klingon crying havoc, and letting slip the dogs of war.

Rating: 3.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

1994 / cinema

Star Trek VII: Generations

[The New and the Old] Two Captains. One Destiny.

The crossover episode, transferring command from The Original Series crew to The Next Generation one, gives a chance to compare and contrast the acting skills of William Shatner and Patrick Stewart

During the casting sessions for Worf, Dorn made a point to sit apart from the other actors, and to be as aloof as possible, and basically give the impression that this whole casting business was totally beneath a member of a warrior race such as him.

-- Phil Fraering, rasfw, Jan 2002

Rating: 4.5

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

1996 / cinema

Star Trek VIII: First Contact
[Borg Queen and Picard] [Picard captured] The first of the Star Trek films to have no Original Series crew, First Contact follows the "even numbers are [mostly] better than odd numbers" pattern.

The action rips along throughout. In just the first few minutes of the film, the Enterprise crew help destroy a Borg cube [rather too easily], and follow a Borg pod back in time to save Earth from assimilation. There they have to persuade a dissolute Zephram Cochrane to make the first warp flight, to allow some passing Vulcans to make First Contact, whilst simultaneously stopping the Borg assimilating the Enterprise and calling in more of their kind.

[Data] But we've seen it all before. The Borg are either impossible, or trivial, to kill, depending on the requirements of the plot. History seems remarkably resilient to some massive changes in the time-line, yet fragile to some others, depending on the requirements of the plot. And various characters behave sensibly or foolishly, depending on the requirements of the plot.

Rating: 4

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 31 December 1996

1998 / cinema



Star Trek IX: Insurrection

One of the "Coming Soon"s shown before Antz was for Insurrection , which made me think: oh good, a Star Trek film with a plot, maybe. I was a bit cautious; after all, the Superman III preview had a plot much better than, and different from, the movie. [getting a face-lift] But yes -- for the first time since The Wrath of Khan , we do have a decent plot that doesn't improbably involve the fate of the entire Earth, Federation, Galaxy, or Universe; it's like a rather good double episode.

Data has run amok amongst a Federation survey team watching an idyllic pastoral village [what is it with writers who equate 'pastoral' with 'idyllic'?], and is holding them hostage. Picard and crew come along to find out why, and discover things aren't as simple as they seem.

At last, no unbeatable super-aliens who get beaten by the end of the film: just some gross face-lifting ones, a treacherous Starfleet Admiral (for a change...), the usual technobabble, and some stunning scenery (if rather a cross between The Inn of the Sixth Happiness and The Sound of Music in places). [Picard and Anij] There are some really great one-liners, there's the Troi shaving Riker scene, there's Picard falling in love. One great scene has Picard simultaneously looking embarrassed and dignified as he meets some alien ambassadors -- a difficult emotion to put across (try it!), and brilliantly acted by Stewart. Worf, Geordi, and especially Beverley are mainly along for the ride -- as SFX 48 says of Crusher's role: " the script could've only given you fewer lines lines if you'd been Marcel Marceau ". Data gets most of the best bits, and fortunately he's left his emotion chip behind.

This episode definitely beats the 'odd number' curse. But maybe the crew is beginning to look a little in need of rejuvenation, and maybe there won't be quite so many close close-ups in Star Trek X .

Rating: 3

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 9 January 1999

2002 / TV

Star Trek X: Nemesis

It's a long time since I've been in this universe: 8 years since watching the previous film, yet it all comes flooding back so easily.

This is the one where Picard meets his younger, evil self. Shinzon, an abandoned Romulan plot to clone Picard returns with a vengeance, takes over the Romulan Empire, then threatens to destroy the Earth. Picard and the crew must stop him, with lots of big guns and bigger special effects.

Despite all the frenetic action, it's a bit slow in places, and occasionally feels like a slightly padded episode. Also, some scenes feel like farewell ensembles: let's have the whole crew, because it's the last chance we'll get (and even so, Dr Crusher is again a cipher, although Data gets to play two parts, and to sing!). But on the whole, it's a great way to bow out. I didn't go to see it in the cinema because I had got a bit fed up with the films: maybe I gave up too soon.

Rating: 3

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 28 May 2007

2009 / DVD


Star Trek: XI

[Chekov, Kirk, Scotty, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura] The latest Star Trek film is the earliest continuity-wise, set in Starfleet Academy when Kirk was a cadet. But it's not as simple as that. This is a different timeline, where a future tragedy incites a Romulan to come back and kill Kirk's father, and torment Spock. Kirk has grown up a fatherless juvenile delinquent, only joining Starfleet when dared to do so by Captain Pike, and is about to be thrown out for his cheating on the Kobayashi Maru test, when the Romulan strikes again. In the ensuing drama, he proves himself to be the brilliant hotheaded Starship Captain we grew up knowing.

The alternate history plotline is clever, since it allows the writers to write what they want without violating canon. [Spock] So this is a rip-roaring tale, with all the well-known characters in rather less-well-known roles (Cadet Kirk and Captain Spock having a fistfight?), lots of in-jokes and references for the fans, without detracting from the plot. It starts with a bang, and never lets up pace. [Kirk and Bones on the bridge] The technobabble is at a minimum (the infamous "red matter" is never really explained at all, which is just as well!), the action at full throttle, and everyone acts just enough within character to be believable. The strangest aspect is Zachary Quinto as Spock -- he looks , and acts, amazingly like him (ie, like the young Leonard Nimoy: I never once thought "Sylar" while watching), but doesn't sound like him at all, which is disconcerting.

I'm pleasantly surprised. This has a proper film plot (it's not a padded episode), is true enough to the original to be real Star Trek , but is fresh and different enough to be worth watching.

Rating: 3

[ unmissable | great stuff | worth watching | mind candy | waste of time | unfinishable ]

reviewed 30 December 2009