Tuesday, October 8, 2013
Star Trek: Generations review with spoilers
The film begins when James Kirk visits a new Enterprise on its maiden voyage. Too bad the crew didn't foresee the disaster ahead for which they were not prepared. A rescue mission is only moderately successful when several transport ships are destroyed in a distortion ribbon we later learn is known as "the Nexxus." Kirk is successful in saving the new ship in time from a core breach, only to be blown out into space, lost forever.
Or so we think. Fast forward 78 years into the next century and we find the crew of Enterprise D giving an accommodation to Lt. Worf. They are having fun on the holodeck when Captain Picard gets a message from Earth. He gets very bad news on his brother and nephew. They died in a fire.
But duty calls and the crew gets a signal about an explosion on a space station. We learn through investigation that Romulans had attacked it, looking for Trilithium. Apparently, this powerful element, if put into the wrong hands, can be a catastrophic weapon. But it is currently being utilized by a scientist named Soren, who we meet briefly on board the maiden voyage of Enterprise B. Soren, played by Malcolm McDowell, is a member of a long lived species like Guinan.. Guinan, along with Soren, was rescued by the Enterprise when her transport ship was caught in the Nexxus.
We learn the Nexxus is not only a cosmic ribbon that rips through space causing cataclysmic events which can destroy entire planets, but a doorway into a realm where time ceases to exist in a linear fashion and gives the inhabitant eternal bliss.
This is the cause of Soren's obsession and he plans to bring the ribbon stream to his location with a rocket launcher and Trilithium. If he can destroy a nearby star, it will cause this cosmic stream and anything in its path will be sucked up into it, which is Soren's plan.
Hoping to talk reason to him, Picard meets Soren down on the planet where Soren is about to launch the missile and destroy the star. Picard must stop him before his action also destroys a nearby class M planet inhibited by 1/4 of a billion people.
The attempt fails and Picard finds himself in the Nexxus. But we realize that a starship captain isn't content to just live in harmony with what his fantasies dictate, especially when they don't include manning a starship. He finds Captain Kirk and the two of them ride off into the sunset/doorway, back before Soren unleashes hell.
There were many exciting moments; the beginning rescue attempt on Enterprise B, an attack on Enterprise D by a Klingon vessel manned by the creepy Duras sisters, and the crash of the D ship onto the planet's surface after a saucer separation to escape a warp core breach. All of these events were choreographically stunning.
Soren had made a bargain with the Klingon sisters---a ride to the Nexxus destination in exchange for Trilithium weapons making technology. While investigating the sabotage of the space station, Commander LeForge is kidnapped and his visor is used as a hidden camera for the Duras sisters to use to gain information of the shields and weapons capability of the Enterprise.
Captain Picard does a hostage trade with them. If they agree to beam him on the planet's surface, they can then take him as hostage in exchange for the return of Geordi. The exchange is done. The sisters fire upon the Enterprise and cause great damage before Worf reveals the class type of Klingon vessel the Duras sisters are using has a vulnerability in its plasma coils, which also operates its cloaking device. They bring down the ship's shields and destroy the Klingon vessel. It's good riddance to the Duras sisters.
The Not So Good:
The film at times ran high on adrenaline, not for the audience, but members of the Enterprise crew. Don't get me wrong, Patrick Stewart is a great actor. But the side story involving his family tragedy were a bit much, particularly when he doesn't confide in his number 1 officer William Riker. We are privy to a growling, snippy boss who leaves his crew, and the audience, wondering why he just doesn't open up. Afterall, he's been with this crew for at least 7 years.
The tension is lifted when he finally confides in Counselor Troi. Seeing Picard so vulnerable, such as the time he was held captive and tortured in the tv episode "Chains of Command" is a bit hard to take.
Then there's Data. He decides to try out the emotion chip, that had been taken from Lore's body, after he fails to see the humor in Worf falling off the plank and getting laughs and then getting dirty looks from the crew after pushing Dr. Crusher off the holodeck ship and into the sea below in a spirit of fun.
He still fails to figure out that some things just aren't that funny. He laughs at a 7 year old joke that was stupid and makes a hand puppet out of a tricorder. If that isn't bad enough, he laughs to the point of burning some circuitry in his positronic net. When Soren shows up with a weapon and gives Geordie a beat down, Data hovers in a corner like a rabbit hiding from a fox.
The only good things that transpire from his newfound emotions are his reaction to finding Spot after the crash and his glee when the Duras sisters get a photon torpedo up their asses.
The scene with Picard in the Nexxus was a bit much. The main issue is, his fantasy wife and kids are wearing 19th century hairstyles and clothing! They even talk like Bob Cratchit's family in A Christmas Carol. Gimmie a Break!
Finally, the death of Captain James T. Kirk was underwhelming. I anticipated a better send off from a character who "made a difference." The audience expected at least a ride off into the sunset on the missile, much like Slim Pickens in Dr. Strangelove. Instead, Kirk dies in a heap of rock being satisfied that they stopped Soren from carrying out his demented plan.
I give 3 1/2 stars out of 5.
Data GIFS courtesy of