After watching the should-have-been-left-in scene* that J.
posted here (thanks!
) I watched a bunch more of the deleted scenes on Youtube. Picard and Beverly just casually chatting as old friends was very nice, but then Wesley showed up and it became really painful (he's in Starfleet again?) and forced, as though Wheaton wasn't really interested. The lines didn't help either..."Technobabble engine!" then oh look, babes.
I liked the Madden scene mostly. Levar Burton especially helped to sell it with his quiet look of amusement. It did make me wonder just how Madden got assigned to the E though; I always liked that bit in Riker's backstory where Picard selected him from a huge field of contenders because Riker's file was so strong, including his refusal to allow a previous captain to beam into a dangerous situation. I wonder if Picard had a hand in picking Madden, but I suppose it's more likely he was just a plot device to slip in Riker's parting gift for Picard
, with no further thought put into it by Logan. The seatbelt gag didn't work for me at all though, it seemed too proud of itself and the camera oddly lingered on the goofy ensign for a bit too long. I really appreciated Picard's line about heading to Deneb though, it was a cool "full circle" line for fans.
*BUT one thing about the Picard/Data scene that really bugs me is the emphasis on Data acting like he's still in the middle of the series's run. I guess that was Spiner's choice to pretend the emotion chip never existed, but the big-time character regression Data showed in the movie is one of its major problems IMO. As good as this scene's dialogue is, it had a strong feeling of "been there, done that" to it, kind of like Geordi re-explaining humor for the umpteenth time after Data pushed the poor doctor into the holo-ocean during Worf's promotion back in Generations.
Oh and I forgot to mention something you guys have brought up now, which is how great the Enterprise interiors looked this time around. The bridge especially is probably my 2nd favorite Trek bridge, after the still-to-be topped Enterprise-D quasi-redress from Generations.