Star Trek: Generations

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Star Trek: The Next Generation

Star Trek: The Next Generation Season 7


I feel this movie kind of blew the Kirk factor.  In 1994, I was primarily a Next Generation fan.  Thus, while I knew that this crossover was something of a big deal, I really didn't care nearly as much for Kirk as the TNG crew.  Years later I'm a more rounded Star Trek fan with a better appreciation of Kirk... and in that light it feels like a disappointing ending for him.  He's made to appear the lesser, foolish hero for getting so caught up in the Nexus while Picard tries to convince him to come out and save a few hundred million lives.  Then just a big hand-to-hand combat scene where this time Kirk doesn't survive, because now he's the redshirt.  Picard has to share the blame, but it seems crazy that these bigwigs of captainhood couldn't form a plan for taking on Soran beyond "Get him!"

The uniform thing

Boy, this turned out goofy and is a definite splotch on the picture.  Seems they originally wanted to go with an all-new uniform style, a sort of cross between the TNG uniforms and the ones used in Star Trek II through VI.  These were actually the ones the Generations action figures were designed with.  However, it was then decided to go with the DS9-style uniforms, which they began filming with.  However, it was then decided that those weren't so great for the big screen, and they decided to go back to using the TNG-style uniforms.  However, since they already had so much shot with the DS9 uniforms that wasn't reasonable to completely redo, some scenes used a combination of the different uniform types, so the film would present the uniforms as uniformly non-uniform.  What a mess.

Data's emotion chip

It's a big change in character, and one the movie makers decided to eventually just ignore, but Data dealing with his emotions was a lot of fun, and... pretty nearly the sole source of lighthearted moments.  He can get away with completely silly things, because it's all so new to him.  Laughing at seven-year-old jokes ("The clown can stay, but the Ferengi in the gorilla suit has got to go."), Mr. Tricorder, and especially his song about scanning for life forms are reliable sources for a smile.  Of course it's not all fun and games, but that makes sense.


In retrospect, this doesn't seem like as big a jump from the series as I could've hoped for.  The series already had some big stories and decent effects for its time, so this movie didn't exactly scream "I cost dozens of times as much per minute!"  It felt like what maybe could've been parts of two or three TNG episodes, with the deaths of Kirk and the Enterprise-D to make it seem like a big deal.

The one thing that does feel big to me, though, is Soran.  I guess it's mostly Malcolm McDowell's performance, but he just seemed much more intense and gritty than the average villain-of-the-week.

Enterprise-D lighting

Here's another area where they tried to be filmic, but it just turned out silly.  I know, regular flat lighting would make the old sets look too much like what they did on TV for the last seven years, yeah yeah yeah... but that's what it's supposed to look like.  With the crazy lighting seeming to depend on whatever nearby sun, and the resulting shadows, it felt like most of the Enterprise's scenes were filmed near a western-facing window shortly before sundown.


When they want to make the stakes high, it's not uncommon for there to be a threat to Earth or even the entire Federation.  So I like it when our heroes do things that even the saved can't appreciate.  Soran's foiled plan would've resulted in the destruction of a pre-warp world, so barring a Prime Directive violation they won't even know about any of this for a long, long time.


The movie does get free nostalgia points from me, though.  Coming in 1994, it was the biggest event yet in my first boom of Star Trek fandom.  This was about the time I was watching TNG reruns most afternoons, so a feature film was a pretty big deal.  It's the first movie I saw in theaters with Chad, in a nearly-empty theater where we were both negatively impacted by the popcorn.  I did the goofy things like buying the soundtrack CD, and getting toy communicators and even the action figures with the unused costume prototypes.