Star Trek Beyond

  • star_trek_beyond_ver2Year:  2016
  • Director:  Justin Lin
  • Series Rank:  #9
  • The Enterprise Crew:  Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin
  • Villain:  Idris Elba

SPOILER-FREE

Wil Wheaton, an actor who I am not inclined to give much leeway to, as he played one of the most annoying Star Trek characters ever (I actually dislike Guinan more), tweeted a response to the original premiere of the Star Trek Beyond trailer back in December that I agreed with at the time: “I saw the weirdest trailer today. It was for a generic science fiction action movie, but it was all dressed up in Star Trek costumes.”  But, a little ways into this film, I settled back and accepted the inevitable: as much as Star Trek was never an action franchise during the first 40 years of its existence, it certainly is now.  I may not like it, but there’s no point in continually harping over it when that’s clearly the decision they have made.  They want to give you nonstop action whether you want it or not.  So, let’s focus on other things. (more…)

star-trek-wrath-of-khan-spock-death-2The Films (ranked):

  1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
  2. Star Trek: First Contact
  3. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
  4. Star Trek
  5. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
  6. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
  7. Star Trek Into Darkness
  8. Star Trek: Generations
  9. Star Trek Beyond
  10. Star Trek: Nemesis
  11. Star Trek: Insurrection
  12. Star Trek: The Motion Picture
  13. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

note:  The first film is ****.  The next three are ***.5.  The rest are *** except Star Trek V, which is **.5.

(more…)

Star Trek Into Darkness

  • star_trek_into_darknessYear:  2013
  • Director:  J. J. Abrams
  • Series Rank:  #7
  • Year Rank:  #39
  • Oscar Nominations:  Visual Effects
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • The Enterprise Crew:  Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Alice Eve
  • Villains:  Benedict Cumberbatch, Peter Weller

When I walked out of the theater after seeing Star Trek in 2009, I started explaining to Veronica all the reasons the film annoyed me, and I continued it through the whole ride home.  I didn’t see Star Trek Into Darkness with Veronica because we didn’t have a chance to get a babysitter and I wanted to see the film before the secret of who Benedict Cumberbatch was playing got out.  But even so, once I got home, I knew it wasn’t as good as the first one and that it was, in many ways, a pale imitation of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the film that provided the initial inspiration for this film, but I had a much harder time explaining why. (more…)

Star Trek

  • star_trek_xi_ver19Year:  2009
  • Director:  J. J. Abrams
  • Series Rank:  #4
  • Year Rank:  #20
  • Oscar Nominations:  Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  Original Score, Sound, Visual Effects, Sound Editing, Makeup
  • The Enterprise Crew:  Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Simon Pegg, John Cho, Anton Yelchin, Bruce Greenwood
  • Villain:  Eric Bana

There is talk in this film about cheating.  That’s because Jim Kirk cheats on the Kobayashi Maru test.  Do you know what that test is?  If you haven’t seen Star Trek II, you might not, in which case this might not mean anything to you, and that says a lot about my feelings on this film.  J. J. Abrams cheats.  That is why this film holds an almost unique spot in my personal appreciation of films.  I have seen over 13,000 feature films and very few of them do what this one does – fill me with pleasure and joy and delight while at the same time making me scream in anger, frustration or irritation. (more…)

Star Trek: Nemesis

  • star_trek_nemesis_ver2Year:  2002
  • Director:  Stuart Baird
  • Series Rank:  #9
  • Year Rank:  #122
  • Oscar Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • The Enterprise Crew:  Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Gates MacFadden, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn
  • Villain:  Tom Hardy

I mentioned that Star Trek V was such a disappointment that it almost killed the franchise.  Even though this is a better film than that one, it was such a disappointment that it did kill the film franchise.  It would be another seven years before Star Trek would appear in theaters and that would be rebooted to younger versions of the original crew.  There are a variety of reasons why this film did what the earlier film could not but there are also things to enjoy about this film and in the end, I still think it preferable, not only to two of the original films, but also the previous TNG film.  Hell, it even has a villain played by an actor that I spent a considerable amount of time lambasting in my most recent Best Picture reviews and I still think it’s better. (more…)

Star Trek: Insurrection

  • star_trek_insurrectionYear:  1998
  • Director:  Jonathan Frakes
  • Series Rank:  #10
  • Year Rank:  #121
  • Oscar Nominations:  none
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  none
  • The Enterprise Crew:  Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Gates MacFadden, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn
  • Villain:  F. Murray Abraham, Anthony Zerbe

In 1989, Anthony Zerbe was a lackluster (though suitably creepy) villain in what turned out to be one of the best James Bond films (and certainly the most under-appreciated).  The actor seemed born to play a villain – he has an inherently untrustworthy look about him (ironically, right after watching this, we watched him in an old Mission: Impossible episode and I said the same thing – even when he was young he looked untrustworthy).  So why have him play the admiral who, it turns out, is in league with the villains?  Why would anyone have believed differently?  More importantly, why have him in the film at all?  The character, although an admiral, is basically ignored by everyone who he gives orders to, including Picard, Riker and the primary villain, Ru’afo. (more…)

Star Trek: First Contact

  • star_trek_first_contact_ver1Year:  1996
  • Director:  Jonathan Frakes
  • Series Rank:  #2
  • Year Rank:  #13
  • Oscar Nominations:  Makeup
  • Nighthawk Nominations:  Visual Effects, Makeup
  • The Enterprise Crew:  Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Gates MacFadden, LeVar Burton, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Neal McDonough
  • Villain:  Alice Kirge

In the period of just a few minutes late in Star Trek: First Contact, Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard delivers, in two different moments, the most emotional, powerful lines spoken in all the the countless hours of television and film that make up the Star Trek franchise.  They are at once an example of Stewart’s talent (the best actor to ever be a major part of the franchise), an anomaly in the franchise (wrapped in revenge, an idea supposedly non-existent at the time) and a measure of how well this film works in the course of the franchise. (more…)

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