Star Trek: Generations

2.5 stars

Theatrical release: 11/18/1994
DVD special edition release: 9/28/2004
PG; 1 hr. 57 min.
Screenplay by Ronald D. Moore & Brannon Braga
Story by Rick Berman & Ronald D. Moore & Brannon Braga
Produced by Rick Berman
Directed by David Carson

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

January 20, 2005

When Star Trek: Generations was released in late 1994, Star Trek was at the height of its popularity. The Next Generation had wrapped its television run the previous May, still very highly rated. Deep Space Nine was on the air. Voyager was in production, less than two months from premiering. Sci-fi magazines were devoting half their issues to do season retrospectives of TNG and DS9. Trek was even on the cover of Time magazine.

It was the pop-cultural apex of Star Trek, and Generations was the punctuation mark for that moment, where Captain Kirk would famously meet Captain Picard. On opening weekend, there were sellout crowds. (There were no sellout crowds — or even close — a couple years ago for a Star Trek: Nemesis premiere.)

I was more in anticipation for Generations than any movie that year — a year that, ironically, would end up releasing what would become two of my (and probably many people's) all-time favorite films (Pulp Fiction and The Shawshank Redemption). Strange what a decade can do. Even stranger that it's actually been that long.

Not even the problems with Generations really detracted from the atmosphere that the film enjoyed during its release. The film itself is actually very ordinary — a hit-and-miss affair that does some things right and some things wrong. Maybe the best way to summarize it is that it gets an A for theoretical ambition but a C for actual execution. Sounds like my freshman year of college, also starting in 1994. The C part, anyway.

One thing you're forced to face with the opening sequence aboard the Enterprise-B is that bringing back original crew members — after a perfectly satisfactory sendoff at the end of Star Trek VI — is a double-edged sword. Sure, it sounds great in concept, but does it actually work beyond what it needs to do to set up the end of the movie? It's been said that the original intention was to also bring back Spock and McCoy, but because the actors said no, the screenwriters went with the trio of Kirk, Scotty, and Chekov. Does it service anyone but Kirk to abandon these characters barely a third of the way into the first act of the film?

The opening sequence — while, again, reasonable in concept — plays like something of a compromise. I don't know what it is about the TNG era of humor, but something about it in the movies always felt a little forced (not like the unforced nature in many of the TOS films), and here the TNG humor ailment seems to carry over to the TOS characters: As Kirk and Scotty trade one-liners, something about the proceedings feels vaguely frail.

The Enterprise-B was the only one of the Enterprises we hadn't seen in a story leading up to Generations, so it seems natural to bridge that Trek-history gap in a film that, in essence, is all about bridging generation gaps. Yes, Generations is without a doubt the literal torch-passing affair that it promised to be. It's just that it's not an especially satisfying experience on the whole. It's a bit of a mishmash.

A crisis forces the Enterprise-B, commanded by Captain Cameron Frye — I'm sorry, I mean Captain Harriman (Alan Ruck) — to mount a rescue mission of some El-Aurian refugees whose ships have become trapped in an energy ribbon and are minutes away from being destroyed. There are a couple good moments here, like when Kirk, who is only on board for reasons of publicity, can barely restrain himself from offering unsolicited advice; when Harriman finally gives up the captain's chair, Kirk sits down and relishes the moment, before realizing that he should relinquish the chair back to Harriman. Alas, there's too much meaningless technobabble involving the ribbon and it's gravimetric (or whatever) forces; you can see already that this is a TNG production as opposed to a TOS production.

In the course of the rescue attempt, the Enterprise-B is damaged, and Kirk — inside one of the damaged areas — is swept out into space and presumably killed. This prologue, while necessary and functional and kind of entertaining, is not much more than that. It's a stage-setter that obviously will come up later. The fact that Guinan shows up in this prologue provides an obvious clue (to regular TNG viewers, anyway) that this is part of a master plan.

Move forward 78 years, where Worf is being promoted in the holodeck of the Enterprise-D. The setting is a sailboat at sea — named Enterprise, of course — and it's one of those sequences (albeit one that's perhaps too earnest) that lends more cinematic appeal to the proceedings by filming on location and drawing the nautical parallels that always characterized the TOS films.

Interestingly, one of the inherent drawbacks of essentially relaunching the show as a film series is that the screenwriters have to bring non-followers up to speed. Consider the scene after Worf falls into the water, where Data expresses his confusion to Geordi about what is and isn't funny. This scene would not have to be explained to us on the TV series, and here seems forced upon the characters, as if to say, "Okay, now we're going to bring all you unfamiliar audience members up to speed!"

One thing Generations gets right is the scope of its storytelling. Unlike Insurrection, for example, which felt like just another routine TNG episode, the events of Generations take on much more significance than you would see in a typical TV episode. Promoting Worf, giving Data emotions, killing Picard's brother and nephew, killing the Duras sisters, blowing up and crashing the Enterprise, wiping out entire solar systems — these are the kinds of bigger things that should happen in a movie adapted from a TV series.

Anyway, let's start with Data. In a character development that took a certain amount of guts, the producers finally decide to let him install the emotion chip that had been sitting on his shelf for the past year. (Never mind that the emotion chip would be negated two films later; in this movie it was a good idea.) It's a milestone for the character, and filled with promise. Unfortunately, the writers don't do very much with it, especially early on, in scenes where Data laughs incessantly until everyone else (including the audience) starts to get annoyed. I'll admit that I laughed at some of this goofiness (to this day I still quote, "I cannot help myself!" in situations that warrant that punch line), but there just isn't much depth to the overall arc. As I said before, A for effort, C for execution.

Picard's arc is also a good one in theory, touching on the whole aging/mortality theme that was made so memorable in Star Trek II. In practice, however, it's not all that great. I wasn't much moved by the deaths of Picard's brother Robert and nephew Rene, and while Picard has every reason to grieve, I've never been a fan of the crying scene where Picard breaks down. (Indeed, it's a scene that I have mocked in the past.) Patrick Stewart is a fine actor, no doubt, but there's something about this scene that just doesn't work. I think, in a way, we simply don't want to see the captain of the Enterprise sitting in the dark, crying.

Having the main storylines follow mainly Picard and Data would become the template for the rest of the film series. The remaining characters are supporting players in the tradition of TNG as a TV series. That's fine; it's a big cast and we need a clear focus on a couple storylines.

The movie's villain, Dr. Tolian Soran (Malcolm McDowell), a 300-year-old El-Aurian, is set up in the movie's prologue on the Enterprise-B and is then found by the Enterprise-D crew in the wreckage of the Amargosa observatory, which was attacked by Romulans. Here the movie throws up a smokescreen to give the plot more "plot"; the Romulans are in fact irrelevant to the movie.

Soran is not one of the Trek films' best villains, but he's also not one of the worst. He's not evil so much as obsessed and unbending in his goals (even if it means destroying entire planets and their populations as a side effect, which I guess qualifies as an evil byproduct). McDowell is good at dispensing ominous lines as personal philosophies, such as, "They say time is the fire in which we burn," which points toward his quest against his mortality. Later, on the planet surface, Picard and Soran will share some worthwhile dialog about mortality. "If there's one constant in the universe," Soran says, "it's death."

The central plot device revolves around Soran's obsession with the Nexus, the aforementioned energy ribbon, in which "time has no meaning." Soran has allied himself with Lursa (Barbara March) and B'Etor (Gwynyth Walsh) in a scheme that would give the two Duras sisters a powerful weapon and give Soran the opportunity to get back into the Nexus, which Guinan describes as a place of eternal bliss. As a sci-fi concept, the Nexus provides both the film's biggest success and worst failure. I'll explain.

It's a success in that I really liked the idea of an energy ribbon traveling through space (which looks cool) and Soran trying to alter its course using the shock waves from imploded stars. This is something that is portrayed plausibly, is interesting, and fairly original.

The best scene in the movie is the Data/Picard scene in stellar cartography, which works as plot advancement, character development, and convincing science. The analysis of all the data and evidence is intriguing and believable, demonstrated both visually and with dialog. The cartography graphics are impressive and yet straightforward. They convey what's going on clearly and with visual flair; this looks like what a futuristic stellar cartography room might actually look like. Meanwhile in this scene, Data's struggle with his emotions — and Picard's tough-love approach to the situation — is good dramatically. The balance of all these plot and character elements is right on, acted and directed with precision.

Of course, in terms of scale and perspective, the movement of the Nexus is ludicrous. It must be traveling much faster than light in order to get from one solar system to the next in such a short amount of time, and yet when it gets to the planet, it slows waaaaaaay down to subsonic atmospheric speeds. Obviously, this is necessary for logistic and dramatic reasons for scenes involving the Nexus' approach. But I never understood the rules for how you can or can't get inside the thing. (It destroys ships and yet doesn't crumble a mountaintop or rip your body apart?)

Soran's plan is to implode the Veridian star so that the Nexus will shift course to the surface of the planet Veridian III, where he will be waiting. The resulting shock wave, unfortunately, will also destroy all the Veridian planets, including Veridian IV, which has a population of 230 million. Soran isn't much concerned about that. The Enterprise, obviously, must stop him. This leads to the requisite battle sequence with the Klingons, in which Lursa and B'Etor die in a scene that wants to be as satisfying as when Chang got blown up at the end of Star Trek VI, but no such luck.

From an action standpoint, the film tops out with the Enterprise's evacuation to the saucer section and the separation of the ship — half of which explodes, and the other half crashing on the planet's surface. During the evacuation, I always laugh and shake my head at the shot of the girl who loses her teddy bear; oh, come on. (It's further evidence that TNG's concept of civilians on starships that routinely go into battle is slightly silly.) But the crash sequence is long, loud, intense, and exciting. If you're going to blow up and crash a starship, this is the way to do it. On top of that is the destruction of the planet itself, which is a chilling image. This is some pretty good stuff, and signifies the film's visceral high point.

But then things start to misfire. Picard is pulled into the Nexus, leading to the film's most tedious sequence, in which everything about the plot is explained to us — often in ways we're unwilling to believe.

For starters, I just didn't much care for the overly idyllic Christmas setting with all those cloying kids. I see what they were going for here, but on an entertainment level, this is the sort of scene that the chapter skip on a DVD player was invented for.

Then there's the whole business with Guinan's "echo" in the Nexus, who explains to Picard (and us) how the Nexus works. How you can go anywhere, any time. In this case, Picard can go back and save 230 million lives if that's where/when he wants to go. (Apparently, the Nexus doesn't have the same effect on humans as El-Aurians; Guinan — the real one, that is — earlier told Picard that once he was in the Nexus he absolutely wouldn't want to leave, but that's not at all the way it ends up working here.)

The problem with the Nexus is that it can do whatever the plot requires and therefore is nothing more than a fantasy device that is too consciously driving the plot where it must go. Then we find ourselves asking: Why, if Picard can go anywhere, does he choose to go back in time only a few minutes instead of going back further and simply throwing Soran in a cell until the Nexus has passed?

There are contrivances in most movies. A good contrivance is one you aren't aware of or thinking about; a bad contrivance is one whose rules and loopholes clang loudly to the floor and provide a distraction from the story. This is of the latter variety.

So, Picard decides to recruit Kirk, who was sucked into the Nexus at the beginning of the movie. The resulting scenes are reasonable but somewhat anticlimactic. Picard must convince Kirk to leave the Nexus, there's some dialog about duty and making a difference, the performances are relaxed and pleasant, and there are scenes of horseback riding (which frankly strikes me more as a benefit for William Shatner than the movie).

The final act, in which Kirk and Picard go back to stop Soran, is workable but probably not what most people had in mind when they heard that Kirk was going to meet Picard in a Star Trek movie. There's plenty of action and cliche going on here, and it's always odd to see the conflict of a Star Trek film whittled down to three guys in a fight on a steel bridge in a desert. Personally, I prefer space battles. Kirk's death in this process is merely adequate (some would argue that it's less than adequate). If the movie is asking me to be moved by the passing of a legend and the passing of the torch — well let's just say that I'm glad they filmed it happening, and it was pleasant enough to watch, but I wasn't all that riveted by it.

As a production, the film is solid, but finds itself in an odd transitional phase. It was shot on all the original TV sets with only minor modifications (reportedly there were only 10 days between the last day of shooting on series finale "All Good Things" and the first day of shooting on Generations). The film employed one of its TV directors, David Carson, in his first direction of a feature film. New uniforms, originally redesigned specifically for the film, were scrapped, and instead the cast switched back and forth between the TNG uniforms and the DS9-style uniforms, something some viewers found confusing.

The most dramatic changes were in the special effects (which were naturally amped up to suit the story and the big screen) and the improvements in the lighting of the existing sets (the bridge of the Enterprise-D never looked better).

Not so dramatic is Dennis McCarthy's adequate but underwhelming score, which sometimes feels too restrained, like a TV score. In particular, the main theme lacks oomph (and features too many similarities to the DS9 theme) and feels like a major step backward after Cliff Eidelman's memorable Star Trek VI theme.

The special edition DVD contains a commentary track by screenwriters Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga. It must be one the best commentary tracks yet recorded on a Star Trek DVD. Moore and Braga's comments lend great insight to the strengths and weaknesses of the storyline, in detail and with surprising forthrightness. I was nodding in agreement with their assessment of many aspects of the film. It's the sort of incisive look that has especially benefited from a decade of distance. They can critique the movie objectively.

I don't dislike Generations (it has several good scenes and generally the right feel for what TNG was all about), but it doesn't completely satisfy me, either. It serves its purpose in fulfilling all the franchise requirements that were expected of a passing-the-torch story. It's just that it doesn't fulfill all those requirements particularly well.

Picard says at the end, "What we leave behind is not as important as how we've lived." Honestly, I'm not sure what that's really supposed to mean; it's one of those vague philosophical lines that would be more enlightening if the thematic content of the movie were stronger overall. But the film itself doesn't have much to say; it's more about itself and what happens. On those terms, it's a pretty okay movie.

Previous: Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
Next: Star Trek: First Contact

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98 comments on this review

Mark
Wed, Oct 3, 2007, 8:21pm (UTC -6)
You might enjoy this alternate ending:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wLavmLoC94

The guy made one for all of the films, but the funniest one, IMO, is Search for Spock:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EnZeFTMpvys
Jake
Wed, Dec 5, 2007, 1:47pm (UTC -6)
When TNG announced the end of its run and its plan to instantly do films in 1994, I feared that films like this would be the result.
Granted, there is some good stuff here. Data getting emotions, the eye-popping destruction of the beloved Enterprise-D, the deaths of Picard's brother & nephew. The 3 subsequent films also had great moments like Troi & Riker's marriage, Riker becoming a captain, and, of course, Alice Krige's Borg Queen.
Sadly, however, the movies, for all intents and purposes, became simply stand-alone adventures(a format which Voyager became notorious for).
What they should've done was tie in First Contact with the Dominion in the same way that the TOS films tied in Khan with the Klingons.
TNG itself will always endure but the 4 films it spawned just didn't cut it overall.
Alexander
Mon, Apr 7, 2008, 6:15pm (UTC -6)
I flat out hate this movie. This is the worst Star Trek story of all time, beating VOY and ENT in crapiness. Thats an unforgiveable mistake.

0 out of 4, for me.
Alex
Tue, Apr 15, 2008, 7:36pm (UTC -6)
Wow to the above post!

I actually really enjoyed this movie and thought it the 2nd best of the TNG films. I thought the opening with Enterprise B was good. The destruction of Enterprise D. Data's emotions. Even the concept of the nexus was cool even though it seems very implausible.

Kirk and Picard's meeting and Kirk's death could've been better.
Michael Lee
Sun, Jun 1, 2008, 9:01pm (UTC -6)
Just re-watched this movie last night. I truly enjoyed it. I thought the bridging of the generations was well handled. The destruction of the "D" was stunning (women drivers - bah!).

Thank god they re-shot the ending. The original version, as seen on the special edition DVD, was appalling. The mighty JTK shot in the back? What were they thinking!
levi
Thu, Jun 5, 2008, 10:25am (UTC -6)
This movie more or less sucks. They should have just moved on without bring the tattered remnants of the TOS crew, minus those who had too much dignity (Kelly and Nimoy) or those who weren't asked. A real pointless excercise, and Kirk's death scene is terrible and unnecessary. "It's been fun?!" Christ.
robgnow
Sun, Aug 3, 2008, 9:41pm (UTC -6)
This movie is okay, but it just doesn't thrill me while I'm watching it. I'm not sure what the problem is, except that by this point I was kind of sick of Data's development arc. Enough with the android, already!
It also felt like the scenes were just that... scenes that were being filmed and then put next to each other instead of serving a central story theme. It felt like bits and pieces on screen instead of one contiguous film.
The ease with which Picard shakes off the Nexus' influence after Enterprise-Guinan had built it up was anti-climatic and really... Picard's "wrapped in joy" fantasy life was really, really suckilicious. Especially galling was his 'wife'... this is what he wants in a life partner?! She was insipid.
Killing off Lursa and B'Etor was a huge mistake. They were a riotous pair of villains that could have done so much more on DS9 as recurring characters. Imagine the episode with Toral trying to get the Bat'leth of Kahless with the Duras sisters and tell me it wouldn't have been way more fun!
This movie was just a bit of a disappointment and the scene in Picard's office (lit only by the Amargosa star) was too darned dark.
rdo
Mon, Aug 4, 2008, 5:11pm (UTC -6)
I disagree with some of the above comments about Kirk's final scene. For Shatner, this is the end of a character that has likely been a huge part of his life, and in a way, his final lines reflect well the sentiment of both the character and the actor.

And in the very end, what an awesome understated thing for the great, full of life, James T. Kirk to say when finally, certainly, facing death. "Oh my".
Eric
Wed, Mar 18, 2009, 8:46pm (UTC -6)
I just rewatched this film, and I still hate it. You are certainly right about the contrivances you mentioned, but another thing that always bugged me was the way in which the ENT-D was destroyed. Even without shields, they should've been able to destroy or at least significantly damage the old, tiny bird of pray. One would think Worf, who spent much of the TV series always advocating aggression, would've suggested just launching a barrage of photon torpedoes at the thing. But instead they just shot once with the phasers and then tried to run. And how the hell can Klingon torpedoes be tuned to a shield frequency anyway. Like most of the Picard/Kirk stuff, it was totally contrived, and made the movie frustrating.
Charlie
Tue, Apr 28, 2009, 2:38pm (UTC -6)
Generations was a disappointment for me because I always felt that the film basically invalidated both Star Trek VI & "All Good Things..." in the same way Exorcist II: The Heretic & Alien 3 invalidated their respective predecessors.
Matthew Weflen
Sun, May 3, 2009, 11:31pm (UTC -6)
I enjoyed your review, even if I disagree on the overall rating. Out of 4 stars, I'd give this a solid 3, if not 3.5.

It's not a 4 for a few reasons: Data's scenes with the emotion chip fall flat, and the pacing is some times a bit turgid, especially, as you mention, on the planet, as well as during the Christmas scenes (in which French Picard yet again has British kids). I also agree that Kirk's death was a bit anticlimactic.

On the other hand, all of the Ent-B material is good, everything outside of the Nexus works. The film plays sort of like 'fan service' to TNG faithful, and it does its job very well. Lursa and Betor are big fun, the Worf promotion is pitch perfect, Picard's motives are dovetailed nicely with the classic episode "Family," counselor Troi actually counsels someone, it all just works extremely well for a good 1:20 of its 2:00 run time.

One logic problem, which I forgive, is the notion of firing a rocket at a star. Is this a warp rocket? Because it sure seems to get to that star pretty quickly - and the dimming of the star also seems to proceed instantaneously, as opposed to taking the several minutes that a class-M planet's distance from its star would seem to indicate. It would have been excessively nerdy and even worse for pacing to do this realistically.

Anyway, good review. I'm splitting hairs on an overall rating, it probably chalks up to gut feelings.
Daniel Lebovic
Mon, May 11, 2009, 4:43pm (UTC -6)
As my father and I saw Star Trek XI for the second time (night of Sat. May 9, 2009) we actually found, to our shock, that in our one-showing-every-half-hour (plus a separate IMAX theater with one showing every three hours) that the two half-hour showings that began shortly before we arrived (same for the IMAX showing, which also began shortly before we arrived) were sold out. We saw the film again, but rather late that night, and for the first time in history, I wasn't mad that I missed a showing because it had sold out. We saw Nemesis only once in a theater -the night of its premiere, no less - and there were seats to spare well into the reeling of the trailers. If you asked me right after I viewed Star Trek 10 that there would be another Star Trek film, that it would be a good - no, GREAT one, and on top of all of that, the film would be playing to sold-out audiences, I would have simultaneously laughed and cried in your face. But the prideful fan in me would never have stated that there was NO possibility of any of the above happening..

As Spcok said, both in Star Trek VI and XI, it's all about "faith."
grumpy_otter
Tue, May 19, 2009, 9:03pm (UTC -6)
I agree with many of the assessments of this film, but just wanted to add one of MY biggest objections to it--when Data pushed Crusher in the water, I couldn't believe they all got so indignant about it!
That was the most hilarious moment of the whole series!
Tachyon
Wed, May 27, 2009, 5:01pm (UTC -6)
Worst trek movie ever.
The script was terrible, the whole movie seemed like some TOS hater's childish way of slapping TOS fans in the face and saying 'get over it, TNG is here now'
From killing Kirk, to the blowing up of the Enterprise it was all contrived, childish and poorly executed.
I have removed this movie from my collection and try to remove it from my memory.

"The Undiscovered Country" and "First Contact", now those are proper examples of a Trek film.

"Generations" belongs in the pile with the likes of "Battlefield Earth" and "Dude, where's my car?"

Tachyon.
Jammer
Wed, May 27, 2009, 8:57pm (UTC -6)
^ Ouch.
Mike
Wed, Aug 12, 2009, 1:45am (UTC -6)
This movie could have been so much better. The idea of the nexus was a good one, but one that was wasted. As stated above, what killed the idea was how quickly Picard shook off the effects of the Nexus, as well as Kirk figuring it out and leaving so easily. What was the real impact of leaving the nexus anyway? It was pretty dull if you ask me.


The nexus was supposed to be something that brought the individuals that enter it incredible joy. I assume that Soran wanted to get back to the nexus to be with his loved ones again. the same for Guinan. Imagine having your world destroyed by the Borg. Everything and everyone you know and love, gone forever. Then you are thrust into the Nexus, and you are reunited with all you lost, and then are ripped away again. I too would want to get back.

I would have imagined the nexus "realities" as different for both Kirk and Picard. These charictors have a rich history. Are you telling me the writers could not come up with better nexus experiences for these two? Why not have Kirk be with his true love, Edith Keeler? Picard, I would have had wake up back in his "home" on the planet Kataan, with his wife and children.

Now this would have packed an emotional punch to the viewer, as well as forcing our two captains to truly have to give up something important to them in the nexus to go back and save all those lives. Thats the movie I would have liked to see.
-Mike
robgnow
Wed, Aug 12, 2009, 12:16pm (UTC -6)
I agree wholeheartedly Mike. The Nexus scenes could have had much more of a "punch" if we'd seen scenes with character we knew from our central character's pasts.

I was thinking for Kirk, they should have gone with Carol Marcus and David. Now, do to real life, they'd have to have different actors, but they could easily have shown the mother/son at a far younger age. Perhaps Kirk could have wanted to experience being there with his son as an infant.

Picard's is more challenging - I think. I feel like he's dealt with his Kataan experiences and the fact that they weren't his life. And, I agree - especially after his brother's and nephew's deaths - that family would be on his mind. I just don't agree with the way they were portrayed - especially the wife's character, who seemed hideously stereotypical and not someone you would think a 24th Century man would run around having fantasies about. I'm not sure there could be an appropriate callback - perhaps Vash, now a bit more settled, happily exploring with him some archeological site or another?

That would seem far more in character for Picard.
peter
Tue, Sep 1, 2009, 4:57am (UTC -6)
This film has so many logic holes and stuff that makes no sense the only way that someone could think this film is good is if they switch their brain off. The Enterprise windows smash like glass wtf it is a spaceship they don't have glass windows. The whole hostage scene, and soron having to kill 230 million ppl to get back to the Nexus because there is no other way even though he got there the first time on a ship. Picard and Kirk going back to just before he fires the rocket instead of earlier where Picard could of saved his family. Arrrgghhh!!! Seriously someone gave this a 3.5 it was disgraceful 0/4
peter
Tue, Sep 1, 2009, 5:15am (UTC -6)
There are so many more problems with this crap movie check out the review by redletter media on youtube it points out lots of them and is quite funny as well.
Nic
Mon, Nov 2, 2009, 7:11pm (UTC -6)
I agree with everything you said and most of the comments... except the bit about the lighting on the Enterprise-D. I think they should have kept it like they had it on the series, because first of all it makes no sense storywise for that to change (as Culluh said ironically in "Basics, Part I": 'Why is it so dark in here? Somebody TURN ON THE LIGHTS!') and the sets didn't look as good visually.
David
Tue, Mar 9, 2010, 8:30am (UTC -6)
I fully agree with all those fans who say that Kirk's death was a complete debacle. In fact, they shouldn't have killed him off at all.
Eduardo
Thu, Mar 11, 2010, 9:56am (UTC -6)
I feel sorry this film wasn't all it could have been. There's actually a very good story trying to be told in a compelling manner.

If it weren't for the directives imposed by Paramount on Rick Berman, I don't think this film would have been as convoluted. Kirk and Picard together was a great concept, but the Nexus wasn't the best way to achieve this. Sometimes, I think time travel would have been the best solution.

It had, by far, my favorite DVD commentary of the Trek films. I was surprised at how much I found myself agreeing with Brannon Braga and Ron Moore throughout the film's run. Both are very candid in realizing what went wrong.

Like Braga's own mindset, for me the stellar cartography scene is one that still holds up well today. Moore's tidbit about having to rewrite the script due to budget issues also caught my attention.

It's amazing how much Paramount execs tried to control costs, milking the cow back in the 90's. And now we have JJ Abrams Star Trek, which cost over 100 million, made back three times that amount, and took home a best makeup oscar.
Liz
Wed, Jun 2, 2010, 11:19am (UTC -6)
I agree with your assessment of the movie and the problems and plot holes with it, but I don't think it's as bad of movie as everyone is making it out to be.

I started watching Star Trek this past year. I was having a bad night and the only thing that was on was a marathon of the movie Star Trek Generations on BBC America. I winded up watching the movie three times in a row and loving it and deciding that maybe this television show was worth watching and seeing. The characters just seemed deep and amazing to me, so I could never hate this movie.

And overall, even though other people are upset that it was made, I'm happy about it. Not only did it get me to love Star Trek in the first place, but I'll take any TNG episodes or movies they are willing to give me. I love them all. Even the original season of the television show, which everyone else hates.
Liz
Wed, Jun 2, 2010, 11:28am (UTC -6)
Oh and I just wanted to add this, lol . . . .

Data is my favorite character and my love of him started with this movie. I know someone else mentioned that they were tired of him, but honestly, I could never be tired of his story arcs and the unique way that Star Trek deals with him.

Anyway, I do want to point out one thing that even I found funny before I saw any of the television show. I took french in high school and even though I never watched a single episode, I knew enough about france and french names to know that "Jean Luc" was a french name and that he was obviously from France. So it was a bit funny when everyone in his family had an English accent. At least to me it was.
Latex Zebra
Tue, Jun 22, 2010, 6:12am (UTC -6)
2 Things from me!

1. Picards family didn't need to die. I feel that as they where the last part of the Picard name and it is kind of obvious Picard himself wont be having kids that to kill them was just nasty. Maybe I've missed the point but that really pees me off.

2. Kirk also did not need to die. He could have ended up in the Nexus as the end.
ScooterGirl
Tue, Dec 7, 2010, 11:38pm (UTC -6)
What ruined this movie for me wasn't Soran's flawed reasoning of how to enter the Nexus or Kirk's unheroic death retrieving a remote control but rather Data's emotion chip. What made Data so endearing in TNG were his charming attempts to duplicate, and therefore hopefully understand, human emotions and human relationships. Here he is given emotions and it results in a very unlikable Data. In the TNG episode "Deja Q", Q rewards Data with an actual emotion for a moment, a moment in which Data finds himself having a laughing fit the kind of which we have all experienced at one time or another. I can't speak for anyone else but I laughed right along with Data watching that episode because his laughter seemed genuine. In "Generations" this same Data, who thanks to the chip understands the concept of humor, becomes an idiot whose laughter seems forced and completely without humor. Instead of laughing I cringed. I do recognize that fear can be overwhelming and while Data's reaction to experiencing it for the first time is realistic I found I didn't really like a cowardly Data either, nor the swearing Data aboard the soon to be demolished Enterprise. I suppose the only time I found Data's chip to be redeeming was his touching reaction when he found Spot unharmed. Other than that give me the questing Data over the Data who has found what he has been seeking and ends up being less instead of more.
Josh
Sat, Oct 1, 2011, 3:52am (UTC -6)
I like Generations, though I don't really disagree with any of the criticisms in this review. But one thing that's always really bothered me about it was the re-use of effects sequences from Star Trek VI for the destruction of Lursa and B'Etor's ship - they're the exact sequences from the demise of General Chang! Seems an odd thing to have cheap-ed out on.
Matt
Sun, Oct 16, 2011, 10:19pm (UTC -6)
Over the years, many have (rightfully) said that both The Godfather Part III & Alien 3 would probably be viewed as good films had they been the first in their respective series. Do you think the same could apply to Generations had we never seen Kirk or Picard prior to this film?
Joe-B
Wed, Feb 22, 2012, 12:44pm (UTC -6)
I hated this movie. I don't think this movie did TNG justice by any means. The Bad writing, The Sub plot of Data getting a emotion chip. The way Enterprise-D got destroyed by a Old Bird of Pray. Also continuity flaws.

But If I had to pick I would watch this movie over 1 episode of Enterprise.
Patrick
Sun, Sep 30, 2012, 12:52am (UTC -6)
I thought Dr. Soran was one of the more interesting villains of the Trek movies. While he's evil wasn't as far reaching or as effective as Khan or The Borg Queen, as a character unto himself, he was interesting.

Watch the scene where Picard is trying to persuade Dr. Soran that his destroying Veridian III was no different than when the Borg destroyed his home and family. There's a brief pause where it seems that Picard had gotten through to him. And then that malevolent smile spreads over his face and he says: "Nice try."
That scene alone puts him head and shoulders above R'uafo and Shinzon.
Rosario
Sun, Nov 11, 2012, 12:32am (UTC -6)
I always thought one couldn't use a ship to enter the nexus. You might get it but you still have a physical body in a ship that is about to blow up. Kirk though was sucked out into space and into the Nexus, physically he has entered it. This is what happens to Picard and what Soran wants. Unfortunately as Jammer said, the Nexus is just a wish device that does whatever the writer's need it to do. This movie can't really be assessed as a time travel movie or it falls apart quite swiftly. Agree with the general concensus and review - a middling effort from the franchise.
John the younger
Tue, Dec 18, 2012, 3:39am (UTC -6)
I would rate this as better than Insurrection or Nemesis.
Patrick
Tue, Dec 18, 2012, 7:53pm (UTC -6)
I'd put Generations in the same category as Insurrection and Nemesis--clunky and poorly thought out. First Contact was the only TNG film that came off as polished and properly constructed from beginning to end.
Jack
Sat, Jan 5, 2013, 8:48pm (UTC -6)
Demora Sulu says "glad to meet you" to Kirk, but then Chekov mentions they met 12 years ago. Assuming she's fresh out of the academy, that makes her 10 when they'd met...she didn't remember?
Jack
Sat, Jan 5, 2013, 8:50pm (UTC -6)
And they're in the Sol system, but there is "no other ship within range" to make the rescue?

Not exactly leaving Earth very well protected...
Jack
Sat, Jan 5, 2013, 9:00pm (UTC -6)
Plus...not much of a lifetime for the Enterprise-A, and some 50 year gap between the Enterprise-B and Captain Garrett's Enterprise-C.
Jack
Sat, Jan 5, 2013, 9:53pm (UTC -6)
How come when the Klingons were "looking" through Geordi's eyes, they saw things the way normal eyes do rather than how Geordi sees?
alipvz
Tue, Jan 8, 2013, 1:24am (UTC -6)
This movie could have been so much more. It was not well thought out. Just plain assinine!!

The thing that irked me was the fact that it physically took a lot of energy to get into the nexus ( like blowing up stars, flying ships through it, having it come to you etc....). Yet, when the two captains decide to leave, they ride out on horseback!!?? I just never lived down the stupidity.

With Spock's 200 year + lifespan and the fact that Scotty was already in the 24th century, they could have truly made a "generational" film. Leave it to Berman and company to muck it up.

Poor Kirk's death wasn't handled with the heroic standards that he deserved. The Guy didn't even get a 21 gun salute funeral!!! Where were the speeches and bagpipes like in Star Trek 2 when Spock died. This is the way you handle a hero's death? Bury him quietly on a mountain top? One of the greatest captains in Starfleet???I think this film didn't give Kirk the proper respect.

If you were going to have the TOS cast in the film, they should have been utilized throughout the better part of the film interacting with the next generation crew as opposed to being used like props.

Unsatisfying indeed!!!!!
NCC-1701-Z
Thu, Apr 11, 2013, 2:12pm (UTC -6)
A respectable effort, but if I could travel back in time and improve the movie, I would have:

-Completely reworked the battle scene. I would have made the Duras' ship a Vor'cha or Negh'var class cruiser, for starters, or maybe even a D7/Ktinga. Then Geordi's VISOR gives away the shield frequency, and the ship inflicts critical damage on the Enterprise before Riker thinks to remodulate the shield frequency. Riker throws every weapon he has against the ship (a lot more than one phaser blast and one torpedo, I can tell you that!), doing some damage but not much, as the damage sustained before remodulating the shields is just too much. With the warp core about to breach, Riker has an idea. He evacuates the stardrive, separates the ship, then he and a skeleton crew beam over to the battle bridge, plot a collision course with the Duras' ship, then beam back to the saucer section at the last minute (I'm thinking TOS's "The Doomsday Machine"). The stardrive section explodes, taking the Duras' ship with it, but the shockwave disables the saucer's engines and from there everything else is the same. I most certainly would NOT have reused the explosion from Star Trek VI.

-I would have tried to make Kirk's death more meaningful. Not sure how to do that - maybe make it so that some Klingons beamed off Duras' ship before it exploded, and Kirk tries to hold them off as long as he can, getting mortally wounded while Picard battles Soran. It certainly would have been better than "Kirk falls off bridge and dies". Then, other than that, everything else remains the same. But I would have added some much stronger music to the scene.

-I would have toned down Data's "emotion chip" thing. A lot.

-I would have cut the Picard Nexus scene, and in Kirk's Nexus fantasy, I would have paired him with a woman from TOS. Maybe Edith Keeler.

Still a good movie though. I especially loved the stellar cartography scene - good character work - and although the battle left much to be desired I liked the chaos that ensued on the Enterprise - that part was very well done and made you really believe the Enterprise was getting shot to pieces (although having it done by a dinky little BOP made me say "Really?").

2.5 or 3 stars.
David E. Miller
Thu, May 2, 2013, 2:28pm (UTC -6)
Just read the novelization of this film. In the book, Veridian III is a jungle planet, and the breech in the force field is through a hole created by tree roots. Also, Kirk is simply killed by Soran's hand weapon (a "disrupteur" is what the French translation called it). I liked the use of an actual bridge on the planet as the death device (one thinks immediately of a starship bridge, and the fact that the movie is a bridge between generations). But it's true that the Nexus makes no sense whatsoever. I've been to Valley of Fire many times, but unless I took movie photos with me, I wouldn't be able to know exactly where the death scene was shot. The park personnel is a bit more helpful now than back in the day, but....
Paul
Fri, May 3, 2013, 3:07pm (UTC -6)
@David: They originally shot the ending where Kirk is shot in the back. I think you can find it on YouTube. It's funny because Malcolm McDowell was quoted during production as "getting to kill Kirk."

The shot in the back apparently didn't test well, so they changed it. Of course, there's the big question about how in the hell Picard carried Kirk to the top of the hill to bury him. :)
Nick P.
Fri, Jul 12, 2013, 8:32am (UTC -6)
I actually thoroughly enjoy this film, flawed though it is. I may raise some feathers here, but visually, I think this is the best looking ST film. This was at the end of model use in Sci fi movies, before CGI, and the season 1 enterprise has never been more stunning. I loved the slightly dimmer sets, which were clearly to resonate slightly with the episode "yesterdays enterprise". The first 90 minutes of this film are actually quite fun and exciting. I find it interesting that my star wars loving 6 year old son finds this the only Star Trek movie he can sit through. Some may think that in itself is a problem, I disagree, almost al fans of star trek became fans when young, you need to play a little to the younglings.

I think the characters were mostly spot on. I think this point is important because the latter 3 TNG movies (Nemesis in particular) the characters became less and less characters and more the fat old actors portraying them.

I do agree with the criticism of the story. basically Rick Berman said "We need Kirk to die, the Enterprise-D to be destroyed and crash on a planet, and Picard and Kirk to somehow meet, now CONNECT THE DOTS", and that was it.

Now, there is a much bigger problem with this movie that no one has quite mentioned yet, and that is regarding Kirks life in the nexus. Everyone I ever hear comment on this says it should have been Carol Marcus and David over some random Antonia. I think that critique is half right. The problem is that deep down we all know Kirks 1st love is the Enterprise. His Nexus fantasy should have been the original (or movie version) starship enterprise. How satisfying for us as fans have been if Picard walked in on Kirk giving orders to Kirk on the original enterprise and had to convince Kirk to help him and the Enterprise D crew with an existential crisis. That is the way this movie would have been satisfying. The problem is that the Kirk we know would never hide away with some women. Picard maybe, but NEVER Kirk. And that is why this movie, as much as I love it, cannot get more than a 3 out of 4.
Paul
Fri, Jul 12, 2013, 12:30pm (UTC -6)
@Nick P: That's an interesting comment about Kirk, but it's off the mark.

Kirk, circa 2294, is a lonely old man. A big part of the movie is him regretting the choices he made that left him that way. So, it makes sense that his idealized moment in time is with a woman who "got away", rather than him returning to the Enterprise back in the day. Antonia was probably a bad choice, but a love interest made sense. It would have been good to cast a new actress as a young Carol Marcus with an infant David. That would have been powerful.

Now, your premise would have worked if Kirk's problem had been living in the past. Instead of the (edited) orbital skydiving scene, maybe Kirk would have been using some VR technology to relive the old missions. Then, in the Nexus, he could have been back on the old Enterprise and Picard could have said, "It's time to live in the now," or something and Kirk, upon his death, could have said, "My now was 78 years ago. This is your now, Captain. Make the most of it."

All of this ignores the biggest problem with Generations: What the hell does the Nexus do?

At some points, it's a time portal. At others, it's almost like a holodeck where those in it can live scenarios that never happened. This flaw -- combined with the stupid decision by Picard and Kirk to try to stop Soran at a moment when doing so was possible but very difficult -- make Generations a subpar movie.

Oh, and Riker looks incompetent. There were any number of ways he could have kept the Duras sisters from destroying the Enterprise.
Corey
Wed, Jul 24, 2013, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
Re: everyone saying it should be Carol Marcus and the infant David - did you guys not see WOK? The movie specifically said that Carol did not tell Kirk about David, because she didn't want David to gallivant across the galaxy like his father. Thus they must have broken up before he was born, or broke up over sub space. Also thus, this means if Kirk really wanted to get back with her (Which WOK doesn't suggest), he would need to fix things BEFORE David was born, because by the time's David is a newborn, it's too late for their relationship.

Kirk wanting to be with Edith Keeler, on the hand, makes a lot of sense - he would have to imagine that her death wasn't necessary, but should be no problem in the Nexus.

As for the movie itself - I thought it was great visually, music, sound effects, and most of the acting. I actually cried 3 times during that movie on a recent re-watch, so apparently they did something right.

However, I do agree this can't be a 4 star movie ( would give it 3) - these are my detractions:

1) While the movie isn't clear, presumably the emotion chip simply adds emotions and reactions, but doesn't change other things that Data does (personal beliefs, policies, habits etc.). Before installing the chip, the TNG establishes Data as a creature with a strong sense of duty, even to the point of self-sacrifice. He should still have this, even with an emotion chip installed. Therefore, when he was wrought with fear, in his head he should have concluded ("I have a duty to protect Geordi - regardless of how I feel") and acted to save his friend. I do NOT buy the movie's premise that he was hit with so much fear that he couldn't act - Data has faced many adversities in his many years of existence, this is just another obstacle to overcome. I believe his strong sense of duty should have allowed him act to save Geordi.
* Like another poster, I don't like the Data with emotion, and could have done without. Also, once he realized he can react to humor, he should have thought about past humorous events off-duty - did he somehow lose his professionalism? He looks stupid, and Geordi looks annoyed like the audience.
* James Kirk was a historic figure who has saved the Federation (or parts of it) a number of times - you would think Starfleet would bother to put him a stasis pod and bury him properly on Earth, either in Iowa, or a Starfleet graveyard. It just made no sense to bury him on a no-name planet UNLESS Picard thought Picard would live there the rest of his life, which he had no reason to think that.
* I agree the dark lighting for Picard's quarters and ready room were unnecessary - just make it the same as it was, the scene would have been fine, Patrick could pull it off. This scene was also hard to hear, the actors were speaking too quietly.

So while I agree this isn't as perfect as Wrath of Khan, I disagree it's as bad as some make it out. This is just my opinion, feel free to disagree.
Paul
Wed, Jul 24, 2013, 4:15pm (UTC -6)
@Corey: Actually, WOK suggests Kirk has a lot of regrets about not being around David. Now, it's true that he might not have known about David until after he was born, he still could have come back and tried to have a family with David and Carol. David's about 28 in WOK, meaning he would have been born in 2256 or so -- well before the original 5-year mission. Heck, Kirk could have even come back after the 5-yeare mission (when David was a teenager) and tried to have a family.

Inserting some random woman into Kirk's backstory was a serious misstep. But Carol/David could have worked with the plot and Trek history.
Corey
Wed, Jul 24, 2013, 4:43pm (UTC -6)
@Paul: You didn't read my comment closely enough. I said WOK didn't indicate that Kirk wanted to be with CAROL, you know, the gal he broke up with? They must have had some problems, or they wouldn't have broken up at all.

Yes, he wanted to part of David's life, but that can be arranged via such things as visitation rights. And the fact that Carol did NOT want her son lead a life like Kirk's (direct quote from WOK) (how the world did they ever hook up with such incompatible attitudes?) shows that there are irreconcilable differences between Kirk and Carol - sure Kirk wanted to patch things up with David, but there's no hope with Carol so Kirk didn't even try!
Paul
Thu, Jul 25, 2013, 4:33pm (UTC -6)
@Corey: Just because they had problems doesn't mean Kirk doesn't have regrets about not being with her. Anyway, it doesn't say who broke up with whom.

And the fact that Kirk didn't patch things up with Carol might indicate he thought it was hopeless. But that doesn't mean in a fantasy-based Nexus after being old and alone he wouldn't change things to be with her.

You're right that there's no indication that he regrets not being with Carol. There's also no indication that he's glad that it ended. So, Carol would have worked as the love interest (certainly better than some chick we'd never heard of).
Corey
Thu, Jul 25, 2013, 6:20pm (UTC -6)
@Paul: I do see where you are coming from. In this magic thing "Nexus", apparently anything can happen, so certainly Kirk could have imagined a Carol a bit more agree-able - and as others have claimed more emotionally powerful than some no-name "Antonia" that as far as we know Kirk never talked about, not even on TOS.

NOT telling Kirk about his son, I would postulate, is a SERIOUS slight. She had to know that Kirk would want to know about his son (what father doesn't? Except low-lifes I suppose, but I can't see how Carol could think that of Kirk no matter how little she liked him). If they parted on good terms she wouldn't have done that. Myself, if I were Kirk, I would have been pretty mad at Carol for keeping such an important fact secret - I need to know my son, and my son needs to know me.

Anyways, no need to belabor a point, I'm done on this particular topic - my final note is with my knowledge of humanity, I don't think Kirk would want (or dream even - hence our talk of the Nexus) of getting back with Carol - he easily could have bitterness about the issue even years later. I understand Paul you disagree, so let's just agree to disagree.
Paul
Thu, Jul 25, 2013, 9:48pm (UTC -6)
@Corey: Cool.
Malcolm
Tue, Jul 30, 2013, 11:23pm (UTC -6)
I absolutely love this movie. While I agree there are some parts that could have been done better, such as the fight scene with Soran/Picard/Kirk or giving Dr. Crusher and Troi something to actually do, overall I think it was the best TNG movie when it comes to emotional impact.

I also feel that this movie has the best cinematography out of any Star Trek movie. The way the camera is used, with both beautiful new sets and familiar sets where we finally get some dramatic lighting (when the Enterprise is in orbit around Amargosa and the interior is bathed in golden light was stunning) really made Star Trek finally look like it belonged on the big screen.

The special effects were wonderful (aside from a recycled bird of prey blowing up of course, the Sisters of Duras deserved a better send off), and I will always remember that feeling of horror I felt at ten years old when the Enterprise and her crew are destroyed by the nova watching this on opening night in the theater.

While the following TNG movies had their good and bad parts, Generations will always remain for me the most satisfying and enjoyable to watch. 4.5/5 stars for me, and a close third behind Wrath of Khan and The Voyage Home.
Brandon
Sun, Sep 1, 2013, 11:39pm (UTC -6)
This was such a hot-and-cold movie for me. The cinematic bravura of the Nexus, crashing the Enterprise, exploding celestial bodies...terrific stuff. But between all that was a bunch of awkward and tough-to-explain set pieces.

I have never been able to understand why this movie was directed in such a dark and tense manner. Practically every room on the Enterprise-D was dimmer than anything on the series, or the bridge of the Enterprise-B for that matter. Am I the only one who felt a ton of discontinuity from the series over this? I've often felt the urge to create one of those fanmade Youtube mishmashes with the Generations dialogue lip-synched to shots from the series.
Petrus
Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 7:27am (UTC -6)
Generations is one of those movies that critics hate for academic reasons, and other people tend to love (or at least periodically enjoy) for emotional reasons.

Yes, it's easy to tear the storyline to shreds, and yes, for the most part, Data's comedy routine with the emotion chip was awful. As someone with a professional diagnosis, however, I nominate "Scanning for Lifeforms," for the Aspergian National Anthem. The autism was strong with Data, and it was never stronger than in this film. ;)

If there's one thing which Generations was, more than probably any other Trek film however, (yes, possibly even First Contact) it was epic. This was a MOTION PICTURE, not a television episode. The special effects, the lighting, the outdoor location scenes, the overall scope of the story, (yes, even the fact that Data got the emotion chip, although the results were unspeakable) this is all cinematic feature film stuff, not TV stuff.

For the guy who compared this with Battlefield Earth, I actually thought that film was a blast as well, albeit in a dissonant, Mystery Science Theatre 3000 kind of way. Haters gonna hate, but if you're going to hate Generations, make sure you hate it on at least an 18 to 21 inch screen. It's just too bad, as Jammer said, that we didn't get a suitably booming soundtrack to go with the visuals.
Tim
Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 1:19pm (UTC -6)
Watched this last night for the first time in years. Good lord, Data is positively obnoxious when he gets his emotion chip.

That business of the battle between the Enterprise and the Klingon ship is silly. It wants to be just like the destruction of Chang's ship in Star Trek VI. Right down to using the same footage of the ship blowing up. By the way, how dumb are the Klingons? They never think to rebuild a ship that can fire while cloaked.

And it was positively painful to see the original crew reciting technobabble about generating subspace fields and life sign phasing out of our space time continuum. How does one know if somebody is leaving our space time continuum anyway?

The whole affair was about getting rid of the old generation and ushering in the new. So how about making the new more interesting without the audience thinking "What the hell are they talking about?"
Paul
Fri, Dec 6, 2013, 3:09pm (UTC -6)
Top 10 problems with this movie:

10) Scotty and Checkov clearly played the roles intended for Spock and McCoy -- complete with Checkov seeing to the medical needs of the refugees. I'm guessing Nimoy and Kelley didn't want to come back for bit parts.

9) Riker's complete incompetence in the battle against the Duras sisters is laughable. Even if they gotten the first shot through the Enterprise's shields, Riker could have just fired all weapons at the Bird of Prey and been done with it. Or, he could have remodulated the shields.

8) It's simply implausible that the Enterprise couldn't have found Soran on the planet.

7) It's simply implausible that the Enterprise couldn't have stopped Soran's device from getting to the Veridian sun -- especially considering it was clearly chemically propelled.

6) Picard's family scene in the Nexus was just poorly done and ham-fisted to say nothing of the really odd crying scene with Troi earlier in the film.

5) Inserting another lost love we'd never heard of in Kirk's backstory was ridiculous. Why not use Carol Marcus or Edith Keeler?

4) I don't hate the stuff with Data's emotion chip. But to pop it in and let Data resume active duty was just ridiculous. Something like that should have been done in a controlled environment.

3) How the hell does Guinan in the Nexus even know who Picard is? The whole 'echo' business was ridiculous.

2) There is simply no good explanation for why Soran couldn't have been on a ship or in a thruster suit to get into the Nexus. He was in the Nexus during the movie's first scene ON A SHIP.

1) Picard picks the hardest possible time to stop Soran, when he could have simply gone back to the point where Soran came on board the Enterprise and arrested him.
Dwane
Sun, Feb 16, 2014, 5:16pm (UTC -6)
Having literally just seen this film, I can say this:

I enjoyed it, but admittedly, it could have been much better.
Rivus
Mon, Mar 31, 2014, 4:38am (UTC -6)
@paul, I think it can be assumed that echo Guinan knew Picard because of Time's Arrow.

As my first run through of everything surrounding TNG, I'd say that this probably gets me a 2.5 of 4. After seeing All Good Things for the first time a couple days prior, this feels incredibly weak. There's no a-ha moment in my head when everything really falls into place, something I cherished in the best TNG episodes. Instead, we get concepts upon duplicating concepts, arching over each other and beating you over the head repeatedly until you truly tire of it.

That being said, it was still a fun, if a little of a hollywood handholdy movie up until right around when the 1701D crashed.
Paul
Mon, Mar 31, 2014, 11:16am (UTC -6)
@Rivus: Good point re: Guinan and Picard.
Rivus
Mon, Mar 31, 2014, 6:31pm (UTC -6)
Actually, looking again at the scene, Picard asks echo Guinan if she's on the Enterprise, which she says she is... I guess the argument could be made that since the echo is a part of Guinan, and time is meaningless in the Nexus, then maybe she retains the experiences of the real Guinan. Honestly, not much is even known of Guinan's species aside from long life, abstract time sensitivity like in the Yesterday's Enterprise incident, Borg genocides and Q, so you could make all sorts of arguments about the way she interacts with the Nexus.

Also, another thing dawned on me, as I was watching the Red Letter review of this movie... The 1701-D just seems like it was run by a pre-Borg TNG crew. No effort was made to remodulate the shield's frequency... Considering the Bird of Prey's weapon capabilities, getting past the shields could ONLY have been done if they knew the frequency it was operating at. And then Riker gives Troi the helm, which honestly, should NOT have been a problem considering in Thine own Self Troi passes the commander's exam by Riker's own admission. But for the sake of the event, it's as if that never happened, and if it did, one can just look at Riker again because it's ALL HIS FAULT. It's like you can look at a silly decision made in season 7 leaking into the movie... and in a way, dooming the Enterprise.
Michael
Sun, Apr 20, 2014, 9:07am (UTC -6)
I have to say that the few bits about this movie that irked me were:

1. Geordi was looked over when he got back, but the Enterprise bridge crew was at this point intimately familiar with the Duras Sisters and what they're capable of ... and no one checked on his visor to see if it had been tampered with. ESPECIALLY after ROMULANS tampered with it in an episode of the series to add E-band capabilities so they could direct his attempted assassination of a Klingon Governor.

2. All Federation ships had an ability to rotate shield frequencies. This technique became especially critical in combat after the forced introduction to the Borg. How come after the first 1, MAYBE 2 hits from the Sisters got through the shields, Riker didn't think to say "Derrrrp! Rotate the shield frequencies?" This, in my opinion, seemed nothing more than a way to destroy the loveable (again, in my opinion) Big-D in favour of a new ship.

3. Kirk has always said he would die alone. So they decided to completely ignore that and give him the epic, lonely death he so deserved and just drop a bridge on him instead with Picard there to comfort him as he passed on. No. No, no, no, nonono! NO!
Tim
Thu, Jun 5, 2014, 11:06am (UTC -6)
"This, in my opinion, seemed nothing more than a way to destroy the loveable (again, in my opinion) Big-D in favour of a new ship."

This.
Datalore
Tue, Aug 26, 2014, 5:55pm (UTC -6)
Of all the things I remember about this movie, I recall that it is pretty fun right up to (and including) the destruction of Enterprise D. After that, it is plain boring.



James
Wed, Oct 15, 2014, 7:23am (UTC -6)
I think this is actually my favorite TNG film. I won't say it's better than First Contact, but the time I saw it was when I was at my peak of affection for TNG and seeing the actors on the big screen was wonderful. I don't care one bit about the plot holes everyone talks about.
Joey
Mon, Dec 1, 2014, 2:39am (UTC -6)
I agree with pretty much everyone, it's a movie with a lot of logical problems and missed opportunities, but I also find it to be one of the more enjoyable movies. My biggest complaint is that Kirk and Picard got out of the nexus way too easily and many of the associated themes are completely underdeveloped as a result.

Actually pretty much all of the movie's themes are underdeveloped, like Kirk and Picard's conflicting values (fun, romance, and adventure versus legacy, family, and duty) and how Kirk's eventually comes out on top pulling Picard out of his funk in the process. There's also the really subtle conflict between Geordi and Data over whether or not it's better to be yourself or to be like others. Geordi's share of the plot in particular was very underdeveloped in that sense, and also completely undercut by Insurrection.
Andrew
Sat, Jan 10, 2015, 8:20pm (UTC -6)
I think this movie did a lot right but also a lot wrong. The best was that it didn't feel like just an episode and I also felt it was able to introduce the characters to new viewers while still feeling like a continuation rather than a retread.
Funny Data was obnoxious but not as long or quite as much as I remembered.
I didn't mind the use of Lursa and B'Etor (actually an interesting way of having Klingons, albeit here Klingon renegades, be villains for perhaps the last time) but it felt really forced to have Geordi be kidnapped, apparently not missed, and then released without suspicion just so the ship could be destroyed pretty easily.
Soran was an interesting villain much of the time but some of his acting and dialogue on Veridian were a little too "bwa-ha-ha!," it would have been better if he were more sympathetic and even conflicted. It also didn't make sense that he had to enter through a planet rather than a ship, especially when he liked what happened on entering through a ship the first time.
The Nexus was an interesting concept but Picard and Kirk's fantasies and how quickly they left them sure didn't live up to the idea of pure joy and much of Picard and Kirk's interactions were boring and made them both look bad.
Despite Kirk's re-introduction underwhelming, he got an alright finale without taking over the film.
Captain Jon
Wed, Apr 8, 2015, 11:53pm (UTC -6)
Synopsis
Seventy-eight years after the apparent death of James T. Kirk during the maiden voyage of the Starship Enterprise-B, Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D must stop an El Aurian scientist named Soran from destroying an entire solar system in his quest to enter the paradise known as the Nexus.

Review
While 1991's Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country revitalized the franchise's movie series, it also so the retirement of the original Star Trek cast. It was then assumed that the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation would eventually make the transition to the big screen to take over the film series. At the time, Star Trek: The Next Generation was still going strong in it's fifth season, proving to be a hit both critically and with it's ratings. Series producer Rick Berman wasn't yet prepared to end the show. By late 1992, however, spin-off series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine was set to premiere in January 1993, ensuring the franchise's continuation on television. Thus Paramount approached Berman to produce the seventh installment in the series with the intent of featuring the Next Generation cast.

Berman asked series writers Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga to write a script, while also encouraging former-TNG writer Maurice Hurley to develop another. Series executive producer Michael Piller was approached as well but disagreed with the competitive nature of the assignment. Both scripts would feature members of the original series crossing over to meet the cast of The Next Generation to "pass the baton". Ultimately, the Moore/Braga script was chosen, though the studio made a "wish list" of things they wanted to see, as well as restricting the using of the original cast members to both an opening prologue and the film's climax.

The decision was made to make several big changes to the status quo that was normally maintained during the series. Data was finally allowed to install his emotion chip, Worf was promoted, Picard's brother and nephew were killed (off-screen), the Enterprise-D met her end, and William Shatner's Captain Kirk was to be killed. The writers wanted to "aim high" and go big due to the opportunity presented on the big screen. Leonard Nimoy was approached to direct but was denied the chance to make changes to the script by Berman, ultimately leading to Nimoy turning down both the opportunity to appear in and direct the film. Series director David Carson (best known for the TNG classic episode Yesterday's Enterprise as well as the DS9 premiere Emissary) was selected to direct. The cast and crew of The Next Generation wrapped up filming of the series finale All Good Things... in early-1994 and after a ten day break dove right into their first feature film.

Star Trek Generations is certainly ambitious. There are lots of big ideas found throughout that show the effort that was made to transition The Next Generation to the big screen. Many of these ideas are good. In fact, there are no shortage of good ideas in Generations. What's lacking, however, is the execution. Things just don't completely mesh and come together as they should and much of that begins with the Moore and Braga's screenplay.

The tone right away is established as being more akin to The Next Generation then the original Star Trek series. Though not necessarily a bad thing dramatically, the script does contain what would become a major flaw in Star Trek of the mid- to late-1990s: technobabble. The dialogue is laced with technobabble and science jargon that has little mean and humor that feels more forced than natural. Even the opening prologue featuring Kirk, Scotty and Chekov aboard the Enterprise-B suffers from this problem. Where the original series humor flowed from the cast's natural chemistry, here the humor comes through contrived gags that are hit or miss.

Having said that, however, Moore and Braga have managed to conceive a story that is not only original but also moves along plausibly for the first two-thirds of Generations's running time. The idea of destroying stars to alter the course of the Nexus energy ribbon works both on a scientific level and dramatically. The scene with Picard and Data uncovering Soran's plot in the Stellar Cartography lab not only works on a character level but successfully moves the plot along as well. It's easily the movie's best written scene. Soran's use of destroying stars follows the mold of the writers attempting to think bigger than the constraints of television to move The Next Generation onto the cinematic front. The ultimate destruction of Veridian III is chillingly realized and something that could never occurred on the TV series.

Though The Next Generation was a heavily ensemble show, such a dynamic is difficult to capture on the big screen especially with so many characters are in play. It's only natural for some characters to be favored over others. For Generations, the primary character arcs focused on Picard, Data and Kirk. Of the three character stories, Kirk's is the most successful. The prologue establishes that Kirk, who retired at the end of Star Trek VI, is struggling with said retirement. During the sequence's emergency, he's itching to jump in and help. Retirement doesn't suit Kirk well who is used to being in the thick of things and has discovered that life without Starfleet is empty and meaningless. He struggles with what bothers him most; having an empty house to return to upon retiring or having left the Enterprise bridge. Ultimately, Kirk realizes that it was a mistake to retire because his life has been about making a difference. Though Kirk's arc mirrors that found for him in The Wrath of Khan and isn't as successful, it still works here and is effective.

Less successful is Picard's arc. Early on in the Next Generation storyline, Picard receives the devastating news that his brother and nephew were killed in a fire. This leads to him grappling with the fact that he is the last in the Picard family and begins to regret the decisions he's made to focus his life on being in Starfleet instead of having a wife and children. On paper this should work. But something about seeing Picard crying in the dark doesn't sit well. Patrick Stewart's delivers but the scene itself doesn't feel right.

The least successful of the three characters arcs is that of Data. The idea of allowing Data to install his emotion chip is huge character development and definitely something worthy of exploring since it was never done in the series. The scene in Stellar Cartography works well because it shows Data learning to cope with his emotions. Unfortunately, every other scene that deals with Data and his emotions is pretty obnoxious and tedious to sit through. He laughs non-stop during a serious investigation, irking not only Geordi but the audience as well. The problem is, there probably weren't too many other ways to handle this development within the context of this story since there are already so many pieces at play. It's a perfect example of aiming high conceptually but missing the mark with the execution.

Placing so much focus on these three character arcs as well as the big picture story would naturally leave the rest of the characters to play supporting roles. Unfortunately, many of these characters end up filling up the background to the point of almost being non-existent within the context of the story. The presence of Scotty and Chekov in the opening prologue adds very little to the sequence and the lines their characters are saddled with don't sound like them either. Of The Next Generation characters, Riker gets some nice scenes both in action and in command while Troi gets some time counseling Picard during his grief. Geordi spends a good bit of time on the sidelines as a hostage for the Klingons, though their use of his VISOR in bringing down the Enterprise-D is creative. Worf gets promoted and gets to take part in the investigation and a scene of action, but little else. And poor Doctor Crusher receives the worst of any of the regular characters from either series as she's given only a handful of scenes and lines and contributes very little to the story. Surely another rewrite or two could've given a few of these roles more impact to the overall story, especially since just about all of them disappear for Generations's final half hour.

Generations features a trio of villains. Returning from The Next Generation are the Duras sister, Lursa and B'Etor. Their parts are underwritten, however, and they're not given much to do besides stare in frustration at the viewscreen before they finally get to pound away at the Enterprise. Outside of their stated intentions to reconquer the Klingon Empire using Soran's trilithium weapon, it's never really clear how they intend to go about doing so and no drama or weight is given to such a prospect. The idea of these two having such a powerful weapon at their disposal is intriguing and a missed opportunity. Their demise is unfortunate and feels premature in the context of the franchise as a whole.

Malcolm McDowell gives a solid performance as primary villain Soran. Though he's described as a mad man, it's a welcome change to see a mad man who isn't interested in weapons or power. Instead, he's obsessed with returning to the Nexus and will do anything to get there. It's unfortunate that the part is underwritten because there's plenty of potential here to have made Soran more sympathetic and tragic. He has some intriguing dialogue with Picard about time and mortality that's in the true spirit of Star Trek and it's his one truly good scene that still could've gone further. Soran isn't a terrible villain nor is he a great one either; he's just forgettable.

The film's visceral peak occurs with the destruction of the Enterprise-D. The obligatory battle scene between the Enterprise and the Klingons is decent, though awkwardly paced. What makes it work is getting the rare opportunity (at the time, anyway) to see the Enterprise sets blown apart and crewmen flying through the air. The resolution relies too heavily on contrived technobabble rather than tactics and the destruction of the Klingon ship works so hard to earn the cheers of Chang's demise in Star Trek VI that the same footage is used to depict said destruction. As a result, it falls flat. The battle leads into the subsequent evacuation of the Enterprise star drive section as the ship's warp core is headed towards overload. The sequence builds suspense well as people rush through the corridors, though the presence of the children and families shows one of the flaws in Roddenberry's premise of families aboard starships. The saucer crash sequence is thrilling with special effects that wonderfully depict the ship's destruction. It's loud, entertaining and and director David Carson does a great job with his execution of the sequence to make it the high point of Generations.

Despite it's flaws, Generations to this point is a solid entertaining movie. From there things start to misfire as the story enters the Nexus. The Nexus is Generations's greatest strength and weakness. On a visual level, the energy ribbon is one of the most unique and beautiful things we've ever seen on Star Trek and inspired awe. One of my favorite shots in the entire franchise that captures the true scale of the cinema is when Soran is standing on a platform and the energy ribbon flies towards him. It's a wonderful shot!

Conceptually, however, the Nexus begins to fall apart and drags the third act with it. The Nexus is described as being a place of such joy that not only does Soran want to do anything to return to it, but Guinan also warns Picard that if he were to go into the Nexus he'll never want to come back. This presents the problem of representing a place of that wonderful joy without going over-the-top. Generations doesn't go over-the-top in representing Picard's ultimate fantasy life, but it is pretty intolerable. Playing into Picard's doubts about the choices he made in his life, we're presented with a sequence featuring the Picard family at Christmas. Everything is so perfect, the children so prim and proper and loving that it's hard to hear. The sequence is too cloying. Truthfully, however, just as one is hard pressed to think of a better way to handle Data's arc, there probably weren't too many ways of executing the Nexus in a believable way. Braga and Moore overwrote the concept of the Nexus to the point where nothing could live up to it. When Picard does realize he's in the Nexus, he comes about his decision to leave to stop Soran a little too easily. Of course, after Christmas with the Picards, it's somewhat understandable. Though I jest, the Nexus doesn't seem tempting enough.

Which leads to the next problem with the Nexus that provides Generations's biggest plot hole; if Picard can go anywhere at anytime, why doesn't he go back further in time and just throw Soran in the brig? This is something that could have easily been solved if the writers had just set some rules and boundaries for the Nexus. A single line saying that Picard could only leave to a place where the Nexus has traveled would've sufficed. Instead, we question Picard's choice of the Veridian III mountaintop.

The most highly anticipated aspect of Star Trek Generations also proves to be it's biggest disappointment; the meeting of William Shatner's Captain Kirk and Patrick Stewart's Captain Picard. Their meeting feels very underwhelming, with most of it with Kirk relishing in awe at the power of the Nexus as he seeks to relive aspects of his personal life differently. Picard is left to follow Kirk around, touting his duty as a Starfleet officer. Patrick Stewart may be the finest actor to ever wear a Starfleet uniform, but here he seems small compared to Shatner. Shatner's natural charisma and presence handily eclipse Stewart who has the weaker part of the two. Perhaps if Stewart had been given meatier material to dive into, things would've worked out better. As a result, the meeting of these two captains is very underwhelming.

The film's final climax sees Kirk and Picard working together to stop Soran from destroying the Veridian star. Something about the proceedings doesn't sit right, though. Having the end of a Star Trek film boil down to three men fist fighting on a mountain doesn't sit right and doesn't work. When Kirk makes his final sacrifice, not only does it feel like an after-thought but it also feels like it deserves a shoulder shrug. Kirk's death to save millions of faceless people is definitely noble, but after nearly 30 years, James T. Kirk deserves a more heroic death than the one he receives in Generations.

Generations achieves a technical proficiency unmatched by any of it's predecessors. The visual effects are top notch and the Enterprise-D looks wonderful on the silver screen. The sets from The Next Generation are given an upgrade with new lighting. The bridge set gets the most significant upgrade and has never looked better. As mentioned above, the Nexus energy ribbon is an awe-inspiring marvel and one of Star Trek's most unique phenomena. The film's sound mix is rich, breathing life and depth into the Enterprise in a way never seen on the series.

Having scored The Next Generation since it premiered, composer Dennis McCarthy was brought on board to provide the score for Star Trek Generations. His music doesn't quite live up to the standard set by Jerry Goldsmith. In similar fashion to what he did with composing for episodes of the series, much of McCarthy's music fades into the background and is very underwhelming. When he does unleash, his score is fun and energetic. His main theme soars and is uplifting, but in addition to being very reminiscent of his theme for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, one can't help but wonder how appropriate his theme suits Generations. Considering the deaths of both Kirk and the Enterprise-D, perhaps a more somber theme would've been appropriate. Still, McCarthy's score is effective.

Nowhere near the disaster of Star Trek V but not close to the excellence of Star Trek II either, Star Trek Generations falls into the middle of the pack in the Star Trek film series. It proficiently serves as the torch-passing film it needs to be but fails to be as good as it should or could have been. It's entertaining and has potential because there are plenty of good and big ideas present within its concept, but hit-and-miss execution and a very underwhelming third act keep Star Trek Generations from achieving it's pull potential.

Writing: 1.25 / 2.0
Characters: 1.0 / 2.0
Acting: 1.5 / 2.0
Entertainment: 1.5 / 2.0
Music: .75 / 1.0
Visuals: 1.0 / 1.0

TOTAL: 7.0 / 10
methane
Mon, Jun 8, 2015, 8:33pm (UTC -6)
It's ironic that this was the best looking Star Trek film, as they felt the need to destroy the ship because it wasn't 'cinematic enough'. After seeing it again on blu-ray recently, I was struck by how good the exterior & interiors of the ship look, as well as the special effects & model work.

I agree with others about many of the problems: Data was too over-the-top, the Enterprise not finding Geordi's visor to be compromised again doesn't reflect well on them, the Enterprise shouldn't be taken out by 1 small Bird of Prey (even with the shield frequencies), & the ending was a anti-climatic.

I will say that I appreciated the scenes inside the nexus more than most here, even if it didn't relate well to the rest of the movie. I felt I understood the motivations of the captains inside and why it ultimately wasn't for them. Taking only those scenes in account, it comes across as a critique on either 1) living entirely in your imagination or 2) the idea of heaven. Either statement is actually pretty big for a work of imaginative fiction!

Inside, everything they wanted to happen would happen; there was no chance of them failing or making the wrong decision, no chance of something bad happening to them or someone acting in a way they didn't want. As a consequence, it was also a completely meaningless existence; there was also no chance of affecting anyone real. These 2 characters had defined there lives by "making a difference" to real people & their problems. Once they came to terms with the fact they would never be able to do that inside the nexus, it is clear they would chose to leave, even if most of us wouldn't.

For the most part this movie doesn't want you to stop and think about what's going on as it switches from over-the-top humor! (Data's emotions) to space battle! to disaster movie! (big crash), because these bits don't hold up if you think about them too much. I appreciated when they slowed down in the scenes in the nexus, as well as the earlier scene with Picard & Troi.

By the way, the overall plot could have worked much better with just a few additions. There should have been at least 3 Klingon ships (or 2 ships that were the same size as Enterprise), and Soran needed at least 2 henchmen on the planet. Then it would have been understandable how the Enterprise won a fight but still crashed, or why our 2 captains couldn't take down 1 person without 1 of them getting killed. Of course, these things would have required more money, and Paramount was notoriously cheap with its Star Trek movies before Abrams.
Del_Duio
Tue, Jun 9, 2015, 6:28am (UTC -6)
^^ So cheap they couldn't even afford lightbulbs for the ship interior shots! ^^
Al
Fri, Jun 12, 2015, 4:37am (UTC -6)
0 stars. Easily the worst of the TNG films, maybe even the worst of all the Trek films.

The plot is utterly stupid. Soran's plot is completely absurd and scientifically impossible beyond belief. I mean really? Shooting a rocket into the Sun to make it implode? Also, how did the rocket even arrive at the star so quickly? Did the writers seriously think they could get away with that in a Star Trek film?

The way the Nexus works is baffling. It's so poorly explained and it has a gaping plot hole. If Picard could go anywhere at anytime then why did he choose such a stupid time to go back to? Why didn't he just go back in time to when Soran was on the Enterprise and confront him there? I bet the sole reason they did that was so that could shove in a fight scene, throwing all logic out the window in the process.

And finally you've got the anticlimactic battle and the very undignified death of Kirk. He dies for what? Saving some random pre-warp civilization that we never see or care about? This film was so bad it makes me want to pretend that it doesn't exist.
Andrew
Sun, Jun 14, 2015, 10:38am (UTC -6)
@ methane, the idea that man isn't meant for paradise was a classic original series theme rarely considered in TNG (if not somewhat at odds with it) so it felt very interesting for TNG to try to do it in a film crossover with the original series but the execution and resolution were really underwhelming.
tlb
Sat, Jun 25, 2016, 1:03pm (UTC -6)
After watching DS9 all the way through several times, it was very disconcerting to hear Picard say "What you leave behind..."
David
Tue, Aug 23, 2016, 1:22pm (UTC -6)
Regarding Picard's children speaking with British accents, I didn't find this odd, because Picard himself speaks with such an accent. Therefore, wouldn't it make sense that his children speak the same? There are also other explanations, such as: 1) Wanting the best education for his kids, Picard may have sent them to top boarding schools in the UK (either that, or they went to some kind of international/Federation school) 2) The kids are actually speaking in French, and what we are hearing the universal translator, not the kid's real accents, 3) In the far future, it's possible that the English language has been embraced by the French to such a degree that it's almost, if not as popular as French itself. If you listen to some Swedish people today, many speak with American accents because they hear it on TV.

A few problems I had with the film - at the end, where they report that there were only "minimal" casualties to the Enterprise. Excuse me, but didn't the Klingon ship blow huge chunks out of the Enterprise's hull?? Each of those blasts would have killed dozens, with a total death toll probably in the hundreds. I don't call more than 10% of a ship's crew dying to be "minimal' by any means.

I found the "media circus" at the beginning to be very un-Trek and too 20th-century for my liking. Star Trek has always managed to avoid media, newspapers, and the like, because showing us how people get their news in the future isn't necessary, and leaves more to our imaginations.
Joan
Sun, Oct 16, 2016, 10:11pm (UTC -6)
Agree with most of the other commentators. What also baffled me was why Picard's wife and children dressed in Victorian style clothing? The actress playing the wife, Kim Braden also appeared in an episode on ST:TNG called 'The Loss'. Did Picard secretly fancy her all along?
Latex Zebra
Mon, Oct 17, 2016, 6:39am (UTC -6)
Watched this again recently and raged.
This film treats fans the same way Enterprise's "These are the Voyagers" did.
It shits on everything.
Andrew
Sun, Nov 20, 2016, 12:34pm (UTC -6)
To me the Nexus fantasy wife looked a lot like Jeri Taylor.
Strejda
Fri, Jan 27, 2017, 6:21am (UTC -6)
Look, I know with the most common complaint being that their favorite hero didn't get epic death he deserved, critics of this movie may seem not terribly intellectual (it IS a valid complaint, if poorly constructed by many), but I honestly think this is just a poorly written movie period. Anyway, stuff I haven't seen people bring up:

What I love about the beginning with Enterprise B, is that it's clearly meant to be symbolic of the whole movie being a passing down the torch to the TNG crew. And the captain of B and the crew prove to be utterly helpless and need the old guard to save them. And it fits PERFECTLY.

Okay, what is up with the bizarre boat ceremony? First, there is no way Worf would want something like this, so are the crew just being dicks? Second, they had money to built a boat, create completely new uniforms just for that, but they didn't have the money for a new effect of exploding Bird-of-Prey? Third, Data not getting jokes everybody except the viewers insists are hilarious has not been a thing for so long, I am not sure if I can call it OCC for him at that point, but I can call it embarrassing. No shortage of that for him in this.

While I know everybody was watching TNG at the time, it's still strange that the movie makes no attempts to reintroduce the characters like Wrath of Khan did, as if this was just another two-part finale/opener.

I get Data was meant to be annoying, but they meant for him to be funny annoying. And sorry, not working for me. I know they wanted to avoid making movie too dry and heavy-it has death of Kirk, destruction of Enterprise D and Picard's family burning to death-but getting emotion chip should be a big deal to Data and his character development and WoK had plenty of heavy stuff and was able to get humor in there much more naturally.

You know, I can buy Kirk feeling like he missed out on not having a family and then realizing he needs to be on bridge, but we have already seen go through this. It's just a repetition of his arc from movies. As his final hooray, it's a bit anti-climactic to have him learn pretty much the same lesson he learned before. Also, I think Kirk telling Picard not to retire and him responding he wasn't even thinking about it, sums up why their interactions are so disappointing. Their arcs are fine individually, but they are treated as completely separate and they end up having nothing to bond over. Its just Picard telling Kirk to get off his ass and do something, since he already got over his problems. Really, why NOT have Picard consider retiring and have Kirks decision change his mind? Why not have Kirk tell him about his son, or even his brother, if you aren't afraid of the continuity porn?

Everything about this movie just ends up bland and unsatisfying. There is a good underlying theme of change moving on, but the story fails to make the ride worth it. Or convince that the change is for the better.
Del_Duio
Fri, Jan 27, 2017, 6:44am (UTC -6)
"Third, Data not getting jokes everybody except the viewers insists are hilarious has not been a thing for so long, I am not sure if I can call it OCC for him at that point, but I can call it embarrassing. No shortage of that for him in this. "

I saw this in the theater twice and I can tell you all of these jokes were hilarious at the time. Especially when he did the Picard impersonation. Maybe because back then we were so used to the non-emotional Data it made a bigger impact, I dunno. I didn't really like his "Oh Shit!" when the ENT-D was going down, not even back then. THAT seemed way more out of character to me.

Overall I feel like Generations is a good movie, maybe middle of the pack. I agree with you that the whole ENT-B scenes are awesome- Maybe the best part of the movie, really. All the lighting on the ENT-D seems to be non-existant, like they purposely went away from the great stage lighting the show used for years for some weird effect. I think this was a mistake. Destroying the ENT-D was horrible and I've never warmed up to the ENT-E over the next few movies (and it looks like I won't ever get that chance again).

Daresay I think Kirk is better in this movie than Picard is. It's like they saddled Picard with this crappy lightning and crappy themes and let Kirk do most of the heroric cowboy stuff to ride out into the sunset- Stuff, I may add, that he and his crew did with great effect already in The Undiscovered Country. And I like Picard as a captain / character way way more too.

Also, it's very likely Parmount could have had access to some sailing ship prop somewhere already. Or they could've borrowed an existing tourist ship from someplace (ex. the Friendship in Salem or similar) and rented some nautical uniforms from anywhere. I don't think they had to spend too much money on those particular things perhaps.
Robert
Fri, Jan 27, 2017, 9:47am (UTC -6)
"Overall I feel like Generations is a good movie, maybe middle of the pack. "

It's absolutely good. The biggest problem at the time was that it was outclassed by "All Good Things". They came out sooooo close together and AGT was just better.

At the time though, all of Star Trek was good. S7 TNG was mediocre, but it still had some of the franchise's best episodes, DS9 was just starting to take off around now and VOY's pilot was incredibly promising. This was probably THE BEST time to be a Trekkie. Everything was coming up awesome. You missed TNG but they were just starting a promising movie franchise and the other two shows were full of promise.

But yes, the worst thing I can say about Generations is that AGT was a better TNG movie.
Chrome
Fri, Jan 27, 2017, 1:24pm (UTC -6)
I wouldn't call this movie bad per se, it's just underwhelming. Like, bringing Kirk and the TOS crew back could've been a big deal, but it wasn't. For one thing, they could only get three TOS actors on board with the script (Nimoy turned it down). But even the ones they got like Shatner underperformed. Basically, Kirk was brought back to Picard's time in order to do something Picard should've been able to handle himself. Compare this to Nimoy's role in ST 2009, where that crew absolutely needed Future Spock in order to thwart the monster that Nero had become.

And then there's Data acting like !NotData. I mean, I get that Spiner wanted to explore a bigger acting range for his movie role, but Data just felt wrong the whole outing. The emotion chips turns him into a buffoon, unlike his usually relatable character. We see by the time First Contact rolls around, they've mostly reversed this emotion's chips power over Data.

So yeah, I think Jammer's review is fair. It's a serviceable story that checks all the boxes, but doesn't hit the level you'd expect from the first theatrical TNG piece.
Peter G.
Fri, Jan 27, 2017, 2:46pm (UTC -6)
Generations plays like a mediocre episode of TNG, but lacking some of the charms a mediocre episode would still have had. A typically reasonable TNG ep would include not only a situation to resolve, but almost always a serious discussion about the two sides of the issue. The discussion wasn't always overtly verbal (like a senior staff meeting) but often was told through the action of the story one way or the other. The treatment of the topic itself was the heart and soul of TNG. Following right on the coattails of "All Good Things..." it should have been second nature for the creative team to include the sorts of discussions Picard had with Q, Geordi, Data, and the others about what he was trying to solve in the finale.

But Generations instead takes a premise and does absolutely nothing with it. The Nexus were merely a plot device for getting Kirk into Picard's time and having a McGuffin for Malcolm McDowell to chase. The side-story about Picard's regrets was an interesting (but completely failed) attempt to get some depth into the story, and in any case it doesn't serve as a serious treatment of what the Nexus is or can mean to someone. The argument Guinan makes is that it's an irresistible drug that is so much more fulfilling than life that (a) one would never leave it, and (b) people would do anything at all to get to it. (a) is proven to be not only false but also ridiculous, and (b) seems to have never been taken seriously because although apparently its existence is known to at least some, there isn't any kind of galactic competitive furor to get to it. The only man trying is basically a lunatic, even though if Guinan was right lots of people would be trying. In fact, there's no reason why Soran couldn't just ask someone's help to get back in. There is never any reason given for why he has to do anything illegal at all to get to the Nexus. I guess he just enjoys being a villain. But in a real TNG episode there would surely have been a discussion about the dangers of a fountain-of-euphoria and how it could undermine the advancement of humanity to trade in wisdom for pleasure. There could have been a story line which juxtaposed the principles of pleasure versus duty, and shown how in the Federation some citizens feel called to serve the greater good (like Starfleet) while others no doubt sit around in holosuites with their replicators and don't do jack else. The Nexus could easily have been shown to be an analogue to technologies that bring plentiful delights with no effort required. We could have been shown how seeking only the pleasurable is something mankind needs to avoid for its own good, and how the drug of becoming a slave to sensory pleasures would be a real danger in the future. But no - instead we got a folksy horsey-riding scene and various maudlin non-sequitors.

Honorable mention for a wasted premise indeed goes to the treatment of Data, where the most sympathetic and human qualities he embodies - innocence, curiosity, and childlike dedication - are swept away in favor of one-liners and cheap 'new behavior.' There could have been a way to show Data at odds with an emotion chip that robbed him of his most human elements, but instead they just made it funny (and it was funny). This was a dismissal of what should have been a pivotal character experience in favor of a few cheap laughs. It would be like ST:IV if the whole movie had been "double dumb-ass on you!" lines. It might be funny when you hear it but would leave the film devoid of spirit.

The use of the Duras sisters as B-villains didn't amount to much either, as their participation could have been substituted for any number of alternatives with no material difference to the film. Having them take out the Enterprise was additionally sensational without being *about* anything. When Kirk's Enterprise was killed in ST:III that flaming wreck was a deliberate act of sacrifice by Kirk, to mirror the death of his son. In Generations it was just a special effect action sequence; well done, but useless. If they had wanted this part of the film to have some real meaning they could have made Soran's accomplices been an actual power with vested interest in the Nexus themselves. How about the Romulans? It would have been far more meaningful to have Tomalak or someone else we know like Sela to take out the Enterprise, while likewise allowing their presence to show that more than just one mere madman had interest in the Nexus. In such a story the resolution should probably have been for Picard to destroy the Nexus if possible, to avoid endless warfare over it.

Overall I would qualify Generations as a major disappointment that I didn't even come out of the cinema liking all that much. In content it's a mediocre TNG episode minus the actual issue mattering, and when factoring in negatives such as irrelevant villains and the use of Data, I would place this among the dregs of TNG. I'd rather watch almost any episode from S2 onwards rather than Generations on any given day.
Robert
Fri, Jan 27, 2017, 3:17pm (UTC -6)
"In Generations it was just a special effect action sequence; well done, but useless."

And here I thought it was a commentary on women drivers. Let Deanna drive for 5 minutes, amirite?
Strejda
Thu, Feb 23, 2017, 7:26pm (UTC -6)
@Del-dunio I was talking about the humor dissonance of Worf falling into water and Data pushing Crusher there.

Just seen a clip with that scene just before Kirk and Picard and leave Nexus and it again reminds me just how wasted their scenes are. After Kirk asks him if he wants to retire and he says "nah", Kirk has this personal rant why he shouldn't (it really comes off as a rewrite), because he can make a difference. And Picard then tells him to come back there to "make a difference again". As someone pointed out before, it might as well go "Man, I could really use some candy." "You know, there is a lot of candy there."
BC
Fri, Feb 24, 2017, 11:58pm (UTC -6)
Did Geordi have the Captain's and Starfleet's permission to install the chip?? If .not, he should have been court-martialed!!
Andrew
Thu, May 11, 2017, 12:50am (UTC -6)
I think this film works better viewed (as was probably much more intended) more as a film sequel to TNG rather than to TUC.
Rahul
Sun, Jun 4, 2017, 3:36pm (UTC -6)
"Generations" was doing reasonably well for me until it got to the part where Picard enters the Nexus. Then it's just downhill.
In concept, connecting the TOS crew (or part of it) in a handoff to the TNG crew is a great idea. The Nexus is the device to do so - that's fine but it is just too much of a stretch to me. So people get absorbed by this energy ribbon (die presumably) but can exit it quite easily as Picard & Kirk do and go back and change the past? And firing probes into stars to make them explode seems another stretch given how big stars are and how I assume a probe would vaporize once it gets too close to the star. Am I missing something here?
As for Data and the emotion chip, I thought it was a nice B-plot to the film. Data is my favorite character on TNG and easily the best source of humor. Agree with Jammer that the best scene is with him and Picard doing the cartography and figuring out what Sorin is planning with the energy ribbon. It seems to make sufficient sense and also gives Picard a chance to point Data in the right direction about handling emotion.
I wasn't a fan of how Kirk's death was handled - actually I would prefer that he wasn't killed off. But the bigger issue is having 3 old guys (Picard, Kirk, Sorin) in a man-on-man fight scene.
Thought the scene with the saucer section sliding through the forrest was well done as was the battle scene with the Klingons.
In any case, this one's hit and miss - definitely not one of the better Trek flicks, but not as bad as Star Trek V. Ambitious but weakish story and too much suspension of disbelief required. I'd rate it 2 stars out of 4.
Jasper
Sun, Aug 20, 2017, 5:38pm (UTC -6)
Two stars. Was more often annoyed during this movie then not. Christmas scene was real bad, but also the crashing of the saucer just takes for ever. And then the planet blows up. I liked the opening scene, stuff with Data was good and did they repeat the visor hack from an earlier TNG episode. You would assume they patched the bloody thing. Didn't Geordi install the security update? Bastard.
Cody B
Thu, Jun 21, 2018, 7:27am (UTC -6)
Was I supposed to feel bad when Data pushed Beverly into the water? I thought it was hilarious. They play it like it was a huge deal and data did something near tragic. Surely I’m not the only one who found it funny?
Chrome
Thu, Jun 21, 2018, 12:03pm (UTC -6)
@Cody B

I think the audience sees Crusher being pushed off as funny, but in the show’s universe Crusher was just trying to give Data some friendly advice about humor and Data responded to her advice literally by pushing her off which from her perspective was kind of mean and poorly timed.
Cody B
Fri, Jun 22, 2018, 12:37am (UTC -6)
@ Chrome

That’s kind of what I thought but they played it so serious and acted like data did something horrible that I almost felt guilty for laughing. Maybe they should have explained you shouldn’t push people in unless they have on swim wear and not been so serious like data shot her or something
Chrome
Fri, Jun 22, 2018, 10:15am (UTC -6)
@Cody B

Yes, thanks to Spiner (being incredibly likable and funny when needed) giving that goofy face when he pushes Crusher off the ship, it's hard not to laugh there or at least be on Data's side. The trouble is, this scene is supposed to be the turning point where Data realizes he can no longer further his dream of being human using his current circuitry. But in actuality, what Data did was really not much less funny than what Riker did to Worf. Both were needlessly thrown in the water with their clothes and looked pretty unhappy about it.

Actually, I don't think Data's emotion chip arc really works at all in this movie. It's hard to say he actually gained anything from the experience and he certainly lost a lot. The one patented TNG heartwarming moment is with Data crying after he finds Spot, which works to a degree, but at the same time it doesn't really make up for how annoying he was with emotions earlier on.

By the time "First Contact" rolls around you can tell there was a lot of negative reception to Data getting emotions. Hey, most of us preferred the socially awkward but charmingly innocent android. Thus the writers decided to give Data the ability to turn off the emotions entirely and table the issue. Then of course in "Nemesis" the essence of Data reverts back to the childlike B4, so yeah, maybe they shouldn't have messed with Data to begin with.
William B
Fri, Jun 22, 2018, 11:06am (UTC -6)
I think the idea is that 1) Worf had expected he might get soaked (and that is what usually happens in these lieutenant commander promotions, apparently), 2) Riker didn't say "remove the plank" on purpose, or at least plausibly pretended he didn't, and 3) Worf generally has a greater tolerance for physical discomfort than Crusher (or really anyone save emotionless Data), and those are the reasons for the difference in the crew's reaction to Worf's versus Crusher's soaking.

More generally, I think that Data's ability to turn off his emotion chip in First Contact serves a different narrative purpose than walking back its introduction in Generations. Data wants to be -- and the crew want him to be -- someone who can be relied upon to be "emotionless Data" on command, and that's very reasonable to want that, if it's possible, rather than having to "handhold an android" (to quote Picard in Peak Performance) during a crisis. So then when the Borg Queen reactivates his emotions, we are primed to see Data as unable to handle the emotional influx (just as he was in Generations), while also having been informed that he has, to an extent, been working on it in the meantime. It feels like a natural evolution, and the story does end up hinging on Data being able to control his feelings, and being forced to reckon with them, but in a way that (IMO) works better than in Generations.

However, yeah, it seems to open the door to Insurrection/Nemesis just writing them off entirely. That said, I'm not sure that says much about whether it was a mistake to try this story. Insurrection/Nemesis didn't really add much to any characters' stories (with the exception of getting Riker and Troi together and Riker getting his command, and a few other moments like Geordi appreciating the sunset in Insurrection) and so the choices made in those movies maybe don't mean that much. I think Data with emotion chip is something with a lot of story potential, which was sadly not very well realized in Generations.
Chrome
Fri, Jun 22, 2018, 11:24am (UTC -6)
@William B

Fair point about Riker and his "remove the plank" line. I haven't caught the scene recently but Riker certainly has a personality where people will believe he didn't mean to remove the plank, even if he may have secretly known exactly what would happen.

Also, I think you're right about "First Contact" and would even go as far to say that movie handled Data's emotions the best without them being a major part of the film. That fact that Data can even shut off his emotions still separates him from being human (and also gives us some nice insight into Picard's turmoil when he says he's envious of Data). It was also great that FC teased us by making us think Data was still vulnerable to his emotions like he was in "Generations". But Data's reveal at the end that the emotions had, in human terms, an extremely low impact on his decision making was a nice way of showing character growth while giving us insight into Data longing to express his suppressed emotions.
Peter G.
Fri, Jun 22, 2018, 11:46am (UTC -6)
@ Chrome,

"That fact that Data can even shut off his emotions still separates him from being human (and also gives us some nice insight into Picard's turmoil when he says he's envious of Data). It was also great that FC teased us by making us think Data was still vulnerable to his emotions like he was in "Generations"."

It seems to go even further than merely envying Data; the plot actually hinged on Picard's inability to turn off his emotions. The whole "the line must be drawn here!" scene was exactly the difference between him and Data, where he was unable to proceed on pure logic, whereas Data's arc with the Queen seems to convey that Data was in fact able to contend with his emotions even though he had a split second of indecision. I wonder how much of Picard's arrival at the end influenced Data's resolve, mind you.

That's about all I'll say positively about the emotion chip arc in FC because overall it still seemed like a gimmick to me. The script didn't even make full use of the Picard/Data parallel in how each was handling emotions and that sort of fell by the wayside in favor of some action sequences near the end as well as a bit of speechifying,

Overall NONE of what we got in Generations or FC held a candle to the simple scene in Descent pt 1 where Data gets angry at the Borg, and then the subsequent creepy holodeck experiments where he can't get angry again. The emotionless question about whether he can only feel negative things was more interesting than Data's one-liners and angst around the Queen.
William B
Fri, Jun 22, 2018, 1:09pm (UTC -6)
"Overall NONE of what we got in Generations or FC held a candle to the simple scene in Descent pt 1 where Data gets angry at the Borg, and then the subsequent creepy holodeck experiments where he can't get angry again. The emotionless question about whether he can only feel negative things was more interesting than Data's one-liners and angst around the Queen."

I pretty much agree, and really love those scenes in Descent I. The act break where Data adds that he experienced pleasure is note-perfect, and that scene is one of my favorite uses of Troi in the series, too, especially her look of fear as she takes in the implications of Data's statement and her optimism starts to show cracks.
Elliott
Sat, Sep 29, 2018, 5:26pm (UTC -6)
I've been going back and forth on which Star Trek item to review next. My initial thought, having entered into the phase of Trek history where everything starts happening at once (two series and the films), I'm curious how looking at these events chronologically will play out. However, I already started out of order, so I've lost the opportunity to, for example, review late TNG alongside early DS9. Ah, well. At some point I'll circle back around and check in on the early DS9 stuff again. The other problem with jumping into the TNG films is, how am I to treat the continuity with the series, which I haven't reviewed in detail yet? And most fundamentally, does anybody who will read this even give a fuck?

Well, unlike DS9, I have seen the TNG series and films many times over. I feel pretty confident that I can pull the references where I need them. I am not attempting to review the show as though I am watching it in real time—I'm not taking large breaks between seasons, and I'm holding the show(s) accountable to my 2018 standards, for the most part. But the different properties definitely played off each other and influenced each other's conception, so I still believe there's value in reviewing “Generations” now, between “Meridian” and “Defiant,” where it originally premièred, and I'll do the same with the remaining TNG films, and the later TOS films eventually.

So the remaining question is how to conduct the review: act-by-act reviews, separated by commercial breaks aren't going to work, obviously, but I want to have some consistency here and not just slap a score on at the end. There have already been several examples in DS9 where the in-the-moment experience, the execution, in other words, has helped or hurt the score to an episode. And to me, it says something about the value of a work when its execution either buoys up or weighs down the final score. “Playing God” is a good example of this. In a film, the construction of scenes is roughly akin to the construction of acts in TV. So, for better or worse, the film reviews will go scene by scene, with a functionary section at the end.

Going into the film, “The Undiscovered Country” had closed the door on one of the original conceits of TOS allegory, presciently marking the end of the Cold War between the (West) Federation and the (East) Klingon Empire. Kirk's flaws as a leader and as a man were brought into sharp relief, but eventually overcome with grounded but inspirational political idealism. Together, the character journeys for him and Spock directly signified the evolution of man between his 23rd and 24th century selves. Meanwhile, TNG as a series had, in my view, surpassed the original in nearly every way. Its first season suffered from a lack of execution, but its middle years from seasons 2-5 were littered with stellar examples of the best Star Trek could be. Unfortunately, as the franchise grew and fatigue set in, the last season was largely disappointing, having run into several brick walls, conception-wise. Almost miraculously, TNG's finale was a near-perfect capstone to the series, capturing the refined sense of wonder and giving beloved cast a grand appraisal. The lingering questions were mostly about the unresolved relationship with the Romulans. Other issues brought up near the series' end were for DS9 and Voyager to deal with.

Credits : ****, 1%

Why in the hell review the credits? Well, from the beginning, the credit sequence on Star Trek has been iconic. TMP (spoiler, my favourite of the films), as with all the other aspects, perfectly expanded the scope and timbre of the show into the film medium. Thus the credit sequence on that film is a full-fledged overture for a mythological tale which tells the Trek story on an operatic scale. The credit sequences of all the series also, for me, quite accurately reflect their respective strengths and weaknesses: TOS is an adventure with grand ideas that is nevertheless somewhat stuck in the trappings of its era; TNG is a fresh take on the original, with a similar vision, but more grown-up, cosmopolitan and timeless; DS9 is confident, patient and stately, but its updated sequence reveals that it often becomes seduced by flashiness; Voyager is sleek and beautiful, but stubbornly refuses to change as much as it should; Enterprise is a failed attempt to appeal to cultural markers which are incompatible with Star Trek.

Is anyone still reading? No? Okay, great; let's get started.

Right off the bat, Dennis McCarthy's score plays up the sci-fi dimension to this film. The Nexus theme with its 70s/80s sci-fi sensibilities and lontano chorus creates an aura of mystery. This is really the perfect tone to strike; the film is titled “Generations,” so we know that somehow, the worlds of TOS and TNG are going to collide (even assuming we didn't see any trailers going in). The mood of this opening suggests that this collision will be more profound than what we have seen thus far. Bones, Spock and Scotty have all interacted with the TNG crew, but this was through the virtue of simply still being alive in the 24th century. An object spins slowly though space, likewise evoking the classic look and feel of films like “2001.” The object refracts the starfield. Little by little, we realise that this object is really a bottle of champagne. This is a whimsical touch. Finally, the bottle triumphantly makes contact with the hull of the Enterprise B, accompanied by the classic Trek fanfare.

Scene 1 : ***, 4%

On the bridge, a gaggle of 23rd century reporters (there's something new) enthusiastically greet some familiar guests, Kirk, Scotty and Chekov. Now, we all know the story that Kelly and Nimoy weren't about to appear in glorified cameos for their own damned franchise. I get it. This movie is really going to be about Kirk passing the torch, as it were, to Picard. So do Doohan's and Koenig's appearances read as gratuitous fan service or add to the mise-en-scène? You decide. I'm not bothered by it.

The first problematic signs begin to crop up in the initial dialogue. Captain Harriman (yay more white male captains...) refers to the old crew as “living legends.” Now, it's plausible that Kirk and co., having accomplished all they have, would be regarded as such by the Next Generation (get it?), but what this tells me is that Moore and Braga are viewing the old characters, to some extent, through rose-tinted glasses. This was a problem in “Relics,” too—the nostalgia felt by the audience/fanbase is creeping into the script. What possible reason would Harriman have to see Chekov as a living legend? Kirk, at best, would be seen as a salient political figure, maybe like Nelson Mandela. “Legend” is where fans of the *show* Star Trek take the character of Kirk. Breaking the timeline slightly, given what we get between “Trials and Tribbleations” and “Flashback,” one of the few areas I think “Flashback” has the advantage is in how it regards Star Trek's past. DS9 idolises TOS in a way which divorced from the *ideas* which made the show great, focusing more on the superficial (but still wonderful) elements of the show.

Kirk is introduced to Sulu's daughter, the B's new helmsman (Starfleet may have a nepotism problem).

CHEKOV: I was never that young.
KIRK: No, ...you were younger.

Thematic foreshadowing or nostalgic wistfulness? You decide. Kirk seems to lament not having found the time, like Sulu, to start a family (again). This is a bit weird as the sentiment doesn't exactly track with his history with David and Klingons. Seeing Demora Sulu, if anything, should cause bitterness in Kirk, not envy. Harrison asks Kirk to order the disembarkation of the new Enterprise. An oddly demure Kirk, cornered by the Paparazzi, indulges them, but there's nothing like the familiar Kirkian joy or bravado in his order. With appropriate fanfare, the ship begins its short journey.

Scene 2 : **.5, 4%

While I still think the nostalgia-heavy take on the 23rd century is a problem for this film, one interesting consequence here is the way in which these scenes push up against the fourth wall. Commanding the Enterprise on her next mission is a press event, and a popular one. There can be no doubt that the writers were influenced by the manner in which Star Trek was being received at the time, basking in popularity and success. Jack-knifing into this complacency, the ship receives a distress call from El-Aurian refugees on their way to Earth. Hmm...so did these El-Aurians see it fit to tell the Federation about the race of cybernetic monsters which made them refugees in the first place? No? Well, at least they make really attractive hats.

Harrison passes the buck to some other ship—apparently the B hasn't been sufficiently completed to mount a rescue. Kirk is indignant, but keeps quiet. When it turns out that no other ships are in range (seriously, they were just at Earth and haven't gone to warp. How can there be no other ships in range?), and faced with the press corps' cameras, Harrison decides to attempt the rescue. Harrison is obviously nervous and Kirk's inability to keep his ass in his chair isn't helping.

Scene 3 : ***, 4%

The Enterprise encounters the spacial distortion which is tearing up the refugee ships. Harrison tries some technobabble options for saving the refugees, his ship lacking much of the necessary equipment, like a tractor beam. One nice touch is the lighting on the crew's faces being cast by the reporters. It reads very much like the old 60s soft-filters so emblematic of the original series without feeling gratuitous like other elements.

Anyway, this utterly fails and one of the ships is destroyed. The other one seems doomed. Harrison is out of ideas, so he asks Kirk, who gets a drum solo from the Dennis McCarthy for suggesting the incredibly heroic course of action of moving within transporter range. Yeah. Chekov pulls together a makeshift medical staff because DeForest Kelly wasn't showing up on set and Moore and Braga couldn't come up with a better use for Koenig. The transportation is problematic because of quantum nonsense happening to the ship, so only 47 (duh) are successfully rescued.

Right on cue, space turbulence starts rocking the ship. Below decks, one of the refugees, Malcolm MacDowell (probably just a glorified extra) is screaming at his makeshift nurse, horribly upset at being rescued. We also get a glimpsed of some other person...where there are El-Aurians, there will be Guinan. This is a great little tease for the audience.

Scotty concocts some science that might save them, but this will require someone manually fucking with the deflector dish. Harrison leaves Kirk in command, and he is sorely tempted by that chair. But, Kirk knows that the right thing to do is take care of it himself and let the new guy cut his teeth.

Bill Shatner tears up the scenery a bit on his way down to tech the jargon. This chance to be the shirt-tearing, glory-hogging action hero seems to re-activate Kirk. So, he has essentially completed his arc for the film. Wow, seems a little fast. Kirk inserts Rod B into Slot D and things seem to be working out, but Odin is unhappy and hurls a thunderbolt at the Enterprise's drive section. Young Sulu is able to get them to safety, but Kirk is no longer responding to hails, having been swallowed up and apparently killed by the anomaly.

Scene 4 : **.5, 4%

A clever transition ensues, from the 23rd century star field to the 18th century ocean of Earth, but the title card lets us know that 82 years have elapsed into the future. Here we find our familiar TNG senior staff dressed in period uniform. Clearly, they're playing on the holodeck, but at least this time, they let the girls be officers instead of damsels or prostitutes or whatever would be “authentic.” Picard promotes Worf to Lt Commander, and Riker, probably still sore that Worf is banging his Imzati, has him go through this Fraternity ritual where he grabs a hat, then Riker has the computer dunk him in the ocean, and all in all it's all pretty stupid.

Data, for his part, has apparently been reset to his Season 1 programming, because he doesn't understand the concept of a prank, which leads to him dunking Crusher in the water right after Worf. Geordi tells us that this stupid prank, unlike the last stupid prank, is *not* funny, because fuck you.

In the midst of waxing nostalgic about scurvy and sea dragons, Picard receives a written message. Whatever it says, Picard is visibly shaken and leaves the holodeck. Immediately, Riker is informed of a distress call from a space station and they're off to the bridge.

Scene 5 : ***.5, 4%

We get our first beauty shot of the Enterprise D approaching the station, as well as a view of the film-updated sets. I've heard complaints about all of these, as well as the uniform changes (some characters switch between DS9 and TNG-style uniforms). With the exception of Riker and Geordi not having uniforms that fit, which looks lazy, none of this bothers me in the slightest. The station appears to be unoccupied, so Picard stands down from red alert and orders Riker to begin an investigation. Whatever is affecting him gives Stewart the opportunity to show off his chops magnificently, showing pain, frustration and rage (“just do it!”) with perfect polish.

The away team, led by Riker, discovers a few dead bodies and evidence of a violent incursion onto the station. Buried beneath some rubble, they also unearth a very-much alive Malcolm MacDowell, who calls himself Dr Sauron, with his tenfold shields, teeth like swords, claws like spears and a tail like thunderbolt. Finally, they discover a Romulan corpse. Hooray.

Scene 6 : ***, 4%

In Data's quarters, he and Geordi discuss his holodeck faux-pas. Data pauses and considers installing Lore's emotion chip from “Descent.” Well, of course, I mean, Data didn't understand a prank, surely this warrants the great risk posed to his life. Since prying it from his brother's corpse, he has adapted to a complex command style in “Gambit,” learned to examine his own dream psychology in “Phantasms,” made a difficult and very human decision regarding his mother in “Inheritance,” and had an entire civilisation occupy his consciousness in “Masks.” None of those experiences prompted him to experiment with the emotion chip, but now, in the middle of a potentially dangerous mission, NOW is the time he decides he'll try it out? Please.

On a metatextual level, I get it. “I believe my growth as an artificial lifeform has reached an impasse. For thirty-four years I have endeavoured to become more 'human', to grow beyond my original programming. Still I am still unable to grasp such a basic concept as humour.” Yeah, the writers feel that the emotion chip is a good route to continue the exploration of Data's character, having exhausted other avenues in the series. I'm not sure I agree, but I can get onboard with this approach. At the very least, he should have the opportunity to experience emotions besides the so-called “negative” ones he was permitted by Lore. So, Geordi obliges and installs it in his friend's head.

Scene 7 : ***, 4%

Riker briefs Picard about the away mission. Picard is still distracted, but takes his duty to monitor a potential Romulan threat seriously. Also, Sauron wants a word with the captain. Picard is short with his number one, and in no mood to divulge his bad news.

A broadly-grinning Data and Geordi emerge into Ten Forward, and we see Guinan again at her familiar station. Data tries a new beverage, and is thrilled to have an emotional reaction—hatred. Oh good, positive emotions.

Picard enters to meet with Sauron. The other El-Aurian wants to return to the space station immediately, but obviously Picard can't oblige until they complete their investigation.

SORAN: They say 'time is the fire in which we burn'. Right now, Captain, my time is running out. We leave so many things unfinished in our lives. ...I know you understand.

Oh, you do? You know Picard understands? How's that now? So, I have objected to Guinan's force-powers before. It was one of the few sour notes in “Yesterday's Enterprise” for me...but...if we accept that this is, in fact, a feature inherent to the El-Aurian species, maybe some kind of very low-level telepathy, then Sauron's timely insight into Picard's state of mind can almost be justified. Almost. Before he leaves, Sauron and Guinan make eye contact. Whoopi Goldberg and MacDowell deliver wonderfully with their wordless facial cues.

Scene 8 : **, 4%

In Engineering, Worf explains to Riker that they have determined the Romulans were looking for Trilithium aboard the observatory, a nasty chemical compound that can freeze a star.

Data and Geordi are sent to the observatory to look for more clues. Sigh...Data is...enjoying humour...recalling some of the horrible jokes in “Encounter at Farpoint,” laughing like a fucking idiot, making puns, playing hand-puppets with his tricorder, and generally being unforgivably annoying. The score tries to remind us this shit is serious and Data keeps riffing. Finally, they discover an unusual probe and Data's inability to shut off his canned laughter is attributed to an actual malfunction, reminding me instantly of Joker venom victims [shudder]. Geordi attempts to get the pair beamed back for help, but it turns out Sauron has joined them...and blocked communication...somehow. Rather than asking the creepy doctor, “What the fuck are you doing here?” or better yet, shooting him, he asks him to shut down the dampening field. Uh...what? Geordi gets sucker punched for his stupidity and Data is too terrified to resist.

Scene 9 : ****, 4%

Picard is admiring photographs of his family from “Family” in his space scrapbook. Troi enters and offers her counsel. Hoo boy. Apparently, Robert has mellowed a bit since his mud-wrestling days. So, no soft-pedalling this...Picard's nephew and uncle were burned to death in a fire. My sardonic reaction is, 'well that's what happens when you reject modern technology, your old-fashioned farmhouse is prone to preventable accidents.' But honestly, Patrick Stewart devastates with his portrayal of heartbreak and regret. And Marina Sirtis does not get in the way. This is one of the most moving scenes since Season 5. Picard saw Réné, his nephew, as the continuation of his family line which, despite himself, he always valued. Réné's existence unburdened Picard to pursue his career. The ensuing estrangement with Robert probably contributed to Picard's distaste for children in early TNG, as they were a constant reminder of the obligation he had the freedom to ignore. Fascinating stuff. Before Troi can ruin the scene by offering terrible advice, the star, who's amber glow has been flooding the Enterprise, lights up brightly in plain view.

Scene 10 : **.5, 4%

Deanna and Jean-Luc emerge from his ready room for some inexplicable reason as they were just in his quarters...the star is experiencing the same effect Worf had observed might be caused by that nasty trilithium. We piece this together easily, but apparently, when the observatory launched a probe at the star, nobody bothered to inform the captain, first officer or hail the station. Good going, guys. Well, anyway, the star is going to explode any minute, but they can't locate Geordi and Data on the observatory. So, Riker and co. beam over to rescue them before the shock wave destroys it.

Sauron is playing around with Geordi's visor, unfazed by the approaching doom shockwave when a voice contacts him asking for his coordinates. Riker and Worf show up and, instead of waiting for them to ask stupid questions, despite this being more likely, he just starts shooting at them. A Bird of Prey decloaks nearby; the voice contacts Sauron again and beams him and Geordi aboard the Klingon vessel. Riker and the rest return to the Enterprise and we get a neat little action bit where it warps away just as the shockwave obliterates the observatory.

On the Bird, we discover that the vessel is being run by the ol' Duras Sisters whom we saw recently in “Firstborn.” Sauron smacks B'etor across the face and calls her a careless. The Romulans went after their missing Trilithium which they...somehow knew was on a Federation observatory. Uh-huh. Lursa remarks that, mistakes aside, whatever they were, they now have the trilithium and super weapon. Yeah, except didn't this motherfucker just use it to destroy the sun *and* the observatory with the rest of the chemical and the equipment? Are we to assume that Sauron had some trilithium up his butt when he beamed aboard? Whatever...the Duras plan on conquering the Empire with this magical butt-weapon, but Sauron will have his reward first, which requires travelling to the Veridian System, so they're off.

Scene 11 : **.5, 4%

On the Enterprise, Crusher has identified Sauron and explains his backstory which we saw in the prologue. This leads Picard straight to Guinan. He visits the elusive El-Aurian in her quarters, which look like a small temple, strewn with enough candles to burn down a French farmhouse. Guinan explains that the energy ribbon is called the “Nexus” (who named this thing?), that it causes eternal orgasms or whatever (of course such a thing would be floating around space), and that, while Guinan has managed to force herself to let go of that happy place, Sauron has likely become obsessed, hence his hysteria to Chekov. So, did Guinan and Sauron hang out inside the Nexus? Or did she know him from before the Nexus and have him pegged as an obsessive lunatic? But then, she warns Picard that he will be just as obsessed as Sauron if he enters the Nexus (why would he do that?). So are the El-Aurians who were on those ships still alive in the Nexus? Does the Nexus only pick up sentient beings? Organic matter? What? Also, why “The Nexus”? What is being bound together by a happy-pills spacial distortion? It's a shame that the entire concept of the Nexus is so bafflingly stupid because the actual delivery between Stewart and Goldberg is masterful and cinematically captivating.

Sauron, meanwhile, is still playing around with the visor. Geordi is strung up, being tortured...again. He really is the Enterprise's damsel in distress trope sometimes. This time, instead of being experimented on with Borg tech or being brainwashed by Romulans, he's being interrogated. Sauron wants to know what Geordi knows about trilithium. Yeah, sure.

Scene 12 : *, 4%

After the Captain's Log informs us that Data's emotion chip has been fused into his head (oh goodie), we see the pair in Stellar Cartography, which is a fun new set for the Enterprise. While they wait for the computer to figure out how the destruction of that star has affected the region, Data expresses his guilt at having been too afraid to save Geordi aboard the observatory. This, of course, begs the question of what Sauron had planned to do if Data hadn't decided on this stupid experiment in the middle of the mission. Data wants to be de-activated so he doesn't have to deal with his painful emotions, but Picard appeals to a different emotion, Data's commitment to duty.

Now might be the best time to discuss why I hate the emotion chip so god-damned much. In the series, Dr Soong's deliberate choice to deny his son feelings was a direct response to the sociopathic behaviour of his brother. While Data accepted this limitation, his development as a person continuously challenged our assumptions about what emotions really are and mean. In episodes like “The Offspring,” “Data's Day” and “The Quality of Life,” emotional responses were, in a sense, derived from the android's logical mind, almost as if emotions are really an emergent property of consciousness. Skirting this line is part of what makes Data so fascinating a character. On the other hand, his attempts at overt sentimentality (which always fail) are what often make him so charming. While the question in “Descent” of how much of Lore might be in Data if his emotions were “turned on” is interesting, for me, this premise fails because we never see the reverse; how much Data is there in Lore? So again, while I empathise with the writers looking for new ways to explore the character, dumping Emotions™ into his brain like this destroys all the nuance in the central question of what Data means to the Star Trek ethos. With this chip in his head, Data is just light-side Lore.

Picard tells Data that part of being human is learning to live with emotional burdens. Well, yeah, but what he's essentially telling him is that, in order to function, humans often have to find a way to ignore their emotions—an advantage Data already had over his colleagues. Picard even describes this as “courage.” We don't tend to label Vulcan heroes like Spock as “courageous” because their emotional-suppression renders the need to overcome fear moot. This is one of my favourite things about Star Trek, actually; noble actions aren't romanticised as personal courage so much as a social evolution beyond emotionality. Data was essentially made Vulcan by design, able to make all decisions based on logic tempered with ethics, and utterly incapable of arrogance.

So now, we are left with the most pedestrian of character arcs for Data; he has to learn to have courage in the face of fear. Yawn. He and Picard determine that Sauron is destroying stars...to change gravity currents...to force the Nexus to collide with a planet in order to get back into it. This convoluted mess is justified in the script with Data explaining that ships which approach the ribbon are destroyed (as we saw in the prologue). Yeah, except those ships being destroyed did not prevent the people inside them from entering the Nexus, did they? It's interesting that Jammer considers this to be the best scene of the film, because for me, this is where it starts to fall apart. In addition to ruining Data's character and revealing how senseless the Nexus phenomenon is, the scene also sets up the artificial stakes of the film; Sauron needs to destroy another star to get the ribbon to pass through a habitable planet, and this will wipe out a pre-warp civilisation. In the series, when done well, the civilisation-in-peril trope was usually excusable as saving it involved resolving some moral quandary or intriguing sci-fi dilemma. Here it's just upping the stakes because BIG ACTION MOVIE. Sigh...

Scene 13 : .5 stars, 4%

On the filthy Bird, Sauron is still fucking about with the visor. He gives Lursa the info she needs to build a trilithium weapon, having apparently excavated a supply from his butt. He demands, having made his payment, to be beamed down to the third planet to complete his silly plan. But...the Enterprise appears and Picard demands the return of Geordi and threatens to destroy any probe launched into the sun. Okay, good. Sauron has something up his sleeve though.

Worf has calculated that a probe will take 11 seconds to reach the star. Uh, yeah sure, probes can fly faster than light. Why not? Amid some tedious bridge banter, the Duras finally decloak and make contact with the Enterprise. Sauron has beamed to the planet, they say, and in the first of several inconceivably stupid decisions, Picard says he'll beam to his location. What? WHY? Because Worf said it might take 15 seconds to lock onto the probe? So, instead of figuring out where Sauron is and having Worf blow it up with a torpedo, he's going to talk him down? Ugh.

So, Geordi is beamed back and Picard is beamed to the arid uninhabited planet.

Scene 14 : *.5, 4%

Picard materialises, unarmed, and without his communicator. Huh? Before he can make his speech to Sauron, he runs into a force field which smarts.

While Lursa spins around in her chair, Geordi regains consciousness in sickbay and we learn that Sauron has put a little police camera into the visor which transmits to the Bird. Ah. Clever. Data apologises but Geordi just says that Data cowering in a corner unable to help his friend was him “behaving like a human.” So, problem swept under rug. Oof.

While trying to find a gap in the field, Picard tries reasoning with Sauron, saying they can find another way to get him into the Nexus. Apparently, 80 years of research reveal that there is no other way. While this is bullshit, I'm willing to grant that Sauron is at the point, as Guinan eluded to, where he could give a fuck about morality or the irony of destroying a world—as the Borg destroyed his. Once he gets his eternal orgasms, nothing else will matter, right?

Data, elated that being a coward means he has achieved his life-long goal (wow, what a climax for the character...), returns to the bridge and sings his infamous “Lifeforms” song. In isolation, this isn't as bad as the observatory scene, but Data's alleged character journey is now officially relegated to the realm of silly jokes. Whether the jokes will land is about all that we can hope to sink our teeth into.

Scene 15 : *, 4%

Geordi gets a glimpse of the Enterprise's shield modulation, giving the Klingons the opportunity to bomb the fuck out of the drive section. So, like in “Q Who,” they rotate their shield frequencies in order to stave...oh, no, wait. Here's a better idea, let's leave the shields in place and put the therapist at the helm. Why not? Oh, more good ideas, instead of firing their weapons or juicing up the deflector or doing any evasive manoeuvres (thanks, Deanna), Riker, Worf and Data concoct some technobabble nonsense way of forcing the Bird to cloak. For some reason, Data is no longer terrified, but quite happy-go-lucky and testosterone-y as people die and consoles explode around him. Finally, the babble succeeds and a single Enterprise photon blows up the Bird.

Picard is mulling about while Sauron continues to fuck around with his rocket-probe. Riveting stuff. Unnoticed by the all-seeing eye, Picard discovers a gap in the field. Horray.

Scene 16 : *.5, 4%

Geordi makes a discovery of his own, a coolant leak which is going to destroy the warp core. Um, un-hooray. So, Riker orders the saucer separation and we get a few scenes of vacuous action drama (is sickbay in the drive section?)--people running through tubes, families clutching each other in terror (there are quarters in the drive section, too?!), teddy bears (NOOOOOO!). It's all very silly.

We see the separation, which looks grand, but the shockwave throws the saucer right at the planet, giving us Data's other infamous bit (“Oh shit”). Yes, Data that's exactly what this is. Picard, meanwhile appears to be vaporised by Sauron while attempting to break the force field. The saucer section plummets into the planet. Deanna is still pushing buttons on her console for some reason even though the helm is non-functional. And finally, the ship crashes like a old-school flying saucer right through the treeline, as SFDebris said, “Roswell-style.” Seeing all the familiar sets get destroyed is admittedly a lot of fun, although I don't get why, with both Worf and Riker on the bridge, Data is the one clutching Troi.

Following this big action piece, we see Picard (spoiler, he's not dead, somehow) throw down with Sauron. This manages to be even more disappointing than the Data stuff as our intellectual, diplomatic and emotionally-vulnerable hero is not only is reduced to perfunctory fisticuffs, but completely fails to succeed at beating up a 300-year-old scientist even with the element of surprise. Embarrassing. The ribbon enters the Veridian system, Sauron's 11-second rocket magically destroys the star. Picard looks around confused and the haunting choir returns to deliver Sauron (and Picard) to their orgasmatron while the the planet, the Enterprise and that nameless civilisation are obliterated by the shockwave.

Scene 17 : 0 stars, 4%

Someone is playing kinky blindfold sex games with Picard (oh yeah). And it turns out to be several small children...oh...Okay, actually Picard is in a Victorian house with Victorian children and a Victorian redheaded wife who *isn't* Beverly but some random person and it's Victorian Christmas. Oh, and Réné is there, too, not burned to death. In a tree ornament, Picard sees the star going super-nova which gives him a twinge of guilt. But, hey the windows are frost-painted white and 23rd century Guinan is in his study, so whatever, I guess. She calls herself an “echo,” which is El-Aurian for “forced exposition.” We endure several minutes of the pablum of Picard's Nexus dream, and as tedious and uninspired as it is, Picard shows a remarkable ability to let go of his fantasy and decide to leave the Nexus. Echo-Guinan is on a carousel because she really likes obvious symbolism. She explains that, since time has no meaning, Picard can go anywhere, anytime. At this point, I just have to assume that a Q let out a fart at some point and it became this Nexus thing. Speaking of farts, Picard's brain has one as his first genius thought is to return to Veridian III to stop Sauron, not the dozens of other times he could of stopped Sauron before he became a threat like, say, in Ten Forward. Nor does he consider, say, stopping the Borg from assimilating him since he apparently gives zero fucks about the integrity of the timeline. The infinite possibilities provided by this magical space fart aren't even briefly considered here. Furthermore, given his extreme heartache earlier, that Picard wouldn't indulge his fantasy, or other fantasies for even a few more moments—since, remember, time has no meaning—is totally absurd. He can live a thousand lifetimes and still stop Sauron if he wants to. What's the urgency? God this is dumb.

Scene 18 : .5 stars, 4%

Guinan suggests that there's someone else in the Nexus who might help him out, and we cut to Kirk, chopping wood by hand. Um, okay. Picard tries in vain to explain what is actually happening while Kirk revels in his fantasy of chopping wood and burning eggs. There is a woman—Antonia—whom Kirk had apparently broken up with when he returned to Starfleet, but in the Nexus version he's going to propose to her instead. This dovetails into the theme for Kirk's Nexus fantasy which is that he had never gone back to, or perhaps ever even joined Starfleet. Now, besides the fact that we've seen this arc put to rest in the previous films, where in the world did this come from? Is it because he “died” saving the Enterprise? You'd think if Kirk had a fantasy it would be just that!

Despite assassinating yet another iconic Star Trek character, the film is still committing the same sin as in the prologue of artificially elevating Kirk beyond what makes sense in-Universe. Why does Picard burn his hands on the frying pan? Why is Picard—who rides horses as a hobby—barely able to keep up with Kirk? Why isn't it Picard who prompts Kirk to abandon his fantasy, but rather his own realisation that the Nexus isn't “real”? The most we get out of this scene is Kirk advising Picard never to give up his captaincy. It's a real cheese-ball sentiment with little depth, and has basically nothing to do with Picard's crisis in this film or really over his entire character journey in the series. In fact, “All Good Things” showed us that even after losing the Enterprise, he kept the most important parts of his command, an eagerness to explore and the connection to his family. It was never about “the chair” for Picard. Ugh. It's really amazing to me that the meeting between the two captains is this underwhelming. I'm remembering Moore's scintillating dialogue in “No Exit” from NuBSG and astonished that he couldn't think of something profound for these two characters to say to one another. I'm remembering Braga's skill for mining weird sci-fi for character depth in “Projections” from Voyager and dismayed that the character and the sci-fi are sidestepped for action hero schlock like this. Disappointing.

Scene 19 : .5 stars, 4%

Because this movie isn't long enough already, we get—I kid you not—a recap of the events from 20 minutes ago. This time, Picard and Kirk appear to confront Sauron together. Kirk is tasked with the fisticuffs—that's his forte after all, while Picard will disable the rocket-probe. Unfortunately, doughy late-middle-aged Kirk isn't quite the shirt-tearing “Arena” hero he once was and needs Picard to give him a hand. There's some really tedious action stuff with a control pad and a burning bridge and cloaking the rocket, all accompanied by generic McCarthy music that really undersells the alleged climactic nature of the scene. At one point, Picard says they're running out of time. Why? All they really have to do is stall Sauron until the Nexus passes, right? Cheesy, exhausting banter, William Shatner fat joke, Picard fakes out Sauron by stalling the engines, more cheesy closeups, explosion, and the day is saved, I guess.

Picard picks through the wreckage to find Kirk on death's doorstep. He gets one last Shatner moment (“Oh my.”) and dies.

Picard buries Kirk in a shallow grave, I assume because he isn't going to tell anybody he violated the Temporal Prime Directive. Oh, that's heroic. The Enterprise is unsalvageable. The emotion chip is staying put because fuck me, Spot survives, Picard recovers his scrapbook and abandons the archaeological treasures he's collected over the last seven years and roll credits.

Film as Functionary : *, 13%

That...was disappointing. Let's begin with the structure of the film, which is problematic for several reasons. The largest story is that of Kirk, entering the film on the bridge of the Enterprise B, regretting his choice to become a celebrity with no captaincy and culminating with his death...on a bridge. Nested within that story is a pedestrian action mystery between the Duras sisters and the Enterprise. Connecting these two is the Nexus (oh, *that's* why it's called that) and Sauron. Conceptually, this sort of works—a Gothic structure that nests stories in order to explore themes unencumbered by linear storytelling. The problem is, each of the elements is woefully misguided in execution, and horribly, unforgivably shallow.

The Kirk story is very confusing. So, he goes from regretting his choice to retire, to having the chance to make a difference one last time, to the Nexus where he regrets his choice *not* to retire, to having a chance to make a difference one last time. What kind of arc is that? The only message we can tease out of this is that Kirk should always be making a difference, which, okay fanboys, I get it, but this is schlocky and uninspired. Kirk was never my favourite character from TOS, but most of the previous films did a good job of giving him some depth and exploring his humanity. This film is a pale echo of “Wrath of Kahn,” not unlike Carousel-Guinan.

The Enterprise story, at times, succeeds at being entertaining, with nifty action sequences and sharp cinematography. But this action silliness is undermined by truly idiotic plotting in the mini-climax (the fight with the Bird of Prey), as well as ill-conceived character “arcs” for Picard and Data, which I'll return to.

The Nexus story had the potentially to be truly engaging sci-fi sitting next to what was supposed to be interesting character stuff, but is so poorly thought-out and underutilised as to feel utterly ridiculous. There's all this promise, between the music and Guinan's mystical warnings, for a profound exploration of regret and timelessness and hope and meaning, but little imagination goes into the fantasies, making the preposterous “science” of this space fart ribbon all the more glaring. Sauron is a very shallow villain—we don't even get the chance to see what his Nexus fantasy is! Malcom MacDowell does what he can, but in the end he's just a plot device. What a waste.

I discussed Data at length—I think the emotion chip was a mistake in the series. I understand why the writers went there, nonetheless, but even allowing for that, what could have been something interesting for the character is reduced to hammy one-liners and failed comedy. And poor Picard. Gone is the eloquent and righteous hero of “Darmok,” of “Chain of Command” and “Pegasus” and “The Defector” and in his place the Kirk-knockoff action hero from “Starship Mine.” His character journey, such as it is, connects to all the other points of the film; he mirrors Sauron having lost his family to tragedy as well as suffered at the hands of the Borg; he mirrors Data in having to carry around regret and pain while still finding a way to perform his duty; and he mirrors Kirk in having sacrificed so much for the Enterprise and for Starfleet. But because these surrounding elements are so poorly thought-out, Picard's arc is totally lost. What was the point of burning Réné alive? It would have been a rehash of “Family,” but did this tragedy give Picard pause about commanding the Enterprise? No! He was just sad and a bit short-tempered. What was the point of having him meet Kirk? Did he learn something about being a captain? No! He decided they had to save the day...and so they saved the day.

I always enjoy watching this movie, right up until the point where the Enterprise crashes. Honestly, if they had expunged the Nexus plot entirely, left Kirk out of the story and had the Enterprise just crash right into Sauron's rocket-probe launcher, the film would have been really shallow, but it would have been serviceable entertainment. Because of the stupid and meaningless death of Kirk, failed character arcs and absurd fantasy elements, the film as a whole becomes very upsetting, and a real disappointment for the Star Trek legacy.

Final Score : *.5
Chrome
Sun, Sep 30, 2018, 12:14pm (UTC -6)
@Elliott

Good to see you’re reviewing again. I think for many of us, including Jammer, there is a huge nostalgia factor for this movie. It’s the first TNG movie, it came at a time when the franchise was doing amazingly. That sort of feeling sticks with you when you watch this, perhaps making many of us here forgive its failings.

That said, I’m with you on Data’s emotion chip. It’s funny how giving a character more emotional range doesn’t necessarily evoke more emotional resonance with the viewer. I’m suddenly reminded of the ending to “The Measure of a Man” where Riker is beating himself over the guilt of having to attack Data in court. Data’s very logical response to Riker that he harmed himself in order to protect Data reveals remarkable empathy. It also shows us that while human emotions are powerful, they’re capable of leading us to the wrong conclusions. In that regard, it’s nice to have a stoic figure like Data that can help others sort through their feelings and reach a higher level.
Elliott
Mon, Oct 1, 2018, 5:09pm (UTC -6)
@Chrome:

Thank you! I didn’t really take a break, this is just a long movie to get through and review.

I appreciate what you say about the nostalgia factor—I was 6 when this was in theatres, so my Trek movie is really First Contact. It took many years for me to start to notice the flaws in that film. I haven’t watched it in years though, so it will be interesting to see how it plays for me now.
William B
Tue, Oct 2, 2018, 12:48pm (UTC -6)
Elliott, thanks for that thorough examination. It really put a lot of what doesn't work about this movie in sharp relief.

Thinking about it, I think what Kirk's arc was *supposed* to be is something like this. After The Undiscovered Country, Kirk has basically exhausted himself and his usefulness. He has lost his son to the Klingons and then had to put his animosity to the Klingons aside. His youth is gone, and the Federation (and Starfleet) are entering a new era, which specifically requires him to be out of it -- in the form of the Federation, his particular role as adventurer/warrior. Having Kirk attain "living legend" status maybe should have held with it a little more of an emeritus touch in those Enterprise-B scenes -- he should have maybe been a legend who was appreciated and looked up to, maybe even "worshiped," but in a way that was slightly more flattery than actual admiration. That's maybe the real question: what do you do when you give everything you have -- including your child -- to an idea, and then that idea needs you to step aside in order to evolve?

The movie's answer is sort of basically confused. The one idea that Moore and Braga seem to have really held onto, which I think they (Moore at least) talked about in interviews, is Death Is The Ultimate Adventure, that Kirk's "oh my" was meant to resonate more than really plays out on screen. Which I think means to some degree that the main thing left for Kirk to do was die -- or at least, to really prepare himself for the idea of death. And there is sort of that arc there, in that Kirk dies a heroic death, but that's just solidifying Kirk's "legend" status, which is, again, was sort of a sop given to an old soldier upon retirement. And on that level I actually get why Kirk has to die nearly alone with only Picard to witness his death, a lonely individual. I can't believe I'm going to pull Star Trek V out here, but, Kirk always knew that he'd die alone, and while he's not strictly alone, because Picard is there, he does in principle get to die away from the cameras, and maybe the idea is *supposed to be* that he dies as a man rather than as a legend.

But it all gets confused, because Kirk still dies to save millions of lives, etc., etc., still gets the grand operatic death while also getting an ignominious one.

The parallel with Soren is also confused, though there's something there. Soren is obsessed with death and its inevitability. The Nexus seems to be an intersection of numerous threads, as an idea:

1) The Nexus is immortality
2) The Nexus is "outside of time," which is necessary for immortality
3) The Nexus is "heaven," an afterlife, the escape from the trials of the world.

The way these combine should really more properly be about the Borg -- should be about the fact that Soren and Guinan had just survived a huge massacre, in which nearly everyone they cared about were wiped out by a monstrous figure and they were left to wander the galaxy alone. This is where things ostensibly combine with Picard, because Picard also lost a family, and Picard is mourning both his own brother and nephew's death and also the death of the Picard line, i.e. his own death. In fact the film *should have* played up the BOBW/Family stuff more, and even made clear that it was partly through his brother and Rene that Picard was able to come to some measure of peace from the way the Borg destroyed him, and why that leads to him sharing something with Soren.

But anyway, I guess the thing is, Kirk's fantasy doesn't seem really to have much to do with his own arc. It sort of mirrors Picard's, in that it gives him an out from The Job, which took everything from him, and gives him an alternative. But I feel like making up some other woman that Kirk loved rather than giving him back his son (or even Edith Keeler) was a mistake. But even then, is that really Kirk's issue? I mean, why *couldn't* Kirk just go chop wood somewhere after Star Trek VI? Granting for the moment that it might be hard to find a woman to care about, etc., I think it's still something that Kirk could have reasonably sought after Undiscovered Country, and seemingly didn't.

So here: I think Kirk's Nexus fantasy should have been The Enterprise. It should have been the death of the TOS legend. It would tie in with the Enterprise-D's destruction, help Picard further appreciate what he does have in the absence of blood family, show up the way in which Kirk's heroism itself is perhaps immature, follow up on the wish-fulfillment elements of the Enterprise-B sequence (where Kirk gets to school his youngers on heroism), and, most importantly, it'd feel immediately real and recognizable to the audience as what it was that Kirk wanted most. It'd be a sacrifice that we'd really feel for Kirk to pull himself away from. And I think it would allow his unglamorous-but-heroic death to resonate much more. I guess there are obvious reasons why this would be difficult to pull off -- the cast availability being a huge part of it.
Peter G.
Tue, Oct 2, 2018, 1:59pm (UTC -6)
I agree with a lot in Elliott's review. The one thing I think is actually quite clear is Kirk's legendary status. He wasn't just some noteworthy Captain like Pike or Robert April; he literally saved the entire Federation a bunch of times and was probably the most famous man in Starfleet's history. The Klingons looked forward to the chance to specifically meet him, personally, in battle. And that's just in TOS, to say nothing of the over-the-top victories Kirk had in the films. Where the films excel is in showing that these victories for the Federation cost Kirk a lot on a personal level, not the least of which is that he gets used up as a person principally in the service of others.

Generations should have been about what it is to be immortal in the first place. Wtf is the Nexus even supposed to be? The thing that gives you what you always wanted? A life of ease? It's never specified and the portrayal of it is so anemic that it doesn't look much better than a holodeck. Guinan suggested that it's so alluring (and eternal) that once in no force in the universe would make you want to leave. Except, I guess, if you're Picard and Kirk, in which case a 5 minute chat is enough. Is the intent to show that these guys are superhuman? Or that there's nothing they actually want so much as serving the Federation? I think the latter is subtly the intention but is *so* does not come across. The one way out of the Nexus certainly would be that: "What's the thing I want the most in the entire universe? Why, to get the hell out of here and continue my service." Only someone self-sacrificially dedicated to duty would actually *already be living* their greatest desire.

Kirk's arc should connect to this because he actually already had his greatest desire, and had now (as William B mentions) been asked to step aside. It's quite something when your desire is actually to give yourself up for others and you're not even allowed to do that any more! So his big problem is that if given the chance he'd rather be out there saving the day rather than enjoying himself in bed, and he can't. So Picard gives him the chance and it's a no-brainer. This should come across as a testament to Kirk's level of selflessness, not to his level of bravado as the film portrays. What they showed is basically garbage; something about 'Kirk the hero in action one last time.' No, it's much more than that, or it should have been. The real story is about the man who gave himself completely, to the point of having been married to his ship, and now needs to be given the chance to give himself away completely, which is portrayed as dying for his belief. The "dying alone" idea strikes me as being about an article of faith: he does what he does because of his own conviction, not for fame or public praise, and when he dies for it that, too, will be a matter between him and his duty and no one else's to partake of. It would always be "along" in that sense, whether or not someone like Picard was nearby.

Picard connects to this because in light his the loss of his family he becomes like Kirk, now totally unattached to anything but Starfleet. The problem is, Picard does actually yearn for family and the Nexus has something to tempt him with to stay. It should have been Kirk to make him realize that the ship and crew are everything and that there should be no greater desire in Picard's mind. With that understood, the Nexus would have no power over them. That makes them different from Soren, who felt he had nothing left to live for other than fantasies. The theme should have strongly resounded with the audience with the message that you really do need to have a 'mission' driving you if you're going to have a real reason to avoid mere hedonism as your way of life. That can be any number of things, including duty (to one's family, country, etc), maybe a religion, or other reasons; but a total lack of having any purpose will be harmful to a person, so the argument seems to go. It would have been an inspiring message if they hadn't been so caught-up in trying to write a bloated motion picture full of nostalgia.

I personally view this as a 'pretty bad' movie, FAR worse than ST: V. Actually I think only Nemesis is worse among the films.

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