The series has ended but the adventure continues in the first feature film with the Next Generation crew. Debuting in theaters on November 18, 1994 this is Star Trek Generations.
Stardate 48632.4 Generations
It is another adventure through time and space as Picard must enlist the help of none other than Captain James T Kirk to help prevent the destruction of the Enterprise D and help save the lives of an entire solar system.
We begin at the christening of the Enterprise NCC-1701-B, Kirk, Scotty and Chekov are all present for the launch of the latest ship to bare the legendary name. Joining Captain
Cameron Frye John Harriman on the bridge, the trio start off on the Enterprise B’s Maiden voyage. Although unprepared for a serious mission, the Enterprise soon receives a distress call from a group of El Aurian refugees.
Reluctantly, Captain Harriman proceeds with the rescue mission only to encounter an energy ribbon that threatens the integrity of the El Aurian ships. All of the usual solutions are impossible as many of the ships systems have yet to be installed so the new Captain must think on his feet. After losing one of the refugee ships, Captain Kirk works with Harriman to begin the rescue operation. They soon move the ship closer and, with Scotty’s expertise, they are able to save 47 out of 150 members of the El Aurian crew before the refugee ship explodes. With the Refugees rescued, we find that Guinan is among the ones that have been saved.
Despite the successful rescue the Enterprise herself is now in danger and Kirk must rush to the navigational deflector to initiate Scotty’s plan to save the ship. Just as he manages to complete his mission, the ship is hit with a an energy burst at the exact spot Kirk was at. It appears that the legendary Captain has died doing what he did best, saving the Enterprise.
78 years later…
We find our beloved TNG crew aboard a slightly older Enterprise. In celebration of Worf’s promotion they have simulated an ocean voyage aboard one of the oldest versions of the ship. Shackled in chains, the new Lt Commander faces the plank in order to receive his badge of office, an officers hat. Just as the Klingon retrieves his bounty, Riker removes the plank resulting in Worf falling into the cold water below. Data, uncertain of why everyone is laughing, pushes Doctor Crusher into the water to join in on the fun. Naturally, he misunderstood the concept of humor once again. Just as they get underway, Picard receives a deeply painful personal message from Starfleet.
Within moments, the Enterprise receives a distress call from a research station. Upon arriving, Picard puts Riker in charge of the away mission and heads to his ready room to deal with the bad news. Riker leads an away team to the research station where they find what appears to be an attack by Romulans. They soon find a sole survivor by the name of Dr Tolian Soran. Riker returns to the ship and informs Picard of the situation. Picard asks that Riker inform Starfleet of his discovery and his first officer expresses concern for his Captain. It is clear that his commanding officer is silently suffering.
Meanwhile on the Enterprise, Geordi and Riker discuss the merits of installing the emotion chip (which seems to have grown in size since we last saw it). Data asks Geordi for help and Geordi, reluctantly, install the chip that was once stolen by Lore. To test the chip, Data and Geordi go to Ten Forward where they encounter Guinan. Guinan offers Data a drink that he discovers that he hates, but demands more do he can experience the emotion. Captain Picard arrives in Ten Forward to meet with Doctor Soran as requested. Soran seems to know something about Picard and touches on a personal nerve. Picard, caught off guard, indicates that he will allow Soran to return to the station in short time. However, as Soran leaves Ten Forward, Guinan seems to sense his presence and it doesn’t look good.
After Worf discovers that the Romulans were searching for Trilithium, Riker sends Data and Geordi over to the station. While there, Data begins to exhibit issues with the emotion chip, finding himself unable to control certain aspects such as humor from emerging at the wrong moments. As they investigate, they soon find a compartment of photon torpedoes that have been modified. Data suddenly seizes up and collapses only to discover that the emotion chip has overloaded his positronic relay. Soon Soran appears and knocks Geordi out.
Back on board the ship, Picard is dealing with his bad news. Looking over a photos of his nephew and brother, Troi enters his quarters. In the course of their discussion, Troi discovers that Robert and Rene have both died in a tragic fire at the family Vineyard. Picard is crushed that his nephew will never get to experience life and tries to push the emotions back. Picard is dealing with the fact that, now that his nephew is dead, the Picard line will die with him. He had felt that the line would continue without his influence and now the weight of his decisions have come crashing down on him. Just as he begins to open up, a nearby star explodes.
Riker and the away team return to the station to find out what has happened to Data and Geordi. A Klingon Bird of Prey arrives and, After a fire fight, Soran kidnaps Geordi while Data remains frightened in the corner. The Enterprise escapes moments before the shock wave moves past destroying the station. Soran beams aboard the Klingon ship where we discover the people behind the trilithium, it is none other than the Duras sisters Lursa and B’Etor. While there, he begins to torture his new prisoner, Geordi LaForge.
On the Enterprise they discover the identity of Doctor Soran and his connection to Guinan. It appears that Soran is attempting to get back inside something called the Nexus. When the El Aurians were fleeing the Borg they were caught inside something called The Nexus, a place Guinan describes as being inside joy. She warns Picard that, if he goes to this place, he will not care about anything outside of the Nexus, that when she was in there, she didn’t either.
Determined to discover why Soran wanted to destroy a star, he asks Data to join him in Stellar Cartography. While there Data tells his Captain that he is experiencing strong emotions regarding his actions on the observatory station. He is embarrassed that his fear has caused Geordi to be kidnapped. As he tracks the Nexus ribbon, he finds that he is unable to function properly as he is finding it difficult to operate with emotions. Picard insists that Data must learn to live with his feelings and orders the Commander to fulfill his duties. Pulling himself together, Data finds the course of the ribbon and discovers Sorans plan. It appears that Soran is attempting to change the course of the Nexus Ribbon so that he can get back inside of it. Soran’s next target is the Viridian Star which would kill over 200 million people on a pre-industrial planet. Picard commands the Enterprise to intercede immediately.
On board the Klingon vessel, Soran completes his deal with the Duras Sisters. Knowing that they are no match for the Galaxy Class starship, they prepare to return La Forge to the Enterprise. Decloaking, the Duras Sisters accept a prisoner exchange for Geordi. Picard volunteers but only if the sisters beam him down to the planet so he can talk with Soran. They accept and Geordi is returned to the Enterprise. Picard is beamed down to the planet but finds himself unable to stop Soran due to a force shield the Doctor has erected. Picard tries to talk Soran out of his plan but finds the man to be determined. Picard, determined to not be undone begins to test the force fields and soon finds a gap in the security grid.
The Klingons begin to watch Geordi via his visor as he moves through the ship. They soon are able to find the shield modulation frequency and fire a torpedo through the ships shields. The attack comes as a surprise and soon the Engine begins to go critical. Worf finds a way to destroy the Klingon ship and, when Data initiates the plan, they are able to destroy the attacking enemy. Unfortunately the damage is done, the warp core begins to breach and the Enterprise must begin evacuation of the entire crew to the Saucer section. The ship must separate in order for the crew to survive. Immediately after the separation, the engineering section explodes and the shockwave causes the Saucer to crash into the planet below.
Soon the Nexus ribbon approaches and, even after fighting Soran, Picard fails to stop the Doctor from launching his missile at the sun. The sun goes nova and soon both Picard and Soran are swept into the nexus. The planet, including the entire crew of the Enterprise (as well as those 200 million people) are killed. Story over. Credits roll.
Just kidding, but things get strange. Picard finds himself in a Victorian house surrounded by his children and greeted by his nephew Rene. Struck by the moment, Picard realizes that he has a family and is determined to make the best of it. Fate, however, has a different idea and he begins to see little glimpses of reality all around making him doubt that what he is experiencing is real. Soon he is greeted by Guinan, only it isn’t the Guinan he knows but an echo of the Guinan he knew in the real world. Although it is a difficult choice, he knows that he doesn’t belong and asks Guinan for help. Guinan tells him that, although she cant leave, there is someone else who just arrived, who can. She sends him to find, Captain Kirk.
Picard finds the former Captain of the Enterprise chopping wood in front of his home. Picard tries to explain the situation to Kirk but it is clear that this man has no interest in saving the universe once again. However, Picard is able to convince Kirk in a relatively quick and easy fashion that he needs to go with him. Kirk needs a challenge and the ease of the Nexus will never bring that for him, so he joins Picard on one last adventure.
Leaving the Nexus, Kirk and Picard return to the moment just before Soran launches his rocket into the sun. This time, however, when Picard comes to face Soran he has backup. The trio fight it out with Soran constantly attempting to get to the Rocket controls. Just as things look good Soran cloaks the launcher preventing Kirk and Picard from stopping the launch. As Kirk rushes for the control pad the bridge below him collapses but not before Kirk is able to decloak the launch pad. Picard uses the opportunity to lock the missile clamps causing the missile to explode just as Soran tries to launch it into the sun.
Picard rushes to Kirks aid and finds Kirk has been mortally wounded from his fall from the Bridge. Picard and Kirk exchange final words and with the last words of ‘Oh my’ Kirk is dead.
Picard returns to his ship only to find it is un-salvageable but his crew is being rescued by Starfleet. In an emotional moment Data finds his cat Spot has survived the crash and they are reunited in a moment of joy. Picard, with Riker’s help, digs through the rubble to find his photo album. Finding it, the two beam up to the USS Farragut and go on to another journey out in the cosmos.
Is this a ‘Good’ Film:
This film holds a special place in my heart. Many fans hate this film as it depicts a pretty lame way for Captain Kirk to die. I mean, yeah, he technically dies twice in this one, once saving the Enterprise and the second time by falling down a metal bridge, but they could have done a much better job giving Kirk his end. I don’t deny that. What I do deny is that it isn’t a good film, in fact, I think it is a great send off for the crew of the USS Enterprise NCC-1701-D.
Why this film holds a special place for me is that it is a film both my Father and I went to see after spending seven years watching Star Trek the Next Generation together. I remember nearly every detail of that day, from the giant tub of popcorn we got to the watered down taste of the iced Barq’s Root Beer in my cup. What I remember most though is that we had the theater all to ourselves. We didn’t plan it, in fact we were shocked to find that, when we went, we were the only two in the theater that day and got to enjoy a private viewing of a film we were both excited for. This film is about generations and the connection between the past and the present. It is about growing up, growing old and the legacy it brings. There we were, two generations of Trekkies watching a film that bridged that gap. It was an amazing two hours. Because of this, I will love this film forever.
The film itself is full of plot holes and silliness, I mean, as I indicated earlier, Kirk’s deaths is pretty lame but overall this is a fun and enjoyable story that actually continues some of the threads from the tv series itself. Some of the threads that finally get closure include, but are not limited to, the fate of the Duras Sisters, Data’s Emotion Chip and, of course, Worf being promoted (something that will be important in the future). I particularly like how the uniforms changed through the movie moving from the TNG style to the DS9 duty uniforms. This really gave a subtle sense of passing the torch to the new series that had just started its second season when this film hit the theaters.
I will admit though, seeing the Enterprise D go down in flames was particularly hard for me. In many ways this signified not only the end of the series but of a period of my life. I was no longer a kid and, as the saying goes, I would have to let go of my toys. (for the record, I never did).
Additionally, the villain in this film is played by none other than Malcolm McDowell. I have always been a fan of his and when I learned he was going to be the villain in the TNG Star Trek film, I was ecstatic. His portrayal of Tolian Soran was fantastic and to me, is one of the best villains of the Trek films.
Overall, this was and still is, one of my favorite Star Trek Films, is it the best one, not by a longshot, but it is still a fun film and worthy of the name Star Trek.
Gleanings and Cool Bits:
We get a chance to meet Hikaru Sulu’s Daughter, Demora Sulu! Like Kirk said, it’s not the Enterprise without a Sulu at the helm.
If you paid attention, you will notice Tim Russ on the Bridge of the Enterprise B, he will later show up on Voyager as Tuvok.
Keen eyed viewers will notice a familiar face on the bridge in the form of Jae who has been on the STNG series since Season Four. This is not the last we will see of her!
The last time we saw Lursa and B’Etor it was established that Lursa was pregnant. This is not addressed in this film and it is pretty much assumed that the unborn child was killed in the conflict between the Klingon vessel and the Enterprise.
So, the Enterprise just keeps critical information in clear view of everyone? Like the Shield frequency? really? wow.
Data was so happy to see Spot but Picard didn’t even blink an eye at the death of his fish Livingston. That fish had survived an unprecedented Seven Years and he didn’t even get a mournful glance. Heck, for that matter, Picard didn’t even care that he didn’t know where his Ressikan Flute was, I mean, it’s not like he spent an entire lifetime learning to play it or anything.
Oh and of course, the Trailer.
Thanks for reading the Retro TV Review, I look forward to discussing the rest of the series with you, one episode at a time every Monday, Wednesday and Friday! Next Review: Movie Edition: Star Trek First Contact!
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Late To The Game 10/31/2020 (Originally published 2/15/2019)
Special Thanks to Memory Alpha as they are one of the best sources for details on Star Trek information available. Although I have a pretty deep knowledge on the subject, they have proven invaluable as a regular resource.
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