The besties review
Please mind the dust! the site is undergoing Maintenance and will be back up and running soon!
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
This movie is my first foray into the world of Star Trek, so I had little to no expectations going into it. What struck me right off the bat was how procedural it all is. For a franchise about galactic adventures there’s a whole lot of bureaucratic nonsense. I totally see why Star Wars and Star Trek fans are often so split, because these franchises couldn’t be more tonally different. That said, I kinda loved it?
I have no clue what’s in store with the next four films, but The Motion Picture was very visually dynamic with great music, production design, and performances. It’s slow-moving for sure, but I actually really liked the film’s cold, meditative mood. This is the kind of movie I would turn off if I just wanted to veg out and relax. It’s mind-numbing and yet it’s totally gorgeous. I really dug it.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
A worthwhile sequel that ups the action and downplays the poetry, The Wrath of Khan is known as the best Star Trek film. Though this one doesn’t have enough Spock for my taste, Shatner’s dialed-up performance and the exciting action sequences almost make up for that. Ricardo Montalbán also deserves a shoutout for his over-the-top performance as the titular villain. This is a superior film by all accounts, but in some ways I think I enjoyed the procedural slog of the 130-minute Motion Picture more than Khan.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
Like both prior films, The Search for Spock is an odd and beautiful sci-fi melodrama, but unlike its predecessors this film feels boring and underdeveloped. I liked the way the plot picked up right where we left off in Wrath of Khan, but despite the fact that Spock’s name is front and center in the title, I still felt like I was missing Nimoy’s dynamic on-screen presence. I like where it started and I even liked the way it ended, but everything in the middle just felt like it sort of happened. If nothing else, I’d say this movie acts as a beautiful bit of filler.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
What I’m coming to enjoy about this franchise is the fact that each film has its own distinct energy, and this is probably my favorite one yet. Thanks to some questionable time travel science, The Voyage Home delivers a kooky fun adventure with an environmentalist tinge. Oh, and Spock is BACK!
What’s not to love about this thing? On any given day I could be feeling more Wrath-y or Motion Picture-y, but the entire whale-heist-while-trying-to-blend-into-1980s-California aspect just makes this one sing!
The Voyage Home is goofy in the best possible way, and I think it may actually be the most accessible Star Trek film of any I’ve seen. The time-heist plotline and the quirky style of humor actually remind me of something you’d see nowadays in the MCU, so if that’s something you’re into I’d definitely recommend this one.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
So, this is clearly the weakest of the five Trek movies I’ve seen. There’s nothing particularly terrible about it, but it’s all just a little flat. The camping stuff was, well, campy for lack of a better word, and the whole *spoiler?* God reveal left me wanting so much more after all we got with The Voyage Home. I kind of liked Sybok’s Scarlet Witch-like powers when he took the crew through their most traumatic memories/nightmares, but by that point in the film I was basically checked out already.
Still, the seductive Uhura dance scene is the easily strangest scene in any Star Trek film. So this film is good for something I suppose.
What is 5 Film Film Festival (5FFF)?
In short, 5 Film Film Festival is an ongoing personal project to help me watch more classic films. For each mini “festival,” I will choose a random theme (be it a genre, actor, director, etc.) and curate five movies that fit that theme to watch for the first time. When I started this journey, I posted my brief, unpolished thoughts on Letterboxd. I like this more informal, less pretentious mode of watching older movies, so as I begin documenting the project here on the site, don’t expect a lot of in-depth analysis— every “review” will read more like a “first reaction.”
If you’re like me, and you have more than a few blind spots in your cinematic knowledge, then consider joining me on this lifelong endeavor. Watch along, recommend themes, and organize some mini festivals of your own!