All 13 ‘Star Trek’ Movies Ranked From Worst to Best (Photos)

TheWrap critic Russ Fischer ranks “Star Trek Beyond” among all of the Enterprise crew’s big-screen adventures

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
“Star Trek” borrowing from itself is fine (see a good use of ideas from “The Voyage Home” in “Beyond”), but the second J.J. Abrams film plunders “The Wrath of Khan” like Doctor Frankenstein’s assistant seeking raw monster material. The appropriation and reversal of the emotional crescendo of “Khan” lands with a thud, as does the illogical, witless script and its muddy 9/11 allegory.

Star Trek Nemesis (2002)
There are good elements in the final “Next Generation” outing: Tom Hardy‘s preening, arrogant interactions with Patrick Stewart; Ron Perlman‘s “Nosferatu”-inspired makeup, which looks like a Guillermo del Toro dream; one of Jerry Goldsmith’s final scores. But Stuart Baird’s atonal direction makes for a dull action slog stained with the psychic rape of Deanna Troi — a  scene which becomes merely setup for a battle maneuver. “Star Trek” was forced into a seven-year theatrical hiatus after this movie. Frankly, the break was needed.

Star Trek: The Final Frontier (1989)
William Shatner‘s directorial outing is all about Kirk as an ’80s action hero, but the film oddly undermines the captain as often as it beefs him up. That interesting tension is lost in a plot about Spock’s long-lost half brother, written as a forgettable combination of Jesus and Charlie Manson, seeking God at the far end of the universe. The goofball script, with ideas like Uhura distracting enemies by dancing atop a sand dune, goes full-on silly at the patchy, forgettable climax.

Star Trek Insurrection (1998)
“Insurrection” strives to be lighter than other Next Gen movies, with more jokes and a distracting love affair for Picard, but its “fountain of youth” plot leads to indignities such as Worf suffering a giant zit. A decent story kernel — the Federation is beginning to appear weak and out of date — hides within this film, but few scenes support or expand that idea. Instead, “Insurrection” works with a limited visual and story palette better suited for a TV episode.

Star Trek Generations (1994)
Cinematographer John A. Alonzo (“Chinatown”) ensures this first “Next Generation” movie often looks tremendous, and the opening featuring Kirk, Scotty and Chekov is a pleasant original crew callback. Yet the script’s big-screen ambitions are squandered on a mediocre Enterprise-breaking setpiece. The film’s sagging midsection shows how poorly theatrical films explored Data’s yearning for humanity as a replacement for Spock grappling with the meeting of Vulcan and human instincts. Some good interaction between Kirk and Picard notwithstanding, their meeting is saved for the last reels, and Kirk’s final send-off is so lame that casual viewers probably won’t even remember his fate.

Star Trek First Contact (1996)
The best of the Next Gen movies fuses Borg invasion and time travel plots, throwing the Enterprise-E into Earth’s past on the trail of the cybernetic collective as it attempts to prevent humanity’s first contact with Vulcans, thereby destroying the Federation at its root. “First Contact” has more action than most Picard stories, but it’s still padded with a lot of corridor-crawling filler. For all their visual menace, the Borg aren’t particularly frightening, and even with Alige Krige in the role, the Borg Queen never gels as a villain. Points go to Alfre Woodard, however, for dressing down Picard.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
After the grandeur of “The Wrath of Khan,” director Leonard Nimoy‘s first Trek feature feels cheap, even though it is the first “Star Trek” film to destroy the Enterprise. The Genesis planet created in “Wrath of Khan” is a great setting, but “The Search for Spock” is saddled with stilted staging and mediocre villains driving the plot. This chapter succeeds by bringing Spock back to life in a way that prevents a simple reunion with his former crew members, but it serves best as a bridge between the second and fourth film.

Star Trek Beyond (2016)
The streamlined, effective third outing for the reboot crew is free of baggage — no need to justify its own existence or kooky fan-service tricks. Having firmly defined their roles, the cast has room to play and riff off one another, aided by a script that traps the crew, broken into pairs, on an alien planet. As Kirk says early on, things feel a bit episodic, but that’s “Trek,” and in this case the vibe of “Beyond” is calibrated to evoke the spirit of the Original Series. That task is accomplished well, and while the villain, played by Idris Elba, first seems growlingly rote, he grows into a respectable counter-balance for Kirk.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
The series’ first film is slow even by 1979 standards, though a 2001 director’s cut has better pacing and character work. Even with the glacial movement, the crawl through V’Ger’s environment and loving pans across the Enterprise — a gift to fans who waited a decade for new live-action adventures — are glorious. The story offers a welcome window on the running of the Enterprise and develops the sort of hardcore sci-fi story even “Star Trek” doesn’t often get to do.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Gene Roddenberry often pushed his series to explore stories as allegory for modern life and politics; here “Trek” becomes  a Cold War story in which the Federation and a nearly bankrupt Klingon Empire are dropped into the context of a political thriller. Christopher Plummer adds weight as a key villain in a dark and heavy story that folds in murder mystery elements. It’s not always successful, especially when it comes to obscuring the mystery culprit, but this is a look at the Federation unlike anything else in the “Star Trek” film series.

Star Trek (2009)
The script for J.J. Abrams‘ franchise reboot takes big swings and doesn’t always connect, especially in the villain department. Yet the cast is so well-chosen, with chemistry and charisma to spare, that the new ensemble explores the dynamics of Roddenberry’s old crew with apparent ease. Rather than replicating the interaction between Shatner and Nimoy, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto find their own rhythm and quickly make a case for their versions of the well-known character pair. Sure, the the lighting and camerawork can be distractingly overbearing, but in all other respects the new “Trek” is a warp-speed success.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Aided by an expanded budget and directorial freedom after “The Search for Spock,” director Leonard Nimoy ditched weapons and villains to shoot on location in San Francisco. In what seems like a contradiction for the series, “The Voyage Home” explores the characters in a new light by pitching the crew back in time to rescue two humpback whales in an effort to save Federation-era Earth. The script can veer into the didactic and the sun-slingshot time-travel device is kooky as hell. Even so, this sequel is a wonderfully entertaining high-water mark for the series with some of the best character beats for every crew member.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
To counter the heady and slow-moving debut film, director and co-writer Nicholas Meyer fashioned a high-spirited naval adventure with Ricardo Montalban delivering an all-time melodramatic villain performance and battle scenes energized by James Horner’s ringing score. The movie can turn on a dime, from the opening thrills of the Kobayashi Maru test to the alien weirdness of brain parasites. Spock’s final scenes etch the Kirk/Spock relationship in stone and set the standard for character relationships in genre film as a whole, to say nothing of future “Star Trek” sequels.

TheWrap critic Russ Fischer ranks “Star Trek Beyond” among all of the Enterprise crew’s big-screen adventures

Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
“Star Trek” borrowing from itself is fine (see a good use of ideas from “The Voyage Home” in “Beyond”), but the second J.J. Abrams film plunders “The Wrath of Khan” like Doctor Frankenstein’s assistant seeking raw monster material. The appropriation and reversal of the emotional crescendo of “Khan” lands with a thud, as does the illogical, witless script and its muddy 9/11 allegory.

Star Trek Nemesis (2002)
There are good elements in the final “Next Generation” outing: Tom Hardy‘s preening, arrogant interactions with Patrick Stewart; Ron Perlman‘s “Nosferatu”-inspired makeup, which looks like a Guillermo del Toro dream; one of Jerry Goldsmith’s final scores. But Stuart Baird’s atonal direction makes for a dull action slog stained with the psychic rape of Deanna Troi — a  scene which becomes merely setup for a battle maneuver. “Star Trek” was forced into a seven-year theatrical hiatus after this movie. Frankly, the break was needed.

Star Trek: The Final Frontier (1989)
William Shatner‘s directorial outing is all about Kirk as an ’80s action hero, but the film oddly undermines the captain as often as it beefs him up. That interesting tension is lost in a plot about Spock’s long-lost half brother, written as a forgettable combination of Jesus and Charlie Manson, seeking God at the far end of the universe. The goofball script, with ideas like Uhura distracting enemies by dancing atop a sand dune, goes full-on silly at the patchy, forgettable climax.

Star Trek Insurrection (1998)
“Insurrection” strives to be lighter than other Next Gen movies, with more jokes and a distracting love affair for Picard, but its “fountain of youth” plot leads to indignities such as Worf suffering a giant zit. A decent story kernel — the Federation is beginning to appear weak and out of date — hides within this film, but few scenes support or expand that idea. Instead, “Insurrection” works with a limited visual and story palette better suited for a TV episode.

Star Trek Generations (1994)
Cinematographer John A. Alonzo (“Chinatown”) ensures this first “Next Generation” movie often looks tremendous, and the opening featuring Kirk, Scotty and Chekov is a pleasant original crew callback. Yet the script’s big-screen ambitions are squandered on a mediocre Enterprise-breaking setpiece. The film’s sagging midsection shows how poorly theatrical films explored Data’s yearning for humanity as a replacement for Spock grappling with the meeting of Vulcan and human instincts. Some good interaction between Kirk and Picard notwithstanding, their meeting is saved for the last reels, and Kirk’s final send-off is so lame that casual viewers probably won’t even remember his fate.

Star Trek First Contact (1996)
The best of the Next Gen movies fuses Borg invasion and time travel plots, throwing the Enterprise-E into Earth’s past on the trail of the cybernetic collective as it attempts to prevent humanity’s first contact with Vulcans, thereby destroying the Federation at its root. “First Contact” has more action than most Picard stories, but it’s still padded with a lot of corridor-crawling filler. For all their visual menace, the Borg aren’t particularly frightening, and even with Alige Krige in the role, the Borg Queen never gels as a villain. Points go to Alfre Woodard, however, for dressing down Picard.

Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984)
After the grandeur of “The Wrath of Khan,” director Leonard Nimoy‘s first Trek feature feels cheap, even though it is the first “Star Trek” film to destroy the Enterprise. The Genesis planet created in “Wrath of Khan” is a great setting, but “The Search for Spock” is saddled with stilted staging and mediocre villains driving the plot. This chapter succeeds by bringing Spock back to life in a way that prevents a simple reunion with his former crew members, but it serves best as a bridge between the second and fourth film.

Star Trek Beyond (2016)
The streamlined, effective third outing for the reboot crew is free of baggage — no need to justify its own existence or kooky fan-service tricks. Having firmly defined their roles, the cast has room to play and riff off one another, aided by a script that traps the crew, broken into pairs, on an alien planet. As Kirk says early on, things feel a bit episodic, but that’s “Trek,” and in this case the vibe of “Beyond” is calibrated to evoke the spirit of the Original Series. That task is accomplished well, and while the villain, played by Idris Elba, first seems growlingly rote, he grows into a respectable counter-balance for Kirk.

Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)
The series’ first film is slow even by 1979 standards, though a 2001 director’s cut has better pacing and character work. Even with the glacial movement, the crawl through V’Ger’s environment and loving pans across the Enterprise — a gift to fans who waited a decade for new live-action adventures — are glorious. The story offers a welcome window on the running of the Enterprise and develops the sort of hardcore sci-fi story even “Star Trek” doesn’t often get to do.

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)
Gene Roddenberry often pushed his series to explore stories as allegory for modern life and politics; here “Trek” becomes  a Cold War story in which the Federation and a nearly bankrupt Klingon Empire are dropped into the context of a political thriller. Christopher Plummer adds weight as a key villain in a dark and heavy story that folds in murder mystery elements. It’s not always successful, especially when it comes to obscuring the mystery culprit, but this is a look at the Federation unlike anything else in the “Star Trek” film series.

Star Trek (2009)
The script for J.J. Abrams‘ franchise reboot takes big swings and doesn’t always connect, especially in the villain department. Yet the cast is so well-chosen, with chemistry and charisma to spare, that the new ensemble explores the dynamics of Roddenberry’s old crew with apparent ease. Rather than replicating the interaction between Shatner and Nimoy, Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto find their own rhythm and quickly make a case for their versions of the well-known character pair. Sure, the the lighting and camerawork can be distractingly overbearing, but in all other respects the new “Trek” is a warp-speed success.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)
Aided by an expanded budget and directorial freedom after “The Search for Spock,” director Leonard Nimoy ditched weapons and villains to shoot on location in San Francisco. In what seems like a contradiction for the series, “The Voyage Home” explores the characters in a new light by pitching the crew back in time to rescue two humpback whales in an effort to save Federation-era Earth. The script can veer into the didactic and the sun-slingshot time-travel device is kooky as hell. Even so, this sequel is a wonderfully entertaining high-water mark for the series with some of the best character beats for every crew member.

Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
To counter the heady and slow-moving debut film, director and co-writer Nicholas Meyer fashioned a high-spirited naval adventure with Ricardo Montalban delivering an all-time melodramatic villain performance and battle scenes energized by James Horner’s ringing score. The movie can turn on a dime, from the opening thrills of the Kobayashi Maru test to the alien weirdness of brain parasites. Spock’s final scenes etch the Kirk/Spock relationship in stone and set the standard for character relationships in genre film as a whole, to say nothing of future “Star Trek” sequels.

Sir Patrick Stewart Can’t Answer Your ‘Star Trek’ Technology Questions

Who knew that Sir Patrick Stewart could make even an awards ceremony autocue sound like the work of a great playwright. Stewart acted as the master of ceremonies at the The Academy’s annual Scientific and Technical Awards which took place at the swanky Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills last night, and kicked off the evening […]

Who knew that Sir Patrick Stewart could make even an awards ceremony autocue sound like the work of a great playwright. Stewart acted as the master of ceremonies at the The Academy’s annual Scientific and Technical Awards which took place at the swanky Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills last night, and kicked off the evening […]

Sir Patrick Stewart would love an Oscar nod for Logan (hint hint)

Logan has been having a moderately successful awards season—it was nominated for a handful of Critics’ Choice Awards and a Writers Guild Of America Award for adapted screenplay, and was named one of the 10 best films of 2017 by the National Board Of Review. The Academy Award nominations are announced on January 23,…

Read more…

Logan has been having a moderately successful awards season—it was nominated for a handful of Critics’ Choice Awards and a Writers Guild Of America Award for adapted screenplay, and was named one of the 10 best films of 2017 by the National Board Of Review. The Academy Award nominations are announced on January 23,…

Read more...

From Sam Rockwell to Patrick Stewart: Ranking Contenders for Best Supporting Actor Oscar

We look at eight master actors in contention for five Best Supporting Actor nominations.

There’s more than a few good men lining up for recognition at this year’s Oscars, and they all won’t make the cut. Here’s a roundup of who’s likely to land a nomination slot, as well as a few worthy dark-horse contenders.

Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson

From Venice to Toronto to the Hollywood Foreign Press, “Three Billboards from Ebbing, Missouri” has been wowing audiences and critics. Actually, if the Screen Actors Guild is any indication, the Ozark-set dramedy may score three acting Oscar contenders — Golden Globe winners Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell, as well as Woody Harrelson. It’s a rare sign of strength.

The veteran character actors starred together in McDonagh’s raucous comedy “Seven Psychopaths.” This time out, uncharacteristically, two-time Oscar nominee Harrelson (“The People vs. Larry Flynt,” “The Messenger”) is the straight man of the piece as empathetic cancer-ridden Sheriff Willoughby, who is the target of the wrath of Mildred Hayes (McDormand). Rockwell is Dixon, his bigoted, narrow-minded, incompetent, heavy-drinking mama’s boy of a deputy.

Hayes starts out the movie so frustrated and angry about the rape and murder of her teenage daughter, an unsolved, horrible, year-old crime, that she buys three billboards targeting Sheriff Willoughby for not doing his job. “The premise is about as hardcore as any premise of any movie ever,” said Harrelson. “The emotional value couldn’t be more extreme. Starting there, you are already at a formidable emotional plateau.”

Writer-director Martin McDonagh is “unhinged,” said Rockwell. “He writes unhinged material. It’s such a no-brainer. A script from him is like getting a Christmas present; it’s not the usual thing.” The actors follow McDonagh’s script “like the bible. You don’t mess with it. But he was looser on this than he was on ‘Seven Psychopaths.’ He runs a tight ship, but we had fun. He does want to move the audience with universal themes: revenge, pain, loneliness.”

Harrelson provides “the dramatic relief in this movie,” he said. “I like to do the comedy — especially as funny as my dear friend Martin is. But my character has an important function in the movie; I don’t get the flashy stuff.”

Extra credit: Harrelson has had an amazing run in 2017, from “The Glass Castle” and “LBJ” to “War for the Planet of the Apes.”

Don Knotts as Barney Fife on “The Andy Griffith Show.”

“Sam, you’ve never done a part you weren’t great in,” Harrelson told Rockwell after seeing “Three Billboards,” “but I believe this is your greatest performance.” He is not alone. “It’s an amazing, almost incredible arc in the movie,” Harrelson said. “To go from, you don’t like this guy at all, to you love him by the end.”

For Rockwell, whose gift as an actor is to have both “a funny bone and a dramatic bone,” the simple version of Dixon is “Barney Fife turns into Travis Bickle,” he said. “Martin and I pushed the envelope. We had big comedy bones; if we pushed any further you wouldn’t follow it.”

Playing dumb but likable is harder than it looks. Rockwell looked at Tim Robbins and Robert De Niro’s as baseball players in “Bull Durham” and “Bang the Drum Slowly,” respectively, as well as Tom Hulce as “Amadeus,” he said. “You bring yourself. I’m gullible; you can play a prank on me. You enhance that side of yourself. Gullible comes off as innocent. On film, neurosis and eccentricity comes off as danger.”

Willem Dafoe in “The Florida Project”

Courtesy of A24

Willem Dafoe

Sean Baker’s Cannes pickup “The Florida Project” (A24) gives the veteran New York two-time-Oscar nominee (“Platoon,” “Shadow of the Vampire”) one of his most engaging performances in years. Working with a cast of non-pros including several children, Dafoe’s frustrated and humane motel manager Bobby is the closest thing to a father figure and civilizing force these marginal characters will ever know.

Dafoe’s character was based on a real budget motel manager (John Manning of Polk City, Fla). “I was amazed at the pride he took in his job,” Dafoe said. “Talking to this guy helped orient me to certain kinds of class things, a history, how he carried himself. I see that as really key to the character. Bobby’s kind of an authority figure. I didn’t think about modulation as much as I thought about how to accomplish these tasks. He has a different strategy for every person.”

The actor settled into the Florida motel environment for a week before shooting. “My job was to fit in with them, really,” he told IndieWire. “Because there’s no uniformity to how acting works, you’re always dealing with a wide range of experiences. I think Sean invited me to collaborate with him more than usual, because that’s the nature of the character. He holds things together.”

"Call Me By Your Name"

“Call Me By Your Name”

Stefano Dall'Asta

Michael Stuhlbarg

Sundance launch “Call Me By Your Name” (Sony Pictures Classics) is simple yet sophisticated, an escapist summer fantasy that feels authentic, and a lovely romance between 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and his professor father’s 24-year-old grad student Oliver (Armie Hammer). As classics scholars, Professor Perlman (the never-nominated Michael Stuhlbarg) and Oliver explore the eroticism of Greek statues and fine art; Perlman admires the Grecian ideal of love between two men; he wishes he had experienced what Elio and Oliver shared that summer.

The pivotal scene is a simple one: a concerned father and weepy son sit on the couch in Professor Perlman’s book-lined study. However, the actor’s performance — with an extensive monologue that reveals a father’s insight as well as longing for what might have been — transcends its setting.

Guadagnino shot the film in chronological order, so Stuhlbarg was able to watch what his movie son went through right up to his payoff scene. “I had a number of weeks in a row to watch Timothée and Armie get to know each other, get to know each other’s fears,” said Stuhlbarg. “When it came time for that scene to be shot, I had a lot of time to be inspired by what they had been doing, how brave and game they were to tell this beautiful story. As my relationship with them grew over time, getting to say what I got to say became richer as I lived with it and worked on it alone. [The character] says a lot of beautiful things [and] one in particular resonates: ‘What a shame it is for us as we get older to push away the feelings and experiences we have.’ He’s encouraging his son not to do that, to feel what you’re going through right now. It’s a beautiful sentiment: What a shame it would be to ignore what your feelings are.”

Richard Jenkins and Doug Jones in the film THE SHAPE OF WATER. Photo Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures. © 2017 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved

Richard Jenkins opposite Doug Jones in “The Shape of Water”

Fox Searchlight

Richard Jenkins

Like Octavia Spencer, in “The Shape of Water” the veteran character actor helped bring to expressive life his mute neighbor Eliza (Sally Hawkins) as he joined this peculiar gang of outsiders assembled by Guillermo del Toro.

Jenkins had to “learn how to sign, as that’s the only way she can talk to me,” he said. “It’s proximity. She’s next door. If I was going to be her friend, I had to learn to watch what she’s saying through her hands. I brought her into my world, musicals, teaching her about Betty Grable and Jimmy Cagney.”

Del Toro’s detailed ’60s-period sets helped to define Jenkins’ gay artist. “My apartment is authentic, of the period, with a Murphy bed, all the tools of an artist. But it’s not real. It’s otherworldly. Del Toro speaks in film language.”

The pivotal scene comes when Hawkins demands that he help her rescue her beloved merman (Doug Jones) from certain death at her government lab, and he selfishly refuses. “I was moved in rehearsal when she says, ‘He sees me as I am.’ But while we were doing it, I wasn’t moved by what she said to me. It felt right. It’s only afterward, when he realizes she’s his only friend — I don’t know what this thing is, but it’s important to her. He goes from a fish in a tank to her fiancée in that amount of time.”

“Darkest Hour”

Ben Mendelsohn

“Darkest Hour” is dominated by Golden Globe winner Gary Oldman, but Australian Emmy-winner Mendelsohn brings unexpected gravitas and intensity to his portrayal of the skeptical yet empathetic King George VI. “I’m a suburban Australian creature,” he said, “so playing a head of state brings an element of a surprise. He’s a good guy, a nice guy. There is enough of resemblance. Sadly, I don’t look like Colin Firth, but look on the back of the coin, look at me certain angle with a squint, you can be fooled.”

He didn’t have to deal with “The King’s Speech” stammer. “By the time we see these guys, he’s done a lot of that work. On the newsreels you see an uncomfortable pause, not the classical stutter. I tried very hard to just try and sound like a royal. Those accents are difficult. It’s one thing to achieve the sound, but you have got to live in it and move in it.”

The pivotal scene is when King George visits Churchill is his rooms — as the Prime Minister makes the crucial decision to go to war with Adolf Hitler. The King “did come forward to support that position; the threat was real,” said Mendelsohn. Director Joe Wright took two long days “to muck around and find it, we had a lot of things to figure out. Joe creates real atmospherics.”

“Dunkirk”

Melinda Sue Gordon

Kenneth Branagh

In “Dunkirk,” the actor has precious little time as the British Commander Bolton in which to lay out valuable, authoritative exposition in an action epic with few words. “This was a time to understand once again that creative satisfaction and effectiveness were not directly linked to the equation of screen time or dialogue,” Branagh said. “It’s the quality of the moments and how they are executed and how Chris sets it up. Chris talked about the critical nature of the character. Given his maturity relative to the other characters, life was written on his face differently.”

Bolton marked the epitome of the British character ideal, said Branagh: “‘Dunkirk’ captures our brand: dignity, stoicism, gallantry, civility, an innate sense of the cardinal sin to show off — or to emote.” He leaned on his own late father: “He was the most emotional man, who spent his life trying to hide it, and was never successful. Bolton was someone to hang on, others took their looks from him. We have to be there for the French and if the Germans are coming back, so be it. There’s un-noisy self-sacrifice there.”

The setting helped. “On the first day, I walk along the vast beach of Dunkirk and get a great big drink of historical context as I walk through 1,000 soldiers to get to my first position. We were all aware of the vast manpower and the crew beyond, two massive boats on other side of the mole, accompanied by the information that the tide was dropping and we had to get this now, the spitfire is coming. You look eye to eye with Nolan standing next to the camera, and feel all the noise falling away. I am always looking at where the vision is behind the whole operation, the ear of the project is right at the moment of capture.”

Branagh recognizes how carefully Nolan assembled the intricate time scheme of the movie, while remaining an entertainer. “The detail of the interweaving and overlapping meant there was a profound layer of telling. Nolan carefully planned and articulated the grand scheme as well as an improvised painting in front of a massive canvas.”

Extra credit: Branagh has four Oscar nominations: acting and directing “Henry V,” acting in “My Week with Marilyn,” and directing the 1992 short “Swan Song.” He recently directed the holiday widescreen spectacle “Murder on the Orient Express,” which could earn several craft nominations, including one for the song “Never Forget” sung by Michelle Pfeiffer and co-written by Branagh.

Patrick Stewart in “Logan”

Patrick Stewart

“Logan” brought the veteran actor’s six-movie “X-Men” exploration of Charles Xavier to a final close. He didn’t realize it was really the end until the premiere screening in Berlin, when he and Hugh Jackman got emotional and held hands. “It was very emotional… We are all saying goodbye.”

Writer-director James Mangold first visited Stewart in his Broadway dressing room for “Waiting for Godot” to pitch the story of an aging Xavier and Logan in a familial last-act drama. “It’s been 17 years since we did the first one,” he said. “I was very fond of Charles. Which is what made this project so interesting: The Charles we had gotten to know over six movies was not the same person. It was fascinating to explore how far away from his well-known personality and character and manner he had gone in this, how extreme we could be.”

First, the character was 20 years older. “The man had been brilliant intellectually, compassionate, articulate, with some humor,” Stewart said, “with great passion for the people he worked with, the other mutants. But he’s limited as to how active he could be. From the beginning, I found that limitation interesting, and could compensate for it. Now his mind is so unraveled; he’s so ill and old and disturbed and depressed — and potentially very dangerous and violent and not in control of his powers.”

The pivotal scene: Stewart appreciated that “Logan” focused on “human drama, not dependent on special effects,” he said. His favorite scene is the introduction of Logan and the paternal Xavier, out of his mind. “The two men are exhausted and ill and worried and unhappy,” said Stewart, “trying to find some way they could survive. It’s a survival scene. I had to chart moving backward and forward between the moments of understanding and control, when Charles knew who he was and knew what he had to do, and when he was out of control and angry and depressed.”

Sign Up: Stay on top of the latest breaking film and TV news! Sign up for our Email Newsletters here.

11 Breakout Movie Stars of 2017: From Tiffany Haddish to Timothee Chalamet (Photos)

Tiffany Haddish

Tiffany Haddish had been lauded for her breakout performance in Universal’s “Girls Trip,” and even won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the New York Film Critics Circle for her role. Now, she has four other projects coming up: “All Between Us,” “The Oath,” “Limited Partners” and “Night School.”

Bill Skarsgard

Who could forget Bill Skarsgard’s creepy Pennywise in “It?” The actor haunted kids all over the world in September but also starred in “Atomic Blonde” this year. He will next star in “Castle Rock,” “Assassination Nation” and the “It” sequel.

Sofia Boutella

Yes, the actress also was front and center in 2015’s “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” but this year, she was all over the place. Her steamy sex scene with Charlize Theron in “Atomic Blonde” made headlines, and the 35-year-old also had the villainous lead in “The Mummy.”

Daniel Kaluuya

“Get Out” has received praise from critics and fans alike, and Daniel Kaluuya received similar acclaim for his lead role in the film. He’s been nominated for a Golden Globe this year.

Brooklynn Prince

The darling 7-year-old charmed audiences in Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project” this year, which is garnering up awards buzz. The role has gotten her several nominations, including Gotham Award for Breakthrough Actor.

Timothee Chalamet

Timothee Chalamet is in the awards race with not one, but two films: “Call Me by Your Name” and “Lady Bird.” The former is giving him strong Best Actor nods, and we’re sure we’ll be seeing Chalamet in more movies soon.

Dafne Keen

Dafnee Keen’s performance as X23 in “Logan” was extremely memorable — and her audition tape itself was lauded as one of the most extraordinary audition tapes Patrick Stewart has ever seen.

Related stories from TheWrap:

15 Most-Watched TV Specials of 2017: From Oscars to AMAs (Photos)

‘Star Wars’ Is Officially One of the Worst Passwords of 2017

‘My Family’s Slave’ Named Most Engaging Story of 2017

13 Biggest TV Cliffhangers of 2017, From ‘Riverdale’ to ‘Stranger Things’ (Photos)

Tiffany Haddish

Tiffany Haddish had been lauded for her breakout performance in Universal’s “Girls Trip,” and even won the Best Supporting Actress Award at the New York Film Critics Circle for her role. Now, she has four other projects coming up: “All Between Us,” “The Oath,” “Limited Partners” and “Night School.”

Bill Skarsgard

Who could forget Bill Skarsgard’s creepy Pennywise in “It?” The actor haunted kids all over the world in September but also starred in “Atomic Blonde” this year. He will next star in “Castle Rock,” “Assassination Nation” and the “It” sequel.

Sofia Boutella

Yes, the actress also was front and center in 2015’s “Kingsman: The Secret Service,” but this year, she was all over the place. Her steamy sex scene with Charlize Theron in “Atomic Blonde” made headlines, and the 35-year-old also had the villainous lead in “The Mummy.”

Daniel Kaluuya

“Get Out” has received praise from critics and fans alike, and Daniel Kaluuya received similar acclaim for his lead role in the film. He’s been nominated for a Golden Globe this year.

Brooklynn Prince

The darling 7-year-old charmed audiences in Sean Baker’s “The Florida Project” this year, which is garnering up awards buzz. The role has gotten her several nominations, including Gotham Award for Breakthrough Actor.

Timothee Chalamet

Timothee Chalamet is in the awards race with not one, but two films: “Call Me by Your Name” and “Lady Bird.” The former is giving him strong Best Actor nods, and we’re sure we’ll be seeing Chalamet in more movies soon.

Dafne Keen

Dafnee Keen’s performance as X23 in “Logan” was extremely memorable — and her audition tape itself was lauded as one of the most extraordinary audition tapes Patrick Stewart has ever seen.

Related stories from TheWrap:

15 Most-Watched TV Specials of 2017: From Oscars to AMAs (Photos)

'Star Wars' Is Officially One of the Worst Passwords of 2017

'My Family's Slave' Named Most Engaging Story of 2017

13 Biggest TV Cliffhangers of 2017, From 'Riverdale' to 'Stranger Things' (Photos)

20 Essential Movie and TV Scrooges Through the Years, From Alastair Sim to Bill Murray (Photos)

In 2018, Charles Dickens’ classic novella “A Christmas Carol” turns 175, but its utility as a springboard for movie and TV adaptations shows no signs of slowing down. It’s a classic story of regret and redemption, and its lead character Ebenezer Scrooge offers an arc from misery and cruelty to love and kindness that’s catnip for any actor or actress. (I watched a sleighful of Scrooges for my book “Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas” and am doing you the service of keeping the Barbie and “All Dogs Go to Heaven” versions off this list.)

Here’s a look at 20 performers who have put their own unique spin on “Bah! Humbug!”

Seymour Hicks, “Scrooge” (1935): There were a few silent versions, but this was the screen’s first talking Scrooge, in a version that’s early-talkie through and through, from the technical limitations (the camera doesn’t move much, and there’s not even an attempt to show Marley’s ghost) to the big, theatrical performances, Hicks’ included.

Reginald Owen, “A Christmas Carol” (1938): Owen was best known for comedy, so there’s a sprightliness to his take on the role, even though his Ebenezer is certainly a crabby old skinflint for much of the film. This 69-minute feature from MGM is a good non-animated starter version for kids.

Alastair Sim, “A Christmas Carol” (US)/”Scrooge” (UK) (1951): Generally acknowledged to be the greatest of the screen Scrooges, and he deserves the reputation. There’s a real commitment to the role’s extremes of both wickedness and joy, and Sim is never less that magnetic in the role. (It helps that this is, overall, a terrific adaptation.)

Basil Rathbone, “The Stingiest Man in Town” (1956): This made-for-TV musical version rarely surfaces these days, and that’s a pity, particularly since Rathbone’s patented brand of hammy villainy suits the character so very well. If you can’t find this one, check out Rathbone’s equally Scrooge-y turn in the Christmas-set comedy “We’re No Angels” (1955).

Mister Magoo (voiced by Jim Backus), “Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol” (1962): Even though the character of Mister Magoo was kindly (if terribly near-sighted), the producers of this very first animated holiday program produced for television wanted his name value, so the set-up is that Magoo is playing Scrooge onstage in a Broadway musical (with songs by the legendary Jule Styne); the results are delightful.

Albert Finney, “Scrooge” (1970): A personal favorite, at least partly because Finney is one of the only actors to play the character both as a young man and as the craggy old coot he later becomes. Seeing him start out full of vitality before becoming stooped with greed makes the story all the more poignant.

Henry Winkler, “An American Christmas Carol” (1979): This version transposes the story from Victorian England to Depression-era America, and while the old-age makeup isn’t the most convincing, Winkler successfully puts a Yankee stamp on this most British of characters. (Not to be confused with the dreadful 2008 right-wing propaganda piece, “An American Carol.”)

Scrooge McDuck (voiced by Alan Young), “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” (1983): Well, talk about a performer who was born to play the role. McDuck works his trademark Scottish-cheapskate-isms into what has become a favorite version for generations of kids who grew up watching it.

George C. Scott, “A Christmas Carol” (1984): This lush made-for-TV version (directed by Clive Donner, who edited the Alastair Sim version) is anchored by a fearsome and funny turn by Scott, who seems to delight in Scrooge’s penny-pinchery more than most. Where other performers shout, he traffics more in quiet menace.

Bill Murray, “Scrooged” (1988): As network exec Frank Cross, Murray oversees vulgar and idiotic holiday-themed programming while ignoring his family and overworking his put-upon assistant (played by Alfre Woodard). There’s no middle ground on this broad performance; either it works for you — and for many, it does — or you’ll change channels.

Michael Caine, “The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992): Caine makes for a fearsome old skinflint, and what makes the performance work is that he never behaves as though there’s anything strange about the fact that his co-stars are a frog and several mice and a bear and a pig and a…whatever Gonzo is.

Susan Lucci, “Ebbie” (1995): The “Scrooge is a ruthless career woman” sub-genre starts here, and Lucci is one of the best at playing a heartless climber faced with learning some hard lessons at Christmastime. Her performance as a cold-hearted department-store magnate is one of the TV movie’s strongest assets.

Cicely Tyson, “Ms. Scrooge” (1997): You would think that an actress as formidable as Tyson would take to the role of cruel moneylender Ebenita Scrooge like a goose to stuffing, particularly since she’s reteamed with John Korty, who directed her in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.” Alas, she overplays (and sounds jarringly like W.C. Fields).

Patrick Stewart, “A Christmas Carol” (1999): Onstage, Stewart played all the roles, but in this made-for-cable film he’s a younger (but no less meaner) Scrooge than usual. His delight in rolling Dickens’ original dialogue around in his mouth is infectious.

Vanessa Williams, “A Diva’s Christmas Carol” (2000): This playful transposition of the story into the world of turn-of-the-21st-century pop — the Ghost of Christmas Future is an unflattering episode of VH1’s “Behind the Music” — benefits greatly from Williams’ delightful hauteur as the titular diva.

Tori Spelling, “A Carol Christmas” (2003): You might be shocked to learn that Spelling is surprisingly effective as the host of a tacky daytime talk show who gets knocked down a peg after visits from ghosts played by William Shatner and Gary Coleman. This movie’s tongue may be firmly in cheek, but its heart is in the right place.

Kelsey Grammer, “A Christmas Carol: The Musical” (2004): This made-for-TV production must have looked good on paper, between Grammer’s mellifluous hambonery to a talented supporting cast (Jane Krakowski, Jason Alexander, Jesse L. Martin) to original songs by Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens, but it never coalesces. And neither does Grammer’s performance.

Jim Carrey, “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” (2009): The rubbery faces and dead eyes of director Robert Zemeckis’ motion-capture characters don’t help matters much here, and neither does Carrey overacting as broadly here as he did playing another iconic holiday villain in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” (Too much to be contained by just one character, Carrey also plays the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.)

Emmanuelle Vaugier, “It’s Christmas, Carol!” (2012): The phrase, “Well, she’s no Tori Spelling” isn’t uttered too often, but it’s a fair critique of Vaugier’s fairly featureless performance in a TV-movie so low-budget that the late Carrie Fisher’s Marley-esque character has to take on all the ghost duties single-handedly.

Christopher Plummer, “The Man Who Invented Christmas” (2017): In this fairly tedious movie about the writing of “A Christmas Carol,” Scrooge mainly hangs around to harangue Dickens (Dan Stevens) over how long it’s taking him to finish the story. But Plummer is so delectably diabolical that you’ll wish someone would just build a straightforward adaptation around him.

Related stories from TheWrap:

‘The Man Who Invented Christmas’ Film Review: Scrooge’s Origin Story Is a Bit of a Humbug

Ice Cube to Put His Spin on Scrooge in Universal’s ‘Humbug’

Did Disney’s ‘Uncle Scrooge’ Inspire WB’s ‘Inception’?

Bill Maher Shows Donald Trump an Alternative Reality ala ‘A Christmas Carol’ (Video)

In 2018, Charles Dickens’ classic novella “A Christmas Carol” turns 175, but its utility as a springboard for movie and TV adaptations shows no signs of slowing down. It’s a classic story of regret and redemption, and its lead character Ebenezer Scrooge offers an arc from misery and cruelty to love and kindness that’s catnip for any actor or actress. (I watched a sleighful of Scrooges for my book “Have Yourself a Movie Little Christmas” and am doing you the service of keeping the Barbie and “All Dogs Go to Heaven” versions off this list.)

Here’s a look at 20 performers who have put their own unique spin on “Bah! Humbug!”

Seymour Hicks, “Scrooge” (1935): There were a few silent versions, but this was the screen’s first talking Scrooge, in a version that’s early-talkie through and through, from the technical limitations (the camera doesn’t move much, and there’s not even an attempt to show Marley’s ghost) to the big, theatrical performances, Hicks’ included.

Reginald Owen, “A Christmas Carol” (1938): Owen was best known for comedy, so there’s a sprightliness to his take on the role, even though his Ebenezer is certainly a crabby old skinflint for much of the film. This 69-minute feature from MGM is a good non-animated starter version for kids.

Alastair Sim, “A Christmas Carol” (US)/”Scrooge” (UK) (1951): Generally acknowledged to be the greatest of the screen Scrooges, and he deserves the reputation. There’s a real commitment to the role’s extremes of both wickedness and joy, and Sim is never less that magnetic in the role. (It helps that this is, overall, a terrific adaptation.)

Basil Rathbone, “The Stingiest Man in Town” (1956): This made-for-TV musical version rarely surfaces these days, and that’s a pity, particularly since Rathbone’s patented brand of hammy villainy suits the character so very well. If you can’t find this one, check out Rathbone’s equally Scrooge-y turn in the Christmas-set comedy “We’re No Angels” (1955).

Mister Magoo (voiced by Jim Backus), “Mister Magoo’s Christmas Carol” (1962): Even though the character of Mister Magoo was kindly (if terribly near-sighted), the producers of this very first animated holiday program produced for television wanted his name value, so the set-up is that Magoo is playing Scrooge onstage in a Broadway musical (with songs by the legendary Jule Styne); the results are delightful.

Albert Finney, “Scrooge” (1970): A personal favorite, at least partly because Finney is one of the only actors to play the character both as a young man and as the craggy old coot he later becomes. Seeing him start out full of vitality before becoming stooped with greed makes the story all the more poignant.

Henry Winkler, “An American Christmas Carol” (1979): This version transposes the story from Victorian England to Depression-era America, and while the old-age makeup isn’t the most convincing, Winkler successfully puts a Yankee stamp on this most British of characters. (Not to be confused with the dreadful 2008 right-wing propaganda piece, “An American Carol.”)

Scrooge McDuck (voiced by Alan Young), “Mickey’s Christmas Carol” (1983): Well, talk about a performer who was born to play the role. McDuck works his trademark Scottish-cheapskate-isms into what has become a favorite version for generations of kids who grew up watching it.

George C. Scott, “A Christmas Carol” (1984): This lush made-for-TV version (directed by Clive Donner, who edited the Alastair Sim version) is anchored by a fearsome and funny turn by Scott, who seems to delight in Scrooge’s penny-pinchery more than most. Where other performers shout, he traffics more in quiet menace.

Bill Murray, “Scrooged” (1988): As network exec Frank Cross, Murray oversees vulgar and idiotic holiday-themed programming while ignoring his family and overworking his put-upon assistant (played by Alfre Woodard). There’s no middle ground on this broad performance; either it works for you — and for many, it does — or you’ll change channels.

Michael Caine, “The Muppet Christmas Carol” (1992): Caine makes for a fearsome old skinflint, and what makes the performance work is that he never behaves as though there’s anything strange about the fact that his co-stars are a frog and several mice and a bear and a pig and a…whatever Gonzo is.

Susan Lucci, “Ebbie” (1995): The “Scrooge is a ruthless career woman” sub-genre starts here, and Lucci is one of the best at playing a heartless climber faced with learning some hard lessons at Christmastime. Her performance as a cold-hearted department-store magnate is one of the TV movie’s strongest assets.

Cicely Tyson, “Ms. Scrooge” (1997): You would think that an actress as formidable as Tyson would take to the role of cruel moneylender Ebenita Scrooge like a goose to stuffing, particularly since she’s reteamed with John Korty, who directed her in “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman.” Alas, she overplays (and sounds jarringly like W.C. Fields).

Patrick Stewart, “A Christmas Carol” (1999): Onstage, Stewart played all the roles, but in this made-for-cable film he’s a younger (but no less meaner) Scrooge than usual. His delight in rolling Dickens’ original dialogue around in his mouth is infectious.

Vanessa Williams, “A Diva’s Christmas Carol” (2000): This playful transposition of the story into the world of turn-of-the-21st-century pop — the Ghost of Christmas Future is an unflattering episode of VH1’s “Behind the Music” — benefits greatly from Williams’ delightful hauteur as the titular diva.

Tori Spelling, “A Carol Christmas” (2003): You might be shocked to learn that Spelling is surprisingly effective as the host of a tacky daytime talk show who gets knocked down a peg after visits from ghosts played by William Shatner and Gary Coleman. This movie’s tongue may be firmly in cheek, but its heart is in the right place.

Kelsey Grammer, “A Christmas Carol: The Musical” (2004): This made-for-TV production must have looked good on paper, between Grammer’s mellifluous hambonery to a talented supporting cast (Jane Krakowski, Jason Alexander, Jesse L. Martin) to original songs by Alan Menken and Lynn Ahrens, but it never coalesces. And neither does Grammer’s performance.

Jim Carrey, “Disney’s A Christmas Carol” (2009): The rubbery faces and dead eyes of director Robert Zemeckis’ motion-capture characters don’t help matters much here, and neither does Carrey overacting as broadly here as he did playing another iconic holiday villain in “How the Grinch Stole Christmas.” (Too much to be contained by just one character, Carrey also plays the Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present and Future.)

Emmanuelle Vaugier, “It’s Christmas, Carol!” (2012): The phrase, “Well, she’s no Tori Spelling” isn’t uttered too often, but it’s a fair critique of Vaugier’s fairly featureless performance in a TV-movie so low-budget that the late Carrie Fisher’s Marley-esque character has to take on all the ghost duties single-handedly.

Christopher Plummer, “The Man Who Invented Christmas” (2017): In this fairly tedious movie about the writing of “A Christmas Carol,” Scrooge mainly hangs around to harangue Dickens (Dan Stevens) over how long it’s taking him to finish the story. But Plummer is so delectably diabolical that you’ll wish someone would just build a straightforward adaptation around him.

Related stories from TheWrap:

'The Man Who Invented Christmas' Film Review: Scrooge's Origin Story Is a Bit of a Humbug

Ice Cube to Put His Spin on Scrooge in Universal's 'Humbug'

Did Disney's 'Uncle Scrooge' Inspire WB's 'Inception'?

Bill Maher Shows Donald Trump an Alternative Reality ala 'A Christmas Carol' (Video)

25 Scene Stealers of 2017, From Robin Wright in ‘Wonder Woman’ to Pennywise’s Creepy Smile (Photos)

 

From Kenneth Branagh’s mustache in “Murder on the Orient Express” to Dante in “Coco,” movies this year had some epic moments.

Porgs in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Come on — how can these little cuties not steal the show?

Tiffany Haddish in “Girls Trip”

Haddish’s breakout role has been lauded by critics and fans alike, and the actress won Best Supporting Actress at the New York Film Critics Circle.

LilRel Howery in “Get Out” 

No spoilers, but LilRel Howery is super important in the satirical comedy.

Armie Hammer’s dancing in “Call Me by Your Name”

Armie Hammer’s psychedelic-like dance stole the show in the romantic drama — at TheWrap’s screening of the film, Hammer said there was no music and everyone had to watch him dance on set.

Baby Groot in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

Enough said.

Dafne Keen in “Logan”

Back in March, everyone was already talking about the actress playing X23. She’s one of the best parts about the movie (of course, so is Patrick Stewart).

Steve Zahn as Bad Ape in “War for the Planet of the Apes”

If you’re telling us you weren’t totally enamored with Zahn’s Bad Ape in this movie, you have no soul.

 

 

From Kenneth Branagh’s mustache in “Murder on the Orient Express” to Dante in “Coco,” movies this year had some epic moments.

Porgs in “Star Wars: The Last Jedi”

Come on — how can these little cuties not steal the show?

Tiffany Haddish in “Girls Trip”

Haddish’s breakout role has been lauded by critics and fans alike, and the actress won Best Supporting Actress at the New York Film Critics Circle.

LilRel Howery in “Get Out” 

No spoilers, but LilRel Howery is super important in the satirical comedy.

Armie Hammer’s dancing in “Call Me by Your Name”

Armie Hammer’s psychedelic-like dance stole the show in the romantic drama — at TheWrap’s screening of the film, Hammer said there was no music and everyone had to watch him dance on set.

Baby Groot in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2”

Enough said.

Dafne Keen in “Logan”

Back in March, everyone was already talking about the actress playing X23. She’s one of the best parts about the movie (of course, so is Patrick Stewart).

Steve Zahn as Bad Ape in “War for the Planet of the Apes”

If you’re telling us you weren’t totally enamored with Zahn’s Bad Ape in this movie, you have no soul.