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The 11 Star Trek movies ranked worst to first

We've assembled a roll call of the worst episodes of every single Star Trek series. Now it's time to measure the worst and the best of Trek's silver screen adventures.

5. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

A murder mystery in space where all of the classic Trek characters are in character, have something to do, and legitimately save a galaxy on the brink of war? And the bad guy is a Shakespeare-quoting Klingon played by Christopher Plummer? Yeah, I can work with that. The dialogue is a bit hammy, and the mystery a bit un-mysterious, but this one hits all its marks and treats the franchise with respect. It was a more than serviceable way to send out the original Enterprise crew, although why we couldn't get at least a TV miniseries of Capt. Sulu's time aboard the USS Excelsior I'll never know. All in all, a worthy apology for Star Trek V.

4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home Star Trek always had its comedic episodes (A Piece of the Action and The Trouble with Tribbles) but "the one with the whales" is perhaps the favorite film of non-Trekkies that's enjoyed by hardcore Klingon-quoters, as well. The Voyage Home is the exact opposite of The Motion Picture, as the Enterprise is almost entirely absent, and the crew spends most of its time in 1986 San Francisco, rather than the eye-candy future. Strip Star Trek of all the trappings of Star Trek, and you're just left with the people, and that's a good thing. While Voyage Home played the show's premise for a few laughs and some enviro-preachiness, it's still well worth your time. Also, "hello computer" and "nuclear wessels" for the win. 3. Star Trek: First Contact

Picard versus the Borg on the big screen, with bonus Starfleet origin stories. While it may represent the moment Star Trek jumped the shark, it also was the first, last, and only time the Next Generation crew shone brightly on the big screen. The villain was an adequate foil, the stakes were high (as in the foundation of the Trek universe and the survival of everyone in it), and every character had a moment of competence and character growth. Plus, the battles were cool, and we finally got some rock & roll into the Trek canon. If you'd never seen a NextGen episode before, you could still enjoy this movie on its merits. There is no higher franchise compliment.

2. Star Trek A Hail Mary reboot of the franchise that still tried (if unsuccessfully) to be faithful to canon -- and it worked. Kirk and Spock were cool again, the Enterprise was once again the starship everyone wanted to fly, and Star Trek was about doing things rather than saying things for the first time in a long time. While some fringe criticisms that this was an action film dressed in Roddenberry drag are not entirely unwarranted, J.J. Abrams's take on Trek breathed some much needed vitality -- and public interest -- into the franchise. And if nothing else, Karl Urban's version on Dr. McCoy is a treat that cannot be missed. Honestly the second best Star Trek movie (not story) ever released. 1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

The undisputed champion 30 years running, The Wrath of Khan remains the seminal Star Trek film of all time. Kirk is at the height of his powers. He has a villain -- from canon, no less -- who is his equal. At stake is the most dangerous technology in Federation history, with moral implications worthy of a classic McCoy-Spock debate (which happens). Moreover, the film gives depth where even the TV series often didn't. Kirk's infinite dalliances with galactic girlfriends at one point produced a son -- one with a complicated opinion of his father. Kirk's cowboy-style problem solving in years past catches up to him in the form of Khan. The crew is acknowledged to have aged, and not always gracefully. The allegories of Moby Dick and A Tale of Two Cities and the introduction of the still ingenious Kobayshi Maru test expertly inform the action without overpowering it. Finally, even while it was later reversed, the most compelling, pivotal, and emotional death in Trek history make The Wrath of Khan the best Star Trek film of all time.

Care to disagree? Infinite dissension in infinite combinations is welcome in the comments section.

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Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

40 comments
Star Trek Dating
Star Trek Dating

I want to start by saying I love The Undiscovered Country - but the first time I saw it I fell asleep during it. Defo one to watch over and over! Much love - www.trekdating.com

nythawk
nythawk

Jay Garmon is a tool. He still is putting down movies that have been raked over the coals hundreds of times by would be movie critics who are morons including him. Give it a rest. So you didn't like several Star Trek movies, so what. Move on with your life. I liked all the Star Trek movies. While some of them may not have been the producers, directors and writers best work all of them were good enough to watch. Just as I'm sure movies and TV shows he thinks are great are stupid and boring to a lot of people.

jspot25
jspot25

Star Trek The Motion Picture is definately the worst of the film series. It takes an eternity for the plot to develop, there is more cheesy special effects that go on forever and ever. It is a wonder how they made a second film for how bad that one was. Star trek five would be the #10 for me. 2009 Star trek is the best because, the acting is much better, (no Shatner) and the movie keeps you on your toes the whole time. The script was the best written out of all of the films. You can tell that they put a lot of money in this film to make it good. It wasn't just slapped sticked together. Wrath of Kahn, Voyage home, and Undiscovered country are definately close behind I thoroughly enjoy those three. You really cant put the TNG ones together with these, because they are entirely different. I would say that Insurrection was the worst, because you can tell that they had the worst budget for this film. Paramount dumped ILM, and went with a cheap CG company. I like the story, but the acting and special effects were cheap. The #3 would be Generations. Liked the old ship with good special effects, but Picard in the Nexus became very confusing. #2 Nemesis, story still a little cheesy, but you get to see sides of Picard you havent seen before, and you kind of see a Jim Kirk come out when he collides with the symatar (forgive the spelling) #1 was First Contact. Very intense movie, Best: story, script, special effects, and the best villian.

Rbrehm5912
Rbrehm5912

The Abrams movie is garbage outside of Urban. The plot is predictable and has no trek elements at all. They took the franchise I cherish for its deep ethical meanings, took them out, and replaced them with glorified car chases. I was always proud all of my friends never got why I loved Star Trek so much, and now they all love this simplistic reboot cuz of the fun battles and pretty colors. It's really sad.

CommonDenominator
CommonDenominator

I have no quibble with the list except for the worst, which has to be Star Trek: The Motion Picture. It merits that place because of general silliness trying to pass itself off as drama and one point of surpassing stupidity: the machine planet builds a fantastic device that can generate more power than thousands of starships and THEY CAN'T CONNECT THE CORRODED WIRE THAT WOULD ENABLE V'GER TO FULFILL ITS MISSION? As Yoda might say, break me a @&%$#* give!

RiverReg
RiverReg

Khan is the reason the series is still going. If #2 had stunk as bad as #1 there would likely never had been a #3 or Next Gen, etc, etc. And because of the greatness of Khan, fans are still willing to forgive stinkers like #5 and continue to give the franchise another chance. It is the "there is always a possibility that the next move will be another #2." IMHO, without Khan, Star Trek would have died out by now.

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

"And I know this for sure.They forced many Astaran universes out of Orvonton!" "They worshiped their moons." "This is so true!" "YOU START DIMINISHING YOURSELVES AND YOUR MOON ATTRACTS YOUR ATTENTION." "Yes again true.They kept on with their explosions in an attempt to travel to their moon." "THEY COULD NEVER GET THERE." "For sure true.They worked themselves all the way to our universes with this thing that they were doing." Sirs,they went deeper and deeper into Centers---." "AND STREAMED OUT INTO US." When their blob hit the no-sa's it imploded as it froze---." "IT CREATED A SUCTION." "And in our Region Feeling---." "YEOW!." "Sirs our Oahspe has never had the correct water si." "It's the same for the Divind,Etheria the water eed's and so on." "PUT UP SOME WALLS AND CONTINUE ON." "Sirs,it's uncanny but our meal is ready."

BALTHOR
BALTHOR

"Mr. Kamdind,you've seen the Or-I and you have even been in battle against them.What are your current assessments?" "Well I do not like even thinking about them". "IT'S TOO DANGEROUS." "Oh please sirs this is the most wonderful time to solve problems." "I shall continue." "IT'S JEDDY MILTON!" "Yes I am sure that you're correct.The only attack point or ingress point that the Krad use is the Tip of the Ashtaroth." "Ray here.That's the center ced in the Dihlorah." "It's the Oahspe and the ou-dahs." "It's where snow evaporates." IT'S REGION FEELING,INTEREST,INDIFFERENCE." "And so on.They ate their own excrement and exploded.This explosion hit us in Orvonton with a force.It hit the Oahspe---." "THE STONES THAT ORBIT JUPITER THE ADD-JU." "Yes,they blew up and hit our Jupiters!" "Sirs,Orvonton is the Add-Ju universes."

PurpleSkys
PurpleSkys

don't get me wrong, i'm a trekkie from way back to the original when i was a kidlet...but the new one was more fun for me....driving the mustang over the edge and jumping out just before it went over had to have been my fave scene :) but what a waste of a perfectly good 'tang ;)

reisen55
reisen55

I rather liked SEARCH for SPOCK. Nimoy intended it to be very operatic, very big and dramatic and for the most part it is. It also has to retract most of Khan because both Kirk and Spock were left in a bad way. Kirk lost a friend, Spock was gone so the franchise per se (we did not have one back then) was pretty much dead, not to be cute about it. Movie #3 restored Spock and wiped Kirk's reputation off the map along with the old Enterprise. Movie #4 restored Kirk to command with a new Enterprise. See, now we have a franchise. Movie #5 should really be redone with CGI to complete, at least, Shatner's original vision. Movie #6 completed the story arc of 2 through 4 by restoring Kirk's faith in David and bringing the Klingon empire into the picture. Not a bad record. No, I like Movie #3. It is not Khan (primitive by the way) but still a good show. And the message, "what are friend's for" and Sulu's great scene (tiny) are worth the movie, along with Kruge.

ramjet
ramjet

The ranking is good, and #1 rightfully so. I also liked the lines in #4. Love them or Hate them, Star Trek Rules the Sci Fi TV genre. From the time I watched TOS reruns on a 6' diagonal Projection screen as a janitor after school to marathons runs of DVD's, It's all good stuff, just some is Excellent and some not so much.

Lynn Aeon
Lynn Aeon

I have to agree on the #1 pick for certain! "From hell's heart, I stab at thee. For hate's sake, I spit my last breath at thee." Can't beat that for dying last words! "Space Seed" happens to be my favorite TOS episode as well.

SpatsTriptiphan
SpatsTriptiphan

Not number one of course but it is a good ride and deserves better than #8

mbrown
mbrown

I would put Insurrection ahead of Undiscovered Country, which IMHO is way too high. Totally agree on the top 4 and a gutsy move putting the latest reboot second, some fans just can't take the new actors, but please, aside from possibly Quinto (not really his fault, Nimoy was spot on) they new actors are technically better performers.

sboverie
sboverie

I thought it was not as bad as ST Generations. There are some good lines like McCoy's early comment about engineers, "They love to change things." Your comment about 2001 Space Oddysey getting bored with the special effects was funny in that the journey through the rings of Saturn and into another dimension in 2001 was great the first time I saw the movie and excrably boring afterwards. Star Trek 5 was pretty bad with the Klingon general quoting Shakespear at the end, definitely a huge disapointment after the well done Star Trek 4.

Tekkless
Tekkless

I kinda like the whales, but can't argue with putting Wrath of Khan first. Still, for the social message, Spock trying to curse, the scene of Scotty handling a 20th century computer (Scotty to mouse: "Computer? Computer?), and the portable line, "Everybody, remember where we parked," it was at least rightly in the top 5.

VictorGutzler
VictorGutzler

Star Trek 6 is my favorite due to its murder mystery device (and consistency with the tv series in treating Klingons like Russians sending convicts to a Siberian planet), and then Star Trek 2 being consistent with the tv series emotional relationship between Kirk, McCoy, and Spock as in The Empath episode). All the other movies are cartoonish to me. I did like the new Star Trek reboot but was disappointed with the time travel and inconsistency with the TV series (Spock should have been a long-time officer under Captain Pike, and Kirk should have been a star pupil being beat up by Finnigan at the star fleet academy).

atrue
atrue

I personally would pick Star Trek The Movie as the best but that has a lot to do with how long I have been a Trekkie. As one who is old enough to have seen the TV series on the first run, it was a long time before the movie came out. We had not seen the Enterprise, nor Kirk, nor Spock, nor Doc, etc. for years except in reruns. I still remember that my wife and I went to the first showing on the first day that the movie came out. Watching all my favorites up on the big screen was awesome. And yes, I cried like a baby watching Kirk take the tour of around the new Enterprise. I really thought that the plot was great for a first movie as it embodied all of the great things about Star Trek. Having worked on the Apollo mission, I really liked the return of the Voyager in its altered state.

jimt007
jimt007

I might not be quite as critical on some of the films, however, I think you have the proper order of things. One thing about Star Trek however, is that you have to remember it was built on cheese. The original series was very campy at times, and had few moments or serious episodes. TNG on the other hand had more serious episodes than it had fun parodies of itself. I feel this is why TNG had a harder time making it to the Big Screen with a bang, they had a lot more to live up to, while the Original Crew had a chance in the movies to be more serious. I think what I did love about the JJ Abrams version, was that it allowed the crew to be updated to fit into the evolved epic that is Star Trek. Considering Kirk, Spock and the rest of the crew were created over 40 years ago, a lot has happened to shape the universe. It is the same pain comic books feel. How do you go and fix what you did to create the genre without discrediting it? The ideals and code of Starfleet, as well as what technology was available at the time of the show's creation. All that being said, Star Trek really is made up of both the episodes we love, and the episodes we love to hate. It is what makes it an epic tale that spans generations.

pgit
pgit

...that line was a huge potential wasted, possibly the biggest whiff in the franchise. BTW those sound effects when "god" gets ticked off should be on the list of the top 10 humorous moments, among the movies at least. I swear I heard a "hey, Mo!!" somewhere in the middle of that labored scene. Speaking of labor, that pissed off "god" sounded an awful lot like my wife delivering our second child... coincidence?

TomMerritt
TomMerritt

As far as Kirk-Star Trek went, you're dead-on. Picard-Star Trek happened during one of those periods in my life when if I was awake, I was working. I missed the first couple of seasons, and by the time I wanted to start watching, the characters were established, and you were supposed to know who was who. I gave up. I think I probably missed something special, right? I really ought to pick up the whole series on DVD some day, and get in sync. Is it available that way? The problem is that I'm in one of those periods in my life when if I'm awake, I'm working.

TNT
TNT

I'd flip one and two, the latest being the finest in my opinion. I think I'm the only person in the universe who didn't mind V, and IV would probably make 3 on my list. Otherwise, yeah, I completely agree.

h.brusic
h.brusic

I like the new movie best. It had the true essence of the original series, and yeah, the wrath of Kan is my third... the whale movie was much better... bet then I am a girl.

cmiller5400
cmiller5400

Go crawl back into the worm hole you came from. You woke up on the wrong side of the galaxy this morning

Slayer_
Slayer_

And Jay isn't around anymore, TR cut his blog and we lost the best blog on TR.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

if only because without the first to demonstrate there was still interest in the franchise, we wouldn't have the rest.

pgit
pgit

the bots surpass the monkeys, it's all over for the self-aware carbon

Slayer_
Slayer_

It was topped off with idiot Riker taking command, and once again, managing to lose one of the most one sided battles ever. The only way it could have been more one sides is if Chuck Norris was beating up babies. A galaxy class ship should not have lost to a bird of prey, but idiot Riker couldn't think to change shield frequencies, could think to just blindly shoot, couldn't even fire more than 1 shot.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The Shakespearean quotes are at the end of 6, not 5.

VictorGutzler
VictorGutzler

I meant Star Trek 2 instead of 4. I guess I imbibed too much of that Romulan ale....

Slayer_
Slayer_

Spock was a bridge officer for Pike. Pike just happened to be at Space dock, so Spock was at the academy.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I was 20 and had spent much of my teenage years reveling in early Trekdom, when we traded episode soundtracks on home-recorded cassettes, memorabilia came only from photo-copied catalogs, and James Blish's 'Spock Must Die' was the ultimate in series fiction. I waited in line a couple of hours with similarly stunted friends to see ST:TMP on opening night. Even as I watched I felt it dragged. And what's with centering the story on Decker's kid and the bald chick? It felt like the 'real' Enterprise crew was just there to 'ooh' and 'ahh' at the effects. I remember being significantly disappointed. After all those years of begging Paramount, this is what we get? After that dud, I was amazed 'Khan' was even made. Thankfully, it was, locking in the now infamous 'Curse of the Odd Numbered Movies". But what do I know? I though the ending of '2001' was incomprehensible and annoying.

TomMerritt
TomMerritt

I was probably watching the first-run at about the same time you were. I can still get a bit misty thinking about the scene as Enterprise first leaves drydock. The Lights come up. The music comes up. Sulu calls for 1/4 impulse power. She starts to roll out. The lump forms in your throat. If they'd just dropped that long, useless sequence flying over VJer and replaced it with content, this might have been the perfect movie.

rygood
rygood

I [color=blue]like[/color] the new one.

atrue
atrue

I do agree about 2001. First time I saw it I came out of the theater wondering what the heck I saw. Then I read the book and saw it again and everything made sense. Not good when you have to read the book first. Of course, a number of my friends took certain mind enhancing drugs and saw it the first time and loved it. I am not certain exactly what they comprehended about the movie as all they would say was "It was far out, man."

ChrisHyche@AlabamaOne.Org
ChrisHyche@AlabamaOne.Org

They released the director's cut of TMP a few years back and shortened a lot of the "showing off the effects" scenes. Improved the pace a bit in my option.

Dknopp
Dknopp

I am a big fan of the next generation tv show, but thought that the movies were just tv on a big screen, without the good stories.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I also read the book afterward, but haven't bothered seeing the movie again and don't anticipate doing so.