Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Questionable Trek vol. 3

We began the Questionable Trek series by ranking the top five Star Trek films, today we flip that around:

Rank the bottom five Star Trek films from not-so-worst to worst.

Scott:
1. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
2. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
3. Star Trek: Generations
4. Star Trek: Insurrection
5. Star Trek: Nemesis
To be honest, there’s nothing really wrong with Star Trek III, it’s just the middle part of an unintended trilogy - the ending is a foregone conclusion, the low budget is obvious, and there are a couple of narrative shortcuts that stick out. Star Trek V is interesting - William Shatner had a much grander vision for the film but was hampered by a slashed budget, a writers strike, and an effects company ill-equipped for the job. The final product is a mess at times but, like Star Trek: TMP, it’s an old-fashioned adventure about Big Ideas (with an excellent music score). I loved Generations when I first saw it at age 11 but watching it now, I see just how badly written it is. “Plot holes big enough to fly a starship through,” as the saying goes, all revolving around a completely ill-defined plot device (the Nexus). Nemesis actually could’ve been a good movie but wasn’t, which makes it worse than Insurrection which never stood a chance with it’s Avatar-esque plot, ineffectual villain, and lame jokes. Nemesis tries too hard to be Star Trek II but fails. Too many decent character scenes were left on the cutting-room floor, the supporting cast was wasted, and the theme of nature vs. nurture wasn’t explored as well as it could’ve been. Nemesis turned out to be the lowest-grossing Trek film and ensured there would be no more TNG films.

Andrew:
1. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
2. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
3. Star Trek: Generations
4. Star Trek: The Search For Spock
5. Star Trek: Insurrection
This is an interesting question for a variety of reasons. I really despised the reboot because it was so abusive to the original material and so bland that it doesn’t even belong on this list. Instead, that horrid stink burger Insurrection holds up the bottom because that film did nothing right. There are things I truly hate in Generations, though all in all, it was a better movie than Search for Spock which felt like it was a two line transition between two films that someone decided to turn into a full blown movie. And why is Voyage Home down this low? Because it just doesn’t felt very Star Trek to me, and while I enjoy much of it, it feels dated, cheap and uninspiredly liberal in hindsight.

69 comments:

Tennessee Jed said...

I know this is terrible to say, but I honestly never got into the films after Wrath of Khan and didn't watch any of the spin-offs until when I retired and watched the most recent series on HDNet a few years ago. I think the reason was simply that the original actors were getting very long in the tooth, and I felt like they were cashing in on their cow rather than honoring a great series and great characters. Then came next generation. It probably was quite good at times, but it was simply one of those situations like trying to be the coach who succeeded John Wooden or Bear Bryant. In both cases, though, I was at an age when I was working at my job really hard, had young kids, etc. and just didn't watch as much t.v. so I never developed an allegiance to Jean Luc and those that followed.

DUQ said...

I choose "Insurrection" as easily the worst. Nothing about that movie is any good.

AndrewPrice said...

DUQ, I have a hard time seeing the good in that movie as well. I've seen it several times, each time telling myself that it can't be as bad as I recall... and it is.

It's just a flat movie with a lot of stupidity in it. In fact, Red Letter Media does a great job tearing it apart.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, Not everyone needs to be a Star Trek fan, especially of the later stuff. The films have a very different feel than the series.

Tennessee Jed said...

It's just that I can't really comment all that well. I did see episodes of next generation, and liked the whole "borg" concept, but never developed the same allegiance.

I do agree the Search for Spock was destined to seem small after Khan, and it did deem like it's only reason d'etre was to correct a franchise ending mistake (no matter how dramatic and poignant it was.)

I really didn't like the whales and hippies film. I did think the death of the enterprise scene in one of the fil;ms (I forget which) where it burns up was state of the art cinema at the time.

AndrewPrice said...

Jed, I actually rank the whales film (Voyage Home) poorly as well because it just seems dated and out of place among the rest of the films to me.

The Enterprise blew up in Star Trek III: The Search For Spock, which really is a bad movie. It was on the other day and it's just one of those movies without a lot of point to it, except to (as you put it) fix a franchise ending mistake. It feels like someone took a two minute explanation of what happened in the 2-3 days after Khan and stretched it into a two hour film.

Can't blame you for not getting into the Next Gen stuff. It almost lost me several times.

Kelly said...

I rank "Search for Spock" as the worst because it was just full of gimmicks. The way they brought Spock back made no sense. Blowing up the Enterprise seemed like a way to ad excitement to a dull film. How the Klingons got involved didn't make much sense to me? Killing Kirk's son so they wouldn't need to use him in the rest of the series. It felt more like a "readjust the series" film than a stand-alone film.

Also, the acting and sets are horrible in that one, especially on earth. It's like they filmed it in a closet!

ScottDS said...

Jed -

Feel free to check out the rest of the films one day. You may like some of them and dislike others but believe me, you can do worse! :-)


Andrew, et al -

Star Trek III was the last of the TOS films that I watched when I was younger and just getting into this stuff, so I knew what was going to happen. Having said that, when I watch the film now, David's "proto-matter" excuse seems like a total cop-out to explain why the planet is falling apart. I suppose they could've said anything, or even nothing at all: mankind simply wasn't meant to tamper with such things.

Also: the low budget and the cliched idea that every other captain in Starfleet is an idiot. But on the plus side, Shatner is at his Kirk best, James Horner builds on his score for the previous film and gives us some nice music, and the "Stealing the Enterprise" sequence is still awesome.

AndrewPrice said...

Kelly, I had the same reaction to the stuff shot on Earth -- totally poor effort. It's almost like they grabbed the first couple actors they could find, rented a room, handled them parts of costumes, scribbled some lines on a napkin and said "go." Then they kept the first take and moved on.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, Yeah, it's hard not to notice how every other Starfleet captain is an idiot. Plus, the Federation is apparently crawling with plain clothes security officers suddenly.

Even more though, the acting is horrible from everyone except the main cast. I keep thinking of the bar scene where the people are playing the video game and are doing nothing more than moving their hands -- there's no other body motions. Or the obnoxious young officer who tells Uhura that she's over the hill in such an over-the-top way that no actual human being would speak like that. The acting was really poor all around.

tryanmax said...

This is much easier than ranking top films, probably because we’ve already ranked the top films.

Tied for last place are First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis. It’s not that I dislike TNG, it’s just that none of them ever escaped feeling like elongated series episodes to me.

Tied for second-to-last place (I know, I know, I’ve totally copped-out on the ranking thing) are Search for Spock and Voyage Home for the reasons already stated.

Generations doesn’t make the bottom of the pile for me because, as passing-the-torch movies go, it isn’t all bad. I feel that is saying a lot, considering most such movies are really bad. It’s still not a great Trek movie, but I’ve got to give credit for pulling off what is arguably the most difficult maneuver in franchise films. Also, crashing the saucer section of the Enterprise was way cool.

ScottDS said...

Generations is kinda awkward for me to watch now. As I said, I loved it at age 11 but all I can see are the flaws and the film's good qualities aren't enough to outweigh those flaws.

Sometimes I wonder if TNG's ensemble-friendly talk-first/shoot-later philosophy simply wasn't suited for the big screen. It worked fine as a weekly TV show but what do they do when they start making movies? Turn Picard into an action hero and shuffle most of the supporting cast off to the back burner.

tryanmax said...

Scott, in my mind I keep going back to the X-Files movie because, to me, that is the quintessential example of merely making a two-hour episode and releasing it in theaters. By that standard, the TNG films are a little better.

But not much.

ScottDS said...

I agree, though having never seen an X-Files episode, I kinda liked the movie. I feel the second X-Files movie is a better example. It came across as completely unnecessary and, indeed, no better than an hour-long episode. At least the first film had some scope to it - the second film looked like what it was: a small sci-fi tale shot in Canada. :-)

Doc Whoa said...

Excellent lists guys and it's interesting to see the disagreement. I would have expected you to be closer. :)

I actually rank Generations as the low point in the series. It shattered the expectations I had of something smart and interesting coming out of TNG in the films.

Doc Whoa said...

tryanmax, It is easier. I wonder why that is? Maybe it's because these films really were that bad compared to the others?

tryanmax said...

Doc, I think it's just because we've already thought about it recently. If there were twice as many Trek movies as there are, it would probably be harder. There are only 11 Trek films, so everyone's middle consists of a single film. It might be an interesting debate to defend that middle ranking as that would have the widest variety of answers.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, I actually enjoy First Contact quite a bit as an action movie. And I think if they had made that film outside of the Star Trek franchise, it still would have held up quite nicely.

Interestingly, I had a harder time with this list than the first one. I can't say why, probably because each of these films has something in it that makes you want to not rank it last.

tryanmax said...

Yeah, I guess I did kinda cop out on that aspect. Oh, well, I'm not gonna fix it now.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, You put your finger right on the problem I see with the whole franchise -- they didn't understand what Trek was about and they tried to turn them into action films.

Star Trek in any form has always worked best as a drama. To make a truly good Star Trek film, they needed a dramatic script. Instead, they kept trying to turn them into big budget action films.

In other words, they should have bitten the bullet a long time ago and realized that the general public wasn't going to show up and then done something in the spirit of the show.

Think of a film like Dark City. A much better Star Trek film would have involved them coming across the city in space and beaming down to investigate. Or even a premise like Alien, i.e. we've brought something evil back to the ship with us.

I think that's the mindset they needed. Instead, they went for action/blockbuster.

Doc Whoa said...

tryanmax, That's a good idea. Or something like one on one fights, which is better and then build a ranking from that!

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, The X-Files films were not great, that's for sure. The first one was ok, except it was a total copy of things like The Thing. The second one was an atrocity. They decided the hook would be a romance between Mulder and Scully and the rest was just filler. And it was horrid.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, You've never seen an X-Files episode? Arg.

The first 3-4 seasons are brilliant. After that it falls of severely. But the beginning of the series really is worth seeing. It blows everything like Lost away.

AndrewPrice said...

Doc, We're still pretty close. What I find is interesting is that if you asked people on the street to name the worst Star Trek, the instant answer would almost always be Star Trek 5: The Search For God. And yet, it does pretty well on our lists.

AndrewPrice said...

Doc and tryanmax, It would be interesting to see a bracket-like challenge.... Star Trek Madness!

ScottDS said...

I know, I know. It's on Netflix but my brain doesn't allow me to watch more than X number of shows at any given time. I need to wait for a current show to be cancelled for me to take on The X-Files. :-)

And you hit on what was always one of the basic conflicts when it comes to films, at least the later ones: do they try to appeal to mainstream audiences and risk turning it into something it isn't... or do they capture the spirit of the series and risk a lower box-office gross?

darski said...

Totally OT...

But, has anyone else noticed that Keiko O'Brien is a CC of Moochell Obama?

I refused to see any trek movie after Generations so I can't comment on what is most 'bad'. In my book; Generations doesn't even qualify as a movie. Nightmare maybe, movie no.

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, I know I don't speak for the corporate marketing machine on this, but it's always better (1) to build a loyal audience than a broad audience, and (2) to stick with what got you noticed in the first place.

And in this case, I think the idea that it's either/or is exaggerated. In other words, it's very possible to make a movie that caters to both. But the formula Hollywood uses is wrong. The formula they use is to make a big stupid film and then fill it with hidden references for the fans. That's the worst of both words. They should be looking for the best of both worlds by picking something from the show which is easily digestible by non-fans.

Khan works brilliantly in that regard. For the fans, it is the continuation of a story they know and it's all about the relationships of the characters. For the public, it's a cool movie with a lot of tense scenes and some great actions plus a very understandable plot.

AndrewPrice said...

darksi, I have a real aversion to Generations because of their abuse of the Kirk character. Also, the whole film is nonsensically stupid. It's got plot holes that are just impossible not to see.

Scott had a good discussion of the film: LINK.


On Keiko, I never really noticed her character. She struck me as a prop designed to given O'Brien something to do with his spare time. In fact, the only thing I really remember with her was her forcing Miles to eat "healthy" food for cultural reasons and then refusing to eat what he suggested. Hmmm. Yeah, that's Moochel all right! LOL!

tryanmax said...

While we're tossing around ideas for future installments of "Questionable Trek," I think it would be interesting to know what episodes people think would make good feature films. Would the picks mirror peoples favorites? Would they try to answer open questions? Or are there certain storylines that just seem good enough to grow larger?

I don't have any picks at present, but I would ask my fellow Commentaromulans to reserve those thoughts in hopes that Andrew picks up the idea.

AndrewPrice said...

tryanmax, Thanks for the idea! :)

We're always looking for interesting questions and that would be a really good one.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I'm pretty much in agreement with you guys on the worst Star Trek films.

My only objection would be that Trek V doesn't belong on the list.

Interestingly enough, when I first saw it I was very disappointed.
However, since then and after repeated viewings it has become one of my favorite Trek films.

Despite the obvious low budget effects and other problems, it felt like an episode from the original series.

Kirk, Spock and McCoy really shined in this flick.
Despite the studios idiotic attempts to sabotage this film it felt more Treklike than any of the other films, although I really loved Trek 2 and 6, and have warmed up to the first one.

If I recall correctly, I believe Andrew said mostly the same thing awhile back.

It's a real shame the bigwigs didn't give Shatner a chance to fully realize his vision for the film 'cause I think it would've been great.

Perhaps they were afraid it would be too much like the original series and folks wouldn't like it?
Anyways it was a stupid move on their part and I give Shatner a lot of credit for still turning out a good flick that at least contained the spirit of the original series.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Tryanmax:

That is a good idea! I can think of sevceral episodes that could easily make excellent movies and be explored more thoroughly.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I've really warmed to Star Trek I and V as well. I think they have something the other films don't, which harkens back to the original series. They involve the sense of adventure and V really adds the personal relationships back in. In fact, V is kind of how I always imagined Kirk and Spock and McCoy living in retirement.

The other films have better production values or more hoppin' scripts, but they are missing the heart these two have.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I like the question and Scott and I will need to work on coming up with a good way to handle the question! So start thinking about it and we'll have something in two weeks. :)

rlaWTX said...

I still like the whales... and Vger...

AndrewPrice said...

rlaWTX, Are you saying they're related? ;)

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

I concur Andrew. There's more drama and actual scifi in those flicks.

That's what I like about the original series.
There was more character interaction and they addressed a lot of difficult questions.

The dated special effects don't bother me because I can relate to the characters and well written stories.

Smart producers would do well to make Trek films based on many of those episodes and I think it would draw more people if they stayed true to the original premises.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I would bet you could make quite a sci-fi series just by reworking the best of the original series and the new series and centering it around something that appears different on the surface -- like a ship with a small 7-man crew for example.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Incidently, one of the reasons I didn't like Generations much is the way they portrayed Kirk, at least initially.

The Kirk I grew up with wouldn't think twice about sacrificing his happiness and life to protect innocent lives.

The writers apparently knew nothing about Kirk's character and his death could've been handled much more nobly IMO.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

That would make for a great series!

Come to think of it, I think Firefly was more Treklike than most of the Trek films as far as drama and scifi goes.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I didn't like how they sucked out the selfless heroism of Kirk. Plus, it seemed like they didn't need him at all. He died because Picard was stupid, not because Kirk did anything brave. Picard could have gone back a day earlier or week earlier and stopped the whole thing from starting -- could have saved his ship too. Instead, he drags Kirk along just to get killed. Heck, he even asked Whoopie Goldberg to help him first! Kirk's the second choice??? :(

Yeah, that would make a good series, except Hollywood seems terrified of science fiction.

Firefly is very good, but also very different.

USS Ben USN (Ret) said...

Aye, Firefly was quite different from STOS.
I meant to add it has a sense of adventure that STOS had, as well as the drama.

ScottDS said...

USS Ben -

I agree, re: Kirk and Generations, though I believe the writers' idea was basically, at this point, Kirk's opinion was, "Ya know what? The galaxy owes me one this time."

I can see why they wanted to do this but it was a bit of a misfire. On the commentary, both writers admit the big Kirk/Picard scene wasn't what they hoped it would be and it doesn't amount to much of anything when all is said and done.

In fact, per the commentary, many people weren't comfortable seeing Kirk in the Nexus because the audiences are used to their captains being one step ahead of things and this was an instance where Kirk was one step behind and the audience knew it.

AndrewPrice said...

Ben, I think Firefly like the original Star Trek has a philosophy and wasn't ashamed of it. So it said what it wanted to say and it's characters were unapologetic in their beliefs. So in that regard, they are very similar! :)

AndrewPrice said...

Scott, That's a good point too -- audience don't like to think of the captains as being behind the curve, but in this case, Kirk seemed pretty lost.

ScottDS said...

I always understood it but apparently at the time, some people wondered, "Why does Picard figure out he's in the Nexus in five minutes, yet Kirk hasn't yet?"

Obviously, Picard is transported back to the point when Kirk first arrived.

AndrewPrice said...

Yeah, in fact, Whoopie even tells Picard that from Kirk's perspective, "he just arrived." So I've never faulted it for that.

Joel Farnham said...

In getting into the Nexus, Picard knew about the Nexus from Guinan before entering it. Kirk on the other hand gets thrown into the Nexus without any prior knowledge. If you remember, Kirk changes two or three things around until he is out with Picard jumping his horse over an arroyo that scared him silly until he entered the Nexus. That is when he stops and really thinks about what Picard is saying to him. After how many years? Kirk comes around to Picard's way in only two or three seconds. I would say Kirk still had IT.

Insurrection is the worst and Wrath of Kahn is the best. The rest are in between. I really can't rank them any better than that. I would have liked to see a movie about Deep Space Nine. That would be interesting to me.

AndrewPrice said...

Joel, Good point about Picard having knowledge already before he enters the Nexxus. So he really didn't figure it out so much as knew it going in. Kirk figures it out pretty quickly though.

And Picard is the one makes the stupid decision of when and where to leave the Nexxus. Ug. Just spend 10 seconds to think this one through.

CrisD said...

I just finished watching Star Trek (2009) reboot and I loved every second of it all over again. This is probably an anathema to you guys but when I was in 5th grade I was madly in love with Mr.Spock and had his autographed photo hanging in my room.

AndrewPrice said...

Cris, Anathema? LOL! Sort of. I'm not a fan of the reboot at all. As modern movies go, it was decent, but it's not Star Trek to me by any stretch.

ScyFyterry said...

I'm late to the party, but excellent lists and well done! I shall be diplomatic and say you are both right. :D

AndrewPrice said...

Terry, Nice. Very diplomatic. :)

Individualist said...

OK Five Worst Star Trek Films

1) The Reboot movie (don't remember what it called and don't care) Why: For blowing up Planet Vulcan for no particular reason than liberals hate Logic.

2) the REboot movie Why: For trying to turn Kirk into a lame future version of James Dean

3) the Reboot movie Why: For deciding that what star track was missing were juvenille star wars monster chases - at least the monsters in Star wars ripped the clothes off the hot chikcs - and Star Trek has green She Hulk chicks to work with Geesh!

4) the Reboot movie Why: Because Mr. Spock did not invent the Kobiashu Maru scenario in his spare time at Starfleet academy band camp

5) the Reboot movie: Why: Because on top of everything else it blew chunks (andd that is the most polite and nicest thing I can say about it.

But I will say this if you take out all the parts between the opening theme and the final credits it would be an OK movie... maybe if you hadn't shown the other parts to anyone. Oh Well at least I don't have a strong opinion on the subject.

AndrewPrice said...

Indi, I'm sensing a pattern in your list, but I can't quite put my finger on it. LOL!

Scott and I actually talked about it and decided to skip the Reboot in our lists because it really just doesn't belong with the rest.

And I have to say, I share many of your issues. As a stand-alone non-Star Trek movie, it had its moments. But I can't take it as Star Trek.

Anonymous said...

Thank you both for not listing the highly underrated "Motion Picture". Most people put it on their "worst" list and undeservedly so. Also, gratified to see most of the Next Gen movies. All but "First Contact" were utterly horrible.

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, You're welcome! I've come around a lot on The Motion Picture and really appreciate what it did. It's the only one of these films that has the old Star Trek sense of adventure -- of going out there to explore. It's highly underrated.

Anonymous said...

I don't get all the Reboot hate. If you caught Rod Roddenberry's documentary "Trek Nation", there's a scene where he shows J.J. Abrams a clip of Gene Roddenberry saying he'd like to see a different interpretation of the TOS characters (I think the interview was from '86). Are there some major issues with it? Of course (if you want to be a purist about it). But there are also some liberties being taken there that I think actually work. I enjoyed it, and it tends to get better every time I watch it.

However, in terms of your bottom tier of the Trek films, this is where I line things up:

1. TMP: This is sort of sacrilege to you guys, I know, but it suffers the same issue as "The Cage": it's too cerebral. The visuals are stunning, Goldsmith's score is divine, and I appreciate Bob Wise's attempt to blow the TV strappings of the show off in favor of the cinematic experience, but it sort of falls flat. Spock knows how to fix a warp imbalance better than Scotty? All of this vastness of an alien ship to protect a rinky-dink Voyager probe? Just doesn't make sense.

2. Final Frontier: This had the potential to be something much more than it was. Problem here was Shatner's ego got in the way. I didn't have a problem with the campfire scene, but the whole Nimbus III and rogue Klingon things just didn't seem to fit well. Not to mention the fact that there are huge continuity issues with going to the center of the galaxy (didn't TNG do something using Lt. Barclay as the vehicle for their trip?).

3. Generations: Another hot mess. Shatner, Koenig, and Doohan all seemed to be shoehorned in just as a crappy plot device. Same goes for the Nexus. Also, focusing on Picard's commitment to duty being a bad choice when his brother's family dies? Uh, that's your own fault, dude. Don't feel sorry for you when you're the CO of the FLAGSHIP of the Federation! Plus, the Enterprise-D deserved a better sendoff.

4. Nemesis: Hi, we're a bunch of writers too damned lazy to come up with anything even remotely original. I've only seen this film once. I never intend to see it again. It's not that it's a retread of Khan, it's a really BAD retread of Khan, and it's telegraphed through the entire film. The B4 storyline is also completely useless, especially since Data could have ensured his essence could be stored in some other way, thereby relying on wiping Lore's entire matrix clean to potentially bring him back. Also, sort of moot now since Brent Spiner seems to be doing better with his Twitter performance art.

5. Insurrection: Uh, what was the point of this one? If it was an excuse to shirk the Prime Directive and have Riker shave his beard, it didn't work (especially since Riker works better with said beard). Plus, HMS Pinafore's been beaten to death, thanks to the Simpsons.

AndrewPrice said...

Anon, There's no sacrilege here. People are free to disagree about anything. And whether we like TMP or not, the fact is the opinions vary and the vast majority of the public simply doesn't like it. Oh well, that's life. :)


My problem with the reboot is that there's nothing Star Trek about it. It's just a big action space movie that cynically uses some Star Trek character names and images to generate marketing buzz. There is nothing else about it that relates to Star Trek in any way.

Insurrection is just awful. I'm not even sure why they made that film? It feels like a film without a real plot and like they made it because they were contractually obligated to make another one. I see no evidence that anyone "loved" this idea when they set out to make it. It is easily my least favorite film of the series by a mile.

DarthDiggler said...

There is an unpublished book by Michael Piller floating around on the Net about the evolution of the script for "Nemesis." There was a good movie there to begin with, but you get all of the studio tinkering and actor's egos to appease and you wind up with the worst Trek outing.

Although now that I've become a fan of Tom Hardy, I want to go back and give it a second look just for his performance.

AndrewPrice said...

Darth, I actually kind of like Nemisis. I thought it had good production values, a fast-paced story and I liked Hardy a lot. That's why it's not on my list (though it is on Scott's). It's not a great movie but I enjoy it enough to rewatch it whenever it's on.

Studio tinkering can be a real problem and I've read a lot about how the studios messed with many of these films and just created all kinds of problems. That said, however, sometimes more studio input could have helped....

** cough cough ** George Lucas ** cough cough **

ScottDS said...

Darth -

I have a copy of Michael Piller's book, though it's on the writing of Insurrection. He had nothing to do with Nemesis.

It's clear that Insurrection was... not doomed... but there were too many cooks in the kitchen and I consider the film a cautionary tale of what can happen when you give the actors (namely Stewart and Spiner) too much clout. Piller had a germ of an idea (aging and youth) but there were a couple of different approaches that never seemed to mesh together: the Heart of Darkness "going up river" story and the Magnificent Seven "guys come in to save a town" story - the former was dropped, a ridiculous amount of (unfunny) jokes were added, and the rest was history.

As for Nemesis, the script was written by franchise newcomer John Logan who is actually an A-list screenwriter. Unfortunately, the director never did his homework. The film was directed by former editor Stuart Baird who had only directed two other films: guilty pleasure Executive Decision and the badly-written but still kinda watchable U.S. Marshals. He's strictly a technical guy whereas Trek needs directors who can tell stories.

ScottDS said...

Anon -

No worries about Star Trek: TMP. Personally, I think the film has aged like a fine wine. And if you haven't already, feel free to check out my defense of Star Trek V. It ain't perfect but, man, does it have heart. :-)

And I agree re: the B4 storyline in Nemesis. It's such a cop-out, not to mention the fact that Brent Spiner thought he was getting too old to play the character... but there's an episode where they established Data had an aging program. Problem solved!

Individualist said...

Anon

Sorry but it wasn't that I thought the reboot was poorly done. It was and I had issues with that but that is not what truely makes it a terrible movie for me.

What made it truely atrocious was the attempt to change elements of the TOS universe which were Canon seemingly to disagree with the old one. That has no meaning to me. IF I have to have seen the origianl shows or am unable to understand the context of your retelling..... Well, it suggests to me there is not much "telling" in the retelling to begin with.

Commander Max said...

An interesting take to list the worst films. I would have a hard time ranking such a list.

In my youth I had a very different opinion of these films, and I must admit my opinion wasn't necessarily my own. But more of the group of sci-fi fans I hung around with in past days. Such is the way with per pressure.

But something happened as I got older, some maturity, and not hanging around with that old group of sci-fi fans. Getting away from that group my opinions changed quite a bit, and I married a woman who wasn't a sci-fi fan but would enjoy the subject from time to time. I like her perspective and she has a way of asking the right questions. So we watched the Trek movies, when we got to the Wrath of Khan. She asks, "If he is a dictator with power over millions, why would he care about one woman?". The gears started to turn, the movie I once thought was a great movie then turned(for me) into one of the worst. I started to examine things much more closely. WOK developed plot holes big enough to fly V'ger through. Then it dawned on me, WOK was Star Trek's answer to Star Wars. Pure marketing aimed not at the traditional Trekkies but at a broader audience.

For me it will sit on the top of the list of worst Trek films for being the first to leave what I loved about Star Trek in the first place. Now that I think about it I would rank ST6 after ST2, then STV, NextGen films. I liked ST3 and ST4, but more for entertainment value, better writing performances etc. But playing up the save the whales in space was truly a bad idea, that made an even worse plot, but the movie's only redeeming quality were some of the best lines in all of Star Trek.

The Abrams version of ST, well, uh.
Does anybody know what that film was about?

AndrewPrice said...

Commander Max, I don't think the Abrams movie was about anything really, just shiny explosions and heavy marketing.

I enjoy WOK a lot as a movie, BUT you are 100% correct that WOK was the end of the series. It abandoned everything from the series and replaced it with movie plots. In effect, it ceased being "science fiction" in the true sense and became actions films with a science fiction setting. That's too bad.

Commander Max said...

I refer to WOK(and the films thereafter)as STINO or Star Trek In Name Only. It's a real shame they went in that direction, it's not like you can't combine old style Trek with action.

AndrewPrice said...

Commander Max, Very true. Check out today's Trek article about the episode "Balance of Terror." That was an excellent and exciting action episode which never once sacrificed any of the other elements of TOS which made the show so great.

Balance of Terror

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