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How Would You Rank the Star Trek Movies?

Or must one only compare them within their own series? Are the two new rebooted films as good as the original crew and the Next Generation?

PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates!


July 8, 2014 - 3:00 pm

In partnership with the new fiction publishing platform Liberty Island, PJ Lifestyle is going to begin promoting and co-hosting a series of debates and discussions about popular culture. The goal is to figure out what works and what doesn’t so that in the future we can promote and create better fiction and culture of our own. These are public brainstorming sessions for writers and culture advocates interested in developing a more vibrant popular culture. You’re invited to submit your answers to any of these questions — or a related one of your own! — that interests you:

A) in the comments

B) Via email to PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle.

C) at your blog, then let us know in the comments or via email. 

The most interesting answers may be linked, cross-posted, or published at PJ Lifestyle. 

A very thoughtful email from Richard B. to get the discussion going:

Hi Dave!

When you said that you were going to start ranking the films, I said “YES!”.

The interesting thing is that you have to use multiple groups to rank them:

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home    This would be the best of the original series. But it’s really the third film of a trilogy

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Kahn      Just sheer fun that revitalized the series. Beside, Ricardo walked off with that movie.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock     Had to come up with a way to bring back Spock and besides, it helped Nimoy learn to direct a major motion picture, setting the stage for IV.

I put Star Trek The Motion Picture equal to Star trek VI: The Undiscovered Country       Both were good for opening and closing the original series movies. (Besides, you had Jerry Goldsmith for music here. Say “Patton”? Another list for you, Best movie composers. Goldsmith was original while John Williams is derivative.)

Star Trek V…….(I don’t even remember the title. Please be aware that I’ve seen every movie on opening night and that was the only time I saw this one. I keep the unopened DVD in my collection, but I won’t update to Blu-ray.)

Next Group:

Next Generation Movies

Star Trek: First Contact   Could be the best of all the movies. Good use of two simultaneous stories. Besides, I like how they brought in continuity from the Original series. (Goldsmith hits a grand slam with his soundtrack. It might the best of any movie.)

Star Trek: Generations   I think this was actually a pretty good movie, aside from killing Kirk. (I hate the speed of light error.)

Star Trek: Insurrection

Star Trek: Nemesis (I’ve seen both of these twice in the theater, just to “insure” that they make more.)

Alternate Timeline Movies:

Star Trek  A very good movie, great action, nice way to reimagine the series. (I did like the way they mentioned Admiral Archer.) (Why do they have the speed of light error again?)

Star Trek Into Darkness  Another good movie, Cumberbatch did a good job of being the new Kahn.

Well, that’s all I can think of.


What do you think?

Also: what are some Star Trek and science fiction-themed lists and articles you’d like to see at PJ Lifestyle? Your thoughtful comments are appreciated.

PJ Lifestyle Pop Culture Debates Features a new prompt each weekday to weigh the good, the bad, the overrated, the unbelievable, and the amazing throughout the worlds of books, film, and TV. We can't figure out how to build a greater pop culture until we dissect the mess we already have. Want to contribute your perspective to the debate? Email PJ Lifestyle editor Dave Swindle with your take: DaveSwindlePJM [@] Image via shutterstock/ DarkGeometryStudios

Comments are closed.

All Comments   (8)
All Comments   (8)
Sort: Newest Oldest Top Rated
Wrath of Khan was the best, the extended version, not the theater release. Search for Spock probably the next best.

I am not yet a big fan of the rebooted series, but the latest, "Into Darkness" showed promise, I really liked Cumberbatch's Khan, an entirely new take on the original Khan. Still, just a little too flashy, to quote Rjscharz, "It was more like a Star Wars knockoff. I like Star Wars, I like action, I like special effects, but it takes more than the above to make a good movie.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd rank the Chris Pine movies on the bottom. Yes they were flashy and fast paced but they didn't really feel like Star Trek. They didn't even make a serious attempt to get science in there, it was more science fantasy. It was more like a Star Wars knockoff.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm a huge fan of TOS. The Wrath of Kahn still stands out and The Voyage Home is just so entertaining I consider it my favorite.

The two latest with Chris Pine were thoroughly enjoyable.
33 weeks ago
33 weeks ago Link To Comment
I won't try to rank them, but I will say that the re-imagined Star Trek was refreshing. TOS was great, but once TNG arose, Star Trek hared off into weepy, vaguely socialistic hyper-moralism.

I got sick and tired of their pontificating about other people's social conditions, as if they were the final arbiters of all (not to mention how every situation could be solved by re-emitting a Tachyon bean into the Subspace dimension, with an anti-proton sweetener...real life isn't susceptible to technological quick-fixes).

The re-imagined series has managed to recapture at least a part of the action required. I like the movies for that reason alone.

After all, would you really like to hear Jean-Luc Picard on his podium moralizing, or Chris Pine's Kirk blowing the crap out of something?
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'd say the Star Trek movies are all pretty rank.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Original" Series

Wrath of Khan - Just plain dominates.
Undiscovered Country - Klingons for the win.
Voyage Home - Kind of by default. The ecodweebness is a bit over the top.
Search for Shlock/Final Fronting - I liked half of each - Sybok is great in The Final Frontier, most everything but Christopher Lloyd and William Shatner trying to outchew the scenery at each other in Search for Spock.
The Motion Sickness - If it must actually be listed.

Next Generation

As the saying was about the first group, "even numbered Trek films don't suck".
Since these were unnumbered they were all essentially "number one" and stank like "number two".
They simply reeked of the pretentiousness that Star Trek is notorious for. Even respectable acting from Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, and Michael Dorn couldn't overcome the drivel they had to utter and were surrounded by.


Star Trek - Solid. The cast was somewhat shocking, especially Karl Urban and Simon Pegg, but it held together well enough despite some truly egregious plot holes.

Into Darkness - I liked it. I found the issues of morality profoundly superior to the usual Trek drivel, and the inversions of Wrath of Khan both fascinating and amusing. Perhaps the only real weak point was casting Peter Weller as Admiral Marcus. It was clear he was going to do a heel turn within 30 seconds of his appearance.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I must say Richard B has composed a pretty good rank list of all the Star Trek movies. Plus it's nice to see a ST movie fan who actually enjoyed the new Star Trek films. The internet is filled with haters of the JJ Abrams movies.

I have a few ideas for topics of discussion:

Best superhero/villain costume
What classic TV shows would you feature on your own TV channel?
What popular TV show do you tell people you watch but don't?

34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
I'm not a big Star Trek fan, it would bounce off my eyes if my big brother controlled the TV. I did love, love love the recent Chris Pine offering. He got everything, down, to the leg crossing mannerisms. It was great story telling all around.
34 weeks ago
34 weeks ago Link To Comment
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