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Episode Guest Reviews

Reviewer : Bob
Ave Rating : 3.7143 for 7 reviews
Title : The Final Frontier Rating : 1
Writers : David Loughery, Harve Bennet, William Shatner Year : 2285
Review : Yes, it's bad. Here's the movie in a nutshell: Kirk falls off a mountain, Spock gets an evil brother with a goatee, the rest of the crew are brainwashed, the Enterprise, despite being "put together by monkeys", gets to the center of the galaxy in less than a day's travel, the Great Barrier which apparently no starship can negotiate turned out to be not much of an obstacle at all, and everyone acts incredibly stilted and out of character, especially in scenes that are supposed to be "funny". Oh, also, Sulu and Chekov act really creepy. However, you have to give some credit to the actors who did the best they could with the terrible material they had. The visual effects are poor - El Capitan was a styrofoam wall, the shuttle crashlanding was badly done, the Bird of Prey's disruptor cannon looked like an amateur effort, and the Enterprise warp effects almost comical. But The Final Frontier does have a few things going for it. For one, we get some nice scenes of the inseparable trio on their camping trip, bonding over a hearty campfire. We also get a fantastic soundtrack by the great Jerry Goldsmith, with the TMP theme at its most majestic, and the Klingon theme as highly energetic as it should be. Those redeeming qualities aside, this movie is, to put it bluntly, a poorly scripted, poorly directed film that even Gene Roddenberry considered to be apocryphal. That would be a fair enough warning.
Title : Nemesis Rating : 4
Writers : John Logan Year : 2379
Review : Nemesis was the first Star Trek movie I ever watched, and I can understand some of the flak it gets. The comedic moments felt forced, Shinzon in particular gets some cheesy lines, Picard blatantly violates the Prime Directive with his space buggy and its phaser cannon, the unnecessary jump over the gorge... The escape from the Scimitar was poorly executed, and Data "guessing" the shuttlebay door password was ludicrous. But like all Star Trek movies, Nemesis has a clear theme, in this case, Identity. Picard has to come to terms with his "mirror" counterpart, Shinzon. Data tries to bond with his own mirror, B-4. It's an intriguing examination of how one develops one's own personality and character. Data, despite appearing as emotionless as he did in TNG, demonstrates how human he has become, especially when dealing with B-4. Picard's conversations with Shinzon touched on some deep stuff as well. Brent Spiner, Patrick Stewart and Tom Hardy dominate the screen with their impressively nuanced performances, helping to emphasize the movie's great emotional core. Near the end, the movie morphs into a no-holds-barred action flick, and a relatively good one at that. The E-E finally gets into a decent battle, and takes a beating too. The CGI was top notch (note the Aztec paint scheme on the Enterprise's hull), and the fight itself, amazing. Picard's last-ditch ramming manoeuvre was both unexpected and thrilling. Data's farewell (some argue it was unnecessary or just a bad rip-off of Spock's death) was very well done, and the reactions of the crew felt genuine. Picard's knowing smile at the movie's end truly did convey the message that Data, although gone, would live on in one way or the other. While it is far from being the best of the movies, I felt Nemesis was a good effort. While I appreciate how some people didn't enjoy it as much as I did, I must stress that it still isn't the complete flop that some claim it is.
Title : The Undiscovered Country Rating : 5
Writers : Lawrence Konner, Leonard Nimoy, Marc Rosenthal Year : 2293
Review : Star Trek VI is not a perfect movie. For me, at least, the "prison break" scenes on Rura Penthe were jarring and came across as unnecessary, only serving to stall the movie while Spock did his part solving the mystery on the Enterprise. The scene where the Klingon warden correctly shoots the shapeshifter, when given two Kirks, was perplexing. Uhura attempting to speak Klingon was awkward. The trial offered an interesting angle, but was rather brief. And during the battle with Chang's Bird of Prey, the Enterprise somehow has the same gaseous anomaly cataloging equipment that Excelsior was clearly stated to have at the movie's opening log entry. Yet through all of these inconsistencies and minor quibbles, the movie's central theme shines through - how two sworn enemies can come together for the greater good. Kirk finally comes to terms with the Klingons after the death of his son. Spock clearly embraces his humanity in addition to his rigid Vulcan persona. There's lots of excellent moments to be seen - McCoy chiding Kirk for the captain's womanizing ways, Kirk and Spock discussing old age. To top it off, the entire film is nearly packaged as a taut political thriller, filled with plenty of intrigue and surprise moments, especially where the Enterprise apparently opens fire. All the Shakespeare quotations fit perfectly into the film's context. The climactic Battle over Khitomer was a great grudge match, complete with the crew's signature creative solution. The excellent music encompassed the entire gamut, brooding one moment, intense the next. And Kirk's final log entry, the Enterprise-A sailing to her retirement, the cast "signing off" - pure perfection. Star Trek VI is not a perfect movie. But it is awesome nonetheless.
Title : First Contact Rating : 5
Writers : Brannon Braga, Rick Berman, Ronald D. Moore Year : 2373
Review : First Contact remains my all-time favorite Trek film, and for good reason. You get a healthy dose of action, right from the initial Borg Cube battle, to the tense "Die Hard in space" atmosphere when the crew repel the Borg trying to assimilate the ship. There's also Trek's ever-present optimism to be found, as Zefram Cochrane, with much prodding, transforms from self-centered drunk to the great man history records. Picard exorcises his personal demons, up to his great speech and meltdown - Moby Dick is indeed an apt analogy for his attitude toward the Borg. Cochrane's "engage" order is a nice touch. If anyone noticed, the row of blinking lights underneath the Phoenix's cockpit windows are an excellent homage. The moment of First Contact with the Vulcans never fails to elicit a smile on my face. Data has some interesting chemistry with the Borg Queen; I especially love her line "Don't be tempted by flesh". The entire movie is superbly written and excellently paced. Each of the characters gets his/her own moment to steal the show. Patrick Stewart, in particular, deserves a commendation for his deeply emotional performance as a battered, rage-consumed Picard. As for the visual effects, this movie introduced us to two wonderful starship designs - the sleek, magnificent Enterprise-E, and the ever popular Akira class. The spacewalk and battle at the deflector dish was very well done, as were the various Borg-related make-up and special effects. Overall, one of the best, if not the best, Star Trek movies.
Title : The Motion Picture Rating : 3
Writers : Allen Dean Foster Year : 2271
Review : First, the bad - it seems that they were trying perhaps too hard to emulate "2001: A Space Odyssey" by having a movie with very little action, a highly cerebral plot, and detailed special effects. While the latter two aspects worked out reasonably well, the end product is comes across as a television-length plot stretched to over two hours. They clearly tried to insert some sub-plots and filler material. The interplay between Decker and Ilia develops well, and factors crucially into the ending. Meanwhile, the tension between Decker and Kirk over "ownership" of the Enterprise emerges early on, especially during the wormhole scene, but this thread is somehow quickly forgotten and the two somehow become pals for the rest of the movie. As for the other characters, Spock's own personal journey is interesting, to say the least, but the rest of the crew seem confined to being set-dressing. On the whole, the movie well deserves its reputation as the "Slow-Motion Picture". Still, TMP has a lot going for it. As always, there is a strong moral undercurrent, especially to do with the concept of "humanity". In a sense, Spock, V'ger and Decker each have to deal with their own human qualities. Additionally, we get plenty of spectacular visual effects - the Klingon battle at the beginning injected a never-before-felt sense of gravity and power into each of the torpedoes, while the highlight of the film has to be the flyby of the gorgeous Enterprise refit, still the most graceful incarnation of the Big E. Playing throughout the movie is Jerry Goldsmith's masterful score, especially the main theme that has come to be synonymous with Star Trek as a whole. While it may be flawed, and to some even outright boring, do not forget how TMP's success launched the Star Trek film series, which would go on to spawn the TNG era, thus making virtually everything that came afterward, possible.
Title : Insurrection Rating : 4
Writers : Michael Piller, Rick Berman Year : 2375
Review : An interesting, and certainly logical point, raised by critics, is how Insurrection flies in the face of Trek philosophy - Picard's actions seem contrary to "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few", with the Federations' interests contrasting to the needs of the Ba'ku. However, the issue is neatly presented, and Picard still ends up depicted as the egalitarian hero, and rightfully so. Speaking of the Ba'ku, their portrayal as noble and technology-averse felt forced and lacking in subtlety. The same problem of overly clear-cut moral lines applies for the typically evil Son'a, Gallatin's conveniently-timed change of heart, and the pre-requisite Mad Admiral Dougherty. The crew behaving out-of-character felt odd, even after the "rejuvenation" explanation, while some of the jokes/comedic one-liners are just cringe-worthy. And Data playing with the (annoying) children, although an intriguing analogy, was awkward to say the least. For all its rough spots and shortfalls, though, Insurrection still manages to have a certain charm and appeal. There's a surprising amount of action in what is clearly intended to be a more light-hearted film - the space battles, especially the final run over the Son'a Collector, were spectacular. Riker's unorthodox solution to the Briar Patch battle wasn't really surprising, but well executed nonetheless. The music is, as always, excellent, with the opening theme ranking as one of my personal favorites. Fairly good performances all-round from the cast as well. Although a marked drop in quality from the dizzying high of First Contact, Insurrection is still a good, thoroughly entertaining movie.
Title : Star Trek Rating : 4
Writers : Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci Year : 2258
Review : It's a fun movie to be sure. The visual effects were top-notch, the script nicely paced, and the music very well done, especially the retro end credits. Karl Urban and Zachary Quinto put in near-perfect performances as McCoy and Spock, respectively, truly embodying their characters. Leonard Nimoy, having had his role for 40 years, is naturally flawless. As far as summer popcorn blockbusters go, this is a definite winner, filled with plenty of excitement, wit, and highly entertaining to boot. But is it Star Trek? Not really. You'll find a glimmer of the traditional Trek human-nature study, when all the characters debate the consequences of the alternate timeline, and "Destiny" as a whole, but it's all too brief. From a design viewpoint, I'm undecided regarding the unusually-proportioned new-look Enterprise - it's not as terrible as some claim it is, but neither is it brilliant. Adding to that are quite a few plot holes, inconsistencies and improbable coincidences (meeting Spock on Delta Vega comes to mind). Kirk goes straight from cadet to captain after seizing command of the ship and disobeying orders. Chris Pine's Kirk is somewhat unlikeable, although his offer to assist Nero near the film's end shows that Kirk has indeed matured. Nero himself is slightly uneven and lackluster as a villain, although his motivation and genocidal rage are apparent enough. Half of Starfleet Academy is wiped out when the Narada decimates the fleet over Vulcan, yet we get no further mention of that. Morals, continuity, and indeed, logic, have been abandoned for the sake of gung-ho action and thrills. Still, none of this is really enough to mar the experience while the movie is in progress. As a reboot and action romp, then, Star Trek XI succeeds, but as a Star Trek movie, it doesn't quite cut it. I'll be waiting to see how well JJ Abrams handles the sequel.

Copyright Graham Kennedy Page views : 4,794 Last updated : 1 Jan 1970