Movie Guest Reviews
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
I would have to agree w/ most fans the moniker “the slow motion picture” certainly applies here and the story for this movie is at best thin. Nevertheless, the movie has grown on me considerably over the years--especially w/ the new director’s cut released in November, 2001. Out of all the movies in the ST franchise, this one is probably the truest to what Gene Roddenberry intended Star Trek to be. It was criticized because of its lack of action, yet I don’t think Roddenberry intended this to be action movie such as Star Wars or movies of the like, but more an exploration of the human condition like 2001: A Space Odyssey. This is certainly not a detriment.
The movie does have several strengths: first the special effects were superb for the time and even better in the enhanced director’s cut. The attention to detail was the best of all TOS movies. The long visuals of the space stations and the Enterprise are astounding and the refit Enterprise is probably my favorite of all them (even the very cool and sleek 1701-E introduced in "First Contact"). Second it has one of the best screenplays. Though the dialogue does get dry at times the story still movies w/ adequate momentum. Lastly, what I like best was the idealism of the movie. The idea that we don’t have to blast to bits w/ phasers and photons every threat that appears in earth’s orbit. What separates Star Trek from so many other science fiction franchises is its optimism for man’s future.
The characters are all here. None are really outstanding, nor do any of them have any detectable arc other that what was established in TOS. The only exception might be Ilia and Decker (who bear a striking similarity to Trio and Riker from TNG). We do see a more cautious and almost “Picard-ish” Kirk. Spock and McCoy show little difference and Chapel, Sulu, Chekov, Scott and Uhura are the same window dressing they have always been for TOS crew.
Nitpicking: With a threat like V’ger heading to earth and all the warning the Federation has, why weren’t there more ships available for Earth’s defense. The Klingons were able to muster three ships.
Remarkable quotes: Spock: “It knows only that it needs, Commander. But, like so many of us... it does not know what.”, Kirk: “Let's take a look. Full sensor scan, Mr. Spock. They can't expect us not to look them over now.”, Decker: “Now that we're looking down their throat.”, Kirk: “Right, now that we've got them just where they want us.”, Decker: “We all create God in our own image.”
Remarkable scene: This Klingon attack on V'ger
Remarkable ship: The refit Enterprise. By far the best of them all.
Remarkable fact: Roddenberry once suggested that the machine world visited by V’ger could have been the Borg home world, though there is no canonical evidence of this.
Rating: 5 (J. Stewart)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
People who liked this movie often defend it from critics saying that people were expecting more action because of Star Wars being released only two years earlier. I would like to rebut that by saying that, in my opinion, the original Star Wars had a near-perfect mix of action, character development, drama, and a very good mix of characters. Not that the old Star Trek does not have a good mix of characters, but the drama in this movie was very overloaded. The special effects were way overdone as I had trouble staying awake while Kirk and Scotty were approaching the Enterprise in the shuttle, or when the Enterprise entered the entity V'ger. Star Wars not only had better special effects, but they were also not over used. I don't mean to anger Trek fans by comparing this movie to Star Wars, but when it comes to the "first movies", I think Star Wars wins. "The Phantom Menace" on the other hand...
I also found the plot of this movie to be very light. Such a story could have been done in a 24 minute TAS episode. Just remove all the emotional crap about Admiral Kirk taking over the ship again and recovering all his old senior crew.
On a more positive note, the idea of V'ger evolving out of the Voyager 6 probe from the 20th century is compelling. If only the story was not stretched out into 2 hours, it would have made a more than decent regular Star Trek episode.
Nitpicking: I have always wondered why the new Enterprise had to look so completely different than the one from TOS. To me, it would have made more sense to keep at least some things the same. Since Kirk can't even find the turbolift on his own, the whole inside of the ship must have been gutted out and completely redone. I was also annoyed that the new bridge looks nothing like the old one.
Rating: 2 (Chris)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Stardate 7410.2: Synopsis in main Movie listing
Many, MANY people have expressed their displeasure with this franchise-igniting movie. Trekkies were dying for some new Star Trek, and though many of them walked away disillusioned, I was not one of them. This film is a science-fiction revelation. It is a science-fiction masterpiece. It is in many ways a perfect movie-the story, the effects, the music-and it is an utter joy to behold its scope and venerable sanctity. While not the best Star Trek movie, it is an incredibly well-made masterstroke.
The movie's opening scenes are among the most interesting in Trek canon; the closing scenes some of the most thought-provoking. I suppose that all I can say is that not every one will like this movie, but it it my opinion that it stands proudly among the Star Trek movies as a pinnacle of science fiction mastery.
Rating: 10 (JemHadar359)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture Stardate not given: A few Klingons say "hey dude" to a big, unknown robot probe, which says, after destroying the
Klingon ships, "hey dude" to Enterprise and finally to Earth. But before "hey dude" the whole planet, Will Decker says "hey dude" to the probe, which is, dude, the Voyager 6 probe from earth which has occupied the body of Lt. Illia. After "hey dude" at all, the probe vanishes and everything is fine...
Well....the slow motion picture...Yes, it was boring. But hey! It was really(!) the vision of Gene Roddenberry. In the future everything is fine, and no other starship than the enterprise is available when a huge probe came slowly from distant regions of the galaxy to the centerpoint of the federation, earth. Compared with the first "Star Wars" Movie, which came a few years earlier, the film seems slow, without character-development and with endless, impressing but after a while a bit boring FX scenes. But in my opinion, it should better be compared to "2001: a space Odysee". Everything, from the frozen characters to the endless "ship in space/a big nebula/anywhere"-scenes are a pure copy of this film. But all in all it couldn't come even near to such a Masterpiece.
But the Film wasn't bad or so... It showed us a nice version of the future, gave us (but not that much) something to think about humanity and so on. The most important point of this movie is that, well, it is a Movie. Star Trek was relaunched after three years of TOS and made an, a bit boring (I said that often, right?^^) but not a bad new beginning which made the following films and series possible. The only real thing that annoyed me was (next to that it was boring) that it was to much focussed on humans, human qualities and human space probes. What about all the other species in the universe? But well, the film was very early, not bad and made the rest possible.
Remarkable ship: The Enterprise! The old lady is back, and it was the best-looking Enterprise of all the times!
Remarkable music: The score was outstanding. I think the film won an Oscar for that. We heard so many familiar melodies like the Klingon theme and the main-theme, which was reused for the next movies an TNG, for the first time.
Nitpicking: The uniforms! Did anyone noticed the uniforms? I hope not. These pajamas annoyed me really.... Lets hope that J.J. Abrams doesn't reuse them for the new Star Trek Movie XI!
Remarkable fact: What the heck? The phasers can't be fired when the warp-core is offline? I hope not! Imagine a battle. The enemy doesn't need to destroy the weapons AND the drive, no, it is enough when they hit the nacelles...
Remarkable dialogue: "It is big", "wow", "it is huge", "we have never seen something like this before", "it is much bigger than we thought" and so on...
Remarkable fact Nr. 2: This was the first time earth was attacked. It should happen again in Star Trek IV, VIII, X, TNG: "Best of Both Worlds", the Xindi-arc in Enterprise, a few times in DS9 and I think nearly in Voyager (at least it was discussed there).
Rating: 6 (Raoul)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Stardate not given: Kirk decides to be a dick and take command of the Enterprise again to stop some evil cloud
that's going to attack Earth. With the original TOS crew assembles they go inside the cloud and fight V'Ger. So whilst doing nothing apart from fucking people off, the ship learn V'Ger is a machine lifeform which is using the old Earth probe, Voyager 6 to send a message to
Earth. It decides to destroy Earth but they stop it and some purv called Decker joins with V'Ger to a new spazzed up lifeform.
TMP. It's slow. So slow. Yet one of the best films by far.
Okay, so let's go straight to the plot. It's different and the first time Star Trek had really involved Earth in the 23rd century. It worked well and despite the slow start, the Klingon investigation was well thought out and relatively pacey before Kirk joined the show. Oh dear. The whole "I've got the Enterprise, fuck off Decker" part of the plot was played down far too much. I found that despite his continual insistence that he's not after the Enterprise utter bullshit. As McCoy explained. He's been a total dick. Okay, so Decker was boring and the baldie was interesting but never expanded but this film is about characters which was the films weakest point. The next hour of film was the lowpoint. The entire section of exploring V'Ger was pointless. It never went anyway and was totally boring. The warp drive malfunction was filth. It wasn't needed and added hardly anything to an already boring film. The idea of the weapons being connected to the warp drive was crap.
The characters worked well. Kirk was crap and I hated his new personality. Spock was his usual logical self but he became more of an arse in this film. McCoy did nothing except a few good lines. Uhura, Chekov and Sulu did nothing except look good. Scotty had a few nice lines and scenes but a fattening James Doohan did not stand out. Decker appeared interesting but I couldn't stand the way he reacted to Kirk or how he acted. He was abysmal. V'ger was exemplary and had some great scenes and I liked the metal lifeforms. My only criticism is that we didn't say the lifeforms and I find it hard to believe such a being could exist.
The special effects was great for the time but there was too many and it never made sense as to why there was that many. The uniforms were crap and it didn't distinguish ranks very well.
This film failed on a character level and lacked the necessary direction and looks to secure it as the best. But it'll always be remembered as the slow motion picture. Although I would prefer it to be called "the slow motion picture until the last 40 minutes". If you can get through the slowness you will find it one of the best films and the closest to Roddenberry's vision despite the fact that its always been overshadowed by great films like "First Contact" & TWOK (both of which I aren't too keen on). So, from a 14 years old perspective - 5/10 but from my Trekkie perspective - 8 / 10
Remarkable quotes: "I know engineers, they like to change things." (McCoy), "Carbon Units" (V'Ger)
Rating: 8 (Darren Carver-Balsiger)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
I've watched the Director's Edition of the motion picture and soon after the 2009 Star Trek film. It was very much refreshing!
Most people say it's slow. And that's right, it's not fast-paced. But that's not at all a bad thing! In my opinion, TMP shows that a very good sci-fi film can be made without action packed into every single second of it. It's also very much Star Trek, showing the whole idea that conflicts can be resolved peacefully and that we fear only what we aren't familiar with. The scene with Klingons being evaporated is a nice touch to show how war is a bad option.
The graphics in the Director's Edition are stunning. The flyby to the centre of the cloud was very eye-pleasing, mysterious and calm. The Enterprise refit was also very nicely made. I especially like the bridge of the new ship - everything looks very modern and functional. And just look at those comfy chairs!.. The only thing I didn't really like was the funny-looking old shuttle that brought Kirk to Enterprise.
The characters are very realistic as well. I'd say McCoy had the best reaction to everything there. I kept laughing during the scene when he came aboard! And his "It's like working in a damned computer center!" line is priceless! Kirk was also very realistic - knowing how he loved the command of the Enterprise in TOS, I wasn't surprised by the conflict between him and Decker. Spock was a little let-down for me, though, he just wasn't the same somehow. Other characters didn't have many lines like in the original, and although it was a missed opportunity to show more of those characters, it was very credible. Oh, and Rand, where has she been the last few TOS seasons? :)
The music there is simply amazing. It always stood out and was always perfectly fitting! It was also interesting to hear the new versions of the original sounds, such as the intercom tone.
There were no major logic flaws in the whole story, too, and the slowness of the episode gave enough time to think things through. There were no irritating and unnecessary things in here, unlike in any films I've recently seen. Since there are only a few minor mistakes separating it from being perfect, I give the motion picture a 9/10.
Nitpicking: Kirk and the crew is watching the cloud disintegrate a starbase. The question is, if everything disappeared, then where is the camera that transmits this recording? It should have disintegrated along with the base.
Remarkable dialogue: "Heading, sir?" - "Out there. Thataway!" -DiFalco and Kirk
Remarkable prop: wrist communicators
Rating: 9 (GreatEmerald)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
Despite the resentment by many trekkies, it is fact that the arrival of Star Wars made Paramount summon Gene and the cast to re-launch the famed series to cash in on the success of the genre. To quote a phrase from Leonard Nimoy after seeing said film "Soon Paramount will be calling me".
The studio set into motion with ‘The Great Bird of the Galaxy’ to create a film about the famed series; after all there was an audience begging for its return, and there was a chance to replicate the success of Lucas’s film but with a greater scope of victory due to the cult status build up over the years and around the world via the numerous repeats on TV.
The prospects were staggering.
Alas what Paramount wanted and what Gene dreamt of were two different things. Think chalk and cheese, small businessman and bank manager and you get the idea; Gene was given unlimited access to finances and technology to make Star Trek more that a film; here was a chance to see the Enterprise and his vision not seem possible but real. It was light-years away from the TV series and its cardboard cut-out sets, dodgy scenery, and naff props. In the film, the bridge seemed workable, the technology believable, and everything looking sensible. The Enterprise was no longer a simple model but appeared to be a real spaceship. To Gene, and many sci-fi fans this was like all our Christmases coming at once.
To Paramount it was the reverse - they wanted (at best) a $15 million film that was their Star Wars, but instead got something that became Gene’s fantasy going into overdrive.
For a start there are numerous pointless scenes, like the transporter disaster, the warp drive failure, Spock on Vulcan with mullet, said character pontificating over V’ger, laughing, crying, sympathetic etc, the courier shuttle rendezvous with tumbling module, the travelling through the cloud only through the view screen and not seen with the Enterprise flying though it, and poor editing and re-editing to name but a few.
Then there are the characters; the usual suspects are muted, and aside of their names, could be anybody playing the roles. The so-called romance of the new characters Ilia and Decker (embryonic Riker and Deanna) is a waste of space, and even when its purpose is made clear at the end, it still feels that they have made no impact to the entire story.
The story itself is a joke too, having traces of the TOS story "The Changeling" in it, but was plagued by re-writes and re-writes, right up to the end. Despite having Robert Wise (The Day The Earth Stood Still) directing it, the film is badly edited and acted.
Combine this with erratic writing, and over bold ambitions, and SFX that were testing the limits of what existed and often failing to be delivered on time, the budget spiralled to a whopping $45 Million.
On seeing it, I agree with what many said - it is "The Slow Motion Picture", and not much happens. Its obvious influence being that of 2001: A Space Odyssey. That is no way a detriment, but Star Trek had aliens, warp drive, shields and weaponry, and people expected something done with those elements.
Even the re-edited 2001 version improves a lot but not to great heights. The CGI scenes do not improve the movie, just makes one wish that they started from scratch, and the fact its at certain points of the film rather than the entire movie itself makes it more disappointing.
However, I always watch this when it's on. Why when I have just pointed out its flaws? Well flawed it may be, but there are a lot of amazing elements that make this film rise above almost all the others.
First off, it feels like the future - a plausible one too. The cleanliness, the style of most of the uniforms, and the technology looks plausible. Its the most futuristic film I have ever seen.
Then there are the visuals; maybe delivered late, badly edited, and even unnecessary but they are staggering. The inside of V’ger, the cloud, and the overall visual has an immense cinematic quality. I love the immensity of V’ger, the alien giant nature of it, the way its clouds are formed, and the inside is breathtaking. The sequence with Spock flying through the giant holograms is a spectacle in itself.
The orbital office is a treat, the air-trams a joy, Star Fleet HQ looked modern, the inspection pod a technical possibility, work bee modules looked excellent, the space dock appears feasible, and so much proper technology on display, internally and external, its bliss. It feels like the people who did this CARED.
Of course perhaps the greatest joy of all is the re-designed Enterprise - all true technology, no silly toys or concepts. When Kirk and Scotty flew pass to see the new ship, many have condemned the move, but I LOVE IT! Its like seeing a new concept sports car, the latest super aircraft, or the finest luxury ship. People who appreciate good design will want to look and look intensely. More, she looked like a STARSHIP, a futuristic vessel that CAN take man beyond the system. When the floodlights come on, you feel it powering up and that this thing can actually work. Plus the fact that the Enterprise is just as important a character as Kirk, Scotty, and Spock.
Unlike Star Wars, Star Trek was not about blasting things, but exploring the stars, encountering the alien, and asking deep questions. The scene with the Klingon cruisers emphasise the point - they wanted to destroy but got destroyed whereas the Enterprise rather talked, and they made it, showing the power of words over actions.
Then there is the score; its brilliant, alien, unusual and matches the scenes with perfection; you felt the mood of Kirk when he saw his ship, the heroic nature of the Federation, the entry of the cloud, the discovery of V’ger and the finale. Jerry Goldsmith was on fire here.
Finally it feels like a big adventurous film. It feels like space, it feels massive and futuristic, encountering the alien, the unknown and the amazing, and the ending maybe last moment but is true Sci-Fi in nature - that we can go further, that we can evolve, and that there is more beyond.
It felt like Science Fiction - sensible, intelligent, clever, and believable. At the time it came out I was nine, I loved this film, and I loved it more than Star Wars because it just came across as plausible. Had they not made it so long, without Ilia and Decker and all them irrelevant scenes it would be a 10/10, but that means supporting all the un-necessaries in the film. So its a nine.
Remarkable fact 1: The score for The Motion Picture was up for an Oscar nomination for best soundtrack in 1979 - but was beaten by George Delerue's A Little Romance.
Remarkable fact 2: The Motion Picture was the second highest grossing film in 1979 - the first was Kramer Vs Kramer. Also according from a recent interview with Leonard Nimoy, everyone believed that this was going to be the only film, hence the title.
Remarkable fact 3: The design of V'Ger's interior was done by science fiction master Syd Mead - who would later go on to design sets for Bladerunner, Tron, and Mission to Mars. The SFX was overseen by master of that art Douglass Trumbull, who made Silent Running, and helped on films like Bladerunner, and Close Encounters of the Third Kind. And note - NO CGI - yet the visuals are stunning!
Remarkable musical instrument: The strange metallic sounds used to announce V'ger was a unique instrument called "The Blaster Beam". Invented by Craig Huxley, this device consisted of a number of spent artillery shells chimed by a series of electromagnets along a 15 ft mechanism! Said artist also appeared as a child actor in Star Trek The Original Series, and went on to do unusual music for the Genesis tape in "The Wrath of Khan".
Remarkable ship: The Enterprise. Costing $1 million to make, and made of refined steel. It is a beauty to the eye and the best designed ship of the lot. Only the Enterprise-E comes close.
Remarkable backstory: William Decker is suppose to be the son of Commodore Decker, the one who lost the Constellation in "The Doomsday Machine". According from the story, he was respected but stigmatised because many in Star Fleet saw his father a failure for "losing a starship".
Rating: 9 (Chris S)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Stardate not given: When three Klingon ships and a Starfleet space station are destroyed by an powerful, unknown entity, the USS Enterprise's refit project is rushed to completion so that it can be sent to investigate. James T. Kirk, now promoted to Admiral, regains command of the
Enterprise from Captain Willard Decker. After a close encounter with a wormhole and a threatening asteroid, the ship docks with a small Vulcan
vessel carrying Spock, who has come from Vulcan after being telepathically "touched" by the entity. When they arrive at the giant entity, Lt.
Ilia is killed by an energy probe and brought back to the ship as an android. She tells the crew that the entity's name is V'Ger, and that it wishes to "join with the creator". When the ship enters V'Ger, they find out that the central "brain" of the structure is actually the Voyager VI NASA probe launched in the 1970s. Kirk and Decker speculate that the probe was taken
in by a planet of machines and retrofitted with this massive body, so that it could cross the galaxy to find
its creator (NASA). V'Ger comes into orbit around Earth and launches a series of energy probes that may
accidentally destroy the planet. Decker and the Ilia probe join and create an energy field that destroys V'Ger.
I have often criticised trekkies for being too close minded in their analysis and/or acceptance of anything Trek related that is not TOS. Obviously, this is not true for all trekkies, but it is a concern. We saw it with TNG and, most recently, we saw it with the Star Trek reboot, which I loved.
Well, I see this film as one of the very best of the entire Trek film series. When I watch a movie, a pay attention to the visuals, including directing and cinematography, and ST:TMP is a masterpiece in those fields. Robert Wise, who is a brilliant director to begin with, did an expert job in adapting Trek for the screen, and I still pull a facepalm when I remember Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory say that this movie was poorly filmed.
As for the story, I know it could have been a 45-minute TV episode, and was supposed to be, but it nevertheless is a high-concept, intellectual plot that makes Star Trek great.
In conclusion, this is simply a wonderful film.
Remarkable scenes: The slow-motion wormhole scene; the opening Klingon battle; and the introduction of the Enterprise refit.
Remarkable character: The brief appearance of Commander Sonak, who was a reimagining of the character of Xon, who was supposed to replace Spock on the planned "Star Trek: Phase II".
Remarkable dialogue: Kirk: "There's this...thing..out there." - McCoy: "Why is everything we don't understand always called a 'thing'!?"
Nitpicking: Even though ten literal years had passed since the last scene of TOS were filmed, it's a bit hard to imagine that Kirk would have curly-brown hair and Scotty would be grey and have a Mustache in just the two years that passed in the story.
Remarkable makeup: This was the first time Klingons received their infamous ridges. Over the years, there have been countless attempts to fit the ridge/non-ridge situation into the Trek canon, but in the end, it was just a creative decision by the makeup artist.
Remarkable facts: Mark Lenard (Sarek) played the Klingon captain in the opening scene. The bridge of the head Klingon ship would be redesigned as the torpedo bay in "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan".
Rating: 10 (David B.)
Star Trek II: The Wrath
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
Star Trek II: TWOK is full of technical and logical deficiencies and unfortunately there is a general lack of attention to detail throughout the film. Nevertheless, its achievements as a film are significant and it is still my favorite of the ST Movies. It is a much more personnel story than ST: TMP. Though it loses much of the epic sense TMP had, it makes up for this in its characters. We see a side of Kirk we’ve never seen before. Shatner will most likely never win an Oscar, but I think this is his best work within the ST franchise. Basically it’s the story of Kirk’s mid-life crisis. We know that between TMP and TWOK he retired and returned to Starfleet, his beloved Enterprise has been relegated to a training vessel and he is now struggling to find a place in a galaxy that doesn’t seem to need him anymore. The best he can do is muster an observatory status on the Enterprises training cruise. It will take his confrontation with Khan, responsibility for a trainee crew and the death his best friend, for Kirk to truly find his place again -- a high price indeed. We even see Kirk make a horrendous tactical blunder in his first encounter with Khan. He fails to raise shields as Saavik advises when the Enterprise approaches the Reliant. This type of mistake would be almost unheard of by the Kirk of TOS. Yet, this very human side of Kirk is one of the finest aspects of this movie. The human factor is what makes this film great and character driven science fiction is always the most satisfying. For the first time we finally see real character arc for our main protagonists, Kirk and Spock. We see a side of their friendship that was rarely explored in TOS -- a theme that will be carried into the next two films. Even the other characters get a little more involvement than usual. The special effects aren’t near up the standards of TMP, but they are more that adequate for the story.
I also enjoyed the philosophical aspect of the film introduced by Spock in his "needs of the many vs. the needs of few" dialogue. A theme Spock will emphasize best with his ultimate sacrifice and a theme that will be perfectly and appropriately reversed for the next film. This story is about anger, loss and responsibility. Most importantly: all the ways -- right or wrong -- we deal with these issues. TWOK paints a much different universe than we have seen in to this point in Star Trek. It depicts an uncertain and dangerous frontier, where darkness and evil reside. The galaxy depicted here reminds me much of the one depicted in the Alien franchise. Even the ear-dwelling creatures bare some similarity to the small host creatures from the Alien movies. Truly, the theme of the unknown in this film is as the old sea-faring warning, "Here there be monsters." (This theme will also be revisited in Enterprise.) This depiction of the universe is probably the furthest from what Roddenberry had in mind for Star Trek. Yet I think the story fits perfectly into what Star Trek is all about and given the deep human aspect of this story, this theme is not inappropriate. Furthermore, the anger and rage of Khan is something we have rarely seen to date within Star Trek. By story’s end we see evil thwarted by great courage and sacrifice, a family put aside their differences, a man find his place and of course the galaxy is saved all in the process. This is truly a story worthy of Star Trek.
Remarkable error: Khan’s "I never forget a face Mr. Chekov." Seeing as how Chekov didn’t come on the show until the next season.
Remarkable dialogue 1: Spock: "Ship... out of danger?" - Kirk: "Yes." - Spock: "Don't grieve, Admiral. It is logical. The needs of the many outweigh..." - Kirk: "...the needs of the few." - Spock: "...Or the one. I never took the Kobayashi Maru test until now. What do you think of my solution?" - Kirk: "Spock..." - Spock: "I have been and always shall be your friend... Live long and prosper."
Remarkable dialogue 2: David: "You knew enough to tell Saavik that how we face death is at least as important as how we face life." - Kirk: "Just words." - David: "But good words. That's where ideas begin. Maybe you should listen to them. I was wrong about you. And I'm sorry." - Kirk: "Is that what you came here to say?" - David: "Mainly. And also that I'm proud - very proud - to be your son."
Remarkable scene: Spock's death. By far the best of any of the main Star Trek characters.
Remarkable ship: The Reliant
Rating: 9 (J. Stewart)
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
When "The Motion Picture" ran its course, it may have made cash and resurrected the Star Trek franchise to the world but in the eyes of the executives, the film cost too much to make despite earning its money back - and was slammed by many for being dull. Many blamed Gene for the failings of that film and in a bold move, decided to "cut him out" of the warranted sequel.
According to the book The Art of Star Trek, Harve Bennett was called in by Paramount, reasons not stated. When asked about the Star Trek TMP his reply was cagey but honest, telling the executives that he thought the film was "alright but boring" and that "his kids kept on popping off to the john" and the only thing that was good about it was the appearance of Lt Ilia. When he was told how much it cost it’s claimed he said "I could make a dozen movies for that money!" - On which Paramount said - "Do it."
The sequel had a plot that was very basic, with a budget that was meagre, with a crew who were not devoted trekkies and with restrictions to cost and production: - in short this had the hallmarks of a disaster. The result was anything but.
The film was "Star Trek Two - The Wrath of Khan" - probably the greatest Star Trek Film EVER made - and more than that - a fantastic film in its own right. So many things make this a joy to behold and created the benchmark other films in the franchise are measured, compared, inspired, and even condemned by.
First - it was going to be the opposite of "The Motion Picture" - the execs wanted it to be full of action and drive, not another slow film.
Second; the plot - as the old saying goes, keep it simple - no time anomalies, no threat to Earth, alternate dimensions or anything ridiculous. Also the story was worked on - and worked on hard. It was not a swift flash in the pan of clichéd ideas or cheap tricks. TWOK's plot was well made and thought out - and it shows.
Third, the ideas that went into the plot. The simple "super weapon threat" was dragged in and done to death, and in all fairness was seen as a surrender and a pander to basic audiences, but a clever spin came to pass that was to turn the 'bomb' into something else - a noble idea that can be misused - hence the Genesis Device - an excellent notion that made the "weapon" not a thing of destruction but something with benevolent intentions. As a result, this made part of the plot solid.
The other foundation was the idea of a villain. Anyone could have been selected as a baddie; a Klingon, Romulan, whatever, but the motives would have been predictable and would make a dull film. What they needed was a villain who not only had motive, but also the character and the manner to power it, one that would be a match for Kirk; and more importantly someone who could play that part with such panache. The resurrection of Khan Noonian Singh was inspired - and that character ticked all the boxes - motive: revenge and damaged ego; character/manner: malice, pride, megalomania; challenger to Kirk - former warlord of the Earth and VERY intelligent. This character is a really nasty charismatic piece of work. The actor Ricardo Montalban delivered the lines with such coldness, malevolence, and passion - HE was not playing Khan - HE IS KHAN. For Khan to fight Kirk he needed a ship, obviously, but if he came after Kirk in a Klingon vessel or something underpowered or some over the top machine it would not work; the idea of capturing a Federation craft was a stroke of genius - no one would suspect one of their own vessels going rogue, it would be an equal fight, and on that the film rolled like a perfect wheel.
From those ingredients the film wrote itself - the plot grew, the actions came, and all fell into the right places. It was nurtured right and the end result is a masterpiece. To me this film has EVERYTHING I want - action, sense, intelligence, good pace and planning and emotion - it drove you on and you felt part of an adventure. When I saw this aged ten in the 80's I thought it was better than Star Wars - and it still is.
The characters familiar, but now with more "human" traits - fear, pride, guilt, failure, sadness, - in short - FLAWS! Things we as humans can relate to. Something I think that still lacks in Star Trek many a time. There is great acting and there are great lines, and one line so well executed that it has elevated from this film and has become part of popular culture. "Revenge is a dish best served cold."
The action was well crafted and not shoved in for gung-ho effect or to compete with other films - they were bred by the story that made the conflicts excellent in execution. The pace is fast, it’s adventurous, and it feels like an epic movie unfolding. The music is utterly brilliant - plaudits to James Horner - it has heroics, bombast, and sadness. The attack from Khan is clever in the way he allows Kirk to be fooled, the counter attack by Kirk is masterful by showing Kirk's knowledge of starships to Khan's inexperience - and that PLAUSIBLE SIMPLE FLAW creates the climax in the Mutara Nebula which is jaw dropping and has never been bettered since!
Finally a great film must have a great ending - be it a phrase, a scene, or conclusion. Think "Blade Runner", "Shawshank", "Glory", "The Maltese Falcon" and you get an idea. Here TWOK presented us with the death of Spock - it was done with such strength, nobility, dignity, and heart you could feel the pain of loss; and as for the funeral - if you are not moved - god knows.
One can say there are niggles, a few errors - but when a film like this is done this way, it matters not at all. TWOK is so good it doesn't even feel like a Star Trek film - it’s a film that stands on its own merits - and as a result many have based ideas from this film in so many ways and that tells it all. Nicholas Meyer, Director of the film, said the reason why he worked so well on the film was "that it was to mean something" - a film that has some importance - something I think many films in general have forgotten.
I watched it recently and despite the level of special effects we have now, and the film's age - believe it or not its over twenty years old - TWOK still has not waned - it's still fresh, still adventurous, still strong, and watching it again does not dullen - it shines more. This IS the film that saved Star Trek.
A full deserved perfect 10/10.
Remarkable ship: The Reliant is a superb design and blends well into the technical world of Star Fleet. It honours the rules of Trek and creates new ones - the first true "other starship" that would inspire kitbashes and a design that would carry on in treks of the future. The beatings it takes and the blows it delivers are staggering stuff! It was originally designed with the nacelles above the saucer and the torpedo pod underneath, but the Reliant was presented to the producers upside down - and they liked the mistake and the rest is history.
Remarkable fact 1: The Genesis film was the first true CGI film made for the big screen - at the time this was witnessed by both George Lucas and Stephen Spielberg who hoped if it was possible to make an entire film like that. At the time they were told it would take decades to do - in an ironic twist, they were right. It did take decades for that type of film to be made.
Remarkable fact 2: The original story was literally on another planet, and penned by Gene himself. It involved renegade Klingons seizing the Guardian of Forever to allow them to travel back in time to prevent the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Needless to say, Paramount execs were not enthusiastic about the idea and promoted him Executive Consultant - i.e. - kicked upstairs out of harm's way. Despite his resentment and objections to certain themes in "The Wrath of Khan", they were "taken onboard"...and no more than that.
Remarkable props: The first showing of what a photon torpedo looks like, and the launcher room.
Remarkable fact 3: The Genesis Device was originally called the Omega System but was regarded as too dark for the optimistic era of Star Trek and what Starfleet was about - until Art Director Mike Minor suggested that the weapon was for terraforming purposes - on the Harve Bennett leapt up and hugged him saying that "he had saved Star Trek!"
Sad facts: The actress Bibi Besch who played Carol Marcus also appeared in "The Day After" and alas died of cancer in 1996; Merritt Butrick who played Kirk's son died of AIDS in 1989; Paul Winfield who played Captain Tyrell died of a heart attack in 2004.
Rating: 10 (Chris S)
Star Trek III: The
Search for Spock
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
Like with Alien 3 to Aliens, Jedi to Empire, Mad Max 3 to MM2, the sequel to the best ever Star Trek movie shared the trend with the aforementioned - the sequel becoming a damp squib.
Where TWOK made Star Trek a great adventure, TSFS made one want to stay home. When I saw this film I was not just disappointed - I was also insulted, deflated, and cheated.
In a way TSFS was the reverse of TWOK and although it has some good moments, most of the film is a banality. It's the kind of film you may view if you have not much on, but if there is a lot to occupy you, you would not give it a second thought.
Why the resentment? Worse films in the fleet have come to pass.
Well first off - the plot. Where they could have moved on, grieved, and start a new adventure, they decided to undo EVERYTHING in the last film because Mr Nimoy had a change of heart. This must have been joy to the die hards, but to the rest of the world this only confirmed the reason why Sci-Fi is hated and Star Trek is mocked. They could have stuck to their guns, ride the storm, and say "this is life" but no. They conceded and reset everything.
Second, the villains: Klingons - cookie cutter ones to be accurate. They could have been Romulans, Orions, tax men, taxi drviers, curb crawlers, any crap plucked off the shelf because their portrayal was anything but inspiring. They were only added to bring back some "traditional villains" into the films. Rather than think out a strong menace with motive, we have a bunch of folk doing what they do because that is what they are expected to be. Nothing bold, creative, or interesting. As a result, they are a forgettable as...
Third - the Bird of Prey and the Merchantman - the moment I saw these ships to me Star Trek jumped the Shark. Both ships are good designs but look like something belonging to Star Wars - rusty exterior, greebles, wear and tear, bending wings, and obvious gun batteries. For it to be in a Star Trek film is like featuring a tank at a supercar show! To me Star Trek starships are suppose to be smooth, almost featureless, and have nacelles - original Romulan and Klingon ships did, why the sudden change? These vessels ruined the Star Trek aesthetic and smashed said rule. The fact that the BoP went on the be EVERY Klingon ship since beggars belief.
Fourth, rendering Genesis to a failure - having created a superweapon, this would limit future stories so they decided to show that the device was badly designed and could not work, thus rendering an interesting idea to an afterthought. Its clear no one bothered to look further into the Genesis device, and sides, it may not be able to create a world, but does that mean it cannot destroy one? By making it a failure, the chance of looking into this idea is dead.
On the subject of death, Spock's resurrection - WHAT A COP OUT! - how convenient that there were "Genesis waves" left to re-create Spock yet Kirk's son dies and stays dead! When one loses someone that's it. It's a horrid experience and one we all have to deal with and go through, it makes us realise how precious life is, and that it tests us to move on or be crushed. This resurrection basically erases the emotion of the funeral in TWOK and in a way it to me makes a mockery of death - a stunt they would repeat in Nemesis except more blatant and more crass.
This is a disappointing film that in a way started the trend that every odd numbered Star Trek film would be a dud. This film does have a few good moments - the destruction of the Enterprise was a shock, the Spacedock was jawdropping, and the BoP landing on Vulcan was spectacular.
However these moments do not compensate for a rather dismal film whose sole purpose is to bring back Spock/Len Nimoy into the franchise.
5/10 - because of the special effects and ships
Remarkable fact 1: The Bird of Prey was going to be a Romulan ship, with a Romulan crew, but Nimoy and co suggested Klingons - the BoP was then made out to have been captured by the Klingons - but later the idea was dropped.
Remarkable ships and stations: The Excelsior, the Grissom, and the Spacedock. - Beautiful!
Remarkable fact 2: Roddenberry, who had been forced out of direct creative control during production of "The Wrath of Khan", felt that the destruction of the Enterprise he had helped to create was something of a betrayal; many attributed the leak and the acrimony that followed to Roddenberry himself. Regardless, the vessel's destruction was clearly shown in a television spot that aired two weeks before the film's release. Harve Bennett tried to have the Paramount-approved commercial changed, but failed.
Remarkable scene 1: The Enterprise's destruction - How brave is THAT!??!?!?
Remarkable scene 2: The arrival and escape from Spacedock - brilliant!
Rating: 5 (Chris S)
Star Trek III:
The Search for Spock
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
This film is average, sort of. The story is simple, effective and worked well. But this film has a few aspects and I'll discuss them individually.
The characters. Well, we have Kirk who was normal, defiant and just the same except that his son died. Now, he didn't cry, in fact he had hardly any fucking emotion and just showed how bad Shatner is at acting. I mean, I still hate people who make it OTT but he basically sat down and surrendered. Nothing, I mean there's taking things on the chin and there's taking it on the chin. He was pathetic. So, Spock was dead, how sad but he's reborn. Oh that was an interesting idea but I don't see how it would revert him to a child. Okay, the child part worked well and the highlight of the film was the Pon-Farr scene, nicely handled and nice continuity. Spock's return at the end was nicely touching and not done over the top. McCoy had more to do and I liked the Spock / McCoy personality shown in the well directed bar scene. Uhura was normal, just a side-dressing but her scene with the gun was the most stupid scene, Uhura was hardly like that and I feel it ruined her character.
The plot itself was a mess and made no sense, they then made the Genesis device a failure which was pointless and meant any future attempt of a revival was ruined and how did it rejuvenate Spock but not David. Come on, explain that! The people who wrote this were just dicks as they abandoned a lot of decent ideas. They killed off David who could have returned. They destroyed the Genesis Device which was genius and made Spock return. Why not leave him dead? The beginning worked well and I liked when they stole the ship. It was nice and simple and looked like it worked mostly. The blowing up of the Enterprise was well worked and they actually blew it up! Good for them. The Klingons were well worked as enemies to bring back into the series as major villains. They could have been worked better but I can't see how. The fight was pathetic and the last minute rescue was slightly far fetched yet I enjoyed it. I found the Klingons motiveless but they worked very well otherwise.
The music used in TMP was exceptional yet there was none in here and it never made sense as nothing seems to speed it up. They did nothing and the direction was slightly offkey. The direction was a bit bad and during the film there was a few bad shots and it lacked the perfect shots that the other filmed sometimes possessed.
The pace was a bit weak, it started off slow and I didn't want another TMP. When they stole the Enterprise it sped up but the escape was far too slow and then it sped it and skipped through the rest of the plot. The enemies had not motive but there scenes was well written and directed and overall the story worked really well. The final fight was a disappointment but it's not that bad.
Remarkable quotes / dialogues: "Ordering poison at a bar is illogical." (McCoy), "Sir, it's controlled by a computer, the only thing on is the computer." - "What's it saying" - "10...9...8" - "Get out of there!" BOOM! (Klingon commander, Klingon soldier and Enterprise computer, how thick can you get?)
Remarkable ships: the Enterprise
Rating: 6 (Darren Carver-Balsiger)
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
When I saw the trailer to "The Voyage Home", I steered clear of this film, and its timing smacked of a cynical ploy to woo viewers - it once again had the theme of time travel, and by co-incidence it was released in the same era as "Back to the Future".
When I did see it on TV, it confirmed my reasons but it was not as bad as I thought. It is well made and directed. Having said that I am glad that I did not waste money seeing it.
Once again it was another alien probe threatening Earth, mankind/Starfleet had no chance to defend itself against it, and by luck, only the temporary exiled crew of the Enterprise can save the day. They discover that the probe (and as always by Spock) is trying to communicate with humpback whales - alas they are extinct in the 23rd century. So the crew decide to time travel back to 20th century Earth to nab a couple of whales and save the day.
The plot sounds utter bunkum - think really about it - going back in time to rescue a couple of WHALES! Only Star Trek would/could come up with a story like this.
It has some great moments though, especially the hospital scene with McCoy in full rant mode (best part of the film), the punk rocker on the bus, the con over the glasses, and Spock's profanities. The worse parts were the way they treated time travel and its consequences, and the annoying marine whale expert Gillian Taylor, someone that made the film unbearable.
The ending with Kirk reduced to rank and them returning to ANOTHER refitted Constitution class is a yawn. YET this is the biggest grossing film of the franchise until Star Trek 09. How? Why?
Well I have a theory on this based on Total Film Magazine's reasoning why James Cameron's Titanic is popular yet hated. The theory is thus - if a film about ordinary life and strife has a powerful but brief sci-fi element to it, then it blasts other such films out of the sky. On the other hand, if a dedicated sci-fi film spends most of its time showing nothing science fiction at all except at the last few moments, then blows big time.
Like Bernd said, for a Star Trek movie there is not much Star Trek in it and I agree. The story maybe silly but is important about the environment and life on this planet. It is well done with no violence or explosions. Yet its a film I would not make efforts to see because there is not much to look at.
6/10 - well its a lot better than the Search for Spock and the atrocity of Star Trek V!
Remarkable fact 1: When Nimoy was fleshing out the script of "The Voyage Home", he approached "Beverly Hills Cop" writer Daniel Petrie, Jr. to write the screenplay when a concept that executive producer Jeffrey Katzenberg described as "either the best or worst idea in the world" arose — Star Trek fan Eddie Murphy wanted a starring role. Nimoy and Murphy acknowledged his part would attract non-Star Trek fans to the franchise following the rising popularity of Murphy, but it also meant the film might be ridiculed. Steve Meerson and Peter Krikes were hired to write a script with Murphy as a college professor who believes in aliens and likes to play whale songs. Murphy disliked the part, explaining he wanted to play an alien or a Starfleet officer, and chose to make The Golden Child — a decision Murphy later said was a mistake. Murphy's character was combined with a marine biologist and a female reporter to become Gillian Taylor.
Remarkable fact 2: Majel Barrett reprised her role as Christine Chapel, the director of Starfleet Command's medical services. Many of her scenes—some reportedly very large—were omitted in the final cut, angering the actress. Her final role in the film consists of one line of dialogue and a reaction shot.
Remarkable fact 3: "The Voyage Home" has no principle villain! Leonard Nimoy was asked to return to direct "The Voyage Home" before "The Search for Spock"'s release. Whereas Nimoy had been under certain constraints in filming the previous picture, Paramount gave the director greater freedom for the sequel. "[Paramount] said flat out that they wanted my vision," Nimoy recalled. In contrast to the drama-heavy and operatic events of previous Star Trek features, Nimoy and producer Harve Bennett wanted a lighter movie that did not have a clear-cut villain, nor any violence, explosions, phaser fire or photon explosions.
Remarkable fact 4: "The Voyage Home" was the first Star Trek film shown in the Soviet Union, screened by the World Wildlife Fund on June 26, 1987 in Moscow to celebrate a ban on whaling. Nimoy and Bennett attended the screening. Bennett was amazed the film got the same laughs as it did with an American audience; he said "the single most rewarding moment of my Star Trek life" was when the Moscow audience applauded at McCoy's line, "The bureaucratic mentality is the only constant in the universe. We'll get a freighter." To him, it was a clear "messenger of what was to come."
Remarkable fact 5: The Whales are infact robots. Controlled by numerous radio operatives, they worked hard on the models to get it right. The work was so good that marine biologists and zoologists thought they were real and expressed concern for their well-being.
Remarkable fact 6: Shatner described "The Voyage Home'"s comic quality as one "that verges on tongue-in-cheek but isn't, it's as though the characters within the play have a great deal of joy about themselves, a joy of living [and] you play it with the reality you would in a kitchen-sink drama written for today's life." He also was unwilling to reprise the role of Kirk until he received a salary of $2 million and the promise of directing the next film. Oops!
Rating: 6 (Chris S)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Stardate 8454.1: Synopsis in main Movie listing
I love the movie's message -- that God isn't out there; it's "in here", in your heart. As Decker said in "Star Trek: The Motion Picture", "We all create God in our own image."
This is a pretty good film once you look past a few things.
Remarkable error: When Spock is propelling Kirk and McCoy up the Enterprise turboshaft, there are some remarkable errors in the deck numbering.
Remarkable quote: "I've always known; I'll die alone." (Kirk)
Remarkable dialogue: After Kirk and McCoy sing "Row Row Row Your Boat", Spock argues, "Life is not a dream." Later, when the Enterprise is approaching "Sha Ka Ree", McCoy asks, "Are we dreaming?" Kirk responds, "If we are, then life IS a dream."
Rating: 7 (JemHadar359)
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Stardate 8454.1: Synopsis in main Movie listing
If the "Wrath of Khan" was the movie that saved Star Trek, "The Final Frontier" almost destroyed the franchise. Written mainly by David Loughery and directed by William Shatner via a deal with Paramount, the plot in theory sounded interesting at best.
Looking for God. Many Sci-fi films have done or flirted with the notion of a Divinity and the intergalatic truth; many however have fallen flat on the face - and alas "The Final Frontier" was no different.
Had it the backing and support the film could have worked but numerous things were to doom the project - the 1988 Writers Guild Strike; ILM way occupied with other projects and a far cheaper unknown SFX team drafted as a replacement with obvious poor results; numerous script changes including some from Kelley and Nimoy; the need from the studio to repeat the success of "The Voyage Home" by making this film more fun and laughter than dramatic and serious; low production values; and inexperience directing from Captain Kirk himself.
The net result is one of the worse films made in 1989 - and even to this day its still an Albatross around Star Trek's neck.
Watching this is agony. The execution of the plot, the poor direction, no great moments, pointless photography and art direction, embarrassing comedy, stupid characters - especially Sybok and his entourage of gorlmess weirdoes - VERY lame action, irrelevant revelations, naff anything-but-special effects, and a climax that has a reverse effect - you knew the ending was coming and welcomed it. This is not just a crime to Star Trek - it's to celluloid in general.
When I first saw it I thought it was alright - but there is a rule of thumb about films - great films get better and better as you watch them, good films make your day, bad films can be bad but good, and dreadful films keep you away from cinema. This falls so into the last category. Whenever it's on, I avoid it - there is nothing there that makes me want to see the film - no special moment, no interesting point, no joyful scene - it's not even bad enough to be good. It is just so awful it's insulting.
They could have done a real epic or a different story - "The Voyage Home" left an idea that the Klingons would want revenge, they could have went that route or something else - but any ideas of a great film were scuppered when the studio wanted to replicate the success of "The Voyage home" with its humour - had they gone with the original plot - darker sense, betrayals, and clever revelations - it could have been interesting and may have been a nurtured classic.
Alas this film is not it. It's garbage - and the kind that cannot be recycled or turned into anything useful.
Remarkable ship/nitpicking: The redesigned shuttlecraft and the use of the Enterprise's hangar bay -the shuttles compliment the design style of the NCC 1701-A's inventory. Strangely in "The Motion Picture" the bay was a lot larger and could accommodate workpods = this bay can just barely fit in two shuttles. Constitution classes carried four (ref. "The Doomsday Machine") - so where are the other two?
Remarkable fact 1: The new phasers with their powerpack "clips" were inspired from the pulse rifles in "Aliens"!
Remarkable fact 2: Despite the film being marked as a stinker, "The Final Frontier" did make money - and recuperated its budget! Nevertheless this film will forever damage the franchise - its reputation is so bad that even in the TNG: "Family" episode, a reference to horse thieves from Nimbus III was cut out. In some countries the film was considered so bad it was only released as a VHS.
Remarkable fact 3: In the film, the "God" was to take the form of rock monsters, but the budget was not available for a horde, but for a single beast, but the shot was so awful it was cut and only available on DVD; ironically this sequence was inspired in a scene for another Sci-fi film - "Galaxy Quest"! Even worse when the film was released on DVD, Shatner asked if the studios would remaster this scene as he originally intended - they refused.
Remarkable fact 4: The film was the "winner" of the 1990 Razzie awards for "Worst Picture", "Worst Actor" (Shatner), and "Worst Director" (Shatner). It also received nominations for "Worst Picture of the Decade", "Worst Supporting Actor" (Kelley), "Worst Screenplay" (Loughery, Shatner, and Bennett). To add insult to injury this is the first Star Trek movie not to be nominated for a Hugo Award for "Best Dramatic Presentation".
Remarkable fact 5: Everyone knows about the dodgy boot flight scene up the Enterprise's shaft - but the entire set was redesigned because the orignal set from Star Trek 4 was damaged in weather. The set was designed by Herman Zimmerman - set designer for The Next Generation.
Rating: 0 (chris)
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Stardate 9521.6: After the explosion of their moon Praxis that has led to an ecological disaster on their homeworld, the Klingons offer peace talks to the Federation. A joined conspiracy of Klingon and Starfleet officers, however, strives to obstruct the peace plans by all means. The Klingon chancellor Gorkon is assassinated, for which Kirk and McCoy are arrested and convicted by the Klingons. After they have been freed from the penal colony on Rura Penthe, they head for the Khitomer peace conference. Here, with the help of the USS Excelsior and Capt. Sulu, they defeat the Bird-of-Prey of the treacherous General Chang and save the life of the Federation President who was the next on the assassination list.
I consider this the best Star Trek film. James Kirk has always been my favorite Enterprise captain, and he went out on a high note in this film (yes, I'm aware of "Generations", but this was the last one to feature the entire TOS cast).
The movie starts out with foreboding music, then the Praxis explosion suddenly appears out of nowhere. The scene at Starfleet Command is well-written, and demonstrates how close to retirement the crew is, and then Spock tells Kirk that he is to be the Federation's olive branch to the Klingons - a race he has loathed since the death of his son in "Star Trek III".
Enterprise then rendezvous with Kronos One, and the Klingons beam aboard. Gorkon, Azetbur, and Chang are introduced in the transporter room scene, and the tension builds right up to the dinner. General Chang steals the spotlight in the dinner scene, and the tension in the room is almost tangible. Kirk simply tries to get along, while Spock tries to be a diplomat. The cultural differences are accentuated there, with one of the Klingons warning of "the annihilation of our culture", with a quick reprisal from McCoy.
The scene ends as the conspiracy prepares for its first act - assassinating Gorkon. The Enterprise apparently fires two torpedoes into the unshielded ship. Two unknown persons beam aboard Kronos One and kill everyone in their path, including Chancellor Gorkon.
Chang frames Kirk for the murder of Gorkon, and takes command of the ship, and prepares to fire on Enterprise. Kirk surrenders, and beams aboard Kronos One to help Gorkon. McCoy tries to stabilize him with a shot, but that gives Chang grounds to frame him for the assassination.
The two are arrested, and sentenced to Rura Penthe for life, while Spock and the other crew try to figure out the torpedo mystery. They find out the truth - Chang's Bird of Prey was underneath them, and can fire when cloaked. The two assassins are found dead, and they were Starfleet personnel (part of the conspiracy, no doubt). The crew finds Kirk and McCoy on Rura Penthe, and beams them aboard. Sulu then tells the crew that the peace conference is on Khitomer, and the Enterprise and Excelsior set a course for the planet.
So does Chang. The battle at Khitomer between Chang, Kirk, and Sulu ends with Change being destroyed with photon torpedoes. Kirk prevents the assassination of the Federation President at Khitomer, and gives a final address on his final mission before going back to the Enterprise. The crew find out that they are to be decommissioned, and Kirk sets course for a final defiant cruise, while making a final log entry, a prologue to Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Chang was my personal favorite character of the film, and his Shakespeare quoting and over-the-top acting contribute to his character (in addition to his eyepatch).
The Klingons in this film not only look different than most (lighter makeup), but they act differently, and appear as a credible advanced, civilized people, in contrast to the apish Klingons sometimes seen in TNG and DS9.
The scene where the crew is to be decommissioned, and "passing the torch" to Picard, is touching, as is Kirk's dialogue with Azetbur at Khitomer, when he finally forgives the Klingons for his son's death.
The writers and director went to extra lengths to make sure there were no continuity errors in the film, which I really appreciate. They did a fantastic job at that.
Director Nicholas Meyer takes the best elements of "Star Trek II" and transfers them to this film, and I'm glad he was not the writer this time (unlike in TWOK).
The special effects in Star Trek VI are among the best I've seen. CGI can enhance special effects, and can do many things models can't, but there is a special realism in real models. Indeed, I believe the effects in this film to be more realistic than today's average, and that is another reason I'm attracted to "Star Trek VI", and never tire of watching it.
Remarkable continuity: There is a picture of an unknown Andorian diplomat on the Enterprise (Shran, perhaps?) -- The more human-looking Klingons could be the missing link between the TOS Klingons and later Klingons.
Remarkable character: Lt. Valeris was ostensibly a Vulcan, but the fact that her actions (taking part in the conspiracy), her attitudes ("Klingons cannot be trusted"), and her overall emotionalism and militarism, are atypical for Vulcans leads me to doubt her status. She could be a Romulan spy in Starfleet masquerading as a Vulcan, as her behavior is more consistent with the Romulans.
Remarkable quotes: "Let them die." (Kirk), "In space, all warriors are cold ones." (Chang), "Have you no shred of decency, Kirk? We come in peace, and you blatantly defile that peace. For that, I shall blow you out of the stars!" (Chang), "Klingons cannot be trusted." (Valeris), "One day, one night - Kobayashi Maru." (McCoy), "Cry havoc! And let slip the dogs of war!" (Chang), "Tickle us do we not laugh? Prick us do we not bleed? Wrong us, shall we not revenge?" (Chang)
Remarkable dialogue: "Names, Lieutenant. Names!" - "I do not... remember." - "A lie?" - "A choice." (Kirk, Valeris, and Spock), "Still think we're finished" - "More than ever." (Kirk, McCoy), "I am as constant as the northern star!" - "I'd give real money if he'd shut up." (Chang, McCoy), "I can see you, Kirk. Can you see me?" - "Chang!" (Chang, Kirk), "You've restored my father's faith." - "And you've restored my son's." (Azetbur, Kirk)
Remarkable scene: Gorkon transporting to the Enterprise, and the camera panning up showing off his full costume -- Kirk and McCoy transporting up. If you listen closely, you can hear "His name is Chang", albeit distorted. -- The assassins beaming out of Kronos One, clearly showing the tracked Klingon blood that would later be found by Chekov on the Enterprise.
Remarkable fact: Sulu is now commanding the Excelsior. -- The Enterprise crew is due to stand down in three months. -- Klingon blood is pink. -- Klingons have no tear ducts.
Rating: 9 (Pat Damato)
Star Trek VI - The Undiscovered Country
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
Well after the epic catastrophe that was "The Final Frontier", and the death of Star Trek's creator, this film came to pass and in a way ended the mission of the most famous fictional space crew on a good note.
Overall the film is in a way daft, silly, and a tad foolish but it somehow works. There are numerous flaws with it but what compensates is a good story that is more about people that technology, anomalies, and nonsensical science farce.
Its a redeemer of a film compared to the many that have come since "The Wrath of Khan" - like with that film, this is about people in a situation made by people - and in this case it is the sudden change of power in known space, and the possible side effects.
The bad points are few but they exist - for a start, the name of the Klingon leader who wants to change the Klingons see the Federation - GORKON!
GORKON!! PLUEASE!! Everytime I hear that name I wince because its such a cartoon reference to Gorbachev, a SO obvious plot point the only thing missing was a blood mark on his head. Had they come up with another name - fine - but that? LORD! Even when Spock uttered the name - you could see him wince.
Then there is the conspiracy - a thing that falls flat by a review I saw about ST:VI - there would be NO WAY that members of the Federation and the Empire would work together to do this - its like the IRA working with MI6 to bring down the Good Friday Agreement in Ireland, or Hamas and MOSAD working together to destablise the Middle East, or the ANC working with white supremacists - is does not happen. Had the plot been inspired by say Romulans, that would have been better.
Finally the BoP that can shoot whilst cloaked - so when it died, all the knowhow, development and so forth died with it? No. Also a guided photorp? What happened to them since?
However, overall the film was good, the plot worked albeit with the flaws, the action fast and furious, the battle a battle - and its the kind of film you can watch on autopilot; also the cast contributed - and contributed a lot. The ending where they are made to retire was moving, and they were not blown up or killed in a Blake's 7 sort of way. They retired doing their duty - and as they head off, we salute. It did not pretend to be something major - just a film reflecting a time.
And it did it well.
Remarkable fact 1: Where the conference is held on Khitomer, it is also the HQ for the Power Rangers in their first few series!
Remarkable fact 2: Christian Slater is in the film as the ensign who wakes up Captain Sulu.
Remarkable fact 3: The Undiscovered Country in Shakespeare is not about change - its about Death.
Rating: 7 (Chris)
Star Trek Generations
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
It probably makes sense at the time to bring Kirk and Picard on the big screen together right after the end of TNG. I'm sure TPTB have been regretting it since though. Still, this is a better than average Trek movie.
It is nice to see some of the old TOS crew back again. There were many memorable quotes, some of which are humorous, but I won't bother listing them since we already know them. I like how Kirk kept eyeing the captains chair, yet when he had the chance to sit in it, he decided that the captains place was on his bridge. However, there should have been many other more capable officers who could have gone down to deflector control. Why did old man Kirk, of all people, have to do it?
It is about time Worf got that promotion! Although I understand his promotion was delayed this long because of killing Duras. It is interesting how the story focuses on Picard and Data considering that these two characters will be the focus again in the rest of the TNG movies. I am actually rather annoyed at Data's emotion chip. I found his behavior more irritating than humorous. I kept longing for the old Data throughout the movie. Soran was an interesting character, but I don't really have much more to say about him.
The special effects are good for this time period, however I did not like the darker atmosphere of this ship. I realize the ship had a major overhaul between the end of TNG and this movie, but this still does not seem consistent to me.
Nitpicking: So the energy ribbon appears about four light years from the current position of the Enterprise-B, which is still traveling at impulse in the Sol System. And then the communication officer says that there are no other ships available in the area when Harriman asks for another ship? So in other words, am I to understand that there are no other star ships available within at LEAST FOUR light years of Earth, the main hub of the Federation!? ARGHH!!!
More nitpicking: When Picard coerces Kirk into going back in time with him to help stop Soran, why not go back further in time? Why go back to right before Soran is about to launch the missile? He should have gone back to when Soran was still on the Enterprise-D and lock him up in the Brig! And then Kirk could have lived too!
Remarkable quote: "Oh, shit!" -Data
Rating: 7 (Chris)
Star Trek Generations
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
On hearing about Star Trek: Generations, I groaned - "The Undiscovered Country" ended the franchise on a high, but typically the powers that be wanted more, and not surprised but dismayed, they went ahead with another film - this time starring Picard and Co.
I had never thought much of the Next Gen lot; I grew up with Kirk and his posse and have always prefered them over Picard and his boring mob, but at the time there was not many if any sci fi films afloat so I was sort of intrigued - when I learnt that Kirk was going to pop his clogs in this - I was very curious; and concerned. Concerned because Kirk is a hero of mine and wondered how they were going to do this.
When I saw the film - oh dear...what a gastly disappointment.
Overall I agree with the critics - it does feel like a feature length episode of the Next Gen with special guest star William Shatner. It's clunky, unrefined, poorly edited, and quite flat. Part of it to me is that we are so use to the cinema bringing us WIll and co, that seeing "TV stars" per se doing this feels unimpressive. A fact I recall when I went to see this film, some of the audience were taking the urine out of it by loudly saying "it canne take any more captain" and stuff like that before an irate fan told them to "shut it!" emphasised with suggestions of violence...
It is a labour to watch because its rather inept, dull, and just there - like paint. Its pitiful in many ways; the comedy is irritable and embarrassing - Data being the prime cause with his ghastly emotional chip; the drama is poor, the plot is typical Star Trek; it's full of holes the size of conduits, daft ideas (the Ent-B with OVERSIZED impulse engines), physics bent for convenience (tiny rocket capable of killing stars), continuity blown to hell, the cast being the usual plebs (you know who), silly ideas brought in (the Nexus!!!!), and the panto villain installed as the whole reason for everything being this film.
Yet I would gladly make some time for it, and I think over the years maybe many others have. Why I hear you ask when you have just condemned it? Because despite its overall clunky boringness - there are a few things going for it - and all of them raise this film from just death.
The first is the Enterprise-B launch - where Kirk and Co are brought back to where they use to work, now cannot go. They are obsolete and seeing all that they know carrying on without them is painful. The most hurtful part was when he was introduced to Sulu's daughter, and shocked that Sulu had family - a further statement stabbed into him by Scotty that Sulu had time for a family whilst he did not - Kirk is the victim of his own success, and now has nothing to look forward too except growing old and alone. This is retirement and to many old people so dedicated to their careers, time has passed them by and seeing it here is raw to watch, Kirk the hero is becoming Kirk the Zero.
All that changes when the B encounters the Nexus and the two refugee ships. Kirk's experience comes in handy, and even has the chance to command the B but knows his place is no longer there and that leads to the heart wrenching but VERY heroic scene in the Navigation Deflector Room followed by the realisation of the hit by the Nexus Storm. Scotty's "iye" says it all.
The second is the battle of the D and the Bird of Prey. Again well executed, the BoP using info gathered from Geordi's Visor, and using that to fire through its shields. The sequence where the D's bridge is being shot up is good action, especially the scene when a crewmember is sent flying over the wishbone railing. When they do find a way to beat the Klingons, I agreed with Data - "YES!" then the D then suffers a warp core breach which results in the saucer section being jettisoned. However in one of those gem moments, the explosion knocks the saucer into the atmosphere and results in a very impressive crash. What I liked about this entire sequence was the feeling of "it's bad, just got worse, and then just when you think it cannot get any bleaker, wallop!"
The third albeit small is poignant - the scene where Picard is in the Nexus - its very heart wrenching because so many emotions of loss and need. its short but god its so painful to watch. The sense of loss, regret, and the lack of fulfilment is very strong here.
The final sequence has to be Kirk's death. It's pure herosim. There are two parts that make is soooooooo superb - the first bit where he is about to jump the bridge to get the control pad - he knows the odds are against him, he knows there is little chance of survival, he knows its very certain death, and that music where everything goes quiet as he thinks of where he is, what he has done, and maybe even " this is it" sets it up nicely. The second is hard to write because even thinking about it sends me into flood of tears, it's where Picard finds Kirk crushed under the bridge, and utters those lines - the score and the final "oh my" has me in tears everytime. Not since Roy Batty's death in Bladerunner, or the sacrifice of the soldiers in Glory, has a scene moves me soooooo much.
Why the tears?
Well, it's Captain Kirk - there are those who will like Sisko, Picard, Janeway, and even Archer, but none will ever match - even eclipse the Charisma of Captain Kirk - he is THE captain, he is the man - he is the emphasis of leadership of the Star Fleet - without him, what would there be?
Aside of an iconic character dying, to me this (and maybe many more fans, maybe of my era) is where Star Trek died. I don't care for the spin offs or the films that followed it, Captain Kirk is Star Trek. Some will say that Spock or McCoy are better characters, that Shatner was a third rate actor and his captain was lame, that Star Trek thrived on.
No, it died here, because Spock and Co interacted with Captain Kirk. If you want further proof, look to the reboot of 2009 - they did not go with Picard, Sisko, or Jinny - they went with Kirk. Think about it, Star Trek without Captain Kirk is like Star Wars without Han Solo - and look to the Star Wars prequels to see what I mean.
It should have been laid to rest and respect.
Remarkable fact 1: The original death of Kirk was a shot in the back by Soren. However test audiences hated this event so much that the scene had to be reshot - to the bridge and following crash.
Remarkable dialogue: "Did we do it? Did... we make a difference?" - "Oh yes, we made a difference. Thank you." - "Least I could do for the captain of the Enterprise. It was... fun. (beat) Oh, my." -Kirk and Picard, including Kirk's last words. Amen.
Remarkable fact 2: Attempts were made to have the two crews and ships meet and work together - the snag was who would be the decisive crew? In the end the idea was abandoned for the plot of "generation" leaping.
Rating: 7 (Chris S)
Star Trek Generations
Stardate 2293/ 48650.1 - 2371: Synopsis in main Movie listing
There’s been alot of negativity towards this film in particular amongst the ‘Next Generation’ movies and I’ve seen some particularly harsh reviews. I don’t believe it to be the worse of the bunch and, much like the Enterprise-D, unsalvageable though ;)
We open the film at the christening of the Enterprise-B in 2293 where on its shakedown cruise it must respond to a distress call from two vessels trapped inside an anomaly and unable to break free. The Enterprise assists in the rescuing of some survivors from but one of the ships, at the cost of Kirk, who with Scotty and Chekov were present at the ceremony. Among the survivors is Soren, the chief antagonist of the film, played by Malcom ‘Alex DeLarge’ McDowell.
Fast forwarding 78 years, the Enterprise-D also responds to a distress call from an observatory in deep space attacked by Romulans. The only survivor happens to be Soren however. Data, who decided to have his emotion chip installed following a misunderstanding at Worf’s promotion ceremony where he pushed Crusher into water, and Geordi investigate the station. They discover a secret room with torpedoes inside. Soren appears and take Geordi captive as Data is paralysed with fear. Soren fires off a torpedo into the star of which the station is orbiting and is beamed away with Geordi by recurring Klingon villians Lursa and B’Etor.
Data and Picard discover Soren is destroying stars to alter the course of the energy ribbon (aka the Nexus, a magical fantasy land, bleh) which is nearby to bring it towards a planet, and the Enterprise and Klingon ship travel to the planet’s location. Geordi is returned to the Enterprise albeit with a camera implanted in his VISOR and Picard is transported to the surface alone, unarmed and without a communicator by the Klingons to deal with Soren. Thanks to the bugged VISOR, the Klingons discover Enterprise’s shield modulation and fire upon her, crippling the ship. Through some unlikely manoeuvre though the Enterprise manages to remote cloak the Bird of Prey and destroy it whilst the Klingons stand around stunned, not bothering to try evasive manoeuvres. Idiots. The saucer separation routine is played out again and rest of the ship crashes on Veridian IV.
Soren’s plan succeeds and the missile is fired into the sun. The ribbon takes Soren and Picard and the sun’s destruction in turn destroys Veridian IV.
Picard then finds himself in the Nexus, and through an ‘echo’ (?) of Guinan manages to escape his fantasy of happiness and tracks down Kirk who too was sucked into the Nexus following the incident on the Enterprise B. Through the realisation that it’s a fantasy and an impassioned plea from Picard, the pair leave the Nexus and return to Veridian III to do battle with Soren.
The pair prevail and Soren is killed after Picard tampers with the rocket. Kirk though dies, boo hoo. The Enterprise is deemed unsalvageable, making for a pretty unhappy ending on paper.
This movie is only, just below average, people have compared it (and Insurrection also) to an extended TV episode and you’d think it was given the quick pacing. The opening act seems like an eternity compared to the middle act given how quickly everything happens in 2371, and before you know it, the movies practically finished. Much like the other TNG films the cast are largely forgotten only for a few key scenes like Troi being present when Picard confesses his brother, sister in law and nephew have been killed in a fire on Earth, or Crusher explaining Soren’s background, or Geordi’s being taken prisoner by Soren. Riker and Worf don’t have much to do, and as played out on TNG and will happen again in the following 3 films, alot of time is devoted to Data as he deals with the ramifications of installing his emotion chip.
Patrick Stewart himself is, well, always solid in this, defining role of his, but I felt alot of what his character didn’t have enough to do. His mourning over his family was convincing, and telling Deanna how the family line will most likely die with him was moving. But there’s not else a great deal for him to do but lecture Data on how he has to deal with his newfound emotions when it’s revealed the emotion chip cannot be removed, and having to talk with Soren and Kirk, and, inevitably, do battle with the former.
Malcom McDowell was, I don’t want to say clichéd, but he was in a way. A very underdeveloped character not given a great deal to do but act sinister, which he does quite well.
The plot itself, no, it’s certainly wasn’t strong enough to build a film around. The most negative review I’ve seen of this movie points to the Nexus itself being used as a plot device as a means to get Kirk and Picard on screen together. That’s true I guess. This universe of Star Trek can offer up plenty of means for the pair to work together as they do, through time travel (which, is actually used to a degree here), or someone being trapped in time like Scotty in ‘Relics’, or maybe even someone being kept in stasis. But the Nexus itself is problematic and I think there could have been smarter ways to bridge the two Generations if you’ll pardon the pun.
I was going to place this in the nitpicking section but it would take up too much room so here’s my biggest problem with the Nexus in this film. Never mind Kirk and Picard leaving the Nexus so easily after Guinan warning how difficult it could be and how great it’s allure is, my problem is, how did the El-Aurians (like Guinan - and Soren?) leave the Nexus in the first place? Something Guinan said alluded to it being pulled away when the El-Aurian refugee ships were being destroyed. But even if that was the case (there lifesigns were fluctuating so were travelling in between real space and the Nexus?) what problem was there in flying a ship into the energy ribbon in an effort to get back? Soren was screaming to go back when beamed aboard the Enterprise-B so the destruction of the ships mustn't have bothered him. Data points out that any ship which has approached the Nexus been damaged or destroyed, but Kirk was sucked in wh! en a part of the ribbon heavily damaged the Enterprise-B.
I suppose the case could be that the people on the refugee ships were shifting between real space and the Nexus, were killed in real-space when NOT inside the Nexus and vice-versa. But no definitive statement was made regarding this, and did Soren not consider it? He said destroying the stars and bringing the ribbon onto a planet was the only way, was he right?
In the end it’s just a subpar film which could have easily translated to the smaller screen as a TNG episode. It would have been hard though to bring TNG to the big screen though without the familiar drawcard of Kirk, so I wont begrudge them for trying. First Contact will go on to show that Big Screen Trek doesn’t have to rely on Kirk though to succeed.
Remarkable scenes: The opening credits following the christening of the Enterprise-B. Data’s first emotional experience with alcohol. Data’s ‘Lifeform’ Song.
Nitpicking: I’ll say it also, a distress call 3 light years from the Sol system (thusly, Earth) and only 1 ship (the Enterprise-B) is in range to respond? Data’s emotion chip is not of the same configuration as last seen in "Descent". The Bird of Prey fires through the Enterprise’s shields and no-one thinks to remodulate them?
Remarkably odd scene: Worf’s promotion. It never struck me that a traditional ‘at sea’ jaunt on the holodeck would be something Picard would favour for a promotional ceremony.
Remarkable set: Stellar Cartography. Coincidentally, it’s projected platform, hung over the edge of a large, almost spherical room, is quite similar to the Cerebro device in the X-Men films, which Patrick Stewart starred in.
Remarkable quote: "Oh shit!" –Data
Remarkable dialogue: "Captain of the Enterprise?" - "That's right." - "Close to retirement?" - "Not planning on it." - "Let me tell you something. Don't. Don't let them transfer you. Don't let them promote you, don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you're there, you can make a difference." -Kirk and Picard
Rating: 4 (Cameron)
Star Trek: First Contact
Stardate not given: The Borg travel back in time to 21st century Earth, and nearly screw up all of history. The Enterprise-E crew is on the case.
While next to "The Wrath of Khan" this is undeniably the best Star Trek film, I have one jibe: no one from DS9 (besides Worf) were involved in the movie. That really annoys me now, after seeing all of DS9. It's rather odd that only Worf, of all the ops crew, went on the Defiant to battle the Borg. Surely Sisko, Dax, or O'Brien would have gone with him. It would have been a perfect opportunity to integrate DS9 further into the TNG storyline, and it would have been FUN. Instead, the Defiant is seen for a few moments and Worf is miraculously part of the Enterprise crew again. (Admittedly, it would have been a bit weird if Sisko was there as well, as the two captains would have battled for screen time. but, it would have been interesting to see Sisko's reaction to Picard in another engagement with the Borg, eh?)
I must ask why Barclay is even on the ship? I got the impression from VOY: "Projections" that Barclay was on Jupiter Station AT LEAST right after TNG: "Genesis"; enough time to test the Doctor's interpersonal skills before he was installed within the next year. Then he's back on Jupiter Station three years later? Whatever! If they're going to ignore canon, they could have at least given him more screen time.
Despite that, this is a wonderful movie. It's one of the only times I've actually been intimidated or scared whilst watching anything to do with Star Trek (although admittedly, I hadn't seen much Star Trek at that time), and bringing the Borg to the big screen was well done. A little part of me wishes that the movie didn't do so well in the box office, because maybe Voyager wouldn't have used the Borg as often.
This movie perfectly blends scariness, action, humour, suspense and a history lesson all into one. The crew's seemingly nonchalant attitude towards polluting the timeline is a bit silly, though. Riker giving Cochrane quotes for the future? That's a little outrageous.
The move to split the crew into two was nicely executed. It allowed for even screen time for most of the characters, while also separating the humour from the action.
So, besides the lack of DS9 characters, this is a great movie.
I wouldn't be opposed to a movie about DS9 or Voyager. Or both. It would be interesting, to say the least. A mixing of the crews to battle a common foe?
Rating: 10 (Hon. David Kulessa)
Star Trek: First Contact
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
I doubt there are many Trek fans out there who would not consider this one of the best Trek installments, if not the very best. At this time I have seen about 75-80% of all Star Trek and this one is so far my very favorite. Almost everything about the movie is excellent. The sets, the camera angles, the sound, the special effects, the dialog, the story, everything! It is also amazing how dark and thrilling the movie is, yet it still holds the Star Trek spirit so well. Many people who don't even like Star Trek much can still appreciate this masterpiece.
I really enjoy how the relationship between Picard and Lily was handled. In too many movies, Trek and not, such a relationship would turn into a usual cookie-cutter love story. I see no problem with Cochrane being an older man than he was in TOS: "Metamorphosis" since in that episode he regressed in age from a very old man.
There are so many scenes throughout the movie that are memorable. The spacewalk outside the ship. Picard and Lily's argument in the observation lounge. The battle of Sector 001 was amazing!
The tie-ins with both Voyager and Deep Space 9 were also excellent. Both shows were touched on but not enough to confuse anyone who has not watched either show. The way Worf was brought into the story was well done. I only wish O'Brien was with him. It would make sense not just because O'Brien was originally a TNG character, but also because it seems rather odd that Worf happened to be the only senior officer from DS9 on the Defiant. The appearance of the EMH Doctor was also good. I find Dr. Crushers negative attitude toward him funny and very appropriate considering his character on Voyager.
I find the final scene of the movie to be very touching. Seeing the Vulcans land and make contact really pounds in that Trek spirit after so many great dark and thrilling scenes throughout the movie.
Remarkable ship: The Enterprise-E. Holy smokes.
Remarkable cameo: Ethan Phillips, the actor who plays Neelix on Voyager, appears as a holodeck character.
Remarkable in-joke: The Millenium Falcon makes a small appearance as the Borg Cube explodes. The special effects were done by Industrial Lights and Magic, the company started by George Lucas when the original Star Wars was produced.
Rating: 10 (Chris)
Star Trek: First Contact
Stardate 50893.5: The Borg have invaded the Federation again and a fleet of starships are sent to dispose of the Borg threat. However, one ship not sent is the new Sovereign-class USS Enterprise-E, because Starfleet does not believe that putting Picard in danger of being assimilated again is a good idea. So the Enterprise is sent to the Neutral Zone to watch for the Romulans in case they want to take advantage of the Borg's incursion. After initial scans only turn up a comet and the Enterprise
receives word that the fleet have engaged the Borg, Picard decides to disobey his orders and join the battle against the
Borg. After the Enterprise swoops in and saves the heavily damaged Defiant, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Worf, Picard takes command of the fleet, who is without leadership since Admiral Hayes's ship is destroyed, and tells them to fire at a specific point on the Borg Cube. The fleet complies and the cube is destroyed, but not before the cube is able to eject a sphere which then creates a temporal disturbance and time travels into the past. The Enterprise follows them in but when they begin to enter they see Earth, now borgified. The Enterprise then emerges and destroys the sphere with four quantum torpedoes. The
Borg's target was a missile complex in Montana. The date is April 2063, one day before first contact. The
Borg wanted to stop first contact so they could easily assimilate Earth. Their plan, however, has been foiled, or has it?
Meanwhile, Picard, Data, Crusher, and Troi beam down to assess the damage. The Phoenix, the first warp ship that will make first contact is slightly damaged, but easily fixed by the Enterprise crew.
Zefram Cochrane, the pilot of the Phoenix, who history remembers as a genius, turns out to be a stumbling drunk. He requires some coaxing, but he agrees to go on the warp flight.
Back aboard the Enterprise the Borg had managed to beam over to the Enterprise before their sphere was destroyed, so now they want to assimilate the Enterprise and then Earth. The
Borg manage to take over much of the Enterprise. After much hand-to-hand and phaser fighting, the
Borg manage to capture Data. The Borg Queen (who is located in Main Engineering), tries to get Data to turn on the Enterprise and stop first contact. The
Borg then try to build a beacon to the Borg in the 21st century on the deflector dish, but Picard and Worf are able to destroy the beacon. Picard then
decides to fight to the end to save the Enterprise, but then he changes his mind and
decides that using the ships auto destruct is the best solution, so he orders all hands to abandon ship, but he stays behind to attempt to save Data. Meanwhile, Cochrane, Piker, and
La Forge begin the warp flight.
Back on the Enterprise, Picard goes to rescue Data. Then, Data terminates the auto
destruct and fires a torpedo at the Phoenix. It appears that Data has betrayed Picard, but then, the torpedo misses the Phoenix and Data helps Picard kill the Borg Queen. The Phoenix's mission is successful and the timeline is restored.
"First Contact" is the best Trek movie, possibly the best movie ever made. The action is plentiful and heart-pounding, while the storyline is well written and easily followed. The acting was superb, and the special effects flawless. Rick Sternbach did a fantastic job designing the Enterprise-E. This movie is so awesome that I feel that every person on the face of the Earth (and the Federation as well) has to see it. Trust me, if you do, you won't be disappointed. On a scale of one to ten, I would give it a thirty! So watch it, please, for you own sake!
Remarkable quotes: "Perhaps today IS a good day to die!" -Worf, "You still know how to fire phasers?" -Riker to Worf, "I'm a doctor, not a doorstop." -EMH, "Sounds Swedish." -Lily when told about the Borg, "Assimilate this!" -Worf
Remarkable starship: The Enterprise-E is one of the most beautiful starships I have ever seen. It's Awesome!
Remarkable weapons: The phaser riffles are so cool, I wish I had one.
Remarkable battle: The Battle of Sector 001 is one of the best battles in all of Star Trek, right up there with the Battle of Wolf 359. I think the Federation have learned a thing or two about the Borg since Wolf 359 since they disposed of the cube much more quickly and easily.
Rating: 10 (Nathaniel Scripa)
Star Trek: First Contact
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
Many I know and many I have encountered in one form or another regard "First Contact" as the BEST STAR TREK MOVIE EVER. I am not one of them - I regard now and forever that it’s "Star Trek Two: The Wrath of Khan" worthy of that title.
Before a whole load of people want to lynch me for saying that, let me point out a few things. "First Contact" is not a bad film, nor is it awful. It’s a good film, and has a lot in it that makes it rise above many of the Star Trek movies that have been made.
For a start it looks like a movie and not a 'two hour episode with special guest star'. It has great visuals, superb photography, and lashings of MODERN Special Effects. It has a lot of new stuff, a freshness that has been missing in ways, and it's direction is bold. As Bernd puts it - a Thriller.
There are a lot of plus points here that make the movie superb. The best of these is the Battle of Sector 001 where we see new starships as well as some golden oldies battle the Borg. Its joy, and well executed CGI delight. The explosions, the ships, and the overall fight is a SFX treat - the primary reason I went to see the film - and the climax of phasers and torpedoes barraging the Cube and obliterating it is spectacular. Then there is the Enterprise E - it was obvious how the next ship would go but she is almost perfect - had she had the detailing of Probert's Enterprise from the Motion Picture, she would be the new Centrefold of starships. However she does not, but she is not bad.
The overall mood of the film is dark and that helps the acting and story move on - a brisk adventurous pace; technobabble is at a minimum, comedy relief is well regulated, and plot and character strong here. None more so that Picard and Lily's relationship - I have no idea where many think it’s a romance; it's more mutual respect. Nothing more emphasises than fact than the second best part of the film - the clash between Lily and Picard. It starts off when a crewman informs Picard that the Borg are basically winning, and Picard not pleased at this fact sends the crew to their doom - Worf intervenes and is literally humiliated by Picard. Lily notes no one stands up or protests because he is the Captain and they are the crew. A fact she draws on.
What follows next is excellent acting as Lily bursts into his ready room and points out - well force - the truth of what is going on; the fact that despite his "enlightenment" Picard is no different from the desperate humans below, and no matter how many times Picard tries to gain the upper hand with his authority, Lily fights back with fact. This reaches the climax where Picard smashes his cabinet of model ships at the reluctant reality that he is beaten, and it hurts. Lily relents but more out of discouragement than fear and says "Seeya around Ahab", to which Picard wakes himself up to the truth and what must be done.
Lily lives in the real world and Picard lives in the better one - and sometimes the Picards need a good slap of reality to wake up that they are just people, human, and flawed, despite their great achievements.
However the rest of the film is not that grand. The action mainly is poor and after the Battle of Sector 001, the intensity is gone. It is also reminiscent of "Aliens" but at a very slow pace, with rather poor phaser fights against a slow plodding enemy. Where "Aliens" was rapid, pacy, and threatening, in this the crew take pot-shots at the Borg like they are shooting clay pigeons. In addition, according to Picard, if you stand still they will not notice you. Some threat.
On the Borg, the introduction of a leader is great for cinema storytelling (something some exec suggested because the Borg came across as nothing more than zombies) but overall undermined the menace of the Borg - especially in future episodes of Voyager and Enterprise. Having her as a sexy Queen and attempting to woo Data reduced the Borg from great adversary to typical enemy of Star Fleet - and on that, destroyed their credibility. Zombies in movies have worked well, and they could have done it in this if they were creative enough - worked well in "The Best of Both Worlds". I found the scenes with Data and the Borg Queen queasy - she toying with him and tempting him to be human, tempts him with her 'sex'. It’s just crass and done for humour sake. Reminded me too much of Buck Rogers and that Princess Adala, or from Flash Gordon with Aura. Creating her made the Borg, human and pathetic.
On the subject of humans, is the backbone of the story: Zefram Cochrane. Once an Alpha Centaurian, he now not only an AMERICAN, not just the brains behind warp travel EVER, but also is a loser and a drunk! So how on earth did he get around to building the Phoenix? I know the writers wanted to make a flawed character but there is flawed and FLAWED. If you read how the people went about creating pioneering technology, none were dipsomaniacs, all were "weird"/eccentric and very creative - had Cochrane been more like say Edith Keeler from TOS "The City on the Edge of Forever", a visionary, or a person who had suffered but decided to stand up and make things better - then I would be forgiving. Doing him like a hobo is just cheap.
As for the Phoenix, how on earth did it get made? I know that blokes in sheds/garages are the prime source of innovative ideas but this is taking that point to an extreme! How and why did he assemble a team to build this thing and test it in the aftermath of World War Three? More to the point, who were the people helping him and why? Had it been a place like say NASA, ESA, or something along them lines it would be believable. Just a bunch of dregs making a former nuclear missile into a warp ship just sounds daft.
The overall plot of "First Contact" is dreadful - time travel again, with a plot point about the first warp flight by the Americans (as always). Considering that 660 million people are dead, I wonder if it’s the ultimate American dream? That all their enemies - basically Chinese, Arabs, Europeans that do not back the US, Indians, Southern Americans, and Africans have been conveniently wiped out to make way for a better world? It’s like the Rapture before the Apocalypse except in reverse - the US survives and all the evil nations of the Earth are purged. I mean we NEVER hear of a Russian, European, or Chinese or even Indian attempt! Just because the yanks landed on the moon, does not mean that they are the only ones capable of space travel. An ideology embossed a lot in various episodes of Enterprise.
As for the time travel angle, why do the Borg have to zap to Earth to travel back in time? Doing that meant they would have a fight on their hands. Why not travel back in time somewhere else out of sight THEN travel to Earth? This may sound very nitpicking, but all of history was changed in "Star Trek XI" and that was nowhere near the world!
The space battle featured the Defiant - but why only Worf? More to the point, it is never EVER mentioned in DS9? Why is this? Sisko, Dax, Kira, even O'Brien traverse that ship a lot, so why suddenly just Worf? If the Dominion were arriving, why send the Defiant away?
Talking of space flight, when the Vulcans appear, that descend in a ship in a scene that is reminiscent of "E.T."! That vessel makes no sense; the ending was schmaltzy and whimpered out.
Looking back, it’s "The Best of Both Worlds" on the big screen, but made complicated, messy, and nowhere as intelligent. Seeing flashbacks in this to that fine episode makes it harder to stomach this film. It’s a good film, but not the best ever.
Remarkable error: When the Phoenix finishes its warp flight, err, how do the crew get back to Earth?
Remarkable scene 1: The Battle of Sector 001 - only lasts four minutes but it's a brilliant four minutes of cinematic gold! Gets most of the points for that.
Remarkable ships: Enterprise E, Akira, Sabre, and the Steamrunner Class. The Norway class only makes one appearance here because its CGI programme got corrupt and no other attempts are made to restore that design. Points for them gems.
Remarkable fact: The Defiant was to have been destroyed in the film but Ira Stephen Behr objected. Should have done it ;)
Remarkable scene 2: Deanna finally having a character - and her getting a wee bit pissed! Brilliant! Points for that.
Remarkable scene 3: Lily and Picard in his ready room - points for that!
Rating: 8 (Chris S)
Star Trek: First Contact
Stardate 50893.5/April 4-5 2063: Synopsis in main Movie listing
Now there are many who voiced praise for First Contact and those who still do, and, probably a very few dissenting voices against the style of storytelling behind this film. I’m of course of the former group. This was the perfect way to truly bring Star Trek to the masses when it did. At a time when fans of Trek were heavily derided, First Contact was the first film for a long time, since The Undiscovered Country (with its heavy handed contemporary references), since The Wrath of Khan, and since The Original Series itself which was a massive success for all audiences.
Critics of First Contact, and there’s only been a few, would point to the lack of a decent message in this movie, relying too much on typical, Hollywood action film stereotypes. And to a small degree, that is correct, this film DOES follow very standard procedures in terms of summer blockbuster action movies, but it counters them with a positive message through the B-plot and in the finale. Those Hollywood trademarks I can’t help but point out. First of all, there is of course, a lot of action prevalent through this film. The Battle for Sector 001 is a fantastic sight to behold and is up there with one of the best Sci-Fi special effects sequences, also a lot of explosions and shooting. These things can’t be helped though when you want to tell a truly exciting story, especially when you have such a relentless villain as the Borg as opposed to, say; Rogue Klingons numbering in dozens aboard a single ship, mad scientists, or other interstellar phenomena.
It is also a revenge story, much like The Wrath of Khan. Thankfully the audience can easily identify with Picard’s experience with the Borg through the chilling opening scene’s in which Picard relives his assimilation (and it’s only till NOW have I been able to watch that part without cringing at the ‘eye drilling’), so it’s not like people need to watch the many Borg episodes of TNG to understand. Patrick Stewart is, again, amazing to watch, and having this story impact so heavily on Picard is all for the better, instead of having an anonymous villain try to make things personal like I believe Soren did in "Generations".
And there are plenty of one-liners and comic relief moments to distract from the heavy handed nature of the scene’s set aboard the Enterprise. Again though, that is not to the movies hindrance as Star Trek has always managed to transcend many genres, not just sci-fi, but of course, action, comedy, and thrillers.
The plot is quite simple. The Borg travel back in time in an effort to assimilate Earth before the Federation can come into being. To be certain they attempt to destroy the launch of the Phoenix, Earth’s first warp capable ship constructed by Zefram Cochrane (James Cromwell). The Enterprise-E follows the Borg back and destroys their vessel only for a few drones to beam aboard the Enterprise and start taking over. Data is captured and is offered the chance to become more human through skin grafts from the Borg Queen (who I’ve had plenty to say about in episodes like "Dark Frontier" and "Endgame" and I’ll reiterate that all shortly).
Meanwhile on the surface, Riker, LaForge and Troi work with Cochrane to get the Phoenix ready for launch, despite Cochrane’s reservations about becoming this important historical figure.
I may as well jump into the problems I have regarding this film as they are few and for some reason I have an easier time criticising things than praising them. The notion of the Borg Queen is my biggest problem, but in the context of a feature film, she was necessary to bring a face to an otherwise faceless race. But the Borg having no leader initially, being one collective mind was what made them so terrifying in the first place. This was a race with a singular goal and objective, being able to work as one mind with no need for individuals. The Queen telling Data she IS the Borg, and brings order to chaos, is indeed a contradiction as Data says, and we even learn in Voyager that technology exists on Borg vessels to unifying the minds of drones to keep them under control (the Vinculum). Creating a figurehead takes away that uniqueness the Borg once had as a race who didn’t have or need anyone to speak for them, and in essence this reduces the drone’s, and the Collective at large to practically zombies (more so than they were already). Having the Queen as a leader was akin to having Gowren be the Klingon leader, or Dukat a face for the insidious Cardassians, or people like Weyoun and so on.
I digress though, and as I said, this film couldn’t have worked the same way without a primary antagonist and that’s what we got in the Queen. It is only a shame that the writing staff for Voyager would continue with this concept despite it’s flaws (such as all the Borg on the Enterprise dying when the Queen was destroyed, flawed plan much? That dependency on something so singular was not the sort of thing the Borg were about, right down to their decentralised vessels with no discernable bridges, engineering sections and so on). Alice Krige though is fantastic in the role, and yes, creepily seductive.
The action movie formula, which I come to again, is thankfully also offset by the message of hope and peace for the future, in this we find the character of Lily (played by Alfre Woodard). I didn’t like her at first due to her phaser pointing and refusal to listen to Picard when the two come together on the Enterprise after being separated. But she becomes a personality that keeps Picard grounded enough and is NOT just a person who exposition is divulged to. That becomes clear of course in the fantastic scene in which Lily goads Picard into admitting that his refusal to evacuate and destroy the ship in light of the Borg’s takeover is a decision made purely out of revenge. Picard though does see the light and agrees with her point of view. In the final moments of the film also, whilst she envies Picard for his travelling back to the 24th century, Picard is in fact envious of her for entering into a new age for humanity.
The idea of humanity becoming better is emphasised through the scenes on Earth in which it’s somewhat unnecessarily divulged over and over again to Cochrane that his achievement would usher in this new era for mankind. Cochrane of course becomes resistant to the notion of him becoming this person so looked up to and revered, but accepts that it’s what needs to be done, though I would liked to have seen a scene where he tells of why he does change his mind and go ahead with the warp flight after becoming more reluctant (and I don’t mean when he tells Riker he built the ship purely for profit).
The cast, as is the case often, aren’t used equally which we’ve come to expect, Picard and Data take the front seat much as Kirk and Spock did before them. Riker, Troi and LaForge spend most of their scene’s helping with the launch of the Phoenix (and there’s no more scene’s than necessary on that). Worf shoots a lot and Crusher doesn’t have much to contribute beyond the norm. That’s typical when transitioning these series’ to film and not everyone has the chance to take the spotlight, I’m not going to complain much though, considering there were enough episodes focused on lesser characters like Crusher and LaForge if you wanted to watch them in more than a supporting role.
It’s still a very strong film though, primarily an action movie which resonated very strongly with audience at the time of it’s release and still does now. Stewart is excellent and the rest of the cast are strong in their respective roles. The special effects were amazing at the time and still hold up strong today. And Jerry Goldsmith’s theme was wonderful.
Remarkable ships: The Enterprise-E. The Akira class ‘Thunderchild’. The Phoenix (complete with TOS-type warp nacelles).
Remarkable scenes: The Battle of Sector 001. The launch of the Phoenix (footage of which was later used in the introduction of ‘Enterprise’).
Nitpicking: Besides Worf, why were no more members of the Defiant crew from DS9 on board? No one detects the Borg beaming aboard the Enterprise, really? The Enterprise-E has a holosuite? Surely they meant holodeck. The Borg adjust environmental controls to be hot and humid, that’s not the sort of environment that computers would thrive in would they? And when they needed to get to the Deflector to disrupt the Borg’s plans on an interplexing beacon, why couldn’t a shuttle be reached? There is a shuttlebay about 2 decks below the bridge if I’m not mistaken.
Remarkable quotes: "Assimilate this!" -Worf, "And you people, you're all ... astronauts ... on ... some kind of star trek." -Cochrane, to Riker, Troi, and La Forge, "No! I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We've made too many compromises already. Too many retreats. They invade our space and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. Not again! The line must be drawn here... THIS far, NO further! And I will make them pay for what they've done." -Picard
Cameos: Robert Picardo appears as the Enterprise's EMH. Fellow Voyager cast member Ethan Philips as a holographic maître’ d’.
Rating: 8 (Cameron)
Star Trek: Insurrection
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
When I left the cinema having watched "First Contact", despite all the praise and glee for said film, I felt cheated - I went because I saw the epic battle of Sector 001, and thought I was going to be in for a non-stop roller-coaster of a ride. Like I said in my previous review, it's not a bad film but its neither the greatest Trek film made - "The Wrath of Khan" is still that and STILL has its power near thirty years after it was made.
I decided then not to bother with Trek at the movies after that - it was the last time I was ever going to fall for a trailer and the hype. Needless to say when the next film was being touted, I steered clear. Despite its title, and promise of the crew "disobeying" orders and going against Starfleet, I knew it was going to be done with the edginess of a rubber knife. Seeing how Voyager and DS9 were progressing at the time, emphasised that point.
Reading through articles in various Sci-fi mags, I learned that Johnny Frakes was going to direct again, a bigger budget was attained, more gadgets thrown in, and a greater story involved.
The sketchy plot was never revealed but hints were implied; that, being along the lines of the Prisoner of Zenda, the Magnificent Seven, and its Asian original; that it was going to be a stirring tale of daring do and sacrifice. However it also involved romance, fun, and a more light hearted nature: in short, a swashbuckler.
The story was a closely guarded secret at the time - and in my experience of such closely guarded movie plots, that it tends to mean that the story is a stinker. If that sounds BS look to how they kept quiet over the Matrix Sequels, The Avengers, and all the plots of the Prequels to Star Wars. When the sci-fi mags then saw the film, they confirmed what I knew it would be: an intergalactic turd.
Though spared to see it at the cinema (and saving my cash in the process), I did view it on TV, and seeing it emphasised a lot of things going wrong with Star Trek on the whole at the time.
The moment the film opens with a pleasant village full of comely farmer types, with giggling playful kids, and the heroine striding into view with her flowing hair swishing IN SLOW MOTION, I knew it was going to be a massive hideous feeble, self-indulging, smug-fest of biblical proportions.
The background story is not a bad idea - and in a way, is very reminiscent of the "Most successful film of all time™" (so far), "Avatar"; and like with "Avatar", "Insurrection" deals with an invasion of a world where the natives are in the way of an exotic element that would benefit the invader and its species; and amongst the invaders are people who are willing to fight for the rights of the natives for moral (and romantic) reasons.
After that however, the idea is drowned with the typical, clichéd, banal narratives of Star Trek of that time.
For a start, the natives, the Ba’ku are not very alien - in fact they are humans; more than that - they are human farmer villager types. You know the kind; the hard working husband who provides for his family and is loyal but weak; the women are smart but strong willed, and the kids giggle on cue to make a sunny day. Oh, and they are all perfect - intelligence, wisdom, looks, the usual traits. They have also shunned technology thus making themselves ideal dipsticks in distress. In short: one clichéd array of Star Trek goody, goody aliens.
The invaders, as one expects, are the reverse. The Son’a are a wretched lot who faces appear to be made out of pita bread/stretched dough. Combine this with their terrible dress sense (they look like interstellar Chavs with the men in shiny tacky hoodies and the women in tight, very figure hugging spandex dresses - the kind that hookers wear), lump on top their insistence to send down armed parties and do violent things, SHOUT VERY LOUD when matters don’t go their way, and have a human former trait as their culture which has been eradicated from humanity by our "enlightenment" (the Klingons are brutal, the Ferengi are greedy, and in the case of the Son’a, they are vain) and voila, you have your pantomime Star Trek villainous cookie cutter species.
Then there is the plotline of the film - like I said its similar in principle to "Avatar", but unlike that movie, Insurrection have come up with what I can only describe as a kinder, duller, safer, PC version of an invasion and pilfering of natives’ resources.
It starts with Data (as always) who goes amok on an away mission similar to the TNG episode "Who Watches the Watchers", and starts to attack the Star Fleet and Son’a people involved. When the Enterprise arrives, they capture Data in on of the most ridiculous ways afloat, which involves singing The Pirates of Penzance. When they do sort him out, he leads them via an array of "hilarious" situations to a Federation holographic ship in a lake that simulates the Ba’ku’s village so they can sneak them off world and then plunder the meta-physic energies that orbit their planet, a result that would render the world uninhabitable. This may sound ghastly, but being Star Trek, they dilute it by pointing out there are not JUST 600 Ba’ku on the planet, but also its a colony because the Ba‘ku are not of that world, making it out that it's not that bad a deal. So in light of that, despite Picard’s resentment of this, it's just 600 people, a spec on a planet, and they are not even indigenous. Had it been billions of natives then it would be horrendous, and would make the entire film very dark, would make Star Fleet look really bad for being involved, but the cause far more noble. Copping out with the previous narrative, shows how gutless things have got.
On this is Star Fleet’s involvement - once again, its a rogue Admiral spearheading this "inhumane" practise, who has the authoritative clout of a feather against our heroes (think Pressman, Haftel, Leyton, Kennelly), who’s orders are "immoral" to the crews’ sensibilities and thus are disobeyed with ease; and said superior so easily manipulated for his ideal for the greater gain, it begs the question how much brain cells must one need to be an Admiral at Star Fleet Command.
Disgusted with the plans and seeing that Star Fleet (typically) has no idea, Picard plans to fight on behalf of the Ba’ku, removes his pips, plans to take his yacht out for a fight and arming himself to the teeth, only for his plans to be rumbled by his smug but willing to help friends. SO off they go on their merry chipper away mission to save the ever beautiful Ba’ku from the greedy, ugly Son’a. Picard and his friends go planetside whilst Riker takes the Enterprise and heads back home to warn Star Fleet of what is going on....
The net result is a dull, boring, uninteresting, vapid film, lacking danger and tension, heroism and adventure with nothing in it to amazes or tantalise, full of unimpressive things coated in niceness and glee, and drowning in self- righteous smugness. Many a time I feel that the film is giving me a wry smile but the kind akin to someone winning the lottery and rubbing my face in it.
Then there is the quality of the movie: It comes across not more like a TV episode but AS a TV episode, and a bad one to boot, think DS9: "Meridian" or "Let He Who Is Without Sin", or "Children of Time" as examples. A film is suppose to show things on a grand scale, to show what TV cannot do, to make one feel like its a movie with something amazing or captivating, or something you would not see on the small screen, to exploit the epic nature of cinema - think Mutara Nebula, the Saucer crash, and the battle of Sector 001 as examples. Insurrection offers NOTHING of the sort. Not even the shuttle chase at the beginning or the battle with the Son’a and the E are even close to a lowlight.
On the subject of the Enterprise-E, that mighty Borg killing machine is now reduced to another typical spacecraft on the verge of being beaten by a pair of Son’a ships, which are no remarkable pieces of engineering themselves; once again the fight is in a Nebula, and once again using a stupid tactic to outclass that pair of pitiful foes.
As for Picard and the crew rescuing the Ba’ku, its by the numbers seen countless times in many episodes of DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, and later parts of TNG; blasting Son’a tag drones like clay pigeons, having chummy chats, hiding in caves, getting captured, Picard spinning a spiel about cowardice and courage to an easily swaying foe, enemy easily overthrown and their ship thus captured, predictable climax, and a shocking revelation that is so unimpressive its forgotten by the time they have finished saying it - oh and that said revelation is that the Ba’ku and the Son’a are the same being and all this is revenge for something. Typically the perfect Ba’ku look human thanks to that meta-phasic radiation bollocks, thus emphasising the Star Trek belief that humanity is that perfect.
If you are a die-hard trekkie, this movie is a treat. Everything is so twee, so nice, all is well. The villains are not that bad just misunderstood and mislead - hell they don‘t kill anyone except for the leader who also conveniently dies. Everything works out to perfection and with such effortless ease. All is resolved with no hard work or sacrifice. Its all so lovely. The overall mood of the film is that its a big smiley piece of niceness. It does not disrupt the utopian optimistic dream world of the Great Bird of the Galaxy. In fact, its a massive gigantic love letter to itself sent first class to the franchise and the Star Trek faithful, with a slap on the back from a giant loving hand. It is the perfect Star Trek movie - not dark, not disturbing, not perverse or threatening. Everything is done by the numbers to a tee.
For those not into the Star Trek religion - Insurrection is a hell of a boring film. Nothing happens to be honest, the action is pitiful, the direction is by the numbers, the acting is there but unnoticeable, the dialogue is numb, inane and in parts stupid, the jokes are unfunny, the romances are nauseating, the characters descend into clichés, and the SFX are few, far-between, and very unimpressive. What is utterly shocking is that THIS film cost MORE to make than Star Trek: First Contact but delivers a lot LESS.
The final scene of all the good guys winning, smiling smugly and parading themselves like they have done us all a favour by gracing us with their presence is just too much. Considering that this film was set during the Dominion War, this is the best they could come up with?
This is the thing that was wrong with Star Trek overall at the time; that it feels that it does not have to work hard to earn an audience because its been around so long and is so "moral", that they can make rubbish up like this and dare call it entertainment. In its history, and on TV, it may have the advantage over other sci-fi products and TV shows, but out in the IMAX and big theatres where studios invest megabucks to make blockbusters, this is a lacking sorry event, and where people go to be entertained - they expect to be, and will not tolerate tedium and nonsense, like this.
Needless to say that this movie made money but tanked. "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" was only beaten by Kramer Vs Kramer when it came out in ‘79; Insurrection was beaten by over THIRTY films costing a fraction of its budget. In addition, it was denounced by many, it bored many more, and from it many questioned the future of this franchise.
However, unbelievably, it was suspected by TPTB that the reason for its failure was down to "too much Trek" about, what with Voyager, DS9, and the first runs of Enterprise, that people were tired of it - what they called "franchise fatigue". So rather look at the overall reason why Trek overall was losing popularity, TPTB assumed that the film side should take a break of four years and return with an ‘epic‘ and all would be right as rain again.
That epic was "Star Trek Nemesis".....and we all know what happened next.
1/10 for Geordi's reaction to the sunrise, and the joke about Troi's and Bev's bosoms....
Remarkable ironic quote: "Can anyone remember when we used to be explorers?" -Picard
Remarkable fact 1: Michael Piller on why Insurrection was to be lighter: "...The strength of Star Trek depends on making people feel good about the future. Over the last ten years, the American public has turned to darker and darker science-fiction. But I think the fans love the parameters that Gene Roddenberry set for us, the 'box' that he put us in. It's an intellectual challenge, but we have to stay in that box." He also said that "First Contact" was too dark hence. Yet out of the two, "First Contact" was the better film - FACT!
Remarkable re-writes: The original story was called "Star Trek: Stardust" and was about Picard in pursuit of an old Acadamy buddy called Duffy who was attacking Romulan ships. As they enter a strange nebula, they started to get younger. The story was dropped because the idea was too political, and too fantastic with its "Fountain of Youth" idea. Also another idea was that Picard was pursuing Data, kills him, revives him in time to stop an unholy alliance with the Romulans. Not only was that script dropped but also Patrick Stewart wanted the captain to be deep involved again like in "First Contact" and romance too! It also included elements about Worf's puberty, Deanna's and Rikers re-romance, and Geordi's eyes coming back to normal, and the fountaion of youth story was retained, found on a world full of children called the Ba'ku being persecuted by a race called the Son'I. Then it changed to the Ba'ku being adults(!) via Ira Stephen Behr, but retained all the other elements and included rebellion from Picard.
Remarkable fact 2: Quark was to appear in this film - but the scene was deleted.
Remarkable recycling.: The shuttles used sets from shuttles in Voyager and DS9. The Son'a bridge was later modified to be used by the Suliban in Enterprise.
Ending never made: The lead villain, Ru'afo was to have escaped in a pod from the exploding collector and fall into the metaphasic rings and revert to a child then nothing. The ending was dropped because it was "too soft"!
Rating: 1 (Chris S)
Star Trek: Insurrection
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
It’s the most intergalactic patients of Dr 90210 vs the interstellar Amish with Picard caught in the crossfire! Essentially that’s what it boils down to but there’s more going on which is worth addressing in Insurrection.
The Federation are working with the Son’a to develop a veritable fountain of youth utilising the technobabble coming from a planet whose all too human occupants have an aversion to technology. Data, for some reason, is part of the initial survey team on the planet (why is never explained, his presence away from the Enterprise is never justified) but malfunctions, exposing the secret outpost from which Starfleet and Son’a officers were conducting the survey. Upon investigation by the Enterprise it’s discovered a plot has been put in place to relocate the Ba'ku from the planet and farm the magical technobabble.
Picard discovers this plot and objects to the ethics behind it, and decides to help the inhabitants on the planet to the objection of the corrupt Starfleet Admiral Dougherty who is working with the Son’a. There’s the revelation that the warring races were once the same species who have sought revenge on the Ba'ku, a pretty pointless revelation in itself, and in the end Picard, and villain Ru’afo have it out on the Son’a vessel used to farm the technobabble.
Concerning the ethics of the mission I would echo Picard’s sentiments and the sentiments shared on this website that it’s objectionable that Starfleet would authorise this mission unless it was top secret, covered up and concealed from the general public. Perhaps it was borne out of desperation to undertake this plan due to heavy losses inflicted by the Borg and Dominion and no one who needed to know was informed. This though leaves a bad taste and it’s a bad reflection. I initially took the opinion of Dougherty that the Ba'ku were never native to the planet, the Prime Directive is not applicable given they’re warp capable and not indigenous, and the welfare of 600 people is irrelevant to the greater good. But things aren’t black and white and this is a morally and ethically flawed plan. The future Roddenberry set out, as incredibly optimistic and highly naive as it was, was one where humanity would not undertake such measures. I do not though believe that humans in Trek canon would be incapable of doing anything less than good, but I think there could’ve been some small mention that this plot regarding the Ba'ku was done with very little knowledge on the part of Starfleet and the Federation, perhaps Dougherty should have been working alone, or on the part of Section 31? That would at least explain why Starfleet would be working with a race producing Ketracel White.
In further regards to the story, it does read a lot like a TNG/TOS episode with the following rehashed features: Corrupt Starfleet Admirals, a magical planet comparative to a specifically human concept (the fountain of youth) on which happen to live virtual human beings. Two warring factions which Picard is in the middle of, and a space battle incorporating a lot of technobabble to resolve. Oh, and a stupid child for Data to connect with.
Much like First Contact before it though it employs a lot of Hollywood hallmarks like comic relief and action aplenty. The characters are rotated in significance like always, Picard is at the fore of course, but the remainder of the cast vary in prominence. Data and his relationship with a 12 year old boy (well that would sound criminal in the wrong circumstances) serves only to reinforce what TNG viewers had been watching for 7 years and 2 feature films now of his quest to understand what it’s like to be more than an android. Enough already. Worf thankfully has a few good lines giving him more to do than fire a phaser. Crusher and Troi are more of less dispensable with the latter only flirting with Riker, who takes command of the Enterprise for a battle and thankfully it’s not destroyed again (thank you Generations). And LaForge has little to do but for a touching scene in which he’s able to view a sunrise with real eyes which have grown thanks to the healing properties of the planet. Again though, all crew have little to contribute and that’s to be expected of Trek in this format.
The villains are stock standard, ones beyond salvation and dies in the end (though, no one tried to save him), one chooses to go against orders and follows his conscience to help, and Dougherty pays the price for siding with an enemy he underestimated from the start.
The Ba'ku are slightly arrogant and pompous, I’ve never liked them and Anij is only ok due to her relationship with Picard and that voice which I could listen to for hours. I did find it hard to root for these people and was always more concerned with the Enterprise crew.
Coming from the amazing First Contact to this, it’s not surprising Insurrection gets a bad rap. I think of it as a pretty average film but much stronger than Generations. Stewart is a solid performer again but with the exception of the TNG crew we are familiar with, most other characters pale in significance and offer little to the story. It’s lighter than First Contact and as such easier to digest, it doesn’t have the weight of the Federation’s existence on it’s shoulders like First Contact, but it does carry a significant message about what’s right in this universe and how far people like Picard are willing to go in the face of corruption. The villains though are forgettable and the concept about Starfleet working with the Son’a is flawed.
Nitpicking: THE SON’A. Their whole race is a giant nitpick, this was once a few dozen Ba'ku who set off decades prior to the event’s of the film and ended up being powerful enough to conquer two civilisations, develop powerful ships and technology that even Starfleet can’t reproduce? I DOUBT IT.
Remarkable scenes: Picard, Worf and Data singing "A British Tar". The battles in the Briar Patch.
Remarkable ships: Data's scoutship. The Son'a vessels. The captain's yacht.
Remarkable dialogue: "Mister Worf, do you know Gilbert and Sullivan?" - "No, sir. I have not had a chance to meet all of the new crewmembers since I have been back." - "They're composers, Worf. From the nineteenth century." -Picard and Worf
Remarkable quote #1: "Saddle up. Lock and load." -Data
Remarkable quote #2: "DEFINITELY FEELING AGGRESSIVE TENDENCIES SIR!!!!" -Worf
Rating: 6 (Cameron)
Star Trek Nemesis
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
Most people would say that "Nemesis" isn't a very good Trek movie, maybe even one of the worst, but I really liked it. It was definitely not as good as "First Contact", but it had an exciting plot, and lots of action and special effects. The Argo vehicle was fun to watch, although not very accurate for 24th century technology, and it was interesting that they introduced B-4 into the plot. I think that after "First Contact" and the Borg, Shinzon isn't a very good villain. Neither are the Remans, but the thalaron weapon was a good idea. Overall, I think this is one of the best Trek movies.
Nitpicking: Why weren't the Remans ever mentioned before?
Remarkable quote: "Why does the tall man have a furry face?" -B-4 referring to Riker.
Remarkable dialogue: "Romulan ale should be illegal." - "It is." -Worf and Geordi
Rating: 8 (Keegan Johnson)
Star Trek Nemesis
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
Firstly, I liked this movie. It had a brilliant battle scene, good acting and new ships! The start was nice to see, after 10 or so years the Riker and Troi have finally got married and the fact that basically all the original TNG regulars were there including Guinan and Wesley. Though having Wesley in a Starfleet uniform is a bit odd as he went off with the Traveler, and we learn that he's suddenly back in Starfleet assigned to the Titan. I don't think having the Romulans as the apparent "bad" guys before introducing the Remans was a good idea because it raises my question of what happened to the alliance in DS9?? Aside from that the timely arrival of the Romulans in the battle was nice to see, but only 2 ships were sent? I can only assume that Commander Donatra could only persuade another commander to join her, but that seems a little unlikely. Moving on to the battle. I think it was one of the best I've ever seen, it was amusing to see the Enterprise and Romulans firing aimlessly and I imagined them saying to each other "No, they're over there" "No there" etc. Seeing the Enterprise fire quantum torpedoes again was brilliant, as it seems they forgot about them in ST:I. Also seeing the Enterprise ram the Scimitar was painful, "What are you doing Picard stop damaging the best looking ship!" Finally the ending I think was even sadder than Spock's death. I was literally crying after Data said "Goodbye". This movie was a fitting end to the The Next Generation adventures. Oh and what happened to Starfleet hand phasers? They suddenly don't produce the orange beam that we know and love.
Nitpicking: Deck 29?? How can you add 5 more decks?
Remarkable quotes: "On screen." (Picard before he notices there is no screen), "Why does the tall man have a furry face?" (B-4, remarks about Riker), "Just when I thought this couldn't get any worse." (Riker announces the arrival of the Romulans)
Remarkable dialogue: "Why do you have a shiny head?" - "This is not an appropriate time for a conversation" - "Why?" - "Because the Captain has to concentrate on piloting the vehicle" - "Why?" - "Because." - "Data!" - "Sorry Sir." - "Have I said something wrong?" -B-4, Data and Picard
Remarkable scene: Data singing "Blue Skies".
Remarkable ships: The Scimitar, The Argo, The new Romulan Warbirds and the slightly refitted kick-ass Enterprise E
Remarkable fact: Captain Janeway has been made an Admiral. "Nemesis" has links to all the series of Star Trek: USS Archer = "ENT", Janeway appearing = "VOY", the whole of the TNG cast = "TNG" and I can't remember the ones for "DS9" or "TOS" :P
Rating: 9 (Robb)
Star Trek Nemesis
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
When "Star Trek: Insurrection" ended, many felt that the franchise was wearing out; "Insurrection" did not gross as many had hoped, had negative reviews, cheaper films beat it at the box office, and the TV ventures were not making it as popular as it once was.
In the bid to save the flagging mothership of all space operas, Berman and Braga promised that the next film would be a "Space battle sci fi epic". It was hinted that it would be darker and along the lines of "The Wrath of Khan", that it would involve Romulans this time around, and suggested that "a popular" character was to die.
In the process they hired John Logan; the script writer for "Gladiator" and "The Aviator", one of the "hottest" screen writers around at the time, and a die hard Trekkie. Rather than rehire Jonathan Frakes - who made the successful "First Contact", and the aforementioned film, Paramount selected Stuart Baird to direct, shoved in a huge budget for hopeful success, and left the powers that be to make their "sci fi battle epic".
The net result despite what many have hoped - was anything but - unless they meant epic to be put alongside the words tedious, boring, and predictable.
"Star Trek Nemesis" should have worked - the plot was not too absurd - in fact it was rather clever - but numerous things were to doom the project - most of it self inflicted.
For a start the plot broke a rule of sci fi storytelling - that is if the heroes/cast meet their clones/alternates as the enemy for a plot, you have ran out of steam. In a way this film emphasises the point. Despite the inventive idea of a younger Picard as an enemy and pondering the narrative of "if one took a different path in life", the innovation was lost in a quagmire of contradiction and predictability. In fact this difference between the two is annoyingly referred to alot in juxtaposition "you are better than him", "he is not you", "you are a different person" and so on when its obvious because Shinzon is out to be bad on whatever reason that sees fit.
The 'shock' of Data being the one to "die" was clearly hinted way too early by the sudden and unexplained discovery of B-4; identical but not firing on all cylinders yet with modifications he could be like Data - a clear mimic to the Katra ritual of "Star Trek III" effect; as a result such a shock exit was a predictable event.
When it did happen, it was done in a trivial, obvious, uninventive manner. It should have been an emotional unintentional catastrophe, or a noble way - like Spock's death, or Kirk's; the kind that you weep and feel the pain of loss. Data's was done with no feeling or care - the worse thing was that you know Data would come back because of B-4. You can almost here the producers say - "we can kill him off - but not really, he'll be back" with a reassuring wink and a smug grin.
Then there is the cast - again all the crew are cardboard cutouts except for Picard and Data. They all did the usual, said the same things we have heard all before, and do the same things we expect. The ones with no real worth - Dr Crusher, Troi, Riker, did nothing, Geordi and Worf did what Geordi and Worf always do, and Picard commands as Picard, with Data being the lynch pin. In short nothing innovative.
The villain by far has to be the most pantomime I have ever come across in modern sci fi. Everything is a joke with this character - from name to dress. His name - Shinzon - sounds more like a "sneeze". His attire looked like something whipped up from a cross between a glam metal get up and a kinky dance act; he has blockaboots!!; his malice is so over the top it reminded me of the Sheriff of Nottingham in "Prince of Thieves" but not done tongue in cheek, and his motives are so scattered you no longer cared. In addition, his entourage of "bat faced" Remans only emphasised how silly Mr Sneeze is.
As for his ship - it is the WORST starship I have EVER seen in Star Trek - another Bird of Prey type vessel - giant forewings, OTT sinister superweapon, no distinctive shape, and so overpowerful but you know that there is a glaring weakness somewhere that our heroes will always find. The interior was so ridiculous it was almost like a set out of Austin Powers at best - and looked like a Drum and Bass concert at worse. Even the name is predictable - The Scimitar. Wow. How originally scary :-|
As for epic - there was none - the battle AGAIN is in a nebula, AGAIN the villain had a better ship that somehow is incapable of destroying the Enterprise in a single volley but could do that to any other vessel, no Fed ship could come to their aid AGAIN, they were on their own AGAIN, they were crippled and losing power AGAIN, the warp drive was offline AGAIN, pointless "clever" tactics (Troi using her mind to track the envoy and locating the Scimitar was so uninspiring) AGAIN, any support that arrives gets beaten by the enemy AGAIN, a duel AGAIN...
Shinzon's dueling with Picard could have been clever and inventive - but it was soooooo dull because the tactics did not have any merit - when the Enterprise rose behind the Reliant - that was clever - here they just shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot. The ramming of the Enterprise was a special effects achievement but a pointless exercise.
The climax is boring and seen before AGAIN - superweapon capable of obliterating a planet AGAIN, unique substance of death and destruction AGAIN, only the Enterprise can save the Earth AGAIN, Earth is defenceless to one ship - AGAIN! Bitter enemy AGAIN! Someone has to board that ship kill the crew and destroy the weapon before all are killed - AGAIN!! Rehashing of technobabble and past plots AGAIN!!!
Reading this you can understand why so many people did not bother with this film.
Overall they played it safe, dipped their toes into the daring and shuddered away. They did not want to lose their fan base for want of not earning the wrath of core Trekkies who will love ANYTHING from Star Trek as long as it does what Star Trek does. The problem is that there are a lot of other people out there who like Trek for other reasons - thrills, plot, character, sci fi, - but if trek does not deliver, those people go elsewhere, and that is what happened here. Many Trekkies say they do not need such people - but Trek is like any other business - and it needs an income to survive.
To emphasise that point two factors came to pass that would lead to "Star Trek Nemesis" falling flat on its face - first the competition - "Nemesis" was released ahead of "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers", "Die Another Day", and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" in an attempt to get to number one on the box office. However it was pipped at the post by something unexpected: the J-Lo flick "Maid in Manhatten" a film far cheaper than "Nemesis" - as a result it was the first time a Star Trek film has never made number one. The second nail in the coffin was that "Nemesis" fell to No 8 in the second week. With the offerings from "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers", "Die Another Day", and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets", customers took their cash to these far more entertaining rides; "Nemesis" then crashed out of the top ten the week after.
Looking at the above, I can see why "Nemesis" failed - it is tired. Everything was done before but more boring; nothing new came to pass, and the net result is a very very DULL boring predictable poor quality film. The curse of Star Trek to me is that the humans are so professional, so perfect, so flawless they are boring. and as a result created a very dire film with no character, no diversity, or anything warranting interest.
In fairness, Nemesis if worked right could springboard new ideas - a different Data, a new Romulus, a better crew. If they had the guts and gumption they could have sprung new ideas to make better, but instead the tedium inflicted by said film made Paramount flogged off all the props, and decided to do the brutal reboot in 2009 that earned a greater audience but alienated the Trek core.
There will be may who may rant about this and so forth - but the facts speak for themselves - and this is why we have the new Star Trek. Despite its virtues it preaches - Star Trek is a business franchise - and businesses needs cash to survive - and that is always done at any cost.
Remarkable fact 1: LeVar Burton/Geordi LaForge has said that the "film sucked" - its also claimed that on set Stuart Baird kept on calling him "Laverne". OUCH!!
Remarkable fact 2: Jonathan Frakes/Riker stated that he liked the film but said that the reason it failed because he did not direct it - Baird knew little about Star Trek hence the failure. Mr Frakes also went on to direct the sci fi turkey Thunderbirds....
Remarkable fact 3: Brent Spiner/Data co-wrote the script - and some critics point out that this maybe the reason Data had so much to do in the film. It is alleged that some cast members were not happy about that arrangement either.
Remarkable fact 4: According from a Radio 2 interview in the UK a year after the film's release, Patrick Stewart revealed that the cast and the team behind this film thought it was their best yet - when it bombed at the box office, apparently a lot of them were devastated. Some even burst into tears...
Remarkable fact 5: The original battle of the Bassen Rift was to be between a fleet of ships - not just the Enterprise and the Scimitar. Had this come to pass this WOULD have been an epic fight and may have been the saving grace of the film - but instead the studios refused the idea due to the budget. Also a planned scene where the Enterprise is towed from the battle by the USS Hemmingway was also shelved due to expense. Ironically, Baird did direct a film called "Executive Decision"...
Rating: 2 (Chris S)
Star Trek Nemesis
Stardate 56844.9 : Synopsis in main Movie listing
I'd say I don't know where to begin but I do. This movie was terrible. I have lots of notes but suffice to say I have no need to use the annotation's below for nitpicking because as far as I'm concerned this whole movie is nothing but a giant nitpick! So full of glaring errors and inconsistencies in regards to Trek canon, characters and so on. I will go off these notes and try to provide as best a review as I can and make it as coherent as possible, as I convey the events of the film and the NUMEROUS errors which go hand in hand with each scene and so forth.
We open on Romulus. Actually we don't, we open in space zooming in to the planet Remus, Romulus' twin sister planet of which we've heard nothing about up till this film, but that's ok because apparently everyone else was in on the secret, as Riker and even Admiral Janeway (I'll get to THAT in a moment) seem to drop them in conversation as if the existence of this planet and its inhabitants was common knowledge. Regardless we pass this planet and onto Romulus where the Senate is discussing the opportunity to ally Romulus with a person named Shinzon and with the Remans (resident scary monster race) and to consider what strength it would bring to the Empire despite the existing power of the empire. The Praetor overseeing this conversation shuts down this proposal from these Romulan generals who are excused. A Romulan nobody who has been toying with a pendant device at her hand for the meeting then excuses herself. No body of course takes note that she leaves this obviously ominous device on the table and continue conversing about boring matters only till they're distracted by the pretty light show that takes place when the device activates and showers the room in a green iridescent light. The senate is slow to react and when they do, just like Electric Light Orchestra, they Turn to Stone (zing).
Being on Romulus and of course, being a terrible film, I will point out that no mention is made of Sela, Spock (who we last saw on Romulus!) or the reunification movement. Go figure.
Next we find ourselves onboard the Enterprise for Will and Deanna's long overdue wedding. Picard has a cheesy speech about the issue of marriage and jokingly whines about being left without his first officer and counsellor, as both are going to the Titan. Of course, as this is a terrible movie, the motivation behind Will's decision to FINALLY take command of another starship despite turning down numerous command opportunities through his career is never revealed. Oh, and Wesley Crusher is also at the wedding in a Starfleet uniform with lieutenant jr grade insignia. Of course, as this is a terrible movie, he's not given any dialogue nor is any reason given for his being on the Enterprise in a Starfleet uniform with a rank despite last being seen leaving to explore the universe with the Traveller in "Journey's End".
We also see the crew and Brent Spiner in particular looking extremely old in comparison to his first appearance on TNG, suspension of disbelief is one thing, but some line about him altering his appearance to reflect his 'age' would have been wise. A hungover Worf drops some line about how Romulan Ale should be illegal. Ummm, if it was illegal then why the hell was it being served upon a Starfleet vessel? Oh, and speaking of Worf, why the fuck is he onboard the Enterprise? Shouldn't he be on Qo'noS as ambassador to the Klingon empire following the end of the Dominion War 4 years prior! He also bitches about Data singing Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies" for Riker and Troi, clearly he knows who the man is, yet didn't know who Gilbert and Sullivan were in "Insurrection"?
The Enterprise continues on its merry way to Betazed for Riker and Troi's honeymoon, because clearly, the Enterprise has nothing better to do than chaperone two individuals to their honeymoon destination as opposed to taking a shuttle for them and the wedding party. It detects though multiple positronic signals coming from a planet near the Neutral Zone (Betazed is near the Neutral Zone too now?), naturally, they investigate given Data is a positronic lifeform (and no one worries this could end up like Lore all over again).
Beaming the parts up is advised against due to some ion storm, so instead of risking beaming the parts up in case the storm 'come their way' (was it space or airborne? No one offers an answer), so through this flimsy pretext Picard takes to the planet the Argo. Which is an impressive looking ship till you realise the horror that he in fact is talking about a goddamn dune buggy which he drives around to collect the positronic parts. Watching Picard drive around in this SURELY antiquated piece of technology by 24th century standards, it makes one wonder what happened to the horse riding, opera enjoying, renaissance man from The Next Generation. Upon collection of the final piece of a disassembled androids body, it is practically identical to Data but for suffering a condition called 'dumbass' (as coined by Annorax, also known as Red Forman in another timeline). B4 as it is known, asks stupid questions as the away team is attacked by the inhabitants of this planet. Of course, as this is a terrible movie, we have to expect that the scanning equipment of Starfleet is so advanced as to detect positronic signals across light years, but the same sensors can't detect a few dozen lifeforms within so many hundred meters.
Pointlessly overdrawn chase scene ensues in which the away team violate the prime directive by opening fire on this pre-warp society, but as this is a movie, there's no time for things like diplomacy, so bang bang! Chase, chase! Till the away team leave the planet.
B4 is questioned on the Enterprise but doesn't know jack, Picard orders him pieced together. Data tells him they're brothers. I yawned.
We then turn to Picard in his ready room who is hailed by the unbelievably over-ranked Admiral Janeway. This is worth delving into. Janeway purposefully stranded her ship, interfered in a number of cultures, helped instigate conflicts and undoubtedly made a bad name for the Federation in the Delta Quadrant and it was only through the Temporal Prime Directive violating actions of her future self was she able to bring her crew home (albeit earlier than history originally recorded), and she was rewarded by being promoted to Admiral? If only it were that easy to advance in rank in our world. Though, as Star Trek XI will show us, promoting people in a ridiculous short amount of time to ranks they don't deserve wasn't an isolated event (Cadet then Captain Kirk in a matter of days!). The haha, ADMIRAL, informs Picard that a new leader has emerged on Romulus and wants to talk peace. The Enterprise has been sent to chat. She also goads him about receiving easy assignments, because getting assimilated and traumatised, going against corrupt Starfleet brass, and having to be sent into the lions den of Romulus unaccompanied is EASY. Janeway was lucky to have been wrapped in cotton wool for 7 years in the Delta Quadrant with barely enough of a broken nail to worry her conscience.
Enterprise warps off to Romulus (leaving behind it exhaust from the nacelles? WHAT?) and awaits contact for a prolonged period of time. The poor score of the film preceeds the appearance of the overpowered, oversized, and surely overcompensating-for-something Scimitar, which decloaks. Of course, as this is a terrible movie, we are lead to believe this behemoth of a vessel was developed in secret under slave labour.
Nameless scary monster Viceroy (played by Ron Perlman, who is otherwise wasted in this movie given the lack of lines and unrecognisability) informs Picard Shinzon will see them and they beam over to the Scimitar. Picard, Data, Riker, Troi and Worf all beam over, leaving umm, who exactly to command the Enterprise? Good thing Shinzon didn't decide to just capture the whole away team and Picard, otherwise his insane plan which I'll speak of later would've been executed flawlessly with no one to command the Enteprise and mount a serious challenge. As we see though, Shinzon (dressed like a gimp drowned in oil I'll add) is more fond of pointless games and talk rather than action, and he talks about suffering a childhood illness which Picard also apparently had (which the away team seemed to have known of as well given their reactions but hey, not like we'd know after watching these people for 7 years), lets the away team scan him and even provides a blood sample, given his human appearance, and more importantly, resemblance to Picard. He, for no good reason also lusts after Troi. Whatever. The away team leave and Crusher (hooray she's given stuff to do!) confirms Shinzon is a clone.
On Romulus, the Romulans who backed Shinzon complain about his time wasting antics with the Starfleet crew, he advises them to be patient and asks useless Romulan Commander Donatra to be mindful of traitors in his midst and if she kills anyone suspected of such collusion she would have proven her trust to him. This dialogue is meaningless and no pay off is given in the end. As she leaves Shinzon has the space crazies but monster Viceroy helps him.
We switch to B4 on the Enterprise who suddenly starts accessing the Enterprise computer.
Picard and Shinzon later pow-wow about Picard's past as Shinzon would like to know the Picard history. Picard notes that despite their explorer past his leaving the Solar System caused discomfort in the family, even though this is the same family whose legacy included settlers on Mars. Upon questioning of his motives then, Shinzon reveals he hopes to liberate the Remans who helped him out after he was disposed of in Dilithium mines on Romulus when the plan to have him infiltrate Starfleet in Picard's place was scrapped due to a change of Government. This plan was flawed anyway, and it was said that the accelerated ageing process he was to undertake had begun at the point of the movie, because we're suppose to believe that roughly 25 years prior the Romulans KNEW who Picard was and how important he'd be to use a clone of his to infiltrate Starfleet?! Picard hadn't even taken command of the Enterprise at the point of Shinzon's creation, how the hell could the Romulans have known how important he would be? An outrageous plan.
But Shinzon continues to monologue about the future of his people, and the Romulans, whilst Picard is sceptical about the peace Shinzon wants for everyone.
Back on the Enterprise it's discovered the Scimitar emits some kind of deadly poison, thalaron radiation (the same stuff from the start of the movie), and of course, we're suppose to take seriously the threat of a substance we've never heard of as it's discussed of in superweapon terms.
Back on Romulus, Monster Viceroy chides Shinzon for his time wasting (am I noticing a pattern here) and Shinzon rebukes him for telling him it's his time to waste and he was curious about Picard, as if he couldn't capture and interrogate him or just research his family history, how are the niceties of a bloody coup orchestra.
In his ready room Picard looks at a picture of himself from the Academy, the picture is NOT accurate though to the representations of Picard we've been given before (eg. "Tapestry") as the photo pictures a bald headed, Tom Hardy in a cadet uniform, and people complained about Enterprise forcing continuities hand. Crusher and he talk about 'those days'. Data interrupts to inform that they've discovered B4's access (though they don't know its B4 and didn't surmise that an unauthorised access and B4's apparent autonomy after being brought on board were NOT RELATED).
Troi is also mind-raped whilst doing Riker, only to serve a tiny snippet later on in the film, bleh. Afterwards Shinzon is crippled and is advised that the Doctors must be readied for the treatment he needs to overcome his ailments. The Remans then beam B4 over to the ship and download the information he has, including communications and stellar cartography information, Picard is then beamed aboard also and the Scimitar cloaks.
Picard is restrained and Shinzon start's waffling on about his 'poor ole me' garbage and that how if Picard lives he's nothing more than an echo. Boo hoo, there are allusions to how Picard would be the same in Shinzon's shoes and likewise, as if something just because there DNA is identical means they'd do the same thing in each other's shoes. I found all this dialogue to be stupid, pointless and flawed from both points of view. You can either be of the opinion that because they are the same that their actions would've played out the same due to their upbringing and circumstances. Shinzon would NOT have been the psychotic Shinzon had he been raised on Earth to enjoy the cushy Federation lifestyle. But on the flipside you cannot say Picard would have turned out like Shinzon had their roles been reversed because PICARD WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PICARD. He would've been a cloned created to infiltrate Starfleet, disposed of, and forced to grow up in slave like conditions till he plotted revenge.
I found a lot of this talk to be trivial, and Shinzon's problems didn't end with Picard, as he ends up on a vendetta to destroy Earth like every other stock standard bad guy/group of villain before him with a problem with Earth (the Borg Queen, rogue Klingons, the Dominion), except in the case of those other villains they at least had a somewhat legitimate reason to attack Earth. Shinzon on the other hand was just having a tantrum and had to take his frustrations out on a people who weren't responsible for his upbringing. Turning this into another petty revenge story. Oh, and Shinzon needs Picard's blood to continue living.
Shinzon leaves after his bitching and B4 enters. B4 however is Data. But how did the Remans beam him over without realising who is who? By this point, I didn't care. Data tells Picard he has a prototype emergency transporter for Picard to use to escape the ship whilst Data stays behind. Picard doesn't appreciate the insinuation and say's they'll find another way to leave, together.
This is probably a point which has been covered many times before but I'll join the chorus on condemnation. We have seen that transporting two people using the one beam is not impossible. It happened on "The Voyage Home" using a (by this point in time) outdated Klingon Bird of Prey. So the Starfleet whiz kids are still about a 100 years behind Klingon transporter technology? Don't make me laugh. Obviously this is just a convenient plot device meant to purposefully foreshadow the pointless death that we'll see later on. Moving from that Data and Picard traverse the ship looking for means to escape. Shinzon discovers they've escaped and an alarm is activated, a firefight ensues and the pair happen upon a shuttlebay filled with the very Reman designation of 'Scorpion' class flyers (after the emotionless Data smiles at opening the shuttlebay entrance doors, what?). Picard and Data commandeer one and fly it out of the ship and it's beamed onto Enterprise.
The nameless Romulans on the planet contact Shinzon, and, again, chide him for his tactics. He berates them and cuts of communications. Donatra, in a change of heart so unforeseen she may as well have been a different character at this point, decides to betray Shinzon realising his plan is to eradicate all life on Earth. The Starfleet crew realise this in the briefing room, well, Picard does. Troi acts shocked and asks how Picard would know, to which he responds 'I know him'. So I'm sure all the dialogue about how Shinzon wanted to make the Federation pay wasn't a HINT at his plans, nor were the capabilities of his planet killing ship. Surely they are geniuses...
The Enterprise goes to warp to rendezvous with a Starfleet taskforce on the other side of a nebula, the Scimitar has been following it however and engages the Enterprise in the nebula, where the Scimitar's cloak makes it hardly a fair fight. Commander Donatra appears though with two impressive looking Romulan Warbirds and informs Picard they want to help. What follows is a pretty impressive battle in this nebula. One warbird is crippled and Donatra's is also. We also get plenty of shots of the Scimitar bridge, which is so poorly designed and quite unimaginative. Moving on. Troi's mind-rape scene is used to show a purpose, in which she finds the Viceroy on the Scimitar using her telepathic abilities, the Enterprise fires on it and does some damage. Shinzon is pissed and sends Viceroy and a puny team to board the Enterprise, Picard responds by sending Riker, Worf, and an equally tiny security detail (numbering in the single figures) to intercept them. A firefight ensues yet again, and Riker engages Monster face in a fight to the death through Jeffries tubes and onto a ramp atop a bottomless pit. Yes a bottomless pit for lack of a better word but at least a turbolift shaft would have work better.
The Enterprise and Scimitar face off, literally, as Shinzon decides to park his ship directly in front of the Enterprise to 'look Picard in the eye', oh boy. Picard though decides to do something totally unexpected for a ship which has had its weapons depleted and foe directly in front, by ordering full impulse and ramming the Scimitar (without warning people who are in those sections of the ship of course). The Reman morons at the helm are painfully slow to respond and both ships collide. The Scimitar pulls away and Picard....activates the self-destruct? Shinzon orders the thalaron weapon be used on the Enterprise then to set a course for Earth. So why the hell would Picard want to blow the ship up? The Scimitar was clearly still capable of flight and could have easily escaped, what was the point Picard??? Destroying the Enterprise would have served no purpose. So seeing the Thalaron doo-wacky has been activated Picard decides to head over to the ship and go mano a mano with Shinzon. The outrageously convoluted means of activating this weapon on the Scimitar, involving extending wings and laser beams with claws protruding, means there's 7 minutes till the weapon is activated. Picard beams over, ALONE (as all 4 security member of the Enterprise were busy with the puny Reman threat, apparently), and starts shooting the useless Reman guards (with the ease at which they are killed it's no wonder they were apparently used as cannon fodder in the Dominion war.
The only one to realise that Picard might need backup, Data decides to head over as well. Only he doesn't do the intelligent thing like a supposedly capable android, or even a less than capable Windows Vista operating system would do in taking a shuttlecraft over with some armed crewmen, but he decides to jump from the Enterprise where a bulkhead was removed during the crash and separation. The idiot jumps the gulf in space between the two ships, and amazingly doesn't miss the Scimitar (BAD LUCK IF HE DID!). Meanwhile, Picard is busy slaying helpless Reman "soldiers" and makes his way to the bridge, even using his phaser to beat one over the head (said rifle though breaks like a plastic toy after). Seeing the Thalaron matrix-whatever thing behind the bridge, he heads upstairs to try and deactivate it. Shinzon follows and attempts to kill him with knives (cause phasers are over-rated), Picard though bends down a metal pylon with superhuman strength as Shinzon lunges towards him, and impales his doppleganger. Shinzon hilariously pulls himself further along the bar and tells Picard he's glad they're together in death.
Data though shows up and plants the emergency transport with all the power of a potato on Picard, transporting the Captain back to the Enterprise. Data stays behind and fires his phaser on the thalaron matrix, destroying the ship.
Donatra hails Picard telling him he has made a friend in the Romulan Empire, upholding the optimistic spirit of Star Trek (even though Romulus will be destroyed in Star Trek XI).
Picard toasts to Data's death with the senior staff and the Enterprise heads back to Earth for repairs. Picard talks with B4 about Data and how Data aspired to grow beyond his programming and B4 should consider it also. B4 starts singing 'Blue Skies', hinting that Data may yet live on through him. At the end credits, you can see Brent Spiner was a co-writer, what self indulgence on his part then to have him play two roles, kill off one beloved character, than practically render that death meaningless by having B4 gain his memories and struggle to sing, much like Data struggled to whistle in "Encounter at Farpoint". It's ridiculous. You spend 7 years and 3 films developing this character, kill him off, and then look to start right back at square 1 through this loophole of a memory download in an identical body.
This film was just so laden with plotholes and errors it boggles the mind. Nothing worked here, the story hinged on this unlikely plan of the Romulans. Shinzon was nothing more than your average pissy villain who wanted to blow up Earth, and all other dialogue pointing to that was irrelevant. His side bad guy, being a big scary monster, was a walking cliche. He served little purpose either. The main TNG cast were all flat here. Picard was reactive rather than proactive, Patrick Stewart for the first time looked lethargic in this signature role of his and really didn't have a great deal to contribute besides telling Shinzon he 'can be better'. Frakes and Sirtis do nothing but share sweet nothings during the wedding scene, be victims to the mind-rapings of Viceroy Monster face, and exact revenge on their tormentors. Spiner get a great deal of screen time but I don't feel he did much all the same despite his dual role. His emotionless Data and inferior B4 don't ask much of him, so not like he was truly challenged. Aside from a knowing glance to Data, LaForge does nothing but read of an LCARS screen and chat about B4, and McFadden again is the most disposable cast member.
Thankfully we've seen that Tom Hardy has grown from his into a very capable actor, and while he does deliver a lot of uninspired, clichéd dialogue, he did ok. Everyone else was of no note (eg. Perlman).
Just a terrible film, it started weak and ended with a whimper. Nothing redeeming is present here, and it's a shame that this was the final journey for such a wonderful crew. Even asking this film to convey the Trek 'spirit', it really doesn't but for the final scene where B4 tries to sing to be more than the he is. The writing was awful and is so inconsistent with this Universe it may as well not be canon. I think I've said enough.
Nitpicking: See above!
Remarkable fact: Data was originally to have died firing on warp core relays on the Scimitar bridge. Rick Sternbach however objected given such a poor design choice to have warp relays on the bridge. Yet the sensitive mechanics of a highly dangerous weapon right behind the bridge was fine???
Remarkable fact #2: The film contains references to all five live-action Star Trek television series. Riker employs an evasive maneuver named after James T. Kirk, the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation appears, Riker discusses the Remans' participation in the war with the Dominion, Admiral Kathryn Janeway appears, and a USS Archer is listed among a Starfleet battle group.
Remarkable fact #3: LeVar Burton is on record as having said that the film "sucked". Marina Sirtis backed him up by criticizing Stuart Baird for not watching a single episode of The Next Generation. According to Burton and several other members of the main cast, Baird kept referring to LeVar as "Laverne" throughout production and thought the character of Geordi was an alien.
Remarkable scene: The Battle of the Bassen Rift. Enterprise in a repair dock over Earth.
Rating: 0 (Cameron)
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|Last modified: 19.11.12|