Star Trek: Generations
Original Star Trek Intro
Star Trek: Generations
Director: David Carson
Writers: Gene Roddenberry, Rick Berman, Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Whoopi Goldberg, Marina Sirtis, Malcolm McDowell, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, William Shatner, Alan Ruck, Jacqueline Kim, Jenette Goldstein, Thomas Kopache, Glenn Morshower
Synopsis: Captain Picard, with the help of supposedly dead Captain Kirk, must stop a madman willing to murder on a planetary scale in order to enter a space matrix.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG for sci-fi action and some mild language
Note: In honor of the upcoming new film, "Star Trek Into Darkness", I've taken it upon myself to review every "Star Trek" film ever conceived; with the notable exception of the 2009 reboot because I already reviewed it.
Star Trek: The Next Generation Intro
To boldly go where no one has gone before...
As an infamous "Star Trek" baddie said once, "All good things must come to an end." However, with every ending, there's always a new beginning. Enter "Star Trek: Generations." After the success of the movie franchise featuring the original cast, there was a spin off show that was released entitled, "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Unlike the original TV series with it's hokey "wagon trail to the stars" western theme in space, this new one was a bit more of a sophisticated science fiction drama; which actually helped expand the "Star Trek" universe. The spin off was set in the 24th century; whereas the original was set in the 23rd century.
In a lot of ways, the spin off series benefitted from better writing, and it featured better visual effects, due to it's substantially larger budget in comparison to the original show. Needless to say, the show was a commercial and critical success; winning various emmy awards, and spawning a spin off show called "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine", which also spawned the spin off, "Star Trek: Voyager."
However, when the show eventually went off the air, and the original cast was no longer making films, it came time for Paramount to start making movies with the "Next Generation" cast instead. And, apparently someone thought it was a good idea to somehow have Captain Kirk meet Captain Jean Luc Picard, so they can pass on the proverbial torch to the new generation so to speak.
The end result is a bit of a mixed bag by fans. Some audiences loved it for it's atmosphere, and the novelty of seeing their favorite starfleet captains working side by side; while others cite the movie as being a mess because of it's unexplained plot holes that come off as nonsensical to most die hard Trekkies.
Therefore, it really depends on who you ask. Although I do agree with some skeptics that the plot does have it's share of holes, but it's not really that bad of a movie. Granted, it could've been better in a lot of ways, but it's certainly nowhere near as bad as other critics would have you believe.
The first part of the movie takes place after the events of "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country"; where Kirk is officially retired, but he's asked to attend the ceremonial test run of the newly built starship enterprise along with it's new crew. Unfortunately, Kirk is finding his retirement lonely these days, as he has no family to speak of, and misses being captain of the enterprise.
Like many of us do sometimes when we get older, Kirk wonders where his life has gone, while yearning to make a difference again in society. However, he's faced with the harsh realization that life has passed him by, and he has no family to pass on his legacy to. Granted, they don't convey Captain Kirk (William Shatner) crying or anything over this, but it's conveyed subtly through Shatner's performance that the audience can still feel his internal conflict.
As a running gag at the beginning, the new ship and it's crew are very inexperienced and understaffed. Therefore, when an emergency arises where they're the only ship in range to save some people from a temporal nexus, the running joke is that they won't have their medical staff or weaponry until Tuesday. Needless to say, this frustrates the far more experienced starfleet officers Chekhov, Scotty and Kirk a bit, but Captain Harriman (Alan Ruck) isn't too shy to ask Kirk for some advice on the issue.
Sadly, through a series of events, Kirk gets caught by this nexus, and everyone presumes he's dead. Or is he? Fast forward to seventy eight years into the future, where we meet the next generation of the enterprise crew celebrating Worf's promotion aboard the holodeck. It's from here, we see a little bit of insight to each of the characters for the "Next Generation" staff. Granted, it's not as in depth as you might find on the regular series, but it still gives you enough exposition to explain who they are essentially.
For the first sub plot, we see the android named Data (Brent Spiner) struggling with his dilemma of yearning to evolve beyond his programming to become human. What does this subplot have to do with the main storyline of this film? Absolutely nothing. No, this subplot is merely for the fans of the "Next Generation" series. If you're a fan of the TV series, "Star Trek: The Next Generation", then this subplot might amuse you, as it does help develop the character nicely; while setting him up for the events of the sequel. However, we'll talk about that in a later review.
Unfortunately, if you're not a fan of the series nor even seen it, then it'll just come off as a pointless subplot that has almost nothing to do with the main plot of the movie itself.
As for the other subplot, we find out that Picard's nephew died in a fire recently. Needless to say, this upsets Jean Luc because he was the closest thing he ever had to a son. And since he's dedicated his whole life to serving in starfleet, he has to come to grips with the fact that he has no one carry on his legacy. Like Kirk was earlier, Picard too wonders where his life has gone. Granted, he's a bit more emotional about it, but it seems like they share the same pain nonetheless.
Through a series of events, the enterprise ends up rescuing a mysterious man named Tolerian Soran (Malcolm McDowell), whose home was destroyed by the Borg many years ago. However, he requests Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) to return him to his ship immediately to finish his research. But knowing Picard, he always goes by the book, so he's unwilling to oblige Soran until starfleet finishes their investigation of his ship.
Through a series of events, Picard finds out that Soran plans to murder on a planetary scale, so he can re-enter back into the nexus. The very same nexus that Kirk encountered years ago. As it's explained, the nexus is essentially a matrix where all your dreams become reality. You can go anywhere, at any time period you want, as there doesn't seem to be any limits to it's powers.
Unfortunately, this is part of the problem that many die hard Trekkies complain about, when it comes to "Star Trek: Generations." For starters, it's never made clear exactly how the nexus works, nor is there any established rules on how it functions. For example, when Picard fails to stop Soran the first time, he gets sucked into the nexus himself. However, when goes back to try it again, it's never explained why there wasn't another Picard there when he got back at that point in time (ala "Back to the Future" style). Did he simply repossess his body that was already in that timeline? But if that's the case, then how do you explain Captain Kirk being able to go back to that point in time with him to help? Needless to say, this has angered a lot of fans and critics to bash this film for it's nonsensical story, and to some extent, I can see where they're coming from.
I mean lets be honest here for a minute. We all know the nexus is nothing more than a convenient plot device, so fanboys everywhere can see Kirk and Picard in the same damn movie together. And in some ways, it kind of works to some degree. Granted, the film could've done a better job explaining how the nexus works, but to be fair, it's really not that bad of a film when you look beyond that part.
The movie carries a strong theme about legacy, and it does a great job tying up the loose ends from the original casts' story arc; while simultaneously setting up the next generation to take over the film franchise. It creates a subtle atmosphere that closely represent a combination of the previous "Star Trek" films, while still invoking that "Next Generation" feel to it. Granted, Picard and Kirk's style of leadership couldn't be anymore different, but the story ties them together in such an interesting way; that the viewer can't help but root for them, when they finally team up for the greater good.
As I mentioned earlier, Shatner does a great job carrying his performance with a certain amount of charm and dignity; while Patrick Stewart is a class act as always. Plus, lets not forget about Malcolm McDowell, who plays a great cunning yet sympathetic antagonist. As for the visuals, I would have to say this features some of the best CGI effects that I've ever seen in a "Star Trek" movie; outside of "Star Trek: First Contact."
Although the storyline involving the nexus could've been better written, the film makes up for it with it's strong underlying theme about legacy, and it's strong character development. Kirk ends up joining Picard to save the day, and it's a nice send off to the old film franchise; while introducing audiences to a new generation of "Star Trek" movies.
(Warning: Spoiler Alert in this paragraph) Having said all that, I do have one minor complaint. Sure, it was nice to see that Kirk had a warrior's death, as he died risking his life to save the galaxy once again. However, when it came time for his burial, Picard buried him underneath a bunch of rocks on the planet. Granted, I can understand that Picard probably didn't know when the enterprise would come to pick him up, so he didn't want to carry Kirk's body around everywhere. However, it would've been nice to see Kirk get a touching funeral like audiences saw for Spock, in the earlier films. Don't get me wrong, I don't plan on deducting points for that minor detail, but it just seems like a great iconic character deserved a more proper funeral than that respectively.
Overall, "Star Trek: Generations" is not as bad as it's reputation makes it out to be, but at the same time, it could've been a lot better. If you know next to nothing about "Star Trek", then you should be able to get by this one okay. However, if you're a Trekkie, then you'll just have a deeper understanding on what's going on. In the end, I'd have to give "Star Trek: Generations" a three out of four.