Is Star Trek Generations the worst Star Trek film ever? In this episode of the Shuttle Pod we simultaneously tear apart and defend the film that was meant to pass the torch from The Original Series to the crew of the Enterprise-D, The Next Generation.
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Star Trek Generations was the film that was meant to pass the baton, officially transitioning Trekkies from their beloved TOS crew to the new shiny crew of The Next Generation. But, did this film actually succeed at that? Or did it just get weird and end with three old dudes wrestling in the desert?
Shuttle Pod co-host Jared posits that because the film did such a poor job of merging the stories of TOS and TNG, that it is the worst Star Trek film ever made. Kayla does her best to defend a film that, let’s face it, has some confusing moments. Brian brings some great pieces of trivia to the table (did you know that Leonard Nimoy was offered the director’s chair?) making for an awesome hour-long discussion of Star Trek Generations.
I have an open enough mind to enjoy most of Star Trek – couldn’t forgive Into Darkness – and have a soft spot in my heart for Generations. Loved Data’s “Oh S41%” comment and the temporal ribbon.
Didn’t love how quickly the Enterprise was bested by the Duras sisters but found Soran to have the best villain one liners since Khan.
Overall, it was forgiveably enjoyable. I also love Nevada’s Valley of Fire standing in for an alien world.
No offense, but cutting slack for the awful Generations while simultaneously saying you can’t do the same for STID is the height of hypocrisy. The way Berman and company killed off Kirk in Generations was the worst travesty in the history of Star Trek on screen. I’ll take a white Khan and magic blood any day over that horrible joke of a movie.
Nonsense. The FIRST way Kirk was going to die was the worst travesty in the history of Star Trek.
Exactly as I also responded.
No, I’m referring to how they killed Kirk before the reshoot.
The death of Kirk in Generations was one of the worst endings for a major character in the entire TV and Movie series. I was shocked in the theatre when it happened and the movie suffered from the scene. Although Shatner’s acting was fine, the situation was not. I was very disappointed with the end of Generations because I had a completely different end in mind. While I understand the reasons for the Kirk death scene, I have never been satisfied with the scene and feel to this day that CBS All-Access needs to redo part of this film’s storyline to put the Nexus into perspective while maintaining the believability of the franchise and the primary story line. I have thoughts on how to do this correctly and would love to share ideas with the creative team.
Agreed. Can’t believe Shatner actually agreed to that travesty.
For some reason, actors love to play death scenes. It was the main attraction for Nimoy to agree to do WOK. Fortunately for him, the WOK script was ultimately vastly superior to what they ended up with in Generations.
No matter how bad Generations was, Into Darkness remains the worst, right next to Nemesis. The white Kahn and magic blood were but only a fraction of the tripe contained within Into Darkness.
Nerd nitpick: trilithium was first mentioned in TNG ‘Starship Mine” as an unstable substance. He was right and apparently Memory Alpha needs an update.
Other nerd nitpick: Why couldn’t Soran have just beamed himself into the Nexus? Or put himself in a spacesuit in its path? They wrote themselves into so many knots, but I truly feel for Moore and Braga for what they were trying to pull together in this script.
And I love the call out to the cinematography – it really is gorgeously shot.
The plot is full of holes. Any time you give characters control over time you have problems. For example, when Picard discovered he could leave the Nexus literally ANY time he wanted and drop himself literally WHEN ever he wanted… Why not go back and just think of a reason to detain him when they met in the bar? For that matter, why not go further back to before they were on the holodeck sailing ship, contact his brother and try and warn them about the potential fire? And how about when it looked like Kirk and Picard were about to fail, just let the Nexus come, then just try again?
That said, Kirk’s death scene was somewhat moving. Really liked the “It was fun” line. Just felt it wrong that Picard would leave one of Trek’s greatest hero on some barren world, though.
Interestingly, you bring up a point that could have raised the stakes,. If somehow, Picard had to choose one specific time to leave and could impact only one specific event in history, he would have been forced to choose between saving his brother, saving Kirk, saving the ship etc vs saving the unknown people in the solar system.
That would have been a lot better.
The real problem is the Nexus itself. They didnt want another time travel movie after doing All Good Things but All Good Things was a much better story. That should have been adapted for the film with the past Enterprise being Kirk’s…
“Why couldn’t Soran have just beamed himself into the Nexus?” — Ian
Presumably for the same reason the Enterprise-B couldn’t beam Guinan’s people out of it. Something about the Nexus blocked transporter lock-on.
And I agree, Soran was obviously tracking the Nexus and we know from the movie’s opening that people in a ship will get sucked into it; so why couldn’t he plot an interception course with a space ship?
“Presumably for the same reason the Enterprise-B couldn’t beam Guinan’s people out of it. Something about the Nexus blocked transporter lock-on.” – Disinvited
Our protagonists know the path of the ribbon. Soran knows the path of the ribbon. He could have put himself into an EV suit and transported himself directly into the ribbon’s path minutes or hours before it arrived.
The gravametric distortions would tear a ship apart. Ok. Raise shields, fly in and drop them. Ship blows up and he’s in the ribbon.
I think the hardest thing for me is a villain that becomes a villain because he/she/it lacks the ability of critical thinking and foresight. I get the pain he is going through at the loss of his family to the Borg and his desire to be with them no matter the cost, but the poor thought put into writing the character just doesn’t make the villainy believable. Nero’s villainy was believable. He sought revenge and he saw the Vulcan’s as the culprit in the death of his beloved wife and saw the Federation as complicit in his wife’s death. That was a believable motive behind his villainy.
This kind of writing by Braga has always been an issue I’ve had with him. When there is a villain like the Borg he can write it well. It’s not difficult to write a villain that you don’t need to really provide a comprehensive history on. There is no need for depth, so he can write it. But, when it comes to expanding on that past, he falls flat on his face. I think this is a reason Braga is very hit and miss on his writing.
Just my opinion though. Please feel free to disagree and show me where I am wrong. I enjoy debating these kinds of things.
Capt JW Amick,
You don’t leave me with a lot about GENERATIONS to disagree. I’ve always said there’s nothing about a halfway decent premise, E-A vs. E-B, that the BB Gun (Berman and Braga) couldn’t turn into a script shot full of holes, i.e. BBs.
However your assertion that Nero makes sense, can only fly if we totally ignore the fact that for him to precisely calculate when and where Spock Prime would emerge in the alternate universe, then he must have a perfect understanding of the parallel universe creating phenomenon and where he really is. And if Nero knows he’s in a different universe, then all the revenge taking actions he takes there make absolutely NO sense because he KNOWS he’s only heaping them upon altered duplicates and NOT the actual beings responsible for the loss of his loved ones and home world. Beings, who are being spared from his wrath while he wastes time there.
And deep down, while Nero knows that the Vulcanitarian and philosopher Spock is being deeply affected by his atrocities, he knows, that Spock knows HIS Vulcan and its universe are untouched by these acts, and Nero’s just not getting as much in return for revenge investment in the alternate universe as he could.
Now what would have made more sense as a Nero alternate universe motivation is if he had done all these atrocities to prepare for his return to the Prime universe where he planned to ultimately exact his revenge, perhaps futilely as he only needs to believe that he can get back i.e. he doesn’t actually have to get back, for his motivation and actions to be somewhat credible in the alternate universe, which would be more than what we got. It also would have made credible why altKirk had to kill an already doomed Nero, i.e. if there was even the slightest chance Nero could successfully traverse back to his Prime universe, that eventuality would have to be eliminated, as Nero’s alternate universe acts proved, billions of Prime lives were threatened by Nero’s ultimate plan.
Capt JW Amick,
I meant E-A vs. E-D
Excellent comments “disinvited”!
I can not argue with any of your points and agree with you totally.
The point about beaming via transporter into the Nexus is a good one. One could legitimately argue that the ribbon was on a known trajectory (which is how Soran knows to build the rocket). He could have just hijacked a shuttle craft and then beamed himself in a life sustaining pressure suit into the pathway, wait five minutes for the ribbon to pass and then either get engulfed in the ribbon or beam back (if he missed).
Nice podcast. In spite of it’s flaws, Star Trek Generations is my favourite TNG movie, miles better than Nemesis.
One thing missing from your discussion is wisdom behind destroying the Enterprise D.
Kinda disappointed we only got to see the Galaxy Class starship on the big screen once.
Also, ST Generations has a great soundtrack.
You are forgetting about “Insurrection”. Nemesis is light years better that that turd.
For the record, I was pleased as hell to finally see the USS Hilton bite the dust in Generations.
One of my favorite starship designs is the Galaxy Class. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone dislike it before. But hey, it’s all good. To each their own!
A lot of the people who had to actually shoot it didn’t love all the angles it presented.
I know yoy didn’t mean it this way, but it gave me a chuckle imagining all the Romulans, Klingons, Borg, etc. taking aim and getting flumoxed by all the angles.
It is a very flawed film, but despite it’s shortcomings I totally love Generations.
It is also one of Trek’s biggest missed opportunities; a more polished script and there’s no reason why Bones and Spock could not have appeared in the story, as they were\are both alive and well in the 24th century during the events of the film.
If I remember correctly, Bones was going to be in it, but his poor health prohibited the studio from getting an insurance contract on him for the time he was to be working. I guess it’s a standard practice. Anyway, the role was forced to be withdrawn for that reason. . . . At least if I’m remembering that accurately.
DeForest Kelley was in failing health, otherwise he would have appeared. Leonard Nimoy declined to appear in what he considered a cameo.
I imagine everyone said all the nasty things about Nimoy that they said about Shatner for not wanting to do a cameo? lol
Is that really Kelley’s reason not to do it though?
I think the official reason for Dee not doing it is that he felt his character was wrapped up well enough in ST6.
If his health was an issue though, it might have put the whole ‘Crew of the E-A v. Crew of the E-D’ off the table from the outset.
Someone seriously questions Star Trek V’s legacy as the worst Star Trek film ever made?
Nemesis and Insurection are both worse than Star Trek V
That’s like saying mucas is marginally preferable to feces and urine
Is ‘mucas’ related to Duras?
TFF has always been in my top 2 or 3, for the worst I’d say it is a tossup between trek09 and NEMESIS. Seriously.
I think 5’s character moments redeem it to some extent.
In the way that Nemesis’ didn’t.
Star Trek V has some great elements in it. I wish they would recreate the FX they really wanted, because V’s effects were truly awful. And having uhura do that awful dance number…unforgivable.
Not the worst Star Trek movie ever. Definitely has the most useless death of a main character in a Star Trek movie ever!
Oh…. In a movie… Perhaps. My mind immediately went to “Trip” dying just so Archer could be in time for a speech. But that was a worthless TV death.
Archer should have died. I hated his character. Trip and Topal was the best characters on that show.
I can never get the podcasts to play?!? :(
Sorry to hear that you’re having an issue. What browser are you using?
Can you get this to play?:
You can leave the nexus at any time and go anywhere – according to Guinan. This is the biggest plot hole in the film. Picard could leave Kirk the hell alone and go back to when he first met Soran. Maybe the lamentable TNG movies from that point on were actually carrying on in Picard’s mind.
Yes. That was a HUGE plot hole. One that could have been solved somewhat by coming up with some reason why someone could only leave the Nexus once because of some sort of tecnobabble reason.
There is also the argument that everything that transpired after the Nexus is merely a Nexus fantasy for Picard. The the reality is that the crew died and the solar system was wiped out.
And anothsr massive plothole is…there is a copy of Kirk there. When picard asks giniun to go back with him, she says, she can’t because she is already there…in the real world, so wouldn’t kirk also have a copy of himself in the nexus. So fir all we know, the nexus is out there in the universe with god only knows how many copies of individuals are in the nexus.
Where does one begin to pick Generations part? I havent seen it in some time. Im sure every scene would have something to complain about.
I liked the opening. The bottle hurtling through space and smashing against the hull. It was a cool idea to show us the launch of a new Enterprise as sort of a metaphor or tease for the passing of the torch from TOS to TNG. And it showed a different and interesting take on Star Fleet.
The best scenes in the film were the “TOS” scenes. Sort of doze off for the TNG stuff and then perk up again once Kirk returns.
Not having Bones and Spock there really sucked. Shows the arrogance of Rick Berman to not make changes/improvements to get Spock in the movie. A grander vision, maintaining the terrible plot would have seen an aged Spock interject during the TNG times to explain some key piece of information to Picard to help save the day and save James Kirk, leading to an emotional reunion at the end, rather then the senseless death.
They did Shatner a terrible dis-service, not just in the silly death but the whole portrayal of Kirk. The opening scene was okay in that it continued the character arc of Kirk and the aging motif, at least to an acceptable level if unspectacular. But the idea he dicked around the Nexus for 75 years but Picard figured it out afer five minutes is silly. The fact Kirk ignored Picard’s pleas and dismissed the idea of death and destruction. Just terrible.
Shatner overshadowed the great Stewart in those scenes too. He certainly showed the immensity of the character of James Kirk.
And ofcourse the psychology of the final fight was all wrong. Two good guys double teaming the bad guy…all wrong. And if they were all swept up in the Nexus, how were they able to fight Soren again? Is Soren still in the Nexus? Could he not “leave” and go back and kill Picard? Just so many plot holes. The absurdity of Picard choosing THAT moment to go back…moronic.
And the destruction of the Enterprise, which was a great scene, was silly in that it was due to one shot from an old Bird of Prey. Much rather see Riker in command taking on a fleet of ships in an impossible scenery and managing to “win” while losing the ship.
“The best scenes in the film were the “TOS” scenes. Sort of doze off for the TNG stuff and then perk up again once Kirk returns.”
I felt the exact same way. When Kirk was on screen was where the movie had life, strangely enough. And this is admitting that Stewart is 5 times the actor Shatner is.
But to play devil’s advocate here… Time in the Nexus has no meaning. Picard was told by Whoopi that from Kirk’s point of view he just arrived too. But while Picard had the Guinen ghost to tell him about the Nexus, Kirk had no one.
From the get-go, Generations was doomed because it was conceived by studio suits.
–‘Hey! Let’s wrap up the TOS movies and nudge the audience over to TNG movies!’
–‘That’s great, Boss. How do we do that?’
–‘Kirk meets Picard!’
–‘That’s great, Boss. Then what?’
–‘Kirk dies. Maybe twice in the same movie. Maybe he’s shot in the back, or a bridge hits him on the head or whatever. You know, to underscore that fans don’t need to think about TOS movies anymore.’
–‘Uh, that’s great Boss… um… really? Dead? Spock doesn’t show up to save him or even to try? Kirk couldn’t just retire and open a bar?’
No. It was not the worst ever. It wasn’t even the worst TNG film. (Insurrection earns that honor). TVH and TFF were certainly worse that ST:G.
The less said about Generations the better. But I did enjoy watching Shatner’s Kirk charm the pants off Picard and seeing the Enterprise D obliterated was a dream come true…I’m just sorry the movie didn’t end at that point! lol
The rest of the movie was a mess.
I understand why De & Leonard said no. Why the hell wasn’t George there? His daughter was sitting in his old chair. Take a week’s leave, grab a shuttle, and get there! (Actually, the sheer number of plotholes in mind-numbing in Generations. Mostly, I hated the use of death as spice for the weak script.)
DeForest Kelley said ‘no’ due to health, not to objections with the story. I’ve never understood Nimoy’s objection, it was actually a pretty good little scene as originally written. The problems with it are largely because of Scotty and Chekov saying lines obviously written for Spock and McCoy.
Nimoy was, pretty much, insulted by the offer as well as their overall dismissal of his ideas to improve the script. They should’ve listened to the man lol
Generations does suffer by comparison with the relatively smart, tight Treks on either side, and by its own dopey decisions regarding the Nexus (worse than magic blood as an anti-drama death cheat) and failure to engage the perspective of the villain, an anonymous cipher.
Unfortunately, there is a great deal of competition for worst Trek product, whether due to lack of resources, failure of vision, bad execution, excruciating ‘comedy’ moments or what have you.
And yet it is such an inherently sturdy and rich premise that it remains meaningful and captivating after a half century.
I would argue that the bar is set by Diane Duane’s novels. They should be the quality target.
Star Trek movies in order of badness:
STID (sets a new standard in awful movies)
Nemesis (franchise killer)
ST-V (unbelievably awful all thanks to the Shat)
Insurrection (a really bad episode on the big screen)
Generations (one of the greatest lost opportunities in SF history)
The awful thing with the Borg Queen (so, so over-rated)
My God there have been a lot of really, really bad ST movies.
Let’s see… Out of 12 movies only 4 were pretty bad.
Of the 4 Generations was #9
Final Frontier #10
And The Voyage Home at #12 was the absolute worst by far, Mainly because is was a pathetic plot, poorly written, characters that acted completely out of character, lame jokes that make no sense, and the tired and weak time travel concept. My goodness it was pure dreck.
But there were three really good ones. #3 First Contact, #2 Undiscovered Country and of course, #1 Wrath of Kahn.
Trek 4 the absolute worst? Everyone actibg ut of character? Okaaaay….haven’t seen a whole lot of TOS, I take it. lol
You crazy. Star trek IV is one of the best and most successfully. Did we watch the same film ?
I don’t think STID is an awful movie, let alone the definitive awful movie. It wasn’t even among the worst movies that summer.
There were story problems – and it was trying way too hard to be an homage to Wrath of Khan and none of it quite fit together.
But it actually did everything people here kept saying they wanted Trek to do — be a current events allegory, acknowledge Trek’s past, deal with ideas, be full of Easter Eggs.
It also looked great.
I was just thinking of it vs. Generations. For all it’s flaws, Generations has at least a few scenes that I like watching and rewatching over and over again — the stellar cartography scene, Picard’s appearance in the nexus. In STID (and Nemesis and Insurrection) there aren’t really any scenes that I enjoy on repeat viewings.
I hated Picard’s appearance in the Nexus. Some weird Dickens-esque Christmas with people never mentioned before? At least Kirk was getting it on with an old flame. Picard’s should have been a fantasy life with Kamala, or Nella Darren, or his family from “Inner Light”, or Beverly. Anyone one of those would have been better. I think fans would have freaked if it had been Beverly, and I think there would have been lots of “Oh my God, that’s Kamala from The Perfect Mate” too.
Stellar Cartography was a thing of beauty, though. The writing of Generations fell apart, but it was firing on all thrusters, special effects-wise.
Never knew about the costume shortage in Generations. That’s just stupid. I did read that Patrick was cheesed big-time at wrapping “All Good Things…” and beginning Generations almost immediately. You can hear the fatigue (or a cold) in his voice during the horsey scene with Kirk.
What was not mentioned is that they did design new costumes for Generations and even got as far as sending the look to Playmates for their lineup of tie-in toys. At some point after that they decided not to spend money on new costumes and just mix the DS9 and Voyager outfits together. I assume the cost of adding more DS9-style uniforms was amortized by the knowledge they’d soon be used for Voyager as well.
At an initial $30 million, “Generations” had a very small budget – the penny pinching led to the much lamented destruction of the Bird of Prey that involved only one torpedo and reused footage from “The Undiscovered Country.” Goes to show how dire those test screenings must have been to get Paramount to pony up for reshooting the entire ending climax.
In the end, Playmates got the rawest deal by having to sell toys with the aborted uniform design as they got word of the changes too late into their production. If you look them up you’ll see the intended designs.
From what I read, the construction/manufacture of the new uniforms was a bit problematic and shoddy.
Well, it allowed for the fabrication of the grey uniforms which looked rather more luxurious, so it was a good thing in the end.
I have the Riker one — stripes on the cuffs. Never knew why until now. Thanks.
I rather like Generations. It was the first Star Trek film I saw in the cinema when I was 12. It cemented for me my love for Star Trek. Seeing those characters together on the big screen was thrilling. I remember seeing it with a bunch of friends who mostly hadn’t a clue about the differences between TOS or TNG, the Kirk/Picard debate. They loved it for the action and humour and fun of it all. To this day whenever I watch Generations it reminds me of that time when Star Trek ruled the world and turned my friends in to fellow fans.
Also as a Trek film, I’ve always enjoyed the development of the characters in this one. Patrick Stewarts performance is my favourite of the TNG films. It was nuanced and emotional, not showy or overblown. Certainly it didn’t have Stewart attempting to mould himself as the action hero or love interest that both First Contact and Insurrection suffered from.
I sometimes feel like a Generations apologist, but I think for all its flaws, it does many things well. It was a product of its time, made to a laundry list of studio demands, a modest budget and a cast and crew mostly accustomed to working for television.
Great podcast though. Might have to watch Generations again later now.
“Generations” is a flawed film, but I really liked the Picard and Kirk parts. They had great chemistry I thought.
Stellar cartography is cool. They advertised that the movie would show Data’s innards in depth, but that wasn’t realized.
Blowing up the Enterprise D was lame.
Re:Flying a helicopter
I’m not sure you are keeping the actual number of years in the time span in mind and how primitive technology of the past becomes child’s play to future generations.
STNG takes place 300 years in the future. Three hundred years in our past the horse was the major mode of transportation and yet none of you found it incredulous that Kirk and Picard 300 MORE years distant from that were expert horsemen.
From my own memory: I believe a player of this NASA shuttle PC simulator:
made headlines when he contacted NASA as he found an undocumented way to land the shuttle and wanted to know if it was a glitch or would actually work. NASA tried it on their simulators and it worked! I recall a NASA spokesman at a news conference saying they were adding it to their emergency landing options part of the actual Shuttle flight manual.
Whether you accept my recall of that or not, it serves to illustrate a point: don’t you think 200 years from now that computer game simulations of flying old helicopters would be so realistic for kids of that era that as adults they might be able to actually pull it off in a real one?
And keep in mind that the TOS films clearly establish simulators are still being used in that era too.
OK, my memory was a little off:
It was the actual programmer playing his own Activision SPACE SHUTTLE game that found the new landing method:
“Apparently there aren’t any
easter eggs (names etc.) in Shuttle
although there is one interesting quirk
in the program which proved quite
useful to both the gamer and NASA.
The story began when Steve [Kitchen] was
playing with Space Shuttle and
discovered that there was a way of
landing it on back-up engines alone,
which saves an awful lot of fuel. Upon
discovering this, Steve contacted NASA
and told them that it was possible to do
this on his game; was the same true of
the main shuttle simulator? NASA
were sure that it wasn’t but said they
would try it anyway. They tried and to
their amazement Steve’s maneuver
actually works on the real thing.” — EXCLUSIVE Steve Kitchen, by Darrin Williamson, TV GAMER JUNE ’84, pp 6-7
Chopped off the important bit:
“Following on from that, an addition was
made to the shuttle flight manual,
instructing real pilots how this is done.” — EXCLUSIVE Steve Kitchen, by Darrin Williamson, TV GAMER JUNE ’84, pp 6-7
Sorry, Disinvited, but the story regarding “back-up engines” and the orbiter has to be false. There were no “back-up engines” on the space shuttle. It landed purely on energy translating to glide without engines. The vehicle literally fell like a rock through the air and only flared in the last few seconds of the landing.
My sense is the “backup engines” were used to initiate landing in the de-orbit phase or during emergency landing at launch to ensure glide speed reached? But I would think we could download the NASA Shuttle Flight Operations Manual from NASA or some museum site, and compare it to the Activision Game Manual to see what they mean by “backup engines”?
Brian Drew was right.
In TNG Starship Mine, the bad guys who sneak aboard the Enterprise are there to steal trilithium resin: http://memory-alpha.wikia.com/wiki/Starship_Mine_%28episode%29
There’s a DS9 episode—can’t remember which one—in which O’Brien removes the outer portion of his uniform and is seen in his (yellow?) turtlenecked undergarment, which also has a zipper on it.
I don’t think that the at-times black, at-times purple, at-times red/yellow/blue undergarment was a dicky, but rather a complete undershirt. Whether or not some of the costumes just had dicky in lieu of the whole undershirt, I couldn’t say. But, my impression is that we are meant to believe that it’s a complete undershirt that gets zipped up just like the jumpsuit outer-garment.
What’s interesting to me about Jared’s thesis in this podcast is how it opens up the greater issue of what attributes people value most in movies. Kayla’s position is a perfectly reasonable one—regardless of the individual problems in the movie, if you enjoy watching it on the whole, then your visceral enjoyment tends to be an end, in and of itself.
Another way of judging badness in these movies is: which of the candidates for worst Trek movie has the most numerous and most severe cringe-inducing moments. I’d have to watch them back-to-back, but my feeling is that STV is more cringe-inducing in toto than Generations. The way that the Enterprise crew, except for Kirk and Spock, are made to look like fools falling for Sybok the Evangelist—who, by the way is Spock’s long-lost brother that we never heard of—sticks out for me as a good candidate for the most cringe-inducing series of moments in all of Trekdom. Nemesis is certainly not to be outscored on the cringe-o-meter, with its stupid B4 scenes, Picard smiling ear-to-ear as dune-buggies on an alien planet, various Shinzon scenes—like the one where he mind-rapes Troi, and let’s not forget the photo of bald Picard in his Academy days (see, he’s bald! just like Shinzon!). I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention re-written Khan (not “Alt” Khan, because, remember he was frozen before the Alt Universe and timeline formed) in STID crying like a whiny crybaby in the Enterprise brig—charismatic leader of one quarter of the Earth’s population indeed.
Yet another way of judging badness is whether there’s any point or attempt at literary/philosophic/humanistic value in the story. By this measure, STV, with its search for God and the meaning of life premise and related themes ranks more highly for me than Generations, Nemesis and STID. Generations does have a central theme to its story, it being a cautionary tale about addiction and/or the avoidance of reality, but in my opinion it’s not as strong as the overarching theme and various sub-themes of STV. I mean, how do you get a stronger theme than God resides only within man? That’s going to get everybody’s attention. Obviously, STV had myriad problems with respect to the execution of its theme and its story in general.
A fourth way of judging badness is the number and severity of plot holes or “logic problems” in the story. There’s a whopper in Generations, which was covered in this podcast—our heroes could have easily defeated Soran by simply choosing an earlier point in time to travel back to from the Nexus. There’s no shortage of plot holes and logic problems in Nemesis and STID, either. I’d have to watch it again, but I don’t recall STV having quite as many. First Contact actually takes the cake in its number and severity of plot holes and logic problems. Mr. Plinkett was right when he said that “nothing in [that] movie makes sense!” The story really makes no sense whatsoever. But, obviously that doesn’t bother people as much, because First Contact stubbornly persists as a fan favorite. Let me end this now before I get on about First Contact. Suffice it to say, this is required viewing for all Trek fans: http://redlettermedia.com/plinkett/star-trek/star-trek-first-contact/
P.S. Actually, the Khan in STID is technically “Alt” Khan because, even though he’s identical to Khan Prime in every important way until the former is defrosted by Marcus, STID’s Khan does reside in that movie’s Alt Universe/Timeline. So, he is appropriately called “Alt Khan.” Not that it matters much.
…identical to Khan Prime in every important way except his personality. And race.
However, I think Khan Prime could pronounce the word ‘penguins’. >;>}
About the uniforms and the shortage. They had originally designed new uniforms for Generations that were a combination of the TNG and TWOK Uniforms, with the rank braid sleeves of TOS. They filmed for awhile with the new uniforms, but for some reason decided to scrap them. Playmates had already made the toys for the film with new uniforms. I believe these new uniforms were also intended for use on Voyager. Personally I’ve loved these uniforms and wish they’d used them. See the links below for photos of the uniforms
Star Trek Generations was a ” failure ” from Rick Berman. Not only did he need Captain Kirk in the film but in order for the film to be a success against the sorry critics was to have Kirk die. Berman killed Star Trek when this film debuted!
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Another thing that always bugged me was Kirk’s “old love”. Who the heck was she? If we were to experience Kirk’s emotional distress over the choice it should have been Carol. It might have required some actual creative writing to make it make sense. But it should have been Carol. Including a line about Kirk “settling down with a wife…a son…” would have added even more gravitas to Kirk’s character.
But I suspect no one involved with Generations even saw WoK.
Building on the prior movies, yes. But I would have been happy with Rayna, who affected Kirk so deeply Spock had to give him the reverse McCoy, or Edith. Not to mention his first wife, Miramanee.
Yeah I would have been okay if it was someone we had seen. The point of the woman was to tempt Kirk to ignore Picard. So you have James Kirk of all people basically say to heck with a billion people and the universe, I don’t care because this is my chance to do it over. And as he realizes none of its real, he’s staring up at the woman.
That woman had to represent the alternative life for Kirk. And while it could logically be any woman, to have the emotional impact on the audience it should have been someone we knew. If it was Carol, it implies a chance to do it over, not just love and family but saving David too. TUC showed Kirk carrying David’s photo. Would have been more emotional for Kirk’s perfect alternative life to have been one where he stayed with Carol and David.
We have seen Kirk have many, many, many loves in his life. It is more true to Kirk’s character that he would have gone on and found new women to love. I like that we don’t know who she is, that she is not from anything we have seen previously. It indicates his life went on. It is actually one of the more believable and true to character parts of the movie. I also like that Kirk had the big dog Butler, a nice carryover from William Shatner’s real life love of big dogs.
Moore & co had the right idea initially for GEN – the poster being the refit and the -D shooting at each other. They just never came up with a story that supported it, though I bet the Reeves-Stevenses could have easily.
With age, “Generations” has really grown on me. I think it is one of the most under appreciated films of the entire movie. As I faced illness and my own mortality and my own focus on career, I learned that the lessons in Star Trek Generations were ignored be me when I was a young adult and then mourned as a middle-aged person. I am quite fortunate that the lesson of Generations was not lost and that the Nexus experience of Picard would play a role in my own life. Best wishes to all! You have a great podcast!
I agree. Losing 3 out of 4 of our (my wife’s and my) parents in less than two weeks’ time completely turned around how I look at everything, and which films, tv shows, that writing means so much more than action, effects, cool sets, and macho posturing. Not that those (especially the last one) meant much to me before, but now they mean nothing. I’d rather watch two hours of people sitting and talking about life than the same amount of time of uniforms running up and down corridors and CGI ships doing barrel rolls.
My favorite ST films are easy to list: 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9.
Your list is interesting.
When I was younger, the list would have been
4, 6, 2, 9, 7, 1, 3, 5
Now, the list is
6, 4, 7, 9, 2, 3, 5, 1
I think the order of the list changes over time and with age.
I agree, the order changes over time. TWOK used to be #1 for me, but nowadays I watch it only as a run-up to TSFS. I keep trying to find a copy of the first draft script for TSFS to see the full scope of pre-production changes, but I keep-missing-the-target! ;)
Geez man, I’m sorry, it was bad enough when your dad died, I remember that much.
My wife looked up my dad last year and found out he died about a decade back (hadn’t seen or heard from him since around the time I met you in mid-to-late-78, no huge loss, the guy actually loved MUZAK, but even so), and in the last few years my mom has gone further off the rails and become this utterly insane conservative fanatic with no respect for anyone’s opinion, informed or otherwise, so I feel like all of my family is gone without actually having any marker signifying same, which is weird too.
Still set in my ways, my fave treks remain TOS & DS9 only, and for the films, just 1, 2 & 5, though I admire INS for its intentions (the unpublished Piller book on how the script was undone is fascinating reading) and SFS for the way Shat plays the Kirk/Morrow scene and for the political parnoia aspect (this is something I don’t think you should be discussing in public.)
That’s the yin-yang of Trek for me, the ethics and seeing them stand in stark relief to the forces that seem to array against being able to maintain them. (wow, did I just boil TREK down to its essentials for me? I guess the last 43 years WEREN’T wasted after all.)
Yeah, I lost it when my dad died. He was my film-going pal, as well as helping me make so many films with you and the rest of the group out in our 2-car garage/studio set.
Sorry to hear about your dad, I seem to remember seeing a photo that you showed me? Anyway, it’s taken us the better part of 3 years to settle everything, the paperwork, property, etc. Losing my mom 2 days before Xmas then my wife’s parents 18 hours apart in the first week of January (all three of them were in different hospice facilities), we still haven’t had the time to go on a vacation. Her retirement is coming soon, though. Before my mom started having strokes toward the end, we watched on cable Creature from the Black Lagoon and Day the Earth Stood Still (the original of course), and that was fun.
I’m just at the point where I don’t want to see space battles or fights of ANY kind. They bore the h*ll out of me. Day the Earth Stood Still is as near-perfect a film as there ever was, IMHO.
I really appreciate all of your help back in the old San Jose filmmaking days, in how many films? A dozen? Oh, and don’t forget: “Star Trek Speaks!” ;) :D :)
PS: Realizing that my favorite ST films are all odd numbers, isn’t that odd for me…I stood in line for hours to see Tim Burton’s ED WOOD (1994), one of my favorite films. (Jeez, I even had a friend who knew the real Ed Wood, lol!)
Great discussion guys. Wondering if this movie would have been better if they had not excluded the orbital sky diving scene at the beginning of the movie and later the Geordie torcher scene. Both were filmed but the special effects were never completed.
By the way, trilithium was indeed referenced during next gen lore. Trilithium resin is a residual from the warp engines and was the target of the thieves that had boarded the Enterprise D in Starship Mine. Sixth season. So yeah, big continuity problem with this one.
A movie rushed into production that does a disservice both to the original show’s characters (Berman kills Kirk twice and literally has him buried) and the TNG characters (would the characters of the TNG series be stupid enough to allow a crewman back on duty after he’d been tortured and interrogated and not check his optical device for bugs?)
I dislike overwriting established continuity if there’s a better alternative, but Generations is the only Star Trek tale of any movie or Trek series (including Nemesis) that I’d happily pretend didn’t happen. Give us an aged Admiral Kirk sending the Enterprise on her new voyages in the new TV show and I won’t complain.
Don’t need to explain much.
“Admiral Kirk? Didn’t you die?”
Kirk: “I got better.”
Nimoy, wasn’t in it because there was no story for the Spock Character. As Kirk had said “you’d do the same for me”! Spock would have found away of saving Kirk from the Nexus, that may have been an elder Spock 75 years later.
A missed opportunity to have both complete casts.
So the original idea was to have Enterprise-A vs Enterprise-D? That’s stupid. That would be like having Batman vs. Superman.
And while Batman v Superman sucked, it was not due to the concept. It was due to the lousy film maker in way over his head. Im still recovering from the 2.5 hours of joyless car wreck that was BvS… ;-)
I’ve recently started watching VOYAGER again from the beginning.
How is it supposed to be that Voyager has repeated encounters with the same ships, like Cullah’s, which have technology inferior to Voyager’s, when Voyager is presumed to be heading in a straight line away from the original encounters with these ships and away from the Delta Quadrant in general? If it were the Borg or another species that had ships which could overtake Voyager, or made use of wormholes to take short-cuts through subspace, then it would make sense for Voyager to re-encounter them further on down the trail.
Am I missing something?
Insurrection and 5 were the worst, stop it with that
Generations is my favorite among the Star Trek movies. It’s the most mind-boggling and beautifully scored trek movie IMO. There is, however, the glaring plot hole of Picard being able to leave the nexus when no one else could (unless they were forced out from the outside).
I’m fascinated with the idea of a hidden canon – maybe Picard never actually left the nexus. Think about it, he’s trapped, he can go anywhere and live his fantasy, but he doesn’t know it.. Just as Kirk didn’t know he was trapped in the nexus when he met Picard. Picard ‘leaving’ the nexus was just part of his fantasy… It’s what he wanted most at the moment. Also consider the themes of the next three movies (not intentional of course, but it fits!) First Contact: Picard’s most acute life trauma comes to visit him again (in his fantasy) and he has to confront and overcome this trauma. Insurrection: Picard faces his fear of aging/dying, coupled with his desire for youth and romance (yet another breach of his unconsciousness into his fantasy world). Nemesis: Picard faces his (and everyone else’s) worst enemy, him self, under the mask of a great villain, the Romulans. -just a little food for thought!!
As fun as it is, the theory of Picard forever trapped in the nexus doesn’t hold up because that would mean the entire crew was killed on Veridian 3, while certain characters continued to make appearances on Voy and DS9…
The two people who were pulled into the Nexus were Guinan and Kirk, not Picard.
Picard only entered the Nexus later (with reference to the primary timeline).
And, this is my main “beef” with “Generations”. I got lost in the perspective of the timeline. I could follow the timeline easily until 2293 and the events up to the Nexus at Ent-B. After that point, I lost track of the timeline forever because I’ve never quite understood if the events are actually happening or not.
The Nexus gave omniscience to the primary timeline characters in the Nexus, including Guinan, Kirk, and Picard. Did the Nexus also grant omnipresence (meaning multiple copies of the same being in any timeline)?
Exactly. There is a copy of kirk there. Easy way to bring him back and ret conned that stupid death scene.
Something else I just noticed while watching VOYAGER.
In the season 2 episode, Alliances, there’s a scene in which a small craft flies up to the window of an office where the heads of the Kazon orders are all gathered and proceeds to gun them down. This scene is virtually identical to the scene in STID where Khan flies a small craft up to the window of the Star Fleet HQ office where the top brass are all gathered and proceeds to gun them down. Looks like it was ripped off by Kurtzman and Orci.
The VOY scene in question can be seen at the end of this clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YF4N3Pgg0OA
To be fair, that is supposed to be the trek equivalent to the attack (by unseen helicopter) on Don Corleone in GODFATHER 3. People picked up on it at the time, and I think it was even confirmed in print, either in CINEFANTASTIQUE or the even-more-sorely-missed SCIFI UNIVERSE magazine (that was back when Robert Meyer Burnette seemed to have a perfect handle on what was right & wrong with Trek — given AXANAR, those days seems like an alternate universe now.)
It’s funny you should cite a VOYAGER I actually remember (limped through intermittent viewings before giving up during 4th season, have seen less than 10 hrs of the show since. Liked the 2 parter with the Jon Savage commanded starship and the doctor’s first holodate, but don’t have any other decent memories of the actual series, though Mulgrew gave an awesomely articulate interview from the transporter room during 1st season that had me thinking she should be writing the show, just going by her obvious intelligence and vocabulary.)
Back on topic, it is just as likely K&O were thinking of Neo’s copter rescue of Morpheus in the first MATRIX, given their influences. It isn’t so obvious as John Logan, who seemed to pick his ‘moments’ from fare he saw in the late70s/early80s (EXCALIBUR being one such recycled-out-of-context example from end of NEMESIS), but I remember having a discussion with Pete Briggs around the turn of the century where he was going nuts over how anything from that era seemed to be fair game for being ripped off and sold as ‘new.’
Interesting. Having seen The Godfather Part 3 only once, I didn’t remember that scene. Looking at it now, it has most of the elements of the VOY scene, but it’s missing one. In the Godfather 3 scene, the helicopter shoots up the room from above, through the canopy and skylight. However, in the VOY scene, the craft shoots up the room through a side-facing window, such that the craft is more or less parallel with the people in the room as opposed to being more hidden above them. The way that the table starts to shake, in the G3 scene, as the helicopter approaches, and the guy starts warning Michael that they need to leave now, is exactly like it goes down in the VOY scene. This strongly suggests that VOY got it from G3.
But, the ana|ogous scene in STID is set up exactly like it is in VOY, with the craft flying up to the window parallel with the people in the room. This, and what we know of Orci’s influences (he’s more likely to draw from past Trek than from a movie like The Godfather 3) strongly suggest that Orci lifted the STID scene from VOY.
P.S. I don’t think scene in The Matrix had anything to do with it. The VOY is far more similar—virtually identical in every important way with the STID scene.
Yeah, you’re right, the VOYAGER scene predates MATRIX anyway, I don’t usually make those kinds of goofs, sorry.
I read someplace yesterday that the 3-light flashlight seen in this BEYOND pic is actually a commercially available item that does not even appear to have been modified to futurize/trekize it, so this does seem to be another case of barcodereader/BrewGineering-itis, which does not bode well from where I stand. Taking the kinds of cheap solutions that barely pass muster for a kid’s film but using them in a pricey feature film is really bargain-basement and perhaps just as importantly, conceptually bankrupt.
This show has enough money that it shouldn’t have to rely on something that reads as a cheaper-than-TWOK-renting-their-stuff-from-ModernProps solution. I always let the table lights in TUC’s CinC briefing scene slide because they at least look elegant, but can’t offer that defense up with this odd little item. It’s not quite down there with my go-to examples of cheapness from the 70s, when TV’s FANTASTIC JOURNEY was using an unaltered Zenith remote control as a zap gun or LOGAN’S RUN had Horst Bucholz running around with a gold-painted thompson submachine gun that shot terrible video-ish beams, but all things considered, it is still pretty lame.
That’s a good point—lack of imagination in props as a symptom of the whole. But, what is “CinC?”
Commander In Chief – the main admiral guy, Bill.
A torch is a torch is a torch. They are not going to change much in design and function. So this torch in STB has three flashlights, which no doubt allows for all round/panoramic vision. This means that the person can see a lot more, without having to lose sight of a particular as they move the torch with the one flashlight around.
Too many silly complaints…:(
no edit function…sigh…
meant to write “…sight of a particular AREA as…”
I love when I (we?) used a heavy, gun-shaped, metal, chrome-plated timing light for a “raygun” in one of the old Super 8 films (or was it an old VHS camcorder film?). :)
Those two VOY episodes that you mentioned are stand-outs for me, too. The two-parter with John Savage was Equinox, parts 1 & 2. Ronald D. Moore re-did the Equinox premise—another leader from the same organization, out in space, leading his people in a more ruthless, less humanistic manner—in BSG with the Battlestar Pegasus (Michelle Forbes playing the Pegasus commander). I’m surprised that Moore is not listed among the writing credits for Equinox.
Thing is there was ONE thing , that would have made the emotional impact of leaving the Nexus a HUGE heart break for Kirk, and brought more to the table. The producers BLEW IT BIG TIME. I already know how I would have added something to it, and changed at least that part of it. Would have been a huge scene.
As an atheist, I value Generations and Final Frontier. In the latter, they meet “God” and discover he’s not all he was cracked up to be. In the former, they find Heaven and discover same. Kirk and Picard both choose to reject “Heaven” in favor of a sense of duty and the continued betterment of man and reality.
Picard’s Heaven most certainly would NOT be his “Inner Light” family, what a ridiculous notion. I think anybody who actually wanted or expected to see that is more interested in fan service than authenticity of character. Kayla is right on. “Family” shows where his reality and regrets lie. “Inner Light” is just a one-off sci-fi story, a great one, but that’s not Picard’s reality.
As far as Chekov using McCoy’s line, I want to point out that we don’t know what all Chekov has done and seen in his off-screen life, but you can be assured he rose through ranks, had leadership experience, etc, and that line is really nothing more than leadership talking. It never even occured to me to nitpick about that..in fact you should be glad that it showed Chekov taking some initiative and being more than a subordinate for once.
Still listening to the rest of the podcast. But I love Generations. The only truly bad overall TNG movie effort was Nemesis and even it has a couple of good qualities.