Take out the alien menace, the love interest and the damaged vessel part, and you still have good Trek. Rounding out the ‘Spock Trilogy’, Shatner required a Kirk vehicle, and this film delivered. Originally planned to co-star Eddie Murphy (yeah, The Golden Child was a better choice, right) as the geek whale biologist, this film rebounded to be a better popcorn movie.
Everyone on the crew does their share, and Kirk gets in nearly every scene. Mission complete. Nimoy makes a great directorial save, following ‘Trek III’, and proves he deserved the center seat. The story moves along nicely, even past the opening, and ties together well at the end, introducing the ‘new’ Enterprise designation and giving the opening to TNG Enterprise.
Social message or no, this one ranks as #3 on the best Trek list for me, rounding out II and VI. Keep in mind, this doesn’t reflect ‘Star Trek’ or ‘Into Darkness’ as then it slides down to #5 (5 out of 11 ain’t bad).