Warp Factor Trek

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Mesmerizing. That was my first impression as the lights dimmed and the vast expanse of space opened up before my eyes. The music was hauntingly beautiful and alluring. I was filled with the celestial sounds of a choir and deep resonating bass tones.

Adventure! That’s what was waiting for me and the rest of the audience; this theater packed with TNG fans who had been waiting excitedly for this day to come. A champaign bottle floats in space and finally strikes the hull of the USS Enterprise-B. What a moment! To see the next Enterprise, an Excelsior-class ship, in all its glory. It looked huge and gorgeous on the big screen.

The Enterprise-B in drydock (CBS-Paramount)

What a treat it was to see some of the original crew return, when many of us thought we would not have that privilege ever again. The opening sequence of this highly anticipated film packed the proverbial bang. Then it happened. The death of Kirk at the beginning of the film was met with mixed emotions from the fans, including this one. Some thought it was delightful, humorous, and a fresh way to view our heroes as the film franchise transitioned over to TNG. Others were disappointed, feeling this was not the death James T. Kirk deserved, even if it was in the right spirit of self-sacrifice and making sure the mission, the crew, and the ship had every chance to survive. It was made even more powerful by the fact that this was no longer the Enterprise of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy.

Nevertheless, the film opened with a bang at the box office, coming in at number one, with just over 23 million dollars and earning a worldwide 120 million dollars over the course of its run.

This film did more than good enough at the box office to earn TNG and the fans another film. Whatever one might think about this film, we should all be grateful for that! If it had crashed and burned, we might not have what we have today: the rich and continuing voyages of Trek on many platforms. Furthermore, whatever you may think of this film, it does have some pretty amazing treasures in it that I hope can be appreciated by most fans.

The special effects are spectacular, in my opinion, and really helped to establish this new era of Star Trek films as being able to play with the big boys when it comes to scope and storytelling. Even though the budget for this film was less than typical sci-fi or action films of the time, Director David Carson did a marvelous job of presenting to fans a visually stunning film. Dennis McCarthy’s musical score was big and sweeping, beautiful and memorable. And, of course, you can’t forget the great Herman Zimmerman’s set and art designs.

The Enterprise-D as it appears in Generations (CBS-Paramount)

On a personal note, I remember watching this film for the first time, fresh into movie theaters, and loving how the Enterprise-D looked on the big screen. This Enterprise remains my favorite to this day, largely due to how spectacular and huge it looked in the theater. And then they crash the thing in spectacular fashion! As much as the death of Kirk was hard to swallow, this may have been harder for this young (at the time) Trekker. I can hardly believe it’s been twenty-seven years since I was sitting next to my dad in the front row watching this film!

It has a lot to offer and, if you haven’t visited this old friend in a while, I would suggest you put it on your watch list for the near future.

This is really the launch of TNG as the torchbearers for the franchise and they bore it as well as they possibly could for this film. After all, they (the actors and behind-the-scenes creators) can only be as good as the material they’re handed.

Generations had a lot to offer hungry fans. A new villain who was often described, at the time, as the new Kahn, although most of us laughed that off pretty easily after seeing the film. It had the always entertaining and fun Duras sisters, Data trying to get used to his emotion chip, Picard dealing with the loss of his nephew and being tempted by a family of his own while in the Nexus. It also has the spectacular and dramatic crash of the Enterprise-D’s saucer section.

Kirk dies
Kirk’s death (CBS-Paramount)

And who can forget, the highly controversial, re-written, re-shot death of Captain Kirk while he and Picard try to save the universe from Soran’s destructive plans? I have always been okay with the way they portrayed his death. I thought it was plenty dramatic, and I mourned as a fan.

Rating: 3.5/5

This film wasn’t perfect in all its aspects, but it was entertaining, and it launched the franchise into the future, perhaps much the same way its predecessor, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, had done years before, for the very same franchise. Generations offers hope, too – something that Roddenberry would have loved. There is a tomorrow and, even though there is loss today, we will carry on and keep carrying on because the future is worth it. The adventure is worth it!

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