Communications, Part 2

This is another selection of reader mail, including questions and comments about the Star Trek films and this site. Although I try my best to answer all E-mail, it is not possible to post all of it on the site itself.

Please note that I do not consider myself an expert on any and all things Trek. While I may try to find the answers, I usually do not have very much information on Deep Space Nine or Voyager, for instance, as I do not regularly watch these programs. My specialty is classic Star Trek, particularly the films. If you have questions, comments, suggestions, or corrections, please feel free to write me.

Christopher: I found your page as I was trying to settle a bet with my wife. We were watching The Undiscovered Country last night and she insisted that the Klingon Chang was played by Patrick Stewart. I told her she was crazy. At the end of the film the credits were shrunk to one side of the screen making it impossible to read. If you know who did play Chang please let me know.

Troy: General Chang was played by Christopher Plummer, another Shakespearean actor – so your wife was close, in a way. Incidentally, William Shatner was once Plummer’s understudy in a Shakespeare company. When Plummer was unable to perform one night, Shatner took his place and got rave reviews – an early breakthrough in his young acting career. Star Trek VI was a reunion of sorts for the two actors. A great site to find the complete credits of just about any film is: The Internet Movie Database.

Aaron: You seem to know everything about the Star Trek movies. But you never give your opinion of them. How do you rate the movies? Do you believe in the Odd-Numbered Curse? Do you think they can ever make one better than First Contact?

Troy: I generally work under the assumption that most visitors to this site have already seen the movies, and thus already have their own opinions of each film. A review from me would then seem kind of pointless. For the same reason, I do not give detailed plot descriptions like many other sites do. The odds are that if you’re here, you already know what these movies are about.

The one time I made a brief exception to this rule was following the release of Insurrection. I was so repulsed by that lousy excuse for a movie that I had to vent somewhere, so I put a review on the site. That review certainly generated a lot of mail, about 60 responses in all.

About 1/3 of those who wrote in wanted to let me know what a complete and utter moron I am for not thinking this was the greatest Trek in history. (Thanks, everyone.)

Another third wrote to say that I was absolutely right and that it was easily the worst of the nine.

The remaining letters were essentially luke-warm on the movie, agreeing with me on some points, but disagreeing on others. It was definitely interesting to read so many different opinions on the same movie.

If there is enough interest out there, I am considering starting a “Film Frontier” mailing list which would cover mostly the Trek films, but also be open to other topics within reason. So, if any of you are interested in possibly joining such a list, please write and let me know.

As far as how I rate the movies, I actually get that question a lot so I’m going to answer it here once and for all. For those of you who care, here is how I personally rank the Star Trek movies, from best to worst. Please, no one get upset or offended. It’s not worth the energy. We all have different opinions. That’s what keeps the world interesting. With the singular exception of Insurrection, I find all of the Trek movies entertaining, anyway. Otherwise, I wouldn’t devote so much time to this site.

#1 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
#2 Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
#3 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
#4 Star Trek III: The Search For Spock
#5 Star Trek: First Contact
#6 Star Trek Generations
#7 Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
#8 Star Trek: The Motion Picture
#9 Star Trek: Insurrection

No, I do not believe in the Odd-Numbered Curse. What I do believe in is the Nicholas Meyer Blessing. His many gifts to Star Trek happened to occur in even-numbered films, so perhaps that makes the odd-numbered ones look somewhat pale by comparison.

I also happen to think that the odd-numbered Star Trek III: The Search For Spock is superior to the even-numbered Star Trek: First Contact, so that disproves the curse right there for me.

In regards to First Contact, it is easily the best “Next Generation” movie so far but most of the classic films are far better. Can a Next Generation film ever top First Contact? Yes, but inane ones like Insurrection won’t do the trick.

I don’t think The Next Generation has lived up to its potential as a movie franchise yet. Episodes from Season 3 and beyond of The Next Generation television series were much better than what they’ve put on the big screen, and it just shouldn’t be that way.

The classic films, even the poor ones, always had a magical feeling to them, a special feeling that is so far lacking in The Next Generation films.

Paramount should look up Nicholas Meyer for Star Trek X. He knows how to make movies. I’m not sure if his talents would be put to good use on a Next Generation film, but I’d still love to see what he would come up with if given free reign.

Neil: I believe there is a small error in your Insurrection section. You state that this is the only film, other than Star Trek V, not to feature different artwork for a pre-release poster. Star Trek V did indeed have a pre-release poster featuring different art. It had the Enterprise-A at the top left, I think, and featured a movie theater seat with a seat belt attached asking, “Why are movie theaters installing seat belts?” The answer was because Star Trek V was coming out. Sure, it wasn’t a painted poster featuring artwork of Kirk and Spock, or something, but it was certainly different than Bob Peak’s art used for the film’s release.

Troy: Thank you for the information. Although I’ve heard of that promotional campaign, I never knew a poster was released for it. They should’ve brought the seatbelt idea back for Insurrection. I know I could’ve used one to help keep myself from walking out. Thanks again for writing. I’ve uploaded a revised Insurrection page to correct the error.