Mark Watches ‘Star Trek: Generations’

In the first Next Generation film, HORSES. CATS. EXPLOSIONS. RIBBONS. Intrigued? Then it’s time for Mark to watch Star Trek. 

AHHHHH I LOVED SO MANY THINGS ABOUT THIS. It’s a solid film, not my favorite, and I have a few things I’ll whine about because WHAT IS A STAR TREK REVIEW WITHOUT SOME OF MY NITPICKING. Let’s do this!

The Good

  • I always look forward to seeing what a Star Trek film does that the show cannot. Usually, it comes down to the budget. With more money behind the production, these films get opportunities to tell stories with a larger scope. They also get to BLOW UP A LOT OF THINGS. Or use filming locations that don’t look like they’re in a backlot! THIS IS GREAT. So what does Generations do with a huge budget and some more freedom due to the longer format?
  • The most obvious change is the slightly altered sets and the decision to strip the halls and rooms of the Enterprise of the sterile lighting. It’s a weird choice at times, especially when a character seems shrouded in darkness for no apparent reason. Like, as much as I loved this choice, there were occasional moments where I panicked because THE ENTERPRISE LOST ALL POWER, SOMEONE CALL THE UTILITY COMPANY. On the whole, however, I think it was a smart choice for the big screen. There’s a grittiness here that the show lacked. I wouldn’t change The Next Generation‘s color schemes, but it works SUPER well here.
  • The opening to this film is such an incredible treat, y’all. The presence of Kirk, Scotty, and Chekov works within the story, it’s touching, and it isn’t gratuitous. I even FORGOT ABOUT THE SET-UP later on in the film! The scenes are bridged by numerous characters, too. Guinan, Dr. Soran, and Kirk all provide the link between the two stories, and I thought that was a clever way to ground this film.
  • Worf’s promotion scene was a delight and a nice chance for some silliness in a film that is largely deadly serious. It is honestly the only real moment where the crew is in one place and enjoying each other’s company.
  • DATA’S DEVELOPMENT AND GROWTH IS SERIOUSLY INCREDIBLE. Since the show never got a chance to introduce this plot, the film does, and it’s perfect. It’s such a realistic depiction of something that’s honestly hard to conceptualize. Like… how would Data react to having emotions permanently? I appreciated that in the early scenes, he experiences humor and joy more than anything else. (Though the scene with Guinan was INCREDIBLE.) However, once he feels fear? Guilt? Shame? Regret? Data learns that experiencing emotions means that one has to learn how to deal with them, and he was absolutely not equipped to cope with the emotional weight of this decision. We see him shut down for the first time in the whole series. We watch him cry. IT’S DONE SO WELL. I am also forever thankful that Spot survived and that this is what made Data cry for the first time in his whole life.
  • While I have some issues with the story itself, I did love that the Duras sisters made an appearance, and I don’t think that there was much story left to tell with them. Plus, this is a film about mortality, and the Duras sisters learned that their constant scheming and greed had the ultimate price tag attached to it.
  • I know I briefly spoke of the elevated budget making this an enjoyable experience, but let’s be real: the crash of the Enterprise is one of the most impressive things the Star Trek franchise has ever put on the screen. I honestly don’t even recall saying much during the sequence because I was in shock. It’s just such an over-the-top and violent scene that I kept thinking that maybe it was all a vision or something. There’s no way they’d do something like that! YET THEY DID. Oh my god, those poor cast members and stunt folks got THROWN THE FUCK AROUND.
  • THE NEXUS. Holy shit, YES YES YES YES YES YES. I loved it. I loved how personal it was, how easy it was for that world to trick people into staying in it, no matter how many signs there were that everything was wrong. It made the Nexus sad and beautiful and haunting, and I think that the writers totally nailed it. ALSO: CAPTAIN KIRK SPLITTING WOOD AND RIDING HORSES.  Also: who uses a metal whisk for eggs like that? No butter or anything in the pan? Those are the worst scrambled eggs possible, I swear. (I use Gordon Ramsey’s method to make them. When I stopped being vegan a couple years ago, I had to re-learn how to make everything, and his videos have helped a LOT.)
  • Kirk’s death was a bold move, but damn, it was done well. He died on one last adventure, and he died making a difference.

The Not-As-Good

  • For a film that’s a continuation of The Next Generation, I was disappointed that this film sticks everyone except for Data and Picard into supporting roles with absolutely no development or story. Geordi might have gotten a story, but once he’s returned to the Enterprise, no one even addresses the fact that he’s got a camera installed in his visor! I suppose it doesn’t matter since the Duras sisters are dead, but it was still a weird moment. At least Deanna Troi gets to be in that emotionally intense scene in Picard’s ready room, but again, she is just there to support someone else. Dr. Crusher and Worf are barely in this episode! Why didn’t we get a follow-up to Data pushing her into the ocean?
  • While Malcolm McDowell as fun as a scenery-chewing villain, he’s poorly developed, so much so that I could barely understand his motivation for everything. So, the Borg fucked up his life, so he’s going to kill hundreds of millions of people in order to live eternally in some sort of perpetual heaven?
  • The fight scene at the end is clumsy and choreographed in a way that makes no sense at all. Why didn’t anyone just run over to the launcher and destroy it or disable it? Why are you even bothering to fight Soran? Just push him off that bridge and be done with it. Both sequences – prior to Nexus and after it – are utterly nonsensical and seem to exist just to make us feel tense. I didn’t feel tense. I just kept wondering why that one bit of scaffolding hadn’t been destroyed when the missile blew up.
  • This film felt like a two-hour episode of the show. It’s not the worst thing, but I didn’t get the sense that this was a movie, you know?

The video for Star Trek: Generations can be downloaded here for $2.99.

Mark Links Stuff

– I will be at numerous conventions in 2016! Check the full list of events on my Tour Dates / Appearances page.
– My Master Schedule is updated for the near and distant future for most projects, so please check it often. My next Double Features for Mark Watches will be Death Note and Neon Genesis Evangelion. On Mark Reads, Diane Duane’s Young Wizards series will replace the Emelan books.
- Mark Does Stuff is on Facebook! I’ve got a community page up that I’m running. Guaranteed shenanigans!

About Mark Oshiro

Perpetually unprepared since '09.
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