We're 0 for 11 on smart Trek films. It may be time to let the dream go and settle for good ones.
TMP - The Changeling plus some nice effects shots that linger.
TWOK - Roaring Rampage of Revenge, nice tension. Great character work, hardly smart.
TSFS - Klutzy villains, technology is a double-edged sword, magic box resurrects Spock.
TVH Fun time-travel romp wrapped in fluff with another lethal probe thing heading for Earth etc.
TUC Stolid Cold War analogues, wow, peace with the Klingons, who'da seen that coming unless they watched TNG.
Smart just isn't what Trek movies do.
Exactly. Part of the problem IMO is that older Trek films liked to throw in some literary allusions to Shakespeare and even some quotes - dash that with some philosophy and poof Trek is 'smart,'
Doesn't work that way. But some Trek fans take that approach as 'smart,' film making. Shakespeare quotes and storyines doesn't on its own make smart film making.