With these lists it’s always Wrath of Khan or the reboot at number one, and people always bang on about the even number rule, ignoring the fact that The Search for Spock is brill. My list is a little bit different. I had planned on going into a bit more detail, but this will have to do. The Star Trek Into Darkness teaser came out today. That does look rather intriguing. I’d put the teaser alone above most of the Next Generation films. Anyway, here’s my list:

11. Star Trek: Insurrection

There was a bit of buzz about this one. Rumours that it was going to be called Star Trek: Civil War, and that Alan Rickman was going to play a renegade Starfleet captain, made it sound rather exciting. Instead we got the crew of the Enterprise disobeying their superiors to defend a planet of flower people from a race of cosmetic surgery addicts. It’s mostly very dull and the effects are variable too.

10. Star Trek: Generations

This is possibly even more boring than Insurrection, despite the rather grand plot. A scientist proves so addicted to the blissful existence found within a wave of energy that he’s prepared to wipe out solar systems, Captain Kirk and Kirk’s hairpiece to get to it. There’s a saccharine air to a lot of the film and a few gaping plot-holes to boot. I give it good marks only for its excellent effects, which I think are some of the most visually striking of the series. The stellar cartography room is nice too, but when one of the best things about a film is a big map, then you can assume the film isn’t very good.

9. Star Trek: Nemesis

You can actually understand what Tom Hardy says is this film, although unfortunately it’s mainly drivel. I gather there was some tension between steady hand action director Stuart Baird and his cast during production. It doesn’t really show but the staples of mediocre Star Trek films are all here – lame humour, mawkish sentimentality and unambitious scope. It does throw in more spaceship battle action than most though, which for me nudges it up the chart.

8. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

Without doubt the most inept film of the series. Wasn’t there a funding crisis at ILM while this was made, meaning that some of the effects look like they’ve been rendered by the old 1970’s BBC Doctor Who team? (Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, released around the same time, also suffered from weak effects-itis). So yes, it’s daft and cheesy and regularly resembles an impromptu sci-fi soap opera performed by a pissed-up am dram group. It remains however more entertaining than 75% of the Next Generation films, the chemistry between the old hands is good, and I find Sybok a more interesting villain than most.

7. Star Trek

Yes, the re-boot. The technically spiffing one with good acting and the script that actually made my non-Star Trek fan wife laugh. I like it but it’s not a film I would revisit often. The villains aren’t that interesting for a start and the action isn’t as gripping as I would have liked. A good film though. We’re definitely on the up.

6. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country

Certainly the film with the best trailer of the series. This packages a cold war allegory and a whodunit together rather well. The score is impressively doom-laden, the script is well-written and the veteran cast are at their best here. The Shakespeare spouting villain is great fun too (always enjoy Plummer playing a wrong’un). On the negative side the Rura Penthe scenes are occasionally excessively silly, with the then effects craze of morphing in full unnecessary evidence. Overall though, a good send-off for the old guard.

5. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Or The Funny One as it’s otherwise known. There must have been a taste for fish out of water films in 1986, as this displaced Crocodile Dundee at the top of the US box office on release. Despite the antagonist threatening (unwittingly it seems) global catastrophe, The Voyage Home has a jaunty air unique amongst the series. The humour works for the wider audience too, and not just Trekkies (if only the Next Generation films had taken note). It’s tremendous fun, but the score doesn’t work for me, and the end titles wouldn’t be out of place in a tv movie. Otherwise I might have placed it slightly higher.

4. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan

I like it a great deal but I just don’t think it’s the best. It has lots going for it – terrific thumping score, exciting space battles, Spock dying, Kirk screaming Khan’s name and the most tremendous lip trembling during a eulogy speech ever captured on film. Some it looks very cheap however, and that’s because compared to its overdraft hammering predecessor it was. It probably deserves to be ranked higher than my number 3, but there’s just something about

3. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock

that I love. If anything this is even more elegiac than Wrath of Khan. The mind-meld between Kirk and Sarek is surprisingly touching. The death of the Enterprise is wrenching and very well staged. There are other delights, such as the stealing of the Enterprise, the first appearance of the Bird of Prey, and Shatner’s acting on hearing the death of Kirk’s son. The effects work is really nice, with strong colours, lighting and framing (although occasionally they are well shit and cheap). Also, in a series where soundtracks are generally very strong indeed, this one has probably the best. I love it.

2. Star Trek: First Contact

Jonathan Frakes had already directed quite a few tv episodes before receiving his big screen debut here, but still the confidence and skill with which First Contact is put together is impressive. Despite a few moments of tedium on Earth, this is the most gripping of the series and visually it is frequently memorable. The opening sequence was ahead of its time but additionally the first shot of the Enterprise, the battle with the Borg, the deflector dish fight, the evacuation pods, and many more moments exhibit great visual flair. The film also trumps II’s Ceti eel in ear ghastliness with Borg drill in eye grisliness. The script is strong and there’s proper acting from the likes of Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner. Also, Alice Krige proves to be the sexiest, most flirtatious two thirds cybernetic zombie-skinned genocidal alien queen ever to grace the silver screen. I also like that Picard is listening to Les Troyens, by Berlioz. A nice subtle in-reference that I didn’t get until about my 15th viewing and some Google searching.

1. Star Trek: The Motion Picture

For a 6 year old used to the thrills of Star Wars, this was probably the most boring and least comprehensible film I ever saw at the cinema. For a 38 year old jaded fart with sore joints and a suspicious view of anything modern, this film is pure luxury. No cinema adaptation of a television programme I can think of has ever treated its source with such respect. In these days of staccato editing, the once criticised lengthy and loving shots of the Enterprise and the slow scenes of progress through the V’ger construct are a real tonic. There’s no CGI, just the efforts of dozens of craftsmen and hours of painstaking effects work and while some of the results now look dated, others still look terrific. There’s tonnes of memorable stuff – Spock’s long hair; the frankly upsetting transporter accident; the amazing reintroduction to the Enterprise; Bones’ beard; the space walk; Klingons getting battered by a big blue cloud; Spock crying; the wormhole effect which was apparently very expensive and difficult to create despite not looking like it was either; the game which human Ilia was very good at but which looks absolutely rubbish, and loads more. For me the film is a bit like test cricket. I can stick it on and pay it full attention, or wander off, do other things and pop back to it later in the full knowledge that it will still be trudging along slowly but splendidly.

So, does anyone agree with anything I say? I’m merely a bronze level certificate Star Trek fan, so please do forgive any empirical errors.