Ranking the "Star Trek" movies

1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) - Obviously still the series benchmark. Strong themes of aging and mortality, a formidable villain, great space battles, a shocking twist ending. Lean and mean. We previously cataloged the movie's best lines.

2. Star Trek: First Contact (1996) - The Borg are obviously Star Trek's scariest, most powerful antagonists and it pays off here. Dark, suspenseful, high-stakes action. Plus we get to see Earth's first warp drive test. It was all downhill from here for the "Next Generation" cast. Previously, we looked at the best "Next Generation" episodes.

3. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) - Espionage in space as Kirk and crew are framed for a political assassination that could derail peace talks with the Klingons. It's no mistake that Star Trek II's director Nicholas Meyer directed this one, too.

4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) - The one with the whales. The lightest, frothiest movie of the series as it mostly plays for laughs the crew's time-travel fish-out-of-water escapades in 1980s San Francisco. Good times. "I'm from Iowa, I only work in space."

5. Star Trek (2009) - The new reboot.

6. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) - We're starting the slow slide into mediocrity here. This one's mostly a two-hour effort to reverse the death of Spock in Star Trek II, which makes for a tedious movie. Bonus points for the shocking moments in which the crew first steals the Enterprise and then, a few days later, blows it up.

7. Star Trek Generations (1994) - It was good to see the "Next Generation" crew on the big screen, but the cheesy Nexus plotline and the incredibly lame way they killed off Kirk are, frankly, unforgivable sins.

8. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) - We have to give this one its due for simply launching the movie franchise. But this is one turgid, slow-moving, oh-so-serious film that is very, very impressed with its special effects team. Consider yourself warned.

9. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) - We're only guessing because we haven't seen it since buying a ticket at the General Cinema Northpark I and II.

10. Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) - The one where Data starts to get really annoying with his whiny need to understand humans and F. Murray Abraham is an alien with a strechy face. It's like an extended episode of the TV series, which is a death sentence for a feature film.

11. Star Trek Nemesis (2002) - The one with the Romulan Picard clone. Whatever. This debacle deserves the last slot because its sloppy, small-minded awfulness almost killed the entire "Star Trek" franchise.

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