5/4/13

STAR TREK: GENERATIONS - REVIEW


Kirk, Picard, in the same movie.

As a kid, it seemed too good to be true.

Turns out it was.

Back in the day, the entire point of watching Generations wasn't really to see the first The Next Generation Star Trek movie but to see both iconic Captains together in the same place for the first time ever. It was a good gimmick and it totally worked: I loved it.

Re-watching this seventh instalment for the franchise years later, though, made me realise just how flawed this entire movie was and how the gimmick I originally thought of as awesome actually hurts the movie more than it benefits it. The film opens on Kirk, Scotty and Chekov showing up on the maiden voyage of the Enterprise-B, then a big macguffin solar cloud in space appears and takes out some of the ship, seemingly killing Kirk, who promptly sacrificed himself to save the ship. I say "macguffin" because that's really all this plot rests on since that's what not only drives everyone's motivations but also brings Picard, Kirk and Malcolm MacDowell's villain together. What happens in between is almost filler. We're introduced to the Next Generation gang in as light-hearted a way as possible: dressed in Master & Commander costumes, acting out some sort of weird ceremony on a boat in the holodeck. Something meaningless causes Data to use an "emotion chip" and henceforth becomes this film's Jar Jar Binks in a subplot which builds up to a thrilling climax involving him finding his cat safe and sound.

Totally worth it, I think you'll agree.

The energy ribbon which destroyed the Enterprise-B back in Kirk's time turns out to be The Nexus, a mysterious force capable of creating a sort of paradise suited to your personal wishes. As you can imagine, we get to see Picard's vision of a happy life: Christmas in the 1800's with a bunch of kids he's never met and a Whoopi Goldberg ghost. To be fair, who HASN'T dreamt of that at one point or another? The theme of the film is predominantly mortality but where the film should have been dark and affecting, it just ends up feeling about as artificial as The Nexus' fake paradise itself: it looks pretty and does include a gimmick we wanted to see but in the end, there's not much there. I'll give the movie that, though: it's entertaining. You're rarely bored and the fact that Shatner is there to pass the torch is kinda cool. It's just a shame that this didn't happen in an altogether better film. The ending, which consists of three old men fighting on rocks, just doesn't cut it either, by the way.

Overall, I'd say check it out. Fans of Kirk and the old gang won't exactly love it but others might get a kick out of finally seeing Picard take centre stage. It's a good-looking film which does have its moments but ultimately feels too flawed and gimmicky to truly matter.

Oh my...

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