Ossus Library Index Science Fiction Movie Index

STAR TREK: GENERATIONS

Directed by David Carson (1994, Paramount Pictures)
Starring Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, William Shatner, Malcolm McDowell, and Whoopi Goldberg

The crew of the Enterprise try to stop a deranged man from killing millions to return to a place of eternal life.

View count: 4 times

 

 

2 stars+

July 31st, 2003 on TV  
    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 screen.

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 fake.

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 "new start".

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 fault.)

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 loose.

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.

 
   

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