THE STAR TREK COUNTDOWN

Yesterday I blogged (READ IT HERE) about the new Star Trek movie, Star Trek Into Darkness.  Today, though, I am ruminating about the other films in the franchise and where I rank them in order of excellence.

KHANNNNNNNNNN!
KHANNNNNNNNNN!

1.  Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan–without a doubt this is the best.  It ranks in my top five science fiction movies of all time.

2.  Star Trek:  First Contact--Aesthetics, plot, acting, and the f/x were all superior in this film.  It was for everyone, but included something for the fan as well.

3.  Star Trek (2009)–I know most would put this as the first one, and it certainly made more money than any of the others, but there were too many plot holes in it for me to push it any further up the list.

4.  Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home–Of Course, the voyage home is not to earth with the whales, but the voyage is back to the rebuilt Enterprise at the end of the movie.

5.  Star Trek Generations:  This film gets panned a lot because of the plot holes and time-travel nexus problems (which are no worse than Star Trek (2009) by the way) but this is the best thematic film of the lot in terms of emotional energy and morality.  My oldest daughter was an infant, 4 weeks old when we saw this movie in the theater.  She graduates from high school in three weeks.  Generations means something more now.

6.  Star Trek VI:  The Undiscovered Country–Kirk and crew have a great idea to work with, but the elements feel rehashed.  How many female Vulcans does Spock need to train?  However, I do love the Hamlet references.

7.  Star Trek Insurrection–I do not like this movie very much, but I do not hate it very much either.  It feels like an elongated episode.

8.  Star Trek III:   The Search for Spock–Stupid plot, poor f/x and needless emotional ploys (killing David Marcus and blowing up the Enterprise) spoil it.  The only real bright spot, Christopher Lloyd as a Klingon!

9.  Star Trek Nemesis:  Oh dear, this was an awful film.  It was a poor rehashing of Star Trek II (Which I am worried the new film will be as well) and it weakened the Romulans.

10.  Star Trek the Motion Picture–This actually is tied with Nemesis.  It is put at 10 only because of the vanity upon vanities of beauty shots of the Enterprise floating in the cloud thingy.  Never mind that this is essentially a stolen story from the original series.

11.  Star Trek V:  The Final Frontier–Awful awful awful awful.  The worst not only of the original six, but the worst of the entire franchise. The only positive aspect at all of the movie is the emotional energy of the individual ‘pain’ of the triumvirate.

Time will tell where the new film will rate.  Time will tell.  Time is “like a predator.  It’s stalking you.”

Read also:

Beard Trek

Some Star Trek Philosophy

 

2011 GREENBEAN BLOG REVIEW #5: STAR TREK

As we end the year, I am re-posting my top five viewed blogs.  After that five, then I will re-post my top five favorites from the past year.  We begin with familiar territory by boldly going where we’ve gone before, a blog originally titled Some Star Trek Philosophy.  For the record, I got new Star Trek gear this Christmas too, the complete series Voyager.  Awesomeness.  Enjoy.

SOME STAR TREK PHILOSOPHY

For Christmas my wonderful wife gave me every second of every Star Trek original series, movie, and Star Trek: The Next Generation series on DVD.  It was a truly beautiful gift.  Since then, we have cobbled together enough time to watch all of the original series and the original six “Captain Kirk” films.  It is all a part of my plan to assimilate my daughters into the nerd collective.

As I watched the original six films again—starting with the Motion Picture, Khan, Spock, Whales, Awful, and the Undiscovered Country’s Ode to Shakespeare I was struck by some profound philosophical and moral teachings that I could hang my hat on.  Here are some of my observations.

  • 1.  Each of the films has a plot or sub-plot of “our past comes back to haunt us” motif.  In the Motion Picture it is an old satellite that returns home.  In Star Trek IV it is the extinction of humpback whales and in Star Trek VI it is age-old prejudice and bias.  Yet beyond this, there is also the “son I never knew” or the “loss of command” that always haunts the characters.  Even though Star Trek V is arguable the worse ever in terms of storytelling, it develops this theme more fully on the personal level than any of the others.
  • 2.  The Kobayashi Maru might just be the most eloquent and simple way of stating an important part of life.  We learn in Star Trek II that the Kobayashi Maru is a simulated test for officers in which there is no way to win.  We also learn that Kirk cheated by changing the simulation and therefore never faced death.  In each film though, Kirk has to face death as his friends and family die.  I know I’m just more sensitive to it right now because of some things I’m working through in our church, but I’ve come to realize life is filled with no-win situations.  Life is a giant Kobayashi Maru.  Other people make decisions or respond to things that inevitably force us to act and the result is no one wins.  Everyone loses.
  • 3.   In the original Star Trek films, the notion of change is always a negative thought.  This is often represented by “training crews” or “refits” of the Enterprise.  It is noted in Khan’s world changing as well as the political change brought about in Star Trek VI with the Klingon-Federation peace talks.  The cold war was over, and change is on the horizon. In each film, change is always viewed as negative.  In one of them, Kirk even says, “I liked my old chair better.”  The Enterprise is threatened by the improved Excelsior, the Genesis planet is a bust, and no Vulcan can ever be another Spock.  Is it okay that, as I get older and life gets more complicated that I’m beginning to think that  change is not so good?  I hope so because that is the way I am starting to feel.  I am about the age right now that Kirk was in the first movie.

Okay okay, its Star Trek for crying out loud.  Its not Kant or even Kafka.  Nevertheless, human nature faces these issues and I find they pop up even in our most mindless art.

  1. My past is always with me even when I ignore it.
  2. Sometimes I just can’t win no matter what I do.
  3. The world around me is changing, and quiet honestly I don’t like it.

Its at this point I turn the television off and come back to reality—the Scriptures.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:17—in Jesus I am a new creation.
  2. Romans 8:37—even though the situation is tough and I often lose, in Christ Jesus eventual victory is mine.
  3. Hebrews 13:8—I have an anchor in Christ.  He never changes.

SOME STAR TREK PHILOSOPHY

 

For Christmas my wonderful wife gave me every second of every Star Trek original series, movie, and Star Trek: The Next Generation series on DVD.  It was a truly beautiful gift.  Since then, we have cobbled together enough time to watch all of the original series and the original six “Captain Kirk” films.  It is all a part of my plan to assimilate my daughters into the nerd collective.

As I watched the original six films again—starting with the Motion Picture, Khan, Spock, Whales, Awful, and the Undiscovered Country’s Ode to Shakespeare I was struck by some profound philosophical and moral teachings that I could hang my hat on.  Here are some of my observations.

  • 1.  Each of the films has a plot or sub-plot of “our past comes back to haunt us” motif.  In the Motion Picture it is an old satellite that returns home.  In Star Trek IV it is the extinction of humpback whales and in Star Trek VI it is age-old prejudice and bias.  Yet beyond this, there is also the “son I never knew” or the “loss of command” that always haunts the characters.  Even though Star Trek V is arguable the worse ever in terms of storytelling, it develops this theme more fully on the personal level than any of the others.

                       

  • 2.  The Kobayashi Maru might just be the most eloquent and simple way of stating an important part of life.  We learn in Star Trek II that the Kobayashi Maru is a simulated test for officers in which there is no way to win.  We also learn that Kirk cheated by changing the simulation and therefore never faced death.  In each film though, Kirk has to face death as his friends and family die.  I know I’m just more sensitive to it right now because of some things I’m working through in our church, but I’ve come to realize life is filled with no-win situations.  Life is a giant Kobayashi Maru.  Other people make decisions or respond to things that inevitably force us to act and the result is no one wins.  Everyone loses.

 

  • 3.   In the original Star Trek films, the notion of change is always a negative thought.  This is often represented by “training crews” or “refits” of the Enterprise.  It is noted in Khan’s world changing as well as the political change brought about in Star Trek VI with the Klingon-Federation peace talks.  The cold war was over, and change is on the horizon. In each film, change is always viewed as negative.  In one of them, Kirk even says, “I liked my old chair better.”  The Enterprise is threatened by the improved Excelsior, the Genesis planet is a bust, and no Vulcan can ever be another Spock.  Is it okay that, as I get older and life gets more complicated that I’m beginning to think that  change is not so good?  I hope so because that is the way I am starting to feel.  I am about the age right now that Kirk was in the first movie. 

 

Okay okay, its Star Trek for crying out loud.  Its not Kant or even Kafka.  Nevertheless, human nature faces these issues and I find they pop up even in our most mindless art. 

  1. My past is always with me even when I ignore it. 
  2. Sometimes I just can’t win no matter what I do. 
  3. The world around me is changing, and quiet honestly I don’t like it. 

Its at this point I turn the television off and come back to reality—the Scriptures.

  1. 2 Corinthians 5:17—in Jesus I am a new creation.
  2. Romans 8:37—even though the situation is tough and I often lose, in Christ Jesus eventual victory is mine.
  3. Hebrews 13:8—I have an anchor in Christ.  He never changes.