So, the original crew of the Starship Enterprise finally flew their last mission and made two really good movies (parts 2 and 4), one that was kind of OK (part 6) and three absolute clunkers (parts 1, 3 and 5). But before they can all really say goodbye, a few of the old faces are back to hand the franchise over to the cast of the follow up TV series with the first in the follow up film franchise, Star Trek: Generations.
Generations starts the same way I feel most of the preceding movies do, Capt. Kirk and his crew are the old, past their prime dinosaurs, on some new version of the Enterprise that is now crewed by younger, book smart officers who have none of the life experience or street smarts of the oldies. This time, the oldies are represented by Kirk, Checkov and Scotty. The head of the youngens, and new captain of the Enterprise is Cameron from Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.
A weird space ribbon shows up, the new crew freaks out, the old crew takes command and Capt. James Tiberius Kirk dies, saving them all. Cut to 70 years later and the crew of the Next Generation is having a pirate party on the holodeck (even goofier than it sounds). I was surprised how familiar I was with this crew, it turns out they made a bit more of a pop culture impact than I’ve been giving them credit for. Patrick Stewart is Capt. Jean Luc Pickard, Jonathan Frakes is his second in command Riker / Number 1, Brent Spiner is the golden makeup covered robot Data, LeVar Burton is Geordi La Forge (the dude with the space glasses) and Michal Dorn is Worf, the Klingon. There are some chicks too, but the movie never bothers to flesh them out as real characters, so I won’t bother either.
So it’s 70 years in the future and the space ribbon shows up again. So does a Klingon warship that is helping Malcom McDowell’s bad guy, Soran. You see, going inside the space ribbon leads you to some imaginary nirvana. Nothing is real, but all your fantasies and dreams come true. Soran used to hang out there, now he doesn’t and really and wants to get back. So much so, it turns out he was the reason Kirk and his crew got mixed up in this mess all those years earlier. So he does some convoluted crap, delivers some awkward exposition and ends up in the fantasy nirvana world closely followed by Picard. And you’ll never guess who else has been hanging out there since copping a space ribbon spanking 70 years go?… It’s only bloody Bill Shatner himself, Capt .Kirk! So now Picard and Kirk get to team up against Soran and there is much nerd rejoicing.
Star Trek: Generations is nowhere near the bad end of the Trek quality meter, but it’s not that close to the good one either. It just feels to reeled in, too cautious, too unambitious. It’s promising though to have a whole new set of characters that I already kind of like. It’s also promising that the next instalment, Star Trek: First Contact, is the only other movie in the franchise I’d seen bits of (along with a The Voyage Home) before embarking on this current Trek binge. And from what I remember, I really enjoyed the next outing of the Next Generation crew.