Let me first start out by saying that I love both Star Wars and Star Trek. What follows shouldn’t be interpreted as an endorsement for one over the other.
Like any kid I was exposed to the original Star Wars trilogy at a young age. The first time I watched Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope, It was life changing. I’m not alone in this. When the movie first came out people lost their god damn minds.
I obviously had to see the other movies in the series. I found that the quality of the films remained the same throughout. Great characters, great lines, and excellent alien worlds.
I started exploring my imagination as a result, and I have much of that to owe to George Lucas. My mind has been in the stars ever since.
On the other hand, in my mind I always held that ‘Wars’ was better than ‘Trek’. And that’s because I had never really given Star Trek a chance.
I knew it as a cheesy show (and not in a good way) with extremely basic effects. But it was also ground breaking for its time. after all, the kiss between Kirk and Uhura was television’s first interracial kiss.
I really discovered Star Trek in University in my down time. I needed something to watch and had exhausted most of the science fiction out there so I started watching Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Low and behold, it was fucking amazing.
All the things I liked about Star Wars were there, but they took things into much deeper detail.
So I’m going to discuss the collected works from each franchise and through that process decide where they are currently at today.
For my purposes I’m going to be ignoring the original Star Trek series with Shatner and the ensuing movies, because if I did, I’d be here all day.
Okay just some basic background information, incase you’ve been living under a rock since the 70’s.
George Lucas is the brain behind the Star Wars trilogy and prequels. The first film came out in 1977 and grossed 530 million dollars (1970’s dollars!) worldwide. From there it was almost a sure thing that Star Wars would be a household name.
The original Trilogy consists of…
- Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977)
- Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
- Star Wars: Episode VI – Return Of The Jedi (1983)
Over the course of these films we got to know Obi Wan Kenobi, Luke, Leia, Han Solo, Chewy, C3PO, and R2D2. Our merry band of heroes never let us down and the whole thing is just a great series of movies.
Of course they get into trouble along way, but since this movie isn’t rated R, they typically get out of all the jams they find themselves in.
The movies centre around the relationship between Luke and his father, Darth Vader (formerly Anakin Skywalker), and just how sucky it can be when your dad turns out to be a Sith lord.
Luke loses a hand at one point, Han gets frozen in Carbonite, and Leia must be a sexy slave for the obese worm man, Jabba The Hutt.
I’ve already addressed how much money ‘A New Hope’ brought in at the box office but the other films did equally as well (grossing 450 million, and 572 million worldwide respectively).
These films serve as the core of the franchise, offering something to look back upon and fondly remember the way we were.
Episodes I-III (The Prequels)
Low and behold George Lucas was hiding away way more Star Wars for us. These films take a darker tone, focusing on Anakin Skywalker before he transitions to the dark side of the force.
We are brought along for his journey and the personal conflict that he faces within himself.
I know fans of the original trilogy are critical of these movies, but they are wrong. These films are good and together form perhaps the greatest multi edition telling of a single narrative (except for the Godfather parts I and II).
We get to see Anakin as a naive young kid totally ignorant of the force, then we get to see him as he becomes a Sith Lord who is not above killing younglings. The transition of the character throughout these movies is really good.
Because these films came out a good chunk of time after the original trilogy, audiences expectations had changed. As a result, the film’s music and special effects are way better than episodes IV – VI.
Okay so I must address it. There is one terrible thing about these movies and in particularly the first. It is the inclusion of the worst character in movie history, and that is Jar Jar Binks.
A character so bad that it dragged down the overall critical acceptance of an otherwise dope movie.
Reasons why Star Wars: Episode I – Phantom Menace is good despite this.
- Liam Neeson as Qui Gon Jinn
- Ewan Macgregor as a young Obi Wan Kenobi
- Natalie Portman as Queen Amidala
- The inclusion of Tattoine
- The Pod Race scene
- Musical score by the amazing John Williams
- A really good bad guy known only as the Phantom Menace
- As viewers we don’t get what we want – Qui Gon dies
- The inclusion of all the alien races previously created in the original trilogy
Some Star Wars fans, who consider themselves purists, will deny the value of this film. And I agree there was a lot of unnecessary fluff in this movie (Jar Jar), but watching it in theatres when I was 9 is something I will always remember. This film holds a special place for me because really it is the beginning of the story, the entire story of Anakin Skywalker.
To put everything I’ve said into perspective, the Phantom Menace still broke many records at the box office. Records it broke include, largest single day gross, fastest to gross 100, 200, and 300 million dollars (beating James Cameron’s Titanic). When all was said and done the film made 927 million dollars (purchases of the VHS and DVD later put it at over a billion dollars).
Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the clones
Okay so after the Phantom Menace we get to see the first signs of what kind of evil Anakin is capable of.
He returns to Tattoine with Padme (Queen Amidala) after being haunted by dreams of his mother. When he finds her he does not like what he sees and kills an entire tribe of Tuscan Raiders (sand people).
He confesses to Padme that he even killed the women and children, and it’s the first time that we can see that he’s on his way to the dark side.
Anyway, it’s not all bad for Anakin. He falls in love with Padme and she likes him back (*nice). So he’s got that going on.
Through the course of the plot development we are introduced to the bad guy, Count Dooku. He’s a former Jedi who has gone to the dark side and is doing the bidding of a Sith Lord named Sidious.
George Lucas kind of left a lot up to our imaginations at this point about who that might be but all we had to know is that a super evil guy was lurking in the shadows and pulling the strings.
The film ends with Anakin and Padme getting married. At this point you are still rooting for Anakin, so at least I, was like “fuck, yes”.
Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith
At this point, Padme and Anakin are crazy in love and nothing else matters. There remains a Sith threat but Anakin deals with that handily enough and chops off count Dooku’s head (even he admits he should not have done that, “it’s not the Jedi way”).
Padme becomes pregnant, but Anakin starts having nightmares about her the same way he did about his mother. His desire to prevent his dream from becoming real makes him desperate.
In his desperation, he eventually crosses the line big time, and kills a bunch of young Jedi’s at the behest of Lord Sidius (who, as a viewer you now know, is Chancellor Palpatine). Now is he Darth Vader and a slave to the dark side forever.
Sadly, in childbirth Padme dies, and leaves behind a set of twins, Luke and Leia.
Then the movie god damn ends.
I really loved this movie, 1) because it is the darkest (story wise) of all the Star Wars movies 2) Anakin’s character arc was executed perfectly.
Disney buys Star Wars
This was big news. It had been years since we had heard anything about Star Wars and then BAM, we were getting more movies.
I’m not so much a fan of these movies because I feel like they are capitalizing on an already existing market for Star Wars with less than great products (Yeah, I said it).
But I’m not the only one who thinks this. People have been very vocal about how they feel about these new movies. But evidently, they are still a part of the story line that started way back in 1977.
I guess any Star Wars is better than no Star Wars, so I’m making lemonade out of these new movies. I’ll watch them and enjoy them for what they are.
As the films progressed the things that the Jedi and Sith can do with the force is growing more out of control. And this needs to stop, a bit. We get it they have command of the force, but if Dark Vader could not stop laser bullets then no one else should be able to (I’m referring to a specific scene).
The movies that Disney has made and is in the process of making that are apart of the original story line are…
- Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens
- Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi
- Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (yet to be released)
The movies that are stand alone’s are…
- Rogue one: A Star Wars Story
- Solo: A Star Wars Story
The Force Awakens
I watched this movie in theatres and I really wanted it to be good. I was kind of expecting a similar tone to what they left off with, but I did not get that.
The movie was very ‘Disney’. They introduced a whole ton of new species, characters, and planets, and not in a good way. It just seemed sloppy, like they were throwing everything they had out there and expecting some of it to stick. Maybe some of it did.
I mean, it was really great to see the gang back together (with a few missing), but it’s not like they came up with a new story, it seemed to just be a reimagining of A New Hope (IV).
However, the new bad guy is great in my opinion. He is a damaged person who seeks raw power. But like I mentioned earlier, the force is getting out of control, and the Jedi/Sith are doing things I bet George Lucas never dreamed of.
The days of “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for” is long behind us.
The Last Jedi
Luke Skywalker reappears on the scene. He’s old and grouchy and I kind of like it.
People saw a lot of plot holes in this film, one of which is that the penultimate bad guy is easily out done by a sneak attack. But I enjoyed it.
Kylo Ren is a good Sith. First off, he killed his father, second, he’s conflicted, finally, he thirsts for power.
But any good that was in this movie was almost undone by one scene. If you saw the movie you probably know what I’m talking about. It’s the scene where Luke Skywalker drinks right from the tit of a Cow/giraffe/manatee thing.
It comes out of nowhere and adds nothing to the story, but here we are, that scene is now out there forever.
The Rise of Skywalker
J.J Abrams is returning as director (he also directed The Force Awakens) for this flick so I hope it is good.
Recently the trailer was released, so I’ll just post it here and tell me what you think in the comments.
Rogue one: A Star Wars Story
As a side story this one is pretty good. It is the story of the making of the death star. It includes Forrest Whitaker and Mads Mikkelsen so I’m predisposed to having this movie’s back.
If you’ve seen any Star Wars movies I think you know how the death star turned out so I don’t really think I need to go into detail about what happened in this movie.
The action was good, kind of a dark theme, and the script was descent. So 4/5 would recommend to watch.
People are mostly concerned with the main story line so this one might have passed a few people by. Me included.
I only watched it out of boredom months after it left theatres. That’s not saying I’m not committed to Star Wars content, just at the time I had more important things to worry about. And if it had nothing to do with Anakin and his progeny then it wasn’t an immediate concern.
Solo: A Star Wars Story
I was excited for this movie until everyone went out and saw it without me and preceded to shit on it from a great height.
I’ve resolved to still watch it, I’m just waiting for the right moment when I have the guts.
I will say this about the movie, it was directed by Ron Howard, arguably one of the most prolific movie makers of our time. If you had a problem with the film maybe it is because he was having an off day.
The film consists of an awesome cast, including Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, and Donald Glover. So even though I did not know who the actor was who was playing Han Solo, it doesn’t matter, it sounds like a movie I can get behind.
As a final note on this film, a die hard Star Wars fan also told me to not watch it at all and just stick to the main story because it was “no good”.
I think I’m going to make up my own mind about it and give it a try.
Star Trek is the brain child of Gene Roddenberry, and boy was there ever a lot going on in that brain.
He created languages, races, fake science, and space craft jargon to go along with his stories that has captivated ‘Trekkies’ for decades.
The main different between Star Wars and Star Trek is that the Star Trek universe is way more detailed and there is just plainly way more of it.
Sure I mentioned 11 Star Wars films, but that pails in comparison of the sheer numbers of high quality work Star Trek puts out.
Like I mentioned, I’m ignoring the original Shatner series and the ensuing movies because that would take forever and they have not aged great. But the Star Trek shows that were made from the 80’s on, they are wicked.
These are the Star Trek shows and films I will talk about…
- Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994)
- Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999)
- Star Trek: Voyager (1995-2001)
- Star Trek: Entreprise (2001-2005)
- Star Trek: Discovery (2017 – present)
- Star Trek (2009)
- Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
- Star Trek Beyond (2016)
Just to put this in perspective, of the first four series I mentioned, they all have 7 seasons at roughly 25 episodes a season, so there is soOo much there. Don’t worry I won’t go into it at painful detail. I’ll just give an overview of each because, literally, there are hundreds of hours of Star Trek one can watch.
One aspect I really enjoy of these series is that the actors and plot lines are all intertwined into each other. Actors from The Next Generation show up in Deep Space Nine, and actors from Deep Space Nine show up in Voyager. And they are all constantly referring to each other in other Star Trek series. It gives a nerd a lot to nerd out about.
Star Trek: The Next Generation
This is a fucking fantastic show. Captain Jean-Luc Picard is the captain of the enterprise and his loyal crew consists of Vulcans, Clingons, and Betazoids.
Like I mentioned earlier the detail in this show is phenomenal. They are constantly having to deal with technical problems on the ship, due to alien influences, and mention things in passing that recur over and over again the series.
This series kind of culminates with them encountering the Borg. If you are unaware of what the Borg are, they are half living tissue half robot and they only care about assimilating more life forms.
In one such instance Picard gets assimilated and goes on a destructive spree where he attacks space station wolf 359. His actions cause the death of hundreds including the wife of a commander who will later be in charge in Deep Space Nine.
They mostly explore space and meet with races who are ready and meet Federation requirements for first contact. It’s great. However, they must always uphold the prime directive of non-interference. Even when it means people will die.
When I first started watching this show I wasn’t sure I liked Picard. He was grumpy and such and was no fun. But as the show went on, they softened the character a bit and Sir Patrick Stewart really got into a groove.
Anyway, if you haven’t watched this show, make some time and watch it. Because it might be one of the most culturally significant television series of our time.
Deep Space Nine
When I ran out of Star Trek to watch, this thing popped up on my Netflix. I was like what is this, Star Trek, but they are not a ship? How could this be good, how will they discover new races, planets, and go exploring and such.
Boy was I wrong. The concept of this series is very clever. And it goes like this.
The Cardassians are leaving a planet (Bajor) which they have occupied for 40 years. These Bajorans want to be admitted to the Federation for an increased sense of protection. So the Federation sends some representatives to a space station (named Deep Space Nine) to keep stock of the situation. Low and behold, they discover a worm hole to the very far off Gamma quadrant right off Deep Space Nine.
It’s through this worm hole that all the action takes place. Aliens come through and show up at the station. Benjamin Sisko, the stations commander, and a recent widower, must deal with them. Not to mention there is always something happening on the stations promenade.
The show showcases more species than have been addressed before by any Star Trek series. For instance, we finally get an in-depth take on the Ferengi’s, who value commerce above all else, and one of them owns a bar on the station. Additionally, there is a shape shifting character which has never been addressed before in the Star Trek universe.
And then there’s the return of Worf. You might know him as the only Clingon on the crew of the Enterprise, but evidently after The Next Generation ended the story kept going and the Enterprise was destroyed. Fortunately for us, the viewer, it freed up Worf to crossover into Deep Space Nine. And he adds a great amount of comedic relief that the show might have been missing otherwise.
I’m not a 100 percent on this is my favourite Star Trek series, but it’s damn near close.
The crew of the space craft Voyager become stranded in the Delta quadrant and must travel over 60 thousand light years home. It’s going to take them a life time. This feat is compounded with the fact that they must pair up with a band of misfits known as the Maquis who are regarded as terrorists by the federation.
Anyway they settle into life together and the challenge before them keeps on getting farther away as they are constantly thrown off course. They must fight for their lives constantly as the species who inhabit the Delta quadrant often try and kill them.
The Captain is Captain Kathrine Janeway. She’s not the only woman captain of the Star Trek universe but she’s the only one they focus on for an entire series.
I really love this series, because what I love about Star Trek most is there abundantly. Exploring alien worlds, making first contact, and dealing space anomalies, it’s all there.
They even stop by Deep Space Nine for a moment or two before they were set on their mission, so there’s some crossover nerding to enjoy.
But yet again, the Borg make an appearance. And this time it’s in their territory.
The crew must fight off assimilation more times than I can count, and in the process they take on a new crew member who dominates the scene, a former human Borg drone named Seven of Nine.
A lot of the show becomes about her adjusting to being human again and being in a society without collective think and goals.
SPOILER, they finally make it home and the series ends in an amazing two parter that excites as well as tugs the heart strings.
In General, the characters are all really likeable in this series, even the holographic doctor has more than just a couple episodes to showcase his personality.
I love this series just as much as I love Deep Space Nine.
This series takes place well before Jean-Luc Picard’s Enterprise ever left space dock. In fact it’s the story of the first ever space faring Enterprise on the first mission into deep space.
Admittedly this show is not as good as the rest but it’s still worth a watch. The only thing really against it is that it only aired for four seasons, whereas the other Star Treks ran a full seven.
Anyway, Captain Jonathan Archer is taking his crew into deep space for the first time. They can’t even go past warp 6 yet, beaming technology is brand new and not trusted for humans, and they only have made contact with a few other species.
Archer’s mission is to change all of that. When the unthinkable happens and Earth is attacked by a race of aliens called the Xindi.
The show focuses on the conflict between these first explorers and the Xindi.
In the process, they come up with the prime directive and form the Federation. Enterprise successfully sets the backdrop for all other Star Trek series, explaining many things that nerds had been wondering about for years.
Because the show doesn’t span seven seasons, it can quantifiably be said to be less good. Not that more is just good, but that Trekkies didn’t necessary demand more.
I still liked it, and would say you should watch it too if you’ve watched all the other Star Trek you can get your hands on already.
Sadly, the most recent Star Trek series is not good. They tried too hard and got a jumble of things wrong.
The one thing they did get right, is that they re-imagined Clingons as really fucking intense dudes. They even commit cannibalism when they are hungry. This might not be what Clingson from The Next Generation or Deep Space Nine were like, but I thought it was bad ass.
The show has a bunch of great actors, and also some really bad ones. But currently, I can say that Star Trek Discovery is not something I’m going to continue to watch.
Sad, but true.
Star Trek, and Star Trek Into Darkness
I will address both of these movies simultaneously because they were both directed by my man J.J Abrams and he delivered like fuck.
In 2009, when I saw Star Trek I was not yet a Trekkie, but it didn’t matter because this movie was plain entertaining.
They didn’t throw in a bunch of species that weren’t there before, or reinvent the wheel so to speak. They went to the winning formula that a successful Star Trek is built on.
I think you might have picked up on the fact I like dark stories. This movie wasn’t exactly dark but the evil guy (played by Eric Bana) is super good.
When they got to Star Trek Into Darkness, again they used a winning formula. They used an existing plot (Wrath of Khan) and flipped it on it’s head. Reversing key things that happened in the Shatner film to make it more interesting for audiences who were there for both movies.
Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan was an amazing get for this movie. He’s so good and intense I’d watch him in anything, and I don’t think I’m alone in this.
Cumberbatch is a good villain for many reasons, too many reasons to enumerate here. But the casting, generally speaking, was spot on for most of the characters in the film.
5/5 would recommend these movies, especially Into Darkness.
Star Trek Beyond
I did not like this movie as much as the previous two. Perhaps it was because Abrams moved off of the franchise, or because of the excessive use of CGI for plot related denouement. Anyway, I did not have a good time watching this movie, and it included Idris Alba, so like yeah, it really had to stink.
They threw in some new aliens, which I don’t appreciate, and used ‘technology’ to overcome the bad guy.
It was just boring. I watched it the entire way through because I’m loyal but even at the end I was hard pressed to say why.
Anyway, I’m looking forward to some sort of redemption the Star Trek Franchise has up it’s sleeve. Hopefully it will be another movie based on that winning formula that I love.
To summarize, would not recommend.
In the end
In the end I love both of these franchises, they have produced some of the most culturally significant science fiction that we have.
While they have both produced duds in the past, we know as an audience they are capable of great things. I’m looking forward to the next Star Wars and will be waiting with baited breath.
I’m a nerd so I’m concerned with the state of both Wars and Trek. As long as M.Knight Shyamalan doesn’t direct for either franchise I’m pretty happy with both.
Now, if you’ll excuse me I’m going to go and finally watch Solo.