Monday, December 23, 2013

Star Trek: Generations


  After Kirk's day in the captain's chair came to an end with Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, Paramount had a new captain commanding the Enterprise on TV. It was only fit to bring him to the silver screen as well. What better way to get butts in seats than to promise a Star Trek team-up of epic proportions? The two captains, in one movie. Jean Luc Picard and James Tiberius Kirk. Whilst it's not a bad movie, it certainly fails to live up to expectations. Feeling less than classic or epic, Generations sadly comes off like an extended episode of the TV show. It has only a few moments that flirt with the full grandeur of a big budget motion picture. However, it's real crime is far worse...

  The story is nothing spectacular and feels like a mediocre excuse to get Shatner and Stewart in the same flick, what's worse is... they barely have ten minutes of shared screentime. That's right folks. They got both captains in one movie, and hardly had them sharing the screen. It's pretty much a gyp. The plot is good, the pacing as well, even the special effects are good. However, the story is mundanely average Trek fare. Yet, its not all a waste. The villain, played with gusto by Malcolm Mcdowell, while un-extraordinary, is well acted, and has quite the onscreen presence.  There is an recurring theme of family, lineage, and offspring that is well used, and saves the movie from being inert. It's very interesting to see how both Picard and Kirk react to some of these things. It's quite emotional.

  Going solely on the premise of putting two captains in one movie, there had to have been an infinite amount of better stories to use. I don't believe in the even-numbered curse. I thought Star Trek III: The Search For Spock was one of the better ones. Yet, this movie isn't so hot. I mean, give me one hour and a laptop and I can come up with a better story for you. One that could give the devotees what they wanted. Kirk and Picard kicking ass together, and for more than just five minutes. The sheer promise of that still gets me excited. Yet... the movie doesn't deliver, sadly. However, that aside, as a Trek movie, it's still a notch above lazy sci-fi actioners we have nowadays. You can tell effort went into this. Occasionally misplaced effort, but still there was palpable passion behind it. Everyone is giving the best performance they can, and Patrick Stewart is on his A-game as always. He's a joy to watch, even if the proceedings aren't the spectacular silver screen premiere people expected.

  That being said, there's still enough lasers, explosions, spaceships and yelling to make this a fun popcorn movie. Being a weak entry in a good franchise doesn't necessarily default it a bad movie, just not as good as the others.  I enjoy Generations when I watch it, I also recognize the missed potential. Which is a tricky balance as a viewer. I don't think the missed potential topples it's better moments, and buries the movie. I think it's a fun movie. If you enjoy watch the crew of the Enterprise D do their thing, and save the day- no doubt there's a part of you that will enjoy this as well.

 The story is about a destructive energy ribbon in space that has been roaming around the galaxy with the punctuality of a comet. Long ago it tore through a group of ships, and the death toll was catastrophic. Now, the crew of the Enterprise finds themselves face to face with a brilliant, enigmatic, madman whose destructive agenda somehow involves that same space ribbon. It's a mystery they must solve in order to catch him, and prevent him from committing genocide.  The story sounds promising, and in the moment, while you're watching it- it's not bad from scene to scene. Due in no small part to the quality of acting and production design. The movie is easy to watch, and easy to enjoy. Only in closer examination do you feel really let down.

  Having said all that, I don't think it's fair to bash this movie as I've seen some fans do. I've seen it enough times to know I don't necessarily mind it. There are far worse Trek movies lined up, ripe for bashing. This doesn't have to be one of them. It's a disappointing entry, but not a bad movie. It's just another Trek flick that revolves around a murderous madman with an agenda. I'm sure that rings a bell. Or... ten. An unceremonious start to the second generation of Star Trek adventures on the big screen. Nowhere to boldly go but up. Right?

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