Yes, another Star Trek movie. Star Trek: Generations is not the most popular of Star Trek films, but I believe it broke the supposed “Star Trek curse,” an odd-numbered Trek film that actually lived up to the show’s standards. In combining the old and new Enterprise crews, specifically pairing Captain Kirk with Captain Picard, the film caters to Trekkers’ inner fanboy while continuing/wrapping up minor open threads from The Next Generation series, such as Data’s emotion chip and the Duras sisters. It even marks the first time a film relied on a website dedicated to its promotion.
Most of the Next Gen crew are rather under-utilized, though not to the extent of Insurrection; most of the good lines go to Data, while most of the drama goes to Picard. Patrick Stewart’s range of emotions and his characteristic attempts at suppressing them showcase his skill as an actor. The loss of his loved ones (seen in the poignant post-Borg episode “Family”) is not witnessed like the death of Kirk’s son in Search for Spock, but it somehow carries the same emotional weight, making Picard’s reluctance to leave the joys of the Nexus quite justifiable. As for Kirk, William Shatner steps into his role as if he never left (The Undiscovered Country was only three years earlier), and as daring as it was to kill off such an iconic character, the filmmakers did it right, allowing him proper heroics and a final genuine goodbye. Shatner does have a tendency to overact, but his death scene was flawless, even if they had to reshoot it to get it right. Malcolm McDowall also provides his usual splendid villainy as Dr. Tolian Soran, who has an unconventional motive—his own bliss in the Nexus, an underexplained but unique plot device that allowed the merging of time periods without the traditional time travel explanation.
Some critics have focused on the film’s flaws, such as the fact that if Kirk and Picard had failed to stop Soran, they could have just started over after entering the Nexus again, thus robbing the finale of true tension. Those critics were obviously thinking too much when they should have just been enjoying the action, but while they have a point, reentry into the Nexus might have been harder to resist or Soran might have killed them before it arrived. Either way, the climax works, even if it forever changed the Star Trek universe, marking the end of a beloved character and the destruction of yet another Enterprise (which was much more impressive visually than in Search for Spock). We’ll see if Shatner ever manages to finagle a cameo in one of Abrams’ films.
While the sailing ship scenes err on the silly side and there are other quibbles I could make, the opening with Scottie and Chekhov effortlessly captures the atmosphere and maturized humor of the original movies, while the rest features a cinematic translation of the Next Gen series that would continue for three more films. I’ll be honest: I like the Next Gen crew a bit more than the original, but seeing both in the same film is a joy to this Trek enthusiast.Best line: (Data, after tasting a drink with his emotion chip installed) “I hate this! It is revolting!” (Guinan) “More?” (Data) “Please!” Rank: 53 out of 60
© 2014 S. G. Liput
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