Watch Last Eight Star Trek Movie Reviews From ‘At The Movies’

The balcony is going to close for the final for At the Movies, the long-running syndicated film review show has been cancelled. At the Movies made Gene Siskel and Roger Ebert household names and the show is still on the air now hosted by AO Scott and Michael Phillips, but it will end its run on syndication this year. In honor of this show, TrekMovie looks back at the Siskel & Ebert (and guest host) video reviews of eight Star Trek movies.


Three decades of At the Movies & Star Trek

Originally Siskel and Ebert at the Movies the ‘At the Movies’ show was launched in the Fall of 1986, just in time to review Star Trek IV. Siskel and Ebert went on to review five more Star Trek films together up through Insurrection in 1998, with Ebert and Roeper reviewing Nemesis and guest reviewers reviewing the Star Trek film in 2009. Below is a summary of each review plus a link to the video review for each on the At The Movies Website.

Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)

Ebert: Thumbs Up
"Only in Star Trek do you have a scene that starts out in outer space and winds up in San Francisco and saving a whale."

Siskel: Thumbs Up
"One of those rarest of birds, a sequel better than the original."

CLICK to watch "Voyage Home" review at AtTheMovies

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989)

Ebert: Thumbs Down
"Only going to be of interest mainly to Trekkies, and only so they can analyze what is wrong with it."

Siskel: Thumbs Down
"There is no energy in this picture whatsoever."

CLICK to watch "Final Frontier" review at AtTheMovies

Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991)

Ebert: Thumbs Up
"When the film works best is when we simply see this familiar group of characters together in a series of close-ups. You know what? They like each-other and we like them for that, and you can’t fake that."

Siskel: Thumbs Up
"It’s a strange thing with these movies. One, Three and Five were bad and Two, Four and Six were good."

CLICK to watch "Undiscovered Country" review at AtTheMovies

Star Trek: Generations (1994)

Ebert: Thumbs Down
"The premise is silly, but even sillier is the ending which boils down to an old-fashioned fist fight."

Siskel: Thumbs Up
"I enjoyed the camaraderie."

CLICK to watch "Generations" review at AtTheMovies

Star Trek: First Contact (1996)

Ebert: Thumbs Up
"One of the best and brightest of the series, combining improved special effects with the continuing twin obsessions of Star Trek: the line between past and future and the line between human and non-human."

Siskel: Thumbs Up
"I think it is the best of the series, everything seems sharper than ever before."

CLICK to watch "First Contact" review at AtTheMovies

Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)

Ebert: Thumbs Down
"The whole movie is less than compelling. It feels creaky as it grinds through a fairly standard plot."

Siskel: Thumbs Up
"I wanted to move into that planet and I think that is the drive here."

CLICK to watch "Insurrection" review at AtTheMovies

NOTE: Insurrection was one of Siskel’s last film reviews before passing away in early 1999. Siskel was later replaced by Richard Roeper.

Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

Ebert: Thumbs Down
"I have seen these movies since forever and I think it is time for a retread."

Roeper: Thumbs Up
"Nemesis is a worthy edition to the Star Trek Federation of movies."

CLICK to watch "Nemesis" review at AtTheMovies

NOTE: After undergoing operations in 2006 to remove cancer from his throat, Roger Ebert left the show and Richard Roeper continued on with guest reviewers until the 2008-2009 season when Ben Lyons and Ben Mankiewicz took over. Later AO Scott and Michael Phillips became hosts for the current season.

Star Trek (2009)

Ben Lyons (E!): Thumbs Up
"Casting and story are really the keys to this movie’s success."

Ben Mankiewicz (TCM): Thumbs Up
"It will appeal to both die-hard Trekkies and movie fans in general."

CLICK to watch "Star Trek" review at AtTheMovies

NOTE: Roger Ebert did review "Star Trek" for the Sun Times, giving it 2.5 stars. Roger Ebert has such a long career that he has written reviews for all eleven Star Trek films, all of which can be found on his website.


Inline Feedbacks
View all comments

These guys……………”have you ever seen the like?”

Oh well. The show hasn’t been very good since Roger Ebert had to leave because of cancer and Richard Roeper couldn’t hammer out a new contract.

Amazing they lasted 3 decades-still the original siskel/ebert were the best because they often dis-agreed n they also knew each other so well–so sad to lose siskel n ebert has been thru so much he can no longer talk or eat poor man he does have the love of a wonderful wife tho-bless him n his wife–n rip siskel-they were the absolute best of the movie critics-

You can say many things about TFF, but lacking in energy it wasn’t!

And isn’t it funny how people raved about how FC was ‘the best’ back in the day, but the film has now settled into a far more realistic 4th or so position now.

Siskel and Ebert were already well known from “Sneak Previews” which ran on PBS beginning in the ’70’s.

Ebert was on Oprah recently, he now uses a computer to speak with digital samples of his own voice!

Man, I am OLD I remember Sneak Previews from when I was kid. I think they weren’t too positive about ST:TMP, but raved about Kramer v. Kramer. As an 11 year old Trekkie I was incensed and hated on K v. K. My ire has long since past, but I have yet to see the film.

Those guys were great… reminds me of just how many years have gone by. Also reminds me again about how great ST4 was, and what a huge let down ST5 turned out to be…

That was a blast from the past. I didn’t see the latest movie review, but I do remember catching the reviews of Insurrection and Nemesis…which kind of led to my own criticism of critics. Nevertheless, it’s always great to dip back into the ’80s Star Trek.

#6 Somewhere I have Siskel and Ebert’s review of ST:TMP on VHS tape. If I recall correctly, Ebert was a bit more positive than Siskel,

About time it ended. It didn’t need to continue with the reasons (The two gentlement themselves) having bowed out… from life. You simply can’t replace the magic you had with S&E.

Well, there’s another reason to remind myself of my age…

The best Star Trek movie is STAR TREK!
I do like the prime universe better (so best series is TOS), but this universe is going to be fun!

When Star Trek: First Contact came out, Star Trek was at the top of it’s game. Deep Space Nine was coming into it’s own, Voyager was still drawing viewers, and they had a hit movie. Like today, it was cool to be a fan.

I wonder is Siskel was the one who brought forth that myth about the odd ones being bad and the even ones being good? Especially since #3 was odd and good.

To Damian,

Actually, i remember that when FC came out, the first signs of franchise fatigue had come up.

It was actually before the premiere of Generations that Trek last had a high point with general audiences (before ST 2009’s success). TNG had been a huge success, DS9 was still pulling in good ratings, Voyager was about to premiere, and there was a lot of buzz about a revived, young film franchise with the TNG group. Was it around that time that Trek made the Time Magazine cover? I was in college at the time, and I remember Trek being so mainstream. My roommate, a college quarterback, wouldn’t miss TNG, a huge party was thrown for the last episode, I remember overhearing people at the gym talking about “that doctor” from DS9. It was everywhere.

But Generations disappointed many people, Voyager and DS9 started to dip in ratings, and Trek retreated into being seen as a geeky thing, back to being cultish. I remember an article about how the FC trailer had been booed in some Science Fiction convention. So FC’s success was seen as a comeback of sorts (its original title was “Resurrection,” perhaps a not so subtle hint of their intentions and hope for the film).

Actually (and more to the point), “Star Trek Resurrection”

They only changed it because of Alien Resurrection, giving the TNG film franchise it’s only two-word subtitle ;-)

Star Trek III is the second best of the films IMO. i dont understand how anyone – Trekkie or not can dislike it. theres also sort of a Star Wars/Indy feel to it – obviously influenced by those big Spielberg/Lucas movies coming out in the early 80s (Raiders, Doom, Empire, Jedi etc)

e.g. – the end fight on Genesis feels like something out of Temple of Doom with all the lava etc…i know it was more of a homage to Kirks fistfights in TOS but it had that Indy feel to it too. plus the cantina scene was very Star Warsy and the gag of the USS Excelsior’s failed transwarp = Millenium Falcons hyperspace troubles

There is no odd = bad/even = good rule imo

best to worst = II, III, XI, VIII, VI, IV, I, VII, V, X, IX

#14/15 – one review of FC at the time said it wouldve gone down alot better had there not been upmteen different spin offs on tv at the time. it was a great film no doubt but the spin offs took some of the sheen off a new film and made it seem less of an event…(an imporant lesson for the new film series – dont flood the market with tv spin offs)

really they shouldve just focused on the movie series when TNG ended and not bothered with VOY as DS9 was already there (and they shouldnt really have bothered with that either) …

e.g TNG movie 1 out in 1996 (so to give everyone abit of a breather and come up with a great cross over film for the 30th anniversary – something like Yesterdays Ent – directed by N Meyer or Nimoy)…then TNG 2 in 98 etc…if it had happened like that maybe TNG 6 would been out last summer…

#6 and #9

Are you sure Siskel and Ebert reviewed TMP? At the Movies began only in 1982. Or was it a different show?

RIP Siskel.

But those were good times !

Siskel and Ebert were the best.

As was mentioned up-thread, Siskel and Ebert had a show on PBS called “Sneak Previews” years before “At the Moves”.

I can still remember the opening wimsical music for Sneak Previews and the images of popcorn being made…and that soda machine jamming up only to have the cup dispense upside down and the soda spilling all over! Great opening!

#5 & #21

I hear ya. Used to watch “Sneak Previews” as a kid as well (agreed, the show opening was great!) and I remember how much they HATED horror movies and would often give away the endings…particularly the original “Friday the 13th.” They’d get into spats with Fangoria magazine, too. Good times…today it would all be dumbed down to a Twitter flamewar I suppose.

Always loved their show. Have good memories of watching it on WFFA Channel 8. Ebert personally deserves a better ending than he and the show are getting.

And Happy Birthday Leonard Nimoy. I know I’m stealing your thunder, Anthony.

Too bad the first three movies, which were reviewed by S&E on their earlier show, don’t seem to be available online (e.g. Youtube). But I remember:

ST1: Ebert thumbs up, Siskel thumbs down

ST2: Both big thumbs up (Siskel particularly surprised, given he called the first film a ‘worthless bore’)

ST3: Both thumbs up, saying ‘good but not great’

never watched it but i liked the reviews of ST

Ebert is a moron. Their review of ST-TMP in 1979 used footage that was a crude outtake and didn’t even have the proper sound effects added. Both of these guys were clowns who really didn’t know much about movies. Siskel is dead and Ebert can’t talk. I don’t miss either of them.

ST3 was okay, Leonard did good directing, some good character moments, but the story felt too lightweight and low budget…

OMG the STIV review has major spoilers- gah.

#26. I’ll respectfully disagree. Gene Siskel was, and Roger Ebert is well versed in the art of film. With regards to the footage used in their review of ST:TMP, I’m sure the production company simply ran whatever Paramount had provided to them.

The reviewer in the last clip with Ben Mankiewicz is Ben Lyons, the son of Jeffrey Lyons.

Siskel and Ebert reminded me of Kirk and Mcoy on TOS, the fact that they could disagree and still be friends. Interesting dynamic.

Before I would see a movie I would watch Siskel and ebert and see what they thought about it. Uausaly they were right which to me was about 95% of the time. At least now though i can get most of that and other things here on Trek Movie at least for anything Scifi. They were the best at what they did and i will miss them.

The Star Trek IV review is so dead-on, and the last few seconds very interesting in retrospect.

It seems Roger Ebert already has plans to replace the show he left several years ago.

He announced today that he will be producing a new tv show titled “Roger Ebert Presents At the Movies”. The really good news is that he may appear on some episodes.

I have a great deal of respect for Mr. Ebert for battling his illness with the dignity and strength that he has. It would have been easy for him to just stop living and feel bad for himself.

I still think that FC is the best personally. TWOK has a lot, its a piece of classic sifi that no other Trek movie is, but rating them as just movies, I think that FC is the best because of its combination of solid acting, directing, and score. But that’s just my opinion. I do think Ebert was right to say that after Nemesis they need to go to another Generation (though 1000 years is wayyy too much, lets say maybe 50 years?). Seems like that would be a good way to bring Trek back to TV. I hope once this current run of movies is done that whoever has the reigns of Trek will quit with this whole going back thing. Time to move forward. But that was a cool look at some Trek Movie history, thanks.

26. Joe_Yo_Mama

“Ebert is a moron. Their review of ST-TMP in 1979 used footage that was a crude outtake and didn’t even have the proper sound effects added. Both of these guys were clowns who really didn’t know much about movies. Siskel is dead and Ebert can’t talk. I don’t miss either of them.”

You sound like a truly enlightened individual with statements like “Siskel is dead and Ebert can’t talk”

Roger Ebert can’t speak because he is fighting for his life due to a devastating illness. He is suffering from thyroid cancer. By the way even with his illness he contributes more than most people who are 100% healthy.

In late 2007, Forbes Magazine named Ebert “the most powerful pundit in America,” edging out Bill O’Reilly, Lou Dobbs and Geraldo Rivera. He has won a Pulitzer Prize is a film historian and is generally considerded the most influential living film critic.

The late Gene Siskel won numerous awards for his print and broadcast journalism, including five national Emmy Award nominations for the Siskel and Ebert show and is also considered a film historian.

You may not like their opinions on film, but to diminish them in the manner you did “Ebert can’t talk” is childish. They are without a doubt the two most influential film critics of the last 35 years.

Despite your comment that “Both of these guys were clowns who really didn’t know much about movies.” it is safe to say that the exact opposite is true… It is also safe to say that they have forgotten more about film than you will ever know.

Siskel would’ve liked trek 09

I’m so upset about this show ending!! It’s hard to find educated and informed critiques on film!!!

Decloaking . . .
No offense intended Mr. Orci, but I think you’re engaged in wishful thinking (as per # 37). }:-D>

39. True. Doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

True. }:-D>

both guys sucked and that’s all I’m gonna say about that.

I miss Gene. If those two had a split decision, I’d always follow his advice.


Bit presumpscious to think that

Man, how hard is it to find some great movie critics for a show? They need Roeper back.

Any idea what Ebert thought of ST (2009)?

Ebert also wrote a movie screenplay,i think it was beyond the valley of the dolls-it was one of those legendary bad bad movies-but i am sure it taught him a lot about film making-hey mr orci,i think ebert got reviews that were way worse than say, transformers 1 or2–if i remember correctly-one of the turkies of all time-so u guys have to try harder next time-haha

44. captain_neill – March 26, 2010

True. However, my pressumpuotousness equals box office, empirically.

I remember Siskel & Ebert’s PBS movie review program. I wish their review of TMP could be posted on YouTube as well as the other missing reviews. Ebert’s review of TMP is posted on his review site and from the way I read it, it is a positive review. He mentions the cinematic aspect of it and taking in the sights and sounds and having a good time experiencing it.