by Billie Doux
Kirk: "I take it the odds are against us and the situation is grim?"
This movie had a lot of pretty cool elements, but they just didn't come together as a whole. And it did something I absolutely hated. It yanked James T. Kirk out of heaven so that he could have a fist fight with Malcolm McDowell, and then it dropped a bridge on top of him.
Yes, yes, I got the point. There was something very "old" Star Trek about Kirk and Picard connecting because they were both so mentally strong that they could resist the Nexus in order to save a planet full of people, that they both chose career over family and that for them, it was the right decision. But despite a somewhat effective death scene for Kirk ("It was fun") and the aforementioned cool elements, this movie is unsatisfying and a big disappointment. Maybe it was the best they could come up with while trying to create a movie that bridged the 78 years between the Original Series and the Next Generation. Maybe it should never have been attempted. The Original Series movies should have ended with The Undiscovered Country. Or, let me be a bit radical here, the wonderful Star Trek IV. (I doubt anyone will be arguing in favor of Star Trek V.)
The usually wonderful Malcolm McDowell was underused as Soren, the villain, and the Nexus felt like the ultimate McGuffin, jammed sideways into the story simply to serve as a motivation for Soren. Where this movie finally, completely lost me was during the Christmas sequence in the Nexus. It was like they assumed that since Patrick Stewart is British, Picard's secret fantasies and desires had to be Victorian in nature. Kirk's "heaven" was much easier to understand and much more like mine would be: his favorite house, his dog and horses, a former love that he regretted losing.
Even though it felt inappropriate and occasionally silly, my favorite part of this movie was Data and his emotion chip. Brent Spiner spent a lot of years on Next Generation creating a much loved character while conveying a great deal with very little expression and intonation, and here, he just got to go nuts. Some of his lines were very funny. His little song about how much he loved scanning for life forms had me laughing for five minutes. The scene where he found his cat Spot made me go "aww." I also enjoyed the holodeck costume party on the sailing ship early in the movie. Very Next Gen.
The crash of the saucer section was cool to watch; hey, good thing they didn't land on someone's village. But did they have to have Deanna crash the Enterprise D? As a character, Deanna just got no respect. It took them years to even let her have a uniform like everyone else's, too.
Bits and pieces:
-- Stardates: the opener was set in 2293, and the Next Gen section in 2371. The action took place on the Enterprise, the Enterprise, the Enterprise, Amagosa station, and Veridian 3.
-- As I subtly referred to above, there were three Enterprises in this movie: NCC1701-B, which was the same class of ship as the much ridiculed Excelsior; our last scenes with the NCC1701-D (sigh); and the sailing ship Enterprise on the holodeck.
-- The first shot was a champagne bottle flying through space, which was quite appropriate for a "pass the baton" movie.
-- We also got Alan Ruck as Captain Harriman, Tim Russ (although not as Tuvok), Jenette Goldstein from Aliens, and Glenn Morshower from pretty much everything.
-- In a way, Picard was also battling his "emotion chip" in the earlier scenes when he wouldn't tell anyone he'd lost his brother and nephew.
-- The planet scenes looked like they were filmed at Vasquez Rocks, but no. It was the Valley of Fire state park in Nevada.
-- Ron Moore. Tsk, tsk, tsk. You've done better.
-- In Star Trek V, Kirk said he knew he would die alone. He died with Picard. And the bridge dropping on Kirk is so awful that it's a TV Trope. "Bridge on the captain!" William Shatner is quoted as saying after filming his death scene.
-- The Klingon women were Lursa and B'Etor, continuing characters from Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Scott: "Finding retirement a little lonely, are we?"
Kirk: "You know, it's a good thing you're an engineer. With tact like that, you'd make a lousy psychiatrist."
Kirk: "You left space dock without a tractor beam?"
Captain Harriman: "It won't be installed until Tuesday."
This may be the perfect line to express what was wrong with this movie. The good storylines were left behind in space dock and hadn't been installed yet.
Riker: "Computer! Remove the plank!"
Picard: "Number One, that's retract plank, not remove plank."
Riker: "Of course, Sir. (calls down to Worf) Sorry!"
Data: "I get it! 'The clown can stay, but the Ferengi in the gorilla suit has to leave.' I get it!"
Geordi: "Data, what do you get?"
Data: "The Farpoint mission! You told a joke; that was the punchline."
Geordi: "The Farpoint mission? Data, that was seven years ago."
Data: "I know! I just got it. Very funny!"
Data: (singing) "Life forms… You tiny little life forms... You precious little life forms! Where are you?"
Data: "I hate this. It is revolting."
It's Spiner's expressions that make this one so funny.
Although they dropped the numbering with Generations, it's still an odd-numbered (7), not so great movie. One and a half out of four champagne bottles,
Billie Doux loves good television, especially science fiction, and spends way too much time writing about it.