My favorite movie and television series of all time is Star Trek. I have an equal love for both the original series and The Next Generation crew. Last year I purchased all of the movies on blu-ray in their respective collections and was blown away by the quality of the blu-rays and the hours of behind the scenes info. for each movie. If you are a fan of the Star Trek movies and do not own these collections already then you need to stop reading and buy them now. Even if you have the special edition DVD’s you still need to pick these collections up to own these movies in the best representation possible.
This week I will concentrate on the Original Crew’s 6 films:
Star Trek: The Original Motion Picture
This is possibly the most maligned of all the Star Trek movies. In all honesty it is not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. It is really a decent start to the film franchise and had a lot of good moments. The whole V’Ger story line is interesting and when I first watched this as a kid many moons ago it was a genuine surprise twist. The movie looks beautiful on blu-ray and it is pretty cool to have the full 143 minute version, but at the same time that is my main gripe with this film. The movie is far too long. Once they enter the structure housing V’Ger the movie goes into slow down mode. They could have cut 30 minutes out of this part of the movie and possibly improved it many people’s minds. I was amazed that they spent so much time just slowly moving through the structure. Editing was the one major weakness in this film.
Overall, this was a good re-introduction to the franchise and paved the way for many more great movies to come.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
This movie was fantastic and holds up very well over time. It was exciting throughout and the over-the-top performances from both Shatner as Kirk and Montalban as Khan was perfect for the tone of this film. No matter how many times I have watched it over the years I still enjoy it immensely. The blu-ray transfer is incredible. The movie still retains that ‘grungy’ feel yet looks clearer than it ever has.
Even knowing the outcome of the third film it is still one of the most emotional moments in film history when Spock sacrifices himself to save the crew.
This movie is exciting from the first minute to the last and is definitely one of the best Star Trek movies, and one of the best overall science fiction films, of all time.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Another solid movie that does not always get the respect it deserves since it follows one of the best movies in the franchise. It is a little slower moving than the second film, but has enough big moments to keep your interest and found an intriguing way to resurrect Spock.
Christopher Lloyd’s Kruge was wonderfully off the wall which is usually what one hopes for from a Lloyd performance. Robin Curtis as Lt. Saavik was a great casting choice. I am not a big Kirstie Alley fan and felt that Curtis performed the role perfectly.
Another good thing about this film was it paved the way for the fourth movie which was my absolute favorite for quite a long time.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Possibly the perfect Star Trek movie. It melded all the great sci-fi tropes that Trek established and added in the perfect amount of humor. After the dead seriousness of the first three films this was a wonderful ‘breather’ so to speak. There was genuine tension with the Earth’s future in balance, but there were enough lighthearted moments that you never felt weighed down by the drama.
The entire original crew had great moments in this film and the introduction of Catherine Hicks’ Gillian was a welcome addition to the franchise. It would have been interesting to see her in at least a small role in the next movie, but it was not meant to be.
For some people the ‘save the Earth” message may have seemed a little preachy, but I felt it was appropriate not only for the time, but also today.
Once again the blu-ray transfer is amazing. All of the movies in this collection look better than ever.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Okay, possible the only movie in the franchise hated more than the first one. For the longest time I enjoyed this movie and did not understand all of the negative reactions to it. Watching it again as an adult, I now understand the hate for this film. There were some good moments, but the script seemed disjointed and I really got the feeling that the cast felt the same way as was reflected in their performances. The whole finding God theme was a bit to ‘head-y” for a Star Trek film and the movie was less than 2 hours long yet seemed to go on forever.
I did not hate this movie originally, but after watching it for the umpteenth time I finally realized that it deserves the title of worst in the franchise.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
This was a fitting end to the voyage of the original crew of the U.S.S Enterprise. It was great to see the feud with the Klingon’s mostly put to rest by the end of the movie and the commentary on racism was very appropriate.
You could tell the cast really wanted to go out with a bang and they all put on wonderful performances.
One of my favorite characters from all of Star Trek is Christopher Plummer’s General Chang. He was simply amazing. His quoting of Shakespeare in the “original Klingon” added a sense of gravitas to the character and he was the perfect villain for this film.
This was a nice, emotional goodbye for the original cast and really set the stage wonderfully for the Next Generation cast.
The bonus features are seemingly endless for these movies and are worth spending more than a few extra hours watching every last minute of them.
If you love Star Trek you probably already own these or are at least planning too. Even if you are not a fan of the franchise but just like good entertainment, then these films are more than worth a view.