Star Trek: The Great Rewatching Marathon Page 6

Star Trek III: The One Without Spock

Kirk and crew kidnap the Enterprise to pick up the body of their fallen comrade because... magic?

Geoff: After the slick pacing and craft of II, III smacks you hard in the face. The special effects look worse, the lighting is TV terrible, the framing is often (but inconsistently) boring… yeah, this is definitely the least bad of the odd ST movies with the original crew, but it is not a great movie.

Carolina has a lot more issues than I do with this one, as you’ll see. I guess my main complaint is the movie is so tonally inconsistent. This causes certain aspects to miss, and certain aspects to just feel off. You have the humor of the bar scene (“Yes, Genesis, how can you be deaf with ears like that), and the jaunty stealing of the enterprise, cross cut with the dark and ominous destruction of the Genesis Planet, Spock’s horrifying rapid aging, and the murder of Kirk’s son. It just feels weird, and there’s not enough plot here to really move anything along. Scenes just sit there, flat, boring.

Like several other movies, this would have worked better as an episode. Or, conversely, having one of the big ideas expanded out at the expense of the rest. For example, the stealing of the Enterprise is easily the best part of this movie. Imagine had that been the whole movie. In this one small part there are cute character moments (“Don’t call me tiny”), it moves quickly and logically from scene to scene. And it’s fun. If they still wanted to kill Kirk’s son (and VI wouldn’t work without it), they could have made it more pivotal to the plot.

PQ It’s more consistent with detail and less grain than II, but special effects shots look terrible and overall it looks rather flat and uncontrasty.

Rank: 10th

Carolina: Let's start with the positives. One of the subplots in the movie is we get to see the crew go home and get to see their actual clothing as opposed to their uniforms. It's a nice subtle detail learning more about them outside of work. Also, for a good 20 minutes, the movie turns into a heist film where we see the crew steal the Enterprise and go off on a rebel mission. And I do like that we’re picking up the "Genesis" plot from the previous movie, exploring more of the pros and cons of having such an instrument that could be used as a weapon.

That’s it. Let's talk negatives. Sadly, Kirstie Alley does not come back to reprise her role, but her character comes back, and the actress who reprises her role is just OK. Then we have Christopher Lloyd, and I love that man, but his character is very weak. He's just a Klingon who wants a big weapon and terrorizes people I guess to take over the universe. There's no motivation for his actions. He's not even threatening. Also, if you've never seen Star Trek, you would have no idea that Klingons are typically bad, they don't mention it.

The biggest head scratcher is why do the Klingons change languages when they are talking amongst themselves, one moment they are talking Klingon and the next it's English. It's not like they're trying to communicate with a human at that moment, so why do it? Are they just practicing the language? Do they live in like some Neutral Zone border town where they speak both languages fluently and that's why they flip languages at the drop of a hat? EXPLAIN, MOVIE!

Another thing that bothers me is this movie really breaks its own rules and the rules set up by Star Trek. By applying new elements here, it ends up affecting future logic. As I mentioned before I like that there's a continuation of the genesis story line, but then I started to think… Throughout the movie we see the planet is rapidly evolving and they concluded that Genesis is a failed project. Well then, how come Dr. Marcus didn’t know this? In the previous movie they’d created something in the cave and that wasn’t rapidly evolving. What's the difference between the previous creation and this one? EXPLAIN, MOVIE!

But here's the movie's biggest plot hole: Saavik is a Vulcan who apparently had no idea about this BIG thing called immortality?! I don't know about you, but if the species I belong to could die and come back to life I'd let people know about. You know, just in case, it's not like it's a secret. Spock’s dad knows this and tells Kirk about it. Even complains to him and asks him why he left Spock's body alone. Wouldn't you think Saavik could have said something before Spock’s corpse got shot out a torpedo tube? She’s Vulcan. Did she forget? Is she stupid? Was she raised by humans instead of Vulcans? Did she miss that day in class when they said, by the way, our people are essentially immortal? It's not until the end of the movie they throw a line that essentially says "This has not been tried in thousands of years" and I'm just sitting there thinking, why was this not mentioned at the beginning with Spocks dad? Because seems to me he's pretty confident that it has worked all the time. He did say that all Vulcans can do that, and then we have a pretty big crowd of Vulcans at Spock's revival, all wearing their ceremonial gowns, for this event that they don't know if it will work?

Having this as your excuse to bring back Spock, they've essentially made him unstoppable because he can't die, and they've made Saavik into a very dumb Vulcan because she has no clue about her people's history and abilities. And if she did know something, well, she's kinda the villain here right? She could have saved the crew a lot of problems and she could have saved David, Kirk's son, by sacrificing herself since she’s ALSO immortal. They could have avoided this if they gave her a throwaway line somewhere acknowledging the situation, or maybe write a better excuse for his revival. They could have just stuck with Genesis reviving him without adding Vulcan religion. Clearly the writers did not think this through. Remember people, you have to cover your basics when doing a story of resurrection.

There are a few more details that bother me, but this review is already long enough and really it’s that biggest plot hole that just really pisses me off. Maybe I wouldn't have even thought about it if the pacing of the movie was faster or if the story, in general, was better, but no. During all the slow parts, I was able to sit there and question everything.

Rank: 9th

hk2000's picture

You cannot lump the so-called reboot with the rest of 'em, so they are last and not necessarily 11th, 12th and 13th, but last to anything based on the original timeline upon which all of the series that followed are based.The so called parallel universe or whatever reasoning they use to change the timeline completely destroyed any chance of those movies to be legitimately considered "Star Trek' movies. So there are 10 movies, really That I would order as follows

10- The Motion Picture- I still don't get it.
9- Final frontier- The idea is ridiculous
8- Generations- A great idea that was wasted- on so many levels.
7- Nemesis- Another great poorly done.
6- The Undiscovered Country- Well made and entertaining, but I sort of agreed with the "Villains"!
5- First Contact- Using the Zefram Cochrane character from "Metamorphosis" just worked.
4- The Search for Spock- The hocus-pocus ending had to happen, I guess!
3- Insurrection- Very entertaining, and dare I say, deep.
2- The Journey Home- Lighthearted entertainment.
1- Wrath of Khan- Probably the best sequel to a TV episode ever.

I won't dignify any of the new movies by ranking them here.

mikem's picture

Only one question. Why on earth would you consciously submit yourself to such a fiasco? If you were able to sit through the worst acting performances ever, Hayden Christionsen being the worst, you are indeed a better than I 'Gunga Din.'

sleepyninja's picture

'Star Trek: Beyond' at the #2 & #4 position? Really? I found it too action-centric, and the humor, dialog, and aliens uninspired, and would place it along with the Shatner-directed 'Final Frontier' travesty near the bottom of the barrel. With that said, I'm certainly not optimisic for the next installment with Justin Lin at the helm again.

Geoffrey Morrison's picture
I think I was still suffering from a Nemesis hangover. The lighter tone was so welcome.
David Vaughn's picture
Geoff, I liked it as well. It's a fun movie and I loved all of the humor.
thehun's picture

I guess I'm the only one who likes S.T. 1 despite it's obvious flaws. The long musical scenes and V'ger's exploration is a clear [to me anyway]"wink" at 2001 ASO,in style not thematically, and how Hollywood used to make "epics". Anyway I never found those scenes boring, and in retrospect it fits for the first movie, and to [re]introduce the entire ST world to larger audiences.
As for Beyond, I agree with it's detractors, that is among the worst the franchise has given us so far.

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larrymartin's picture

Boldly went where no moviegoer has gone before. Your detailed setup for the marathon and the collaborative ranking process make this a fun read. I am curious which one took the bottom spot for you both.
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