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The Star Trek Movies: My Brilliant Insights

Star Trek: The Motion Picture My Grade: C+
The movie has a gorgeous cinematic look and a high-minded science fiction plot, but it moves at a snail's pace and is emotionally completely uninvolving.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn My Grade: A-
A mediocre story excellently told. The plot is a simplistic revenge tale, but the writing is sophisticated, smooth, and offers thoughtful observations on mortality.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock My Grade: B
More Hollywoodish and less classy than the first two films, but still exciting and well made. Also a bit darker than most of the films, except First Contact. Call me a traitor but I think that bringing Spock back to life steals much of the emotional impact from his death in the previous film. I love Spock, but sometimes heroes need to stay dead.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home My Grade: B+
Very entertaining, but not very Star Trek-ish. I don't like stories to be so overtly preachy, but protecting endangered species is a cause I support.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier My Grade: D
By volunteering to direct this one, I think Shatner bit off a little more than he could chew. You can tell he was trying to make something epic, but it didn't work. Oh, and the special effects sure stunk. Still, it has its moments; the scene in which Sybok tries to confront McCoy, Spock and Kirk with their inner conflicts is quite touching. "I want my pain! I need my pain!"

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country My Grade: B-
An obvious fall-of-the-USSR allegory. This is an exciting political thriller, and certainly far more competent than the previous installment. Still, I find myself annoyed at the numerous plot-holes (they never consider that the cloaked ship might be Romulan), incontinuities (since when is Klingon blood pink?), and silly lines (You've got him Jim! You've got him where you want him!).

Star Trek: Generations My Grade: B
Grotesquely underrated. This one offended many by so casually killing off Kirk and the Enterprise D, and there were some glaring plot-holes many viewers did not forgive, but the movie was also exciting, inventive, daring, and like TWOK, provided rather thoughtful observations on mortality and emotional control. That is why I am rather reluctant to admit my own big gripe with this film--one that its other detractors routinely overlook; when Kirk and Picard reexamine their regrets over having never started families, they both conclude that commanding a starship was worth the sacrfice. As someone who considers family more important than any career, I find that conclusion repulsive.

Star Trek: First Contact My Grade: B+
Stylish suspense thriller, although there is not nearly as much action as its reputation suggests. This is a great movie, but a very safe story that took no risks.

Star Trek: Insurrection My Grade: C+
Star Trek-by-the-numbers. It committed no big sins, but it showed us nothing special either, and the message about not interfering with other cultures had already been conveyed in many previous Trek episodes. This film, which looks too made-for-TV-ish, is a complete mediocrity.

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