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Author Topic: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?  (Read 4541 times)

pictsy

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Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« on: 22 October, 2013, 09:55:54 PM »
So I have just finished watching the original cast Star Trek films (this does not, in my book and for the purposes of this thread, include Generations).  I was intending on starting this thread up whilst I was watching the first Star Trek film.  Apparently it may be a little controversial.

My take on these films is that they are, altogether, above average sci-fi fare.  They don't reach the lofty reaches of high-concept science fiction but they don't sink to the deep depths of lowest common denominator, action nonsense.  They have consistently coherent plots where one scene flows well to the next.  The acting (from the main cast, at least) is pretty hammy, but that is easy to forgive as the characters are iconic enough to carry the performances.  I think that the quality between the films doesn't vary in large degrees which makes naming a preference or listing an order of preference somewhat difficult.

I went into watching these films with some cursory knowledge of some of the content.  I am not sure whether I had ever seen one before in its entirety before these recent viewings, but if I had it was a long, long time ago and I don't remember it. 

I would have liked to have gone with a surprise choice, nothing obvious, but I find myself unable to deny that Wrath of Khan is the best of the bunch.  The self contained story doesn't over reach itself - even with the inclusion of the Genesis device which is OK as far as McGuffins go.  There was a notable increase in quality in the production (which does noticeably dip in later films until Undiscovered Country) compared to previous film.

This film does narrowly beat Search for Spock for my top spot.  I don't think Search for Spock stands as well by itself compared to Wrath of Khan, but it is certainly a worthy sequel of almost equal quality.  Another downside is a personal preference of mine.  Although I think Search for Spock handled it well, I am not a fan of the 'revived from death' trope.

I have a soft spot for the first film for what it tried to do.  I think, on reflection, it's very different from the rest of the films.  It felt like the closest to what the spirit of Star Trek strikes me as.  The pacing may have been a bit clunky in places and perhaps the production was a case of 'eyes to big for the stomach'.  There was more focus on exploration and investigation.  They came across as resolving their problems by thinking them through rather than just firing phasers and punching things.  That is an admirable quality for a film to have in my book.

So what is your favourite?  Talking Space Junk?  Ear-munching worms?  GrowGain Vulcans?  Time-travelling whales?  Floating heads shooting lasers out of its eyes?  Or Purple Blooded Klingons?

Dark Jimbo

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Re: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« Reply #1 on: 22 October, 2013, 10:06:35 PM »
I'm a big big fan of Original series Star Trek (no real interest in the others) and yet the films have never had an appeal for me. Seen bits and pieces of them, though don't ask me which, and they've consistently failed to hold my interest. But then I've never been able to sit through to the end of a single Star Wars films, so what do I know?
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Mardroid

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Re: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« Reply #2 on: 22 October, 2013, 11:06:39 PM »
I'm kind of the other way round in that I never really took to the original series (although to be fair I'm not sure I've seen enough to judge properly. I wouldn't mind giving them another go, as there was still some good stuff  in the  bit I have seen. I do really like the films with the original crew though, apart from the first and that's another episode (so to speak) I'd like to give another chance. As for spinoff series, they're a mixed bunch to me. My favourite is the one most fans love to hate, Enterprise.

On to the thread: I think my favourite is probably The Undiscovered Country. Klingons. A mystery 'who done it' plot. Klingons. Decent action and great sets (edit- I initially make a joke about Cattrall's vulcan and that snug fitting uniform, but thought I'd better remove it as I was a bit tacky) a nice message, but doesn't take itself too seriously. Oh, and did I mention, Klingons?* The Voyage Home might be equal to that as it is very funny in places and a lot of fun.

The Wrath of Khan is probably a close second.

Kudos to Search for Spock with that scene featuring the introduction of that classic vessel The Klingon Bird of Prey. I remember finding that first decloaking scene enthralling as a youngster. And yes that whole film is underrated. Many people seem to dislike 'Search...' so it's interesting to see someone else like it.

*Thinking of Chang, and it occurs to me that he was very much a Klingon of the old series ilk. You, know, when they were less honourable and rather devious? (That role seemed to have been largely transferred to the Romulans and Cardassians in the spin-offs although the Klingons still praise cunning in warfare.) I Even his head ridges are rather subtle when compared to most of his species. I liked the change in Klingons from Next Generation onwards (Not that I see it as a contradiction,  we didn't see that many in the old series after all) but I find Chang a great character just the same.
« Last Edit: 22 October, 2013, 11:11:29 PM by Mardroid »

NapalmKev

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Re: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« Reply #3 on: 22 October, 2013, 11:42:38 PM »
My favorites of the originals:

The Motion Picture: I really enjoyed this film but the apparent link to the Borg (Voyager probe) that has been concocted doesn't sit well with me at all.

Undiscovered country: for the reasons listed above.

Wrath of Khan: the best of them all (originals).

Cheers

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Professor Bear

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Re: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« Reply #4 on: 23 October, 2013, 12:04:19 AM »
While this may not be one of the great philosophical conundrums of our time, ranking the Star Trek movies according to which one you think is best is why we have the internet.

Wrath of Khan
Final Frontier
Undiscovered Country
Voyage Home
Search For Spock
Motion Picture

A word on Final Frontier ranking higher than Undiscovered Country would probably be worth throwing out there, but basically UD was nonsensical - fun, but nonsensical.  FF, by contrast, was much closer to Trek of lore than it is often credited as being, with a sympathetic villain, a bodycount of one, a moralistic message about the dangers of pride, and a big soft heart it wears on its sleeve about people not being perfect and the need to forgive because your buds will always have your back and while they do you're a fuckin legend so let's get hammered on this redneck's cheap hooch and fart our assholes out through our ears.  It was fun, action packed, silly and moral and I love it deeply.

Bat King

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Re: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« Reply #5 on: 23 October, 2013, 12:08:33 AM »
The Motion Picture was awful...

Wrath of Khan was brilliant.

Search For Spock was laughable...

The Voyage Home was whimsical.

The Final Frontier might be worse that TMP...

Undiscovered Country is the only one to top Wrath of Khan

Mister Pops

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Re: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« Reply #6 on: 23 October, 2013, 02:33:23 AM »
I neither have a favourite, nor have I ranked my favourite Trek movies, but I have divided them into three tiers*.

Top tier: The Good Ones

Wrath of Kahn: For several reasons, the first that springs to mind is the brilliant space battle, that in no way relies on special effects. It's a game of cat and mouse, a battle of wits, almost on par with Balance of Terror. Spock's death gets me every time.

The Voyage Home: It remembers that Star Trek doesn't need to be all po-faced and serious. The Trouble With Tribbles is one of the most entertaining episodes in this respect. And much like episodes such as A Piece of the Action and Patterns of Force, it contrasts The Federation's enlightenment with a primitive (i.e more contemporary) society.

The Undiscovered Country: Manages to do all the interplanetary politics and diplomacy in an interesting way. Also, it has a Klingon quoting Billy Shakespeare for fucks sake!

Middle Tier: The OK Ones

The Search for Spock: A fine movie, the only reason this doesn't reach the top tier is because it ultimately negates Spock's moving death in WOK.

The Motion Picture: A fine story, but a bit ponderous and basically recycles the plot of The Chageling.

Botton Tier: Not Very Good

The Final Frontier: Row, row, row yer boat? Fan dance? Aye, right then.

*all three tiers fall below the TV series. Star Trek just works better as an episodic TV show.
You may quote me on that.

Daveycandlish

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Re: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« Reply #7 on: 23 October, 2013, 07:34:47 AM »
Top 3?

The Motion Picture tried to be spectacular and different to its' low budget TV show origins - and succeeded. And it has Persis Khambata in it.
Wrath of Khan is great.
And Undiscovered Country is my favourite. Great cast!
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TordelBack

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Re: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« Reply #8 on: 23 October, 2013, 08:40:38 AM »
Search for Spock:  "Gentlemen, your work today has been outstanding and I intend to recommend you all for promotion... in whatever fleet we end up serving". So much fun, stealing the Enterprise being my favourite bit (I'm a sucker for caper movies, and this is the only ST example), followed by the hydraulics in the stage set where Genesis rips itself apart, and Kirk's brutal disposal of Kruge.  Great designs in Excelsior and Spacedock.  This is also the one where DeForrest Kelley actually gets something to do (reprogramming photon torpedoes doesn't count), and he does it very well: "How can you get a permit to do a damn illegal thing?".  It also has by far the most quotable script of the ST movies, despite what Khan fans might tell you, and a great supporting cast in Lloyd, Sikking and Curtis. 

Wrath of Khan:  It's a great and massively influential movie, but I think I've now seen it too many times and it now feels a bit slow, hence its relegation to second place.  I love all the new designs in WoK (the uniforms, away kit, Regula 1 and the Reliant), the naval feel and the themes of mortality and family.  My thoughts about this film are always overlaid by the memory of my Great Aunt Ruby, a magnificently gentle and graceful lady who was a child of the Raj, who took my brother and I to see it and remained completely and utterly baffled throughout, and distracted me at key moments enquiring as to which ones were the baddies. 

The Voyage Home:  Fun, snappy, great alien make-up in the Federation Council, excellent sound design, terrific time-travel effects, uplifting ending.  Some super gags and ideas, like Scotty and the mouse, Kirk's glasses, the nerve-pinch applause, and the Nuclear Wessels.  Yeah, it's a good 'un, but there's not enough space-stuff to earn it top marks from me.  "Well, uh, double dumb-ass on you!".

The rest all have their merits: Motion Picture looks glorious even now and sets the template for Next Generation but (and) goes on and on and on, Undiscovered Country is very, very silly but it has lots of warmth and excitement and I'd probably think better of it had it really served as Kirk's final voyage, and Final Frontier has a good beginning and an excellent ending, but the new designs for everything are awful, I can't watch the middle bit at all.


« Last Edit: 23 October, 2013, 08:46:48 AM by TordelBack »

I, Cosh

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Re: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« Reply #9 on: 23 October, 2013, 09:16:15 AM »
Search for Spock:  ... It also has by far the most quotable script of the ST movies,
An even better idea for a divisive thread. I'd go for:
"No, I'm from Iowa. I just work in outer space."
"You have never really experienced Shakespeare until you read him in the original Klingon."
"Too much LDS in the seventies."
"I don't believe in the no-win scenario."
and, of course:
"Of course... <picks up mouse> Computer?"

On the films themselves, I guess I'm deeply conventional (or I've just seen the middle ones more): 2=3=4>6>5>>>>>>>1
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von Boom

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Re: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« Reply #10 on: 23 October, 2013, 02:16:38 PM »
The Wrath of Khan is my favourite, but Undiscovered Country is a close second, followed by Search for Spock, Voyage Home, Motion Picture and then Final Frontier.

Even though some are better than others I can find something enjoyable in all of them. The NG films are less watchable, with the exception perhaps being Nemesis.

NapalmKev

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Re: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« Reply #11 on: 23 October, 2013, 07:50:59 PM »

The NG films are less watchable, with the exception perhaps being Nemesis.

Nemesis is good (and the only Trek film I've watched at the cinema) but my Favorite of the NG films is First Contact.
The story is excellent, as are the special effects. And the Borg; a proper enemy unwilling to negotiate or listen to reason.

Absolute quality.

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Tiplodocus

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Re: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« Reply #12 on: 23 October, 2013, 09:52:31 PM »
I like the bit in Voyage Home where they wander away from the parked, cloaked Bird of Prey and Kirk shouts "Everybody remember where we parked!"  as if they were just on a family picnic.
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SmallBlueThing

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Re: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« Reply #13 on: 23 October, 2013, 11:11:54 PM »
In order:

The Motion Picture (almost hard scifi and not fantasy. Trek as the novels would have us believe it always was)
The Voyage Home (loads of fun and a real blockbuster- even my mum went to see this one twice at the cinema)
The Wrath of Khan (Star Trek gets action and space battles at last. Plus the Mutara Nebula is one of the best cinema scifi locations- up there with Hoth and Bladerunner's future city)
The Search For Spock (Ponderous, but it convinced a generation of young teenagers that Trek was "important")
The Final Frontier (Silly, fluffy and just huge fun)
The Undiscovered Country (the stench of modern TV Trek slides under the door, as Michael Dorn turns up as Worf's grandad or whatever- boring, self-important and nonsensical- briefly enlivened by the untouchably hilarious ending where they all sign the screen and make fat middle-aged American women cry)
Generations (A quid from a jumble sale, never watched twice)

But yes, the original TV series is all you probably need. But personally I prefer the better novels to any of the visual Trek. Any Trek that doesn't feature Kirk, Spock and/or McCoy is not worth pissing on.

SBT
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Zanti Misfit

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Re: Original Cast Star Trek Films - which is your favourite?
« Reply #14 on: 24 October, 2013, 06:39:31 AM »
The Motion Picture for me.  Trek does 2001, (and the bald lady is very sexy).