"Star Trek: Generations"
Opened: November, 1994 | Rated: PG-13
"Star Trek: Generations" certainly takes it's audience where no "trekker" has gone before.
Producer Rick Berman, who has been at the helm of the "Star Trek" legacy since the death of Gene Roddenberry, authorized some surprising risks for the first big screen outing of the cast from "Star Trek: The Next Generation."
A major character is killed, but nearly everyone who cares knows about that already. There is some -- how to put this without giving anything away? -- fiddling around with another "Trek" icon that may shock fans.
The mood and the lighting are much darker than the TV series. I guess we're supposed to take Capt. Picard (Patrick Stewart) and crew a little more seriously now that they're 10 feet tall.
But "Generations" comes up a little short.
The problem is this: Keeping up in this movie is entirely dependent on having watched the "Next Generation" series regularly...But then, who else is going to go see it anyway?
I am now going to act on the assumption that if you read on you know something about the show. It'll save lots of explanation.
"Generations" brings together the Captains Kirk and Picard for the first and only time.
I was a little worried when I first heard this because if there is one thing "Star Trek" has never done terribly well it's time travel stories. But this turns out to be more of a parallel existence thing, and Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) plays a pivotal role, so my confidence went up. Guinan stories are always good.
The picture opens with the christening of the Enterprise-B, a kind of squat version of the Excelsior from earlier "Star Trek" movies.
Kirk, Chekov (Walter Koenig) and Scotty (James Doohan) are there for her maiden voyage.
The ship rescues some passengers from a ship in distress, including a Dr. Soran (Malcolm McDowell) then crisis ensues and Kirk gets sucked out of the ship in an explosion.
Jump to 78 years later and Picard's crew. Worf is promoted in a big, costumed, period-piece event on the Holodeck and Data has decided to install his emotion chip, which is played for laughs over and over and over but is funny maybe twice.
Dr. Soren shows up again when a space station he is on is attacked and the Enterprise comes to the rescue. It turns out he is going around blowing up stars near populated planets in an attempt to get inside this thing called the Nexus, where everyone is happy.
Picard tries to stop him and gets sucked into the Nexus as well. Here is where the two captains meet.
Somehow they are the only two people in the Nexus who aren't happy, so they decide to leave and save those populated planets...
I think you can see the problem. There is a lot going on in "Generations," but the story just sits there on the screen. The story short on personality and long on explanation.
Two good things can be said for "Star Trek: Generations" -- the battle sequences in this film put even "Star Wars" to shame and it's nice to see a bad guy with purely selfish motives in a "Star Trek" story. No greater purpose here.
"Generations" has special effects and action on it's side. It has the gutsy risks taken against the greater judgement of the "Star Trek" collective. Everything this picture does differently is a piece of a potentially exciting story, but there just isn't any glue to hold this model Enterprise together.
But if you've read this far, I know none of what I've said is going to keep you from seeing it anyway. So trust me on this -- see "Generations" in 70mm and THX sound, sit close and don't get your hopes too high.
©1994 All Rights Reserved.