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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
Wanting to continue on with the Star Trek franchise after retiring the original cast, Paramount turned to the TV sequel series, The Next Generation, to headline the next movie. However, a torch-passing felt to be needed between the old and the new. As such, the film-by-committee known as Star Trek Generations was made.
This film is a mess. The plot is wonky, and the direction is completely uninspired. We get some good performances out of the cast, particularly from Patrick Stewart and Malcolm McDowell. However, not much positive can really be said about Generations. Director David Carson is a veteran television director, and the TV part shows. There are times where his direction suggests that he is happier playing with various new cinematic styles previously unavailable to him on TV than actually doing anything worthwhile with said styles.
The big problem of this movie is that Paramount gave a list of demands (such as Kirk’s death, the destruction of the Enterprise, etc) to producer Rick Berman and writers Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore. The three of them had to force a story around the demands. The studio really seemed more concerned about cool marketing, and the idea of getting a good, logical story would have been completely incidental. For example, rumor has it that Paramount even made a mock poster of the old and new Enterprises fighting each other – an idea that makes absolutely no sense no matter how you spin it.
I guess Berman and co. did the best they could, but Generations is a blemish for everyone involved. That said, I highly recommend the Braga/Moore DVD audio commentary. It is a facinating listen as they discuss the hurdles they were up against when making this film.
It really is tough to recommend this film. I do enjoy it somewhat, but that has more to do with nostalgia value than actual quality. The Trek fan or pop-culture junkie might like it due to seeing Kirk and Picard team-up, but for the average movie-goer? It is best to pass on Star Trek Generations.