uss enterpriseGreetings, my fellow port swillers!

My post below touching on the Star Trek movie I happened to have chosen to watch the evening I unexpectedly met Mrs. Robbo generated a fair bit of “wow, how did you dodge that bullet” commentary with respect to my choice, so I thought I would follow up with a completely gratuitous post summarizing my opinion of the franchise as a whole.

Mind you, I am NOT a “Trekkie”.  Yes, along with many others of my age, in my misspent yoot I spent a lot of weekday afternoons watching and loving reruns of the original series.  Yes, certain words and phrases from the series have made it into the Robbo lexicon.  Yes, I built a model or two of the Enterprise.  (For what it’s worth, I also had models of the Galactica, a Colonial Viper, an X-Wing and a TIE-Fighter.  I also built 1/48 scale models of most of the Allied fighters and bombers of WWII and hung them from my bedroom ceiling.) Yes, I was excited that the teevee series made it on to the big screen.  And yes, I know all about the Kobayashi Maru test.

But that’s it.  Totes serially.  I never owned a costume.  I never sought an autograph.  I never went to a convention.  I have never owned a “Star Fleet Academy” rear-window decal.  I never sought to learn how to speak Klingon.  And I never, ever, believed that the United Federation of Planets was any kind of political model for the real world.

I’m normal.  NORMAL,  I tell you!

Which is all to say that the following rankings are both completely subjective and probably shallow and  ill-informed as well.  I don’t care.

Anyhoo, here we go:

The Original Series Movies

1stStar Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.  A no-brainer, amirite?  A perfectly balanced film bringing out all the TOS tropes while also encapsulating the glories of space travel (the scene where the Enterprise leaves space dock always chokes me up) and setting up a classic submarine chess match between Kirk and Khan.  I like this film so much that I don’t even snicker at Scotty’s rendition of “Amazing Grace” on the pipes toward the end.  Without looking it up, I believe that even the late Prog New Yorker film critic Pauline Kael described it as “wonderful, dumb fun”.

2nd (tie)Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.  Two very different films with two very different sets of strengths and weaknesses which balance each other out in my mind.  ST4-TVH has a lot of anti-Reagan platitudes and hippy-dippy nature cant, but it holds up in terms of the chemistry among the main characters.  ST6-TUC would have been a much better film, but it spends too much time in dry, tedious Sherlock Holmes-like questing for clues surrounding its central mystery. (I say nothing of the fact that its main theme musick was a complete rip-off of “Mars, the Bringer of War” from Gustov Holst’s The Planets.)

4th (tie)Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.  Two films that, in my mind at least, shared the same fatal flaw in that both were so arch about themselves and the Universe they portrayed as to cross the border into camp.   The plot of STIII-SFS was reasonably sound and could have been done quite well, but was squandered in its execution – the whole disabling of the Excelsior, for example.  STV-TFF, on the other hand, while also carrying a not-unreasonable plot, was just….well, bad all around.

6thStar Trek: The Motion Picture.  Yep, sucked.  By golly, unless you weren’t there yourself, you don’t know the disappointment felt by a 14 y.o. boy of my previous Trek experience when this dog of a film hit the big screen, Bald Babe notwithstanding.  Personally, I blame Jimmy Carter.

The Next Generation Movies

Before getting to the films, I will say that I hated the first season or two of ST:TNG on teevee because it bent all over itself to show how politically correct it was:  Psychiatric counselor (in homespun body suit) on the bridge; Model U.N. -type captain; nary a shot fired in anger;  constant apologies for Mankind’s perceived past transgressions against Mother Universe.   However, after a while, the show seemed to calm down and turn its attention to teh stars out there instead of gazing at its own navel. (Well, okay, there was a good bit of the multiple personalities of Data and the, ah,  doings of Riker on the holideck, but you know what I mean.)

Anyhoo, I never cared as much about any of the TNG films as I did of teh TOS ones, probably because I never totally accepted the TNG premise.  Nonetheless, here we go:

1stStar Trek TNG: First Contact.  I always thought the Borg, the ultimate sci-fi manifestation of Collective Progressivism,  was the single greatest idea to come out of the minds of the TNG writers, however ironically.   I also liked the film’s easy treatment of the personalities and relationships that had evolved among the TNG Enterprise’s crew over the prior teevee seasons.  Instead of having to prove themselves, the characters seemed to be having fun.

2ndStar Trek TNG: Generations.  Weeeeell, it was okay, and I suppose a reasonably good hand-over, although I always laugh at the scene in which Kirk is cooking an omelet and directing Picard to fetch him various spices.  What bothers me is TMW – Too Much Whoopie.  (I could never stand her Guinan character.)

3rd (tie) – Star Trek TNG:  Insurrection and Star Trek TNG: Nemesis.  Whelp, I admit I don’t recall much of either film.  One had to do with a planet of Enlightened Vegan, Free-Range Baby-boom Volvo Drivers.  The other had to do with some kind of Evil Picard Clone doing Bad Things.  Frankly, it was all pretty dull.

Reboot Movies

I gather that there are two: Star Trek and Stark Trek Into Darkness.  I’ve seen neither and I spit on both.  Want your own story? Write your own damned story!

 

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