Reel Matt

This blog started as my movie marathon — watching a movie a day for a whole year — and has continued as a place for me to write reviews about movies, TV, and various other items.

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Star Trek: Generations

Film #307

THE PLOT

Captain Picard, with the help of supposedly dead Captain Kirk, must stop a madman willing to murder on a planetary scale in order to enter a space matrix.

Year 1, Day 317

BEFORE: Transitioning from triple-feature days to double-feature days also sees the transition from The Original Series cast to The Next Generation cast. Dropping the numbering system, Star Trek: Generations is an in-between featuring characters from both groups.

AFTER: An issue I’ve brought up a few times before in these reviews is that of the medium and whether or not what I’m watching is suited for film, or if it feels more appropriate for another setting (the biggest example would be musicals and theater - just search for my very vocal, though changing, opinion about that). Here we run into the same problem. Star Trek: Generations feels more like an extended TV episode than it does a film. Now that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but in this case the result is a less than stellar reception.

First let me explain how Generations feels like an extended TV episode. As with many stories, there’s the primary plot - in this case, Soran attempting to enter the Nexus - supplemented with a few subplots - for example, Data’s (Brent Spiner) emotional chip, the old Enterprise crew, Klingon interest in tri-lithium. Now here’s where the difference comes in. When I think of a film, these subplots are closely tied in with the main story and are like branches off a main tree which then reconnect at the end. TV I think of these subplots as separate trees, relating to the main story but set apart until perhaps at the very end, or a joining of branches in the canopy. Of the examples I listed above, the best example is that of Data’s emotion chip. Granted, it’s an interesting development to see Data deal with a deluge of feelings he’s never experience before and why he even wants them in the first place. But it’s pointless for the film. It could be removed in it’s entirety and made into it’s own little short while the main story still makes complete sense. And therein lies the problem I have with Star Trek: Generations. It’s filled with a bunch of plots and characters that divide my attention and distract from the entertainment at the heart of it all. By beginning unconnected and remaining that way throughout, you are left divided; unsure what the whole point or reason for watching the film is.

On top of all this is the ending which I won’t go into too much detail about here. Quickly, the ending is very similar to that of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban or even the Stargate SG-1 episode “The Gamekeeper”. But unlike these two examples and relating back to my previous complaint, this Generations ending felt forced and out of place, almost as if it was another separate story just tacked on at the end. Curious and intriguing yes, but too coincidental and there really just to wrap up the story and tie up loose ends.

Star Trek: Generations is not the best of the Trek films, nowhere near close. While it’s not as boring or drawn out as The Motion Picture was, it is still of the same caliber. There’s nothing really driving you along wanting you to keep watching, mostly because every boost you get comes from a different story just tacked on for good measure. Combining TOS and TNG casts doesn’t fare too well. I’d say, keep them separate; let them do their own thing.

RATING: 2 out of 5