A Brief History of Star Trek Movies

Let me start by saying I’m a fan of the Star Trek franchise. I probably don’t qualify as a Trekkie, but I’ve watched large chunks of all of the various series, and I have seen all of the movies. Upon reading recently of the upcoming 11th Star Trek Movie, I was reminded of the Curse of the Odd, and wondered what portents it might hold.

The Curse of the Odd is my theory that every odd-numbered Star Trek movie sucks (to varying degrees of suck), and that every even-numbered Trek film is worth seeing. Before you agree or disagree, I’ll admit that there is an exception- but whether it’s the exception that proves the rule or a sign that the theory is flawed remains an open question. So, let’s review:

  1. Star Trek: On Ice! – Featuring a stark, lifeless bridge as cold as a Klingon prison planet and the worst Star Trek villian ever. Sputnik so would have nailed that role. Odd=Bad.

  2. Star Trek II: Khan! (Read aloud, the way Kirk screams into the communicator at his nemesis) – Brain worms and rich, corinthian leather. What’s not to love? Argued by many to be the best of the bunch. Even = Good.

  3. Star Trek III: Where’s Spocko? – Spock’s big screen directorial debut. Perhaps the best of the worst, but just not a standout. Even though it had Klingons and Spock’s daddy, it just didn’t do much for me. Odd = Bad.

  4. Star Trek IV: The Whale Movie – My personal favorite of the original cast films. Cheesey, yes, but good, clean, honest cheese. This film has some of my favorite movie soundbites (Kirk: “Double dumbass on you!”; Scotty: “Hell-ooo computer!”; Spock: “They are not the hell your whales”) and some of the silliest Trek moments of all time (Sulu flew a “Huey” during his Academy days?). This movie is just plain fun. Spock’s second turn directing. Even = Good.

  5. Star Trek V: Are You There, God? It’s Me, Sybek – or, why Denny Crane should never, ever direct a Trek movie. There are no words. Odd = Bad.

  6. Star Trek VI: Those Klingon Bastards! (again, with Shatner-esque feeling!) – “I’ll never forgive them… for the death of my boy!” Kirk may hold a grudge, but everyone else loves those wacky Klingons. Why can’t we all just get along? Even = Good.

  7. Star Trek: I’m Not Dead Yet! – The death scene he waited his whole life to portray as Shatner returns for his final hurrah, passing the torch the the next, um, generation. Or, to paraphrase Malcom Macdowell’s character, “Time is the fire in which I wasted two hours on this film.” Thumbs up to the crash scene effects, if not the whole stupid notion. Odd = Bad.

  8. Star Trek: Back to the Future – Time travel worked for The Whale Movie, and it works again here. For my money, best treatment of the Borg yet. The Queen/Data scenes lacked a bit, but overall a good flick. My favorite of the NextGen era. Riker’s big screen directorial debut. Even = Good.

  9. Star Trek: The Joysick Movie – Nothing sums up this piece of crap like the sight of a $30 wingman joystick rising out of the center of the floor of the bridge of the Enterprise on a pedestal so Riker can fly a mile-long starship one-handed. And let’s not even talk about Worf’s pimple. Riker’s second (and last!) Trek movie directing stint. Odd = Bad.

  10. Star Trek: Bald is Beautiful… Unless You’re a Romulan – and here we come to the flaw in my perfect little gem of a Theory. This was supposed to be a good Trek film! Ten is an even number, I tell you! Alas, not even the power of Mathematics could save this beast. A Romulan Picard clone? Someone should have initiated the self-destruct sequence long before that script started shooting. Combined with the dissapointment (Even!!), this is my vote for worst Trek film ever. Even=A Major Letdown.

So there you have it. What will #11 bring, besides a new cast? Will the Curse of the Odd hold out, or did #10 suck so bad as to warp the fabric of the Trek movie continuum, resetting the Curse? Only time will tell.

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14 Responses to “A Brief History of Star Trek Movies”

  1. chornbe Says:

    You make a valid point about the near-geometric increase in the suck factor simply because #10 sucked and it was an even number movie. I’ll grant you that is a noteworthy point.

    It’s the very nature of the space/time continuum paradoxical debacles we’ve seen time and time again. And yet, even with that, and even with all the great but isolated “fun” moments in The God Movie, I maintain it’s the worst Trek of all.

    “God’s a busy man!”

    (sigh)

  2. Anonymous Says:

    A Brief History of Star Trek Movies<br/>

  3. effika Says:

    XI might just be what the franchise needs to get back on its feet. Maybe X and XI are just switching spots?

  4. chornbe Says:

    As good as Enterprise could have been, it’s my contention that the franchise is dead; Enterprise is partially to blame.

    Granted, new ideas and new stories were definitely needed. However, Enterprise broke the history and early story lines too badly, for me. I’m a long time lover of trek and a true afficianado of the first series.

    The starship Enterprise wasn’t even called Enterprise initially. I believe it was called the Constellation or something like that, under the command of Capt. Robert April. Later, after a refitting and renaming to Enterprise, it was handed off to Christopher Pike with Kirk being a Lt., being promoted to first officer towards the end of Pike’s command. Spock was at the science station from day one. Kirk took command after another refit and a several-year dry-dock stint. The age of the Enterprise varies in the various timelines and texts, but it’s believed that the hull was 29 years old when Kirk took command of Enterprise in the December 17, 1966 series debut (also, the day I was born!!). Up until his death, Rodenberry had to bless any story, short story, novel, book, movie, tv show/series/tie-in, etc., so the story line was, good/bad/right/wrong, consistent until Gene died.

    One thing I always liked about Trek was the consistency.

    I wanted to love the Enterprise series. Season II sucked and completely killed the series for me. Add to that the breaking of the history and, well, Enterprise was just doomed.

    I’m afraid any other prequels will do the same. The “Back to the future” Trek movie (Star Trek 8: First Contact) was actually very, very well done from a consistency perspective. There was no mention – no notion at all – of Enterprise NCC-1701, the NX Enterprise, no Kirk, etc. We know from history (only) that the Vulcan who came out of the landing pod was Sarek, tho’ they didn’t shove that fact down our throats. Zephram Cochran was, in fact, the inventor of the first Warp Engine and it was, in fact, some few number of years after WW-III when the world was still in disarray.

    No, sadly, I think it’s time to let the franchise go and be a great part of entertainment history.

    $.02

  5. dugh Says:

    Inclined to agree<br/>

    I tend to agree that strek is pretty much dead. I disagree that Enterprise did it because I think Voyager was the cat’s meow, as in the cat being flogged against the house in Monty Python’s Quest for the Holy Grail. Voyager lacked any internal consistency, any internal growth, and any internal innovation. I think Enterprise had potential to bring the franchise out of its slump but failed because the stewards (Berman and Braga) ran out of ideas a long time ago and because Paramount lacks vision.

    That all being said, I’ve heard many times about the odd-even movie theory and have found it to be true. I was upset at the “Bald is Beautiful…” number 10 because at that point I had expectations. I really hope chornbe is right and the numbers are switching, although why they couldn’t have switched with two great ones in a row instead of two bad ones…

  6. chornbe Says:

    Dugh, let me help you out with some eloquent additions.

    Voyager sucked. Blew chunks. Honked the bobo. :)

    No, Enterprise didn’t kill trek, but it was (IMO) the last nail in a slowly built coffin. I think at this point, Trek deserves a quiet and respectful ‘fare thee well’ and time to enjoy its pasture.

    I think an 11th movie – as a prequel – will be a huge disservice to Roddenberry’s legacy. Perhaps a passing of the torch from Picard to another ‘generation’ (perhaps warlord Calhoun?) rather than prequelling the universe into submission.

    (shrugs)

    I dunno… I’m just one heartbroken fan among many.

  7. dugh Says:

    You and me both<br/>

    Friends and used to sit around and discuss what it would take to move the series on in a forward direction. We had so many ideas and not a single one did they remotely touch on… Grrr.

  8. chornbe Says:

    On the upside, we’ve only just touched on the nearly infinite genre of comic book super heroes and near-super heroes that is available. Now that the movie-making technology is finally up to par with some of the special effects necessary to make some of the super heroes believable (I maintain The Hulk was pretty darned good), we can see some kickass redemption for the Sci-Fi genre. I’m hoping for some good things from things like Fantastic Four, X-Men III and the upcoming Superman and Iron Man movies.

    They’re also doing an Iron Fist movie, but a problem there is 1/2 the characters from that story line are owned by another studio (Powerman and several of the other characters are owned by different studios) so that’s up in the air.

    I watch the super hero movie scene with great interest. * crosses fingers * Here’s hoping…

  9. Anonymous Says:

    i tend to dissagree<br/>

    ST 1- OK

    ST 2- really good

    ST 3- good

    ST 4- really good

    ST 5- AHHHHH PAINFULL TO WATCH!!! IT BURNS MY EYES!!!

    ST 6- Exellent

    ST G- Very good

    ST FC- BEST ST MOVIE

    ST I – O.K.

    ST N – very good

  10. name Says:

    STAR TREK:V- should be erased<br/>

    …other than that, the newer ones were ok, the early ones were classics, the profession of directing should take out a restraining order against william shatner to prevent V from ever happening again, and yes, the first one: was pretty much a take of nomad/a take rip of 2001 a space oddessy.. ..but who am I to complain, w/o I, there’d be no other movies for me to watch

  11. Dale Says:

    Star Trek Movie 1 – the story was very weak, but to see the Enterprise with its new re-fit for the 1st time on the big screen was good. all in all 3/10

    Star Trek Movie 2 – Brilliant!!! quit dark and cold, and it tryed to move away from the light uplifting star trek. 9/10

    Star Trek Movie 3 – Ok!!! – it was good to see Enterprise comming home to the massive space dock first seen, and the best bit was when kirk stole the enterprise, also the klingon bird of pray which was a good desighn. 6/10

    Star Trek Movie 4 – was family cheese, with light hearted comedy moments, but for me star trek is about being in space in the future and i dont realy want to see them going back in time to our time, and what the hell was that long thing with a blue ball at the end, did like the ending though for the 1st glimps of the Enterprise A. 4/10

    Star Trek Movie 5 – A complete bag of Sh*t, what the hell was they thinking of. 0/10

    Star Trek Movie 6 – This one was good, again i felt a dark cold star trek with good action and a good story. 7/10

    Star Trek Movie 7 – This was ok as well, made for the family, good crash from the enterprise D as well, did feel they milked it with Kirk, but what the hell i liked it. 6/10

    Star Trek Movie 8 – This was ok as well, i would of liked more future space action, but what the hek, the borg queen was HOT!!! and the Enterprise E is a outstanding ship 7/10

    Star Trek Movie 9 – This one had a nice story line again a nice family star trek 5/10

    Star Trek Movie 10 – very poor story line, but good space battle with the enterprise that lasted for ever 3/10

    The 11th Star Trek movie should not be a prequel- star trek is about the future!!!!!!!!!!! and i think todays audiences are very serfisticated(cant Spell It)so star trek needs to get with the times, it needs to get darker, grittier, colder, hotter, and in ya face!!!!!

    The battle star galactica new series by the SiFi Ch have adopted the new not so ovious space series, they have totally dropped the cheese and gone for a more grittier take on the show its a mad new mix of sifi, sex, and grown up action. and its popuar because its dared to try it in a different way.

    This is what star trek needs, it needs a new direction, it needs a change from the same old routine, it needs a new edge!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! but will it get it??? i hope so, because am sure am not alone when i say this – am going cold turky i need a good star trek fix soooooooooooooooon!!

    also just a thought but why dont they digitally re master some of the older star trek movies, insert a few new clips as well, ya know do a limited addition thing, Paramout should rake in a few with that.

    Dale

  12. E Says:

    e<br/>

    Make a new Star Trek movie, or die.

    e

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  14. Derek Bowman Says:

    I enjoyed the various Star Trek movies and television series. Of the movies, my least favourite are 9 and 10 which, to mind, were similar to lengthy television episodes. Regarding the television series, I can’t really comment on Enterprise because in Australia it’s still being shown @ unadvertised, late hours. However, the initial episodes lacked the gravitas, reverence, etc of STNG. As for an eleventh movie, it’s [probably not practical but one showing characters from all series and linking storylines would be terrific and I think, well – received!