Star Trek: Generations
Star Trek: Generations (or stylized as Star Trek VII: Generations) is the seventh film in the Star Trek franchise, and the first one to star the crew of the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation. It also features William Shatner in his last performance to date as Captain James T. Kirk.
The retired Captain Kirk is seemingly killed saving the newly-launched USS Enterprise-B from a strange energy ribbon. 78 years later, Captain Picard and the crew of the Enterprise-D investigate a distress call from a research station, and eventually discover that an insane scientist, Dr. Soran, plans to destroy several stars in order to divert the ribbon and gain access to the Nexus, an idyllic alternate universe. After all attempts to stop Soran fail, Picard discovers that Kirk is still alive within the Nexus, and calls on him to help.
- Overly muddled and confusing plot. Aside from the main plot with Soran, there are sub-plots involving Worf being promoted, Picard's family being killed (because the charming backstory with them in the series really needed to pay off with them all dying in a fire offscreen), Data installing an emotion chip that he got in the last season of the TV series, and Guinan having a connection to Soran.
- Exactly what the Nexus is and how it works is never properly explained, making it feel like one gigantic plot contrivance.
- Soran's plan comes across as ludicrously over-complicated. While they establish that the energy ribbon would destroy any ship before Soran could gain access to the Nexus, it's never mentioned why he can't just beam into the ribbon from a safer distance, or use one of the thruster-powered spacesuits seen in Star Trek: The Motion Picture to fly into it.
- Everyone in the film aside from Kirk comes across as totally incompetent. The Enterprise-B crew nearly manage to get their ship destroyed on its maiden voyage until Kirk and Scotty jump in to help, and then the Enterprise-D crew actually do get their ship destroyed by putting up an inept fight against a far weaker ship.
- It's obvious that Scotty and Chekov, who cameo in the Enterprise-B scenes, are filling roles originally written for Spock and McCoy respectively (Leonard Nimoy refused to appear as Spock after talks for him to direct the film went sour, and DeForest Kelley was too ill to appear as McCoy). While giving Scotty the science dialogue intended for Spock works well enough, having Chekov suddenly start acting like a doctor just seems weird.
- Data comes across as extremely annoying after he gets the emotion chip installed, and his "life-forms song" is just cringeworthy.
- All the sets look really dark and under-lit. They didn't want to bother upgrading the TV show's sets, because they had already decided to introduce an Enterprise-E in the next film, so just lit them dimly to cover up the wear and tear from seven years of the TV show.
- For some bizarre reason most of the cast alternate randomly between wearing the uniforms they had on the show, and the ones used on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager.
- Poor direction by David Carson; most of the movie is just directed like an episode of the TV show, except with slow-motion and shaky-cam thrown in seemingly at random.
- The film brings back the Duras Sisters, a pair of recurring villains from the TV show, but never actually bothers explaining who they are, meaning that any generic Klingon(s) could have filled their role. Notably, they don't even get a single line of dialogue with Worf, the main character they interacted with on the TV series.
- Awful space battle between the Enterprise-D and the Duras Sisters' Bird of Prey, which is blatantly copied from the previous film's final battle. Except that whereas that battle climaxed with a tense scene of Spock and McCoy rigging up a special torpedo to destroy the bad guy's ship, this one ends with Data shouting out some meaningless technobabble and then the Enterprise blowing up the enemy ship with a single hit. And then, just to make sure you know where they're cribbing the scene from, they even re-use the footage of the bad guy's ship from the previous film exploding!
- Instead of firing Photon Torpedoes at the Bird of Prey, Riker comes up with a stupid plan involving plasma coils. Which ended up getting the Enterprise-D destroyed.
- The Enterprise-D's destruction also feels incredibly underwhelming. The original Enterprise managed to hold out for three battles across two movies before suffering a total systems failure and forcing Kirk to destroy it via self-destruct, while the Enterprise-A got badly beaten up in the previous movie without any hints that it might explode. But a few lucky hits from the Duras Sisters destroy the Enterprise-D here.
- The scenes between Kirk and Picard are pretty underwhelming, mostly consisting of Picard bitching at Kirk for initially not wanting to help him. The movie also cannot think of a decent reason for Picard to seek Kirk's help: rather than needing him to solve some kind of tactical problem using his experience as a starship captain, Picard just wants some help punching Malcolm McDowell.
- After being told by a "Nexus echo" of Guinan that he can re-enter his personal timeline at any point he wants, you'd think that Picard would go back to the start of the film, when he could easily apprehend the injured and helpless Soran and stop his star-destroying plan before it ever got underway. Instead, he decides to go back ten minutes before he got sucked into the Nexus, but with Kirk there to help him, which does succeed, but winds up getting Kirk killed.
- Kirk's death is one of the most infamously underwhelming ones in sci-fi history, with him being killed when a bridge at Soran's site collapses on him (supposedly this was due to a very literal reading of a statement that Kirk "died on the bridge"). Note that the one they originally filmed was even worse; there Soran just shot him in the back and killed him instantly, which the studio made the producers re-shoot.
- Despite the weak dialogue they're given, Patrick Stewart and William Shatner still make the scenes between Kirk and Picard reasonably watchable. Stewart also sells the hell out of the scene where he reveals that his family died in a fire.
- Great special effects, particularly the scene of the Enterprise-D crashing.
- Nice warm color grading that used to fit the tone in scenes with the nexus.
- The soundtrack composed by Dennis McCarthy is pretty good, as usual for a Star Trek film.
- While it results in him overacting like crazy here, Data's getting the emotion chip lets Brent Spiner give a much better performance in the next film.
- Related to the above, Data's saying "Oh, shit!" on realizing that the fatally-damaged Enterprise-D is about to crash is probably the film's funniest line.
- It introduces Demora Sulu, the daughter of TOS regular Hikaru Sulu, to the franchise.
Star Trek: Generations received a mixed-to-poor critical response, but did well at the box-office, making over three times its budget, and grossing a little more than the previous film in the series. Despite being seen as one of the lesser films in the series, it tends to be seen as (with the arguable exception of Star Trek: The Motion Picture) the "least bad" of the weaker Star Trek films by most fans.