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Star Trek: Generations (DVD)

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Genre: Science Fiction & Fantasy / Production Year: 1995 / Actors: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn / Director: David Carson

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    Your dooyooMiles Miles

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      29.01.2012 14:45
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      Captain Picard meets Captain Kirk!

      Star Trek: Generations was released in 1994 and written by Ronald D Moore and Brannon Braga. The original story was conceived by the much maligned Star Trek television producer Rick Berman. Star Trek: The Next Generation was a popular 1987/1994 syndicated television series and this was the first of the four big screen adventures that followed in its wake. The science fiction laced fables about human ethics and moral dilemmas had no small degree of new age waffle but it was a great show at its best and repeats are still responsible for me occasionally pretending I've detected a high cluster of graviton particles with the television remote control. It's fair to say though that the film series never quite hit maximum warp and spends far too much time operating on impulse power. The Dramatis Personae of the Next Generation are led of course by former Royal Shakespeare Company actor Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean Luc Picard. Stewart brings gravitas and vigour to the role of Picard and never plays down to the material or sends it up. He's like Peter Cushing in one of those old Amicus horror films. Whereas Captain Kirk was always fighting rock monsters and copping off with green skinned supermodels, Picard is more of a thinker and cerebral diplomat. His idea of a swinging time is settling down with a cup of Earl Grey tea and a copy of Ulysses. One of the jarring things about this film series is the way they keep trying to turn Picard into an action hero when we have already spent seven years establishing that he's not John McClane. The most interesting of the other characters is the android Commander Data played by Brent Spiner (who surely drew some inspiration from Pinocchio). Spiner looks a bit like Stan Laurel and Data is always the most loveable of the characters as he performs impossible calculations with his "positronic" brain and tries to understand what it must be like to be human. The writers seem well aware that Stewart and Spiner are the best actors in the cast and have the best characters so they get way more screen time in these films.

      The other great character in the Next Generation is Michael Dorn's bad tempered and sarcastic Klingon Security Officer Worf. Dorn doesn't get much to do other than shoot aliens in corridors here though.The rest of the crew are made up of Will Riker, Picard's First Officer as played by Jonathan Frakes and most notable for his beard and constantly crashing the Enterprise. There is a joke about Jonathan Frakes that he has two expressions and both of them belong on television but Riker is a likeable character. There is a palpable warmth between Stewart and Frakes in their scenes together that seems absolutely genuine. Counsellor Deanna Troi (played by British actress Marina Sirtis with a strange Eastern European accent) is a half-Betazoid, half-Human empath confidant of Picard who can read emotions. She's sort of like a radio you can never quite tune in though and her powers are rather vague and often forgotten about altogether by the writers. LeVar Burton is the blind (he wears a visor like Cyclops in the X-Men that helps him to see) Chief Engineer Geordi La Forge and Gates McFadden is Dr Beverly Crusher. Crusher is the blandest character and hardly features in these films. Whatever the nature of the medical emergency is and no matter how many decks of the Enterprise have been blown up or reduced to cinders, Dr Crusher always looks like she has just spent about ten hours in the hairdressers and is shot through a Vaseline haze. Crusher is supposed to be an old flame of Picard and the one who knows him the best but they really can't be bothered with her here. It's a shame I think that they couldn't have made these films more cohesive in terms of the cast and character interaction because they were all very familiar with each other by now and worked well together. They might never have got the big screen adventure they deserved but they still make these worth watching if you enjoyed the small screen incarnation.

      One immediate problem with Star Trek: Generations is that the film was directed David Carson, a man who had directed several episodes of the television series but had no experience with feature films. He's competent and parts of the film look good but the pacing is sometimes off and the action sequences (not that there are many of them) are mostly by the numbers and lack pizzazz. The plan by Paramount had been for Leonard Nimoy to direct the film and take on an acting role as Spock alongside the rest of the original cast in a symbolic passing of the torch to the Next Generation crew. Nimoy though didn't think much of Berman's premise and decided he wanted no part of the film either behind the camera or in front of it. DeForest Kelley also declined to make an appearance as Dr McCoy and so in the end you only get Captain Kirk (William Shatner of course), Scotty (James Doohan) and Chekov (Walter Koenig) in a sort of prologue. The title sequence is quite clever and reasonably arresting. A champagne bottle seems to spin endlessly through the eternity of space during the credits and eventually smashes against a metallic white hull revealed to be the Enterprise-B on its maiden journey out of space dock in the year 2293. Kirk, Scotty and Chekov are onboard as honoured guests with a gaggle of excited press. All are feeling their age as they survey the young crew. Captain Harriman (Alan Ruck of Ferris Bueller's Day Off fame) is in charge of the Enterprise now but we soon learn he's no Captain Kirk when an unexpected crisis develops. The celebration jaunt out of space dock for the new Enterprise turns into a rescue mission when a distress call is detected from two refugee packed ships caught up in a strange swirling energy ribbon. Harriman turns out to be an indecisive wuss and hands the command of the ship over to Kirk in the panic. Kirk immediately goes to sit in the Captain's chair and then thinks beter of it (quite a good moment this). It's not his ship anymore and Harriman must take responsibility now. Anyway, Kirk goes below to do something with the deflector shields (pseudo science techno waffle device for plot purposes) and saves fifty refugees but the energy ribbon tears out the section of the ship he was working in, leaving only a gaping hole and force fields that reveal the vast blackness of space when Scotty and Chekov go down to check on him.

      Kirk is presumed dead and the film then moves on several decades to the year 2371 where Captain Picard is now in charge of the USS Enterprise-D with a crew that wall be very familiar indeed to anyone who watches the television series. Picard receives a distress call from a solar observatory where they discover that everyone has been killed save for scientist named Doctor Tolian Soran (Malcolm McDowell). Enterprise bartender and mystic know it all Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) tells Picard and she and Soren were both rescued by the Enterprise-B all those years ago. Her (alien) race lives a very long time but Soren's secret to such a long life is the mysterious energy ribbon. It is a Nexus where "time has no meaning" and one enters a state of permanent bliss - like being inside a dream forever. Soran has one chance to get back inside the Nexus and is altering the path of the energy ribbon by collapsing stars. Millions of people on the planet Veridian III will die if Soren is successful and it's up to Picard to stop him. The most frequent criticism of the Next Generation films is that they often feel like two back to back episodes of the television raher than a grand big screen cinematic adventure and Star Trek: Generations is certainly guilty of this at times. Some special effects shots of the Enterprise from the television series are actually reused (I believe the film only went into production ten days after the television series ended) and this seems a bit cheapjack and mean when it happens. The crew disappointingly have the same uniforms and sets that inhabited the small screen incarnation too. New costumes were designed but slung out at the last minute after someone (presumably) decided they were rubbish. Uniforms from the then still running Star Trek television series Deep Space Nine were hastily borrowed and if you look at Jonathan Frakes in particular you'll see that his uniform is clearly way too small for him! The best sequences in the film are the introduction of the Next Generation crew in a holodeck programme where Worf is receiving a nautical themed promotion on a sailing ship (I believe it was shot on the Lady Washington) in the high seas and a much later set-piece that has the Enterprise having to split into two different parts before the saucer section crash lands on a planet. The first scene gives the film a bit of scope and is fun while the latter is the grand set-piece and gives you the biggest bang for your money. It goes on a bit but it's well staged and the most cinematic flourish in the film, throwing far more mayhem at the screen than the television series could.

      Generations seems to take its cue from The Wrath of Khan with the major theme time and mortality. Picard learns at the start of the film that his young nephew has died in a fire. He's distraught and filled with sadness at the thought of a life that ended before it really started and also reflecting on getting older and wondering what his legacy will be. "Captain. Aren't you beginning to feel time gaining on you?" says Soren. "It's like a predator. It's stalking you. Oh, you can try and outrun it with doctors, medicines, new technologies, but in the end, time is going to hunt you down and make the kill." Stewart plays this well early on, especially when Soren tells him this. Picard's brusque confident aura is suddenly broken for a moment and he seems vulnerable. The film is of course most notable for Picard and Captain Kirk meeting at last when Picard enters the nexus and finds Kirk there - or at least an echo of Kirk. In the Nexus Picard finds he has a wife and adoring children. There is a roaring fire and presents scattered around a big lavish house. Very Charles Dickens and American. Bit saccharine. Actually, the meeting of the two Captains is rather anti-climatic in the end. Shatner seems to be enjoying himself and has a few good lines ("I don't need to be lectured by you. I was out saving the galaxy when your grandfather was in diapers!") but they just end up fighting Soren on a bridge in the desert. I really feel they should have either had the whole original series crew as part of the film in a more substantial way or just left Picard and his friends to it. Shatner feels like a contrived guest star and I don't care much for how they leave the character of Kirk here. Stewart and Shatner have practically no chemistry at all (which is unsurprising I suppose as they were from different shows) and they seem somewhat incongruous acting together here. Shatner has a twinkle in his eye and is over egging his part while Stewart is taking everything very seriously!

      Malcolm McDowell is remarkably restrained all things considering and chews far less scenery than Ricardo Montalban and Christopher Lloyd did as previous Star Trek baddies. You get a sense that he's rather bored and just paying the bills and consequently Soren doesn't emerge as an especially memorable villain. As usual in this series, it's Brent Spiner as Data who is the mot notable presence after Stewart. Data has an emotion chip fitted here (you have to be familiar with the television series to fully get this development) so he can be more human. So gets scared, laughs etc, and while this is mildly interesting to a point it soon becomes annoying and makes you wish he'd turn it off and go back to be being the emotionless always getting the wrong end of the stick Data we are used to. It does provide perhaps the most amusing moment in the film though when Data swears during a tense moment for the Enterprise. Some of the exposition that is offered as an olive branch for more general audiences is a trifle annoying at times. For example, at the start of the film Data explains that he doesn't understand the concept of humour. If you've watched about 600 episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation then you really don't need to be told that Data doesn't understand humour. We know. He's an android without emotions! This is a surprisingly talky film for much of its running time and a space battle involving some Klingons (when it does arrive) seems flat and uninspired, as do the phaser shoots out on the observatory. The film often looks drab and too much like a television series and so the scenes of Picard and Soren on the rocky desert planet Veridian III are actually welcome from a visual point of view at least as they add some colour and scope to the film with the location shooting in Nevada. Star Trek: Generations is watchable and certainly not a terrible film but it leaves something to be desired and probably should have been a lot better.

      There are no special features with this DVD (you'll have to get the Next Generation box set if you want Generations extras) and at the time of writing you can buy Star Trek: Generations for under a fiver.

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        16.09.2009 14:35
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        A good start as an initial out for the new crew on the big screen

        Star Trek The Next Generation movie is the first film that featured the cast of the next Generation series of the Star Trek series and the last for the stars of the original series and is the seventh of the Star Trek films over all.

        The film begins before the time of the Next Generation timeline and the time of Captain James T Kirk and the launch of the brand new Enterprise B. The opening of the film shows an important element that spans the whole film, with an incident that involves Captain Kirk and a phenomenon later to be known as the Nexus.

        After this event we are taken to the time of the Next Generation crew aboard the Enterprise D, within the holo-deck aboard the sailing ship HMS Enterprise celebrating the promotion of Lieutenant Work. But are interrupted by the events on board a space observatory and go to their aid.

        It is from there that we are introduced to a person that was shown previously in the film, Dr Soran who is played by Malcolm McDowell. Soran is a scientist that survived the incident of the introduction of the film and is a scientist aboard the solar observatory. McDowell plays the character of Soran perfectly as this is scientist that has become slightly demented by the incidents that happened aboard the Enterprise B, and has become crazed and fixated on a single idea.

        In terms of the characters within the film, there are exactly the same characters that were in the TV series appearing in the film. Although the focus of the film is on Captain Picard trying to stop Soran in his endeavours and Data as comes to terms with the emotions that have been given to him through his emotions chip, as he becomes less robotic in nature, and it could be argued that it was almost pushed too far the other way.

        In terms of the original series we see again Chekov, Scotty and Kirk as they christen the new Enterprise B, but it would have been better to have more of the original cast but this was not possible.

        There are one or two problems that I do have with the ending, mainly that someone goes out on a bit of a whimper, as it could have been given a bit more emotion and given a bit more emotion. Secondly, the battle in space towards the end of the film could have been a bit better in terms of the CGI, as although it was released in 1994, the effects are still the same as what could be seen in the TV series and sort of gives the impression that it could have also been a TV movie: but this point is only minor.

        One point that I would have with the film is the question, what is real and which reality exists. As without going into too much detail and giving away the story of the film, it miraculously goes back in time and gave me a sense of, what I am I suppose to believe is real: which one of a couple of plot holes that could be picked.

        Overall the film was not that bad, and felt like an extended version of an episode from the TV series. As many of the costumes and the sets were carried over from the TV series and were not changed until the next film. One thing that I would say with this film is that the Trek curse of the odd movie in the series being the worst does not strike within this movie. Therefore I would recommend the film; and normally the film can be found on one of Sky's Movie channels.

        This is a review of the film and not of the DVD.

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          15.08.2009 21:50
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          Watch First Contact instead

          Star Trek Generations was famous for being the first film to feature The Next Generation crew after the original series set of films came to an end with The Undiscovered Country. The Undiscovered Country was a fitting tribute to the stars of the original show that had made six pretty decent films and kept the show alive during the 1980's. It was a big gamble then to pump millions of dollars into another Trek picture with a crew of people who were famous for the Next Generation.

          Generations bridges the gap by introducing The Nexus, a ribbon that passes through time and takes Kirk into it at the beginning of the film - only to reappear eighty years or so later for The Next Gen crew to suss it out.

          Shatner certainly looked good as the ageing Kirk and had some good scenes towards the beginning of the film, sending off the crew of the new Enterprise. It's a shame then that his later scenes with Picard seem poor in comparison.

          One of the more annoying aspects of Generations was the inclusion of Data's (Brent Spiner) emotion chip that he puts in his head towards the beginning of the film. Cue some 'hilarious' jokes that seem so out of place and false whilst watching the film - including the first expletive in recent Trek memory.

          Frakes is wasted as first officer Riker as are many of the other members of the crew who just appear to be bystanders during the majority of the film, most notable Worf (Michael Dorn).

          At least Malcolm McDowell puts in an admirable performance as the evil enemy Dr Soran, a man who is desperate to return to The Nexus, so much so that he is willing to kill millions of people to do so.

          Attempting to watch Star Trek Generations without any prior knowledge of the Star Trek universe would be ill advised, as there really is very little to grab hold of unless you know something about Kirk, Picard and everyone else. Even I was a little perplexed about 'The Nexus' the weird ribbon of energy that the plot of the film hangs its entire basis on. What the hell was it for goodness sake?

          As a film that tries its best to bridge the gap between the original series and the next generation was always going to be difficult, and for some reason quite a lot of the cast seem wooden and inexperienced in this film - I suppose at the time it was like us now making a 'My Family' movie (heaven forbid!). Patrick Stewart probably comes across best as Picard himself, but his interaction with Kirk is odd and underplayed, lacking the gravitas that it so really needed.

          The biggest mistake ever was to kill of the main character, and I think everyone knows who I'm talking about without ruining the worst kept secret in Hollywood. This death scene is so poor you wished it was a joke - but it wasn't. It was almost as though the Next Gen crew were peeing on the grave of the old show with a terrible death like that, but then Trek never does endings very well - the last 'Enterprise' show for example or the terrible 'Nemesis' for the Next Gen crew

          Time really hasn't been fair to Generations and it was worse than I remembered. This was mainly due to the poor script and over reliance of Data's character to pick up the comic relief. Also the disappointing way that the old and new crews were bridged and the terrible death of a leading character made the film a huge mess I'm afraid.

          The Next Generation crew would go on to make an excellent film in 'First Contact', but this film really didn't set my hopes alight for the future film Trek series.

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            13.08.2009 21:07
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            It's alright with beer and a pizza.

            A common criticism of the Next Generation based Trek movies is that they are little more than glorified episodes of the series. This is allegedly unlike the earlier entries which took real strides in cinematic experimentation and character development. Personally, I have always found that criticism to be a little unfair for a few reasons. Firstly, I think it stems merely from a greater familiarity with the show. Secondly, the homogeny between the two is a reflection of quality of the series and not an inferiority on the part of the films. And thirdly, in the case of First Contact, Insurrection and Nemesis, this is blatantly untrue. Each of these films are cinematic experiences with individual and unique styles. However this argument is leant a lot of credence by Star Trek: Generations. A film so close to its source material that if it weren't widescreen then I probably wouldn't notice the difference.

            The plot is a fairly typical, Star Trek affair. In Captain Kirk's autumn years he is privileged to be onboard the maiden voyage of the brand new "Enterprise-B." Little more than a token celebrity for the newspapers (or whatever they have in the 23rd century) he is suddenly called into action when the ship is forced to answer a distress call. Things don't go exactly to plan and Kirk is killed in action while trying to beam aboard some refugees. Decades later, the crew of the Enterprise-E (Of The Next Generation series) must deal with a terrorist connected to the fateful mission that saw the death of James T. Kirk.

            Soon however, the plot descends into little more than your classic "madman with a superweapon" plot and it's a race against time to find him before he does whatever he plans on doing, no doubt involving a big explosion. The sad thing is that this sort of plot is largely somewhere that the series didn't go. They usually had more intricate, political and socially relevant plots. Here the terrorist with a doomsday device feels terribly out of place. To its credit, it is delightfully well acted and one of my favourites, Malcolm McDowell plays his part excellent. The crew of the Enterprise are comfortable in their roles here and dialogue always rolls out smoothly from them. Awkwardly, a poor attempt at character development is given to Data via his "emotion chip." Data would frequently be the comic relief in the series but here it is taking to annoying levels and is horribly overplayed.

            All this isn't helped by a sense that the drama has been somewhat drained. While it's a tad sensationalist of me, I always expect a TV show's ventures into the big screen to have heightened drama and a more important plot worthy of the budget. Here it is clear to see why people felt it was too similar to the series, the tension never develops from the small screen.

            This isn't helped by an identical visual style to the series. Unlike the grey/purple style military uniforms of the later films, here we still have the coloured two piece setups. There is an interesting progression as the film moves on as characters slowly begin adopting the less colour, more black uniforms currently being seen on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine but this change is really a blink and you'll miss it development. Everything else has carried over from the series too. That design of the Enterprise with the ridiculously large saucer that I have always hated, the Enterprise is still all beige and browns inside and there is still a councillor on the bridge for some reason.

            Fortunately the CGI and model work is of an excellent standard, there are some absolutely incredibly special effects shots in this film and it really excels itself in this respect. It is a pleasure to watch and the quality of the picture is wonderful. One of the strengths of the film is that director David Carson has managed to bring out new perspectives and looks to sets that are very familiar, it's a pleasure to see.

            As the films draws to a close there have been some ups and downs. The joining of old and new era Star Trek feels gratuitous and awkward at best. There is a sense that the production team felt that they would be obliged to do it eventually and that it would be better to get it out of the way. However it was not unpleasant to watch. Kirk, Scotty and Chekov appear in the film, each authentically and believably written. The old red uniforms turn up and the bridge of the Enterprise-B looks like it belongs to the right time. Generations gets some stick for not joining the periods together well but to be fair, it's a terrible idea and Generations does the best job it can with it. It is a bigger loss that ultimately it weakens the ending.

            Generations is not the best Star Trek movie in the franchise, it gets a lot of stick from fans and newcomers alike. However, it is fun when enjoyed on its own merits. It has a lot of enjoyable adventure to it, but it also has a rather obnoxious, giggling, crying android. It's a mixed bag but it's not dreadful.

            There have been two releases of this on DVD; a basic one with minimal features earlier on in Paramount's DVD releases and a far improved Collector's Edition. This collector's edition is a cleaner print of the film though the difference is minimal. It has a lot more extras though nothing really that interesting is every lurking on Star Trek DVDs, I find. More importantly it has a DTS surround sound track that is much improved over the Dolby track of this other release (which is also included for those that prefer it.) The DTS track has much better separation of the speakers and is a far higher quality encode. Well worth the upgrade.

            Paramount will be releasing this and the other three next generation films on blu-ray in a fancy box set. That's currently due for November 2nd, not too far off. If you're a blu-ray buyer, this is a recent-ish film that will look stunning on blu-ray and so you might want to wait until Nov.

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              03.08.2009 23:24
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              Thanks For Reading.

              Warning may contain spoilers.

              Released in 1994 and directed by David Carson, "Generations" is based on Star Trek The Next Generations, while at the same time also stars several characters from the original Star Trek (including William Shatner) and is an interesting cross over between the two different series.

              The film begins in the time of James T. Kirk, and we are taken aboard the newly commissioned U.S.S. Enterprise B. Kirk along with Scotty and Chekov (all original Star Trek characters and actors) are along for the ride and are described as "three living legends" by the Enterprises somewhat inexperienced Captain. Shortly into the ships first mission a distress call is received by two ships transporting "El-Aurian" refugees who are caught in some sort of subspace ribbon which is tearing them apart. Due to the fact that the new Enterprise is still missing some of it's critical components such as proton torpedoes, tractor beam, and no medical staff, Captain Harriman is initially reluctant to come to their aid stating that the Enterprise is in "no shape for a resume mission." Nevertheless thanks to the intervention by Captain Kirk they are able to rescue some of the survivors on board, however with the apparent tragic death of one of the living legends. Seven decades later we are onboard the Enterprise D, which we came to know through watching Star Trek The Next Generation. From here a Federation Observatory comes under attack by the Romulans searching for an experimental substance. One of the survivors from the attack is Doctor Soran (Malcolm McDowell) who was also on board one of the El-Aurian ships all those years ago. It emerges that Doctor Soran is desperate to return to the Nexus (the ribbon encountered by the Enterprise B) a reality where time and space has no meaning and everything is a personal paradise. He is willing to do whatever is necessary to return including destroyed a populated solar system. It's up to Captain Picard to stop him but he can't do it alone.

              While the plot had plenty of promise I found it to be ultimately flawed. There are a number of plot holes left open by the end of the film, and a number of subplots that don't get answered. An example of such is the kidnapping and of La forge by Doctor Soran, there is no real explanation offered, and it seems rather convenient that this random event allows Soran to realize (a lot) later in the film that he actually has a use for him. Often the film seems disjointed and many aspects and ideas seem to have been conveniently created just for the sake of being added into the film to allow the film to actually work.

              I felt that the trailers for the film gave far too much of the plot away, while at the same time was also misleading. I'm sure that I'm not the only one who believed that William Shatner was going to play a bigger part throughout the film as opposed to just the beginning and the end.

              One aspect that I hated was the idea that the Federation flag ship with massive defensive systems can be defeated so easily by someone reading a short series of numbers from a computer panel. It would be like having all of your passwords written on a post-it note and stuck to your monitor for all to see. This seems insulting considering how much the ship has survived over the years.

              What I don't like is the trend that the Star Trek films and even the television series have of reusing old footage. One of the biggest scenes in the film (the destruction of a Klingon ship) is a recycled scene from the earlier Star Trek The Undiscovered Country film, and that same scene is also used in Deep Space Nine several times.

              There are several releases of Star Trek Generations on DVD, the original release that I own is very disappointing with absolutely no special features and a very basic menu structure. There is now a release of the film offering a number of special features such as deleted scenes. I would recommend trying to buy the latter for it's increased entertainment value.

              Thankfully it wasn't all bad. The acting from the experienced cast is as excellent as expected. Patrick Stewart and William Shatner and definitely noteworthy and work well together. Data is far more human (thanks to the introduction of an emotion chip) and is a great to watch, and many of his one liners add a comical element to the film. Malcolm McDowell delivers a great performance as the bad guy. However I felt that his character wasn't the greatest. His motives were clear but are based on grief and desire more than anything else. The idea the this otherwise brilliant scientist would kill millions just to return to The Nexus seems slightly unlikely and combined with his somewhat tame character makes a rather tame and understated character.

              The battle between the Enterprise D and the Klingon Bird Of Prey was entertaining and rather spectacular in terms of special effects.

              I found the picture quality throughout the film excellent, as good use has been made of lighting effects such as the glow from a star filtering through the Enterprises windows.

              The ending of the film was generally good (sadly due to the trailer and marketing of the film I knew what to expect) however in anyway it seems like it was used only to kill one of the characters.

              While I enjoy Star Trek in all it's forms I'm not a hardcore Trekkie, and I expect that many more dedicated fans would enjoy the film more than I would. Personally however while it does have it's moments, Star Trek Generations has to many failings and disappointments for my taste, I felt that the next Star Trek film First Contact was far superior.

              (I'm a reviewer on Amazon, and some my reviews are copied from there to dooyoo. Please feel free to check out my Amazon profile under my real name of Mr Andrew M Kerr.)

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                20.05.2009 20:19
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                Its part of the Star Trek Canon, so don't miss out

                Captain Kirk is finding retirement tedious, and he reluctantly accepts an invitation to the launch of the third Starship Enterprise, under a new young Captain, John Harriman. Accompanying him to the launch party are old shipmates Scotty and Chekov. Facing up to the gathered media is a small challenge, but when a distress call comes in from two ships carrying El-Aurian survivors, the ill-equipped new Enterprise is the only starship in range. Captain Harriman reluctantly orders a hasty rescue mission, and when they find the two ships trapped in a ribbon of coruscating energy, the young Captain seems out of his depth.

                Captain Kirk is itching to help, and when Harriman asks for his advice, Kirk and his friends jump into action as if they had never retired. Moving the Enterprise into the ribbon they manage to rescue some survivors, but get trapped themselves. Scotty as usual has a plan to escape the raging energy and Kirk dashes to the deflector room to implement it. But as the Enterprise breaks free, the energy ribbon lashes the ship and severely damages it. When Scotty and Chekov get to the deflector room, they find it open to space, with no sign of Captain Kirk.

                Eighty years later on board a different starship Enterprise, a crew we know well is relaxing in the holodeck, celebrating Worf's promotion and enjoying the camaraderie. For Picard, this idyll is tragically interrupted by some distressing news from Earth. The rest of the crew don't relax much longer when the ship is diverted by a distress call from the Amargosa laboratory that is under attack.

                When they arrive, Picard is too grief stricken to function and he delegates the investigation to Riker. Beaming over, they find a survivor, Dr Tolian Soran and the corpse of a Romulan. They realise that the Romulans were searching for a rare substance, trilithium. Soran is insistent that he be allowed to return to the station to complete his experiments and uses his charisma to convince Picard to allow this. Not long after, a trilithium weapon destroys the Amargosa star, and Soran escapes with Geordi as a hostage in a cloaked Klingon ship.

                Riker soon finds that Soran was one of the survivors that were rescued by the Enterprise B and another survivor was the ships bartender, Guinan. Guinan tells Picard that Soran desperately desires to return to the Nexus, the energy ribbon that caught the Enterprise B originally where all is a paradise and time has no meaning. Soran is willing to do anything to accomplish this, including destroying stars. With Data's help, who is having emotional problems due to a faulty chip, Picard plots the course of the Nexus to Viridian III.

                To get into the Nexus, Soran must destroy the Viridian star and kill millions of innocents. He has promised the Klingon renegades the weapon in exchange for their help and when the Enterprise catches up to them, he releases Geordi as an unwitting mole. Picard beams down to the planet to face Soran in exchange for Geordi's return, but the Klingons can see through Geordi's visor and determine the weakness in the shields. They mount a devastating assault on the Federation flagship while Picard futilely struggles against Soran as the Nexus inexorably approaches. But just as the Nexus means destruction for the Viridian system, it holds salvation as well.

                Star Trek: Generations is presented in a 2.35:1 anamorphic transfer. The picture is very clear and sharp, with some strong colours. TNG veteran David Carson makes his feature film debut here and he warms to his medium. This film is an education in light and shade as the Enterprise D appears in warm lush colours. He uses strong 'natural' light to illuminate many scenes. The strong golds of the Amargosa star are reflected in the shipboard scenes, the strong light lights up Ten Forward and the Captain's ready room to dramatic effect. Likewise, when Geordi and Data are discussing his emotion chip, the powerful use of shadow and reflections shows the intimacy of the conversation. The locations are equally impressive, with venues switching from mountain scenery to the American Midwest, to the generic rocky crags where every Star Trek confrontation has taken place since Kirk faced of against the Gorn all those years ago.

                The effects are strong as well, with the Enterprise D making the most of its first and last big screen outing. The transporter beams get a new 3D effect, and this is the first Trek movie to make use of substantial amounts of CGI. In fact almost all the effects are excellent, especially the stunning battle between the Klingon ship and the Enterprise which gets pummelled, but all this good work is let down by the destruction of the Bird of Prey, which is a stock shot used from Star Trek VI. While many of the sets were redressed for the movie, some appear better in widescreen than others. The Enterprise Bridge is a considerable improvement, but Engineering lacks the level of detail necessary for the big screen.

                You get a choice of sound, DD 5.1 English and German, DD Surround Czech and DD Mono Hungarian. The surrounds really get a workout, as the effects are conveyed. Starship battles, warp drives, explosions and phaser beams, all this is an excuse to turn the volume up and let the sound of the 24th Century envelops you.

                The music by Dennis McCarthy is good, if a little functional. The Nexus is suitably ethereal and otherworldly, and the incidental music complements the action well.

                Hard to believe but there are no features on this disc...disappointing.

                Great sound and a great picture are all well and good in a movie, Generations has even more, with characters from both eras making an appearance, but the story has to match also. And there we fall down.

                Star Trek Generation was more of an event than a story, a means by which to pass the torch from Kirk to Picard and introduce cinemagoers to a new crew. The story may as well have been tacked on as an afterthought. While I have praised the director for the spectacle, the final story is a little disjointed and often contrived.

                In fact this is symptomatic of a major problem in this film, the bad guy. Played by Malcolm McDowell, Soran has no teeth. He is portrayed as a motivated but ultimately pathetic character that wishes to return to the Nexus to escape his grief. There is very little malice shown and he ends up merely as a device to kill Kirk.

                This film does give the chance to compare and contrast the two crews of the Enterprise and The Next Gen cast play their parts with accustomed ease. Most noteworthy are Patrick Stewart, who is impressive as always as Picard, and Brent Spiner finally gets to emote courtesy of an emotion chip for Data. Whoopi Goldberg is uncredited as Guinan, but her role is pivotal to the story.

                A fairly disappointing and disjointed story is somewhat redeemed by the sheer spectacle of the first cinema outing for the Next Generation. The plot has holes that you can pilot a starship through, but the cast performances make up for the shortcomings. After seven years, certain people were tired of the Enterprise D and a spectacular crash results. There is an appropriate degree of big screen schmaltz as Data cries custard tears over his cat. And this is the film where Kirk dies, so that has to count for something.

                Generations is a harmless bit of fun. Great sound and picture. It does the job as the Next Generation's first screen outing but thankfully better was to come.

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                24.04.2009 18:51
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                The curse has struck again!

                Released in 1994, the seventh film in the franchise was one that film that had to hand the baton to the Next Generation crew and was one that was a formidable task to do from the story point of view, and needed a story that could link the two time periods. The whole idea of Star Trek: Generations is too span the gap of 75 years between the times of Kirk to the crew under command of Captain Picard on the Enterprise D.

                The film begins with the christening of Enterprise B under the command of Captain John Harriman, this is going to be the first trip of the new Excelsior Class Starship and three special guests are invited along by Starfleet, these are Captain James T Kirk (Retired), Captain Montgomery Scott, and Commander Pavel Chekhov. With the media present the Kirk graciously accepts the privilege of giving the inaugural command to leave Space Dock. Upon the journey the Enterprise receives a distress call and lays course to intercept, when they arrive they find two ships are caught in a temporal disturbance called the Nexus, the Enterprise with the help of Kirk, Scotty and Chekhov rescue some of the passengers and beam them onto the Enterprise. The only problem is that the Enterprise is now stuck on the cusp of the anomaly and cannot escape. Kirk to the rescue. When the ship is safe and they think its all over the Enterprise is struck in the lower sections of the ship by a temporal discharge. The only problem is that this is where Kirk was as he was the person who reconfigured the deflector array on the deck so that the ship can use the array as a means to "push" itself out the anomaly. He saved the lives, but in turn it appears that he gave his.

                This is where the story ends here for now with the Enterprise B; the next part brings the crew of the Enterprise D into the plot as there is a certain refugee who wants to return to a place that he was rescued from by the Enterprise B some 75 years earlier and this is how the story pans out as it is the determination of one man to return to the Nexus to find his utopia.

                With William Shatner playing the character of James Kirk on screen for a seventh time, it was inevitable that the icon of Star Trek was going to be the draw for the film. The best thing is that he doesn't play Kirk any different to how he has done before. Basically Shatner is Shatner and in this film it works fine. We do get to see more of Kirk being "out of the office" and see him mention other people in his life that we didn't actually know about at all, refreshing on the whole, but will leave you wanting more, a lot more.

                The full crew of the Enterprise D appear in the film, but as I've said they all seem a little different than before. Wolf has had his facial appearance changed; Data is the comedy relief due to an implant of a emotion chip and comes across embarrassingly as a robotic clown throughout the film. Where as Riker, Troi, La Forge and Crusher have their own pieces of the film, but don't really do anything different to that of the TV show. As the focal point is on Picard this is his film and he has more screen time than the others, Patrick Stewart is awesome in the role as Picard as we see the Captain go through the complete range of emotions from the first time that we see him on the Holodeck to the last scene of the film. Stewart being a Shakespearian actor is given his own moment to show what he can do and this is not only one of the highlights but also allows the potential the character still has for the franchise to be seen.

                The man who wants to get back to the Nexus is Dr Tolian Soran, played by Malcolm McDowell. The casting of McDowell in the role is a great piece of casting on its own, however even after the story is laid out as to who the character that McDowell plays is, you cannot help but feel that he is not giving the role everything and tends to be just delivering his lines to get off set. Again this is down to the writing as the character of Soran is dark in nature but also quiet when I would have expected the man to be loud, brash and totally mental. However the character is rather quieter than I expected him to be considering he is the link throughout the film.

                For the most part the Enterprise D looks amazing on the big screen and really has been pride of place in any shots, I say most part as a big chunk of Star Trek III has been re-cycled, and although the sequence involving the demise of the Enterprise D and the landing of the saucer section on Veridian III is a highlight, and extremely impressive to watch, you just cannot help but get the feeling that a ship that lasted several seasons on TV gets wiped out far too easily at the first opportunity in the film.

                There are a number of sub-plots in the film and some of these will leave the audience wondering what that meant as there were scenes that got removed from the film, so some comments by the cast won't actually tie up with anything at all. According to the DVD the most obvious one will be the torture of Geordi La forge by Soran. Any dialogue that refers to this scene has actually been kept in the film!!

                It is refreshing to see a film with decent extras, and although the Deleted Scenes are the most significant of the lot as this contains the holy grail of the alternate ending of the film itself which when watched still comes to the same outcome as the one in the final print anyway, the others consist of commentaries and a veritable number of featurettes that do Star Trek some justice and attempt to sell the film with how it was made. The level of detail that these small bite sized documentaries go into are surprisingly granular.

                Bottom line is that the story could have been a lot better than what has been scripted out and filmed. It seems like the producers are really trying to milk everything from the character of Kirk and pass it onto the cast of the Next Generation. Unfortunately the film fails on quite a few levels. For example Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise B should have had more screen time and had a decent back story as to how the three members of the Original Series came to be part of the Enterprise B launch. This part of the film feels rushed and unexplained, which is a shame as this was the main selling point of the film itself. Thirdly, the Next Generation crew don't look comfortable in the roles at all and look on edge throughout, fair enough there is a lot more scope to give more emotion and drama, but all the characters are a little different to the TV show. Lastly the ending of the film (which I won't go into) seems to have been solely written to remove a certain character from the Star Trek Universe and it seems that event is being used to draw a line with the past.

                With any crossover movies there is always going to be a certain amount of flak in what will happen and the fairness of time in the characters screen time, well this is a good example of what shouldn't be done. The main problems with this film are the Producers of the film. Rick Berman who wrote the film with Ronald Moore and Brannon Braga are attempting to compete with Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry in attempting to make new and fresh Trek and in my mind were taking the opportunity to have both the old and the new meet in such a way that it was going to hurt a lot of people. This is just a good example as they went on to create the Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise series which overall didn't really deliver the potential they had on paper. On by the way this was an odd numbered film, the curse strikes again!!!

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                  04.02.2009 06:45
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                  a thrilling film with a weighty device

                  Of the few Star Trek: The Next Generation movies made so far, this is the most colourful and impressive. It reaches a fairly high standard in mixing action, intelligence and enhancing the charisma of the idealistic show, which provides some quality entertainment.

                  Kirk is featured battling alongside Picard, and issues of living a meaningful life and leaving some kind of legacy are touched upon. The plot does not use a particularly clever excuse for including the two sets of cast members from the Star Trek series, but provides a worthy/heroic battle between captains, well-handled and exciting to watch. The script manages the clash of big egos with cautious room for indulgence so that these two icons come together for an adventure against the selfish addiction of an incensed villain (Malcolm McDowell).

                  The genre is good; clean harmless, standard-setting entertainment. It projects a need for intelligence, a belief in self-control and duty, good-humour, honour and the unique science-challenging scenarios. Generations has a host of unexpected events for fans: an emotion chip for Data, a doctored visor for La Forge, a death in the family for Picard, a wounded crash-landing for the starship Enterprise. This makes this film a must-see for the family and for fans. However, I won't explore the merits and limitations here of the long-running science-fiction genre (and its elaboration on the big screen), but to mention a couple of crucial points that makes this particular film of lasting impact to me.

                  One is its controlled, dramatic atmosphere, which permeates good portions of the film. This feeling is quite a spiritual one, with emotional implications and of feeling that there are greater things in the universe than can be imagined by us; a feeling of timelessness, of worlds and reality. It is also quite festive, and is quite a magical, family film for Christmas time.

                  The other is the significance of the 'Nexus', an energy 'ribbon' allowing one perpetual state of happiness. Not an original idea for a Star Trek encounter (people are sucked up into this ribbon and carried through the galaxy). In terms of drugs and addiction however, I'm quite sure this device has originated from a genuine ex-junkie or 'drug-wise' personage, and it scores a good point perhaps. Drugs are better than reality and can replace reality; they make reality meaningless and oppressive. The villain will stop at nothing to return into the Nexus; he feels he has a right to take what is promised by it. To understand the power of the feelings attained through drugs (the Nexus), is to jeopardise a love or understanding towards normal reality (which becomes less relevant). However, it takes Picard to convey to Kirk the unreality of his retirement in the Nexus, a weaker point but one which highlights the importance of people etc (the real things that stimulate happiness). It deals with the fate of this villain - who is appropriately portrayed by a master of powerful intensity (McDowell from A Clockwork Orange) - in an unusual and largely successful development. The makers know that you are watching with the typical level of prescience that everything will probably turn out all right in the end (which is actually less likely in a Star Trek film). Picard and the villain are effectively opposites in their views on the preciousness of life ("They say time is the fire in which we burn"). I was less impressed by Data's emotion chip, but that's because I don't really agree with the idea of humanising androids; they would be thinking reference tools in reality and their pre-programmed aspirations of being more human would be of little interest (plus it's quite an old idea anyway). What still remains the best about Star Trek is the occasional flash of brilliance where it's clear a crew member actually faces a substantial predicament and when a lot of sensitive issues regarding the human condition shine through the characters that we know and like. Picard is much more human that can ever be shown on the small screen, in a significant and interesting way (effected for once, by the lack of a will to carry on; a dismay at the apprehension of his own transient position). The characters begin to come to real life for once, appearing more vulnerable and subject to the uncontrollable facets - internal and external - that existence inflicts upon the soul. Star Trek Generations translates the series for the first time with convincing effect, so that their struggle with their sense of duty to the Federation - representing the genuinely positive aspects of adventurous humanity - emerges.

                  The sense of the scope of the universe, and the diversity and possibilities that lie beyond human imagination, and how that is received and endured by the individual characters, is conveyed with some subtlety to us open-minded trekkie people. Combined, of course, with a touch of the absorbing magic that still pervades the Star Trek experience on film, and which is summoned here again with relish.

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                  03.02.2009 11:05
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                  A must to say goodbye to firm favourites

                  Cross over of series and characters can be dangerours territory for feature films...but in Generations the cross over element of two of the greatest star fleet captains is done with great thought and a tremendous script.

                  The film opens with a bottle of champagne floating effortlessly through space until it hits the side of the Enterprise B...an Excelsior class ship. Now I was delighted to see this as one, I didn't know much about the Enterprise B and two, the Excelsior class has always been my favourite kind of starship...it was just such a jump up from the original Enterprise.

                  Captain Kirk and some of the well known other members of his merry crew are there to celebrate the inaugural flight of this great ship.

                  After the ceremony, recorded by loads of journalists (which is a GREAT moment - 'Captain Kirk, how do you feel about being on the bridge of the new Enterprise?.... oh fine...fine' There is of course the usual emergency situation.

                  Now I don't want to spoil the film or the main events of the story but I am safe to say that the disaster introduces us to a much loved character and tells us about the desire that some people have to live a perfect life in almost paradise.

                  The Next Generation crew are assigned many years after the Enterprise B incident to investigate murder on the Amagosa laboratory (worthy of a Agatha Christie story I think) and the two histories collide.

                  There are some amazing scenes and ground breaking special effects in this film and some brilliant acting to boot. The 'landing' of the Enterprise D on a planet is really well done and the destruction of the Bird of Prey...you may recognise from earlier Trek films.....

                  This film is good for those who wanted to say hello and goodbye to the old crew...ready for the new heroes to move the story forward.

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                    09.04.2008 00:45
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                    worth watching just for the effects

                    When i was a teenager, it was not thought a good thing to like Star Trek. Scrap that, it wasn't a good thing at any point in my life. My dad used to disuade watching it (not in a horrible way, but if i did watch it then i would have to put up with comments from him), and if it wasn't my dad it was my sister. Star Trek has such a stigma that i never thought to enjoy watching it, but to join the opposition against it. Only recently have i seen the error of my ways.

                    To this extent i have recently been buying the films and this was the one that i last watched.

                    In it both Captian Kirk and Picard play a part in saving a planet from a mad scientist. Its a plesent story, however not to deep that is worth a watch for any star trek fan. However i found it a bit weak at times. It was nice to see both the captins helping each other.

                    The thing that caught me with this film was the effects and sound. It has the best i have yet seen in any Star Trek film (though i do have a few to get through).

                    My main issue was with the story. It would have been nice to see more of a story arc that has already been established then having the spin off feel. But ah well. Its only one in 10

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                      30.12.2007 11:17
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                      Star Trek: Generations

                      With the sixth film in the Star Trek series being the last shout for the original Enterprise crew ('The Undiscovered Country'), Paramount Pictures decided to go in a different direction for the seventh film, STAR TREK: GENERATIONS. The TV show STAR TREK: THE NEXT GENERATION had been highly successful with both audiences and critics, but had recently come to the end of its 7-year run, and it was decided that it was time to transfer this success to the big screen.

                      However, it was felt that movie fans would only accept this transition if it was eased by the appearance of some of the original crew in this new film. As such the studio attempted to recruit William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, and DeForest Kelley (who had played Kirk, Spock and McCoy respectively) back for one last shout. Both Spock and McCoy would appear in little more than cameos, and baulked at the idea, but Kirk was given a strong role, virtually equal in importance with the other captain, Picard (played by Patrick Stewart), and it turned out that he was the only one of the 3 to sign on. Spock and McCoy's places were taken instead by Scotty (played by James Doohan), and Chekov (Walter Koeing).

                      Beyond these three, the rest of the main roles were taken by the crew of the 'Next Generation' Enterprise, although sadly, with so many characters, some of them were given very little to do. The cast was also augmented by Malcolm McDowell as the bad guy, Dr. Soran.

                      The plot has Soran setting in place a deadly plan to destroy entire star systems in order to secure his place in 'the nexus', where he can live an immortal, fulfilled life. It is of course up to Picard and Kirk, who has survived into Picard's time through a fluky plot device, to stop Soren. This they manage to do, but the film does end with a tragedy, which I won't spoil here.

                      The film is enjoyable, although it does feel very much like the 'transition' movie that it is. It hands over the movie series from the old cast to the new, and feels like a prelude to the much better film which was to follow, STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT. The special effects are excellent, as they are for the rest of the series - never again would we go back to the shoddy effects work of SAR TREK 5: THE FINAL FRONTIER.

                      If you are a Star Trek fan I would recommend this film, giving it a rating of 7 out of 10.

                      This review will soon be posted on ciao under the username phurren2006.

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                        02.08.2006 09:52
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                        The seventh Star Trek feature film (1994).

                        ‘I’ve always known… I’ll die alone,’ said James T. Kirk in the godawful fifth Star Trek film, misleadingly sub-titled ‘The Final Frontier.’ It’s probably for the best that anything and everything from that forgettable script be forgotten, and the movie be shelved for infinity along with ‘Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.’ The Star Trek movie franchise continued regardless, the U.S.S. Enterprise and most of its crew under Kirk being decommissioned in 1991, but a few of the old faces remained to pass the torch to Patrick Stewart and company in this seventh feature.

                        Despite being promoted HEAVILY as the bridge between the original crew and the cast of the television spin-off The Next Generation, ‘Star Trek Generations’ is almost entirely a Next Generation adventure, with three of the classic, decrepit actors squeezed in (get it? They got all fat). The first scene of the film sees William Shatner reprise his role as Kirk, along with the late James ‘Scotty’ Doohan and Walter ‘Chekov, the Russian one’ Koenig, due to the more prestigious Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley declining the walk-on roles.

                        Fans of The Next Generation should enjoy ‘Generations,’ but those more suited to following the film series will take a lot of convincing. This is what the historic meeting between Kirk and Patrick Stewart’s Jean-Luc Picard spectacularly fails to achieve. Generations is as rickety and unstable as Kirk’s final bridge, in traversing the reasonably enjoyable TV series and the more independent movies that followed, playing out much like an average TV episode. The effects are better, the sets more impressive and the events a little more epic, but the bright, primary-coloured uniforms and unnecessary return of villains from the TV series do little to push the films into a new, promising era.

                        The film begins with a history lesson, or rather a final glimpse of the 23rd century before the franchise moves well and truly into the 24th. Kirk, Scotty and Chekov are honoured guests aboard the maiden flight of the U.S.S. Enterprise-B, when the ship receives a badly timed distress call and, once again, the hi-tech but unprepared Enterprise is the only ship in range. In the process of rescuing a group of wandering aliens from a destructive but strangely compelling space anomaly, Kirk acts the part of the hero one last time and is presumed killed in the process. Jump 78 years further into the future to the holodeck of the Enterprise-D, where festivities surround Lieutenant Worf’s promotion and Picard learns the tragic news of his family’s untimely death. Data decides to use his emotion chip, with comedic results, and an aged alien scientist strikes a deal with the Klingon Duras sisters to accomplish his sophisticated and fiendish plan to lure a familiar energy ribbon to a heavily populated star system.

                        Generations begins the trend that would continue throughout the Next Generation films, by focusing on Picard’s butch heroism and the android Data’s quest to become more human, doing little to advance the other characters. Perhaps the most offensive part of the film comes late on with the disappointing joined forces of the two famous, elderly Enterprise captains. The tedious and pointless debate over which one was best fails spectacularly to be settled here, as neither captain does anything of worth: Picard’s strength was always shown to lie in diplomacy as a contrast to Kirk’s ‘I’m a soldier, not a diplomat’ attitude, reflecting the contrast between the two TV series’ roots in the Kennedy and Reagan eras, but there’s very little diplomacy in the fist fights with Malcolm McDowell on a rocky hilltop. Kirk’s final scene is also disappointing, as the legendary character deserved better, regardless of personal feelings towards the series or to Shatner.

                        There are a few positive points about this film, although many are fan-pleasers that will be of no concern to the casual viewer. There are some nice touches for fans outside the primary crossover, with Data finally achieving a greater degree of humanity, the final appearance of the Duras sisters, the final voyage of the hotel-in-space that had graced their TV screens for the previous seven years and the final piece in the Enterprise chronology with Captain John Harriman’s Enterprise-B (after the ‘C’ appeared in an episode). The TV sets are re-designed quite conspicuously for the big screen and look better than they ever did, plus there are a couple of cool new rooms that somehow failed to appear in 150+ episodes of the TV series. Not to mention the special effects which, aside from a couple of obvious re-uses from Star Trek VI, are pretty amazing.

                        Lazy film critics up to speed with their Trek knowledge would point to the fabled ‘odd numbered film curse’ as an easy way to explain the mediocrity of ‘Generations,’ but as usual the reasons are a little more intelligent than that. Production began before the final season of The Next Generation had even ceased, and it seems that most of the cast and crew involved still thought they were making another feature-length TV episode rather than the seventh film in a prestigious series. That’s not to mention the re-use of a re-use of a re-use of a re-use with the ‘Enterprise captain versus a madman with a fiendish scheme’ plot, which appeared in four of the previous six films. The stakes are more underwhelming than ever, amounting only to an unseen civilisation on an insignificant planet rather than the fate of the planet Earth, the Federation, the galaxy or the universe.

                        Patrick Stewart has a couple of touching scenes as he copes with the death of his brother and nephew, performed with the Shakespearean actor’s usual grace, and Brent Spiner handles Data’s undemanding comic relief scenes adequately. Marina Sirtis is surprisingly given more than a handful of lines as Counsellor Troi, and even an ill-fated chance to pilot the Enterprise, but Gates McFadden is once again practically invisible as Dr. Crusher. We can be thankful that her fictional son Wesley, much loathed by viewers and played by Wil Wheaton, was given a send-off a number of episodes before. Riker leads an away team, but that’s about it. Sadly William Shatner is disappointing as Kirk in this final adventure, and the banter between captains is meagre and lifeless. Special appearances by Whoopi Goldberg, who was a recurring guest star in the TV series already, and Malcolm McDowell as yet another white-haired, English-speaking villain aren’t enough to convince me that this is a worthy successor to films like ‘The Wrath of Khan,’ and a great deal of the TV episodes are better. Thankfully, the films that came after feel stronger and are more worthy of viewers’ time (odd-number-cursed inclusive).

                        ‘Star Trek Generations’ was given a bog-standard DVD release several years ago along with seven of its movie brethren, but was recently re-released as a collector’s edition with worthwhile extras including interviews, commentaries and interesting deleted scenes, notably the excised orbital skydiving sequence that would have opened the film. This was perhaps a necessary stepping stone between the excellent ‘The Undiscovered Country’ and ‘First Contact,’ but the whole arbitrary crossover thing smells like bad fan fiction that could have been written better by anyone who wears a plastic phaser and refers to himself, or herself, as Lieutenant Commander. Let’s face it, it’s a he.

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                          16.08.2001 00:35
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                          I am a huge Star Trek fan and love to watch The original series, The Next Generation (TNG), Deep Space Nine and Voyager. (And soon Enterprise.). <Introduction> Many years ago, before I was born, Gene Roddenberry created a series that would become a cult classic and catipult unknown actors such as Leonard Nimoy and William Shatner into stardom. The initial idea was to create a series where a predominately human cast would explore the galaxies meeting new races, fighing evil aliens and increasing the knowledge of human kind. In doing so, Roddenberry created several new things: Federation and Star Fleet - the Federation is an alliance of hundreds of peace living cultures ranging from the logical Vulcans to Humankind. The aliens are diverse and bring in many different qualities to the whole federation. Star Fleet is the Federations 'airforce'. Thousands of ships are used for defence, attack or exploration. The Enterprise is the flag ship and it and its crew 'Boldlt go where no man has gone before'. Klingons etc - Roddenberry created several new races for the Enterprise to encounter. The Klingons were a wall like race whose society was based on honour and an honourable death in battle. The Romulans were a mysterious race who were very warlike; they are similar to the Vulcans, a pointy eared race that uses logic and controls emotions. The Romulans are linked to the Vulcans but do not control their emotions. There are literally hundreds of races that have been created for Star Trek. The original series was groundbreaking as it bought together many different cultures and races. It had a Russian, an Asian, a Scotsman and an American (Black and White) all on the same bridge. In the sixties when the series first aired this was unheard of. The series concentrated on adventure an exploration, with the larger than life Captain Kirk taking a major role in the show. With a subtle blend of actio
                          n, comedy and intrigue Star Trek has become a timeless classic. As the success built, five movies were created based on the original series; these movies removed the poor production and poor sets and replaced this with excellent Hollywood quality and effects. Several years later as BBC2 continued to air Star Trek (and countless other TV stations continued to air the series) a new series arrived promising much. Star Trek: The Next Generation (TNG) gave us an entirely new crew in an updated version of the original seried. With enhanced effects and more intriguing plots and characters TNG perhaps appealed more to a mass audience. The series paid less attention to action and added more team work as the crew solved more complicated problems than the original series. Finally, as TNG series came to an end it was inevitible that this series would be transferred to the big screen. To make the transition easier a movie that linked both the old series and the new series was created, the intention being to slowly let go of the old series and introduce the new series to the mass public. <Generations> A strange phenomenon is sweeping the galaxy. Planets, solar systems and all that live in them are swept up in its path to live in a dream world. A new Enterprise is close to completion and several of the original crew have been invited to attend the official launch. Spock, Scotty, Bones and James Kirk all attend the ceremony. However, before anything can be launched the Enterprise receives a distress call as a strange phenomenon is dragging two ships into oblivion. Although the Enterprise is not fully fitted-out, the ship is launched. Although Kirk initially takes control, he finally let's command go and allows the new captain to take the helm while he goes to seal a breach in the hull. As the Enterprise manages to save some lives, the arch villain (Macolm McDowell) has been inadvertently rescued from this
                          'place' by the Enterprise and is intent on getting back, regardless of how many planets he must destroy to get his way. Unfortunately, Captain Kirk is dragged into the phenomenon and presumed dead. Many years later we find Captain Kirk embroiled in a race to stop Malcolm McDowell from destroying many worlds in his quest to return to the phenomenon. Captain Kirk has no choice but to persuade Captain Kirk to return and help him stop the mad man. Suffice to say that the movie combines the intigue of TNG with the action of the original series as it attempts to move from the old series to the new series. ...... The movie contains all the main characters from TNG although they seem a little more polished than they were in TNG. <Captain Picard> - the captain is his typical thoughtful self as his french background combines with his intelligence to provide a determined character intent on saving lives and ensuring his crews safety. <Data> - the android who wants to be human provides the comic relief as he comes to terms with his newly inserted emotion chip. He is perhaps the most changed character from the series. <Worf> - on loan from Deep Space 9 for this movie, Worf is belligerent as usual as he combines a gruff attitude with an excellence that is very evident. <Geordie> - no longer sporting the cool 'glasses' Geordie has had eye implants to allow him to see. Geordie uses his own blend of intelligence and problem solving to attempt to follow in the daunting steps of Scotty as Chief Engineer. <Beverly Crusher> - a very glamorous Doctor who does more than be a mere doctor. Her courage under adversity is obvious as she continues to help the crew in all matters. <Dianna troy> - a beautiful woman who is the ships councellor, she uses her psychic abilities to help the crew deal with problematical circumstances. She also advices the captain in dan
                          gerouse liaisons. <William Riker> - captain Picard's first officer, he is a strong character who is not afraid to disagree with the captain when required. He is more like the old Captain Kirk character with his larger than life attitude. <Captain Kirk> - a little older but basically unchanged from the original series, Captain Kirk continues to use brute force to solve problems. It is interesting to see the two captains working together. <Conclusion> The plot is a little thin as it tries to seemlessly move from one series to the next; the larger than life Captain Kirk spoils the movie for me as we lose some of the camaraderie and temawork that TNG is famous for. The effects are excellent, and are what you would expect from Star Trek combinging superb explosions, excellent and detailed ships, some great make up for the aliens and a superb sound track. The acting is well rounded and although the characters that we all know from TNG are only just being introduced to a new audience, all their basic traits from TNG still exist and have not been changed too much for the big screen. As a transitional movie it is interesting, however I do not think that this will win over many new fans because as a stand alone film it is not particularly great. As an ardent Star Trek fan myself I enjoyed this movie and could not wait for the next movie - First Contact, and my favorite of TNG movies Insurrection.

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                            08.07.2001 20:16
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                            This film goes along with the usual Star Trek pattern where the odd numbered films are not the best ones. This film I found was quite good and the script work was also good as it sees the end of the classic Star Trak cast and the dawn of the Next Generation cast in to the film scene. Both of the generations are included in this title, probably why its called generations. Capt. Kirk whilst on the Enterprise B for its mainden voyage, he dissapears when the ship gets into trouble, 80 years later he is found by capt. picard who requires Kirk to help him stop a madman from destroying a solar system in order to get back to the same anomaly that took Kirk 80 years before. A problem occurs and one of the captains does not return. This film is one for all those trekies out there as it ends the classic era and starts the Next Gen era. The special effects are what you expect from a Star Trek film along with the music it all makes some nice atmospheres.

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                            02.07.2001 01:10
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                            Now that the Star Trek: The Next Generation series had finished and the movie franchise still alive and well, they had to find a way to pass the baton. It was always going to be tricky killing of Kirk and really killing him was the only way to be honest. If he hadn’t been killed then there would have been much more criticism than the writers have had now. I must warn you that the ending is covered in detail so if you haven't seen the film just skip the bits enclosed in stars. The film: A bottle of wine speeds eerily through space silently and smashes upon a ships hull. We start the film will the launch of the Enterprise B, and what a fine ship she is. It put the Enterprise once more as the flagship of the Federation fleet, where it always belonged. Captain Kirk, Scotty and Chekhov are all but retired now and are touring the new ship and are there to give it a warm send off on its maiden flight. There is only one familiar name in the new crew and that is Sulu, who was at the helm in the original series, his daughter takes his place now. This was probably to show the just how long ago Kirk and his crew were speeding around the galaxy saving everyone! Also it gives a sense of how the crew has moved on and so should the fans! Trouble quickly ensues when they receive a distress call from two transport could in some kind of energy ribbon. The new Captain is a little restrained and doesn’t in the first instance wants to rush out there and help. Kirk is pretty restless here and you just feel you want Kirk to take over and save the day once more. Well, like a genie the director grants us just that! The new Captain Harrowman sets a course and we arrive at a massive distortion in space that despite their efforts destroys one of the transport vessels in no time at all. Fresh out of ideas we see Harrowman ask Kirk for any suggestions – at last we say! Quickly Kirk comes up with a plan and Scotty has a brilliant
                            theory, however the photon torpedoes have yet to be installed. A simulated pulse from the deflector array might just do the trick and so Kirk makes his way to deflector control. They manage to configure it right and the Enterprise breaks free. Not before the energy ribbon gives a slap to the side of the Enterprise obliterating one side of the ship. We later learn that deflector control is gone and we leave the 23rd century with Scotty, Chekhov and Harrowman looking onward in disarray. Cue Captain Picard and the next generation 78 years later when space dissolves into a holodeck sea. We are introduced to the 24th century by a ceremony for Lt. Worf who has been recently promoted. A little comedy is blended in when Worf gets wet and Data thinking that he will get the same response pushes Dr Crusher into the freezing water. Uh-oh! He has a lot to learn about human emotions still. This plays a significant role in the movie does Data’s lack of emotions or ability to control them when he does have them. The mood is spoiled when Picard receives news that his nephew burned to death in a fire. Following this another distress call is received by the Enterprise D by a science observatory near the Romulan border. Picard who is in a very offish mood sets out investigating what went wrong here and if there are any survivors by sending over an away team. They find a Doctor called Soran who was studying the nearby Amagosa star and it is from here on in where the action really starts. Riker’s away team find evidence of a Romulan presence and they pick up traces of an experimental compound called trilithium, which can stop all fusion within a star. The Amagosa star mysteriously dies and sends out a massive shock wave that will destroy the entire system and with Geordi and Data still on the observatory, time is running out. Then decloaks a Klingon bird of prey – how mysterious can things get I remember myself thinking! Well, all in
                            all La Forge gets kidnapped leaving Data rapt with guilt for not helping his friend. You see Data had installed an experimental chip that would allow him to experience emotions. One funny scene is where he is in the Enterprise bar and he orders a drink – “I hate this. It is revolting!” and the barmaid ask, “Would you like some more?” – He replies with a yes! Also before the kidnapping of La Forge Data states that he had just gotten a joke that was told 7 years ago. Now that’s slow people! Picard then goes into detective mode trying to fathom out how and why Soran is doing what he is doing. They discover that he is destroying the stars so to alter the course of the energy ribbon – his species calls it the Nexus and it is like a heaven of sorts. All records of ships flying into it are destroyed so if he can’t get to the ribbon he is letting the ribbon come to him. They find out that his next target is a solar system that holms over 600million life forms and that they will be destroyed without stopping Soran. Dramatic or what! The Enterprise warps into the distance and we are then aboard the Klingon Bird of Prey along with La Forge and his captors – two Klingon sisters and Soran. Their plan is to return La Forge to the Enterprise and let him return to engineering so that they can learn of the Enterprises shield frequency through a small camera device implanted into La Forges visor. The plan is a success and a bonus is that Picard exchanges himself in a prisoner exchange with the Klingons so that he may speak with Soran who has already begun work on the planets surface nearby. While Picard is on the surface trying to convince Soran otherwise a space battle ensues when the Klingons find a way to breach the ships shields. The Enterprise takes heavy damage in the battle before destroying the Klingons and a warp core breach becomes imminent and there is nothing they can do to stop i
                            t due to the failure of some interlocks. Something that I had never thought it was possible for the Enterprise to do is to separate into two sections – saucer and engines. It was very thrilling to watch this first time and it still hold some surprise even now. Soran, from the planet, launches a probe loaded with trilithium into the Amagosa star without any trouble since the Enterprise’s weapons are not online. The warp core breach that caused the Enterprise to separate in the first place and the blast knocks it out of orbit and careering through the atmosphere and skids hundreds of miles along the planet’s surface before stopping. This sequence is the best I have seen throughout the history of Star Trek and no doubtedly many people will appreciate it too. However, the probe destroys the star and allows the Nexus to pass through the system sweeping up Picard and Soran in its path leaving the rest of the Enterprise crew to be obliterated by the same type of shockwave that was caused earlier in the film. ******************************************* Like I said the Nexus acted like some Heaven allowing you to do anything you ever wished for. For Picard this was to see his nephew alive again and for him to have children of his own. We see him for a while very much tempted but a woman who Picard knows tells him otherwise. But for him to defeat Soran he will need someone else to help him – I wonder who that could be? It sounds cheesy but it really isn’t, Kirk is a legend and so having him again grace the movie screen is a Godsend. From Kirk’s point of view he only arrived in the Nexus too even though history records him being dead for 78 years! After a lot of persuasion Kirk admits “Who am I to argue with the Captain of the Enterprise?” and we are transported back in a white flash to the planet before Soran had launched the probe. This is possible since the Nexus had no time and so if you
                            left you could go anywhere anyplace and Picard chooses to go back to the place where Soran is launching his rocket. Personally, Hawaii and bikini babes and the year 2001 spring to mind but who am I to argue with the Captain of the Enterprise! Like in Kirk’s heyday we have a good old scrap onscreen, Picard not as strong as Kirk takes a little beating but Kirk shows Soran what for! A few jabs here and there take him down but what they are really after now is the control pad in order to stop the countdown of the rocket. Kirk retrieves it but manages to fall quite a distance in doing so. Kirk then responds quickly by activating the probe’s auto destruct code which unbeknownst to Soran, he climbs up and tries to ascertain what they have done to the probe when KABOOM! There goes a nasty villain! The people have been saved and a solar system prevented from destruction. Things have not gone so well for our hero though. Kirk is badly injured and in an emotional scene we see Picard telling him that they had made a difference, they had stopped evil. Kirk dies once more, again saving the galaxy and the Enterprise crew. The music that plays during this scene is very emotional and really does get you. Picard makes a grave for Kirk and says a silent prayer. ******************************************* A shuttle whispers above and lands. The Enterprise is not salvageable and so a hoard of other ships are sent in to retrieve the crew. Picard and Riker exchange a few words of wisdom and hint that this will certainly not be the last Star Trek movie as because says, “Somehow I doubt that this will be the last ship to carry the name Enterprise.” They beam up and the film ends with ships warping off. The DVD: I bought the R2 version at £16.99 after a really long wait. I thought the site had made a mistake when it said that this disc would not feature any extras. DVDs are getting better and better
                            all the time and their content also, this violates the trend by providing only the film and nothing, absolutely nothing else. This is a big disappointment but if you love the film then you won't mind. If it had not been for the fact that I am an avid Star Trek fan then it would have never made it into my collection as the extras are non existent. The same goes for all regions which surprises me greatly as First Contact and Insurrection at least had documentaries and trailers. Hopefully a collector’s or special edition will be released but until that happens I would say a VHS copy would suffice. The transfer is of very good quality and is anamorphic which is a bonus. Watching the DVD is OK and audio wise we are treated to a Dolby digital 5.1 soundtrack – it is very impressive and comes into its own when the Enterprise is hurtling toward the planet! You can always tell how pitiful a DVD release is when they list the menu and scene selections as extras. This is a typical region 2 release with many languages and subtitles for every language too – it’s nice being able to say “Warp one, engage!” in about ten different languages! The Soundtrack: The music was always very dramatic and emotional at the same time in this movie. It is reflective and is worth a listening to. This doesn’t come with the DVD so you’ll have to fork out the extra cash. Conclusion: Another Star Trek classic but one that deserved a much better DVD release because the story is top notch. I would like people now to leave Kirk’s character alone as this film was the best way to go and is very noble to be honest. How else than to sacrifice himself for the ship he dedicated his life to? I liked the way how we first see the Next Generation onscreen – big, dramatic and we are given a glimpse into Picard’s life as a star ship Captain and how he is faring against the legendary Kirk.
                            To people who have been introduced to this film may think it’s a bit rash to introduce a new ship then trash it in the same movie. That’s only because the makers want a bigger, sleeker and more powerful ship to star in future films. One qualm I do have about the Star Trek films is that they keep using old footage. I am referring to the explosion when the Klingon ship is hit by a photon torpedo – we saw this in the Undiscovered Country and in the Star Trek series also. Overall I loved this film and made for good entertainment. The picture transfer is great but paying all that extra money may be worth it to the die-hard Trekkie but for the rest of you, get the VHS or watch it on the BBC. This Star Trek film is very original and tells a great story so go and watch it now!

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