'Star Trek' movies: Which is best?

There's no technical way to gauge a movie's inherent worth, but the box office reflects some sort of viewer opinion.

While watching "Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan" last night for the hundredth time, I thought to myself: What is the best "Star Trek" film of all time?

I know there is no technical way to gauge a movie's inherent worth, but I figure the box office reflects some sort of viewer opinion. According to worldwide gross box-office figures, "Star Trek: First Contact" has the highest sales in the 10-part saga, scoring $146 million.

Since this film was made in the '90s, there may be some inflation at play. But let's face it, the Borg stole the show. The second highest-grossing film in the franchise, is "Star Trek: The Motion Picture." For any true "Star Trek" fan, this is appalling. When I have a Trek movie-a-thon, that's the one I skip.

In fact, in the top five grossing films, I can only vouch for "First Contact." My favorites seem to be in the bottom five--but why? First, I suggest you take a look at the worldwide gross box office figures:

• "Star Trek: First Contact"-- $146 million.
• "Star Trek: The Motion Picture"--$139 million.
• "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home"--$133 million.
• "Star Trek Generations"--$120 million.
• "Star Trek: Insurrection"--$118 million.
• "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan"--$97 million.
• "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country"--$96.9 million.
• "Star Trek III: The Search for Spock"--$87 million.
• "Star Trek Nemesis"--$67 million.
• "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier"--$63 million.

Among the movies made with the original cast, "Wrath of Khan" and "Search for Spock" are undeniably the best. They both have the strongest storylines and performances, as well as a great musical score by James Horner.

Interestingly enough, the three top-grossing films were also nominated for an Oscar, as was "Undiscovered Country." None of the films won--not even "First Contact," which I was rooting for.

Besides for the original "Star Trek" movie, it blows me away how "Voyage Home" makes the top five. It has to do with whales on 20th century Earth. How, at all, is that science fiction? I know it predicts the future, but it is the corniest of the franchise.

I'm thinking "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" ranks last on the list for a few reasons. One is that it unfortunately came after IV, which was a disappointment. The other reason is that it wasn't as action-packed as previous movies. It's a shame to see "Nemesis" barely beating it, even though Praetor Shinzon was one of the vilest villains in the movies.

I may be wrong in my assessment, but no one has really begged to differ in my circle.

Readers, sound off: On the 40th anniversary of "Star Trek," what's your favorite movie? Please don't say "Voyage Home"--I may just have to aim my phaser at you. Kidding, of course.

 

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