Star Trek Generations (1994)

S07-Star_Trek_Generations-poster_artAfter the previous Star Trek TV series became irrelevant, it was only a matter of time before the TNG series to get their own movies, and sure enough, the producers decided that the first TNG-related film should be a crossover between it and the original series, appealing to the fans’ desire to see Captain Kirk and Captain Picard in the same film. But, on top of the general idea of a crossover being quite cheesy, the producers don’t seem to have done a very good job of it. You only see Kirk at the beginning and end of the film, and his crew only appear at the beginning. In turn, what you get is more or less in the realm of an extended TNG episode immediately following the series finale, except Generations seems to have quite a bit of difficulty sustaining itself over the course of a feature-length film, despite fine performances from a star-studded cast of likable, recognizable characters.

Perhaps the main problem lies in how the film continues the common crossover practice of shoehorning the various characters into a plot that is at best mediocre, but other problems surface as well. The film starts at a pretty slow pace, slower even than the TNG episodes that are split into two parts, and the film itself is quite boring because of the slow pace. Suffice it say, this film is one that’s strictly for the diehard Star Trek fans, and I say this because of the film’s reliance on franchise clichés. It certainly seems as though, in this film, the franchise that claims to go where no one has gone before is going where the writers have gone so many times before, and that’s just plain misleading. On the plus side, the acting, as I mentioned earlier, is quite good, but the script has an overdose of the kind of cryptic, pseudo-scientific jargon that’s common in a lot of sci-fi. The film’s lead villain isn’t particularly impressive. The TNG TV series introduced a number of compelling antagonists, and even ended with Q, perhaps the best villain in the whole Star Trek franchise. By contrast, this film brings the series’ two famous starship captains against a mediocre, flash-in-the-pan villain. Granted, Malcolm McDowell plays the antagonistic role particularly well, but his character is the kind that might just have been shoehorned into the film just for the sake of engineering a stable plot for a rudderless crossover.

At this point, I sound as though I absolutely hate this film, but I don’t. At the very least the film delivers in terms of sci-fi spectacle, albeit in continuation of the CGI trend that continued dominating blockbuster cinema. The visuals and set pieces are very finely made, and the film’s slick production techniques at least keep things afloat when the action happens. However, I still think that this film would have been dead in the water without the cast of the TV show upon which it is based. The film’s main strength is that it has a built-in audience of Trekkies it can appeal to, but unfortunately, it doesn’t do much to appeal to a broader audience, and that is ultimately the biggest weakness of a film that isn’t as bad as I can make it seem.

  • Score: 64%
  • Grade: C
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