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Star Trek: From the Best to the Worst

Updated on December 22, 2016
Alec Zander profile image

Alec is a film critic with a true passion for the film industry & hopes his reviews and articles will help launch his career.

Star Trek has been taking its audiences on fantastic journeys since 1966. The films, however, didn't start until 1979 and are still going strong today. Below I have listed the Star Trek films from Best to Worst. Also, I have included a list of the films in chronological order along with my ratings of each film.

#1 - Star Trek: First Contact

Star Trek: First Contact finds the crew of the starship Enterprise pursuing the evil Borg back in time to prevent them from stopping humans from making first contact with aliens. If the Borg succeed, then Earth will become the new home for the Borg, Starfleet will never be founded and history will come undone.

The film is tense from the first moment to the last, the story constantly moving forward without slowing down or dragging. The acting was spectacular and the visuals were fantastic for their time. I give the film a 4 out of 4.

#2 - Star Trek: Generations

The Next Generation might have had fewer films, but it had the two best in the entire series. Star Trek: Generations bridges the gap between The Original Series and The Next Generation, bringing together the two captains for one incredible adventure. The best part of the film is when Picard and Kirk meet and Kirk comes to a beautiful realization that I wish more people would take to heart. I give the film a 4 out of 4.

#3: Star Trek

J.J. Abrams masterfully constructs Kirk and Spock's origin story, revealing what it was like for the two of them growing up and how they met. The interesting thing? They didn't care much for each other at first, but after a meeting with Future Spock, Kirk realized just how much pain Spock was really holding back in favor of logic.The best friendships are often born from conflict and that proved true for Kirk and Spock. The story is intricate and ultimately beautiful.The acting was well-done and the effects were spectacular. I give the film a 4 out of 4.

#4 - Star Trek: Into Darkness

The origin story continues with Star Trek: Into Darkness. The crew of the Enterprise faces off against their most dangerous and cunning enemy, Khan. I'm sure there will be people out there saying how dare I say this is better than Wrath of Khan. Well, the reason why I say Into Darkness is better is because how Khan is shown in this film. He's superior in intellect, but has a lot of inner pain which he turns into deep rage. He will stop at nothing to accomplish his goal, which is to take revenge on Starfleet for the murder of his crew. It's only after the Enterprise catches up to him that he finds out that his crew is frozen in cryosleep aboard the Enterprise. He's one step closer to accomplishing his goal and the crew doesn't even know it. Things get even more intense when the Commander of Starfleet reveals to have his own sinister plan. The storytelling, the emotion, and the acting was all top-notch and for that I give the film a 4 out of 4.

#5 - Star Trek: Beyond

The crew of the USS Enterprise has survived each other and became an unstoppable team. They have encountered and survived Khan. Now, they go above and beyond, to the very reaches of space, where they find their greatest challenge yet: Krall, a being that feeds on the energy of others to prolong his own life.

The story was excellent and the moral lessons clear and precise. The impressive writing is part of what keeps a movie flowing fluently, and this film does so remarkably. The humor isn't forced, but fits each situation in which it's presented perfectly. Simon Pegg has proven himself to be a wonderful writer as well as an-all out nerd that truly cares for the Star Trek universe both old and new. The character development is what truly stood out. We see Spock and Uhura growing closer, Kirk and Spock becoming the close friends that they are meant to be, but more interestingly, a connection beginning to flourish between Spock and Bones.

The acting was far superior to the previous films. Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto almost felt at home in their roles as Kirk and Spock respectively. Anton Yelchin, God rest his soul, gave us one final great performance as Scotty, and John Cho showed us a new side of Sulu that we haven't seen yet.

The most impressive part of the film, however, goes to the visual effects. The battle scenes and the makeup/costumes were all so fantastic. If they hadn't shown Idris Elba as a human later on, you never would have guessed who he was portraying. His accent was superbly done, catching his character's sinister attitude and dominating the role. But the one who truly stood out was Sofia Boutella as Jaylah. Not only was she very good in her role, but her look was so perfect that you could swear that was her real skin and hair.

I give the film a 4 out of 4.

#6 - Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan

Probably the most emotional of all the original films, Wrath of Khan pits Kirk against Khan, which in the chronology of things would be their second meeting. Khan is out for revenge against Kirk and will stop at nothing to destroy him along with the entire crew. The film was intense throughout and really pulled at your heartstrings, especially in the final moments. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.

#7 - Star Trek: The Final Frontier

The Final Frontier is one that really tries to philosophize with the audience and test people's thoughts and beliefs. The ultimate outcome is up to the viewer, but I found the film fascinating. It makes one dig deep within your minds and hearts and decide for yourself what you truly believe. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.

#8 - Star Trek: The Undiscovered Country

The final film in the original series finds Kirk and Spock falsely charged with murder and imprisoned. It's up to the crew of the Enterprise to free them and clear their names and find out who the real killer is. They soon find out that there's a galactic conspiracy in motion and only Kirk and his crew can stop it. The film is fantastic and perfectly ends the series, giving the crew the send off they all deserve. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.

#9 - Star Trek: Insurrection

Data has gone berserk and, after being captured and rebooted by Picard and his crew, they find out that the Federation is about to uproot a whole colony for its own gain. Picard decides to hold an open rebellion in order to save the colony's inhabitants. Besides the film having less than great effects compared to the earlier films, Star Trek: Insurrection has a wonderful story and a whole lot of heart. I give the film a 3.5 out of 4.

#10 - The Search for Spock

The Search for Spock is a pretty good film. Sure, it has its flaws, but it gives us an emotional adventure about friendship and loyalty and certainly delivers the punches. Sometimes it could drag and sometimes it could seem a bit over-the-top, but ultimately, it's worth the watch. I give it a 3 out of 4.

#11 - Star Trek: Nemesis

Star Trek: Nemesis finds Picard facing off against his clone. Each Picard had a different life, which bred different versions of each other. The film had some beautiful effects and a good story, but the film itself wasn't as great as the others. The acting wasn't up to par as per usual but the ending made up for its other issues. The sad part is is that what was supposed to be an emotional ending just seemed forced and not as heartbreaking as it should have been. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't great. I give the film a 3 out of 4.

#12 - Star Trek: The Voyage Home

This one was the silliest and most underwhelming entry of all. The Enterprise intercepted a call from an alien probe and the only way to prevent the probe from decimated Earth is to go back in time to 1986 and steal two humpback whales as they are the only creatures that can communicate with it. Even though the humor was good at times, it was an utterly ridiculous plot and tried far too hard, or maybe not hard enough, to be funny and heartwarming. I give the film a 2 out of 4.

#13 - Star Trek: The Motion Picture

The plot is simple: an enormous alien power is approaching earth at an alarming rate so Kirk takes the helm and tries to stop it. It's a good story but the film dragged on far too long and, might I add, unnecessarily. It's not often that most of a film's sequels and prequels are better than the initial first film, but in this case, it's true. Star Trek: The Motion Picture wasn't as good as it could've, or should've, been but it was good enough to keep the films coming. I give the film a 2 out of 4.

Complete Film List in Order by Year

  • Star Trek: The Motion Picture - 2 out of 4
  • Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan - 3.5 out of 4
  • Star Trek III: The Search for Spock - 3 out of 4
  • Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home - 2 out of 4
  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier - 3.5 out of 4
  • Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country - 3.5 out of 4
  • Star Trek: Generations - 4 out of 4
  • Star Trek: First Contact - 4 out of 4
  • Star Trek: Insurrection - 3.5 out of 4
  • Star Trek: Nemesis - 3 out of 4
  • Star Trek - 4 out of 4
  • Star Trek: Into Darkness - 4 out of 4
  • Star Trek: Beyond - 4 out of 4

Which Star Trek Film Is Your Favorite?

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Conclusion

Star Trek is without a doubt one of the most successful franchises in history, having five series, an upcoming new series, 13 films, and an upcoming 14th film. It's a beloved treasure that has been featured in countless TV shows and films and will always be a treasure in our hearts.

© 2016 Alec Zander

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