Sunday, April 22, 2012

Star Trek vs Star Wars: Round Four

Back in my February 18th post I explained how I wanted to compare the first six Star Wars and Star Trek movies to see how I felt about them after all these years of not seeing them. You can see the first three rounds here: Round One, Round Two, and Round Three

Before I get into the review, I can’t express enough how much Star Wars: A New Hope, meant to me as a kid. I had the toys and enjoyed playing with my friends. Back when the movie came out there was no such things as blu ray or Netflix. I don’t think I saw the movie again until after Return of the Jedi came out – it was on TV one night and my parents let me stay up late to watch it.

When it came out on VHS I picked up the trilogy and watched them again and again. Then the movies were turned into ‘Special Editions’ and I rewatched them in all their digitally remastered glory on the big screen.

But since then I haven’t watched the movies. I upgraded from VHS to DVD and the I never watched them. Then the blu ray came out and I promised myself that I would watch them again.

Then I decided on the Star Trek vs Star Wars challenge.

ROUND THREE: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home vs Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Kirk and company have stolen Federation property, destroyed that property, and have ignored their orders. Having saved Captain Spock, the crew is prepared to return to Earth and face the consequences. But an energy probe is threatening the Earth and the crew has to take the HMS Bounty (their captured Klingon Bird of Prey) back through time to capture a pair of humpback whales and bring them back to the future.

This final chapter of a trilogy that started at The Wrath of Khan isn’t just the funniest film in the Star Trek franchise, it’s also the most fun. The crew breaks up into teams where they all get to have their own adventure while trading fun dialogue, breaking all the rules of time travel (as in not doing anything to alter time…like decloaking in front of a whaling ship, letting the military get a hold of a Klingon phaser, communicator, and Checkov’s Starfleet identification, or giving someone the molecular formula to transparent aluminum). And it’s always fun when someone normal like Gillian gets in on the action and gets to interact with the crew and sit on the bridge.

After all these years I still laugh at the appropriate places and I’m still glued to the film. Although the cars, boombox, and fashion in this film make it look dated, it would have been a great film no matter when it was filmed. Kirk and his crew have never been as fun or as likeable as they are here.
Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope
Luke Skywalker is a young man on Tatooine who dreams of adventure. He gets more than he bargained for when the only family he knows is murdered and he takes on Stormtroopers, a trash compactor, and destroys a planet-sized space station.

This movie would have been fantastic as a stand-alone movie but is the first part of an amazing trilogy. It does a great job setting up the Star Wars mythology while providing great introductions to the main characters.

As I’m re-watching the film I’m taken by how much it still means to me and to all the fans. Star Wars gave us a lot of new heroes to root for and took us on the adventure of a lifetime. And it hits me that while I could point out all of the digitally changed scenes, I find that everything blends in and compliments the movie (except for Greedo shooting first and the ‘stuttering’ motion as Han walks over Jabba’s tail (in the original deleted scene, Jabba was played by a human being so walking behind that person makes more sense)) so I don’t mind any of the ‘improvements’ to the movie.

And I did pick up one thing I don’t know if I’ve ever noticed. There’s a scene where C-3P0 tells Luke that he’s not very good at telling stories – and then I think about him telling the Ewoks an engaging story complete with sound effects.


While Star Wars might be an important beginning and a movie I love dearly, there are a few scenes where Tarkin and Vader talk about the senate and when discussing how the senate will react to Princess Leia being taken, Vader tells someone to send out a distress signal and say all aboard Leia’s ship was killed (like a cover up). The prequels say being a Jedi takes years and considering how Anakin turned evil, Obi-Wan is quick to rush Luke, clearly too old for training with no control over his emotions, into a little light training before deciding he’d be better off guiding Luke as a spirit (I don’t know how that makes someone more powerful if all Jedi can hang out and give advice as spirits).

And Luke takes to everything with success (I know – the force is strong with him) from shooting Stormtroopers (which he does without regret for the people he’s killing even though he’s never killed anyone before), working the Falcon’s laser turret, and flying an X-Wing.

The Voyage Home was easily the best Star Trek film and it gave me more laughs and adventure. I don’t have definitive proof that one is better than the other – it’s an indefensible position. A New Hope is clearly more popular but as a fan of both, I’d rather watch The Voyage Home again.

Star Trek: 2
Star Wars: 2

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