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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies I-X

Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old May 17 2009, 03:39 AM   #1
Docbrown777
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Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

One of the key things that I think started ruining the TNG movies was the concept of "Action Hero Picard!!!" In every single movie Picard found himself fighting it out face to face in a physical confrontation with the bad guy.

Now the first few times it was not written that bad and how he got in such a position is semi believable.

Generations: Ok, somewhat believable. Picard would exchange himself so he could meet the bad guy and either fight or try and talk him out of it. If Picard hadn't done this then they might have never even found Soran. Plus we had to isolate Picard so he could meet up with Kirk etc etc. All of this was somewhat understandable. Also, this action hero Picard moment wasn't as bothersome because it was the first time around.

Note: in the previous 6 movies there had only been one with an Action Hero Kirk. This being The Search for Spock where Kirk fights it out with the Klingon on the planet surface. Of all the previous movies only once did Kirk meet the badguy face to face for a fistfight. In TMP, he (and the crew) meet V'ger but no one starts fighting, TWOK they are never even in the same room, TVH Kirk did some heroic swimming but no fighting, TFF Kirk really couldn't fight God hand to hand so he had to run for it until Spock rescued him, TUC the Federation crews and the Klingons fought it out in a space battle as one team against the other. Kirk leaped to protect the prez at the very end but still did not get in a face to face physical fight with the badguy. 1 time out of 6 movies.

First Contact: Now we come to this movie. Again I will actually agree that this made sense. Picard had ordered the ship abandoned and he decided to go by himself to save Data if possible. Maybe he could have asked some people to help him but Picard went by himself cause the ship was going to blow up anyways and he knew his chances of success were slim anyways. Fair enough.

Insurrection:
Now I really start to have problems. This was the third movie in a row where this ending took place! "Oh look, Picard just so happens to be put in a position where he will be the sole person to beam over to the enemy ship and try to shut it down!" Not just that but the one head bad guy just so happens to be there to!! Time to climb around and fight it out action movie style! Well, at least it isn't like Picard outright abandoned his ship because the Enterprise was under Riker's command trying to get outside the nebula to get a message out.

Nemisis: They didn't even try to disguse this one! Picard pretty much gets out of his chair, opens a weapons locker, grabs a rifle and says, "I'm going over there by myself!" Data trys to stop him but by now the crew is so used to it that all it takes is Geordi looking at Data and saying, "no" and no one puts up another protest about how the freaking captain of the ship has decided to singlehandedly abandon his ship and go over to fight the captain and crew of the other ship in hand to hand combate. "Sounds like a great idea Captain! The Enterprise is in bad shape and the XO is already in a hand to hand fight on the lower decks. We don't need you! Good luck!" (I'm not going to even mention how the transporters just magically go offline right after Picard leaves) Looks like the captain is on his own once again!


All of this is funny because we think of Kirk as the fist fight captain but that just isn't so. Out of the original six movies he only fought the villan face to face once! Also, we need to give credit to the writers of the first six movies because they wrote them in such a way that many times there was not a single evil badguy that you could fight face to face and when there was it sometimes was not the most important part of the plot. TSFS being an example. The main plot was saving Spock and not fighting a Klingon to the death.


Now, how does the new movie stack up to these observations? I think it did very well. Spock and Kirk go to Nero's ship but they are not going over there with the goal of fighting Nero to the death. Their mission is to steal the red matter, save Pike and shut down the drill. Once they accomplish this they are beamed back to the Enterprise. Kirk runs into Nero and fights him some but then Nero leaves and Kirk has to fight it out with the 2nd in command Romulan. All of this gives us some good action while avoiding falling into the trap of the last four movies.
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Old May 17 2009, 03:48 AM   #2
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Re: Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

It bothered me because it was so inconsistent with the Picard of the series. When did Picard suddenly become John McClane from Die Hard? The only series episode I can recall which features 'action hero' Picard is 'Starship Mine'.
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Old May 17 2009, 03:56 AM   #3
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Re: Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

I think they made Picard such a punk in GEN, which was out of character, squealing when Soran was beating him up, perhaps to assuage William Shatner and to highlight Kirk's badassness, that Patrick Stewart made sure the writers established as a badass in the rest of the films, which was also out of character.

On TNG, Picard could handle himself well, but only as a last resort. Action Hero Picard and the Picard-Data duo were two of the problems with the TNG movies. Not the only problem, but a major one. Being an action stud also helped prevent Picard from forming a relationship with Beverly IMO because they needed him to have a new potential relationship for each movie. I would've been far more interested to see Picard get with Beverly after his experience in the Nexus than the cheek peck with Lily Sloan or the one-shot romance with Anij. Picard and Crusher had history. It would've been nice to watch those two grow and develop as a couple onscreen.
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Old May 17 2009, 06:30 AM   #4
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Re: Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

You forget that Kirk also fought 'himself' in "The Undiscovered Country" after kissing the person he ended up fighting earlier, which "must have been his lifelong ambition" .
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Old May 17 2009, 08:51 AM   #5
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Re: Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

I'd agree that the plot situations were a lot more 'plausible' in GEN and FC than the latter two, but the idea of Picard getting his hands dirty never bothered me. The episode "Tapestry" revealed that he wasn't above bar brawls in his academy days although he mellowed in later years... but not too much to stop him from kicking ass in "Starship Mine."
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Old May 17 2009, 10:05 AM   #6
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Re: Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

My problem wasn't so much the "action" portion of the character. As previously mentioned, Picard could stand his own ground when he needed to.

The problem began when Picard was "pussyfied" in Generations, where he can't even pick a fight with an another old geezer, and has to have Kirk come and save his ass.

Then we are expected to believe in FC that Picard is now capable of fighting Borg drones hand to hand AND that he is capable of losing his emotional control. If they wanted to they could have worked it into the movie somehow. A throwaway line. A scene at the beginning where he's training himself in the holodeck. Something. As it stands we're supposed to believe he went to sissy man whou couldn't fight an old geezer on his own, to action hero gunning down Borg drones single handedly.

Ahhh.... no.
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Old May 17 2009, 11:09 AM   #7
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Re: Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

This reviewer actually does a pretty nice job at describing these elements.

It's the "Tale of Two Picards" portion at 1:46. Also, the entire review is quite good as well.
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Old May 17 2009, 08:19 PM   #8
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Re: Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

Jeyl wrote: View Post
This reviewer actually does a pretty nice job at describing these elements.

It's the "Tale of Two Picards" portion at 1:46. Also, the entire review is quite good as well.
That is awesome. I can't really disagree with anything raised in that review. I think I am going to watch his Generations review.
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Old May 18 2009, 05:31 AM   #9
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Re: Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

Wasn't FC initially written to have Riker fight the Borg on the Enterprise and have Picard work with Cochran and the Phoenix? That would have made much more sense. Picard did have a past history of brawling, but he's outgrown that. Those movies would have been much better if Riker, Worf, Data, or some new guy would have done the action stuff and they just let Picard be the Captain.
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Old May 19 2009, 01:08 AM   #10
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Re: Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

That would've been good.
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Old May 19 2009, 03:36 AM   #11
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Re: Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

Kirby wrote: View Post
Wasn't FC initially written to have Riker fight the Borg on the Enterprise and have Picard work with Cochran and the Phoenix? That would have made much more sense. Picard did have a past history of brawling, but he's outgrown that. Those movies would have been much better if Riker, Worf, Data, or some new guy would have done the action stuff and they just let Picard be the Captain.
For me, I think Sisko would've been a better fit for fighting the Borg on the ship than either Picard or Riker. But I liked having Picard onboard with the Borg because it was more personal to him.
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Old May 19 2009, 03:46 AM   #12
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Re: Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

IMO, the producers came to the conclusion that the TNG formula of an ensemble cast just didn't translate to the movies. Picard had to channel Kirk, Data had to channel Spock even more than ever, and Riker had to hold down the fort aboard the Enterprise while Picard and Data went off to do their thing...

LaForge was needed to spout technobabble
Worf was needed to beat up people and look menacing
Troi was needed to occasionally pilot the ship when the helmsmen was inevitably killed during the space battles
Crusher wasn't really needed at all...
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Old May 19 2009, 02:45 PM   #13
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Re: Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

For some reason on this board Kirk is seen as the action hero and Picard as the erudite. However, in canon Kirk and Picard contain both of these aspects to their character. We're told Kirk started out as the erudite "stack of book with legs" becoming the more hell bent for leather captain. Picard started out as the hell bent for leather ensign becoming the more erudite captain.

With Picard, TNG canon has given us a rich, multi-faceted character; one who reads ancient Greek and Latin classics and Shakespeare as well as hard-boiled detective novels. He plays the flute as well as rides horses, fences, and does a little rock climbing. He drinks tea as well as Aldebaran whiskey. He is a diplomat who appears to have a certain degree of special ops training. The erudite who easily rises to the role of action hero when necessary. Like the TOS episode "The Enemy Within" did for Kirk's character, TNG's episode "Tapestry" does a beautiful job of showing that it takes both the erudite and well as the "Hell bent for leather" ensign who was stabbed through the heart in a barroom brawl facets to make Picard the flagship captain.

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Old May 20 2009, 11:09 PM   #14
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Re: Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

Generations is the Black Sheep here.

If they had shown Picard to be able to hold himself in a fight (as several episodes hinted at) then the rest of the movies would have been more believable.
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Old May 21 2009, 12:14 AM   #15
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Re: Action hero Picard and the decline of the TNG movies.

I am not Spock wrote: View Post
When did Picard suddenly become John McClane from Die Hard?
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