Every Star Trek movie ranked from worst to best…

As Star Trek celebrates its 51st anniversary, David Brown picks out the highs and the lows from the voyages of the USS Enterprise

7. Star Trek III: the Search for Spock (1984)

Now I know this isn’t a movie that stands on its own, sandwiched narratively as it is between Wrath of Khan’s tragedy and Voyage Home’s belly laughs. But there’s still so much to enjoy: the stealing of the Enterprise is fantastic, while Shatner is never better than in the moment when his son David is killed. And, lest we forget, this is the first occasion that the extended cast (i.e. people other than just Kirk, Spock and McCoy) were given an actual purpose. The idea of the Trek crew as a family is born with Search for Spock. Plus the beautiful Spacedock (one of the best of ILM’s models) makes its debut.

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6. Star Trek (2009)

If Wrath of Khan saved the franchise in the 1980s, then JJ Abrams’s blockbuster did the same in the first decade of the 21st century. James T Kirk being born in mid-conflict was the first indicator that this wasn’t your daddy’s Star Trek, while the relationship between Spock and Uhura pretty much sealed the deal. The downside to this reboot is that every conversation ends in some roughhousing, plus the conflict between Kirk and Spock is far too contrived. But the design is amazing and the callbacks give you goosebumps… plus by the time the crew start boldly going in the final minutes, you so want to go with them. (Pity they just went straight back to Earth in Into Darkness)

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5. Star Trek Beyond (2016)

Although it didn’t fare as well at the box office than the previous two Kelvin-verse Trek outings, Beyond is actually the only one of the three to truly capture TOS’s sense of camaraderie. The highlights are definitely the sparring between Spock and Bones (the terrific Karl Urban given much more screen time here than in Into Darkness), as well as the moment when Kirk uses the Beastie Boys to defeat the Enterprise’s enemy. Hopefully, this won’t be the last we see of this new crew.

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4. Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

The best of the Next Generation movies. And one of the best in the entire series – points deducted, though, for the concept of the Borg Queen, who does fly in the face of the race being all about a collective consciousness. But as a character, she doesn’t half inject a palpable sense of menace into proceedings – her silky, sweaty, purring qualities being deadly and, dare I say it, seductive. And while I naturally balk at the idea of turning learned Picard into a vest-wearing action hero, it does give Patrick Stewart the chance to deliver that “The line must be drawn here!” speech. And let’s not forget the epic and tense fight scene on the hull of the ship.

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