‘Star Trek’ movies rewatch: ‘Star Trek: Generations’

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The story

When the newly-launched Enterprise-B is critically damaged while trying to rescue two ships caught in an energy ribbon called The Nexus, Captain Kirk is presumed dead.

78 years later, a scientist named Dr. Tolian Soran plans to access The Nexus, and he’s prepared to destroy a whole star-system to do so. As Soran crosses paths with the crew of the Enterprise-D, it soon becomes apparent to Captain Jean-Luc Picard that there’s only one person who can help: Captain James Tiberius Kirk.

Best moments

Kirk’s death is the truly monumental moment of the movie, although when it comes there’s something rather underwhelming about it. The same can’t be said for the Enterprise-D’s dramatic saucer separation and destructive crash-landing on Veridian III though, nor for the exciting opener as the Enterprise-B takes a hammering on the edge of The Nexus.

Malcolm McDowell giving his ‘time is the fire in which we burn’ speech is the villain’s finest point in the film, and though it’s not a single moment, take note of Patrick Stewart’s nuanced performance from when he learns of his brother’s death right up to the point he breaks into tears. Heartbreaking.


» The first movie to have its own promotional website.

» In the early scenes on the Enterprise-B, look out for Tim Russ as a human member of the crew. Russ would later go on to play the Vulcan Lt. Tuvok in Star Trek: Voyager.

» Kirk’s final words, ‘Oh my’, are an ad-lib.

» Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelley, and George Takei were all asked to return but declined for various reasons: Nimoy didn’t like Spock’s role in the script, Kelley was too ill to take part, and Takei felt Sulu returning to take the helm would be a demotion for the character.

» Kirk’s farm homestead actually belongs to William Shatner. In the film, keep an eye out for a wall cabinet featuring (among other things) a Klingon bat’leth, a weapon of the Jem’Hadar (from Star Trek: DS9), and photos of the Enterprise and its crew.

Best quotes

» Dr. Soran: ‘They say Time is the fire in which we burn, and right now my time is running out. We leave so many unfinished things in our lives. I’m sure you understand.’

» Kirk: [to Picard] ‘Who am I to argue with the Captain of the Enterprise?’

» Data: ‘Oh shit!’

» Picard: ‘Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives, but I’d rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment… because they’ll never come again.’

» Kirk: [His dying words] ‘It was… fun… Oh my.’

The verdict

The Captain of the Enterprise is dead. Long live the Captain. You can’t call Generations a handing over of the baton – The Next Generation had been on our screens for seven years at this point and Picard was already winning some of the ‘Who’s the Better Captain?’ debates – but what it is is a chance to defy the wishes of the late Gene Roddenberry and fulfil the fan-fiction wishes of many a Trekkie by saying ‘Make it so’ to the idea of uniting Kirk and Picard.

It does so to a reasonably satisfactory degree. There’s a ‘smorgasBorg’ of classic Trek tropes to feed and please fans of both generations of the show: mild time travel, Klingons, a space battle, the typical human dilemmas of a good Trek episode, but best of all, a more youthful crew whose energy reinvigorates a film franchise that had been warping closer to realising The Simpsons parody, ‘Star Trek XII: So Very Tired’.

Yet there’s no escaping the fact that Generations is ultimately a shiny construct built with singular purpose: the fangasmic opportunity to see two Enterprise captains working together. Their partnership is a touch anticlimactic, and that undermines the film’s third act, but there is something undeniably thrilling about seeing the infinitely tweaked and polished Picard saving a solar system with the rascally old dog Kirk.

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