Review: Star Trek: Generations (1994)

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Star Trek: Generations (1994)

Directed by: David Carson | 118 minutes | action, adventure | Actors: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Malcolm McDowell, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, William Shatner, Jacqueline Kim

‘Star Trek’ has captured the imagination for more than half a century. With thirteen films and six series that now cover about eight hundred episodes, it is one of the largest franchises in the world. In all that time ‘Star Trek’ has had several highs and lows, of which the film ‘Generations’ is without a doubt one of the high points.

After seven seasons of ‘The Next Generation’, the popular sequel to the original ‘Star Trek’, the fun isn’t over yet: following the original cast, ‘The Next Generation’ has also taken the step to the silver screen . Led by Patrick Stewart (“X-Men”) as the illustrious Captain Jean-Luc Picard (the most British Frenchman in history), the entire cast returns in “Generations.” Not only that, but several cast members from the original ‘Star Trek’ from the 1960s make an appearance, culminating in the highly anticipated meeting between Picard and Captain James Kirk (William Shatner).

Like other film adaptations of popular series, ‘Generations’ does not want to fully mature as a film. Director David Carson has no film experience, but has directed several ‘Star Trek’ episodes. This is noticeable – ‘Generations’ sometimes feels like a long episode with a significantly bigger budget. Entirely in ‘Star Trek’ style, the plot is as mysterious as it is inimitable: after Captain Kirk disappears into a mysterious energy cloud, he is presumed dead. Nearly eighty years later, the protagonists of ‘The Next Generation’ discover the same cloud and their ship (the renowned Enterprise) crashes into a planet. There they try to stop the villain Soran (Malcolm McDowell, known from ‘A Clockwork Orange’). Soran is obsessed with the cloud and wants to destroy the planet in an attempt to enter the cloud. For fans of ‘Star Trek’ this is familiar stuff, for the uninitiated it means a lot of quasi-scientific chatter (but still fun science fiction).

Although the film is clearly still searching for the translation of ‘The Next Generation’ to the big screen, and relies too much on the – for fans of course – wonderful meeting between Picard and Kirk, the film is saved by its cast. Michael Dorn as the gruff Klingon Worf, Brent Spiner as the robot Data who wants nothing more than to become human, Marina Sirtis as the emotion-reading Deanna Troi and the rest of the cast have all played these characters for years and are good in their roles . As a maniacal villain, McDowell looks a bit dim, but gives them a real threat to resist. This makes ‘Star Trek Generations’ a film that is mainly there for the fans, although it is also an entertaining science fiction adventure for outsiders.

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