The Star Trek movies

Star Trek – The Movie (1st film)

Borrowing a bit from other movies, Star Trek the motion picture (the first film, as a spin-off of the old TV series), isn't quite the same as what you're used to, but at least the characters are (I hate remakes, where they change everything, but the name of the programme).  It borrows heavily from 2001, with some trippy optical effects and a long journey into the unknown, with an unusual accompanying musical score.

I got a copy of this on VHS a while ago, and had mixed feelings about a few extra bits they'd included.  Some were okay, and helped a bit.  At least one was a bit stupid (you can see past the edges of the set, and see the scaffolding holding it up; and Admiral Kirk wears two different space suits, while outside the ship).

On the other hand, I was extremely annoyed about the DVD released as a "collectors edition."  They'd changed the sound effects, music, and re-edited the scenes again (removing a few extra bits that were an improvement, and adding a couple of new external shots of VGER).  This is not the film that I wanted to buy.  And, of course, you can't get an unadulterated version of the film on DVD.

The Wrath of Khan (2nd film)

Khan (an insane villian from the original TV series), is accidentally discovered on a planet, who then takes over a ship, hell-bent on revenge against Admiral Kirk.  Ricardo Montalban reprises his original TV role as Khan, as well do several other Star Trek extras, throughout the new films (often with promotions in rank).  The plot has quite a bit of a submarine film feel to it, and has quite a good ship to ship battle scene.  The unthinkable happens, at the end:  Spock is killed while rescuing the ship.

One thing that really lets it down, for me, is that every version I've seen of this film has the most appalling sound quality.  It sounds like an 16 mm film with an optical sound track (heavily distorted, and narrow bandwidth).  Even the recently released (2002) special edition DVD is the same (similar poor sound quality, like sound fed through a telephone line).

This DVD has a few extra lines of dialogue which help you understand a couple of scenes, a few extra lines that don't appear to make any form of improvement, and a few that would probably be best left out.  Though, none are so bad that I'd consider them to wreck the film, unlike what was done to the first film.

It's a two-disc release, with the movie on one disc, and the other full of interviews and information.  There's nothing remarkable about them, one is quite boring (interviews, or more like self promotion, of two authors for spin-off books), William Shatner shoots his mouth off griping at not being the centre of attention in one (I'm sure they left it in, so everyone gets to see how self-obsessed he was, because it serves no other purpose that I can see), some information about the filming of the effects which is interesting, though doesn't show us anything we haven't seen before, and some background information about how the Reliant was supposed to be the other way up (the director saw the design plans upside down, without realising it).  If there was a cheaper single-disc version available, I'd go for that, instead.

The Search for Spock (3rd film)

This film is closely tied in with the previous one, with the crew going back to retrieve Spock's body, as he's apparently immortal.  This time, they encounter Klingons, again hell-bent on destroying Kirk, while trying to wrest the secrets of the Genesis device (from the previous film), from Kirk. The Klingon commander is played nice and psychopathically by Christopher Lloyd.  And the visual effects of a doomed planet are quite stunning, as is the destruction of the Enterprise.

The Voyage Home (4th film)

Yet again, this story follows on from the previous one, with Kirk and crew about to head home to face the music, for stealing the Enterprise to search for Spock against orders.  On the way back, the Earth is put in mortal danger from an incoming space probe, and Kirk discovers the solution:  It's searching for humpback whales which it hasn't heard from in ages, since they'd become extinct.  So they decide to travel back to the late 20th century, to try and find some.

Henceforth follows a "fish out of water" story, with the Star Trek crew from the future, in our modern day.

The Final Frontier (5th film)

On the planet of galactic peace (a name similarly appropriate as people's democratic republics of whatever), a rogue Vulcan has hatched a plan to pay a visit to God, by journeying to the centre of the universe, through the Great Barrier, through which no probe has ever returned, or ship ever ventured.  He kidnaps the Terran, Romulan and Klingon ambassadors, and waits for the first planet to respond with a starship.  Naturally, it's the Enterprise (Kirk's ship).

This is yet another sort-of trippy film, with quite a few scenes where you vege out engrossed in the journey during some music.

The Undiscovered Country (6th film)

This is the last movie with only the original cast, and quite a dark one, though well suited to it.  And the first one that I saw at the cinema.

The Klingon Empire is on the virge of collapse, as their key energy source (a moon) has exploded due to overmining, and they're too militiaristic to have been interested in much else than warfare.  So peace is proposed, and Captain Kirk is dispatched to escort the Klingon Ambassador to the peace conference.  Along the way, The Enterprise apparently fires on the ship, and kills the ambassador.  Captain Kirk and Doctor McCoy are taken prisoner, and a whodunnit ensues to try and work out who really shot at the Klingon ship, with the investigation lead by Spock.

At last, we get another good ship to ship battle scene, between Captain Kirk, and the Klingon commander played by Christopher Plummer (of The Sound of Music fame).

Generations (7th film)

A cross-over film between the original cast, and the cast from the new Star Trek – The Next Generation TV series.

It starts off in the era of Captain Kirks retirement, as he's seeing off the launch of a new starship Enterprise.  During their public relations flight, they receive a distress call, and head off to rescue some ships in mortal danger.  Captain Kirk is lost in the attempt.

Then it jumps forward to the era of the Next Generation crew, who also get called to an emergency at a deep space observatory.  Where they unwittingly rescue someone (Doctor Soran) who was in the ship that Kirk rescued, but who didn't want to be rescued, he wanted to go where the ship was heading, into something called The Nexus (another reality).  This time around, he's going to stop at nothing to get their, and destroys a couple of stars to achieve his aim.  Which also destroys a heavily populated planet, and causes the Enterprise to crash into another planet, just before it gets destroyed.

Captains Kirk and Picard meet up in The Nexus, and team together to defeat Doctor Soran, and we eventually see Kirk killed off.

First Contact (8th film)

I've had this film ruined for me twice, now, where two damn fool ignorant women talked all the way through the entire movie, then acted as if I were was being unreasonable when I asked them to shutup.  So, I went to see the film again, a week later, and suffered a similar fate.  The next socially inept cretin who blathers through a movie near me, is getting a drink poured over them, from head to toe.  As well as a public rollicking in front of the entire audience.  For those who don't know how to behave when watching a film in a cinema; sit down and shut your damn mouth.

The Borg (cyborg creatures, from the new TV series, hell-bent on assimilating every race in the universe into themselves) are on their way towards Earth.  But because Captain Picard was once assimilated by them, Star Fleet feels they're safer off with him out of the way.  Though, the Captain has enough of being shuffled off, and romps into the battle to save the day.

In the course of destroying the Borg ship, some of them escape and head off into Earth's past, to assimilate it, long before it would have been able to defend itself.  Picking the moment that humans make their first warp speed test flight, and get noticed by another race (Vulcans).

Insurrection (9th film)

The United Federation of Planets has teamed up with some less than civilised people, who've discovered a planet with a fountain of youth quality to it.  The trouble is that it's populated, and they want to harvest the planet's special quality in a destructive manner.  It's up to Captain Picard to save the day.  There's not much more to the plot, to say anything else.

Nemesis (10th film)

While on their way to a wedding between Wil Riker and Deanna Troi, The Enterprise is ordered to go to the Romulan homeworld (Romulus), as the new government has expressed an interest in diplomatic affairs.  Of course, this is a just a ploy so that they can get their hands on Captain Picard, to steal a bit of his DNA; and some information from The Enterprise, so that they can mount an attack on The Earth.

While watching this film, it kept occuring to me that it could have been named "Attack of the Nosferatu," as the aliens look very like the fiend in the original vampire film, "Nosferatu," way back in the beginning of the silent film era (a quite bizarre film).  It's also obviously copying much from "The wrath of Khan," with the space ship battle scene (while not being as impressive), and like all of the New Generation movies, hasn't really been anywhere near as impressive as you'd hoped a movie to be (much better than the TV series, at least).

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