Ranking Star Trek Movies

Hey guys! So I have done it! I have finished watching and podcasting about all the Star Trek movies. Including Galaxy Quest and our ranking episode that’s 15 podcasts! My friend Tom joined me for these podcasts and it has been so much fun to jump out of my comfort zone and try something new. I’ve been impressed with the variety to the Star Trek movies. Sure not all of them are great but so is the case with any franchise, but they do shake it up quite a bit. There is action, adventure, sci-fi, horror elements, goofy comedy and everything in between.

Star Trek Podcasts

We had some technical difficulties with audio in some of the early podcasts but we hit our stride eventually. I think you will really enjoy them.

Today to conclude the series we did our rankings of the 14 films we watched and I thought I would share it with you guys. I would love to hear your rankings in the comments section.

14. Star Trek: The Final Frontier- William Shatner’s one and only time directing and it is a mess. Garish, sloppy and boring it just doesn’t work

13. Star Trek Nemesis- An intriguing idea of a Captain Picard clone becomes extremely forgettable and with a rape subplot it doesn’t feel like Star Trek

12. Star Trek: the Motion Picture- An attempt to homage to 2001: A Space Odyssey but it doesn’t have the sense of mystery about Kubrick’s film. Long self indulgent shots of the ship exemplify the film for me. I found it extremely boring and I didn’t get into the film like 2001

11. Star Trek Insurrection- The idea of relocating a people is an interesting dynamic along with some strange looking villain people with stretched faces. You also get some humor with the crew getting twitterpated. The villain played by F. Murray Abraham is very bad and it is just very forgettable

10. Star Trek Generations- Best parts of the film are when Picard and Kirk see the lives they could have lived and have to make the choice to return to reality and face their foes. However, we don’t get as much of the two of them as I would like and the production design feels cheap

9. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home- I know this is a favorite of most fans and I do see the value to it. It has nice moments but is a little too silly for me to fully embrace. Scenes like when they are running away from the hospital feel inspired by a 3 Stooges skit more than Star Trek

8. Star Trek: Into Darkness- Benedict Cumberbatch is mesmerizing as Khan and the action is very entertaining. However, the attempts to copy Wrath of Khan I could do without. They feel wedged in and unnecessary.

7. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock- Woefully underrated film with an emotional arc for Kirk as he sees his son killed by the klingons and is mourning the loss of Spock. Some strange elements and Christopher Lloyd is a little over the top but it feels cinematic and fun.

6. Galaxy Quest- Hilarious comedy where particularly Alan Rickman shines as Alexander Dane the serious actor on the Star Trek-like show. Very well written and well made it takes on fandoms and Star Trek without being mean about it.

5. Star Trek (2009)- Very entertaining reboot with a whole new timeline. Great casting and action with a nice character arc for Kirk. I thought Zachary Quinto was a little flat as Spock (he grew on me) and the villain is very forgettable but still very engaging film.

4. Star Trek Beyond- Might be recency bias but I loved the way this film split off into little groups so you got to spend time with the crew in a way no other Star Trek film I’ve seen. The script was funny and it felt like a group of friends working together. I also loved the addition of Jaylah. The climax with the Beastie Boys is admittedly silly but I thought still entertaining.

3. Star Trek: First Contact- Basically a zombie movie in Star Trek. The borgs are a great alien spieces that is menacing and intimidating. The quest to stop events on earth are compelling and the acting is top notch. You get nice emotion from Lilly and Picard in particular.

2. Star Trek IV: Undiscovered Country- Probably the most entertaining Star Trek film. It has it all including a dinner scene where they quote Shakespeare that I loved. Christopher Plummer is in this and is fantastic. The trial of Kirk gives us some of his most emotional moments where he admits his anger over those who killed his son. It’s well made and we get a lovely sign off (literally) for this original series crew.

1.Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan- It’s a bit of a cliche for this to be my favorite but the guts they have to kill off Spock is what puts it over the edge. The scene where Spock sacrifices himself for the good of his friends is emotional and Shatner and Nimoy are so good in it. Also Khan is a tremendous villain and the rivalry between him and Kirk is great. It’s scary at times with horror elements like the bug going into Chekhov’s ear. When it came down to it I feel this is the most memorable of all 14 films and the most gutsy.

So there you have it. What would be your ranking? If you haven’t seen any of the Star Trek movies give at least Wrath of Khan a shot or maybe the new reboots. You just might be surprised. And if not Star Trek I challenge you to go out of your comfort zone. Try something new. Dip your toe in an unfamiliar genre. I have found when I do I am a better for the experiment!

Live long and prosper!

Star Trek Beyond Review

I will do a more in-depth detailed review of Star Trek Beyond after we do our podcast but this is my basic thoughts.

star trek beyond posterIf you have been following my youtube channel you will know I have been doing a series of podcast style videos with a friend of mine on the Star Trek movies. We just finished our 8th discussion on Into Darkness on Wednesday and will talk all about Star Trek Beyond this upcoming Wednesday so make sure you are subscribed to my channel. (I kept having some technical difficulties with some of the earlier podcasts but the last 3 have worked most of those out. Still I think they all worth listening too. I enjoyed doing them).

Anyway, the more I have talked about Star Trek the more into I have gotten. I still have yet to see an episode of the show (something I hope to soon remedy) but the movies are all very unique. There are some definite duds, particularly Star Trek V: the Final Frontier. However, even the duds feel like practically a different genre within the world of Star Trek. You have everything from a silly romp in Star Trek IV to horror elements in Star Trek II.

The recent reboots have focused more on making an action franchise instead of a science fiction story like you get in Star Trek: the Motion Picture and III and VI. But that new take is okay with me because like I said Star Trek has had many different looks to it. Why not action blockbuster?

The 2009 Star Trek is very entertaining but the cast was still getting into their roles and particularly Zachary Quinto as Spock fell flat for me. In this timeline of Star Trek Spock is more emotional and has a relationship with Uhura (Zoe Saldana) and his line readings just fell flat. The Eric Bana villain Nero is also pretty bland but that doesn’t really bother me.

Then we got Star Trek Into Darkness which is entertaining but tries to wedge in elements of Wrath of Khan that drag it down. Benedict Cumberbatch is great as Khan but he is constantly interrupted by secondary villains and the attempt to mirror events like the death of Spock in Wrath of Khan with the death of Kirk don’t work (especially because they wimp out and make him not dead minutes later). Anyway, it’s an okay film but not great.

A-Phaser-in-Star-Trek-BeyondNext is Star Trek Beyond and in my opinion it is the strongest of the three. I was thoroughly entertained by this movie from start to finish. It’s so well paced. The action is great. There are real moments of heart and the script is full of witty banter In a way it reminded me of a Marvel movie with that kind of energy and joy.

The story of Star Trek Beyond has our crew on year 3 of their 5 year mission to explore the galaxy. They are given a task from the Federation to help an alien named Kalara get her stranded ship. When they arrive close to the planet they are hit by a swarm of enemy ships that attack the Enterprise.  This was a new type of space battle I hadn’t seen before and I thought was very exciting. The swarm feels dominating and I worried for our crew.  They did not feel invincible like some superhero movies.

star trek beyond swarmIn order to escape, the crew has to leave in different pods which land in different areas of the new planet.  This is my favorite thing about the movie because divided up in pairs you really get to spend time with characters like Chekhov, Bones, Scotty and Uhura which can sometimes get lost in the Star Trek films.

Also the dialogue between the pairings is very engaging and funny. The actors have grown accustomed to their roles at this point and it felt like groupings of friends instead of colleagues. The unusual pairing of Bones and Spock was particularly fun to see.

Star-Trek-Beyond-Karl-Urban-Bones-Zachary-Quinto-SpockScotty meets a woman named Jaylah (Sofia Boutella).  I liked her character because she is strong and tough which we see all the time in movies,  but she’s also insecure and fearful of what the villain Krall might do to her and the others. There’s a point where she breaks down over what happened to her father that is devastating. Boutella is great in the role. She also is smart and a problem solver who knows how to fight hard when she has to. Her and Simon Pegg’s Scotty have good chemistry together  and made me smile.

star trek beyond jayla and scottyJaylah has been living on an old abandoned USS ship, the USS Franklin, which becomes central to the story.  I liked the way the crew had to be creative in making the newly acquired ship work. I often wasn’t quite sure how they were going to get out of a situation and then they’d try something and we’d all see how it worked. This created a sense of anticipation and excitement to the action. The villain,  Krall played by Idris Elba, has an attachment to the ship which explains why he took a turn towards his evil ways. The villain is maybe not the most creative one out there but Elba does a good job especially as he is less constricted by makeup. There have certainly been far worse villains in the history of Star Trek. That’s for sure.

star-trek-beyond-zoe-saldana-idris-elba-krallI thought all of the action was terrific- both space and fist fighting. I also like that not every situation is solved in the typical space movie way particularly a final big space battle that was very cleverly handled.

There are also nice moments of heart. I particularly liked seeing Spock wrestle with the death of Spock Prime. And like I said, it feels like these characters are friends, giving the conflict more weight. We even get to end with a birthday party for Kirk and everyone celebrating with him. I guess you could say I liked spending time with these characters and their adventure.

I’m not going to pretend like I am the greatest Star Trek fan in the world but I have watched 9 of the movies and to me Star Trek Beyond had energy, warmth, humor and heart I expect in a Star Trek movie. It solidified this new cast as the modern Star Trek cast and gave me action in new unexpected ways. Most importantly it was a film about characters, which has always been the most important part of Star Trek. We even got 1 on 1 time or 2 on 2 time that we don’t normally get. It was great! I left with a huge smile on my face, having been thoroughly entertained.

If I am going to fault it there were a few instances of lazy CGI work and a couple places where it was pretty obvious a green screen was used. Also Krall could have been better written but I still like what we got. If I was being nitpicky some elements do feel derivative of Guardians of the Galaxy but repeated storylines don’t really bother me.

Overall Grade- A-

What side are you on with this latest Star Trek Beyond? Love it or hate it? Put in comments section.

Star Trek 1-3 Podcasts

Hey guys! I just wanted to share with you guys 3 videos from my youtube channel. You might remember last year I discussed the Star Wars movies with my friends Abby and Jeremy.  Well, this year I decided to tackle Star Trek and my Trekie friend Tom has been kind enough to join me.  We just finished the 3rd film today and I think you will enjoy them even if you haven’t seen the movies.

My overall thoughts of the first 3 are:

Star Trek: The Motion Picture- I admire its ambition but the birth metaphor and long tracking shots of the ship bored me. Very self-indulgent and the story just isn’t there. It’s trying to be 2001 without challenging you with ideas the way that film does.  Grade- D

Star Trek 2: Wrath of Khan- A terrific sci-fi movie with horror elements and a formidable foe in Khan. The finale is heart wrenching and the movie builds tension well. I see why this is genuinely considered the best of the franchise. Grade- A

Star Trek 3: The Search for Spok- Solid entertaining entry that fleshes out the side characters a lot more. I really enjoyed getting to know Uhura and Sulu more and seeing their banter. Shatner is good in his more emotional scenes and the mystery around Spok works pretty well. It’s not as good as Khan but I enjoyed it even if it is a little forgettable. Grade B-

What do you think of the first 3 Star Trek movies? Let me know in the comments section and I’d love your feedback.  The first podcast is had some technical challenges but if you can get through that the content is quite good.

We are going to pack in 2 podcasts next week before I leave for Spain (I’m going to Spain if you didn’t know). And then when I get back we will finish up the original series and do the JJ Abrams reboot films before Star Trek: Beyond comes out.  We will then do Next Generation in August.

Anyway, thanks again!  I am also doing my His Picks/Her Picks with my friend AJ this Saturday and next Saturday will be talking Harry Potter with Abby, Jeremy and Richard.

Make sure you are following the channel to get all the fun! And if any of you have an idea for a podcast or discussion I’m totally game. Just let me know!