I’d forgotten how good STAR TREK IV: The Voyage Home (1986) actually was until I rewatched it. An alien probe (in some ways the weakest bit—it could as easily be V’ger from the first film) begins destroying Earth in its quest for contact with now-extinct humpback whales, forcing the Enterprise crew (flying a Klingon ship due to losing the Enterprise in the previous film) to travel back to the present to bring back a pair of humpbacks). Winning, entertaining and it handles the anachronism jokes well. Unfortunately the rebirth of the Enterprise obviously packs less punch now than it did. With Catherine Hicks as a cetacean expert. All rights to poster with current holder“Can you direct me to the naval base in Alameida? It’s where they keep the nuclear weapons.”
STAR TREK (2009) has a time-traveling Romulan’s attempt to kill Spock create a divergent timeline in which Kirk is a reckless brawler strongly inclined to disrespect authority (from what we know of Kirk’s early years, in the original timeline he was a serious, very focused student), Vulcan blows up and Scottie (Simon Pegg) is stuck at an isolated base with no hope of proving his theories of how to teleport people across space. Entertaining, but I think I agree with a friend of mine that JJ Abrams doesn’t really get Star Trek as anything other than a space opera story (certainly Into Darkness was a mess).
STAR WRECK: In the Pirkinning (2005) was the first full-length film in a long-running Finnish series of Trek parodies. Taking off from the previous film’s parody of First Contact (I haven’t seen that film yet, though I will soon), it has Captain Pirk and his crew (including Dwarf, Info and the Russian Fukov) still stuck in the past until they manipulate the Russian president into building them a spaceship to conquer the world (unsurprisingly Stupid Russians is apparently comic gold in Finland). With the world conquered, Pirk then takes his crew into an alternate universe where they battle a counterpart of Babylon 5. Not without some fun moments, but too much of the humor relies on giving characters parody names (that only gets you so far) and while I like Babylon 5 it’s been so long since I’ve seen it that I didn’t always remember what they were parodying (a common problem for parody) “It is my right to make speeches and nobody will deny me!”
THE RIDE (2003) is the kind of film that slipped through the cracks of several time-travel website as it’s a primarily a surfing film in which the protagonist drowns, wakes up in 1911, suffers the usual anachronistic confusion, meets the usual Pretty Girl (who turns out to be the sister of the Hawaiian who introduced surfing to the world) and of course learns valuable life lessons. I don’t think I’d have liked this even if I were into surfing, and the Pretty Girl’s double turning up at the end is even less likely a romance than usual (would you want to date someone who used to sleep with your great-grandmother?). “You’re too young to reminisce.”
FREEJACK (1992) is a really bad adaptation of Robert Sheckley’s imaginative Immortality Inc., a mindless action film that could have dropped the time-travel angle completely. Emilio Estevez plays a race-car driver pulled 18 years into the future to become the host for Anthony Hopkins’ (phoning it in as a corporate mogul) brain transplant (because in 1992, the environment is so pure that bodies are better!), going on the run from thuggish bodysnatcher Mick Jagger and trying to find old lover Rene Russo (who does a good job subtly aging in her body language). Amanda Plummer steals several scenes as a pottymouth nun and Jonathan Banks gives a nice cold-fish performance as Hopkins’ scheming flunky. “Applause? You couldn’t get the clap if you were in a whorehouse.”