"Star Trek V: The Final Frontier" or "Star Trek: Generations"?

Which is better?

  • Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

    Votes: 19 54.3%
  • Star Trek: Generations

    Votes: 16 45.7%

  • Total voters
    35

Lord Garth

Admiral
Admiral
UPFRONT: I don't want to this to be a TOS vs. TNG thing. I'm just looking at these two films, comparing them, and that's it.

With that out of the way, "the best of the rest" of the TNG Films (after First Contact) versus the least regarded of the TOS Films. How do these two films stack up against each other? I'm not really sure, to be honest, so I'm going to look at different parts of them one-by-one and decide which film handled them better. This is only my take.

Where to start? Start at the beginning.

1. The Captains. Kirk's arc in TFF versus Picard's arc in GEN. Kirk says he's always known he'll die alone and that he needs his pain. Those are his most profound character moments. Other than saying his crew is his family. Not much of an arc for Kirk. Just reaffirming what we already could've figured out. Picard loses his brother, his nephew, realizes that there's more time behind him than ahead, thinks about a life that could've been, and gets to have a historic meeting with Kirk. I'm going to give this one to Generations.

2. Kirk in Particular. Since he's in both films, why not? Like I said, things with Kirk are pretty status quo in TFF. Whereas in GEN, we're seeing how he doesn't like retired life, he finds it lonely, he doesn't feel like he's making a difference, we learn what ultimately happened to him, and he gets to share some wisdom with Picard. Kirk rides a horse in TFF, but it feels more majestic when he rides one in GEN. Then fist-a-cuffs, shallow as that sounds. Kirk fighting Soran is more entertaining than Kirk fighting Sybok. Even though I don't like that Kirk died, it still gets me whenever I see it. I'm going to give this one to Generations.

3. Spock and Data. Spock is mostly back to his old self in TFF and we get deeper insight into his character and his backstory. Data decides he needs emotions to grow further, and then it's mostly hit-and-miss comic delivery. I'm going to give this one to The Final Frontier.

4. The Doctors. McCoy gets one of his best scenes in all of the movies with that scene with his dying father. Crusher gets pushed into the water by Data and called repulsive by the Duras Sisters. I'm going to give this one to The Final Frontier.

5. The Engineers. Scotty has to deal with malfunctioning systems on the Enterprise and won't give up until he has everything working. Including the transporters. Which allows for Spock and McCoy to be beamed aboard the Enterprise at the end of the movie. Because of this, Spock gets to talk to General Koord, who orders Captain Klaa to stand down, leading to saving Kirk and saving the day. Without Scotty's determination, Spock wouldn't have been able to do any of that because he'd still be down on Sha'Ka'Ree's planet.

Geordi agrees to give Data emotions, leading to bad comedy, and also leading to Soran having Geordi's VISOR modified so that when they send him back to the ship, they can find out how to penetrate the Enterprise's shields, which ultimately leads to the ship's destruction.

I'm going to give this one to The Final Frontier.

6. Sybok and Soran. Sybok is a Vulcan rebel who believes in emotion instead of logic and wants to find God. Soran is a bitter man who experienced happiness in the Nexus and is determined to do anything to get back to it at any cost. Soran is looking for something tangible. Sybok is looking for someone he doesn't even know exists but he has faith, which ultimately ends up proven wrong. This is tough, but I'm going to have go with Soran. Soran's motivations are clear and why people working with him is clear. How Sybok is able to get people to follow him so completely challenges plausibility to the point where head-canon has to explain it away. I'm going to give this one to Generations.

7. The Klingons. Klaa is a hothead who wants to show off by defeating Kirk until Koord talks him down. The Duras Sisters have the support of those still loyal to Duras and have a fighting chance to retake the Klingon Empire if the right opportunity presents itself. They have a tangible goal. Klaa just wants to show off. I'm going to give this one to Generations.

8. The Directing. TFF has the natural beauty of El Capitan. GEN has the spectacle of the Enterprise's saucer section crash-landing on Veridian III's surface. TFF has great choreography. GEN has a moody and elaborate lighting scheme. GEN has pretty good effects for a mid-budget 1994 movie. TFF's effects aren't the best by mid-budget 1989 movie standards. Paradise City in TFF looks great: a lot of attention to detail went into the sets. In GEN, they did the best they could with pre-existing sets, most of which were built for TV. I'm going to call this one a Tie.

9. The Soundtrack.
TFF's soundtrack was good, but not one of Jerry Goldsmith's best. TMP, FC, and NEM are better examples of his work within Star Trek. GEN's soundtrack was one of Dennis McCarthy's best and it's good to hear him unshackled from the restraints TV Trek was notorious for in the '90s. The music with Kirk, the Nexus, and the Enterprise's destruction in particular are all very memorable. I'm going to give this one to Generations.

10. The Script. TFF put its story in an impossible task: to find God. It was also mandated that TFF have a lot of humor just like TVH, even though it wasn't a natural fit. GEN was given a checklist of things it had to do, so it was a more mechanical process than organic. TFF didn't utilize the Federation, Klingon, and Romulan Representatives the way they could've, and didn't do much with them when the early scenes made it look like they'd be major characters. GEN utilized all of its characters for the purpose in the story they served, but no more. The main problem in GEN is the way it utilized the TOS characters. Scotty was a stand-in for Spock. Chekov was a stand-in for McCoy. Demura was a stand-in for her father. Harriman was Cameron from Ferris Bueller's Day Off in a Starfleet Uniform. I'm going to call this one a Tie.

Okay. That was 10 items. Let's add them up and see how this works out.

TFF - 3
GEN - 5
Tie - 2

I'm giving the nod to Generations.

Which means I rank the first 10 movies, excluding TMP:

The Wrath of Khan
The Voyage Home
First Contact
The Undiscovered Country
The Search for Spock
Generations
The Final Frontier
Insurrection
Nemesis

TMP is a tricky one, because it's so different from the rest, but having the other nine movies locked where they are will help a lot.
 
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For me The Final Frontier was just a bad movie. The plot, the writing, the dialogues, the quality, the effects, everything. Together with Insurrection and Nemesis the only 3 movies I don't really like.
I actually liked Generations, just Kirks death was somehow stupid. Shartner even said later that he didn't like the way Kirk died and just saying "Oh my" as his last words.
 
I voted V. I like a lot of the elements and individual scenes and the look of Nimbus III. It's one of those things where the story is not that great but I can imagine with a few more drafts it might have been better. I like the look of Generations but I'm kind of cold on the story. I don't like the Nexus and I don't like the Kirk/Picard teamup and I don't like Data's storyline. I was always whatever on the Enterprise-D getting blown up by one Bird of Prey, it didn't bother me, but then JTVFX does a clip with the D fighting a fleet over Veridian III and I'm like ok damn that would have been cool.
 
I can't remember the last time I watched TFF, while I can remember the last time I watched GEN. Even getting TFF on Blu-ray (as part of a set; I doubt I would have bought it individually) wasn't enough to make me revisit it. I'm a fan of commentary tracks for films, and I haven't even looked into whether TFF has any (I'm assuming it does).

TFF does have its moments, and GEN certainly has its missteps, but I find the latter at least somewhat more rewatchable...though I will forever snarl at the reused BoP explosion.
 
Generations is not great (aside from the beginning), but Final Frontier is bottom tier of Trek movies. IMHO.

Tier 1: Wrath of Khan, Undiscovered Country, First Contact.

Tier 2: Search for Spock, Voyage Home, Beyond.

Tier 3: The Motion Picture, Generations, Insurrection, 2009.

Tier 4: Final Frontier, Nemesis, Into Darkness.
 
“ST:Gen” is better. The visual look of the film is fantastic and very cinematic. The performances from Stewart, Shatner, McDowell, and Spiner are all outstanding. The villain of the film is very original, with a much different motivation from the other villains in the film series. The music for the film is good. Overall, It was a very solid start for the “Star Trek:Next Gen” films. And then, unfortunately, “Star Trek:Insurrection” came along and ruined that solid start.
 
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^I wouldn't really describe GEN as a solid start, though I agree with you on some of the film's strengths. I think it was hamstrung by the checklist of things it was required to do, and arguably succeeds to the degree it does despite rather than because of those things. But, as a writer-type, the strength and logic of the story is important to me, and from that perspective GEN has a number of significant problems.
 
I voted V and this is why.

1. The story, as bad as it is, does feel like a story that Shatner wanted to tell. The story to Generations is not a story someone wanted to tell because it's so full of random mandates that it drowns out the narrative. What sounds more like an honest pitch? "I want a story where the crew encounter God." or "I want a story where Worf gets promoted, we see the Enterprise B, the crew fight the Duras sisters using technobabble, Data gets his emotion chip, Picard dealing with the recent death of his family who burned to death, Geordi is strapped to a chair and shirtless, we destroy the Ent-D, Kirk dies and everyone is happy in the end."

2. Star Trek Generations fails at why the film was made in the first place. Passing the torch from Kirk to Picard. The film opens with Kirk saving the day on the Ent-B and the rest of the movie is Picard screwing up non-stop until he has to go through a magical Nexus to ask Kirk to tag team sight Soran. This is not how you paint the TNG crew as worthy successors to the original when they fail to save the Amigossa station, two solar systems and their own Enterprise.

3. This is probably the most important reason I prefer V over Generations. YOU CAN SKIP IT! It's the kind of movie that, even though nothing of importance happens, does have a chill "You don't have to hang out if you don't want to" feel that is comforting. You can go from IV to VI and you would miss nothing. A bad movie that's optional is always preferred than a bad movie that's mandatory like Generations.
 
I remember being so hyped up for Generations back in the day. I was 16 years old and it felt like TNG had become mainstream here in the UK. There were posters, merchandise and splashed across magazines. It was the pre-internet age (at least for me), and all the Sci-Fi mags were full of speculation. The Sun newspaper ran a campaign for a promo video, which I got (and didn't watch until after the movie).

Heck, it was on Blue Peter, the morning breakfast shows, there was an exhibition held in Edinburgh. Heady times indeed. Nowadays, Star Trek is so niche that the man in the street only really knows about Kirk and Picard from 30 years ago...Anyway, I digress.

I went with my family and a few friends. And. I. Was. Totally. GUTTED.

The film was s***. Kirk's death was falling off a bridge! WTF. The Enterprise was destroyed by a puny BOP? The plot made no sense, with Guinan saying they could leave anytime they liked. The actors were all whispering their dialog and Sir Stewart was a real weak link in the movie. I think he was done with Trek at this point. His performance is weak.

For years, I swore it was the worst film that I'd ever seen.

And then I went to see the Phantom Menace.

Nowadays, I've mellowed and I can see that the film isn't a total disaster. And I was lucky enough to have a conversation with Brannon Braga and Ron Moore at a Convention. They were very critical of the movie and had a lot of regret. They said that the beginning scene, they just gave McCoys dialog verbatim to Chekov and Scotty got Spocks lines. It shows. The whole thing is slip shod and cheap.

As for V, well, in some ways it's the film that is closest in tone and spirit to TOS.
 
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Generations has the misfortune of having not one but two major tragedies which makes it painful to watch: the destruction of the Enterprise-D, and the death of James T. Kirk. This doesn't even take into account the loss of Picard's brother and nephew, a lesser loss that nonetheless feels kinda unnecessary and cruel.

The Final Frontier is an inoffensive film whose largest crime is the cheap special effects. The campfire scenes are classic TOS character moments and any film with Jerry Goldsmith composing the score is better because for his involvement, especially since this is one of his finer scores.

Sorry Generations, but Star Trek V is just a less depressing and more entertaining film and for that it is, in my opinion, better.
 
Generations has the misfortune of having not one but two major tragedies which makes it painful to watch: the destruction of the Enterprise-D, and the death of James T. Kirk. This doesn't even take into account the loss of Picard's brother and nephew, a lesser loss that nonetheless feels kinda unnecessary and cruel.

This exactly. For a movie that's intended to launch a film series, Generations is positively funereal. What it feels like is a finale, because it closes off the past in multiple ways. I'm not sure the three films after ever justify their existence as anything more than footnotes.

None of the TNG movies are that great (Sorry but even FC is overrated.) TFF isn't good either but has some amazing Kirk/Spock/McCoy moments. That's enough for me.

They're not great films, I agree, though I think Generations and Nemesis display ambition the other two NextGen films do not.
 
I think INS had the potential to tackle some decent moral questions and tell a complex story in the vein of "Tuvix" or "Cogenitor"...but in execution it didn't give those questions the weight they merited in favor of telling an action story that has Our Heroes engaging in actions that I ultimately find pretty dubious.
 
Both movies try to be too ambitious and EPIC too consciously, which is also their greatest flaw.

Both have great direction and great soundtracks.

Both feel like an extension of their original TV shows, which is a plus.

Both have big ideas. Both have interesting set pieces. Both fail at making them as compelling as they deserve to be.

TFF wants to track down God, who needs a starship because they make pretty holiday ornaments. There's also renegade Klaa, who has potential, but doesn't quite make it to the same level as Khan or Chang. The three representatives meeting on this mutual planet of galactic peace, for which deleted scenes do help flesh out the issue a bit more, but the worldbuilding on display doesn't go far enough to what clearly is a lot of potential. But it succeeds in this area farther than GEN... Plus, there's a Sybok. Surprised how he's instantly recognizable as a Vulcan and not mistook as a Romulan, but it's told fast enough at the start and they roll with it fairly well.

GEN tries to discuss mortality and loss of love, and it also tries to wade in fanservice* by meshing Kirk and Picard together. Because just having them on screen will be awesome. IMHO, TNG should have hit the ground running with its own big movie story, as the TOS crew subplots added in only raise more questions, and they rob TNG of doing worldbuilding - for which GEN has... none... and the Duras Sisters feel so secondary to this story. Even Dr Soran feels secondary. Sympathetic villains are one thing, but at least deleted scenes try to give him a flair of genuine menace - which was desperately needed. At least with Sybok we get novel ideas for a baddie, and not a drawer full of cookie cutter motifs. So, yup, Sybok gets my vote for doing the sympathetic character successfully - and the God critter fritter there pretty much works. It's also a hoot that he played Admiral Hansen, and was also in many 60s tv spy shows plus an episode of "The Nanny". Then again, Dr Soran was in Clockwork Orange. Hmmm, now imagine MacDowell as the god critter fritter and not George Murdoch (who nails the role, I must say...) but I just typecasted. I try not to do that...

Also, no baton passing was really needed. TUC was a worthy closure. GEN feels like it's undoing that, even if not intentionally.

* TNG's four flicks easily go nuts on the fanservice stuff and they often felt more like frivolous parties and missing their potential. That aside, PIC season 3 does an incredible job at making lemonade from lemons, not only giving TNG the cinematic sendoff they deserved, but also patches up so much from the 90s flicks. Much respect for all involved in season 3, but I digress.

Both feature comedy as integral points. Both didn't need it. TFF's is a few shades less cringeworthy. Or perhaps, more of its jokes genuinely land.

Plus, at least TFF's uniforms fit the crew more uniformly...

Both have potential. Both are watchable. Both drop the ball. But TFF gets my vote as the better movie.
 
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I remember being so hyped up for Generations back in the day. I was 16 years old and it felt like TNG had become mainstream here in the UK. There were posters, merchandise and splashed across magazines. It was the pre-internet age (at least for me), and all the Sci-Fi mags were full of speculation. The Sun newspaper ran a campaign for a promo video, which I got (and didn't watch until after the movie).

I wasn't too much older, but those were the best days to be a fan.

Heck, it was on Blue Peter, the morning breakfast shows, there was an exhibition held in Edinburgh. Heady times indeed. Nowadays, Star Trek is so niche that the man in the street only really knows about Kirk and Picard from 30 years ago...Anyway, I digress.

Can any new show really re-capture the zeitgeist in the way TOS and TNG had, along with other shows or miniseries like V, Dynasty, Roots, and others?

I went with my family and a few friends. And. I. Was. Totally. GUTTED.

It was a bit underwhelming...

The film was s***. Kirk's death was falling off a bridge! WTF. The Enterprise was destroyed by a puny BOP? The plot made no sense, with Guinan saying they could leave anytime they liked. The actors were all whispering their dialog and Sir Stewart was a real weak link in the movie. I think he was done with Trek at this point. His performance is weak.

It did feel like a rough draft script, rushed due to deadlines. IMHO, waiting a year would have helped immeasurably.

The discarded ending of Kirk being shot had more dramatic weight. Plus, there was no way to get that dumb joke of "captain on the bridge becomes bridge on a captain" as a result.

For years, I swore it was the worst film that I'd ever seen.

And then I went to see the Phantom Menace.

As had Red Letter Media, oh my... :devil:

Nowadays, I've mellowed and I can see that the film isn't a total disaster. And I was lucky enough to have a conversation with Brannon Braga and Ron Moore at a Convention. They were very critical of the movie and had a lot of regret. They said that the beginning scene, they just gave McCoys dialog verbatim to Chekov and Scotty got Spocks lines. It shows. The whole thing is slip shod and cheap.

That's so cool you got a chance to talk with them!

As for V, well, in some ways it's the film that is closest in tone and spirit to TOS.

^^this

After II-IV, V feels odd... but with those films freshest in viewers' minds, V feeling a lot like TOS TV probably went over many peoples' heads in the theater and only to be realized later. V isn't perfect, but it doesn't fail with the tone. I remember leaving the theater thinking the movie was "not as good as the previous ones", but certainly didn't hate it. Definitely like it more nowadays. I like TFF and GEN for their potential, even if more balls were dropped than in a basketball court.
 
I cannot think of one single aspect of Generations that is better than Five.

Maybe the special effects. Five is famously bad compared to other Star Trek films and other films made in the late 80s but Generations also famously recycled shots from previous movies and I think even a few from the TV show first made in 1987. Anyway, both suck in this department.

The Klingons in Five are much more fun to watch than the Klingons in Generations.

Sybok is better than Soran

Goldsmith’s music is better than McCarthy’s

etc.
 
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