Star Trek TOS Movies #11 – Reggie’s Take Movie Franchise Countdown

Shatner, Nimoy, Kelly are just three names that helped take a cult classic science fiction television show to the outer reaches of the galaxy on the big screen. Falling just short of my Reggie’s Take Movie Franchise Top 10 is the crew that made such words as “trekkies” possible. Beaming in at number eleven, “Star Trek TOS Movies”.

Star Trek the television series ran on NBC from 1966 to 1969, just three seasons before being cancelled. When the show began running in syndication in the 1970’s Star Trek found a bigger audience than it did while airing on NBC, thus becoming a cult classic.

In 1975 Paramount began working on the idea of a Star Trek movie, but two years later Paramount decided to scrap the movie in favor of bringing Star Trek back to television entitled, “Star Trek: Phase II”. When movies like Star Wars and Close Encounters of the Third Kind became huge box office success Paramount halted it’s work a new television series and instead went back to the idea of a movie.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture was considered disappointing, but did well enough for the studio to move forward on a second film. Paramount wanted to make the second movie with a reduced budget compared to the first. Gene Roddenberry was moved to more of a ceremonial role for the sequel while Paramount brought in Harve Bennett to produce the movie under the studios guidelines.

Bennette after watching episodes of the original series decided “Khan” would be the perfect villain for the sequel. Nicholas Meyer wrote the screenplay in twelve days and was hired as the films director. The Wrath of Khan was well received and was considered the movie that saved the Star Trek franchise.

Star Trek III was given permission to take flight by Paramount the day after Wrath of Khan opened in theaters. Harve Bennett would write the script and directing duties were given to Mr. Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy after Nicholas Meyer declined to return.

Nimoy would also direct the fourth installment, Star Trek IV The Voyage Home. A film with no villain and involving time travel, something Star Trek does best was written by Nicholas Meyer and Harve Bennett. The Voyage Home was considered the most successful financially of the original six Trek movies.

William Shatner took a stab at the director’s chair for Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. After the success of The Voyage Home, The Final Frontier had high expectations for Paramount. Unfortunately for Shatner the movie was not well received and fell far short of the studios expectations. Star Trek V is considered by most critics to be maybe the worst of the original six films.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country was the last film with all of the original cast together on screen and it marked the return of Nicholas Meyer in the directors chair. Initially planned as a prequel to the original series with younger actors portraying the crew of the Enterprise, it was scrapped after negative reaction from fans and the cast themselves.

The story for “The Undiscovered Country” would come from an idea by Leonard Nimoy about what would happen if “the Wall came down in space”, using the events of the Cold War as the basis. Due to a small budget a lot of the sets from Star Trek: The Next Generation television series were altered and used.

Gene Roddenberry didn’t live long enough to see the movie make it to theaters, but was shown a screening of the film shortly before he died of heart failure.

The Undiscovered Country would go on to win a Saturn Award for best science fiction film, the only Star Trek film to win the award.

Reggie’s Take:
If there were a movie franchise that I would of liked to have fudged the numbers on and put in the top ten, this would be the franchise.

Does it rightfully deserve a top ten placement? Maybe it deserves it, but maybe not. The original six films of Star Trek with the original cast in my mind defied the odds by taking a television show that was cancelled after three seasons and were able to turn that into a successful movie franchise. That in it’s own right deserve the highest of praise.

Sure the first six films suffered from the so-called “curse”. The even number films doing well while the odd numbered films suffered in comparisons. Maybe that’s a good enough reason to say a number 11 ranking isn’t so bad. To use a baseball term they batted 500 and that’s not too shabby.

The original cast of Star Trek will forever have a place in movie history that I believe will stand for generations to come long after the last of the crew has left this Earth.

“Second star to the right and straight on till morning.” Captain James T. Kirk

 

Star Trek The Motion Picture

Star Trek The Motion Picture / 1979 / Paramount

Set in the twenty-third century, when a mysterious and immensely powerful alien cloud called V’Ger approaches Earth, destroying everything in its path. Admiral James T. Kirk assumes command of his previous starship—the recently refitted USS Enterprise—to lead it on a mission to save the planet and determine V ’​Ger ’​s origins.

 

Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan

Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan / 1982 / Paramount

When Khan escapes from a 15-year exile to exact revenge on Kirk, the crew of the Enterprise must stop him from acquiring the powerful device named Genesis.

 

Star Trek III The Search For Spock

Star Trek III The Search For Spock / 1984 / Paramount

After the death of Spock the crew of the USS Enterprise returns to Earth. When James T. Kirk learns that Spock’s spirit, or katra, is held in the mind of Dr. McCoy, Kirk and company steal the Enterprise to return Spock’s body to Vulcan.

 

Star Trek IV The Voyage Home

Star Trek IV The Voyage Home / 1986 / Paramount

Intent on returning home to Earth to face trial for their perceived crimes, the former crew of the USS Enterprise finds the planet in grave danger from an alien probe attempting to contact now-extinct humpback whales. The crew travel to Earth’s past to find whales who can answer the probe’s call.

 

Star Trek V The Final Frontier

Star Trek V The Final Frontier / 1989 / Paramount

Kirk, McCoy and Spock are enjoying shore leave when duty calls. A renegade Vulcan named Sybok has taken three consuls hostage on Nimbus III, the Planet of Galactic Peace. Ordered to quell the crisis, the Enterprise crew discovers that it’s a ruse perpetrated by Sybok, who takes over the Enterprise, taking it toward the “Great Barrier,” an energy field at the center of the galaxy. Sybok, who’s Spock’s half-brother, possesses the ability to help people face their “inner pain.” and believes that God lies beyond the Great Barrier. Once arriving there, however, Sybok and the Enterprise crew discover only an imprisoned alien entity.

 

Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country

Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country / 1991 / Paramount

After an explosion on the Klingon moon Praxis the Klingons are forced to seek peace with the Federation. When the Klingon ship being escorted by the Enterprise to a peace summit is attacked the Chancellor is murdered by two Starfleet crewmen. Kirk and McCoy are taken prisoner and stand trial in a Klingon court for the Chancellor’s assassination.

Kirk and McCoy are sentenced to life on Rura Penthe – a deep-frozen asteroid. Meanwhile, Spock has discovered that a Klingon Bird of Prey – one that can fire when cloaked is the ship responsible for firing on the Chancellor. A rescue of Kirk and McCoy is successful, after which they discover a conspiracy among Starfleet, Klingon and Romulan officials.

The Enterprise and the Excelsior – under the command of Hikaru Sulu – head for a deadly rendezvous with General Chang at the peace summit to prevent war from breaking out.



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