Star Trek: Generations (1994) – David Carson

 

As the blog has no doubt demonstrated, I’m a bit of a Trek fan, and while I have loved, to varying degrees, each iteration of the format, even I can admit when one of them isn’t quite up to snuff. But that won’t stop me from watching it again for the Sci-Fi Chronicles book.

Generations is the first film to feature the cast of The Next Generation, with a bit of a passing of the torch from the presumed dead, Captain (ret.) James T. Kirk (William Shatner) to the captain of the NCC-1701D U.S.S. Enterprise, Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart).

Playing like more of an extended television episode, there is a lot wrong with Generations, The fact that it came quickly on the heels of the series finale; only a matter of months. That meant that there was no real time to miss Star Trek. The script, like I said, was just a big television episode, and while it was nice to see Picard, Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Data (Brent Spiner) on the big screen, Paramount shouldn’t have rushed and instead made their first film an Event.

Picard, reeling from the loss of his brother, sister-in-law and nephew in a fire, wonders what is left for him to do, and is understandably upset. Meanwhile, a scientist, Soran (Malcolm McDowell) is working with the Klingon Duros sisters (Barbara March and Gwynyth Walsh) to manipulate the path of a spacial energy ribbon, that can transport him to the Nexus, a place of dreams and bliss.

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Picard needs to find a way to stop Soran from launching a weapon that will alter the ribbon’s course, and destroy countless millions. And he recruits help in the form of Kirk.

Most of the Next Gen cast suffer from too little to do, while the android Data tries to deal with his fused emotion chip and swears, Geordi (LeVar Burton) is captured, Troi (Marina Sirtis) gets a chance to sit in the big chair (and the Enterprise is forced to crash (but what would the film series be without an upgraded starship for the next big screen outing) ship’s doctor, Crusher (Gates McFadden) and Worf (Michael Dorn) doesn’t have much to do at all, and Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) is simply there for exposition.

There are some things I do like, Kirk, Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Scotty (James Doohan) touring the Enterprise B, under the commander of Captain Harriman (Alan Ruck) and with a Sulu (Jacqueline Kim) at the helm, during the film’s opening, the look of the Enterprise D on the big screen (though I’m less sure about the added stations on either side of the bridge).  The film also has an appearance by Tim Russ, though without ears, so it’s apparent he is not his Star Trek: Voyager character, Tuvok.

The confrontation between Kirk, Soran and Picard is a bit of a letdown, as is Kirk’s ultimate fate, and I would personally have wanted more from the Klingons in this (sure they bring down the Enterprise, but the sisters never really feel like much of a threat).

In the end, the entire film feels like a letdown, despite best intentions, but they definitely makeup for it next time around…

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