Recently, the folks over at Badass Digest (who comes up with these publication names, anyway?) highlighted something to set Trekkers debating anew:
“This weekend I was in Las Vegas for the annual Creation Star Trek convention; I’ll have more to say about that in a longer article, but first I wanted to share with you one of the highlights of my trip: the ordering of Star Trek movies from best to worst.
A lot of the panels at this con are pretty tedious, but Jordan Hoffman’s One Trek Mind Live panels are joys, where Hoffman gets the fans involved in a debate about some aspect of the Trek universe. The last thing I did in Vegas was attend the panel where Jordan and a hundred Trek fans – many in costume – argued about the proper listing order of all the Trek films.”
Well, as a longtime Star Trek fan (I saw the original program first-run as a twelve year-old), I’m pretty opinionated about the films based upon the 60s TV series and the latter The Next Generation line that engulfed some of my adult life. First off, let me say, I’m pretty ecstatic that those at the convention placed Galaxy Quest in amongst this canon.
Brilliant, really, and it made the list reach my favorite number, 13.
Second, there are those on the convention’s list I will heartily agree with, and some I will oppose with the very core of my being. Let’s get this going:
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan [Con #1] – not only the best, but the one movie that really saved the entire film franchise for Paramount; needless to say, the studio owes Nicholas Meyer big time for this and the next film, and is the most successful Star Trek filmmaker, bar none.
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country [Con #3] – Likely the one film that has garnered more praise and risen in ranking over the years among Star Trek fans. And worth every accolade, too. Might have been the best send-off for this crew, till somebody at Paramount came up with Generations.
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home [Con #4] – This was the capper for the trilogy that began with Wrath of Khan, brought home nicely by Leonard Nimoy. Perhaps the most fun (on a comedy scale) in the entire film series.
- Galaxy Quest [Con #7] – You don’t have to be familiar with Star Trek to enjoy this movie. That said, if you do, it’s even more fun as a spoof and in its brilliance and appreciation of the Star Trek series, characters, actors.
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture* [Con #9] – This separates the older and younger generations of ST fans. Us oldsters cling to it for its sci-fi roots, and bringing back the original crew, especially if watching Robert Wise’s director cut*.
- Star Trek III: The Search For Spock [Con #5] – Really, the early odd number Star Trek films aren’t bad at all, at least until you get to #5, but we’ll cover that further down. This may have the best payoff in its finale, too.
- Star Trek: First Contact [ Con #2] – Convention-goers had this way too high in their ranking, but I think it was still the best ST:TNG film, period. John Kenneth Muir’s solid criticisms aside, this was Fraker’s highpoint.
- Star Trek (2009) [Con #6] – I had elevated hopes for this, and for the most part (its mash-up tendencies, aside) I enjoyed Abram’s ride. More for seeing this crew and ship back on the big screen than anything else, though.
- Star Trek Generations [Con #8] – Not the best start for The Next Generation crew on celluloid, but you can do a HELL of a lot worse (see slots 10 – 13); it was also good to have Capt Kirk back…for awhile, at least.
- Star Trek Nemesis [Con #10] – Or, how to kill the entire ST:TNG segment of the franchise movies for good. No one…NO ONE…is trying to get Jean-Luc Picard and crew back for another go. Move along, nothing to see here.
- Star Trek Into Darkness [Con #13] – If I see another lens flare, or regurgitated plot point from earlier ST stories, I think I’m going to cough up a Tribble. Quick someone get Abrams off the Star Trek series. Oh, give him the chance to ruin another sci-fi series, thanks a lot Lucas!
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier [Con #12] – This one gets a lot of grief. My friend John Kenneth Muir appreciates it more than I, but had Paramount let Shatner do a director’s cut like Robert Wise, who knows what it could have been, bad as it was. It’s still better than…
- Star Trek Insurrection [Con #11] – A TV episode blown up to the big screen. Just think, if not for this, Star Trek Nemesis may not have killed ST:TNG off for good. They might have let them try another…the fools. My friend Will still defends this film, and I admire him for that…I really do.