Scott Hardie | December 14, 2002
I'm gonna start off by slapping a big fat spoiler warning on this entire topic; read no further if you're going to see this movie. I successfully evaded spoilers and I think I liked the movie better for it. Apparently the script has been on the web for a year now and fans have debated it to death. If you love it that much, isn't it better to wait? I never understood the people who aggressively pursue spoilers.

Anyway, overall I liked it, despite my mostly negative TMR, and the negative comments below. I got what I wanted, which was to see all these characters again, and to be entertained for two hours. I was also pleasantly surprised by the cinematography, which eagerly tried new visual techniques that Trek hadn't done before. And fucking finally, the ships battle in three dimensions! :-)

But I was really disappointed by how little movie there was, for almost two hours' running time. They seemed to use the same three sets over and over, and the space battle seemed to go on forever. I also couldn't discern any entertainment value for a non-Trekkie. All of the jokes were in-jokes, the plot was built on elements from the series that the movie didn't bother to explain, and too much of the pleasure came from the standard "Trekism" of the whole thing, from the characters to the sets to the menagerie of alien races. I tried to imagine taking my mom to it, or some other non-fan, and all I could think was that they'd be bored off their ass.

I liked seeing the characters interact, even if Worf is yet again emasculated for punchlines. In fact, I wanted more interaction. This movie gets down to business by the fifteen-minute mark and doesn't let up until the epilogue. I heard that some of the deleted scenes (such as the cameo by Wesley Crusher, who is still visible if you've got a quick eye) were very campy, and so maybe it's for the best that they were cut. But here are beloved characters we haven't seen for four years and they can't find anything to talk about besides the plot. Boo! (One positive related element was the way the crew efficiently worked together. They instinctively went along with each other subtly in many scenes, like a crew that has been together for over fifteen years should.)

Probably my biggest pet peeve was the inconsistencies with the characters. I kept wondering if time travel was involved, since it seemed like the characters were unchanged since Season Four or Five. Among the problems:
- Since when are Riker and Troi an item? They broke up in the course of the series, and Troi went on to date Worf. Certainly she and Worf broke up too, but seeing her and Riker getting married is like watching a "Cheers" reunion movie set at Sam and Diane's wedding.
- What the fuck happened to Data's emotion chip? He's as wooden as he was on the show, and as clueless too. As the character who made the most progress over the three films, it's disappointing to see all of progress dismissed. They don't even explain why he has reverted.
- They at least mention Dr. Noonian Singh, but they do a whole subplot where Data discovers a long-lost brother and they don't mention Lore? Then the robot brother turns out to be a tool planted by the villains, and they still don't mention Lore? I'm not asking for a whole scene, just a reference, a sign that the characters remember their own pasts.
- Worf is now Federation Ambassador to Kronos. He outranks Captain Picard. He doesn't even wear a standard uniform any more. But is there any indication of this? Nope, he's content to stand at his post and press buttons. There was the briefest of transitions from him being a guest on the bridge (where he shouldn't be) to him noticing something at Tactical and stepping over to read it aloud, but it was barely noticeable.
- Speaking of changed posts, Troi now works at Starfleet Headquarters on Earth, but the movie mentions that she and Riker are still members of Picard's crew, at least until their impending wedding.
- Wesley's back from oblivion, inexplicably. I guess this one's not fair to nitpick, since they can't be expected to explain his return when they don't even give him any lines, but hey.
- One miniscule nitpick: So Picard was always bald? They can keep Spot alive and healthy for almost two decades, but they can't get the poor young Starfleet cadet some hair?

And finally, I want to tell a story. One night in the autumn of 1994, I sat in the Arcada movie theater in St. Charles, watching "Star Trek: Generations" with He Who Shall Not Be Named. He was the friend who had tuned me on to Trek in the first place, and I liked it enough to see the movie. Even though I was not too familiar with the films (having never seen any of them before), I was aware that they had a history of not being final. Characters never really died for good, kind of like in Marvel Comics. So when Kirk's death scene came, I sat there kind of nonplussed, wondering when he was going to get up, dust himself off, and complain. Then Picard buried him, and left the planet, and it sunk in that I had just missed a Trek hero's death, something that could have, maybe should have had emotional impact on me. So now, today, I calmly watched Data's death aboard the villain's ship, thinking that it didn't mean anything. Hey, they have B-4, and earlier in the movie they uploaded all of Data's memories into B-4, right? So they just have to upgrade his processors and he'll be Data. But no, it slowly sinks in that maybe they won't do this, and then Picard somberly tells B-4 what a great man Data had been. All I could think was, fuck, it happened again! The death of a Star Trek character is not a transcendent human experience or anything, but for a longtime fan it should have at least some emotional impact, and I was inadvertently robbed of that. Fuck.


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