In my first post ever, I gave my opinion on my top 10 Star Trek movies. Now there are 11. So where does the new film go? As promised, the list is back and updated. Also, I've made a couple of changes, cause I have slightly new views on a couple of the films. In my opinion:
11 - The Final Frontier
Can't really say anymore than I did, it still sucks ass.
The Fairly Good
10 - Generations
This got worse for me. It has dropped from 8th to 10th because of how boring it really is. The opening overshadows the rest of the movie, and it is not accessible to non-trek fans. Epic Fail.
9 - Insurrection
Still 9th, but technically it has moved up one place. At least it has some accessibility. Maybe.
8- The Motion Picture
I still feel the same way about this film. The majority of people hate this film, and I can see why, but I find it to be a competent and cerebral film that makes you think. The overall plot is hardly action packed, in fact there are only three or four short scenes where shots are fired. It gives the impression without spelling it out for the audience that the Kirk and crew are getting older and wiser, a theme which features in the better films of the series. Kirk is suggested to be in a mid-life crisis, and he wants desperately to be back on the Enterprise. The plot is dull in places, and there is an element of the George Lucas "hey, look what we can do with all these special effects" about it.
The performances of the cast are fairly good, a definite improvement on the origional series, and therefore I give this film a 6/10.
7 - The Search For Spock
He couldn't stay dead could he. I like this film for the sense of cameraderie, of not giving up hope, and I like that Kirk is willing to give up everything, his rank, even the Enterprise to save Spock. The film is pretty solid in terms of structure and script, and the special effects aren't too shabby either. The real gem of this film though is Commander Kruge, played by Christopher Lloyd, he is an experienced captain who is maniacal and twisted, a far cry from other roles he has played. Where this film falls down is in it's swashbuckling nature, the last two films established that these characters were getting older and feeling it, and yet Kirk has a big ass fist fight with Kruge at the end of the film, akin to his fights in the Origional Series. It is also a little dull at times, the plot moves slowly and the sub plot of the Genesis Device's consequences gets tiresome.
Overall, a 6/10
6 - The Voyage Home
Star Trek does comedy in the fourth installment, and does a surprisingly good job of it too. The crew travel back to 1980s to rescue humpback whales, to return them to the future so they can communicate with a probe which is threatening Earth. I found this to be an intelligent comedy film and other than the odd timeline changing mistake by the Enterprise crew and the somewhat ridiculous premise, the film kept at a steady pace and the script delivered a decent number of humorous moments. We even get a bit of light satire from Chekov, as he asks a cop where he can find "nuclear wessels".
It all comes together and delivers very well. 7/10
5 - Nemesis
Don't judge Nemesis by it's box-office performance (or by the fact that the guys didn't like it- no offence meant) this is the only Next Generation film aside from First Contact that does not feel like an episode when you watch it. The Wrath of Khan is a clear influence on some scenes in the film and I feel that Shinzon is a fantastic villain, portrayed masterfully by Tom Hardy. Shinzon has led a coup on the Romulan Homeworld and wants to negotiate a peace treaty with the Federation, however things are not as they appear when the Enterprise arrives. Unlike every other main villain in the Next Generation film series, Shinzon is actually an interesting and machiavellian character, largely due to his origins in the film (which I won't spoil for you). Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart are on top form, Spiner in particular as we reach the climax of Data's storyline and the way his character develops over the course of the film works very well. The relationship between Picard and Shinzon is also a fine part. The only negatives are the wedding scene and some elements of the ending, as well as the unnecessary "violation" Troi sub-plot.
With a few re-writes this could have possibly been the best film of the franchise. It gets a very high 7/10 from me.
4 - First Contact
First Contact gives us another solid Borg story and delivers in terms of visual effects, score and general star quality. The reason people love this film is that it is such a cut above Generations. The new Enterprise is a CGI design marvel, and the opening battle against the Borg is visually outstanding. The Borg travel back in time to the first warp flight from Earth by Zephram Cohchrane and attempt to stop it. It is up to the Enterprise crew to help Cochrane keep the flight on schedule, and battle the Borg who have invaded the ship. The Borg are handled impressively in their film debut, they are given a new brand of menace in their scenes on the Enterprise. However, the main villain, the Borg Queen, doesn't do anything that important. Having thought about the concept of the character I don't hate her as much as I did. In terms of performance, Patrick Stewart is at his best. Picard takes on a new vengeful quality because of his previous assimilation which adds so much more depth to an already well crafted character. James Cromwell is similarly brilliant as Zephram Cochrane, daunted by his legendary status amongst the crew.
Only just misses out on being a classic. A very high 7/10
3 - Star Trek
Oh thank God. My emotion at the end of this film was a mixture of relief and giddy happiness, similar to how I felt after I saw Watchmen. This is just fantastic. I wish that the Star Wars prequels could have been as good as this. Don't get me wrong, the movie has it's flaws, but they actually seemed to be trying with this. I would have liked more of a lead up to the romance between two of the main characters as it seemed to just pop into existence, and more screen time for Pike and Nero and especially better character work for the latter.
However, I can't fault the acting in this film. Pine, Quinto and Urban are all bringing their A game to their performances, and a lot of the supporting characters are great. Visually this film is gorgeous too, the opening sequence was riveting from the off and the pacing was great. The plot was pretty good, I liked the development of Kirk and Spock's relationship and the tension. The humour didn't feel forced and the references to earlier series didn't spoil the pace or take me out of the movie.
I saw this today, I know I'm going to see it at least twice more. This gets a solid 8/10.
2 - The Wrath Of Khan
This film is fantastic. Ricardo Montalban gives a mercilessly clever and cruel performance as Khan, one of the origional series's best villains. The script gives him some fantastic lines, in fact gives everyone fantastic lines, and there is very little wrong with this movie. William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy give very strong performances and we get the sense for the first time that these characters are getting older. We get this explicitly from Kirk - Shatner makes his age a huge part of his character, which culminates brilliantly in a speech he gives to his ex-wife:
There's a man out there I haven't seen in 15 years who's trying to kill me. You show me a son that'd be happy to help. My son. My life that could have been... and wasn't. How do I feel? Old. Worn out.
There are many quotes I could give to demonstrate the power of the writing, but it is not the only good quality of the film. The action scenes between the Reliant and the Enterprise are sensational and visceral and the film does not skirt around the deaths of scores of cadets serving aboard the Enterprise. And to top it all off, we get the death of a major character, handled brilliantly by the director and star.
So near to the top, delivers in all areas. High 8/10
1 - The Undiscovered Country
This is the best Star Trek film by a nose, just pipping Wrath of Khan. The Klingons are on the verge of signing a peace treaty with the Federation when the Klingon Chancellor is assasinated. Kirk and McCoy are arrested and it is up to the Enterprise crew to prove their innocence and uncover the real conspiritors before they strike again. This film works brilliantly as both a sci-fi and a political thriller and the script is flawless, the acting sublime and there are significant plot twists to keep the pace high. I cannot single any one actor out: Christopher Plummer is wonderful as the Shakespeare quoting villain; Leonard Nimoy takes a brilliant turn as Spock relentlessly searches for clues; Shatner is embittered about forming an alliance with the people who murdered his son; David Warner is engaging as the doomed visionary Chancellor; and I could go on. There is suspense and a surprise around every corner, and the best things about the previous films all feature. The sense of cameraderie between the central characters is clear, and there is a return to the idea that the characters are getting old, and we finally see the end of the Enterprise A not through destruction but through de-commission. There is always a sense that this is a pivotal moment in history and a turning point for a new age.
No complaints, no severe negatives and a stellar cast. High 9/10