Star Trek: Generations (1994)

Star Trek: Generations (1994), directed by David Carson.

I get it: bring out the old guard one last time to ease the new TV crew into theatrical films.

And I think they have been clever in handling the old dogs: in the story they are in retirement and find it funny to be brought back into action, just as the audience might. It is a shared joke, disarming criticism.

And killing Kirk? Twice? Fine: he has to go out heroically. How could it be otherwise?

And yet, why does the story seem so small, so second rate? Malcolm McDowell is adequate as the villain, those raging demons behind his eyes. All characters present get a little time and do nothing really off base...

Do we believe Picard's heaven is a Dickensian Christmas? Ok, maybe it is about the family he never had. And Kirk's is frying eggs in a kind of sketchy mountain cabin? No way, I don't believe it.

This is a weak setup to the disastrous climax. Killing Kirk turns out to be pointless running, punching, falling, making quips on a cheap location set.

His dying words... better be special... "It was fun". Oh, brother.

What would have satisfied people? Probably nothing less than Kirk, last survivor of the Enterprise, riding his starship into a cataclysmic collision with his enemy. Much like his dad in the Star Trek (2009) reboot, in fact.

On the plus side, John A. Alonzo (Harold and Maude (1971), Vanishing Point (1971), Chinatown (1974)) is the cinematographer and does his own lighting, a big step up in quality. I've never seen those sorts of shadows in the spaceships before.

Checking off a bunch of Trek features:

I won't gripe about plot holes and incoherence, but have to mention one bit of SF stupidity that kills me. Soran collapses a star (twice, we do everything twice this time) to alter the course of the Nexus. Which wouldn't work: the star's gravity is still there, collapsed or not. You could turn it into a black hole and it wouldn't have made a difference. A thirteen year old could have explained this to them.

Available on Blu-ray with two commentary tracks:

The writers admit the weak parts of their story. They have no idea of what the Nexus is or how it works, so don't expect it to make sense. They describe Picard's scene with his dream children as "sickenly sweet".

They also apologize for the ad hoc physics and engineering overload that came on strong in the Next Generation era. When writing they would just have something like:


Picard: Lt LaForge, tech the tech!

LaForge: Can't tech the tech now, Captain! But maybe if we tech the tech then the tech will tech the tech instead!

Picard: Make it so.

They would then hand this to their "science" advisor who would come back with possible "tech" word substitutions.

They were writing this and "All Good Things...", the feature-length finale to Star Trek: The Next Generation, at the same time. You can see the similarities.

And Brent Spiner hates cats.

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That's it, I have now reviewed all of the feature films from the original cast and Next Generation eras, apart from Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), which I don't have the heart to see again.