Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
A drastic shift from the style, approach, and tone of the last several Star Trek movies, this movie goes for a fish-out-of-water story with tons of jokes and no clear-cut villain. And honestly, after the relatively unenjoyable and forgettable third entry I found myself quite entertained. I usually despise fish-out-of-water movies, but for whatever reason the levity and somewhat sarcastic and friendly approach this movie took to the threat of the destruction of Earth was very welcome indeed. The characters are all given great moments, the story was most definitely different from anything else I've seen in Star Trek, and the pro-environmental message worked much better here than in most other movies that try something similar (Ferngully, for example, gave me AIDS). For a non-Trekkie, this is a wonderful bit of '80s cheese. Good fun.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
Possibly the most maligned film in the entire 13 film franchise, this Shatner-directed bit of disorganized nonsense isn't necessary awful, but is easily the weakest of the first generation movies. There are some good moments (though I can't name any right now...so maybe there weren't), the pacing is tedious, and I didn't find myself incredibly interested in what was happening for a majority of its runtime. Shatner clearly didn't like Nimoy stealing any of his thunder after having directed two Trek movies, so he took on the role of director and had no idea what to do from there. Far too serious for its own good, this movie attempts to tackle religious themes but ultimately falls flat. I didn't hate it like a lot of other people do, but I don't feel the need to see it again.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Equal parts murder mystery, prison drama, and space opera, this sixth and final first generation movie wasn't as gimmicky as the time-traveling 1980s fish-out-of-water screwball enviro-comedy that part IV was, but definitely tried something new and I think it worked pretty well. In spite of some very bizarre and painful CG effects, this movie had a lot going for it, including Christopher Plummer...among other things. As mentioned before there is a murder mystery element to this that reminded me of a science fiction version of something by Agatha Christie. Sadly there aren't enough moving parts and developed side characters to make this plot work as well as it could, but it was still interesting and fun to watch unfold -- albeit fairly predictable. I didn't love this movie, but it ended on a strong note and let fans bid a fond farewell to heroes they knew and loved. And then Generations happened. But that's for next time.