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What does God need with a starship?
June 9, 2014 8:30 PM   Subscribe

Today marks the 25th anniversary of a dark day for Star Trek fandom: the release of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier......or to give it its proper name, “The Worst Star Trek Movie That Isn’t Star Trek Into Darkness.” posted by zooropa (239 comments total) 25 users marked this as a favorite

 
My girlfriend and I just finished watching the entire original series, and now I am contemplating whether or not to force her to watch this along with the rest of the movies. Will the Undiscovered Country be all the sweeter afterward, or will the Final Frontier merely poison the well forever more?
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:40 PM on June 9


Into Darkness was better than Voyage Home, Generations and Nemisis.
posted by humanfont at 8:40 PM on June 9 [41 favorites]


IMDB list of Star-trek films from worst to best confirms this.
posted by cacofonie at 8:41 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


I only know about Star Trek from the movies and I don't remember this one at all. Why was it so bad?
posted by betweenthebars at 8:41 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


What part of "1989" didn't you get? This is the triumph of the cinematic arts that brought down the Berlin Wall!
posted by XMLicious at 8:43 PM on June 9 [11 favorites]


Is there a common consensus on the rankings of all the movies?

First Contact and Undiscovered Country are at the top for me, though my memory of the first 3 is foggy.
posted by wemayfreeze at 8:47 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Summer '89 was when sequelitis really kicked into gear. Sure, you had the Tim Burton Batman movie dominating the summer, but I just as strongly the disappointment that was this and Ghostbusters II.

Star Trek V was extra disappointing because I was spending part of that summer up at Lake Tahoe with my cousins. And no TV. But we did go into town to see one movie. And got to watch Uhura use the power of burlesque to vanquish evil and Kirk fire photon torpedoes at a god.
posted by thecjm at 8:52 PM on June 9


The hysteria over Into Darkness versus some of the earlier films in the series says an awful lot about Star Trek fandom.
posted by whittaker at 8:53 PM on June 9 [29 favorites]


II VI IV III I V
posted by zsazsa at 8:53 PM on June 9 [25 favorites]


(there are no other movies)
posted by zsazsa at 8:54 PM on June 9 [11 favorites]


Is there a common consensus on the rankings of all the movies?

First Contact and Undiscovered Country are at the top for me, though my memory of the first 3 is foggy.


I like 2, 3 and 4 because they form a trilogy of sorts, and 6 follows along pretty well from that and is the Star Trekiest.

I don't care so much for 1 because of the pajamas and it's really slow, and 5...I remember walking out of the movie theater at age 10 with my buddy who also loved Trek, looking at each other and going, basically, "What the fuck was that?"
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:55 PM on June 9


Honestly, I've always been of the opinion that ST V wasn't nearly as bad as its popular reputation would have it. For all of the jaw-dropping dumbness and Shatnerian egocentrism on display, it still basically works as a film of ideas in the classic Trek tradition. By coincidence, the title of this post, "What does God need with a starship?", was kind of a crucial "AHA" moment for 12-year-old me, just when I was first beginning to sort out my feelings about religion and philosophy. It's definitely not my favorite Star Trek (that honor goes to all seven seasons of ST:TNG) but I can't hate it.
posted by Strange Interlude at 8:56 PM on June 9 [16 favorites]


I kind of enjoy Star Trek: The Motion Picture—not as a film but as a feature length orchestral music video showcasing visual effects design from a very specific point in filmmaking history.
posted by whittaker at 8:59 PM on June 9 [22 favorites]


Ok, upon further review, I can't deny First Contact. I'd slot it in between IV and III. All the other TNG movies I'd lump in between I and V. The NuTrek movies are actually decent, but it's just not the same canon so I can't bring myself to rank it among the others.
posted by zsazsa at 9:00 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


II VI IV III I V

That's the code to my luggage.
posted by Joey Michaels at 9:01 PM on June 9 [38 favorites]


I clearly remember seeing it as a young teenager with a buddy on opening day, first screening; Berkeley California. It was so bad that when my friend and I left the theatre and saw the folks lined up for the next screening we spent some time imploring them not to see it.

So I’ve always thought of it as terrible. Remembered it as terrible. Yet, when I watched it recently, as an adult, was stunned by how adult it was. How heartfelt. How much more serious and meaningful it was in intent than the previous several films. Yes, it’s not good. But it’s definitely got something, is trying something. Something adult. Shatner was really trying to do something genuine here.

Also the use of practical, theatrical effects makes it stand out - during the flashbacks to McCoy’s father’s death for instance. So please don’t write it off as hokum. It’s a legitimate, if failed attempt, at genuine drama in the Star Trek universe.
posted by jettloe at 9:01 PM on June 9 [23 favorites]


I was a young, nerdy freshman in high school and this was the first Star Trek movie I was going to see in the theater and this is going to be AWESOME and oh my god what the hell is this crap?

That was the most befuddled and disappointed movie theater crowd I've ever been in. Even The Phantom Menace went down easier than that.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:01 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Into Darkness was better than Voyage Home, Generations and Nemisis.

Except for that one part where the Enterprise was in the Atmosphere of a planet. And that part where Khan put his buddies into torpedoes...why was that again? Oh and that part where the writers decided it would be a good idea to try and copy the emotional touchstones of WOK without having the characters earn them. Not to mention the gratuitous bra and panty shot in the shuttle. Oh and the super blood.

I'll take the Final Frontier, warts and all, over that dreck any day of the week.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 9:01 PM on June 9 [36 favorites]


My order is sort of like zsazsa's only it's II, II, II, II, Hey, every play Starfleet Battles?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 9:06 PM on June 9 [9 favorites]


Into Darkness : Final Frontier :: Thomas Kinkade : Bob Ross
posted by crayz at 9:13 PM on June 9 [21 favorites]


Into Darkness was better than Voyage Home, Generations and Nemisis.

Was Nemisis really so bad? It felt more like a season finale two-part episode of the bizarro world TNG Season 8, but I actually kinda liked it, but maybe only for seeing more of the Romulan homeworld than before.

But if we're being honest, First Contact is the only TNG movie anyone should really care about.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:14 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


Hey, it gave us the greatest music video ever
posted by fallingbadgers at 9:14 PM on June 9 [6 favorites]


The problem with the JJ movies is that they're action movies, when the best of Trek is in the adventure mold. Plenty of action in adventure movies, but lots of other stuff, too. JJ's Trek is just GO GO GO GO GO.

Which makes me verrryyy anxious about Star Wars. Boo.
posted by wemayfreeze at 9:14 PM on June 9 [16 favorites]


While I remember liking Undiscovered Country when I saw it in the theater, but it really doesn't hold up on further viewing. I liked Sulu's opening bit, that's where it should have ended.

The only good parts of Into Darkness are the opening bits with the uncontacted civilization on the planet in the opening, and Scotty slumming it in the bar. Everything else doesn't earn the drama that it shoots for. Really felt like they couldn't figure out how the plot was going to work, so they threw in a bunch of homages to a much better movie.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 9:20 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


Also I just watched Insurrection, which, if half as long, would be a decent Frakes-directed episode and is instead a pretty dumb Frakes-directed movie. It feels very small.

Generations is pretty good, not great, but completely validates its existence with Data's lovely little lifeforms song.
posted by wemayfreeze at 9:20 PM on June 9 [17 favorites]


To badly go where no man has gone before...
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:20 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


I hadn't seen Insurrection before watching Red Letter Media's analysis. That analysis lead to "browns and beige ... and mother of pearl" becoming a catchphrase with my family.
posted by zippy at 9:31 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


I initially liked First Contact quite a bit. But then a friend of mine gave me what I think is a very compelling reason to dislike the movie, and I haven't been able to watch it since. Here's the reason to dislike First Contact:
The Borg Queen.
The Borg Queen ruins what was best about the Borg. The Borg is a collective. It has no leader. It has no hierarchy. If you blow up a ship ... oh well. There are lots more. All perfectly fungible. They won't bargain with you. They don't have dreams or hopes. They only want to swallow you up. The Borg won't stop until either every last one of them is dead or every last one of you is assimilated.

The Borg was a scary, fascinating, creepy threat. Right up until the introduction of the Borg Queen. Even all the silliness with Hugh and Lor you could dismiss as splinter groups off of the real Borg Collective. But not after the Queen. Especially with the retconned relationship between the Queen and Locutus.

Anyway, after hearing my friend's argument, I haven't thought so much of First Contact. Honestly, I haven't watched any of the Next Generation movies in several years. But I do periodically go back and watch three or four of the original movies. I suppose I rank them like: II > VI > III > IV >> I > V. Partly that ranking reflects my sense that II, III, and VI make a really good trilogy if you just assume that the Vulcan woman is the same character, rather than two characters played by three different actresses.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 9:31 PM on June 9 [33 favorites]


Final Frontier was the first movie my dad and I saw together in the theater that we both didn't like, so it will always have a special place in my heart.

It is also the last science fiction movie of any kind that my mother saw in the theater, I think.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:31 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


I think Star Trek IV - the one where they put whales on a spaceship - is when they jumped the shark.
posted by twoleftfeet at 9:33 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


yeah the queen was real dumb, but hey they bought the rights to play one roy orbison song and they got some mileage out of that!
posted by Ferreous at 9:38 PM on June 9


I liked the one where Dr. Elizabeth Dehner defeats Gary Mitchell and returns to Earth to start a new life as a superpowered detective taking along Yeoman Colt as her live-in assistant / sidekick / lover.

You probably didn't see that one since it's only ever been shown in my head.
posted by George_Spiggott at 9:39 PM on June 9 [11 favorites]


I was of an age when I first saw this where it wasn't even possible for a Star Trek movie to be bad but even still I was just happy there wasn't any time travel.

In general, I'm partial to the first because there is something visceral about its opening scenes with the red emergency lighting and the mysterious danger out in the dark that I think the others lack. The first movie captures something distinctive about the fear and risk of going boldly (remember the transporter malfunction?) in the same way that I thought the first reboot captured something distinctive about the astonishing physical power of the Enterprise in the updated going-to-warp special effect.
posted by feloniousmonk at 9:44 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


I'm going on record as being a fan of all the Shatner Trek films.

II > IV > vi > III > I > V

Bu even so, V is a lot of fun. I debate whether I is worse than V.

I recently had the pleasure of watching IV with my wife, a huge scifi and huge trek fan, who had skipped iv on original release because it was so obviously gimmicky. Not only did she love it with the perspective of 20 years' time passing, but my esteem for it grew enormously.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:44 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


The Borg was a scary, fascinating, creepy threat. Right up until the introduction of the Borg Queen. Even all the silliness with Hugh and Lor you could dismiss as splinter groups off of the real Borg Collective. But not after the Queen. Especially with the retconned relationship between the Queen and Locutus.

This seems to be a common Hollywood theme of the '00s, where everything has to be an action movie with a clearly define antagonist. Same thing happened with 28 Weeks Later, the impersonal terror of the zombie horde was completely compromised by Dad Zombie who somehow retained malevolent agency through the zombification process.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:47 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


I will stand by the statement that anyone that feels Star Trek V "wasn't that bad" has not tried to watch it recently.

Spock's brother, who comes out of no where. "I will take away your pain." No, no you won't.
Uhura dancing...Dancing to distract the mooks.

Ugh.
posted by Paladin1138 at 9:50 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


Motherfuckin' whales on a motherfuckin' spaceship!
posted by XMLicious at 9:50 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


V is extremely uneven. "What does God want with a starship?" is an awesome scene and it's not the only one, but the campfire singing and Uhuru dancing are insults to bad fanfiction.

V is stupid in the exact same way that many of the original series episodes were stupid. It doesn't make less sense than the time Kirk fought the god Apollo. It's pretty much exactly the same plot as that, though worsened by stretching it out to movie length.
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 9:52 PM on June 9 [6 favorites]


You probably didn't see that one since it's only ever been shown in my head.

Of course I remember "Liz Dehner: CSI". It was on right after "The Isis & Gary Seven Show"
posted by Stoatfarm at 9:54 PM on June 9 [7 favorites]


but why did the phasers change color?
posted by infinitewindow at 10:06 PM on June 9


I will stand by the statement that anyone that feels Star Trek V "wasn't that bad" has not tried to watch it recently.

"I like my pain"
posted by fatbird at 10:08 PM on June 9 [9 favorites]


They just showed IV (the one with the whales) on TV a couple weeks ago, so it's fresh in my mind. MAN ALIVE that is a stupidly plotted movie. The Federation has time travel, but they never use it the same way that everyone follows the Prime Directive - only when the writer has got himself into a plot problem he can't figure his way out of, and then, hey bang presto, the rules aren't the rules any more.

And also we never hear anything about whales and the Federation ever again. Nobody is interested in why the Death Probe of the Whale People comes to town, menaces Earth, and then just goes toodling off into the sky again. If you had something screaming whalesong at you nonstop for days while it threatens to obliterate your species, wouldn't you be the least bit curious who sent it and why they were so interested in one variety of marine mammal?

And why was the Death Probe satisfied with a quick chat with a single pair of humpbacks? (And how did it hear them through water, air and vacuum, anyway?) Was there no compassion for the other whale species humans obliterated, or the gruesome genetic bottleneck of George and Gracie?

I am saying, here, that IV is worse than you remember it, even though "nuclear wessels" holds up. (My God, the toupees and also the bell-bottoms.)
posted by gingerest at 10:08 PM on June 9 [13 favorites]


... b-b-b-but the trailer said Star Trek V is the boldest Trek of all!
posted by mazola at 10:10 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


I recall dodging out of work early 25 years ago to go see this and being dismayed indeed. Recall the context: this was the first Kirk-era Trek to appear while TNG was on the air. It was still a wobbly faun, but it was gaining confidence: already in 1989 we had met the Borg for the first time and had TNG's first stone-cold classic ("The Measure of a Man"). Still, Kirk and Co. were still clearly ahead of the game, coming out of the II-III-IV trilogy. And then... campfire songs, a laughing messianic Vulcan, a weird backlot Planet of Peace, burping Klingons, a grandmotherly Uhura doing a fan dance, Scotty's "I know this ship like the back of my hand -- KLONK", dismal special effects... not only was it falling behind its offspring, it was about as sophisticated as a so-so episode of Knight Rider.

It is still more watchable than, say, Star Trek: Nemesis a decade and change later, but at least that one has the distinction of having been directed by a guy who had never seen Star Trek. This one was made by a guy who was for better or worse synonymous with Star Trek. It was just so baffling.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 10:11 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Into Darkness asks us to believe that pretty, vapid Chris Pine is the only person to whom it occurs that a meeting of all of Starfleet senior command in an undefended skyscraper in a publicized meeting at a publicized time is not a great idea. That's where the suspension of disbelief breaks. Chris Pine is there to look pretty and make impulsive, square-jawed decisions. He is not there to outthink anybody. At all.

Also obviously the total societal breakdown during which Zephraim Cochrane built warp drive was worse than we knew, as Starfleet has lost EVEN THE MOST BASIC MILITARY INFORMATION ON SECURITY. I mean, next movie, these guys invite a giant hollow wooden horse that's a gift from the Klingons to Starfleet graduation and sit an honor guard of every last admiral in the Fleet around it. Jesus.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 10:15 PM on June 9 [26 favorites]


i'm still amazed that people think that iv/the voyage home is a good movie. like is that some sarcastic statement about how much of a ham sandwich it is? my entire family calls it "save the whales", and it's placed on the same level of laugh-at-it-not-with-it as like, they live and videodrome.

it's not bad, it's completely hilariously cheesy and has nothing to do with star trek. it's like someone told them they only had 1/4 the budget of the old movies to actually make it, so they just took some cameras and Shatner and caught the bus from the studio to go do improv around town.

People ranking it fairly high always felt like it was some tiresome wink-wink nudge-nudge nerd inside joke.
posted by emptythought at 10:19 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


I skipped on seeing VI in the theater because V was so horrible, yes, Uhura dancing and the row row row your boat singing still turns my stomach in memory... IV was cool with the Monterey Aquarium and anything with real San Fran outside shooting is surreal.

To me, much of VI is what much of the quotes are, Shakespeare in space. Loved the effects, dialogue, acting, and I really should not be wondering about the inverted nipples on one of the crewmembers, and having Yeoman Rand do the 'hold out your hand like a beggar' was kinda, ehhhh... yeah. Has to be a better closing pose than that. Still very watchable, and good quips like ~'are you having problems with your hearing' always stand out. Good stuff.

And then Generations recycled the explosion. Cheapness ensues.
posted by buzzman at 10:19 PM on June 9


all of Starfleet senior command in an undefended skyscraper ... is not a great idea

After what happened to the archive on the ninety-ninth subbasement, it seemed like a good idea to mix it up and meet in a tower with giant glass windows.
posted by zippy at 10:20 PM on June 9 [7 favorites]


Anyone who thinks that "Star Trek: Into Darkness" is the worst Star Trek film made is disqualified from making any judgement about movies ever.

Seriously. Anyone who thinks that probably thinks that "Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones" is the absolute best that SF has to offer film.

They also need to be set on fire and abandoned deep in Antartica, and I only say that because there are actual human beings being raised in the Outback of Australia and the Sahara Desert.

Sorry, Antartica.
posted by eriko at 10:31 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


and it's placed on the same level of laugh-at-it-not-with-it as like, they live and videodrome.

um
posted by atoxyl at 10:37 PM on June 9 [14 favorites]


I don't know about videodrome, but they live is super tongue in cheek so yeah you can laugh with it.

Sorry totally misread that: Don't laugh at they live! Laugh with it, it knows exactly what it is doing!
posted by Ferreous at 10:40 PM on June 9 [8 favorites]


Is this the one Shatner directed, with Spock in the rocket boots? The best part is how Bones, Kirk and Spock all seem to neatly line up throughout.

>I don't know about videodrome

LONG LIVE THE NEW SPOCK!
posted by Catblack at 10:40 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


Worse than the one with the space whale?
posted by miyabo at 10:44 PM on June 9


they live is a laugh with movie
videodrome is a legit good movie
posted by atoxyl at 10:54 PM on June 9 [6 favorites]


The Borg was a scary, fascinating, creepy threat.

Hells yes! Here's one that's worth a rewatch sometime on Netflix - ST:Enterprise S2 E23 "Regeneration." Wonderfully Borgtastic, and sort of like a sequel to First Contact.
posted by hush at 10:55 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


Spock's brother, who comes out of no where. "I will take away your pain." No, no you won't.
Uhura dancing...Dancing to distract the mooks.


scotty is removed from proceedings for a while by suddenly knocking himself out hitting his head on a pipe
posted by atoxyl at 10:58 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


Into Darkness was better than Voyage Home, Generations and Nemisis.

Pistols at dawn, sir! Whales! Nothing can compete with the whales!

Wrath of Khan
The Undiscovered Country
The Voyage Home
First Contact
The Search for Spock
Star Trek (2009)
The Motion Picture
Generations
The Final Frontier
Nemesis
Into Darkness
Insurrection
posted by brundlefly at 11:02 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


scotty is removed from proceedings for a while by suddenly knocking himself out hitting his head on a pipe

That bit slayed me as a kid. My dad and I still joke about it. "I know this ship like the back of me hand!" *thunk*
posted by brundlefly at 11:03 PM on June 9 [3 favorites]


Anyone who thinks that "Star Trek: Into Darkness" is the worst Star Trek film made is disqualified from making any judgement about movies ever.

Seriously. Anyone who thinks that probably thinks that "Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones" is the absolute best that SF has to offer film.


That's not just a leap. That's like... a rocket assisted jump on a low gravity planet.

Into Darkness is not the worst Trek movie, but it is pretty damn bad, and in fact I'd say it has plenty of similarities to Attack of the Clones. Nonsense plotting, cringeworthy awkward scenes, terrible dialogue, unearned callbacks to earlier canon, etc.
posted by kmz at 11:12 PM on June 9 [11 favorites]


"Star Trek Colon The Motion Picture" is the best Star Trek movie because it is pure Star Trek distilled in a tachyon beam to pure Star Trekkiness.

"Star Trek II : The Wrath of Khan" is the best movie period because my dad took me to see it at the Regency Theater in the summer of 1982.
posted by device55 at 11:14 PM on June 9 [18 favorites]


Final Frontier wasn't very good but it at least understood what Star Trek is. It isn't as terrible as everyone makes out, it's just mediocre and cheap and the cast is too old.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 11:15 PM on June 9 [8 favorites]


I'll jump on and support brundlefly's list, that's my order as well...in fact I hated Into Darkness so much I might even flip it for Insurrection when I'm jonesing for some TNG.
posted by trackofalljades at 11:15 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


videodrome is a legit good movie

yea i googled it and realized i was thinking of something else. like, UHF maybe? whoops.
posted by emptythought at 11:16 PM on June 9


Into Darkness is an animated gif on Reddit.
posted by device55 at 11:17 PM on June 9 [8 favorites]


For all the very deserved scorn the film gets, I give credit to Shatner for at least trying to do some things to advance the characters.

Exhibit A: McCoy's gut-wrenching scene where he is forced to relive the euthanasia of his father. To this day, his anguished plea ("My God, don't do this to me!") jus slays me. It's raw, real and heartfelt. Throw on the fact that he's a doctor and they discovered a cure shortly after and you have tragedy.

Yes. The movie gets hammy. But for brief moments, it is ballsy and dramatic.
posted by zooropa at 11:18 PM on June 9 [8 favorites]


Ok, Trek movies group something like this (best to worst):
Wrath of Khan
Star Trek (2009)
The Motion Picture

The Undiscovered Country
The Voyage Home
Into Darkness
First Contact
The Search for Spock

The Final Frontier
Generations
Nemesis
Insurrection
You're welcome.
posted by mazola at 11:18 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


Yes. The movie gets hammy. But for brief moments, it is ballsy and dramatic.

The boldest Trek of all?
posted by mazola at 11:19 PM on June 9


Star Trek (2009) gets worse with every viewing because of the piled up spoiled potential.
posted by device55 at 11:20 PM on June 9 [6 favorites]


Okay I think this is a place I can safely state my opinion because I got dogpiled when I said it in the SA star trek thread, but:

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country is where Star Trek really started going sour.

V is bad, it is cheesy and overdone and silly and every other complaint about it is true. But it is at least hopeful at its core.

VI is the first one of the series where there is a clear Big Evil Badguy that has to be killed without offer of surrender. V'ger was talked into another plane of existence, Khan was told he'd be boarded so then blew himself up in spite, Kirk offered Kruge his hand but he decided lava was the better choice, the probe just wanted to hang out and watch some TV or something, and Sybok ended up doing the right thing by buying time for everyone to escape at the cost of his life.

But in VI General Chang doesn't get any offer of mercy, just a torpedo in his face. This is a pattern that holds for the rest of the non-JJ movies, and the first JJ movie has the character that's supposed to be the smartest and most logical directly reject extending an olive branch to the enemy.

Then there's the obvious heavy message draped over it, with the Klingons as the Russians and Praxis like Chernobyl and blah blah blah Klingon Lincoln. It's where Star Trek really started to believe its own press, and tried to portray itself full of Very Serious Social Thoughts without doing the work of actually saying something meaningful. The antagonists went from being misunderstood to being two-dimensionally evil.

V has heart, at least. The movies after it are big, but they all lack that spark of morality that's in the best parts of Star Trek.
posted by smasuch at 11:21 PM on June 9 [18 favorites]


I've always thought of The Final Frontier as a sort of retelling of the "Way To Eden" episode from the original series - but instead of a 1960s-era hippie bad guy, they went with 1980s era-religious zealot bad guy. Or something. I didn't hate it. What can I say? I've just always loved it whenever they got the old crew together.
posted by hush at 11:23 PM on June 9 [4 favorites]


It's where Star Trek really started to believe its own press, and tried to portray itself full of Very Serious Social Thoughts without doing the work of actually saying something meaningful.

I'm sorry, where were you during the one with the whales? "Whaling is bad! But we won't actually identify any whaling countries! Or talk about habitat!" (Do not try to tell me that we weren't talking about marine habitat in 1984 - every Jacques Cousteau film was about habitat ecology.)
posted by gingerest at 11:28 PM on June 9


I always felt the whale topic did feel more natural, maybe because as you said, it was a hot topic then. But the Klingon/Russian thing in VI and a lot of the stuff afterwards was like somebody poking you in the ribs and going "Get it?! Get it!?"
posted by smasuch at 11:31 PM on June 9 [1 favorite]


Jonathan Livengood: The Borg was a scary, fascinating, creepy threat. Right up until the introduction of the Borg Queen. Even all the silliness with Hugh and Lor you could dismiss as splinter groups off of the real Borg Collective. But not after the Queen. Especially with the retconned relationship between the Queen and Locutus.


What's the most bizarre about this, is if you go back and read the interviews recently posted as an fpp the same people wrote all good things, generations, AND first contact.

And it's just like what.

how.

no.

It kinda ties back into my theory that most bands have one or two really good albums in them, and maybe another halfway decent one and then they just go off the rails. Exceptional bands will do three, and a few legends do more. The heyday of good TNG was their first album, the ending was the second. Generations and first contact were basically the deep cuts and material after that.

When you look at it that way, it makes a lot of sense. Especially since he went on minus most of the team to go work on voyager... which ended up essentially being those later moments in the long tail of a bands life when here and there, you might still get one good track or something that still has a really catchy hook or earwormy quality that harkens back to the good stuff. But most of the time, it's just kinda sad to watch.

There's good discussion about that in this fpp, and that article is a good comparison as well.

God the borg queen is an embarrassing fuckup though. i was so disappointed that it showed up in voyager too, although by the time the show had reached that point it was teetering on the edge of "bad scifi channel original series" levels of wut.

device55: Star Trek (2009) gets worse with every viewing because of the piled up spoiled potential

Yea, i don't know if i'll ever be able to get over this. It wasn't perfect, but the actors they chose and their performances were on point, and it did some cute/awesome/clever stuff. It didn't really have any of the "boobs for the sake of boobs" of the second new movie, or a lot of hte other things that just make that a total eyerollfest

Before into darkness came out, me and my friends were excited for where this movie could take a potential new franchise. They had set the stage, and really put on a solid show with just enough wink-nudge or overt references to the old series that you could forgive some stupid shit like the enterprise being built on earth(or at least try to). It made everyone i know who loved star trek hopeful again, it made people i knew who didn't even really like star trek want to explore the universe more and start asking me and other friends who were trekkies where they should start with getting into it.

Then the sequel was basically them getting really wasted and sharting while singing karaoke off key.

gingerest: I'm sorry, where were you during the one with the whales? "Whaling is bad! But we won't actually identify any whaling countries! Or talk about habitat!" (Do not try to tell me that we weren't talking about marine habitat in 1984 - every Jacques Cousteau film was about habitat ecology.)

I don't know, i think you're both capable of being right here. IV was like your drunk friend falling over and everyone going "you ok man?" and them going "yea i'm good" and sort of going through the motions with V. V was "wait, you guys realize this IS star trek right?".

I absolutely agree with the idea that with the exception of the small screen, the soul of the thing died to an extent after V. V was like, the last gasp of life.

Why couldn't we have gotten a really good DS9 movie or something? ugh.
posted by emptythought at 11:33 PM on June 9 [9 favorites]


II, III, and VI make a really good trilogy if you just assume that the Vulcan woman is the same character, rather than two characters played by three different actresses.

Well, to be fair, Lt. Saavik was played by two different actresses. I enjoyed both Kirstie Alley's (II) and Robin Curtis' (III and IV) performances as Saavik. Supposedly, Saavik was half Vulcan and half Romulan - once I heard that I felt a lot better about Alley's Saavik crying at Spock's funeral.

OTOH, Curtis absolutely nailed that Vulcan restraint when she delivered the news: "David is dead." There was an incredible subtlety in the movements of her face. Just tremendous.
posted by hush at 11:51 PM on June 9 [7 favorites]


Part of the problem with this discussion is that, by convention, it requires packaging your tastes into a movie-sized judgement, which necessarily compromises everyone's standards.

Can we all just agree that the lowest point of the Star Trek universe, the moment of stupidest, most worthless absurdity, the moment of purest authorial indulgence with plausiblity thrown to the far side of the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker... is when Riker flies the Enterprise by joystick?
posted by fatbird at 11:52 PM on June 9 [6 favorites]


the moment of purest authorial indulgence with plausiblity thrown to the far side of the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker

I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Benedict Khanderbatch beaming himself from Earth to the Klingon homeworld is worse.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 11:57 PM on June 9 [18 favorites]


i would argue that this was dumber, even though it's become like some nerd shibboleth.
posted by emptythought at 11:57 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


actually god dammit i should have used preview the transporter thing breaks the entire freaking universe
posted by emptythought at 11:58 PM on June 9 [2 favorites]


I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Benedict Khanderbatch beaming himself from Earth to the Klingon homeworld is worse.

Yep. As far as I know, Riker wasn't able to destroy the premise of the franchise with his joystick.
posted by brundlefly at 12:00 AM on June 10 [18 favorites]


Into Darkness is the least Trek-like of Star Trek movies, can we at least agree on that?
posted by Apocryphon at 12:17 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


Well, to be fair, Lt. Saavik was played by two different actresses.

Yeah, that's what I was saying. Saavik (played by Alley and then Curtis) is the character in II and III. They change to a new character, Valeris (played by Cattrall), in VI. But I think the story arc makes a lot more sense if you think of all three actresses as playing the same character: Spock's protege. If that character has all of the experiences from II, III, and VI, her actions in VI make a lot more sense. As does Spock's intense reaction to her betrayal in the end.
posted by Jonathan Livengood at 12:20 AM on June 10 [13 favorites]


I don't remember many specifics of movie no. 5, but it had the holy trinity of Kirk-Spock-McCoy and was therefore very watchable. Those three had such an amazing chemistry.

My rankings would be Khan first, ST:The Moving Picture second, III, V, IV. Definitely agree that IV was greatly overrated and I have no idea why some love it so much. I only saw the first two TNG movies and I'd take saving the whales over either of those two. Only saw the first JJ Trek and it's probably the worst one of all. If Into Darkness was worse, then God (with a starship) help us.

There's part of me which loves the first movie the most. I know it's a kinda low rent version of 2001, but it's the only thing from Star Trek which clearly depicts the flip side of space exploration. The side which isn't some grand-happy-ending-adventure but rather showing space as something cold and vast, full of things which cannot be comprehended, and, even if you survive, there's a part of you damaged or changed forever. The one time Trek kinda sorta approached the Lovecraftian view of the unknown.
posted by honestcoyote at 12:24 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


the transporter thing breaks the entire freaking universe

Later in the movie, Bones CURES DEATH so whatever the transporter did to the Universe is maybe ultimately a good thing for in-Universe characters and bad if you care about dramatic stakes or things making sense or other boring stuff.
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:37 AM on June 10 [14 favorites]


Most of the Star Trek movies were bad, but they were ancillary to the TV show.

Like, imagine Star Trek as a restaurant, at which you were a regular. You liked the atmosphere, you liked the ritual of going there with people you know, etc. The dinner specials were varied and sometimes pretty good and that's what everyone was there for. The chef also liked to make special whimsical desserts now and then, and sometimes they were fucking inedible, but you didn't mind letting the chef indulge himself a little, it was part of the experience and almost an inside joke. (Plus, the pecaaaan! pie that one time was legendary for being surprisingly good.)

Then the restaurant closed and everyone was sad.

But wait! Now some big-name guys from out of town come in and say they're going to re-open the restaurant. Except apparently it's only going to serve dessert. You tell yourself, okay, not really what we wanted, but maybe they'll do it right. Having some good dessert at this place will be a welcome change at least, ha ha! We can adjust to this, it's better than nothing, etc.

Opening day comes and... it's not so awful! Maybe this can work out. The dessert is kind of standard but it's solid, and the restaurant is clean inside at least. Maybe the lights are a bit glaring. Also the waiters seem rude, and the chef is an asshole. But, maybe they're just serious about the quality of the desserts. It's about that, now.

Two weeks later they change the menu, and it's boring, stupid, shitty-tasting chain restaurant dumpster garbage. Upon which they sprinkled some pecan dust.

That's why Into Darkness is the worst Trek movie.
posted by bleep-blop at 12:52 AM on June 10 [43 favorites]


I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Benedict Khanderbatch beaming himself from Earth to the Klingon homeworld is worse.

Yep. As far as I know, Riker wasn't able to destroy the premise of the franchise with his joystick.


Hah, wow. Yeah.
posted by crayz at 12:57 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


Look, Benny Krumbles is in line to be Doctor Strange. Dude can do whatever the fuck he wants.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 3:42 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Star Trek V has some good stuff in it, like the campfire scenes. But when it gets dire, it gets truly dire. (The Uhura fan dance, oh, my god...)

All of the Trek movies have something to recommend them, even that first Abrams thing. (I hated about 80% of it, but it had some good action movie stuff.) I really like the original Motion Picture for its weird, trippy, 2001-esque epic-ness, and I will never understand all the hate for Generations. That movie feels like a real Next Generation movie to me, in a way that none of the others did. Like, a really good episode of the show, but with higher stakes and a bigger budget and some really lovely cinematography. There's some good character stuff in there, with Picard losing his family and Data freaking out about his emotion chip. I always geek out during the big crash at the end, when the Enterprise is slooooooowly crashing through the wilderness and we see this mountain in the foreground with those itty-bitty trees. There's something about that particular shot that feels so real to me, the ship really looks immense and the crash is terrifying in this super-cool way.

Also: "Time is the fire... in which we burn." Come on!

That being said, the Kirk stuff doesn't quite work, and his death is underwhelming. It works as a Next Generation movie but not really as an original series movie, and maybe that's what drove people so nuts.

You probably didn't see that one since it's only ever been shown in my head.

I've always wondered why nothing has ever really been done with Gary Seven. Remember, that backdoor pilot from the original series, with the guy from the 24th century hanging out in the 1960s? With Terri Garr as the kooky secretary? It's not a great episode, but the premise is fun. An actual spin-off series would perhaps be too much to hope for, but I'm surprised the character never even turned up on Enterprise or anything.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:31 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]


V is definitely a milestone in my falling out of love with Trek. For me ST-TNG was basically Trek's Phantom Menace so I'd given up on TV Trek by '89 but the movies I - IV all had some merit but V really just killed the last embers of Trek fandom for me.
posted by octothorpe at 4:36 AM on June 10


The thing about Star Trek V is, without it we wouldn't have the excellence that is Shatner of the Mount. (previously on the blue.)
posted by namewithoutwords at 5:03 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I think there must be a law that the older the series, the higher the expectations, and the bigger the dashed hopes.

But the Tao of Star Trek is that Star Trek generally stinks, except when does not, then it has the potential to be brilliant, but often falls just a bit short.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 5:12 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


The thing about V is that it's almost a decent movie. There was an episode of TNG called "The Chase", which was about the effort to find the reason why so many planets have natives that look like humans with bumpy foreheads. (Or Klingons with smooth foreheads, if you will.) If V had given Sybok a decent monologue in which he talks about how he'd started off as this Vulcan psychotherapist who had set up a practice mind-melding with patients in order to find "their secret pain" but then realizing that no matter how many people he helped that way, the galaxy would still always be on the edge of war, and then he had this big revelation that if only he could find the common origin for all the humanoid races, they could stop fighting and have a groovy love-in--that might have made for the core of a decent film, and set up the ending to resolve that There Are No Simple Solutions To Complex Problems and that the important thing was that people at least had started talking.. (Especially if/when it's revealed that Sybok's whole get-in-touch-with-your-secret-pain trick was actually a type of mind control that didn't really resolve anyone's problems.)

But that would have required a filmmaker with more discipline than Shatner, who seemed to have done the whole thing purely out of ego (since Nimoy had done a couple of films that had been well-received). He never really developed the film's ideas, and instead would cut to stupid gags--here's Uhura doing a fan dance! Here's Scotty walking into a bulkhead that's in plain sight!--that stand out mostly because the rest of the film is a muddled mess. The best interpretation of the film that I've read centers around the scenes with Kirk, Spock and McCoy around the campfire, and Spock musing about "Row, Row, Row Your Boat"'s line, "Life is but a dream"--the whole silly mess was a dream, you see. But that's just a Hail Mary pass at justifying considering the film to be non-canon. Whatever silliness the other films got up to (and using a Klingon Bird of Prey to save the whales is pretty silly), they were at least about something, or made a more than decent effort to be about something; STV never quite gets there.
posted by Halloween Jack at 5:19 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]


I thought Scotty walking into a beam joke was ok, given that the previous movie established that they were given a brand new ship. While the ship looks exactly like the Constitution Refit, it's technically a new design, so probably has a few slight structural differences.

Anyway, that's my way of nerdsplaining the joke, which I thought was one of the few enjoyable moments of V.
posted by Fleebnork at 5:30 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


I thought Scotty walking into a beam joke was ok, given that the previous movie established that they were given a brand new ship. While the ship looks exactly like the Constitution Refit, it's technically a new design, so probably has a few slight structural differences.

Headcannon accepted!
posted by Paladin1138 at 5:36 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


I think the Headcannon's from Snow Crash.
posted by zamboni at 5:39 AM on June 10


Am I the only one who finds much of TNG cringeworthy if only for the horrific naming? You spend your life working on humanoid androids and name your crowning achievement "Data"?! You're a species that communicates in binary so you're the "Binars"?! You named your planet "BZ" in 2 different Western alphabets, begging the question of what happened to the "Alpha Zeds"?! You're a terrifying race of cyborgs made via merger-and-acquisition and you name yourselves with a nickname version of "Cyborg" that recalls a popular Austalian Tennis star whose name still appears on underwear from Down Under?!

That and the uniformly British-sounding Frenchmen, the thinly disguised slur that is the Ferenghi, and the all-powerful race of sophomoric men whose powers stop at remedies for their receding hairlines, all make me positively yearn for a Klingon-spanning transporter beam and the reset that makes all of the above less likely to ever be found again.
posted by Stoatfarm at 5:43 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


Star Trek I: That noise.
posted by Monkey0nCrack at 5:51 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


ST:V exists in the same way that SW I/II/III don't.

Christ that movie was a pile of awful.

VI will always remain my favourite though, if for no other reason than the final scene, which was an emotionally gutwrenching, dignified goodbye to the cast of the original series.

"Second star to the left, and straight on 'til morning" still summons that demon onion-chopper anytime I see it.

Plus, for fuck's sake, Christopher Plummer in Klingon drag quoting every Shakespeare play he's ever done at Stratford.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 5:56 AM on June 10 [11 favorites]


I'll go on record as liking both V and Into Darkness. They both get a bum rap, in my opinion.

V is probably my least favorite of the first six, but I like them all. The first one was my least favorite until I saw the director's cut (or whatever it's called), which was much, much better than what I remember from the theater.

Into Darkness - the over the top hate seems to me to be basically based upon the idea that the director is Michael Bay-esque, blow-em-up-real-good. I don't think I've seen anything by him besides his two Trek films, but they didn't really seem that way to me. They were certainly action films to a large degree, but they weren't mindless. And another complaint is always "He doesn't understand Star Trek", seemingly referring (at least in some cases) to the Federation ideals. This did not seem to be the case at all to me. His films were loaded with Kirk and crew struggling to make the Federation and themselves into what we the viewers now think the Federation to be. I mean, Into Darkness was basically one big commentary on how the ideals of America have taken a nosedive since 9/11.

The TNG ones were the worst. I mean, I still liked them on some level, but they were soooooo cheesy, and much as I love Patrick Stewart, his decision to press for Captain Picard to become an action hero is what the people who complain that "Into Darkness was an action movie! It didn't understand Trek!" should be complaining about.
posted by Flunkie at 6:08 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


I think the problem is that the best Trek isn't in a film, it's on television. Trek is a television show. When you blew up the premise to make it a movie, something was lost. The best movie Trek can't match the best TV Trek. It's not even close.
posted by inturnaround at 6:12 AM on June 10 [5 favorites]


You're wrong and you're a bad person. Into Darkness was a pile of dreck with (reallllllllllllllllllllly) pretty faces and bodies. Bad plot bad acting LENS FLARE kaboom. That was the entire movie.

(Bonus fact, New Scotty is played by the guy who was the son on Huff which was a criminally underrated show.)
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:14 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Sure, whatever you say.
posted by Flunkie at 6:15 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I'm agreed with you on the TNG movies in general though. If you mushed them all together and took out only the good bits you might have had one good TNG movie.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:17 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


So ... I'm someone who has never really cared that much about TOS. I mean, I can sorta enjoy it now and again, but really, my love of Star Trek comes from TNG (good god do I love the TNG crew!), and DS9 (grew on me much later, after re-watching).

However, with that said: I cannot imagine a single one of the TNG movies being ranked above any of the TOS movies -- not even the worst of the TOS movies. I'm honestly at a loss. Admittedly, it's been a while since I've watched them all, but the TNG movies have been unbelievably disappointing.

I don't even know how I'd choose which TNG movie is the worst, because they are so uniformly bad. I reflexively want to say "Generations", because there are so many absurd plot holes that serve no purpose other than to provide a Captain Kirk cameo, but then I'm like "yeah, but Insurrection had a plot that was like a shitty early-season episode of TNG and also had a whole climactic scene filmed against blue screens that they just decided not to bother doing CGI fill-in for...", etc, etc.

Rebooted Star Trek was OK. Into Darkness was ... a problem.

But still. TNG movies? The worst.
posted by tocts at 6:18 AM on June 10


If you imagine V as just an episode of TOS released in the theaters and with a longer running time, it feels perfectly at home. For as much as everyone has lambasted the campfire sequence, I still think of it years afterward and will sometimes mumble my own rendition to it (it's hard to do this when solo). Caught between IV and VI, it just pales, unfortunately.
posted by Atreides at 6:38 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


However, with that said: I cannot imagine a single one of the TNG movies being ranked above any of the TOS movies

I dunno, I definitely liked First Contact more than I liked The Search For Spock. Other people's mileage may vary.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 6:39 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


I feel like anyone complaining that The Voyage Home was cheesy or un-Trek-like hasn't watched the original series in awhile. Cheese and empty pomp describes 90% of the episodes. It seemed to me like half the scripts were borrowed from completely different anthology dramas, like the one where they fought a planet full of literal Nazis.
posted by muddgirl at 6:46 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


Not like that's a bad thing, though!
posted by muddgirl at 6:46 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


I can understand that ST:ID may be riddled with more plot holes and things that bug a Trek fan than even V. But how does the fact that V is so fucking boring, while ST:ID has a certain stupid propulsive energy to it not still push ST:ID ahead?)
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:47 AM on June 10


Because STI sucked sweaty goat ballsack?
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 6:57 AM on June 10


In thinking about what I don't like about the TNG movies (and to some extent the latter seasons of the series) I think it boils down to too much time-travel/time-travel as a reset button. After the episode where the time travel cops show up and reveal that Picard is on their No. 1 Enemies list, (hilarious!) they should have let go of the time-travel stories, but instead they just kept using them, and then carried them over to the movies. It's cheating and it's stupid. An entire universe full of alien life forms and strange planets, oh but no, we're going back to when Earth got a warp drive so we can make anachronistic jokes! And then magically back to our own time with no ill effects!

I mean it's annoying enough in Doctor Who, but at least that's the actual premise of his show. ST is supposed to be about exploration, not constant retreading of the same stories.
posted by emjaybee at 6:58 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


Wasn't there a fan edit of V hanging around somewhere? My Google skills are failing this morning.
posted by zooropa at 7:00 AM on June 10


The fan edit of V is:

"What does God need with a starship?"

~ fin ~
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:05 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Recently, Mrs. Ghidorah and I stumbled home one night to find ST:TMP just ending, to be followed by Khan. I checked the schedule, and by god, they were doing the complete run, up to ST2009. I told her Khan was the best of the bunch, and I started watching it, even though it started at 1am, and we had a BBQ to go to at ten am the following morning. Bit by bit she started getting sucked into it, so much so when I couldn't keep my eyes open, she stayed downstairs to watch more, though she couldn't stay awake to finish it.

In the morning, when we got up, she turned on the tv. Five was on, and I told her how awful it was, and we went off to the BBQ. When we finally got home, Insurrection was on, which would have been an all right hour long TNG episode. As it stands, it's awkward, too obvious, and full of the stuff that all right thinking trek fans try to keep normal people from seeing, lest they think all trek is bad acting and fan service concepts of sexy/funny. Worf? Puberty? Gah. Gah.

I had to go to work, and later got a mail from Mrs. Ghidorah, saying "oh no! Date died!" There I a, in the kitchen, wondering what famous person has that truly awful name. A minute later, I get a mail saying "sorry, I meant Data". She watched Nemesis, then 2009 after that, and has since watched Into Cumberbatchness, and has indicated a willingness to watch more. I told her that she should really watch the rest of II, then III if she wants to watch IV. Definitely VI, then First Contact. Generations is skippable, but other than that, she's already seen some of the worst with Nemesis and Insurrection.

I actually like the new ones. Just subscribe to the theory that it's an alternate timeline caused by the destruction of Vulcan, causing the Federation to become more militaristic. Though, no, the transporter working like that just kills it. Why have multi-trillion dollar starships if you can just beam around the galaxy? Someone should have had the sense to tell Abrams no.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:06 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


I think it boils down to too much time-travel/time-travel as a reset button.

First refuge of lazy writers. The only time it really worked was in All Good Things...
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:08 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


There's something desperately fan fictiony about Into Darkness that I think may be the source of all the contempt. It's that thing where you try to highlight what you liked about the source material but you end up just pointing out how much your writing misses it.

Also, JJ Abrams is just an oddly poor director in sort of a nuts and bolts sense. A lot of his shot selection is really poor, usually pushed in way too much or starting in the wrong place... The editing tries for that Spielberg relentlessness but just feels formless. He spends too much time on the wrong kind of characterization. The end product feels manufactured.
posted by selfnoise at 7:09 AM on June 10 [7 favorites]


I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Benedict Khanderbatch beaming himself from Earth to the Klingon homeworld is worse.

Disagree. That's the last in a long line of "let's pretend transporters aren't worse than time travel as a plot hole cure-all, until we need them to be." An episode of TNG used transporters as a fountain of youth, ferchrissakes. You can't start complaining about JJ's allowance of unbounded technological possibiilty grossly ignored, in the face of decades of worse examples.

No, the joystick thing is worse because it doesn't even advance the plot, Frakes just thought it would be really, really cool to be seen to fly something that big with a joystick, and say with a straight face that it offered better control than the ship's computers. I'm surprised he didn't make pew-pew noises, or maybe they took those out in post.
posted by fatbird at 7:09 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


II VI IV III I V

II GalaxyQuest VI IV III I V
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 7:13 AM on June 10 [24 favorites]


And, yes, I played The tactical board game a couple times. The best was when I played one-on-two, where I had the Excelsior, and the other guys had an Enterprise and (I think) a Reliant.

As soon as I closed to within range, I fired everything at the Enterprise. There's a lot of everything in the Excelsior, and the Enterprise just exploded. All gone, in one turn. The guy with the Reliant gave up the next turn when he couldn't penetrate the Excelsior's shields.
posted by Ghidorah at 7:13 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


it's placed on the same level of laugh-at-it-not-with-it as like, they live and videodrome

I will fight you. In an alley. It will take like ten minutes but it will feel like a goddamn hour.
posted by murphy slaw at 7:15 AM on June 10 [15 favorites]


I am saying, here, that IV is worse than you remember it, even though "nuclear wessels" holds up. (My God, the toupees and also the bell-bottoms.)

I think I walked out of IV hating it, but in retrospect (I watched it again a year or two ago) I like it a lot more. Partly because the movie's so obviously played for yuks, partly because it's now a charming period piece.

I walked out of V hating it, too, and don't care if I ever see it again. I still remember Peter Travers' Rolling Stone review:
"Let me merely note that heaven looks disappointingly like what it really is, the California desert tinted red; that the talking head on view there resembles an angry Max Headroom more than God, Satan or the personification of man's vanity; that the evil Klingons pursuing Kirk also deliver more blather (in Klingon, with English subtitles) than action; that the film is devoid of grace, wit or the excitement needed to rouse a justifiably dozing audience; that Shatner can't direct for diddly. Credit the bungler, though, with raising support for an issue previously unthought-of at the end of a Star Trek film: enforced retirement."
Ouch!

(Actually, when I think of it, the movies that most say "summer 1989" to me are The Last Crusade, Baron Munchausen, Do The Right Thing, and Sex, Lies, and Videotape.)
posted by octobersurprise at 7:21 AM on June 10


I dunno, I definitely liked First Contact more than I liked The Search For Spock. Other people's mileage may vary.

As I said, it's been a while. I may not be taking into account just how bad some of the TOS movies are. My possibly faulty recollection is that even the bad TOS movies are still "funny bad" in a way I can at least partially get behind. The TNG movies, on the other hand, are all just outright terrible.
posted by tocts at 7:23 AM on June 10


I think I've just got it:

For the most part, the TOS movies didn't take themselves too seriously. There was always a nod and a wink to the audience. V took itself seriously.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:25 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Anyway, the real question here is which summer 1989 sci-fi movie is worse ST:V or Millennium. I say V because V just has aliens and God while Millennium has aliens, a perpetually flummoxed Kris Kristofferson, and a chain-smoking Cheryl Ladd with huge '80s hair and shoulderpads.
posted by octobersurprise at 7:43 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Definitely agree that IV was greatly overrated and I have no idea why some love it so much.

Haters gonna hate. One of the (admittedly sentimental) reasons I happen to love The Voyage Home is that delightful scene in the hospital where the original gang are all trying to save Chekhov, and it's basically The Dr. McCoy Show, and he's ranting against Dark Ages medicine.

McCoy: [probing Chekov's head] Tearing of the middle meningeal artery...
Doctor #1: What's your degree in? Dentistry?
McCoy: How do YOU explain slowing pulse, low respiratory rate and coma?
Doctor #1: Fundascopic examination!
McCoy: Fundascopic examination is unrevealing in these cases!
Doctor #1: A simple evacuation of the epidural hematoma will relieve the pressure!
McCoy: My God man, drilling holes in his head is not the answer! The artery must be repaired! Now, put away your butcher's knives and let me save this patient before it's too late!

----

Elderly patient: The doctor gave me a pill, and I grew a new kidney! The doctor gave me a pill, and I grew a new kidney!

And I bid you a fond "Double dumb ass on you" for not enjoying this awesomeness!
posted by hush at 7:50 AM on June 10 [21 favorites]


In some ways the quality of a Star Trek film will vary depending on when you're seeing it. For example, IV when considered on its own merits doesn't hold up all that well. However, if you watch it after all the pain and drama of II and II, it feels like a well deserved victory lap. You just saw these characters go through hell and now they're trying to save the whales in the 1980's. It's a good ending.
posted by charred husk at 7:59 AM on June 10 [7 favorites]


But how does the fact that V is so fucking boring, while ST:ID has a certain stupid propulsive energy to it not still push ST:ID ahead?)

As a film, Star Trek Into Darkness is never boring because something explodes every 30 seconds. And that's basically the only good thing I can think of to say about it. It's like an entire season of 24 compressed into two hours.
posted by permafrost at 8:02 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


On top of hush's damn-right McCoy highlight reel, I always cut IV some slack for giving us the world's most ridiculous "punk" song.
posted by COBRA! at 8:03 AM on June 10 [7 favorites]


plus chris pine and zach quinto because damn
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:03 AM on June 10


It's also worth noting that the even-odd rule (broken by Nemesis) is due almost entirely to Nicholas Meyer, who simply got Star Trek in a way that others (including, by the time the films were being made, Gene Roddenberry) simply didn't. He co-wrote and directed II and VI and co-wrote IV and showed a grasp of what was appealing in the characters and canon.
posted by Halloween Jack at 8:07 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


Star Trek IV: The One with the Whales is indeed very silly, but it is self-consciously silly, like when Kirk and McCoy explicitly describe the whole plot of the movie:
McCoy: You're going to try time traveling in this rustbucket?
Kirk: Well, we've done it before.
McCoy: Sure, you slingshot around the Sun, pick up enough speed - You're in time warp. If you don't, you're fried.
Kirk: I prefer it to nothing.
McCoy: I prefer a dose of common sense! You're proposing that we go backwards in time, find humpback whales, then bring them forward in time, drop 'em off, and hope to Hell they tell this probe what to do with itself!
Kirk: That's the general idea.
McCoy: Well, that's crazy!
Also, it is fundamentally a heist movie, and how can you not love a Star Trek heist movie? And nobody gets killed, which is nice.
posted by jedicus at 8:08 AM on June 10 [19 favorites]


Star Trek : Roddenberry :: Star Wars : Lucas
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:08 AM on June 10


Also, this thread got me to thinking: with all of the Trek movies, but particularly the TOS-based ones, there's this weird thing where even when they (frequently) veer into shittiness,* I always liked watching them for stuff that's often of minimal importance to the plot- you get these chances to spend time with the characters you like, and you also get to see a little bit of the larger structure of life in the Federation. Like, the little bits at Starfleet HQ or on other ships lets you extrapolate out to the bigger picture. That wound up being important to me back in the days of VHS.

*for my money, Khan's the only one that doesn't contain at least one groanworthy thing, although I still like most of them to some level. And Khan's one of the best movies of the 80s, dammit.
posted by COBRA! at 8:10 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


with all of the Trek movies, but particularly the TOS-based ones, there's this weird thing where even when they (frequently) veer into shittiness,* I always liked watching them for stuff that's often of minimal importance to the plot- you get these chances to spend time with the characters you like, and you also get to see a little bit of the larger structure of life in the Federation. Like, the little bits at Starfleet HQ or on other ships lets you extrapolate out to the bigger picture. That wound up being important to me back in the days of VHS.

Yeah, same here. Final Frontier isn't great, but it has that really fun opening in Yosemite, with the climbing and the flying boots and the campfire and Spock being Spock.

And then it has what is for no particular reason one of my favorite moments in any of the movies. They're in the elevator and Kirk goes, "I could use a shower," and in a masterful bit of understated acting, Spock just says, "Yes." I love that.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:15 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]


Star Trek: Insurrection was pretty disappointing, but after reading Fade In, the unreleased book about it's production hell, I'm surprised it was watchable at all:

Basically, after First Contact, they announced there'd be a new Star Trek movie on X date in about a year's time, with no script or even a title, and oh by the way, you have a 1/10th the budged First Contact did. Good luck!"
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 8:16 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Today marks the 25th anniversary of . . . the release of Star Trek V

"What does God need with a starship?"


Sorry, no. Not enough.

The Wrath of Farrakhan
Spock: Minister Farrakhan is right. I should be the Captain . . . I'm stronger than you, I'm smarter than you, and I'm a better director than you.

= = =

Then the restaurant closed and everyone was sad. But wait! . . . they're going to re-open the restaurant . . . and it's boring, stupid, shitty-tasting chain restaurant dumpster garbage. Upon which they sprinkled some pecan dust

For me, that shark was jumped as early as 1968, between seasons two and three.

I liked the one where Dr. Elizabeth Dehner defeats Gary Mitchell and returns to Earth to start a new life as a superpowered detective taking along Yeoman Colt as her live-in assistant / sidekick / lover.

You probably didn't see that one since it's only ever been shown in my head.


My favourite Trek movie is the one they should have made starting with the script for "The Corbomite Maneuver". That could have been a great SF movie and said everything Star Trek had to say. If it'd gone over, maybe one or two follow-ups would have been in order. Enough. Everything else is just business.

Much as I loved Star Trek in its initial run, and voraciously consumed re-runs in the 1970s -- in return for a well-made film expanding on the best aspects of the original series, I'd happily have done without the teevy show itself, and to be sure, all the subsequent series and films.

Who knows, in that alternative universe, we might also have been spared the Star Wars franchise entirely, and we'd be arguing about the relative merits of Amercan Graffiti XI and XII.
 
posted by Herodios at 8:21 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


videodrome is a legit good movie

yea i googled it and realized i was thinking of something else. like, UHF maybe? whoops.




Whoa

Whoa

WHOA.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:21 AM on June 10 [7 favorites]


I always cut IV some slack for giving us the world's most ridiculous "punk" song.


I-I-I-I-I hate you!
And I-I-I-I-I berate you!
And I-I-I-I-I eschew you!
And I-I-I-I-I say, screw you!
And I-I-I-I-I . . .



Double dumb-ass on you, too!
posted by Herodios at 8:28 AM on June 10 [11 favorites]


So it's 1989, I'm a very very VERY nerdy 12-year-old with Star Trek posters on the walls and Star Trek novels next to my bed and we've practically worn out our copy of The Wrath of Khan, because we were homeschooled and sometimes school meant "go out and do things with other homeschooled families" but often it meant "Mom cannot cope, go watch Star Trek".

And I'm excited because Star Trek V is coming out, and it's not the first Star Trek movie I've seen in the theatres (that was IV and I loved it), but it's the first since I've fallen head-over-heels in love with Star Trek, and oh my God, it's Star Trek and I'm gonna get to see it.

Except my Dad decides that it's the perfect time to go camping. Like, he was totally cool with going to see Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade on his birthday, but he doesn't get a lot of time with us, and he is going to take us camping. A nice leisurely two-week trip up the Californian coast, and we're not going to be by a movie theatre on Star Trek V's opening day.

No Star Trek for me. Not until we get back.

I wasn't heartbroken, but I was disappointed. Until we stopped in a bookstore somewhere (it might've been San Francisco, it might have been a campsite store, I honestly can't remember), and I see it.

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier: The Novelization, by J.M. Dillard.

I bought it. No extra souvenirs for me, no random treats, nope, all I wanted was this book, and I'd be totally happy for the rest of the trip.

And I was. I read that book that day - and I was a fast reader and would get through some of the thicker Star Trek novels in a day, just sitting there reading furiously, gasping and being delighted at what they were doing. And here was everyone facing their pain and Spock's secret half-brother and they were going to Find God, and it was pretty awesome.

Then I saw the film.

And it wasn't painful, not like Star Trek Into Darkness was ( where I actually started muttering "Oh no fucking way oh no you don't do that" under my breath in the cinema), but it wasn't the book. It wasn't what I had imagined. It wasn't as dashing, and as epic, and as witty - it was just there.

I still have fond memories of that camping trip. And that book. But not of the film.
posted by Katemonkey at 8:29 AM on June 10 [9 favorites]


videodrome is a legit good movie

yea i googled it and realized i was thinking of something else. like, UHF maybe? whoops.


ARE YOU IMPLYING THAT UHF ISN'T A CLASSIC?

I have barely managed to contain my nerd rage that you cast aspersions against They Live. I am almost out of bubblegum, pal. ALMOST OUT OF BUBBLEGUM.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 8:36 AM on June 10 [10 favorites]


I think I used to have an mp3 of the punk song from Star Trek IV, which someone on the production crew wrote and recorded for the movie.
posted by thelonius at 8:37 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


seriously sounds like someone needs to drink from the fire hose
posted by robocop is bleeding at 8:39 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


I think I used to have an mp3 of the punk song from Star Trek IV, which someone on the production crew wrote and recorded for the movie.

In fact, we had a whole thread pretty much just about that.
posted by Steely-eyed Missile Man at 8:47 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


the sequel was basically them getting really wasted and sharting while singing karaoke off key

Orci, Kurtzman, Lindelhof, and Abrams did such a rotten job in that sequel that I have now elevated them to that rarest of places, the Pantheon of the Wretched and Clueless, a place previously only populated by George (Prequels era) Lucas, Brett Ratner, Michael Bay, Roland Emmerich, and Stephen Sommers.
posted by Ber at 9:00 AM on June 10


My main problem with ST:ID is that it uses the most boring villain archetype, The Moriarty. He knows everything, has plans for every contingency and somehow can predict what random people are going to do before they do it and plan around it.

It's boring, lazy and always feels unearned. I had the same issue with Skyfall.
posted by Ferreous at 9:09 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]


Yeah but pretty much every single other thing about Skyfall was pretty badass, and it was Javier fucking Bardem, so they got a pass there.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:13 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Can I recommend reading all of the comments in this thread in the voice of Patrick Stewart?
posted by Sutekh at 9:20 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


Into Darkness is entertaining because Cumberbatch and Quinto are set up to be these powerful, handsome specimens of heroic bad-asses. Then the director decides to make them run, and film it.

It is at that point revealed that both Khan and Spock were probably not picked first for Space Dodgeball in highschool.

Cumberbatch slumps forward, shoulders hunched, arms dangling by his sides as he does a side-to-side gallumphing quick-trot. Quinto is bent backwards, pumping his arms behind his head at one point, his belly-button leading the rest of him by a half-foot.

Nerds!
posted by Slap*Happy at 9:21 AM on June 10 [13 favorites]


Sutekh, you may have just revolutionaized my entire internet experience.
posted by cardboard at 9:23 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


his belly-button leading the rest of him by a half-foot

Uh, belly button... yeah.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:23 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I just watched Star Trek: Into Darkness when it became free on Netflix, and I'm glad that's all the effort I put forth. I described it to my girlfriend like as a Star Trek movie written by someone whose only knowledge of Star Trek came from listening to a friend skim Wikipedia about it.

It was wrong on literally every level I could think of, except for the performances - the actors were pretty game, and that was... well, something. But the rest was just awful. People above have covered the big stuff, in particular how they use Khan to cure death itself, and the magical transporters that render starships obsolete, but one of the smaller ones was the bit with the Klingons. They made uncanny valley Klingons.

I'm not sure I believe something that bad happens by accident.

Star Trek V, on the other hand? That was clearly well intentioned, despite being horrible.
posted by mordax at 9:29 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]


For me, Star Trek V really suffered from the fact that the studio appeared to provide NO effects budget. The problem may also be down to Shatner's lack of experience and vision w/r/t cinematic 'magic' ... but in any case, it was hard to watch mostly during the scenes that should have been saved by technical FX, I thought. (Um, and some of the goofy emotional stuff, but jeez, they'd earned it, I thought.)

I did see it recently, for the maybe 3rd time, and as with the first found many moments of drama and relationship-exploration affecting, and the overall story completely consistent with classic Trek.

So, yes, well-intentioned and trying to plumb issues of war and peace and human bonds, despite being horrible.

Into Darkness, otoh, had budget out the wazoo and nothing else, except charming actors.
posted by allthinky at 9:36 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Much as I loved Star Trek in its initial run, and voraciously consumed re-runs in the 1970s -- in return for a well-made film expanding on the best aspects of the original series, I'd happily have done without the teevy show itself, and to be sure, all the subsequent series and films.

As a side note, I have recently been playing a lot of the fairly shiny Firefly board game and just rewatched the series. I was reading the Headscratchers page for it on TVTropes last night and am depressed at how few people grasp how narrative works, or that maybe things weren't fully explained and laid out in detail because only half a season was made.

Anyway, all this to say I was thinking today what our view of Star Trek would be if it had lasted fourteen episodes, which would end it after Balance of Terror (and assuming The Cage is subsumed into The Menagerie): around half a dozen alien races, two of which are almost godlike (Talosians, Thasians) and one of which is apparently almost animalistic (the salt vampires); two other interstellar polities (the Romulans and the First Federation, seen once each); the organization behind the Enterprise being UESPA; Spock the only non-human we ever see working with our viewpoint characters; Janice Rand is more integral too the ensemble than Scotty, Sulu, Uhura (and Chekov? Non-existent.) McCoy is inexplicably missing from one or two episodes; Nurse Chapel is the focus of as many stories as McCoy or Spock, and Kevin Riley more than any of them.

No Klingons, no Starfleet, no Borg. No other Earth-based starships seen besides Harry Mudd's ship. No Khan. No shuttlecraft. No no no holodecks or replicators. No time travel. It just occurs to me now that with no Borg, no holodecks, no time travel and no Zephram Cochrane, that the widely-loved First Contact becomes essentially unrecognizable as a Star Trek movie in this setting.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 9:39 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]


Can I recommend reading all of the comments in this thread in the voice of Patrick Stewart?

Yes, yes you can. (It's even better than Freemanic Paracusia)
posted by TwoWordReview at 9:47 AM on June 10


My biggest complaint about V? Spock and McCoy both go through Sybok's "share your pain" shtick, yet don't join him. And Kirk refuses to go through it at all. But Sulu, Uhura, and Chekov all drank the Sybok Kool-Aid, just like all the minor characters and extras who met him. The three younger regular members of the crew are made no more heroic than your average mook.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:53 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Can I recommend reading all of the comments in this thread in the voice of Patrick Stewart?

Do that for the comments you agree with. Use, say, Wesley Crusher's voice (or Jonathan Frakes, that works too) for the comments you feel are just wrong, or require a solid facepalm.
posted by Ghidorah at 10:03 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Star Trek: Into Darkness (...) written by someone whose only knowledge of Star Trek came from listening to a friend skim Wikipedia about it.

It was wrong on literally every level I could think of (...) in particular how they use Khan to cure death itself, and the magical transporters that render starships obsolete
I'm sorry, is it seriously an actual objection of people who don't like STID that it "doesn't get Trek" because it has magic deus ex machina things and events that would dramatically change the world but that are basically forgotten about by the next episode? Are people making such complaints sure that their knowledge of Star Trek doesn't come from a Wikipedia skim? Because I've watched a hell of a lot of Star Trek, and that description is valid for pretty much the entire franchise. I can't seriously believe that people who claim to be Star Trek fans aren't basically immune to the underlying magic throwaway absurdities that almost completely permeate the entire franchise.

What "not getting Star Trek" would mean to me is not "But but but that's a really long range transporter!"; it would mean not understanding the underlying leftist utopian worldview. And Abrams did a perfectly acceptable job along those lines. As I mentioned above, STID was basically a commentary on the declining ideals of America in the post-9/11 world. Kirk and company (Scotty excepted) were drawn into the whole fuck-the-Constitution-we-gotta-get-the-bad-guy crap, reluctantly, and as the movie progressed rebelled against that attitude, going against orders to do what was right instead of what some jerk with a hard-on for the military told them was necessary. It was fundamentally Trek from that point of view, in a way that, for example, the later seasons of Enterprise was not; Enterprise, in reaction to 9/11, went whole hog in exactly the un-Trek direction, becoming "24 in Space", Captain Archer's Torture Is Necessary Show.

But oh, lens flares, lens flares. And, what, Zoe Seldana is a fairly attractive woman, and Chris Pine is a fairly attractive man. The horrors, the horrors!
posted by Flunkie at 10:17 AM on June 10 [12 favorites]


J.J. Abrams should share some of the blame for Into Darkness, but I think the person who deserves it more is Damon Lindelof. I mean, yes, Abrams hired him, but still- fucking Lindelof.


Between this and Prometheus, I will now make a concerted effort to avoid any movie with his involvement.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 10:26 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


I didn't really care for the newer movies because they aren't campy.

More than half the fun of trek isn't the plot, it's the fact that everything takes place at Vasquez rocks it's the shaking around in your chair while you pretend the ship gets hit, endless cave sets, stilted dialog and laughing at how the crew decorate their rooms. Star Trek is best when you're enjoying what's between the lines and in the new movies they were too polished to have those gaps.
posted by Ferreous at 10:29 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]


Can we all just agree that the lowest point of the Star Trek universe, the moment of stupidest, most worthless absurdity, the moment of purest authorial indulgence with plausiblity thrown to the far side of the Delta Quadrant by the Caretaker... is when Riker flies the Enterprise by joystick?

No. I cite the Voyager episode "Threshold".
posted by ZeusHumms at 10:33 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


See, that's the kind of thing I'm talking about. Turning into a reptile or flying the Enterprise by joystick is not un-Trek. It may be silly, and it may even be more silly than a whole lot of things in Trek, but they're by no means particularly more silly than much of the rest of Trek.

What's un-Trek is Captain Archer finding a dying man in a stasis tube inside a big mysterious sphere and directly ordering his doctor to withhold pain medication because this guy must know something... about something... for some reason. That is the worst of Trek.
posted by Flunkie at 10:38 AM on June 10 [12 favorites]


And for low points I'd vote for pretty much any time they do fanservice. There was something about the horny facist Kira mirror universe eps that always felt so creepy.
posted by Ferreous at 10:41 AM on June 10


Yeah when Trek works, it works because of whatever weird alchemy exists in the space between writers, directors, effects people, and performers. I like Star Trek but it's goofy as hell and I am completely okay with that.

I mean, even if something unusually silly happens in an episode of TNG, we're still talking about a show where the crew of the Enterprise travel to The Planet Where No One Shares and everyone learns an important lesson. It's inherently ridiculous, even though everyone's threshold for what counts as too ridiculous is going to fall somewhere different.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 10:45 AM on June 10


And Abrams did a perfectly acceptable job along those lines. As I mentioned above, STID was basically a commentary on the declining ideals of America in the post-9/11 world.

Maybe it's possible to make a Trek that subverts the default idealistic stuff, but I don't think it should be the second film in the franchise. Not without establishing that idealism in the first place. It should to be earned, but STID jumps immediately into cynicism.

Maybe, as you say, Kirk and company are working to make the Federation the optimistic thing we know, but Robert Orci's writing and directing the next film. A 9/11 truther with no track record of thoughtful writing now has the reins of the franchise, and that really worries me.
posted by brundlefly at 10:50 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Note that Kirk didn't kill Khan at the end of Space Seed. He also offered to rescue him and any other survivors at the end of Wrath, and Khan dies by his own hand. By contrast, both AbramsTrek movies end with them killing the bad guy on purpose. I mean of course he gives them little choice, but that's been the standard action schlock writer's wheeze since forever. Star Trek once tried to be something else.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:54 AM on June 10 [6 favorites]


What's really interesting is the book "Fade In" by Michael Piller which traces the journey of Star Trek: Insurrection. It was never published, but bootlegs can be found.

Piller wrote it as a reference book for screenwriters getting into the business as it covered how Hollywood egos, requests from the studio, financial considerations and other roadblocks affect the original idea and make it into the finished product. It really is a must read, even (and especially) if you didn't like Insurrection.
posted by inturnaround at 11:00 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


False, Kirk offers Nero assistance in ST and Khan doesn't die in STID.
posted by entropicamericana at 11:00 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


(Though ST:2009 did do the same thing as Wrath up to a point ... Pinekirk offers to rescue the Romuloids but they insist on dying. But then he shoots them for nice audience killtharsis instead of just doing nothing and letting the gobbly space maw crunch them up.)
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:01 AM on June 10


False, Kirk offers Nero assistance in ST and Khan doesn't die in STID.

Yeah, as to the first, what I said in my didn't-preview above. As for the second, you're right up to a point in that Khanderbatch got lucky and magically didn't die when they killed up all the rest of his crew in the middle of the ship he was on.
posted by George_Spiggott at 11:04 AM on June 10


but bootlegs can be found.

Just as a PSA, this is a link that downloads the .pdf (rather than like a link to a page where you can download the .pdf).
posted by davidjmcgee at 11:17 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


(Though ST:2009 did do the same thing as Wrath up to a point ... Pinekirk offers to rescue the Romuloids but they insist on dying. But then he shoots them for nice audience killtharsis instead of just doing nothing and letting the gobbly space maw crunch them up.)

It's a bit worse than that, I think. IMDb's transcription:
James T. Kirk: Your ship is compromised, too close to the singularity to survive without assistance, which we are willing to provide.

Spock: [speaking privately] Captain, what are you doing?

James T. Kirk: Showing them compassion may be the only way to earn peace with Romulus. It's logic, Spock. I thought you'd like that.

Spock: No, not really. Not this time.

Nero: [replying to the offer of assistance] I would rather suffer the end of Romulus a thousand times. I would rather die in agony than accept assistance from you.

James T. Kirk: You got it! Arm phasers. Fire everything we've got!
Kirk only offers help to make his new buddy happy (and for hazy political reasons), but good ol' Spock would rather have vengeance. So Kirk doesn't just let them get sucked into the black hole, he has a good time blasting them to bits.

I actually enjoy the film, but that bit always bothered me.
posted by brundlefly at 11:22 AM on June 10 [2 favorites]


First refuge of lazy writers. The only time it really worked was in All Good Things...

DISAGREE. Best Trek episode (any series) was a time travel show called "The Visitor". Though it wasn't a conventional time travel story (time moved at different rates for Sisko and everyone else), it really hit home the themes of humanity and sacrifice and love so well.
posted by inturnaround at 11:26 AM on June 10 [4 favorites]


Time travel narratives are great arguments for going back in time to kill Hitler so that the Cold War shapes up differently resulting in a different SFF and comics industry that doesn't write time-travel narratives about going back in time to kill Hitler so that the ...
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 11:36 AM on June 10


The thing that bothered me about ST:ItD was that it didn't actually set up Khan as more evil than your average action move anti-hero.

I mean his actions are all taken to save his crew. He blows up the headquarters of an extra-legal secret police agency, tries to take out a bunch of military officers that he believes are intent on overthrowing the lawful civilian government, saves the Enterprise folks from Klingons, helps them stop the big bad evil guy's ship, and then gets betrayed by Kirk and left to die...


It would be interesting if the writers at all seemed to have done this intentionally, but he immediately reverts to standard evil supervillian blow up a city out of revenge! For no particular reason...
posted by Zalzidrax at 11:39 AM on June 10 [3 favorites]


I just thought of Robert Orci as a untalented pencil-pusher tied to JJ Abrams apron strings, like Kurtzman and Lindelof. Because of a post above I Googled "Robert Orci truther". I have since revised my opinion. He is an untalented, vitriolic, ignorant pencil dick with delusions of grandeur. Perfect as a Star Trek villian but definitely no one to hand the keys to the franchise.
posted by Ber at 11:56 AM on June 10 [1 favorite]


brundlefly: I don't think that's quite right. Kirk doesn't save them because Nero refuses. Spock wishing they would die is orthogonal to the outcome or what they would have done if Nero had accepted help.
posted by whittaker at 12:13 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


There was something about the horny facist Kira mirror universe eps that always felt so creepy.


I really liked the mirror-universe DS9 episodes, partly because you could tell that Nana Visitor was just having a great time chewing all the scenery. Also because Regent Worf is even more uptight than regular Worf.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 12:22 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]


whittaker: Kirk could have respected their wishes and declined to save them without taking visible pleasure in killing them. That said, Spock wishing they would die by itself is far away from the character and the Trek I know and enjoy. Kirk's actions just pile it on.
posted by brundlefly at 12:26 PM on June 10


Flunkie pretty much scooped me on my main points above so you should probably read that instead.

But, I just haven't heard very much convincing argumentation as to why STID generally is the worst movie or even in the bottom 50th percentile. A lot of you are huge fans, I get it, but I also think that means the ways you evaluate the film is highly specific to you. It seems a little disingenuous to say "this is a bad Trek movie because of rank sexism, world-breaking technologies, bad characterization, militarization, etc." when equal or more egregious examples exist within the other films and TV shows. Why is it that fans go "well that's different" when I say the ability to travel through time with trivial equipment is far more problematic than a long distance transporter? Laying this out as honestly as I can without intending insult or injury, I honestly think it's due to a sense of ownership over the pre-2009 Star Trek franchise that fans don't feel over the new ones. Fans induce formalistic complaints that aren't consistent with the rest of their tastes.

Film Crit Hulk has a fantastic essay--if you can get beyond the formatting--about how audiences are bad at explaining why films don't work for them. They grasp on tangible details of the plot as the explanation for why a film is "bad". Many well regarded films can be absolutely savaged on a plot detail basis but--since they have a thematic unity, a control over pacing, and the ability to find their natural audiences--nobody cares about those details.

This isn't to say that STID is a perfect film or even a great film. In my personal opinion, it has several problems including that it never cracked how to juggle the large cast list in an effective way--especially Carol Marcus. Marcus isn't a problem because "gratuitous underwear". Marcus is a problem because she is given almost nothing to do. Poor Alice Eve is stranded out there with the occasional side job of damselling. Uhura has some joke dialogue but her actions are ultimately inconsequential and Bones is barely present. They added Carol Marcus both for name recognition and possibly to build up something in the next film--both are relying on the extratextual which is a huge pet peeve I have with modern blockbuster cinema.

The second major problem with the film is also about extratextual reliance. The third act of the film turns into a pastiche of Star Trek II and in doing so becomes a rickety high school production version of it. Heavily referencing a prior beloved film absolutely undercuts it on both ends. It's unnaturalistic, affected, and unmotivated to somebody unfamiliar with Star Trek II and for the big Star Trek fans it only serves to remind them of a beloved film which--through the context it's presented in--this new film will never compare favourably to.

So, if it's not a great film, why do I take issue with how it's criticised? Frankly because I think if the filmmakers focused on most of these induced reasons why some fans didn't like it they're going to make an absolutely dreadful third film manacled to the same sort of continuity monster that made the 2009 reboot such a necessity. If the third Star Trek film is fun, clever, allows their characters to shine, and is beholden to no sacred cows or weird obligate tea ceremonies then I think they'll have nailed it.
posted by whittaker at 12:57 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


Spock wishing they would die by itself is far away from the character and the Trek I know and enjoy.

He isn't the Spock you knew! He's sexy modern rebooted Spock, in touch with his inner action hero! Face it, TOS Spock from the 60s is basically the Austin Powers of Spocks.
posted by XMLicious at 12:57 PM on June 10


brundlefly: fair point but also not unprecedented in the series.

"I... have had... enough of YOU!"
posted by whittaker at 1:02 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]


I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that Benedict Khanderbatch beaming himself from Earth to the Klingon homeworld is worse.

Yep. As far as I know, Riker wasn't able to destroy the premise of the franchise with his joystick.


Wait, didn't they already do that in the first reboot with Kirk, Scotty, and the jawa transporting from that ice planet all the way to an Enterprise that was half-way from there to Earth?
posted by straight at 1:15 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Yep. As far as I know, Riker wasn't able to destroy the premise of the franchise with his joystick.



No- mostly just the planet of Risa.

Heyooo.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:19 PM on June 10 [13 favorites]


I always felt citing lens flares was possibly the laziest criticism of the new Star Trek films. There's a solid filmmaking and thematic rationale for them to be there.

Do we go around complaining about the highly theatrical jewel toned gel lighting on the original Star Trek's sets? or the snooted spotlights on characters eyes? The soft-focus closeups on female guest stars? I actually think they're a fun, innate part of the experience.
posted by whittaker at 1:20 PM on June 10 [6 favorites]


But, I just haven't heard very much convincing argumentation as to why STID generally is the worst movie or even in the bottom 50th percentile. A lot of you are huge fans, I get it, but I also think that means the ways you evaluate the film is highly specific to you. It seems a little disingenuous to say "this is a bad Trek movie because of rank sexism, world-breaking technologies, bad characterization, militarization, etc." when equal or more egregious examples exist within the other films and TV shows.

I'm not really a Trekkie but, as someone who enjoys some of the movies and some of the shows, to me a better question would be what about it works?

Focusing on plot holes isn't interesting to me, and I think there's always something that makes any movie worth seeing. In STID's case, I like the score. It's reasonably well shot. The action scenes are... okay I guess. The cast is good, but generally wasted.

I'm struggling to think of anything else. What isn't cringe-worthy (the pointless and tone deaf WoK references, the laziness of using Khan to begin with, the politics) is just plain dull (the obligatory mass destruction scene that is immediately forgotten, the retread of the space jump scene from the first film).

The film didn't piss on my childhood or spit in my socks or something. It's not as deeply unpleasant as Transformers 2, say. I simply struggle to think of a reason to like it.


Wait, didn't they already do that in the first reboot with Kirk, Scotty, and the jawa transporting from that ice planet all the way to an Enterprise that was half-way from there to Earth?

Good point. I forgot about that.
posted by brundlefly at 1:27 PM on June 10


I always felt citing lens flares was possibly the laziest criticism of the new Star Trek films. There's a solid filmmaking and thematic rationale for them to be there.

Agreed. I like the look of both films.
posted by brundlefly at 1:29 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Apart from the hospital scenes in IV, I also love "Spock and Kirk ride the bus" for its utter mundanity. IV is wonderfully silly.

"Generations" was awful, however.
posted by Omnomnom at 1:33 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]


@FecklessFecalFooferaw:

"(Bonus fact, New Scotty is played by the guy who was the son on Huff which was a criminally underrated show.)"

FALSE. New Chekov is played by the guy (Anton Yelchin) who was the son of Huff (Hank Azaria) which was a criminally underrated show. (It wasn't.)
posted by stenseng at 1:33 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


is it seriously an actual objection of people who don't like STID that it "doesn't get Trek" because it has magic deus ex machina things and events that would dramatically change the world but that are basically forgotten about by the next episode?

No, my complaint with it is not those things - as you say, magic tech/particles are routine in the Trek universe.

My complaint with it is that it provides us characters who are written in some form of emotional shorthand, and that the movie relies (and I think a reboot should never rely on this) the audience having (a) familiarity with the characters to fill in the gaps left by the shorthand; and (b) seen the original film to deliver its payoffs.

I can live with it as an action movie, but the fact that they took the Star Trek universe - and well-established characters within that universe - and then didn't do the work necessary to make it more than a shadow of the universe.
posted by nubs at 2:04 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


Star Trek I: That noise.

I and II have nearly peerless soundtracks for scifi movies. like, up there with john williams star wars scores, 2001, etc. Like, listen to the battle with khan music from II.

It's just the perfect mixture of the deep horn heavy tension building music from TOS and like, legitimately epic grandiose classic hollywood movie stuff.

i think a lot about, what if they had only made three movies until first contact? i think they would be regarded as a pretty damn solid outing. I is like, weird trippy 70s scifi movie in an almost thx1138/2001 sort of vein where it's just visually impressive and slightly bizarre but with an awesome soundtrack that completely fits it. II is a serious outing in its sunday best that it's hard to find fault with that just does everything it sets out to do solidly, including visual flare, a couple cute jokes, the soundtrack, everything. III is still a very solid swing of the ball at the bat, and ties up some loose ends.

And then IV came along and tried to pretend it was also a continuation of the same story, but that was completely a fig leaf and it was just embarrassing.

But really though, i could think about the I and II soundtracks all day. I wish i had the first one on vinyl, especially.
posted by emptythought at 2:32 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


II is a serious outing in its sunday best that it's hard to find fault with that just does everything it sets out to do solidly

Yes, and it therefore makes total sense that NewTrek went with a retelling of cinematic slam dunk Wrath of Khan for Into Darkness.

In my dreams, future NewTrek films will use as plot inspiration TOS episodes "Operation: Annihilate!" (Kirk's stoic reactions to the deaths of Sam and Aurelan Kirk devastated me), "The City on the Edge of Forever" (Joan Collins!) and "Requiem for Methuselah" - which contains my favorite Trek moment ever, where Spock reaches out towards sleeping, heartbroken Kirk's temple, and whispers to him, "Forget."
posted by hush at 2:39 PM on June 10


I and II have nearly peerless soundtracks for scifi movies. like, up there with john williams star wars scores, 2001, etc.

Jerry Goldsmith and James Horner. Hard to beat.
posted by brundlefly at 2:42 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


At the very least, ST:ID didn't have quite the the baffling "what the what?" problems as the wibly wobbly time travel movie with the wibbly wobbly ball of red rubber stuff, because of course they can't make just enough of the easily weaponized universe-destroying stuff, they have to make several cubic meters of it in a fragile containment field.

I think as a movie, ST:ID works better than many of the earlier spin-off films which were derivative and leaned heavily on the pop-culture in-jokes. As a movie, it does what it's built to do, get people in the seats with popcorn, boom boom boom, smoldering sexy actors, roll end credits and get them out.

But, a good screenplay should raise some of the right kinds of questions. Khan in my opinion had a couple. The death of Spock in Khan has moral weight that falls onto the shoulders of Kirk's history. The death of Kirk in Into Darkness doesn't really do anything other than fuel "spirk." (And why oh why didn't the fanficcers have a sense of humor to choose "kock?") Cumberkhan doesn't raise any because, in the end, he's a screaming skull-crushing maniac. Evil Admiral Robocop doesn't raise any because he's both wrong and dead.

Which does what it's made to do, popcorn, boom boom boom, sexy actors, roll end credits. But it doesn't do enough more to inspire a rewatch for me.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:57 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


The funniest thing about Khan in STID is that his identity is kept secret for no dramatic reason whatsoever. When he finally says his name it's treated as this big reveal (Dum dum DUM!) to the audience but it was utterly meaningless to the actual characters. He could have been called Khan from the beginning and it wouldn't have changed the story as far as I can tell.

"My name... is... KHAN."

"Is that supposed to mean something to me?"
posted by brundlefly at 3:13 PM on June 10 [10 favorites]


I liked Star Trek 2009 well enough at the time, partially because of the haze of delight at having new Star Trek after the drought, but it was one of those movies that got worse every time you actually thought about the details, and in every rewatch.
posted by tavella at 3:32 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]


Like, listen to the battle with khan music from II.

Spent an entire summer playing Wooden Ships and Iron Men to that soundtrack. Best summer vacation ever.
posted by octobersurprise at 3:42 PM on June 10


I mean his actions are all taken to save his crew. He blows up the headquarters of an extra-legal secret police agency, tries to take out a bunch of military officers that he believes are intent on overthrowing the lawful civilian government, saves the Enterprise folks from Klingons, helps them stop the big bad evil guy's ship, and then gets betrayed by Kirk and left to die...


It would be interesting if the writers at all seemed to have done this intentionally, but he immediately reverts to standard evil supervillian blow up a city out of revenge! For no particular reason..


Oh yes, this. It starts out, and I'm really interested in this Khan. He makes some good points! He has some legitimate grievances! This isn't the madman-hellbent-on-revenge of Star Trek II — there's moral ambiguity, this could be interesting.

Until Spock contacts old Spock, who goes, "Khan? Totally, completely evil." And neither the movie nor the crew consider any other possibilities for the rest of the film. Never mind that so much has changed from the original timeline that maybe this Khan should be judged in his own right, anyway, rather than be convicted based on the acts of Montalban-Khan.

As a longtime Trekkie I generally like seeing Nimoy as Spock, but that was about the laziest possible way out of that dilemma.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 4:09 PM on June 10 [4 favorites]


No. I cite the Voyager episode "Threshold".

Touché.
posted by fatbird at 4:19 PM on June 10


As a longtime Trekkie I generally like seeing Nimoy as Spock, but that was about the laziest possible way out of that dilemma.




LINDELOOOOF!
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 4:26 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


Tangentially - I somehow missed the first season of TNG first time around; they recently started showing them on BBC AMERICA on Tuesday nights, and they started the clock with Ep 1, Season 1 sometime last week so tonight it's got 3 episodes from the first season that I've seen.

Wow, they're kinda bad.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:06 PM on June 10


Season 1 Riker is pretty hilarious, though.
posted by brundlefly at 5:09 PM on June 10


I never really got past the first season of TNG. I watched a fair number of episodes in later seasons but could never forgive the show for that first season.
posted by octothorpe at 5:15 PM on June 10


Season 1 still had that 'New Enterprise' smell… good times! :)
posted by mazola at 5:16 PM on June 10


Season 1 Riker is pretty hilarious, though.


The people of Risa, they tell a story. They pass it from generation to generation.

It is called The Day of the Beard.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 5:50 PM on June 10 [7 favorites]


The only truly good thing, with the exception of 2-3 episodes, about the first season is that for part of it they were still doing the cheesy awesomely dramatic style of music TOS had. I was actually kinda sad when they stopped.

No. I cite the Voyager episode "Threshold".

To be fair, i considered doing this but argued that it was cheating since not only is it too easy, but even the writers regretted ever making it.
posted by emptythought at 6:23 PM on June 10


Oh yes, this. It starts out, and I'm really interested in this Khan. He makes some good points! He has some legitimate grievances! This isn't the madman-hellbent-on-revenge of Star Trek II — there's moral ambiguity, this could be interesting.


Oh, I want to see this film!

Picture it - A nasty faction of the Federation (or, hell, the Klingons or Romulans) using Khan's genetically engineered crew for nefarious purposes; Khan escapes and tries everything to free them; the crew of the Enterprise - after an initial misunderstanding or two - comes to understand Khan's motivations and works with him to free his people. During the climactic battle, the radiation flooded chamber is entered by Khan - whose genetically superior physiology allows him to withstand it long enough to get done what needs to get done. Khan is the sacrifice with he and Spock telling Kirk about the needs of the many.

Now that would be taking the ST Universe for a reboot that would be fun - viewers new to it would have a rollicking story with a satisfying emotional resolution without having to need to know who Khan is in the original (my wife turned to me in STID and said "Khan? Does that mean something? Cause he said it like it meant something."). Experienced viewers would have the satisfaction of seeing a completely new twist to the Khan storyline, and the wonderful notion of Khan as a hero in one film and a villain in the other.

I want to go write this.
posted by nubs at 6:45 PM on June 10 [12 favorites]


but of course you know, that's actually good. so they're never going to do anything like that.
posted by emptythought at 6:47 PM on June 10


The only truly good thing, with the exception of 2-3 episodes, about the first season is that for part of it they were still doing the cheesy awesomely dramatic style of music TOS had.

duh-duh-DAAAAAH-DAAAAAH-DAAAAAAH-DAAAAAAH-DAAAAAAH-DAAAAAAAAAAAAH-DUHDUH-DAAAAAH-dah....
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:02 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


I mean of course he gives them little choice, but that's been the standard action schlock writer's wheeze since forever. Star Trek once tried to be something else.

And I'd argue that IV is also a great example of Star Trek trying to be something else. After all the wrath, gut-punching, emotion, and death in II and III, they deliberately took a couple steps back and ended their loose trilogy with a really fun, entirely different yet undeniably Star Trek character outing where Everybody Lives.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:34 PM on June 10 [3 favorites]


II GalaxyQuest VI IV III I V

II Forbidden Planet GalaxyQuest IV VI III V I

I'll never like The Motion Picture because it gave me nightmares of being that little guy in the spacesuit desperately trying to outrun V'Ger's disassembly energy lightning bolts.
posted by RonButNotStupid at 7:37 PM on June 10


Gee, you'd have to wonder if people actually like Star Trek after reading this thread.
posted by zooropa at 7:48 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]


I've always wondered why nothing has ever really been done with Gary Seven.

Check out Assignment: Eternity and the first two Eugenics Wars novels by Greg Cox. They're uproarious. They contain characters from every corner of the Trek-verse, and also manage to cram in references to Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Hadji from Jonny Quest, and Dr. Evil. Yes, Dr. Evil.

This is the tragedy of casting Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan: Now he can't play Gary Seven. If I had my way, he'd have been in that role alongside Amy Adams as Roberta Lincoln and Aubrey Plaza as Isis' human form, not that I've put any thought into the matter.
posted by MrBadExample at 8:03 PM on June 10 [5 favorites]


Gee, you'd have to wonder if people actually like Star Trek after reading this thread.

If it was universally horrible, no one would waste any time on it. On the other hand, universal perfection is obviously impossible for a property that large. So yeah, I am a huge Star Trek fan who can admit that there are episodes and movies that have problems. Hashing out those problems (and even disagreeing on what is or isn't a problem, and more fundamentally what it means to be a Trek Story) is fun for me.
posted by muddgirl at 8:09 PM on June 10 [1 favorite]


You know what? Because of this thread I just rewatched Star Trek V. It wasn't a good movie, and it certainly had flaws. But they were trying for something real there, and it was certainly better than Nemesis. And much better than Into Darkness.
posted by heathkit at 9:11 PM on June 10 [2 favorites]


I also rewatched The Final Frontier because of this thread, and am left feeling defensive of then-56-year-old Nichelle Nichols' glorious fan dance. She looked damn fly. And I feel like it was actually a pretty forward-thinking act for Hollywood to represent a woman in her mid-50's also as a clever sexpot with some agency.
posted by hush at 9:34 PM on June 10 [9 favorites]


Can we count Galaxy Quest? Because that would be a solid #2 on my list and light years better than my #3.
posted by Ber at 10:21 PM on June 10


Good Star Trek needs to be a TV series, not a 2 hour action movie.

I thought ST:ID held up fairly well given it's constraints (2 hour, blockbuster, attract non-fans as well as fans), with the exception of the two absurdities pointed out in-thread: planetary beaming and the end of death, simply b/c they do sort of destroy the entire point of Starfleet even existing. It was also annoying b/c there was no conceivable reason that those 2 things had to be introduced - they easily could've been written in a different way without changing the whole story.

Oh also #3 - Khan and his buddies back in the deep-freeze at the end. What kind of judicial punishment is that??? Was there a trial? Were there no arguments that this was cruel and unusual and we should just lock them up in a max security prison instead?
posted by modernnomad at 1:11 AM on June 11


Metfilter: A clever sexpot . . . with some agency.
 
posted by Herodios at 5:25 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


I was just thinking. Perhaps the end of death is really just an end to radiation poisoning? What did that tribble die from? The end of tribble death and radiation poisoning. That's it. Yup.
posted by Atreides at 7:04 AM on June 11


Gee, you'd have to wonder if people actually like Star Trek after reading this thread.

I'd say that Star Trek works as popular science fiction because it balances on an ice skate between big-idea science fiction and cornball adventure. Frequently it stumbles into the latter, and often our enjoyment looks a lot like MST3K. But appreciation of its hamminess and hating on half the material is all part of the fun.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 7:48 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


FALSE. New Chekov is played by the guy (Anton Yelchin) who was the son of Huff (Hank Azaria) which was a criminally underrated show. (It wasn't.)

That's what I meant, derp. Sorry. And yes, it was very much criminally underrated. I love that show.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:28 AM on June 11


In the trailer, at 0:56, is that maybe a Star Wars sound effect patched in?
posted by porubcansky at 8:36 AM on June 11


You know what? Because of this thread I just rewatched Star Trek V. It wasn't a good movie, and it certainly had flaws. But they were trying for something real there

That's precisely why V sucked so hard. It aimed really high, and utterly failed to hit its target. It's like scoring in gymnastics; try for a triple backwards layout whatever and nail it, 10/10. Try for it and fall, 0/10. That is exactly what V did, and why it gets 0/10.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:40 AM on June 11


Gee, you'd have to wonder if people actually like Star Trek after reading this thread.

I think it's an interesting fandom thing: sometimes the worst critics are the ones on the inside, who, because of their familiarity, are able to conceive of/visualize possibilities and potentials. However, in my experience, if someone outside the fandom comes in to criticize - even if their criticisms are legit, valid, and almost identical - they will be rebuffed/ignored/ridiculed.

To a certain extent, the criticism that comes from a place of love can be accepted (as, I think, it is in this thread), while the criticism that comes from a perceived "outsider" won't be. And what usually leaves the outside shaking their head (based on my experiences with my wife, who has wound up in that role when I sometimes get together with my geeky friends) is that they don't understand why we criticize something so much that we profess to love.
posted by nubs at 8:42 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Yeah it's because we want to love it more I think.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 8:47 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Into Darkness sucked: nonsense plotting, cringeworthy awkward scenes, terrible dialogue, unearned callbacks to earlier canon, etc.…
posted by George Lucas at 8:48 AM on June 11 [9 favorites]


eponypotkettle
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 9:12 AM on June 11 [2 favorites]


Is there a common consensus on the rankings of all the movies?

There's always the rule of thumb that Simon Pegg came up with in Spaced - that all of the odd-numbered Star Trek movies were shit.

That's a line people had a lot of fun reminding him of when the relaunch came out and he was Scotty, and the 2009 movie actually was decent; he even admits that "fate put me in this movie to show me that I was talking out my ass." But then Into Darkness got panned; so now I'm wondering if the "alternate-universe" relaunch didn't also reset Pegg's rule so that now it's the even-numbered movies which are shit.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:25 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Actually I think the counter got reset one movie before that, with Star Trek: Nemesis.

Although I will continue to maintain that Star Trek III tends to get unfairly underrated just to shoehorn it into the alleged odd/even pattern.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 9:31 AM on June 11 [5 favorites]


There's always the rule of thumb that Simon Pegg came up with in Spaced - that all of the odd-numbered Star Trek movies were shit.

That rule is at least ten years older than that.
posted by entropicamericana at 9:40 AM on June 11 [3 favorites]


III is definitely the best of the odd numbered films, and by a large margin.
posted by zsazsa at 9:47 AM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Gee, you'd have to wonder if people actually like Star Trek after reading this thread.

I think it's a "I talk shit about my family, that's one thing. You talk shit about my family, you better be ready for a fight, mister" thing.
posted by stenseng at 2:06 PM on June 11 [1 favorite]


Into Darkness sucked: nonsense plotting, cringeworthy awkward scenes, terrible dialogue, unearned callbacks to earlier canon, etc.…
posted by George Lucas at 8:48 AM on June 11 [6 favorites +] [!]



I really really really want to believe this is the actual George Lucas talking eponyfabulous cross-property smack.
posted by stenseng at 2:11 PM on June 11


III is definitely the best of the odd numbered films, and by a large margin.

The problem with III is that it basically negates the two big plot developments from Khan, which has always pissed me off. But, yeah. It's a fun flick on its own. It just can't help but come up short compared to what came before it.
posted by brundlefly at 2:47 PM on June 11


I think it's a "I talk shit about my family, that's one thing. You talk shit about my family, you better be ready for a fight, mister" thing.

I think a big part of trekkie lore is a love of the formula of a good Star Trek episode, all those repeated little tics and quirks that show writers used to get an audience into the plot and characters of a series that had minimal continuity. Most of that looks pretty silly when done in anything other than Trek.
posted by CBrachyrhynchos at 2:55 PM on June 11 [3 favorites]


Actually I think the counter got reset one movie before that, with Star Trek: Nemesis.

The odd/even counter was never reset and is still reliable as long as you include Galaxy Quest.
posted by Uncle Ira at 12:06 PM on June 12 [2 favorites]


Oh wow. I'd of course heard of the whole "Galaxy Quest is a Star Trek movie" thing before, but until now I'd never considered where it fell, chronologically, among the Star Trek movies. That's brilliant.

Except I'm still annoyed that Star Trek III is counted as a "bad" movie for that pattern. As for "negating" STII, it took a whole movie, plus Kirk losing his son and destroying the Enterprise(!!!) to get Spock back, so it felt like it had been appropriately earned. By comparison, Kirk's revival in STID seems cheap, in both senses of the word.
posted by DevilsAdvocate at 2:26 PM on June 12


As for "negating" STII, it took a whole movie, plus Kirk losing his son and destroying the Enterprise(!!!) to get Spock back, so it felt like it had been appropriately earned

Like I said, I think it works as a movie. However, Spock dying and Kirk having a son were interesting and affecting developments. Then, other than Spock being a space cadet (heh) and the ship being gone, everything pretty much went back to the status quo. As though the filmmakers were too frightened of altering the formula.
posted by brundlefly at 3:02 PM on June 12 [1 favorite]


Any discussion of Star Trek and music has to include T'Pau.
posted by homunculus at 10:24 PM on June 13 [1 favorite]


Oh yes, this. It starts out, and I'm really interested in this Khan. He makes some good points! He has some legitimate grievances! This isn't the madman-hellbent-on-revenge of Star Trek II — there's moral ambiguity, this could be interesting.

Until Spock contacts old Spock, who goes, "Khan? Totally, completely evil." And neither the movie nor the crew consider any other possibilities for the rest of the film. Never mind that so much has changed from the original timeline that maybe this Khan should be judged in his own right, anyway, rather than be convicted based on the acts of Montalban-Khan.


I totally wanted to see the ending of ST:ID go something like:
Old Spock: You eliminated Khan! His evil is no more. Peace at last. 
           Admiral Marcus will be relieved and quite pleased... 

Kirk: What do you mean? Admiral Marcus was a nut! 

Old Spock: Admiral Marcus is a man of peace, an officer of the highest integrity!

Kirk, Spock:  … ?

Old Spock:  …at least he was in my timeline…

Kirk, Spock: !!!

[awkward silence]
posted by mazola at 10:57 PM on June 13 [3 favorites]


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