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Film Review: Star Trek Generations
In 1994, David Carson directed Star Trek Generations, based on the 1987 television series Star Trek: The Next Generation created by Gene Roddenberry, as the seventh film in the franchise. Starring Patrick Stewart, William Shatner, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Brton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Alan Ruck, Malcolm McDowell, Jacqueline Kim, Barbara March, Patti Yasutake, and Whoopi Goldberg, the film grossed $118.1 million at the box office.
Shortly after the events of the series, mad scientist Doctor Soran finalizes plans on a malicious agenda that reaches back 78 years, first hatched when he was saved by Captain Kirk. He plans to blow up some suns to get into the Nexus. However, Picard convinces Kirk, who disappeared into the Nexus and was presumed dead, to leave and stop Soran.
Though combining the talents of Captains Kirk and PIcard could have been one of the best ideas in the franchise, Star Trek: Generations fell flat with the end result just being one big letdown. For one, there’s the plot, which is practically nonexistent. Honestly, what it seems like is that this film was pitched as “Kirk meets Picard,” which was subsequently greenlitwith not a whole lot of thought or effort going into the rest of the film. What the Nexus is and how it works is given such shallow thought when it should have been more fleshed out, such as Nimbus III before it. All the film really gives is that it lets a person live their life the way they want it and there’s nothing that can jeopardize that. The problem with that is that any and all explanations are much too rushed and it becomes nothing more than a double plot device. One in being the way Kirk and Picard are brought together and the other being the object of Soran’s schemes. This really should have been solely a Picard film, with him exploring the potential of the Nexus and being a foil to Soran who fails to see its dangers. The biggest revolving around the idea that if one spends too much time living in a world where they focus on the what could have been results in failing to live in reality and forgetting to live in general. Rather, all that was explained was a brief statement of anything that a person wishes hadn't happened actually didn't.
Another problem really is Kirk’s place in this; at the beginning, then completely out of the picture until the final third. For a film that wanted to bring Kirk and Picard together, they really didn’t spend all that much time on screen. What's more is that the beginning, where the newest version of the Enterprise is going on its maiden voyage, paints Starfleet as pretty incompetent as nothing but the basics are ready. While Nimoy and Kelley weren’t able to take part in the film, the filmmakers not only left their dialogue in, but gave the lines to Doohan and Koenig. It all feels very out of place as Chekov appointing nurses and acting like a doctor is incredibly out of character for him.
Then there’s Data. While suddenly experiencing emotion for the first time can be overwhelming, Data goes from quirkily odd and enjoyable to insufferable. He does have his moments though, like the song he sings while scanning for lifeforms or just blurting out a concise curse.
Despite the problems, there is an interesting call back to the fifth film where Kirk says he knows he’s going to die alone. While most of the crew of the original Enterprise is confirmed alive, none of them are around when the bridge falls on Kirk. Even Picard is fighting Soran. As a whole, Kirk was correct in that he’d go out by himself or at least suffer the reason for his passing as Picard was there for the final moments. It’s still a pretty interesting scene, even if the method of taking Kirk out was just plain absurd.
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ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards
- Top Box Office Films
Sci-Fi Universe Magazine Awards
- Universe Reader's Choice Award - Best Writing for a Genre Motion Picture
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards
- Best Science Fiction Film
- Best Supporting Actress (Whoopie Goldberg)
- Best Dramatic Presentation
- Worst Supporting Actor (William Shatner)