Life,  Movies

Star Trek Sunday, Theatrical Trek: TNG

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Okay, so I suppose I could have covered this before now. If I look at when the first movie arrived, the post probably could have fit in this blog sequence continuity between the posts on DS9 and Voyager.

Much as I had with Star Trek VI when we were dating, I dragged my wife (then fiancée) to see Generations in the theatre. If memory serves, we may actually have gone on opening weekend. She was more used to the whole Star Trek thing by then but still wasn’t quite as steeped in the lore as I might have liked, so every movie was a chance to drag her in a little deeper. (It worked. These days, she watches ST on her own.)

Generations was… okay. I hesitate to say disappointing, and it served its purpose of handing the cinematic journeys off from one crew to the next, but it was only okay. It had most of what you want from a Star Trek movie: big events, big stakes, and big ideas. But the story was just, well, average. At best. You can feel executives with a checklist of what they thought a movie should be and not caring that it was a Star Trek movie pounding at the script and the editing. What could have been a great hand off adventure had only a few really exciting moments and the adventure mostly wasn’t. It’s kind of clunky overall.

First Contact, in turn, while probably the best of the TNG movies, was disappointing. To me. It had some great moments and a great opening hook: the Borg are back and we have to chase them back in time so that they’d can’t interfere in Earth’s development. But since we’re here, let’s arrange things so that some of the crew can help Zefram Cochrane along and participate in first contact with the Vulcans while the rest has to save the ship from the Borg. For me, there were so many different things that could have been done with this movie, but instead we got a run of the mill time travel story where we give history a gentle nudge so it works out the way we want mashed with the Borg. And the revelation that they aren’t the nameless, faceless group mind but actually have a queen as if they were a hive kind of ruined the Borg for me. But again, it had great moments and good interplay between the characters, and that carried it.

Insurrection we went to see with friends, one of whom left in the middle of the movie and didn’t come back for twenty minutes. We eventually learned she’d been vomiting in the bathroom. I’m not sure she missed much, but I won’t go so far as to say that she had a better time. This movie started great and ended great, but a lot of what happened in between didn’t really make a lot of difference to the story or the characters or do much to build the universe.

I took my son to see Nemesis on what turned out to be the night before my youngest daughter was born. “Sure,” my wife said, “Take him and have fun. The baby isn’t coming tonight, and I’ll just get some extra sleep.” She was in labour a couple of hours after we got home. That aside, Nemesis is a weird film. The story is cut up in weird ways (and apparently was supposed to be about 50 minutes longer) and the acting is weird (apparently the director didn’t like Star Trek and refused to watch any of it to get an idea of the characters or the universe), and it left a lot of threads dangling for future films that never happened.

This all probably makes it seem like I don’t like the TNG films.

And I have to come down on the side of agreeing with that. I don’t actually like any of the TNG films as films, much less as Star Trek films, even though there are things I like in each of them. Weird, huh? I love TNG. It came along at the right time in my life to be a renewal of Trek for me so I could fall in love with the franchise all over again. But if I look back, none of the movies seem necessary to me, and I don’t actually own any of them. With the exception of Generations, I don’t think I’ve seen any of them more than once outside the theare.

Anyone want to tell me why I’m wrong?

Live long and prosper.

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