Star Trek: Generations (1994) *
Picard enlists the help of the presumed dead James Kirk to defeat a madman bent on destroying a world.
If you want a better story of the crossing of Trek generations then read the novel Federation
by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. It’s a much better work.
The beginning of this film is painfully embarrassing. Everything about it feels forced and contrived (of course, it’s fiction) and there isn’t one whit of at least trying to make it feel natural. And if anyone ever makes another joke about Shatner’s hair they really should take another look at Koenig’s doo. Yeesh!
The stupid “Tuesday” jokes are really lame. Who would launch a ship without being fully ready? The christening bottle idea felt dumb, particularly when we see liquid when the bottle breaks. Excuse me, but wouldn’t wine, mostly composed of water, be completely frozen in the absolute zero of vacuum? I’ve never been crazy about the Excelsior
design, but it would have looked better than this one with the added bits. The design goes from looking ungainly to dorky—perfect for the equally dorky Captain Harriman. And again we get an Enterprise
being the only ship within reach of an emergency. It’s just one dumb thing after another. Still, the one slightly redeeming element of this sequence that it did feel like a more fitting end for Kirk then the one setup at the end of the film.
I like to think I have a sense of fun, but the next sequence of the E-D’s crew aboard a holodeck sailing ship just to give Worf his promotion to Lt. Commander was yet another really lame exercise. I can’t see ever being done this on the series. It just felt like something you’d read in a fanfic and yet not see on the actual show. Riker’s joke on Worf and Data’s “joke” on Beverley Crusher were also cringe inducing.
Both beginning sequences aren’t an encouraging start for this film.
I don’t really care for the darker interiors of the E-D. It’s jarring compared to the series and feels wrong. It’s far too dark. I like the idea of switching to the newer DS9 style uniforms, but with replicator technology wouldn’t it have been easy to have everyone wearing the new attire rather than the mix of the two designs we see? And how come Data’s emotion chip is now the size of something that has to be implanted in his head when the original series version was small enough to fit into one of his teeth? The icing on the cake is after implantation of the chip Data behaves like a total nutjob and it’s annoying as hell.
Part of what’s wrong with this film is that they are so obviously trying to cram as much crap into it as possible. The Romulans are referenced, the Borg are referenced and the Klingons are again prominent in a Trek film. Can’t these guys think of anything else? The film could have been a lot better if they could simply have told a more straightforward story not weighed down with so much crap. And emotional Data is damned annoying as hell.
The battle between the Klingon BoP and the E-D is complete and utter B.S. Everything about the sequence just grated on my nerves. And the final crashing of the saucer section was just the cherry on this pile of foul smelling pudding. I absolutely hated this entire sequence. Why is Deanna of all people at the helm? No other qualified helmsman? Oh yeah, Mirina Sirtis needs something dramatic to do to feel integral to the story.
When the refit Enterprise
was wrecked I was moved. I found it sad. When the E-D is wrecked I felt…not much because the whole thing felt so contrived. That and the E-D was never romanticized the way the original ship was. Actually that sums up the entire first hour and a half of this film. It’s all a bunch of stuff just crammed into it in a force fitted manner to try to make interesting. The result, though, is an utter failure.
Seeing Jim Kirk again doesn’t really improve much. While he provides the only real charm in this film it’s far from enough because the rest of it feels just as contrived as the preceding parts. It doesn’t help either that it feels more like were watching William Shatner on the screen rather than Captain Kirk. That said it was chilling watching Kirk die. I admit it really hit me despite all the nonsense leading up to it. Kirk will always be a hero for me and one of my favourite fictional characters ever.
Burying Kirk under a pile of rocks on some barren rock was symbolic. To me it represents what the franchise has become. It became a pile of contrived nonsense without any heart to it and a deadweight of rubble atop much better work that has been done in TOS and TNG.
A lot of people can groan over STV-TFF, but it has energy and a measure of charm and enthusiasm. At heart TFF has a better story even if it is weighed down with extraneous silliness. TFF also has a far superior soundtrack to GEN.
In the end GEN is a really sad and pitiful effort. To call it a heavily padded one hour episode would be kind.
Oh yeah, I neglected to mention the story yet again begins on Earth. Well okay, Earth orbit.