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Star Trek Generations Movie Review

captain kirk nexus picard

1994 – David Carson –

The first big-screen adventure of the crew from television's popular Star Trek: The Next Generation serves as both a bridge between the old and the new and at the same time essentially retires the adventures of the original cast, led by William Shatner's Captain James T. Kirk. As an adventure story, Generations is more lively, action-oriented, character-oriented, and philosophical than the original cast's first feature outing, Star Trek: The Motion Picture. The story is also more complex (and in fact more complex than any of the previous six Star Trek films), something that can be seen as a failing in that the plot at times relies on convoluted and fictitious scientific jargon that will sound odd to many audience members unfamiliar with the television series. Spanning two generations (hence the title), the film involves a mysterious space-faring energy ribbon called the Nexus. Inside the Nexus, time and space have no meaning, and one can experience any reality one wishes. In essence, it is a fantasy-world paradise. Dr. Soran (Malcolm McDowell), a scientist who lost his family tragically, becomes obsessed with gaining entrance to the Nexus so that he can revive his loved ones and spend eternity with them, and he is willing to destroy millions of innocent lives in order to do so. Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) sets out to stop him, and ultimately makes a journey into the Nexus himself, where he finds Captain Kirk (William Shatner), long believed dead. Picard enlists the famous captain to help him leave the Nexus and put a stop to Soran's deadly plans.

On a thematic, philosophical level, the film addresses some interesting notions about death, mortality, and the temptation of escaping into fantasy. Kirk and Picard both struggle with their own mortality, and both eventually find personal peace. However, one of the chief weaknesses is that it does not do enough with the historic meeting of the two captains, one an icon of popular culture and the other his very popular successor. Representing the movie within the Star Trek universe, a bridge between two generations, it also represents a bridge between two very influential series and staples of popular culture. Unfortunately, Captain Kirk's presence, which is promising in the opening action sequence (set during Kirk's time), seems almost tacked on at the end, and his death, while heroic, is not rendered with as much sadness and honor as one might expect. One of the elements most touted about this film is that it features the death of the famous star captain, yet that death to some extent seems less mournful than the loss of Picard's starship Enterprise (one of the most exciting and tragic sequences of the movie). The epic meeting between the two captains and the resolution of their own inner struggles as well as that with Soran simply could have been more developed. As it is, Star Trek Generations is a fun, adventurous film that actually might have been better without the ties to the original series.

Generations was followed in 1996 by Star Trek: First Contact, featuring only the cast of The Next Generation. This second film was better received by both critics and audiences.

Cast: Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard), Jonathan Frakes (William Riker), Brent Spiner (Data), LeVar Burton (Geordi LaForge), Michael Dorn (Worf), Gates McFadden (Dr. Beverly Crusher), Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi), Malcolm McDowell (Dr. Tolian Soran), William Shatner (James T. Kirk), James Doohan (Montgomery “Scotty” Scott), Walter Koenig (Pavel Chekov), Alan Ruck (Captain John Harriman), Jacqui Kim (Demora Sulu), Jenette Goldstein (Science Officer), Thomas Kopache (Com Officer) Screenwriter: Ronald D. Moore, Brannon Braga Cinematographer: John A. Alonzo Composer: Dennis McCarthy Producer: Rick Berman and Peter Lauritson for Paramount MPAA Rating: PG Running Time: 123 minutes Format: VHS, LV Budget: $35M Box Office: $75.67M.

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