The Best (And Worst) Star Trek Movies of All Time

The Not-So-Classics

#6. Star Trek: Generations

Kirk and whichever members of the cast were still willing to work with him by this point rescue dozens of refugees (including one Dr. Soran) from a mysterious ribbon of energy. Alas: Captain Kirk is lost, apparently sucked into the void of space. Decades later, the Next Generation cast encounters Dr. Soran, who is trying to bring back the ribbon of energy, which it turns out is actually a portal to a timeless paradise. Picard is pulled into it and meets up with Kirk, who' been chopping wood and riding horses for the last 78 years. The captains foil Soran just before he does something really evil. Alas: Kirk falls to his death amid the remains of a collapsed bridge and some heavy-handed symbolism.

Why You Should See It
The big selling point here is obviously the chance to watch Kirk and Picard pal around, previously the province of Internet fan fiction. Plus, Data' panicky utterance of "Oh, shit!" during the crash of the Enterprise-D' saucer section is the most entertaining use of foul language in Trek since Spock learned to cuss in The Voyage Home. Oh, and the Enterprise gets destroyed again; it' not as shocking this time, but the special effects are better. Oh, yeah: Kirk dies too.

Why You Shouldn't
Most of the old crew don't bother to show up. James Doohan and Walter Koenig were willing to cash paychecks, but Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley turned down roles they regarded as glorified cameos. Also, Generations disappoints fanboys by doing little to resolve the Kirk vs. Picard debate, as they fail to engage in ship-to-ship space battle or hand-to-hand combat. Does the Picard Manuever trump the double ax handle? We'll never know. Kirk' big death scene's pretty underwhelming compared to Spock' death scene in Khan, or for that matter even his own fake-out death at the beginning of the damn movie.

Impact on the Franchise
Obviously, this is the big passing of the torch to the TNG crew. As for Kirk's momentous death, in a later TNG episode, a guest-starring Scotty appears to have forgotten all about it. Then Shatner went and "wrote" a bunch of non-canonical novels written for the sole purpose of resurrecting Kirk.

Celebrity Cameos?
Cameron from Ferris Bueller' Day Off plays the new captain of the Enterprise-B. So, after he wrecks it, there' probably a deleted scene where he freaks out about how the Admiral is going to kill him, before getting it together and deciding he' not going to sit on his ass as the events that affect him unfold to determine the course of his life. He' going to take a stand. Right or wrong, he' going to defend it, and everything' going to be okay.

#7. Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Admiral Kirk assumes command of the Enterprise to investigate an alien threat, to the annoyance of current captain Will Decker. A probe abducts Decker' girlfriend Ilia, replacing her with a robot double. Decker merges with the Ilia double, and the joined duo evolve into a being of pure energy and disappear into a higher plane of existence. Or something.

Why You Should See It
If you've ever wondered what the original series could have looked like with some half-decent special effects, look no further than Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Plus, if you've also ever wondered what life on the Enterprise would be like if the crew were allowed to wear pajamas to work every day, look no further than the newly redesigned Starfleet leisurewear.

Why You Shouldn't
2001: A Space Odyssey, with its at-the-time cutting edge special effects, had just been released when they were making the first Trek, so the heat was on to cram as many effects into this goddamn thing as possible. Impossibly long, ass-numbingly boring stretches of time are devoted to showing the Enterprise flying through space, which probably looked spectacular in 1979 but make you leap for the fast forward button three decades later.

Impact on the Franchise
Two proposed characters (Will Decker and Ilia) are revived from the aborted TV series Star Trek: Phase II, only to be killed off again. Not one to leave any part of the animal to waste; the character archetypes pop up again, essentially unchanged, as Riker and Troi on Star Trek: The Next Generation. More obviously, the film revived a dead television series and was followed by nine film sequels, so that probably counts for something, too.

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