Amazon Customer Reply to on 13 January 2013
|Though it may not be a perfect film, Star Trek: Generations is very underrated, I feel. Its plot's details can't always fight scrutiny and the pace can be awkward, yet it has some intriguing ideas and genuinely poignant moments. For an odd-numbered Star Trek film, I'd say it's pretty good.
In the prologue, retired captain James T. Kirk's attending the maiden voyage of Enterprise-B when two ships, containing alien refugees, send out a distress signal; they're caught in the Nexus, a destructive energy ribbon which keeps its prisoners in states of pure joy. Thanks to Kirk, a handful of them are saved while Enterprise-B just manages to escape, though he's seemingly sucked into the vaccum of space. 78 years later (according to an on-screen transcript; dialogue puts it at 80), The Next Generation crew discover an attacked observatory and rescue Dr. Tolian Soren (Malcolm McDowell), one of the original refugees, who'll sacrifice countless lives getting back to the Nexus.
I was a bit confused by what the Nexus is and does. Apparantly those within it can alter time outside it, which makes me wonder why one character doesn't exploit this to save more lives, or why, for that matter, Soren doesn't simply go back to before he became a refugee. HOW those within the Nexus can control time outside it is another matter entirely. Also, Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg), who was with Soren in the Nexus all those years ago, describes it as though its effect is purely visceral, whereas later we learn that it works in a more psychological way, though that's a minor point.
Soren's a fairly typical teeth-gnashing bad guy. The film could have been truly epic if it had developed him the way it did Picard and Kirk; their story arcs are Generation's emotional core. I found them deeply effective, elegiac even, as they ponder what lives dedicated to duty have cost them. These men share desires and regrets, sometimes expressed by the film with great poignancy. This is where Generations truly shines, and feels like a much-critically maligned part of it. Data's subplot, involving his acquisition of an emotion chip, is also good, but Picard and Kirk are what drive this story. Patrick Stewart and William Shatner deliver great performances (I was, however, amused to see a geriatric Kirk in a fight scene). I wish more time had been spent with Kirk; he takes a long time to re-appear after the prologue, while scenes which aren't really vital pop up. His last scene, however, is really quite moving. The same Kirk who waded through tribbles, witnessed the next step in our evolution, fought Khan twice, lost a son and forged peace with Klingons, ended up 80 years from home, attended by his successor after briefly finding happiness again. It's a powerful swansong.