The Movie Maestro's Reviews: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) dir. Nicholas Meyer
The 25th anniversary Trek film and the return of Wrath of Khan's Nicholas Meyer to the director's chair, The Undiscovered Country had a lot riding on it, managing to send the original crew off in style with a thought-provoking story.
With the destruction of the Klingon moon Praxis, the Iron Curtain in space falls, signaling the beginning of the end to Star Trek's longest rivalry between the Empire and the Federation. Perhaps understandably, not everyone is thrilled; several Klingons, including Christopher Plummer's delightfully Shakespearean character Chang, would rather die than make peace, and some Federation captains like Kirk himself would be happy to oblige them. Gene Roddenberry may have taken offense to much of the crew's prejudice toward the Klingons, but I don't care how many Trekkies I piss off. He was wrong. Considering his original idea of the Klingons was of a race of Mongol conquerors, representing the worst of communism, it seems rather hypocritical of him and his followers to resist any attempts at deep characterization of Kirk or anybody else. After all, TUC is one of Trek's best allegories, and if Kirk was gracious and understanding from the start, the whole dramatic point is lost. With the return of Meyer comes an increased budget and a cohesive story structure, resulting in a much better looking and flowing film than The Final Frontier. The veritable whodunnit nature of the plot is incredibly immersive, casting Spock as the film's Sherlock as Kirk and McCoy endure the perils of the Klingon justice system, powerless to stop the insidious forces that wish for unending war. A damn fine end to an era. #themoviemaestro#filmreview#startrek#startrekvitheundiscoveredcountry#nicholasmeyer#dennymartinflynn#lawrencekonner#markrosenthal#williamshatner#jamestkirk#leonardnimoy#spock#deforestkelley#leonardmccoy#jamesdoohan#walterkoenig#georgetakei#nichellenichols#christopherplummer#davidwarner#kimcattrall#scifi#space#sequel#allegory#coldwar#klingons#peace#war
The Movie Maestro's Reviews: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) dir. William Shatner
After Nimoy successfully helmed two Star Trek flicks, the top brass must have thought, "Well if Spock can do it, why not Kirk?" In hindsight, I'm sure they regret that decision.
The Final Frontier could best be described as a glorious mess. Shatner's story premise involves Sybok, an emotional and obsessive Vulcan, stealing the Enterprise and commandeering it to the center of the galaxy in search of God himself. While on the surface this would make an intriguing tale, very much in the vein of classic Trek, Shatner attempts to foist a religious agenda into the definition of secular entertainment, resulting in a fractured narrative and an anticlimactic final act when the studio rightfully nixed his more Milton-esque fancies. Things on the visual front do not fare better, with ILM not returning to provide the special effects. Associates & Ferrin took on the job, and while I in no way knock their earlier work on the excellent Altered States, here it just pales in comparison to the previous films. Finally, acting is very uneven: the trinity of Shatner, Nimoy, and Kelley are in top form as always, as is Laurence Luckinbill as Sybok, but the rest of the cast falls into mediocrity.
However, for being the second-worst Trek film, TFF still has a few merits. An early set piece involving Kirk and crew storming Sybok's stronghold on Nimbus III offers some choice action, and the production design of the aforementioned planet of "galactic peace" paints an arresting picture of a desolate world of abandonment. For all I have to complain about the climax, the final film's treatment of the prospect of a supreme being ends up rather fascinating, and in the film's strongest aspect, the trinity offer up some of their best moments of camaraderie. #themoviemaestro#filmreview#startrek#startrekvthefinalfrontier#harvebennett#davidloughery#generoddenberry#williamshatner#jamestkirk#leonardnimoy#spock#deforestkelley#leonardmccoy#jamesdoohan#walterkoenig#georgetakei#nichellenichols#laurenceluckinbill#davidwarner#charlescooper#toddbryant#scifi#space#sequel#god#vulcan#pain
The Movie Maestro's Reviews: Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) dir. Leonard Nimoy
The Star Trek Movie Curse posits that the odd-numbered films are inferior products, critical failures, or at worst box-office bombs. It's also completely false. While the odd-numbered films generally took in less than their even-numbered bretheren, all of them were far from bombs, with 1, 3, 7, and 9 even meeting expectations, and only 5 earning a critical consensus of failure. But the myth persists, dooming excellent films like The Search for Spock to relative obscurity.
It really is a shame, because TSFS offers just as much spectacle and grandeur as TWOK did. Leonard Nimoy takes the director's chair this time, and to great effect, delivering a Trek adventure that sees visual effects sequences growing bigger and bolder (especially when portraying the violent death of the Genesis Planet), world-building elements cementing themselves farther into real-world allegory status, and most importantly, laying out a journey of sacrifice for our beloved heroes. The lengths that they go, especially William Shatner in some of his finest moments as Kirk, to simply put Spock's soul to rest is genuinely moving, and makes for some palpable drama when they face off with the always-entertaining and engrossing Christopher Lloyd as Klingon captain Kruge.
TSFS is certainly the most underrated Trek film of them all: dramatically deep, humanely good-natured, and full of fun moments delivered by DeForest Kelley in some of his best moments as well, I would implore many naysayers to try this one again. #themoviemaestro#filmreview#startrek#startrekiiithesearchforspock#harvebennett#generoddenberry#williamshatner#jamestkirk#leonardnimoy#spock#deforestkelley#leonardmccoy#jamesdoohan#walterkoenig#georgetakei#nichellenichols#christopherlloyd#robincurtis#merrittbutrick#marklenard#scifi#space#sequel#resurrection#klingons
The Movie Maestro's Reviews: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) dir. Nicholas Meyer
Often and rightly considered the best of the Trek films, Wrath of Khan occupies a lofty status in sci-fi cinema. A feat worthy of recognition, considering it was released in the crowded summer of 1982, standing shoulder-to-shoulder with films like E.T., Blade Runner, The Thing, and Tron in pop culture.
Compared to its immediate predecessor, TWOK is decidedly smaller in scale--but feels just as epic. Such is the genius of Harve Bennett and Nicholas Meyer, the two new shepherds of Star Trek who, at the time, were so green to the franchise that Meyer referred to it as the show with "the guy with the ears." Luckily, the two were a professional and attentive creative team, crafting a character-driven storyline that returned to the screen one of the original series' greatest villains: Khan Noonien Singh, the genetically-engineered tyrant, played again in a dramatic tour-de-force by Ricardo Montalban. He is joined by the original cast in some of their greatest work; I have to give the greatest props to William Shatner, who plays an aging Kirk with simultaneous grace and apprehensiveness as he deals with death, vengeance, and the discovery of his own fatherhood.
Being a Trek film, there will always be the visual effects element of spectacle, and TWOK delivers some of the best seen in the franchise. Again done by ILM, the grand sights of the Enterprise from the first film are ratcheted to 11 as she goes to battle with Khan's vessel, portraying a sense of scale that is still unmatched by the Abramsverse. And while Goldsmith turned in a classic score, Horner's high seas melodies prove a worthy match.
To Boldy Go!
Today is the release of the final episode of Star Trek Continues and I am…a tad emotional!
I joined STC on episodes 4&5 and was warmly welcomed by everyone on the set. They very quickly became important people to me. It wasn't hard to see how much everyone loved being apart of the show, or to see how much work was put in to make every little detail perfect. The cast and crew mean a lot to me and I don't think I'll ever be apart of something I loved more then this.
Shoutout to my lovely space fam. You guys are amazing and I miss you all every single day! 🚀❤️
AND! If you guys want to watch the new episode or just wanna watch the show in general, I'm putting a link to our YouTube channel in my linktree!! ✨