With the Klingons and the Federation playing nicely, Kirk, Scotty, and Chekov join the crew of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-B) on her maiden voyage. A strange stellar phenomenon appears to kill Kirk even while he is able to help save the rest of the crew and most of the people they were trying to rescue. So begins Star Trek Generations.
Jump forward almost eighty years to year 2371 and the crew of the USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D) receives a distress call from a stellar observatory. They arrive and find everyone dead except for Doctor Soran (Malcolm McDowell). Soran promptly knocks out Geordi (LeVar Burton) and frightens Data (Brent Spiner) into submission, and then escapes with Geordi as a captive.
Kirk (played by William Shatner) and Picard (played by Patrick Stewart), the two poster children of Star Trek Generations, don’t actually meet until about two-thirds of the way through the film. All through the film, I kept thinking it was just a regular episode of Star Trek – The Next Generation. I found the story to be rather weak, even for an episode of the TNG series. It felt cobbled together somewhat haphazardly, making it not really flow that well. It felt like a two-hour special, but still just an episode. That isn’t to say it wasn’t enjoyable, but that made the film less than it could have been.
The lighting on the sets was yellow a lot of the time. I don’t know why they chose that color, but it was an odd one. Perhaps they were trying to make it feel more cinematic or something. Whatever the reason, it didn’t work. It felt like a bargain version where they were making do with the lights they had because they couldn’t afford any more.
The music by Dennis McCarthy was just there. The music in the opening credits was not inspiring, and the rest of the time it was as if the regular composer and arranger for the series episodes was working on Star Trek Generations, which shouldn’t be surprising since McCarthy did a fair amount of it. The music neither helped nor hindered my enjoyment of the film as I didn’t really notice it at all. This can be a good thing, if the music is blending seamlessly with the story. in this case, it may as well have not been there at all.
Despite the issues I mention above, I still enjoyed Star Trek Generations. If you go in expecting a typical two-hour television special, you shouldn’t be disappointed. If you are expecting an inspiring film like Star Trek II or VI, or a straight-up fun film like Star Trek IV, you will be disappointed. The first Next Generation film stumbles a bit coming out of the gate, and then keeps stumbling while it tries to find its footing. Luckily, it does so in the next film.
Release Date: November 18, 1994 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (some social drinking, some for comic effect)
Language: 1 (occasional, mostly mild)
Sexuality: 1 (occasional emphasized Klingon cleavage)
Violence: 3 (fisticuffs, science fiction battles, death, some blood shown)