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Overall Rating

Awesome: 7.41%
Worth A Look: 11.11%
Average: 28.4%
Pretty Bad35.8%
Total Crap: 17.28%

3 reviews, 63 user ratings

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Star Trek: Generations
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by Rob Gonsalves

"Shaky passing of the torch."
3 stars

It's been said of the 'Star Trek' movies that you can determine their quality by the number in the title.

All the best ones are even-numbered: Star Trek II was the highlight of the series, IV was goofy and likable, and VI was a fine adios to the crew of the old Enterprise. And all the odd-numbered ones the bloated premiere voyage, dubbed by many Star Trek: The Motionless Picture; III, in which Spock returned from the dead, Kirk's son joined the dead, and nobody cared; and V, which offered the ghastly spectacle of William Shatner directing himself well, they all sucked. So where does that leave the numberless Star Trek Generations? Is this actually Star Trek VII? Or is it meant to be Star Trek Volume II: The Picard Years? There hasn't been this much confusion among those of us who actually keep track of these things since The Empire Strikes Back came out and was called Episode V. Oy.

Well, not to worry. The new Star Trek film isn't nearly as numbing as the 1979 movie that ushered the previous crew to the big screen; it's lean and purposeful. But neither is it a particularly compelling demonstration of why there should be more movies with this crew. Not being a Next Generation fan (I've seen it a couple of times), I hoped the movie would tell me why the TV series gained a rabid cult. Here, 18 years after the cancellation of the dear departed original series, was this pretender to the throne, with new people on the Enterprise (sacrilege!), among them a Klingon (blasphemy!). Has there ever been a TV show with more potential ill will going against it? Yet Next Generation outran the original series, and some dared say it was even an improvement more thoughtful and complex. I have no special feelings about Trek in general, and I think people who memorize Klingon conjugations and carry on vituperative debates over which episode is the best are hopelessly twerpy. But I rooted for Generations to be good. The Trek movies are comfortably familiar; you can count on them to be either terrible or better than you expected. It's no fun when they're just sort of competent and not-bad.

Generations has a headache-inducing plot that I'd just as soon not go into. The gist of it is that the evil Dr. Soran (Malcolm McDowell in a fluffy white brush-cut) has found something called the Nexus, a "ribbon" in space where "time has no meaning." Tap into it, and you get to spend eternity in your own private paradise. Unfortunately, the only way Soran can access it is to blow up a star (destroying a planet inhabited by some 250 million people), which will alter the course of the Nexus so that it swings by and scoops him up. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), captain of the Enterprise, disapproves of this plan. To stop Soran, Picard must cross into the Nexus and find Kirk (Shatner), who was swept into the Nexus when the Enterprise entered it 78 years ago .... I'm starting to feel the throbbing behind my left eye.

The hard sell of the movie an unnecessary hard sell, given any Trek film's built-in audience is the historic meeting of the two captains. Yet they don't do anything together that Picard couldn't have accomplished with Data or Worf. We're meant to sit there and think, "How neat look at the two of them on their horses," the way comic-book fans are tickled when Superman teams up with Batman. You also get the feeling that Paramount didn't trust the Next Generation crew to draw the crossover audience by themselves -- Kirk was needed as a link to the familiar Trek. And he's not the only link. The script schleps out Scotty (James Doohan, failing to hide his contempt for Shatner) and Chekov (Walter Koenig), and introduces Sulu's daughter; Generations is too stuck in the past to look to the future. Kirk gets to die heroically not once but twice; even Spock didn't get that honor. (Spock is absent here, and he's missed.)

Generations, I bet, will come to be regarded as a transitional movie a shaky passing of the torch. Some of it is fun, though. Malcolm McDowell, whose Caligula embarrassment had seemingly doomed him to direct-to-video schlock, comes through with an icy, malicious performance that recalls his glory days in A Clockwork Orange; the real team-up excitement for me was seeing Alex the droog versus Kirk the gasbag the collision of two very different kinds of sci-fi icons. As written, though, Soran is lame and easily the most confusing villain of any of the movies. I wanted to see what Soran's Nexus paradise looked like, for example; Kirk's and Picard's are idyllic Soran's dream world might have been a psychotic fantasia out of William S. Burroughs. I wanted more of the wonderfully bitchy Klingon women in cahoots with Soran. They're hysterically nasty, like rude biker chicks in a Mad Max movie, and they show more humanity than most of the women aboard the Enterprise. The character development everyone's talking about (Trekkies either love it or hate it) occurs when Data (Brent Spiner), the stoic android, inserts an "emotion chip" and goes completely goofy. But that's about it for innovation.

The opening scenes are a fair indication of where the movie goes wrong, though there's some humor in Kirk's pained expression as he watches the Enterprise's callow new captain (Alan Ruck) occupy the legendary chair on the bridge. When this rookie loses control, Kirk expertly takes over. There's never a moment in Generations when Picard shows comparable authority (he seemed plenty authoritative on TV); mostly he just mourns his dead brother and nephew the boy who had become the son Picard never had. How sad. How dull. Where is this man's much-hyped intellect? Everyone else does his thinking for him.

Sure, some of Data's antics were funny, but for me the biggest laugh in the movie was a title reading "78 years later," which you don't see in every movie. That goes to show how much screenwriters Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga have to stretch to get to the hard sell to get Kirk and Picard together somehow. It all seems rather gimmicky. Nicholas Meyer, who directed the two best Treks (II and VI) as well as the time-travel fantasy Time After Time (in which H.G. Wells, played by McDowell, faced off against Jack the Ripper), could have goosed some wit out of the tired legend-meets-legend premise. He might have had the newly irreverent Data (who's accustomed to the cue-ball Picard) say upon meeting Kirk, "Hey, nice rug." Or he might have digitally inserted Shatner into footage from the old Star Trek show; somehow we know that would be his true dream world.

But 'Generations' is helmed by David Carson, a dutiful captain who takes you somewhere, but not too far. Nobody even utters the immortal, ungrammatical line "to boldly go where no one has gone before." Maybe because we have gone here before.

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originally posted: 02/03/07 06:23:14
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User Comments

10/04/13 Danielsan Best of the odd # Trek movies. Kirk was sent off proper. 4 stars
5/27/13 Jeff Wilder Good to see Kirk and Picard team up. But it's emotionally inert overall. 2 stars
12/28/09 sam wilson Nothing about this movie works. 1 stars
9/08/09 the dork knight nice set pieces, but the weaker overall plot is embarassing 3 stars
8/30/09 matt Boo hoo. Kirk dies. This is an atrociously underrated movie, one of the best Trek films 5 stars
5/17/09 Sam Anticlimactic. Mediocre "action" scenes. KLINGON CLEAVAGE. YIKES. 3 stars
7/30/08 the dork knight Red alert. This movies blows 1 stars
10/18/07 Wendell O. Maness All Star Trek stuff is B.S. junk fiction trash, i hate it all! 1 stars
8/11/05 ES Given all the time travel the franchise should be called 'Time Trek' 1 stars
6/21/05 Indrid Cold As usual with Trek movies, the plot is weak and strange. Pretty satisfying though. 3 stars
6/08/05 Drew Peltier The Fuckers Killed a Legend! 4 stars
5/18/05 Pippin007 Story doesn't make sense. Star Wars is better 2 stars
7/08/04 Stevo Ugh. Warp to the next installment. 2 stars
4/24/04 Easter Lemming 2 1/2 Needs a Script Doctor 2 stars
2/14/04 malcolm OK, if being in the Nexus is so great, why is it so easy to get someone to leave? 3 stars
1/28/04 taryn mccoy kirk is dead noooooooo i miss him so much "cry cry cry" 5 stars
12/17/03 Tim Triangle Oddest star trek film a bit surreal and the most forgettable. 3 stars
6/29/03 Matt Thiel When an outsider (Nick Meyer) respects ST than its own producer, then something's wrong 2 stars
3/24/03 Jeff Good movie overall 5 stars
2/19/03 Matthew Jones Would've been 5 if Kirk hadn't died 4 stars
12/10/02 Zefram Mann Worst use of Malcolm McDowell outside the live action "Fist of the North Star" movie. 2 stars
11/23/02 Charles Tatum Almost as good as Part II 5 stars
10/18/02 Red Shirt Guy Rick Berman is killing Trek. A pathetic death for Kirk (Chewbacca died better in a book!) 2 stars
8/19/02 P.Rodriguez Worst movie of the franchise 1 stars
2/23/02 Mark Lloyd The whole film is one big plot hole. Premise dies in the first five minutes 1 stars
12/16/01 Kenneth E. Carper Lame but watchable. Better than those shitfests 4 & 6. That aint saying much! 3 stars
8/09/01 KC Au Good until Kirk disappears. After that...zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz 2 stars
8/01/01 TLsmooth Who lets them keep making Shit Trek movies? They should be dipped in shit and lit on fire. 1 stars
7/15/01 Rampage Hey Avenger Girl, get a room! Thank God Kirk died! 1 stars
7/15/01 Tiberius1983 The most piss-poor Trek movie of all time 1 stars
6/23/01 Dean Oh God... Kirk is a legend and it dies like FUCKING THAT? Why oh WHY!?!?! 2 stars
6/01/01 Roy Smith Really bad way to start the Next Gen movies. 2 stars
5/07/01 Gracy Lionheart B is for...Boring, Bad, Bluh. In other words, I was not impressed. and I am a fan of S.T. 1 stars
4/11/01 Emperor Matthew I Killing Kirk by dropping him off a cliff was very piss-poor if I may say so! 1 stars
2/16/01 James Pointless, lackluster story. Only good thing is that Kirk died! 2 stars
2/04/01 Avenger Girl Total ShITE..Trekkies need to get a life and grow up 1 stars
2/01/01 jordan don't like the next generation very much and i really don't like kirk's anticlimactic death 4 stars
1/03/01 fifu a good movie with great acting from roddy(kirks dead worst thing ever) 4 stars
12/13/00 Emperor Websterus Dropping Kirk off a bridge is not a good way to kill him. 1 stars
11/02/00 viking Come on, it wasn't all that bad. "The Final Frontier" is by far the worst in the series 4 stars
10/09/00 Ground Zero I'd rather see Sorbo shoot his way through Andromeda. Worst ST movie I've seen 2 stars
7/30/00 Digitalus Go see Galaxy Quest 2 stars
6/26/00 Michael Eternity I walked out speechless, lost in the profundity this movie reflects. Amazing 5 stars
4/17/00 BB-15 The Klingon space battle saves this film from getting a "Total Crap" rating. 2 stars
3/09/00 Mr. Kramitall Horrible beyond recognition. Coulda been better, but good effects and acting. 2 stars
2/23/00 mss great entertainment 5 stars
1/19/00 Jedi15 What a bunch of horse shit! This makes V look like a classic! Good effects, though. 2 stars
1/10/00 Will flawed at best. 2 stars
10/24/99 Scarface This should be cut into 50 minutes and be made into the last episode of TNG 2 stars
10/17/99 Mr. Invincible WTH?! HOT DAMN THIS TRASH! 2 stars
10/07/99 sophia962 Kirk w/o Spock? NO NO NO! And a sorry ass bad guy. Weak 2 stars
10/03/99 Joe Schmoe Oh my God, you killed Kirk! You bastards! 2 stars
6/07/99 Elizaveta Great Ideas! I think I love McDowell's character more than Jean-Luc! 4 stars
5/10/99 Arkansas Jon Nice transitional movie. Entertaining but not epic. 3 stars
5/02/99 Michael Grimm Not a trekkie, but not bad 3 stars
3/30/99 youngm_sisko Not Good. Better To See First Contact. 2 stars
1/25/99 Yo Momma Not a fan of the show, but fairly good. Not much of a great movie. 3 stars
1/08/99 Jo Mama lame plot. Kirk went out like a...BIATCH! 2 stars
12/04/98 Shadow Raider Great chessy death scenesand time travel... Kirk's dead!? Oh boy... 3 stars
11/05/98 Bad Kosh Too bad Kirk died. And the Enterprise got downed forever... sigh... 3 stars
10/24/98 grunter Continues 2 Trek traditions: time travel and cheesy death scenes. 4 stars
9/02/98 J-Guy I dug it, I'm a fan of the show, though. It keeps up with the show in quality. 4 stars
8/30/98 Johny Bored me to death 1 stars
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  18-Nov-1994 (PG)
  DVD: 07-Sep-2004


  30-Mar-1995 (PG)

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