In our opinion, and others, Star Trek is far better as a TV series than it is as a film. Yet, Hollywood still attempts to make Star Trek Movies a Cash Grab.
The Star Trek Movies list is in descending order from worst to best.
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier – 1989
- Star Trek Into Darkness – 2013
- Star Trek: Insurrection –1998
- Star Trek: Generations – 1994
- Star Trek: Nemesis – 2002
- Star Trek – 2009
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture – 1979
- Star Trek Beyond – 2016
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock – 1984
- Star Trek: First Contact – 1996
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country -1991
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home – 1986
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – 1982
We wanted to put the list there first just in case you did not want to read through the rest of the article. We will discuss our reasoning for our top pick The Wrath of Khan.
The plot of Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan is great. There is a bunch of backstories in “Star Trek II” between the Kobayashi Maru training exercise (and Kirk’s potential cheating), Kirk’s relationship with Carol Marcus, the relationship of the Federation‘s military and science arms, and the past between Kirk and Khan, but it never bogs down the plot or gets in the way of the action. Instead, a movie that is already full of suspense and adventure adds texture and detail to it.
Another reason for this Star Trek Movie be number one on our list is the fact the Star Trek Movie is based on the series, yet you have no need to even watch the TV series to get into or follow along with the film. You’ve undoubtedly learned that “Star Trek II” is not just a sequel to “Star Trek: The Motion Picture,” even if you don’t know the original series.
The Star Trek Movie also a follow-up to one of the show’s most beloved episodes, “Space Seed” (it aired back in February 1967). “Space Seed” introduced Khan to the world and laid the foundations for the plot of the movie, which sees Khan seeking revenge. It’s a great set-up, but one of the best things about the movie is that to enjoy the movie, you don’t need to know anything about the original segment, because the movie manages the requisite exposure so expertly.
The score of Jerry Goldsmith for “Star Trek: The Motion Picture” is stunning and twinkling. But for the sequel, they could not afford to bring Goldsmith back (again: blame that budget). So they took a gamble for the Star Trek Movie on a relatively untested James Horner, who had a more muscular and energetic score (you can also hear what he would eventually do in his unforgettable and often imitated score for “Aliens”). Like any other aspect of the movie, there’s a great sense of drive and suspense, but there’s still a beautiful EPCOT Center-style sci-fi wonder to it.
Last but not least we have to talk about khan himself. It’s all the best about Khan. (This is why “Star Trek Into Darkness” was such a huge letdown in their handling of the character.) Ricardo Montalban is gloriously over-the-top, hamming it with gleeful abandon. He seems to love every line of dialogue and manages to make stuff like, “Let them eat static,” some majestic and almost Shakespearean, somehow. (There’s a reason Quentin Tarantino quoted the film as “Kill Bill, Vol. 1.” It’s really cold in space.) He’s also just a great villain; he’s definitely a (metaphorical) mustache-twirler, but he has a reason for his indignation, which makes him special and recognizable.