Star Trek Films Ranked Worst to First
2016 is the 50th Anniversary of the classic science fiction franchise and with the 13th movie ready to hit theaters we here at Reggie’s Take thought this was an excellent time to rank the first twelve as we see them.
If you look at most or actually any of the movie/entertainment websites that are out there and there’s plenty to go around it seems that everyone has an opinion on what’s the worst Star Trek movie, but most seem to agree on the best one.
We here at Reggie’s Take are no different and with some help from our friends over at the True Believers and of Reggie’s Take as a whole we came up with our rankings of the first twelve Star Trek movies that have come so far.
My friends over at the True Believers recently recorded a new podcast with us here at Reggie’s Take as we look back in our own unique way over the past fifty years of the different television series and the films of Star Trek. Coming soon!
#12 Star Trek V The Final Frontier (1989)
After Nimoy having steered the franchises previous two films, William Shatner decided he wanted his chance at the helm and though he got he shot he would of been better off to keep the Enterprise parked at a starbase.
The Final Frontier suffered from a weak villain in Spock’s have brother Sybok who really wasn’t a bad guy, but more of a someone who’s in desperate need of a lift in order to find his inner peace and not knowing how to ask for a ride.
Star Trek V might of made for an interesting episode for television at best, but is extremely weak and try’s way to hard on the humor.
#11 Star Trek The Motion Picture (1979)
The Motion Picture as a whole may have captured what Gene Roddenberry always saw the franchise to be, but when the movie it self moves slower then a snail on ice, it’s hard to find excitement in the movie.
The docking sequence in the beginning of the movie was meant to cause excitement in seeing the newly redesigned Enterprise for the first time on the big screen, but instead puts you to sleep, as does much of the rest of the movie.
The Motion Picture in my mind had the opportunity to utilize the Klingons in a race to discover exactly what “V-ger” was, but instead it took them out in the very first scene of the film. What could have been a race to see who gets there first turned into everything being drug out painfully longer the needed.
#10 Star Trek Nemesis (2002)
Nemesis is the one TNG movie I really would of liked to rank higher then number ten, but can’t. Nemesis in my mind tried to hard in trying to turn Shinzon into the 24th century version of Khan and falling short by not following through.
As interesting of a story line Nemesis tried to give us it never truly gave you an emotional impact needed by the end of movie to leave you stunned and crying. I could be wrong and many of you may disagree, but having Picard make the sacrifice play by sending Data back to the Enterprise and Picard himself firing the phaser to destroy Shinzon ship would of left many stunned and shocked.
Instead it was Data that saved Picard and sacrificed himself in order to save the Enterprise and as good and possibly shocking as that was it did not leave the audience with the needed emotion of a Spock dying simply because you still had B-4 as an out to bring Data back in there had been a fifth TNG film.
I’m also a believer that Nemesis suffered in its timing when it was released to theaters as just five days later, The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers came out and took some of the potential audience away, but even that doesn’t fix some of the issues with a story that could of been an amazing movie.
#9 Star Trek Generations (1994)
The Star Trek movie that was to be the passing of the torch from the original crew to the TNG crew when it came to the movies. Was it necessary to have Picard meet Kirk and then talk Kirk into helping save the day as it were, no, but as a fan was fun to watch.
The two problems with Generations is that it gives the impression that you kill the most famous if not most beloved character in the franchise twice when in reality he only really died once and a bad guy who really doesn’t get killed even though they show that he does.
With Kirk, Generations lets you think Kirk dies while helping the Enterprise B escape an energy ribbon when in reality he wasn’t killed just pulled into the Nexus.
Then when it comes to movies villain, Soran played by Malcolm McDowell, destroys whats left of the Enterprise D and all the planets in the Veridian system, taking Picard with him into the Nexus.
You may or may not have thought about this before, but when Kirk and Picard leave the Nexus and return to Veridian III to stop Soran from destroying the star the real Soran that went into the Nexus with Picard never came out with them and there for really survived.
As much as Generations tried to be a fan pleasing and iconic moment in Star Trek history suffers from what I see as obvious errors in continuity.
#8 Star Trek Insurrection (1998)
Insurrection is the poster child as to what an excellent two-part episode of Star Trek TNG would be if given the budget for a full-length feature film.
After having huge success with First Contact, Paramount went for something that wasn’t all action and asked a unique question of what if Star Fleet was in the wrong? Some don’t give Insurrection its due and maybe in some ways there right. You go to the theater to see a story that is grand and exciting, something you wouldn’t see on the television, but that’s what you got.
Insurrection showed what made the TNG so good and so loved on television; the problem is you had to go to the theater to watch it. In all honesty “Insurrection” might have made a great fist film for the theaters rather then “Generations”, just to get there feet wet.
#7 Star Trek III The Search For Spock (1984)
If there was ever a movie that you could argue should be at least top five, the Search for Spock would be that movie.
Star Trek III widely considered the middle part of Trek’s so called trilogy between Wrath of Khan and the Voyage Home in its own way bucks the trend of the odd numbered movies sucking the big one.
Picking up where Wrath of Khan left off it deals mostly with bringing Spock back to life, which died at the end of the previous movie. Unlike Shatner with Star Trek V, Leonard Nimoy’s first time directing a Star Trek film was a much better effort.
The biggest draw back with this movie in the franchise is that it had to follow the Wrath of Khan. It may not be an action packed movie, but does show you what true friends really are, especially when it comes to one of there own.
#6 Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
This is the part of my rankings where some may have very strong disagreements with me.
In some rankings on other sites Into Darkness has been ranked as low as #12 and as high as #4 that I’ve seen and I’ve ranked it at #6. A lot of the hard core trekkies trash Into Darkness as a rip off of Wrath of Khan and that is there right to have that opinion. We here at Reggie’s Take have a bit of a different take on this movie.
First we admit there are some things from the “Wrath of Khan” they could of easily avoided or stayed away from like the whole yelling of “Khhaaannn” they had Spock do when Chris Pine’s, Captain Kirk was the one to die saving the ship and crew.
I’ve always looked at “Into Darkness” as more of the episode “Space Seed” turned on its ear then a rip off of “Wrath of Khan”. This version of Khan is more upset with Starfleet as a whole and with Admiral Marcus more then he’s upset with getting revenge on Captain Kirk.
I always thought using “Khan” for the villain in the second movie of the rebooted cast was a safe choice, but it wasn’t necessarily the right choice. With knowing how Chris Pines, Kirk became Captain, “Into Darkness” was in some ways a good movie for this new Kirk to see how much he still needed to learn to be Captain and that every decision does have consequences.
“Into Darkness” may not be a movie that the old school Trek fan wants to see, but it is the 21st century and the movie audience is not the same nor would everyone be willing to sit through an older style Trek movie like “The Voyage Home”. “Into Darkness” has its flaws, but by no means is this the worst Star Trek film ever made.
#5 Star Trek (2009)
I have JJ Abrams first effort at rebooting or re-launching the franchise in a bold new direction at the #5 spot. Some fans may not agree with this either, much like my #6 choice. Abrams and Paramount in rebooting the franchise decided to set this new version of the original crew in an alternate time line.
I actually liked that decision as it gave the franchise a way of wiping the slate clean of what had been done before and still keep everything in tact in the original time line.
This movie is not with out its flaws as well. At the beginning of the movie Nero ship goes back in time by using a black hole, but at the end it’s destroyed by another black hole. There are several other inconsistencies that if you look real hard at or give to much thought on you will notice, but in the end this version of Star Trek was what the franchise needed to regain some popularity and bring in new fans to the franchise.
Much like “Into Darkness” the 2009 Star Trek film is not the worst movie of the franchise, but what it does do is it brings you a since of fun and action that you didn’t always see in previous Trek movies. This new movie franchise at some point needs to make sure it doesn’t forget where and what Star Trek is all about and I believe it can do it as it moves forward.
#4 Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country (1991)
The swan song for the original cast and the last movie Gene Roddenberry would see before his passing. Nicholas Meyer also would return to the director’s chair for the second time.
Star Trek VI is the one movie that reflects what’s going on in the real world by drawing parallels to the end of the Cold War with peace looking to become a reality between the Federation and the Klingons.
We got the first ever bald Klingon and the main villain in the movie, General Chang played by the great Christopher Plummer. Star Trek VI gave you everything you wanted with a Star Trek movie; Kirk hating Klingons and the Klingons trying to take Kirk out and in the end both sides learned a little something about each other.
The Undiscovered Country probably has the best ending to a Trek movie there could ever be with the Enterprise A riding off into the sunset as it were and all the actors that we had become accustom to seeing in there iconic roles autographing the big screen, signing off. It was the right way for the original cast to close out there run in the theaters.
#3 Star Trek First Contact (1996)
First Contact saw the TNG crew take on one the best villains that were created for the Star Trek universe, the Borg. Using what happened with the Best of Both Worlds as a way of jumping into the film, First Contact is by far and way the best film with the TNG cast.
First Contact does what Star Trek does best and that is to use time travel to keep the Borg from stopping the first flight of Zefram Cochrane’s first warp ship. What essentially is an action-horror film set in the Star Trek universe showed what made the TNG crew so well liked in there own right.
The one big problem through out all four movies with the TNG cast was the fact that all four story lines all seem to center around Picard and Data and never really utilized the rest of the cast like they could have. With interesting and fun characters like Worf and Riker that had plenty of potential for a huge presence on the big screen, but were never taken advantage of in my mind.
#2 Star Trek IV The Voyage Home (1986)
The only Star Trek movie with out a true villain that made a statement on mankinds treatment of the Earth and the creatures it in habits.
Considered the third movie in Star Trek’s so called trilogy The Voyage Home had the best blend of science fiction and comedy done in the franchise and never done well since.
What “The Voyage Home” did right was take crew of the Enterprise and put them in a familiar place, Earth, but at the same time put them in circumstances that were very uncomfortable and unfamiliar to them all and in doing so we got the humor for the movie with out trying to force it.
If it weren’t for our number one movie, The Voyage Home would easily be the best in the franchise.
#1 Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan (1982)
The Wrath of Khan was the movie that made it possible for there to be a Star Trek movie franchise and with out it may never of happened.
Khan who originally appeared in the episode entitled “Space Seed” was brought back for the second movie. Ricardo Montalbán who played Khan in the TOS episode reprises his role for the movie. What “Wrath of Khan” did right was it set the benchmark on what Star Trek should be and every movie made since has been measured up to, fairly or unfairly.
Wrath of Khan digs into Kirk’s past in two ways. First is with Khan returning to take his revenge out on Kirk for never keeping his promise of checking on Khan and his crew after leaving them stranded on Ceti Alpha V and the second is Carol Marcus the woman who Kirk had a child with also comes back into his life due to the actions of Khan.
The big pay off that cements “Wrath of Khan” as number one is the sacrifice made by Leonard Nimoy’s character of Spock as he sacrifices himself in order to save the Enterprise and his friends, not to mention the heartbreaking scene between Kirk and Spock as Spock is dying and Kirk is not able to help or touch his friend as they are separated by glass.
Wrath of Khan was not the slow sleepy bedtime story that The Motion Picture turned out to be and put life in the science fiction franchise that finally gave a second life to the original cast for the first time since the series it self was on air.