Movie Review Star Trek

Movie Review – Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

The final feature film to star the entire original series cast, The Undiscovered Country sputters, spurts, and takes its sweet time to get where it needs to go, but once it does, is actually pretty cool. Kirk and Spock’s relationship isn’t tested in the ways I thought it might, DeForest Kelly never once utters his immortal classic “Dammit Jim, I’m a doctor, not a….”, and central villain Christopher Plummer spends the entire film spouting Shakespeare (as a Klingon, no less), but the rousing, fitting-finale feel to proceedings gives the Trek crew an entertaining send off.

Movie Review Star Trek

Movie Review – Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

The point in the Trek franchise where the original series characters went from straight-up sci-fi adventuring, and into metaphysical pondering, questioning the meaning of their existences. The Final Frontier has several memorable moments, and works best when the focus is on Kirk, Spock and McCoy, but otherwise it’s a fairly forgettable effort in the film canon, with an unweildy “God” presence being both ill-advised and ill-explained as a Boss Level villain.

Movie Review Star Trek

Movie Review – Star Trek: Insurrection

Daring, yet ultimately dull, Trek franchise entry, with Picard going for a romantic-lite journey and discovering a “perfect moment” along the way. Solid direction cannot overcome a sloppy, mixed-messages screenplay, although the cast do their utmost with the material they have been given. F Murray Abraham overacts badly, hamstringing the emotional weight of the conflict at hand.

Movie Review Star Trek

Movie Review – Star Trek: First Contact

Defining, momentous Trek entry, with the Next Generation crew going toe-to-toe against their sworn enemy, the Borg. After travelling for ages, a Borg cube has finally reached earth, and it seems that the entire Federation Starfleet is unable to thwart their plan to destroy the planet. Mind you, nobody said anything about them destroying the planet in the past, did they? Mind bogglingly cool, this Trek film still holds up under scrutiny today, even in the face of the modern re-think by JJ Abrams. While the first Generations film had little to redeem it overall, this entry, directed by co-star Jonathan Frakes, remains perhaps the best of the Picard-era Trek film, its slam bang action and sly, humorous screenplay ensuring it’s got the one thing a lot of “serious” sci-fi often fails to take into account: a sense of fun.

Movie Review Star Trek

Movie Review – Star Trek: Generations

Mild, innocuous outing for the Next Gen crew, being handed the baton (in a way) by the outgoing original Trek team, particularly William Shatner. Should have been iconic, instead is rendered somewhat mediocre by a poor storyline and a hodgepodge of Trek-lore which would baffle any newcomers to the franchise. The cast give their all, but an obtuse screenplay renders this adventure an opportunity missed.

Movie Review Star Trek

Movie Review – Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Brilliantly conceived Trek outing with the original series cast in pitch-perfect form, bringing their futuristic sensibilites to present day Earth: a time before computer technology had allowed us to travel beyond the stars, and before music became “civilised”, this film is filled with the warmth and humour that Trek is capable of delivering, and it took four films to get it right. Genuinely exciting, filled with great moments of laugh-out-loud hilarity, and a romance of sorts for Kirk, The Voyage Home hits a Star Trek Home Run, and remains one of the most enduring legacies of the early features.

Movie Review Star Trek

Movie Review – Star Trek III: The Search For Spock

Climactic, adventurous entry into the Trek canon, sees Kirk dealing with his son, David, and the return of his best friend, Spock. Replete with the usual dry wit from the Enterprise crew, Star Trek III is a valiant effort to capitalise on the dramatic impetus attained with the preceding film. Unfortunately, some flat direction from Leonard Nimoy hamstrings this film’s momentum, and instead of being truly magnificent, remains merely average. Shatner is wonderful, however, and holds the film together even when he’s falling apart.

Movie Review Star Trek

Movie Review – Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan

After the balls-up that was the first theatrical journey for the crew, Gene Roddenberry was removed from production on the sequel, as it was deemed his fault the first film fared so dismally. Whether this is a correct assumption or not is perhaps not the point, but I think the result of that decision was a good one for the franchise, considering Wrath of Khan’s standing within the fan-bases’ loyalty. Wrath turned out to be a grand adventure and dramatic improvement for the series, much more convincing than it’s immediate predecessor, and reinvigorated the franchise overall. While the film cannot be said to have no faults, the end result is a sharp improvement.

Movie Review Star Trek

Movie Review – Star Trek: The Motion Picture (Directors Cut)

The main problem with Star Trek I is the lack of convincing dramatic tension on the part of the alien “villain”, although that nomenclature is actually inaccurate. V’ger is less a villain and more a misunderstood (and misunderstanding) newly formed life form, a concept overall that became a staple of the Star Trek serials that were made henceforth, including Next Generation, Deep Space Nine, and Voyager. And the lack of tension, disregarding that mounted by Kirk and Decker, is a major blow to a film filled with fine production values and wonderful themes. After all, with series creator Gene Roddenberry overseeing the whole thing, at least you know the shows themes of tolerance, understanding and exploration are intact. But it’s the lack of decent pacing, a languid development of the characters and the situation, that fatally hamstring the film. It moves at a snails pace (by comparison with later films) and by the end, you’re kinda glad it’s all over. Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Uhura, Bones, Chekov, Sulu, Scotty, and throw in Roddenberry’s wife Majel Barret as the Enterprise’s chief Doctor, as well as some of the best visual effects money could buy in 1979, and Star Trek is a fairly faithful cinematic rendition of what folks grew up with on the TV show.

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