Written by Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga
Directed by David Carson
Starring Patrick Stewart, Malcolm McDowell, William Shatner, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, Levar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, James Doohan, and Walter Koenig
- Audio commentary with writers Moore and Braga
- Text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda, authors of the Star Trek Encyclopedia
- The Star Trek Universe featurettes: “A Tribute to Matt Jefferies,” “The Enterprise Lineage,” “Captain Picard’s Family Album,” and “Creating 24th Century Weapons”
- Production featurettes: “Uniting Two Legends,” “Stellar Cartograph: Creating the Illusion,” and “Strange New Worlds: The Valley of Fire”
- Visual Effects featurettes: “Inside ILM: Models and Miniatures” and “Crashing the Enterprise”
- Scene Deconstruction featurettes: “Main Title Sequence,” “The Nexus Ribbon,” and “Saucer Crash Sequence”
- Deleted scenes
- Storyboards and production gallery
Released by: Paramount
My Advice: Own it.
At the inaugural test run of the Enterprise-B, retired Starfleet officers Kirk (Shatner), Scott (Doohan), and Chekov (Koenig) leap back into action in an attempt to rescue a pair of vessels trapped inside the Nexus, an enigmatic energy ribbon. In the attempt, James Tiberius Kirk is hurled into the inky void, bringing to an ignoble end (apparently) the most storied career in Federation history. Fast-forward a half-dozen decades or so, and Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Stewart) and the crew of the Enterprise-D rescue a physicist named Soran (McDowell) who has a secret plan to destroy the Enterprise and several million other lives using the Nexus as a sort of guided missile of pseudoscientific gobbledygook. Thus Picard must, for reasons that are at the least counterintuitive, plunge into the Nexus. This seemingly rash act unites Picard with the legendary Kirk in a mad dash to stop Soran before he can destroy entire worlds.
The basic premise at the core of Generations is an interesting one, though in some ways reminiscent of Star Trek 2, what with the supergenius bad guy who has a score to settle and the doomsday weapon that’s more a force of nature than a munition. The parallels are interesting, and serve to reinforce the film’s subtext of passing the torch from the first generation of Enterprise crew members to the new guard, fresh off their successful TV series run. This theme operates both on the immediate level of the story and the more abstract level of the actors themselves and the fans, old and new, that were watching. In this respect, the film is a very successful bridge between the first six motion pictures and the Next Gen bunch.
The performances are excellent, particularly from Stewart and McDowell. The Enterprise-D cast are in top form, as is to be expected from a set of actors that have been working together in the same roles for seven years coming into the film. There are also enough eye-popping visuals to have filled half a season’s worth of episodes on TV, as Paramount pulled all the stops out to launch the Next Gen crew onto the big screen in fine style. Overall, the film is exactly what one has come to expect, in terms of production values, from the franchise. In this instance, thankfully, the script holds up its end of the bargain.
Paramount has, with their Trek releases to date, pretty much set the bar for quality DVDs. This is no exception. The picture and audio are fan-friggin’-tastic. We get both an audio commentary with the screenwriters, providing a reasonably-sized plethora of good stories, and the always-excellent text commentary by the Okudas. Disc 2 is packed with hours and hours of features ranging from simple production still galleries to info-packed featurettes on effects, the Trek universe, and behind-the-scenes production process. Lots of footage for behind-the-scenes was shot, providing excellent fodder for all of this.
There are also a handful of deleted scenes included, as well as the fascinating “Scene Deconstruction” feature, which takes individual sequences from the film and breaks them down in excruciating production detail from start to finish. Want to see how you make a saucer crash look believable using big-ass models? Covered. Much in the way of overall Trek goodness is here as well, from interviewing the guy who armors up the Klingons to a history of the design work that’s gone into the various incarnations of the Enterprise.
Basically, even the most hard-to-please Trek fans would have a hard time passing this one by. There’s plenty here for Original Series die-hards, TNG fans, or those that followed and loved both series. It’s also one of the better films yet produced in the entire franchise — a definite keeper for sci-fi geeks everywhere.