10 Best Star Trek Movies
It’s the age-old debate: Which is better, Star Wars or Star Trek? Luckily, thanks in part to JJ Abrams, the answer can be both. Back in 2009, the director swooped in and revived interest in the franchise before going on to do the same to Star Wars a few years later. Some love his work, some hate his work, but one thing is for certain: It’s a great thing that JJ Abrams rebooted Star Trek because interest in the franchise is the highest it’s been in a long time. Star Trek debuted on television in 1966, but it’s still going strong over 50 years later. With multiple series in production, both new ideas and revived old ones, Star Trek is as strong now as it was all the way back then. Naturally, with any successful property, there are plenty of films to coincide with the plethora of television series. To be honest, many of them are quite good.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
Easily the best this series of films has to offer, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan transcends the franchise and exists not only as the greatest Star Trek movie but a great movie period. Not to mention, it’s also a great example of a sequel that tops the original. It’s a continuation of a plotline from the original series, but don’t hold back if you aren’t familiar with it: The Wrath of Khan is essential viewing.
The first of the Abrams-produced Star Trek movies, Star Trek is one of 2009’s strongest films and one of the franchise’s greatest entries. It establishes itself not as a reboot, but a revival and a reimagining rolled into one. It’s an interesting idea and one that allows itself to exist in the same universe as the original Star Trek shows and movies while also giving itself space to be its own thing entirely.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
The fourth Star Trek movie is so absurd it actually manages to be one of the best things we’ve seen from this franchise yet. In order to save the planet in the 23rd century, Captain Kirk and the rest of his crew head back in time to 1986 (the year the film was released). It’s a tongue-in-cheek examination of how future generations will look back on our time, and it’s an exciting adventure for the Enterprise crew, too.
Star Trek: First Contact
The eighth Star Trek movie and the second to star the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation, First Contact follows Captian Picard and his crew as they (once again) travel back in time. This time, though, instead of traveling from the 23rd to the 20th, the new crew travels from the 24th to the 21st. Time travel is often a very muddled thing, but Star Trek always manages to make it make sense within the context of the story.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Serving as a sequel to the original series, The Undiscovered Country is both the sixth Star Trek film and the final farewell to the original cast and crew. The stakes are high as war rages on between the Federation and the Klingons, making Star Trek VI a memorable and thrilling entry in one of the most recognizable franchises ever.
Star Trek Beyond
The most recent of the bunch, Star Trek Beyond is one of the funniest and most low-stakes adventures the crew of the Enterprise has experienced yet. Don’t be fooled, though: With Simon Pegg helming the script and Justin Lin behind the camera, Star Trek Beyond is an absolute blast through and through. It’s one-of-a-kind, which is pretty rare for the 13th film in a long-running series.
Star Trek Into Darkness
The second entry in JJ Abrams’s controversial series of Star Trek movies is arguably the most subjective of them all. Many hated it for both remaking and reimagining Wrath of Khan, while many others praised it for subverting the expectations that go along with that. Perhaps it’s because Abrams swore the film wouldn’t feature Khan in the months leading up to its release, but this 12th entry in the franchise is definitely worth watching.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
The third Star Trek film but the second entry in a trilogy that began with Wrath of Khan, The Search for Spock is an interestingly enigmatic spectacle for the Enterprise crew. With Spock missing (but actor Leonard Nimoy directing), the crew must travel back to Earth to try and return him to his original body.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
The original Star Trek film deserves a decent amount of praise for kicking off this lucrative and special film franchise. Released in 1979, just two years after Star Wars changed science fiction filmmaking forever, Star Trek: The Motion Picture chooses to focus on what makes the series so special, the emotional connections and the tense drama, instead of going for something large and action-packed.
Star Trek: Generations
What an odd movie Star Trek: Generations is. It totally works, though. In an inadvertent attempt to end the debate over who’s better, both Captain Kirk and Captain Picard must team up to stop a mad scientist dead-set on destroying the universe. It’s wild, it’s unique, it’s truly the best of both main Star Trek worlds.
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