Friday, January 16, 2009

Top 10 STAR TREK Movie Moments

Here is a top 10 list and, as with any top 10 list it's arguably personal (3 of the top 10 are from GENERATIONS?! ) and leaves out some good scenes. But I liked a lot of the choices, even though I'm less of a NEXT GEN guy and more of an old school fan. And the Top 10 list begins and ends with the best TREK movie to date, STAR TREK II: THE WRATH OF KHAN or TWAK as its known in TREKspeak, as the template in later years, like when the NEXT GENERATION movies were written. Like writer/producer Ron Moore said in a Trekmovie interview:

"And at that point in time the gold standard was Wrath of Khan and everyone wanted to do Wrath of Khan by some other name. Even in Generations we were talking about Wrath of Khan. Wrath of Khan says ‘here is how you do a Star Trek movie.’ It’s action-adventure. You’ve got a big villain. You’ve got themes of aging and great little character moments, small moments of humor interspersed throughout. It embraces all the characters. You laugh with them, you cry with them. It ends on a bittersweet but hopeful note. It is just a great movie and it really stands up."


Brian Fies said...

You didn't think you could post this without hearing from me, did you?

No kidding about Khan being the model Trek movie that others tried to follow. Even the makers of Nemesis, the last (and generally disappointing) Next Gen movie explicitly and admittedly patterned it after Khan.

I'd omit about half the Next Gen clips from that list and replace them with:

"Do you guys like Italian?" "No." "Yes." "No." "Yes." "No." "I love Italian. And so do you." "Yes." (Second runner up: "Everybody remember where we parked," a line I still use regularly on family outings.)

Kirk and Scotty's first pass of the Enterprise in The Motion Picture. I'd been waiting 10 years to see the old girl looking like that and she didn't disappoint.

Despite being an abomination, Star Trek V had a few nice character moments, including "What does God need with a starship?," which I think is almost all you need to know about Jim Kirk.

Spock: "Jim. Your name is Jim."

Heck, just put all of Star Treks II and IV in the Number 1 and 2 spots, and I'd be happy.

Mike Lynch said...

Mark, I totally agree.

Hey, Brian. You're preaching to the choir.

I would omit all of the NEXT GEN clips, and would add some others from the TOS movies, since those are the guys who resonate with me. For instance:

The "Do you guys like Italian?" as you already sagely pointed out.

Agreed:STAR TREK V was a bad movie, but with some good scenes. The "Captain, not in front of the Klingons" line deserves some recognition, but I think your pick ("What does God need with a starship?") may be the better summing up of the flick. OK, if not those clips, then a campground fireside Kirk/Spock/McCoy scene with Spock's marshmallow maker machine.

McCoy patting the woman's cheek in the 20th century hospital in STIV and telling her, "Take 2 of these and call me in the morning" Or pretty much any McCoy/Spock exchange from the same movie. "You mean I have to die to discuss your insights on death?" "Forgive me, doctor. I am receiving a number of distress calls." "I don't doubt it."

The Sarek/Kirk mind-meld scene from STIII is one of the best scenes in that movie. And, hey, to have a "Best Of" series of clips and not show "the stealing of the Enterprise" sequence, well that's just sloppy and wrong!

OK, I could go on, but, well, one more thing.

I would add that something that modern day people don't get to have when watching these is an audience. You miss that watching it on tape, DVD, Blu-Ray, etc. So. I wonder that when people construct the 10 best scenes, do they remember the audience reactions? Did they have that experience? Were they in a movie theatre, hearing the audience's hoots and guffaws as Shatner climbed El Capitan during V's title sequence? The resounding cheer when we see the NCC-1701A at the end of STIV? (The people at the Times Square movie theatre audience jumped to their feet and hollered in joy.) Ditto Sulu's "Blow her apart, then!" in VI. The sniffing as people teared up at the death of Spock? Well, that you don't need to hear because you know it must've happened that way; the scenes's so good.

Oh, and I still say, "Double dumb-ass on you."

Anonymous said...

I remember the incredible buzz in the audience when they premiered the first movie in 1977. As soon as they started the flick, people were cheering wildly... having waited more than 10 years to see any kind of Trek at all. That opening scene in the same movie, with the Klingon ship being destroyed, was up there with my other favorites. Great fun!

Mike Lynch said...

Hey, Brian C! Yeah, sure, I remember the whole "can they pull this off?" kinda excitement and buzz waaay back in December 1979. When you went to see the movie, you got the soothing Ilia's Theme music over an animated starfield for something like 3 1/2 minutes. This was, so we were told, an overture before the movie, to soothe the rabidly eager fans in the audience.

I think that Paramount was afraid of the fans, but STAR WARS taught them that sci fi fans would come and spend money, seeing a big sci fi more than once.

Douglas Trumbull's effects, with the camera rolling over the Klingon shop trio, is one of the most effective shots in SFX ever.

Brian Fies said...

You and Barry hit on something important, I think, and that is the big difference between "being there in a theater to see it for the first time along with everyone else" and "watching it 20 years later on TV." For example, I mentioned Kirk and Scotty's Enterprise fly-by in TMP, which could be considered an overly long, pointless, boring scene in which absolutely nothing happens while the characters almost literally watch paint dry. But go back to 1979, when Star Trek had been gone for 10 years and those kind of grandiose special effects were still very new, and the audience I was with couldn't get enough. We would've toured that ship for another 10 minutes.

For analogy, I've never been able to explain to someone much younger than me (e.g., my kids) why Star Wars was such a big deal in 1977. How different it was from anything we'd ever seen, and how that first shot of the Imperial Cruiser roaring overhead forever took your breath away and transported you to a galaxy far away. It's all been duplicated and redone so much since that it's impossible to imagine seeing it with virgin eyes. You had to be there.

Good call on the "stealing the Enterprise" scene from III. I remember giggling like a loon when the ship's running lights flick on and you just know they're going to get away with it somehow.

I think the bits you and I respond to best are the character-based scenes that depend for their drama or humor on the people involved. They're not just gags. For example, for the Italian scene to be funny, you've got to know something about Kirk, Spock, their history, Kirk's ongoing frustration with Spock's compulsion to be honest, the fact that Spock grew up on another planet and may never have even tasted Italian food . . . Their lines wouldn't work coming from any other characters. Without that, it's just two guys arguing about which restaurant to go to.

Oddly enough, that's also something I appreciate about good comics.

Brian Codagnone said...

No one ever says "Brain, brain! What is brain!?"

Oh, wait, that was from the TV show...

Anonymous said...

Arguably personal? It's obviously personal. But then so is every single Top Star Trek anything. You say I should omit all the TNG moments. Some say Spock's death shouldn't be there. Others say I should have more Nemesis. Every Trekkie has their own opinion. The fact is I love Generations and can think of dozens of reasons it's a good film. If I did a Top 20 or Top 50 moments it would still be full of Generations.

I stand by every scene I put in.

Past Expiry said...

Speaking of Star Trek, here's a cartoon about Spock and Twitter…
Past Expiry Cartoon *LINK*