Star Trek: The Feature Films

Reviews of all the Star Trek movies from First Contact onward were reviewed shortly after their original theatrical releases. The previous seven films were written from 2001-2005 during DVD special edition releases. Please note that all reviews contain spoilers.

  • 12/7/1979. Star Trek: The Motion Picture *** — The 2001 DVD release of the director's cut offers the best release yet of the first Star Trek feature. Despite a slow pace and a lack of adequate characterization, ST:TMP is a solid sci-fi story with standout special effects, and holds up well after a quarter century.
  • 6/4/1982. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan **** — The best of the Star Trek films, and that's all there is to it. A classic revenge picture, but also the true emotional heart of the entire film franchise, supplying a poignant story about aging, change, and death — things Star Trek characters had rarely actually faced before.
  • 6/1/1984. Star Trek III: The Search For Spock *** — This film had little choice but to save Spock, but in the process it ends up being a legitimate and respectable companion piece to the previous film, both emotionally and philosophically.
  • 11/26/1986. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home ***1/2 — In the most mainstream of the films, Star Trek becomes a fish-out-of-water premise, and is reduced to its simplest and most accessible elements ... and in the process showcases the most effortless and charming character interaction of the entire film franchise.
  • 6/9/1989. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier *1/2 — Easily the worst of the Trek features. A misguided premise that suffers all the more because of its unfocused script, misfired comic notes, and overall poor execution.
  • 12/6/1991. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country *** — The original cast's swan song offers a dignified exit. It tells a solid story by using a contemporary historical allegory that is also a historic moment in the Star Trek timeline.
  • 11/18/1994. Star Trek: Generations **1/2 — The official torch-passing event ably launches the Next Generation cast onto the big screen, but with uneven results. It features some good ambitions and ideas, but ultimately falls short with its various payoffs and underwhelming climax.
  • 11/22/1996. Star Trek: First Contact ***1/2 — Easily the best of the TNG features, with engaging sci-fi action set pieces and a solid story that ties into a previously uncharted piece of Federation history.
  • 12/11/1998. Star Trek: Insurrection **1/2 — Plays like an extended episode of the television series rather than a necessary entry into the film series. Entertaining, but too lightweight and inconsequential.
  • 12/13/2002. Star Trek: Nemesis **1/2 — It's the end of the film franchise run for the Next Generation cast. Positive traits include its dark design, tortured villain and decent space battle sequences, but unfortunately the story can't reach an adequate payoff.
  • 5/8/2009. Star Trek *** — The franchise is successfully rebooted from the ground up, with a new cast tackling an origin-story take on the original crew of the Enterprise, focusing on the early uneasy relationship between Kirk and Spock.
  • 5/17/2013. Star Trek Into Darkness *** — Although the movie ultimately fails to adequately deal with the issues that it puts on the table, it still offers up an entertaining two-plus hours of consistently entertaining action/adventure while spreading around some good characterization among a capable cast.
  • 7/22/2016. Star Trek Beyond **1/2 — Well made and reasonably entertaining, this film tries to return to the roots of Star Trek by putting an admirable focus on character interaction, but the plot is too stale and suffers from a relatively weak villain.

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