I think because ultimately looking at the scene we were supposed to feel something. I don't really concur with the idea they were going for anything less than wanting the audience to feel the death of Kirk. So, other types and philosophies of cinema are great and work in their terms, but I don't think they apply to 'Generations'.
'If the Apocalypse starts, beep me!' - Buffy Summers
'The sky's the limit.....' Jean-Luc Picard, 'All Good Things'
courtesy of Saquist