Top Ten Star Trek Films
Here is a list of my top ten Star Trek films. First, I want to give two dishonorable mentions, and then I will list the rest of the films in order from worst to best.
I will mention two Star Trek films that deserve dishonorable mention. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) was the worst film starring the original crew. I thought the idea of searching for God was an interesting premise. In the end, the film looked campy and corny. The “villian” did not have a significant backstory to warrant fear. The “god” they found was very typical of the kinds of aliens that Star Trek used in the 1960s to show that God is dead. The God-Is-Angry trope was too familiar and did not really show an emotion. That Captain Kirk could stand before “God” and ask Him why he needed a starship was absurd on its face.
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) was the worst film from the Next Generation crew. The film presented a group of people who were attacked for their home planet’s resources. The film presents Sonar’ as a loving peaceful people who have a resource which others want to exploit. In the end, this film rehashes the People-Being-Kicked-Out trope from many movies. Just like the Native Americans or the Jews, the film gives social commentary on the reasons why not to exile a people. It makes for an interesting episode, but it falls flat as a movie.
Now that I have listed these two mentions, I want to list my top ten Star Trek films.
10. Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
The last movie from the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast is considered by many to be the weakest. There are great special effects, and the film contains the most battle scenes of any of the Star Trek movies, the plot was weak. The Enterprise-E should have made a better send-off movie.
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
The first movie in the series of Star Trek. It was a long and cerebral film. It had the disadvantage of being released after Star Wars (1977). That gave this film a higher standard to be compared. As a result, it is considered one the worst films in the series. Unlike most film series today, the Star Trek sequels were mostly better than the original.
- Star Trek: Generations (1994)
The first film with the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast, was used to bridge the two generations. This is the film in which they killed Captain Kirk.
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
The film picks up right where Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan left off. The crew steals the USS Enterprise and eventually destroy it to save Spock. They steal a Klingon ship and end on Vulcan. This is all risky stuff, which makes the film a good one to watch.
- Star Trek Into Darkness (2012)
The second film directed by J.J. Abrams is a very action-packed film. It gives homage to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. This film is rated lower in my opinion because it plays into many tropes used in films (the John Harrison is Khan reveal, the villain in the cage, and the evil Admiral). The social commentary on terrorism may seem out of date, but still relevant. Otherwise, it is a good film to watch.
- Star Trek (2009)
The first film in the Star Trek reboot directed by J.J. Abrams. The film has many elements that clearly made from a fan of the Star Wars series ( a “death star” known as a drill which is used to destroy planets for example). Altogether, this film is full of action, has a time-travel element, and does a great job re-introducing the characters. Leonard Nimoy as Spoke Prime connects this film and generation to the original cast in a unique fashion. This film is very well-made and does a great job introducing the Star Trek universe to a popular audience.
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
This film was the most profitable of all of the films with the original cast. Also known as “the film with the whales,” this film had the most popular appeal. The ending film in the Star Trek trilogy is full of comedy as the cast is out of their space element as they travel back in time to the 1980s. The film gives every member of the cast a share in the spotlight and incorporates a time-travel element to great effect. This film is still enjoyable to watch even today.
- Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
This is the best film with the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast. The film has time-travel and the best enemy from the series, the Borg. The premise is that the Borg go back in time to destroy the Federation before it can begin. The Borg go back to 2061, the year that the Vulcans make contact with Earth. The scenes on Earth make the film relatable to our time.
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Unlike, Star Trek: Nemesis, this film was the best send-off for the original cast. There was political intrigue, a who-dunnit, and great scenes and music. The theme and social commentary of the Cold War coming down in space made this film a very timely one. Even today, one can see how it can speak to current events.
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
The first sequel is still the standard by which all other Star Trek films have been judged. It has a great villain in Khan. The plot centered around a great naval battle in space and the use of a Genesis device that could turn dead planets alive (unlike the Death Star in the Star Wars series that took a live planet and destroyed it). The Wrath of Khan was a sequel, but was also the first in a series of films known as the Star Trek Trilogy (of which I wrote about the spiritual significance in another article). The arc started in this film ends in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Even today, the film is still exciting to watch.