Entertainment,  Life,  Movies

Theatrical Trek

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I have seen every Star Trek movie ever made for the theatre, in the theatre.

I didn’t see all of them first run, but most of them.

After a lifetime of only being able to see the TV or videocassette versions, I managed to catch Star Trek: The Motion Picture in the theatre in my 20s. It happened at a review theatre in the city I was living in a time, maybe during some small science fiction review festival. I don’t remember what the theme was, if any, but I think as part of the same series we saw the fourth Alien movie, and the first Starship Troopers. That would make it sometime in the late 90s, before fatherhood broadened my life.

The Wrath of Khan, I watched several dozen times on VHS, Beta, and maybe even once or twice on TV, before I saw it in the theatre as part of a triple feature. Several months after The Voyage Home released, which I think I only saw once on its own to that point, we saw The Wrath of Khan, The Search For Spock, and The Voyage Home all more or less in one sitting.

I saw Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, with most of my primary circle of high school friends in a two-screen mall movie theatre when it first came out. I remember enjoying parts of it immensely and spending some significant amount of time shaking my head or rolling my eyes. A mixed bag of a film, for sure.

Early in my university days, I took my girlfriend (a few years later, and still, my wife) to see Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country when it first came out. She should have known what was coming by then. I also dragged her to Generations, First Contact, and Insurrection in turn.

I took my son to see Nemesis on what turned out to be the night before my youngest daughter was born.

I saw the 2009 reboot with my entire family. When I went back for more punishment in 2013, not quite as many of my family members were interested in seeing Into Darkness. In fact, I believe all three of the female members of my family stayed at home, leaving just my son and I to go see it, carrying on what has become a tradition but with gritted teeth and sore eyes. I think we would have enjoyed a bit of the Simpsons version of Star Trek XII more.

Star Trek Beyond saw a slightly expanded audience in our household. Everyone in the family but my oldest daughter was willing to make that trip to the big theatre in the mid-sized city we live near. Far better than the first two films in the sequence, but still disappointing. Still less Star Trek and more action movie with Star Trek trappings. Not quite the same thing, but it tried a little harder.

(And, depending on how you count things, I also saw Galaxy Quest first run. Yes, there were other attributes, and while it had its serious moments, and it was a real adventure movie about real ideas and real, well actors. You can’t doubt that it was anything other than a two-hour thinly veiled Star Trek reference. Yes, it told a story of its own, too, and that just made it better.)

We don’t have cable anymore, and I don’t watch a lot of television anyway, but we have a couple of streaming services and all of the Star Trek series are currently available, so I’m never short of Trek if I need it. If I am somewhere and watching TV is possible, and if I’m skimming through the listings and come across a Star Trek movie, I stop, and that’s what I watch. It almost doesn’t matter which movie it is, though I have my favourites.

I owned most of the movies on video cassette, the ones that released to it, and for the ones that didn’t, I have a DVD. We don’t have a VCR anymore, although I’m thinking that I might change that for the nostalgia factor. The first six movies currently occupy a nice space in my relatively small Blu-ray collection. Right next to all three seasons of the original series on Blu-ray. At this time, I’m debating replacing my Next Generation DVDs with Blu-ray. Probably not anytime soon. I honestly don’t watch them enough to justify the expense. Not enough extras to do that instead of streaming. And with three teenagers, a house, a full-time career, and all the various responsibilities and debts to go with them, I really don’t have the disposable dollars to do it.

Besides, they’re all on Netflix, and Prime, and…

Sidetracked again. Where was I? Oh, yes. If I come across a listing for a Star Trek movie on TV (somewhere TV is an option, because we have neither cable nor satellite TV), that’s what I watch. It doesn’t matter that there are commercials. It doesn’t matter that I can get a higher definition picture with better sound and special features from a Blu-ray in my basement whenever I want. Star Trek is on, and it’s on now. And it almost doesn’t matter which Star Trek movie it is.

My general opinions on the reboots (and especially Into Darkness) are probably obvious already, but all three movies have their good points, and all three movies have their good parts. I don’t know that Into Darkness has been on TV yet, but I’m sure I’ll watch parts of it when it does if I run across it. The 2009 movie, well, I may watch the first half, and then pick and choose what I like afterwards. To date, I’ve still only seen Into Darkness once. Honestly, once might be all I ever need. It has its good parts, but I can keep them in memory. Except maybe the Klingons before Khan shows up. Beyond was better, but so far, I’m good with the single viewing we did in the theatre there, too.

Almost feels like it’s time to watch a Star Trek movie now.

I suppose I would be remiss in not mentioning at least my three favourites. Not quite in order but going back to that triple feature: The Wrath of Khan, The Search For Spock, and The Voyage Home. The Voyage Home had slightly better writing than The Search For Spock, and was absolutely a fun time travel story, but I very much appreciate the death scene offered to the Enterprise in TSFS, coming on the heels of the movie that gave Spock an incredible one of his own. TVH ties all the storylines nicely together with an excellent ending, and a new beginning.

Yes, maybe it is time for a Star Trek movie festival. Considering the shutdown, I probably don’t even have to wait for next weekend.

Anyone have any favorites?

Live long and prosper.

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