Rating: 3 out of 5
Length: 118 minutes
Release date: November 18, 1994
Directed by: David Carson
Genre: Action/ Adventure/ Sci-Fi/ Thriller
Overview – Star Trek: Generations
The film “Star Trek: Generations” is the seventh in a long line of “Star Trek” movies extending back to the first motion picture release featuring the famous crew of the USS Enterprise, released in 1979. Unlike the first six movies in the franchise, this one serves as a farewell to those epic original characters while also performing as a transition piece introducing the movie-going audience to a new generation of “Star Trek” stars.
Rick Berman helped write the story and produced the film while David Carson took to the director’s chair to help create an epic piece of science fiction that was intended to continue the success of the franchise while placing the stars of the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” series into the spotlight. Berman and Carson managed to deliver an action-filled film that successfully mixed the casts of the two TV series to create a well-plotted movie with a few large surprises to offer audiences.
What isn’t too surprising is the plotline of the film. It’s a straightforward “Star Trek” kind of story; you know, space battles mixed in with enough pseudo time-travel to allow for the inclusion of the two ships’ crews in a single movie even though the two series existed decades apart in the franchise timeline. Everything is brought together beautifully however with the introduction of the Nexus.
The Nexus is the central plot device in Generations. In the introductory portion of the movie, the Enterprise-B is being launched to continue the exploratory voyages of its famous namesake, the Enterprise. To witness the event firsthand are a few old hands from that famous ship, Captain Kirk, Chekov, and Scotty, portrayed by William Shatner, Walter Koenig, and James Doohan. The three old hands are simply there as VIPs, but soon they are forced into action as the Enterprise is called to confront the possible destruction of two refugee ships by a mysterious ribbon of energy, the Nexus.
The first ship is destroyed as they arrive on the scene, but Scotty manages to transport refugees off the second ship just as it is destroyed as well. In the process, the Enterprise becomes trapped in the Nexus. Kirk is offered the captain’s seat so that the actual ship’s captain can try to free the ship from the ribbon but decides he will make the dangerous rescue attempt instead as the Captain belongs on his bridge. The rescue is successful, but Kirk is lost in the process, sadly set adrift in space.
The next act occurs 78 years later in the USS Enterprise-D, another in the long line of ships to bear the Enterprise name. For viewers of “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” the ship and its crew are extremely familiar. “Star Trek: Generations” was released following the final season of the long-running show, and the stars of that show were perfectly situated to take over the movie portion of the franchise.
The captain of this new generation of explorers is Captain Jean-Luc Picard, portrayed by Patrick Stewart. The opening scene for the new crew has the command team of the ship gathered on the holodeck, acting as sailors on a nineteenth century Enterprise on the open seas. During the fun and games that ensue, Picard receives a distress call from an observatory under attack, so the crew rushes into rescue action.
At the observatory, Picard and crew discover a Romulan body among the wreckage as well as an injured man named Dr. Tolian Soran, played by veteran actor Malcolm McDowell. During the attempt to discover what happened on the observatory, Soran launches a probe that collapses a nearby star and escapes to a Klingon Bird of Prey.
Soran, last seen being rescued from the Nexus by the Enterprise-B, is determined to find his way back into the energy ribbon after obsessing for nearly eight decades about the perfection that he had found inside. What follows is the usual sci-fi action that the “Star Trek” series is famous for, complete with space battles and the unexpected return of Kirk who has spent the last eighty years in the Nexus enjoying his own version of perfection without aging a day in the process.
“Star Trek: Generations” provides lovers of the franchise with a real treat. After years of the Next Generation, beloved members of the old crew are seen together for a last time while the new crew gets its chance at a bigger budget display of their prowess. McDowell eats away at the scenery, playing his part to perfection as he elicits sympathy from the audience for his character in his quest to return to the Nexus. At the same time, he’s the man audiences will love to hate, as he allows no obstacle to stand in his way no matter how damaging his actions are.
The two captains are also amazing, with Shatner slipping into the old role of Kirk like it’s a favorite shirt and Stewart playing Picard with Shakespearean zeal. Their interactions are heartwarming and the two captains manage to make the transition between crews a natural one, easily making this a movie that can be enjoyed by fans and non-fans of the series alike.
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