It’s time for the cinematic swan song of for the Next Generation cast, as my journeys with Star Trek, via the Sci-Fi Chronicles book continue.
Directed by Stuart Baird (a helluva editor, not the best director) the film is nowhere near as strong a film as it could have or should have been. One is left wondering how much the suits at Paramount wanted changed (they’ve never really seemed to understand the franchise they have), how much is the script and how much can be laid at the feet of the director (who didn’t seem to want to make the film in the first place, and cast who felt that he didn’t understand the show, or the universe).
The film was destined for failure, but Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Marina Sirtis, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Ron Perlman and Tom Hardy give it their all.
There are some nice fan service moments, including an appearance by Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) and even Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) can be spotted at the Riker/Troi wedding, but the story just kind of slumps, and there are just as many missteps as good ones, perhaps more so.
A discovery of another android, B4, leads to questions, but a mission to the Romulan Neutral Zone puts that on the back burner, as not only Data (Spiner) gets a double in this film (via B4) but so does Picard (Stewart) when he encounters the new, apparent leader of the Romulan Senate, Shinzon (Hardy) a clone of Picard! It’s odd that Ambassador Spock (Leonard Nimoy) isn’t mentioned considering his work to broker peace and understanding between the Federation and the Romulans
The proposal of a peace treaty is merely a ploy to draw the Enterprise in, but the coincidences in the story keep piling up and strains credulity. It’s unfortunate that the screenwriter, John Logan, had complete control over the script, there are too many missed opportunities, and a few changes could have made this a stronger film.
The film marks Jerry Goldmsith’s final score for a feature film, and as mentioned previously, I love his work, but wonder what a different compose would have created.
While there are some big ideas at work in the film, poor execution causes the film to become simplistic, and sadly, un-engaging. This is the only Trek film I don’t watch on a semi-regular basis, it just doesn’t entertain.
It’s unfortunate that this was the final outing of the Enterprise E, they deserved a better send off, and not only the crew, but the cast, who, at that point, had played these characters for 15 years.
Sadly, those further adventures will have to be the non-canon explorations of the novels…
Next one up is the reboot…