Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Star Trek Movies Mini Reviews - The TOS Era [1979 - 1991] (Star Trek) - WITH SPOILERS!

This is the translated version of one of my older blog posts, where I'm talking about the Star Trek movies as I was watching them all in a row at the time. No idea why I didn't write a sequel post for The Next Generation, but hey, I still can do it. Oh, also some of the opinions I've originally expressed didn't hold up, so I had to update them... but you won't ever see the original Russian version anyway, so I'm all fine!


Studio: Paramount,
Director: Robert Wise,
Year: 1979
Contrary to its reputation, I consider The Motion Picture a definitive kickstart to the lineup of Star Trek movies. Yeah, it is slow-paced and borrows a lot from Kubrick's 2001, but who at the time didn't?! It's a solid representative of old-school science fiction at its best, still watchable and enjoyable today - for example, it's my GF's personal favorite!
Despite the jumbled introduction to Kirk at the beginning, the story is intriguing, mysterious and clever, leaving many aspects to think about as the credits roll - again, reminiscent of 2001. One particular thought that still bothers me - wasn't it the first mankind's encounter with the Borg?!

Pros:
  • The acting! (I bet you're surprised)
  • The personalities are all there, even the one-time supporting cast like Capt. Decker and Ilia
  • As I've said, the plot is beyond decent
  • The effects are mind-blowing for the time

Cons:
  • It's pointless to argue that the slow stuff is still slow
  • The first half an hour or so is kinda rushed

Studio: Paramount,
Director: Nicholas Meyer,
Year: 1982
The Wrath Of Khan is widely regarded as the best of TOS era, and it's pretty easy to see why. Unlike the detective mystery style of the first movie, this one is much faster-paced, action-packed and really suspenseful at times. Also, I may have a soft spot for Kirstie Alley - she was a cute Vulcan! Besides, how can you ever get enough of this infamous clip?!

Pros:
  • The plot! Simple yet memorable as hell
  • As discussed, Lt. Saavik
  • Khan (aside from the fantastic performance by Ricardo Montalban) looks a hell of a lot like Pater 'Biff' Byford from Saxon! This is a hilarious touch
  • Fast pace and lots of action
  • One of the earliest examples of CG effects in a motion picture!

Cons:
  • None registered

Studio: Paramount,
Director: Leonard Nimoy,
Year: 1984
The Search For Spock sort of picks up the tone and style of the prequel, but gets even darker in execution. Now it more resembles a thriller rather than the action movie Wrath Of Khan was. By the end it gets especially brutal and features a disturbingly memorable kill (not that the previous movie didn't have one) and of course, the end fight between Kirk and Kruge is awesome.

Pros:
  • Lots of memorable moments and risks taken
  • The titular search does succeed after all

Cons:
  • The story is not very well paced and gets boring at times
  • Why did Spock leave the imprint of himself in McCoy and not Kirk? And why does Sarek arrive to the Enterprise after Spock's funeral?
  • The way Spock is resurrected is kinda weird...

Studio: Paramount,
Director: Leonard Nimoy,
Year: 1986
The Voyage Home is more like an experimental entry in the series. Some love it for its humor and much lighter tone, some think it's the black sheep of the family. I think it's good for a sequel, but all the animal rights stuff could've been more subtle.

Pros:
  • The humor and overall atmosphere
  • Engaging story
  • Chekov's antics ('nucular wessels' and stuff)

Cons:
  • The 'Save the whales' moral is hammered in too hard
  • I have certain concerns about the way of time travel they chose

Studio: Paramount,
Director: William Shatner,
Year: 1989
Ugh, now that's a bad one. The Final Frontier started off as a promising project - I mean, our heroes were supposed to meet God - but ended up as a trashy mess with horrendous special effects, plot holes and really dumb humor. I didn't really like it as a kid, and it's still a pain to watch. But what's most disappointing is that the idea itself is very interesting!

Pros:
  • The sole fact of God's presence in this is amusing
  • Some of the dialogue ('I know I would die alone') and jokes aren't that bad

Cons:
  • When there's nothing to care or laugh about, it can be pretty boring
  • The plot is really forgettable
  • Sybok is a villain with interesting motifs, but this story makes him look ridiculous

Studio: Paramount,
Director: Nicholas Meyer,
Year: 1991
It made sense to commission the director of the best Trek movie so far, Nicholas Meyer, to make the final TOS film, as it is regarded as one of the highlights, along with parts 2 and 4. And yeah, the old Enterprise cast did retire with a bang to make way for The Next Generation. It has everything that was good about all the previous movies and fuses it into one solid blockbuster - the detective storyline of parts 1 and 3, the action of part 2, the comedy of part 4 and even one of the few pros that part 5 had, with Klingons not being stereotypical space bullies anymore. Add in some Oscar-nominated special effects, and this becomes one hell of a retirement!

Pros:
  • The story is fast-paced and suspenseful
  • Hangover with the Klingons
  • General Chang
  • Kim Cattrall as Valaris! Talk about OH MY
  • Overall action-packed tone and awesome production value

Cons:
  • There may be some, but can't remember right now. Probably, the story is overcomplicated at some points?..