10 Worst CGI Moments In Star Trek

Decades of experience doesn't always make for expertise...

Star Trek Enterprise Alien

Star Trek has forever been about pushing boundaries in both storytelling and the technology that is on show. Many of today's technological advances can be traced back to what was seen in the Original Series and the Next Generation. Many of the finest shots in the franchise were filmed on a shoestring budget. One only has to watch some of the stunning fly-by shots of the Enterprise D, thanks to Industrial Light and Magic, to know that when Star Trek did it right, it really did it right.

However, the nature of Science Fiction is that sometimes there is a need to show something that doesn't exist. Early science fiction and indeed early Star Trek often relied on physical models to make the imaginary into reality. Thankfully, today we have excellent CGI imagery that can make photo realistic animals and depict gigantic star ships going head to head among swarms of fighters. Truly, there are moments of beauty that can be created in the comfort of a digital lab.

This list is not about those moments. This list is about the other moments. This list is about the moments that made the animators work harder to ensure that they wouldn't come again.

These are the worst moments of CGI in Star Trek.

10. Star Trek II The Wrath Of Khan - The Genesis Wave

Star Trek Enterprise Alien

Starting with one of the oldies, this is an example of a bad scene from an otherwise fantastic movie. It is widely accepted that Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan is one of, if not the, best Star Trek films and so aiming criticism against it feels almost sacrilegious. However, fair is fair - the animation in this scene is awful.

While the argument can be made that this is slightly unfair as the film was released in 1982, one has to consider the absolutely phenomenal CGI work that was on display in Star Trek The Motion Picture. When compared together, the depiction of the Genesis wave seems to come from an entirely different franchise. It is an example of attempting to run before the filmmakers could walk and unfortunately, while it is certainly iconic and was reused for Star Trek IV The Voyage Home, it is not a good reflection on the ability of the franchise to deliver the beautiful visuals it would come to be known by.

However, it must also be said that while this scene sticks out like a sore thumb, the model work in the Wrath of Khan elevates the film back up. The entire sequence in the Mutara Nebula is a classic example of why real studio models were used right up until Star Trek Voyager. They may have been more cumbersome but they delivered a beautiful punch.


Writer. Reader. Podcast Host. I'm Seán, I live in Ireland and I'm the poster child for dangerous obsessions with Star Trek. Check out my weekly podcast on all things....well all things film! Check me out on Twitter @seanferrick or at the website https://seanferrick.wordpress.com/