With the success of Star Trek as both a television and film franchise, it made perfect sense to eventually pass the baton from the Kirk era to the Next Generation. Generations had promise, but could and should have been a far better film. The f/x were for the most part inferior to previous Trek films. The destruction of the Enterprise D is the notable exception. Perhaps it was unwise to attempt to blend the established film environment with the too recently completed television series.
The film might have …een better served by taking more time to create a better film version of the Enterprise D. It’s obvious that the ship’s destruction was written into this film to allow for the necessary redesign of the Enterprise for future films. A greater participation by the rest of the original cast, while costly, would have gone further to portray the changing of the Star Trek guard. I have heard Nimoy speak several times on the issue. He declined the role not because of money as many speculate, but because Spock’s role was too insignificant and out of character. How I would have loved to see Picard, Data, Spock, and Kirk work together toward the film’s climax. Still, Generations did bridge the two generations of Star Trek in an emotional if unsatisfying fashion.
Retired Captain James T. Kirk is aboard The Enterprise B as an honored guest for her “trip around the block” when a distress call diverts the unequipped ship to a hazardous rescue operation. Kirk is apparently killed in the ship’s encounter with a strange “space ribbon”. 78 years later the Enterprise D encounters a survivor of the ribbon who is intent upon returning even at the cost of millions of lives.
There are impressive DTS and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks to be found here. While surrounds can’t be described as aggressive, the full spectrum of speakers are used to good effect. Dialogue is perfectly placed throughout the film. Subs are quite impressive when called upon. I found the score able to cut through at just the right moments, further enhancing my listening enjoyment. Not perfect, both tracks work quite nicely.
There is a rather tedious commentary by writers Ron Moore and Brannon Braga. They appear way too self-absorbed for my taste.
Star Trek Generations is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. There are two distinct issues to deal with here. First, the transfer is well done. Colors are better by far than the first DVD release. This is also the first Anamorphic transfer of the film. Blacks are quite deep and rich in detail.
The second issue deals mostly with the print itself and the compression problems. The print, while mostly clean, has a surprising number of flecks and print flaws for such a recent film. The biggest complaint is the great amount of compression artifact evident throughout the film. I’m not sure why, but there appears to be an unacceptable amount of edge distortion and shimmer. Quality control, guys. Doesn’t anyone watch these transfers before the disc is mastered?
Disc One contains the original film with the optional commentary. There is also the standard text commentary by the Okudo brothers. Once again I found it more distracting than entertaining.
Disc Two contains several features.
- Deleted Scenes: I eagerly awaited this feature. I had obtained a copy of the Generations script a good year before the film was released. I loved the intended opening and was very disappointed that it was cut. After seeing this rough cut I’m glad it was cut. Great idea. Poor visualization. The rest of the four scenes are less critical and all in preproduction stages.
- Scene Deconstruction: This feature examines a few of the film’s crucial f/x scenes. The most enjoyable is the saucer crash. You get to see the scene in various stages of development.
- Visual Effects: This feature deals primarily with some of the starship models used. There are some incredible shots of the huge saucer model.
- A Tribute to Matt Jeffries: This can be found in the Star Trek Universe menu. Matt was the concept designer on Star Trek for a lot of years. The ship’s Jeffries Tubes were named in his honor.
- Picard Family Album and Creating 24th Century Weapons allows us to look closer at a few of the props used in the film.
- Archives: Here you’ll find tons of gallery photos.
- Production: Three features are included here: Uniting Two Legends, Strange New Worlds: The Valley Of Fire, and Stellar Cartography. Each feature provides the standard interviews and behind the scenes footage common with DVD extras.
The menus are great CGI renditions of the Enterprise B (Disc 1) and Stellar Cartography (Disc 2). They are easy to navigate and fun to watch.
I should mention that if you bought your DVD before the new late September re-release, the box tells us there are trailers. These features ARE NOT included and the box art will be changed to reflect what must have been a last minute decision.
Generations was the first Trek film to forego the production number. If you’re following along at home this would be Star Trek VII. Most fans would agree that the next film in the series would be the best to feature the Next Generation cast; this was still a fun film to watch. Data’s emotion chip did get way out of hand. I remember being concerned at the time that this was going to be carried over. Lucky for the fans it was quickly abandoned.
Most of those associated with Star Trek claim there will be no more Next Generation films even though a Q storyline originally developed for this film is still sitting in the Paramount vaults somewhere. I believe there is still great untapped potential for another few Next Generation films. Hopefully Paramount will look at the success of these DVD releases and decide to “Make it so”.
Special Features List
- Audio Commentary by Brannon Braga & Ron Moore
- Text Commentary by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda
- A Tribute To Matt Jeffries
- The Enterprise Lineage
- Captain Picard’s Family Album
- Creating 24th Century Weapons
- Uniting Two Legends
- Stellar Cartography: Creating The Illusion
- Strange New Worlds: The Valley Of Fire
- Inside ILM: Models And Miniatures
- Crashing The Enterprise
- Deleted Scenes