||This movie has a lot to like about it,
and also a lot to dislike, which makes it frustrating.
The film is not bad, in any way. It simply
doesn't do much, which is disappointing to those of us who followed the
TV series for so long, anticipating a blockbuster adventure on the big
Some of the best parts of the movie
come at the very beginning, when we deal with three of the original Star
Trek series, represented by Kirk, Scotty and Chekov. Compare the jokes,
glances and chemistry between these three to any of the other Trek
casts, and you can see why that series is still so popular. Even the bad
one-liners work well! Kirk's first
death in this movie at first seems like an afterthought, though -what could it
have to do with the rest of the movie, until it is revealed near the
end? The special effects at this part of the movie also seemed rather
non-technical. The vibration of the camera is very noticeable during the
Enterprise-B scenes. The actors aren't even movie around -it looks very
As usual in TNG movies, there are two
sub-plots mixed into the larger plot of the movie- one concerning
Picard, the other with Data.
I was always disappointed that the
writers killed off Picard's nephew, Rene, because it really limited the
rest of the Picard family. That is what it was supposed to do, so that
Picard feels like it is his responsibility to carry on the family line.
I don't understand a piece of dialog between him and Troi, however: he
says that some Picard's settled the first Martian colony, yet he is now
the last Picard. Did the settlers not have families of their own? Since we know
that his brother lives on land that has been occupied by his family for
generations, there must be at least two branches of the current family.
That doesn't really matter, however, because the Picard that we know is
lost in despair. He is uncharacteristically gruff and uninterested in
events, until Soren is revealed for the insane man that he is.
Rene's death served one purpose, that
that was to allow Picard to leave the Nexus. Maybe all humans have a
natural ability to resist the effects of the Nexus, because neither
Picard nor Kirk were particularly believable when they were tempted to
stay behind. If Kirk's brain could figure out that the small ravine
wasn't real, which broke down the illusion, then why was Soren so
determined to get back? I still can't figure out why they didn't end up
in Kirk's bedroom, however, or how he could be so content in losing his
I also wonder why Guinan knew Picard in
the Nexus. The person who was in the Nexus didn't know him (except in
the 19th century). The person who did know him would not have said that
she was still on the ship, because the ship was destroyed at that point.
The Data story was very annoying. I
have always been in contrast with the characters about what was funny in
the first TNG scene. I never thought it was amusing to have Worf go fall
into the water after he was successful at retrieving his hat- have him
fall off in the process, instead. However, when Data pushed Crusher into
the water, I thought it was hilarious, when the crew did not! Throughout
the rest of the movie, Data whines, laughs annoyingly, cries annoyingly,
and so on. He barely gets anything constructive to do. The most poignant
thing that happens because of his emotion chip is his willingness to
exchange himself for Geordi when they are contacted by the Klingons,
simply because his cowardice allowed Geordi to be kidnapped.
Which brings me to the destruction of
the Enterprise-D. Although the special effects were great, I still like
the shape of the ship much more than the one that followed it. The
Enterprise-D was majestic and grand. The flat saucer-shape was terrific
to look at. The new ship is nowhere so nice.
Picard's greatest mistake in this movie
is one that he makes repeatedly: leaving Riker in charge of the ship.
Every time he does this, something bad happens. Once he even allowed the
ship to be taken over by Ferengi! During Insurrection, he nearly loses
the ship to an inferior design in the briar patch nebula. Here, he
doesn't think the obvious: a torpedo was able to penetrate the shields,
just like the Borg weapons, which they have dealt with often enough.
Rotating shield frequencies is a typical defence, one that should be
integrated into all shields. Why is it modulated at a single frequency,
anyway? That might not be the solution, but it should be something that
occurs automatically. (Yes, I also realize that it is not Riker's
fault that the ship is destroyed, because he could not prevent the warp
core breach, but I still think he is terrible at command, so it is his
The special effects went beyond most of
what we had seen before on Star Trek. So much of it was just beautiful.
The most spectacular shot, however, has to be stellar cartography. It is
nothing like the similarly-named room on Voyager. This one was terrific, though
it was definitely better on the large, wide screen of the theatre.
I was amazed at how stiff Picard looked
compared to Kirk. I don't know if it was played intentionally this way,
but on the surface of the desert where they are trying to stop Soren, I
couldn't believe how uncomfortable Picard seemed, when Kirk was so
I wish at least one of the TNG motion
pictures had featured an ensemble cast, and not just what amounted to
guest appearances. Instead, all of them were Picard/Data stories. Still,
this was quite enjoyable, especially since I haven't seen it in years.