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View Poll Results: Is Star Trek Generations more of a TNG film or TOS film?
TOS 0 0%
TNG 4 57.14%
TOS/TNG 2 28.57%
a mistake 1 14.29%
Voters: 7. You may not vote on this poll

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  #11  
Old 06-21-2014, 02:08 AM
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horatio horatio is offline
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Nope. These scenes are the climax of the movie, they contrast private bliss with public duty and thus highlight the actual choices which Picard and Kirk make (not to mention that they nearly would have chosen, like Soran, private bliss, which makes GEN together with TUC and FC the only Trek movies which feature protagonists that only differ from the villains by a thin line, by a choice they made).

Of course these scenes are, like Kirk's death, not glamorous, action-filled or sentimental, they are very mundane ... but this is precisely why they are great. Trek is often labeled space opera, a notion that implicitly criticize that Trek it is too pathetic ... but when Trek is the very opposite it does not seem to satisfy folks either.
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  #12  
Old 06-21-2014, 09:25 PM
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I agree with Horatio.

The scene with Picard and Kirk outside the house, in the kitchen, at the horse stable, etc is part of what does make Generations really shine as a story...even shine as Trek. Just like the Hallmark Presents A Picard Family Christmas Special before the Kirk scenes.

The Nexus is more than just bliss....it's like a waking dream. Note the disjointedness of the scenario. Picard first arrives at Kirk's home. (And actually, Kirk has just arrived too, according to Guinan). Kirk is out chopping wood, and then (IIRC, I haven't watched the movie in a long while) Kirk smells something burning, and they both go into the house. Kirk was apparently in the middle of making breakfast (later realizing he was doing it for Antonia when he suddenly hears her calling from his budoir). Kirk and Picard (filling in for The Swedish Chef) have a seemingly one-sided conversation about why they are there....Picard is more focused on the duty, while Kirk is enjoying the bliss, just as Picard was at the Picard Family Homestead until he managed to come to grips. (The Christmas Ornament with the supernova shockwave effect brought Picard back to reality). Anyway, back to The Swedish Chef Show (Swedish Chef in-absentia). Kirk sees his long dead dog, Butler. He almost seems to come to the same grips as Picard did, but not quite. After a minor quibble about duty and uniform and all that, Kirk goes up to the budoir, and everything goes silent. When Picard goes through (boy, he would've been in for an ***-whuppin' if he was in the wrong!), suddenly they are at Kirk's horse stable. (Just like in a dream....the scenario inexplicably shifts.) Kirk takes off on a horse, and Picard goes after him. Kirk makes that scary jump a couple of times, then stops, after realizing that before, that jump used to "scare the hell out of" him every time he made that jump. He senses the unusual nature of his lack of fear this time. He looks up and sees Antonia in the distance. He puts two and two together, comes up with a fraction, divides by zero (after the square root of 11), and voilla, he and Picard are on the same page.

Yes, I know I put this in very facetious terms, but the point is, the way the scenes played out was very much Star Trek. All one needs to do is look no farther than "Future Imperfect" in TNG, where Riker believed he was living some 20 plus years into the future. The computer aboard the Enterprise (Borash's alien mind probe) would have to halt operation and reconfigure since it could not anticipate Riker's choices, and adjust accordingly.

It almost seemed as if the Nexus were doing the same thing with Kirk and Picard....except that it was basing itself on who was the prominent figure in their respective locations. When Picard arrived at Kirk's home, it was Kirk's "reality", therefore, the scenario unfolded according to Kirk's thoughts and feelings. The Nexus was now dealing with a couple of rational StarFleet officers, not just some being off the street. It was like the Nexus itself was a living entity, trying to keep its occupants happy...and with Kirk and Picard, it really had to try and scramble to find what made them happiest, because ultimately, they were creatures of duty. Being such creatures of duty, Picard and Kirk ultimately beat the Nexus at its own game (benign as it was), and return to alter history in the finest traditions of Trek.

Generations might have been a great two-part episode, but scenes like Kirk and Picard in the Nexus as played out really did make it good Trek to me.
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  #13  
Old 06-23-2014, 07:09 PM
samwiseb samwiseb is offline
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I've never connected the Xmas ornament with Soran's supernova. I always read it as something nonspecific that was supposed to clue Picard in, like realizing his own fantasy was too bright and glittery (and frankly cloying, if I may editorialize) to be real.

The cooking scene in and of itself I've never had a problem with. I don't even argue that it's not great ST (save for Kirk's on-the-nose comment about saving the galaxy while Picard's grandmother was -wait for it- in diapers -- didn't we already do that line in 'Relics'?). However it happens at the wrong time. Kirk's reappearance clocks in exactly at the top of the film's third act (or what's supposed to be the third act, since you're having to superimpose a three-act structure where one doesn't exist). And I'm sorry, but I don't accept it can be justified as being part of the climax. If you defended the movie in a screenwriting class that wouldn't fly. The climax begins with the replay of events starting with Data babbling about leveling the ship's descent.

This is a structural problem from which the movie never fully recovers. It resolves just when it's starting up again. I even submit that's the reason it's regarded as a TV episode. It's a movie with a TV-size ending. TNG/DS9/VOY all had five-act structures to their episodes (pretty easy to spot, since each act fades to a commercial break). Movies require three. Your first and third acts are usually around 30 pages, your middle act is 60. How this translates into actual minutes varies with every picture, however it's generally accepted that movies conform to a common structural anatomy of beats and twists, highs and lows, and changes to the film's overall pacing.

To compare Generations to one of the other ST's mentioned, First Contact starts its third act with the pre-launching of the Phoenix and simultaneous setting of the auto-destruct aboard Enterprise. Lily has already barged in on Picard and chewed him out. That happened at the tail end of act two.

(To be completely fair, I don't suspect most of the ST films follow the three-act structure very closely. First Contact does, to the T. I know II and VI don't, at least not without bending it. If you get away with disregarding it, you're afforded the option of claiming to have done so intentionally. Based on my own experience, that of critics and fans, plus the retrospective views of Moore and Braga, Generations didn't get away with it.)

The Nexus also happens to be one of the weakest premises developed for ST. It basically does Only Exactly What We Need It To Do, and on the vaguest terms possible. Even more annoying, it (conveniently) deflects criticism by claiming to explain away the film's many holes without actually plugging them up. It even lets you click your heels together to get back to Kansas.
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  #14  
Old 06-24-2014, 02:31 AM
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I agree that GEN is anti-climactic and feels like a TV episode ... but then again the latter is not a problem to me as TNG never had the (potential for the) epic flair of TOS.

But complaining that the Nexus is a plot device (and in addition to that, as Martok has pointed out so well, a fairly ordinary plot device for Trek) that does what it is supposed to do are like those complaints about red matter or the Delta Vega sequence in ST09.
Instead of focusing on the content, what the respective scene is about, fans obsess about stupid plot mechanics. Sorry but the Nexus is not about whether it makes sense logically (to refer again to Martok's excellent post, the proper way to read it is indeed to claim that Picard and Kirk tricked the Nexus, their wish was to do something in the real world and as the Nexus is all about fulfilling wished it spit them out again) and what happens on Delta Vega is about anything but the distance between Vulcan and Delta Vega.

Mike Okuda made it crystal clear why thinking about the issue like this is total nonsense, even when Trek had its more hard sci-fi moments. When asked how the Heisenberg compensators worked he replied: "they work just fine, thank you".
And that's how we should think about the transporter, the Nexus or red matter. They work just fine, they are tools that enable the story tellers to do stuff that is impossible in ordinary fiction. Gee, more story-telling possibilities is the main point of sci-fi.

And to get back to what the scenes are about, they are not about cooking or about how the Nexus works. They are about Picard and then Kirk deciding to forsake eternal happiness in order to save the life of billions.
Now is this done on the same level as e.g. Luthien forsaking eternity to be with Beren (respectively Arwen doing the same to be with Aragorn)? Certainly not, GEN is not a good movie and while I like its theme it is not well actualized. It could have been better done and while it was not necessary to get sentimental and show the people who are threatened by Soran's plan in depth their mere abstract presence, i.e. Picard simply mentioning the number, might work in a novel but it does not work in a movie.
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  #15  
Old 06-24-2014, 07:56 PM
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A general concept I was thinking of for GEN was to have the Ent-D crew discover long-missing Kirk in a status chamber somewhere, just as Amelia Earhard was found in VOY: The 37's, and for Kirk to spend a year on Picard's ship dressed in modern uniform and getting up to speed with the 24th century. Then, when signs of some evil plot started to emerge, Kirk and Picard could work together to unravel the mystery more or less as equals, with no need or the Ent-B stuff or the Nexus or a sailing ship on the holodeck or for Data to get totally goofy with his emotion chip. And if Malcolm McDowell could be cast as the villain planning to kill billions for whatever twisted reason and Kirk finally dies stopping him, yeah, great. It's just that it might have been nice to see Kirk go out with dignity as a fully competent Startfleet officer, not an anachronism. Might be good or bad, depending on execution. But I'm no movie critic or screenwriter.
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  #16  
Old 06-25-2014, 11:55 AM
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There are some thing amongst what everyone's said so far about 'Generations' I agree with but on the whole I think the movie in retrospect ends up what happens when a 'tick-list' feels like it's being checked and overall it doesn't do quite the job of covering up that fact.

I agree (technically, I agree, but who doesn't love to nitpick some days?) that if we really seriously question the logic of the Nexus (there won't be any, but then I'm the kind of twisted sort that enjoyed the idea put forth that the Nexus tricked Picard and Kirk and they never actually left the Nexus and everything after that was Picard inside just having a fantasy but I gotta allow 'Star Trek' isn't Phillip K. Dick) then we need to also throw in Red Matter, Proto-matter, Interdimensional transporters and all the other fizzbang whizzpops magic tech and infamous and frequent 'anomalies' of the spatial/temporal or bit of both kind that further the plot or get characters out of a whole.

The whole shebang is riddled with that kind of stuff and I guess we kind of accept it as par for the course in Trek's brand of Space Opera.

I also tend to agree the point is what's behind the scene and behind the realisations of Picard and Kirk. Not that it's some kind of elevated ephiphany, it's a just a nice, simple, reinforcing, straightforward 'Star Trek' style bullet point. A little like Picard's reminder to Riker to '.....to cherish every moment because they'll never come again'. It's not exactly reinventing the wheel, but it's a nice little reminder.

Looking back at it, I thought it was absolutely great in 1994. I really did. Couldn't tell you how many times I watched the original VHS tape I had of it. But I don't think it's aged well and as much as it might be heretical to suggest it, I really, now, looking back wish they had just left out Kirk and Co and let them have their equally reinforcing sail off into the sunset moment at the end of 'TUC'. I know we 'have' to have the pass the torch moment now apparently but the film ends up feeling beset by it's list of 'things we have to do' (in fact, I'm not at all sure I don't remember reading at some point in the past that there pretty much was a literal tick list they had to accomodate in the script - I'm not saying it's the only film in history or only 'Star Trek' film to have had that burden, as I believe the 2009 film also did - but some films maybe are more elegant in their execution of the list) nowadays and doesn't really gel together all that well.

It's fun enough now and again, it's still got the D looking the best she ever did onscreen just about but like most Trek films, there's no pretending it's much more than middle of the road Trek for me at best nowadays.
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  #17  
Old 06-25-2014, 11:45 PM
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For all the crap I give Generations (and FC and INS) for looking like overblown episodes, I will give major kudos to Generations for its set lighting, especially aboard the Enterprise D.
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Old 06-28-2014, 04:19 AM
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Reading everyone's posts the general consensus is that people liked the scenes in the Nexus, which is pleasing becuase I enjoyed them as well, I especially like the idea mentioned by Martok about the Nexus trying to keep them both happy then failing because what they really wanted to do was 'Make a difference'.

I also liked Samwise's discussion on the pacing and structure as I have always felt that the Nexus scenes really mess around with the pacing, though I've come to believe that it's kind of the point and they were slowing things down (not that they were exactly speedy) to get the point across that the characters were reflecting on their choices and lives, which actually to me is quite effective.

I also get the impression that most people here didn't mind the way that Kirk died either (I'm making a lot of assumptions and interpretations here, please correct me if I'm wrong!)

So my feeling is that what people and I included don't like about Generations is rather drab ending. I read somewhere years ago that the fist fight at the end was between actors who had a combined age of 168 at the time, I actually laughed at loud at this fact and for me it sums up what a poor ending it really was. It also is a depature from Picard's character especially, not that he's afraid of throwing punches or getting into the fray but it's not what he's about, I'd have liked to have seen both Captains doing what they do best. So as a climax we got everyone lumbering around rocks and scaffolding, exchanging laboured blows and alternating between chasing and running away from each other. To me the set up was there, the execution of the ending was the big that was lacking. In all fairness the firefight between the Enterprise and Bird of Prey wasn't that much better either, especially when you stand it up against the similar setup between the Ent-A and the bird prey in TUC (in fact they even used the same explosion footage), which was much more exciting.
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Old 06-28-2014, 02:03 PM
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Isn't there a VOY episode somewhere in which a [something something something tech] swallows your ship and then tricks you repeatedly into thinking you've gotten out?

The literal tick-list... I think Braga and Moore have both confirmed and denied it over the years, depending on when you asked them. Certainly they seem to imply it on their DVD commentary (2005?), but I think they've since shied away from insinuating anyone above them mandated it. I don't know if you can really get a reliable answer anywhere. I know it sounds cruel, but I used to joke that they started with the Kirk/Picard poster of that exploding sun and then wrote a story to it.

The commentary is very interesting to check out, because Braga and Moore are both very honest about the film in retrospect. They agree that it starts to lose its audience in the Nexus and then just never quite gets it back, that the Nexus itself is vague in all that it does, and that the film doesn't really come together into a single unifying message (as opposed to two or three things it seems to hint at wanting to say).

For myself, I have to say I find the Nexus more objectionable than red matter or proto-matter. Because it works for the characters in a deus-es-machina fashion and because it they can't narrow it down to just one or two things that it does. "Time has no meaning here" is interpreted no less than four different ways throughout the course or the movie (while clearly it does have 'some' meaning because the people trapped inside are able to regain lucid awareness and progress from that point in a seemingly linear fashion), the last point being that you can exit anywhere you'd like with a mere thought (like say if you wanted to go back three days, reach the observatory ahead of schedule, intercept the Romulans, confiscate Soran's trilithium, drum up some charges against the man and make a phone call to your brother in France -- all without the risk of a paradox because your temporal double obediently vanishes without explanation).

And yet it's not even just that. It's that plus the pacing issues of the film's final act (the Nexus and the climax combined), plus the cloying nature of Picard's fantasy (I don't think the Nexus knows him better than he knows himself), that I think make it a sub-par movie both for me and supposedly in general. Even accepting that what Kirk/Picard take out of the Nexus is the real point of the story, I'm not certain how much sacrifice was really involved -- again because of how vague it is. Picard seems to wake up from his fantasy all on his own. Kirk puts maybe a little more thought into his fantasy and resists leaving it, but still manages to come around after jumping ravines doesn't give him the thrill it used to ("There's real motivation for you," wrote a Cinescape editor at the time -- not that I 'completely' agree with his sarcasm).

The climax is also disappointing in that Picard seemingly needs to enlist Kirk's help because he can't hold his own in a fistfight and needs to face a similarly decrepit man two-to-one. And after all these years I'm still damned if I can tell during the fight who is chasing/running from who. This is where I think you needed a broader setpiece to not only pad out the final act (and maybe push the whole Nexus thing earlier into the movie, perhaps trimming some of that extraneous intermission of the Duras sisters attacking the ship) but also to justify the need for two captains. I agree with what you said Roysten about doing what the Captains do best. I wonder what that would be in a story like this.

As for how Kirk dies, I appreciate that they were trying to be unconventional. I'm not sure it paid off. I don't think I can say if he should have died instead on the Enterprise bridge or not; without seeing a finished movie with that scenario there's no way to know. I've seen non-fans tear up if they happened to be in the room when Spock dies in II, and it's really an astonishing thing to see. People who don't even know their ST enough to know or care which VHS movie this is, but nonetheless in denial about finding out Spock ever died and watching him say goodbye to Kirk. And I just know that for whatever reason when it happened in Generations I didn't see that. And on that account... I'd say they missed it.

I did love the lighting and cinematography (in fact I believe those where the best about the movie), and it's refreshing to see on here that I'm not alone. I'm often of the impression that fans didn't like it just because it wasn't the TV series, but I don't think those sets ever looked better. I wouldn't go so far as to say that it only took them eight years to get it right, because that wouldn't be fair to the TV people (anymore than saying that the current HD remaster is how the series was meant to be seen all along, as if the budget-conscious TV production houses were somehow shortsighted for not originally editing the episodes on film in anticipation of HD). But even painting everything brown-and-black for the next movie (with blue carpets and neon lights) I don't think achieved the same affect as getting an A-list cinematographer for this one. And as much as I've always agreed that the D model didn't photograph well at a 2.35 aspect ratio... I've come around to thinking that they still never should have gotten rid of that ship. A battleship didn't really suit these people.

I will say though that part of the movie's scope is ruined for me since I've actually visited the Valley of Fire. It's still impressive to me that they were able to 'somehow' trick out the scale and make the planetside around Picard and Soran appear vast and endless. But for me the illusion no longer holds. The scale is vastly diminished once you realize those far-off mountains really are much larger and higher than the rocks of the park itself.
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  #20  
Old 06-29-2014, 01:47 AM
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Quote:
For myself, I have to say I find the Nexus more objectionable than red matter or proto-matter. Because it works for the characters in a deus-es-machina fashion and because it they can't narrow it down to just one or two things that it does.
Nope. The Nexus is paradise with an exit option. Sounds like two things to me. Now of course the intermingling of paradise and reality, that you can wish to exit the Nexus at any moment and place, seems dubious but as Martok has already pointed out, there is a good way to read it, Kirk and Picard have tricked the Nexus. There is your intellectual Picard and you willpower Kirk moment.
So yeah, it does two things. If I said "black holes are not wormholes at the same time" about ST09 I would whine about sci-fi tricksery and say absolutely nothing, rien, nichts about the movie. It is like saying that the first fifteen pages of "The Time Machine" do not realistically depict time travel, you totally miss what the story is about. It is not even a technical complaint as it is precisely the point of sci-fi gadgets to do what the writers want them to do.


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I'm not certain how much sacrifice was really involved -- again because of how vague it is.
I have no idea what you do not understand. It is pretty simple and straightforward, Kirk gave up eternal bliss to fight once more for the common good.


Quote:
As for how Kirk dies, I appreciate that they were trying to be unconventional. I'm not sure it paid off. I don't think I can say if he should have died instead on the Enterprise bridge or not; without seeing a finished movie with that scenario there's no way to know. I've seen non-fans tear up if they happened to be in the room when Spock dies in II, and it's really an astonishing thing to see. People who don't even know their ST enough to know or care which VHS movie this is, but nonetheless in denial about finding out Spock ever died and watching him say goodbye to Kirk. And I just know that for whatever reason when it happened in Generations I didn't see that. And on that account... I'd say they missed it.
Nope, you missed the point of the scene. It is not a sentimental scene, it is not artistically heightened and not by accident but design. It is fairly mundane, Kirk dies on a planet in the middle of nowhere and nobody sheds a tear for him as all of his close friends are dead (respectively old Vulcans or stuck in a transporter buffer). So what, when heroes die in real life they rarely get a big round of applause either.
If you do it for the applause in the first place you are not much of a hero. The best example from fiction/religion/mythology is Judas Iscariot, he did his job (of leading Jesus down the path he wanted to) and accepted that his name will be synonymous with traitor for eternity (i.e. he also died a symbolic death as opposed to folks who die but know that their names will be praised).

So yeah, just because Kirk does not die like folks usually do in Hollywood movies does not mean that the scene is bad. It rather means that the audience has wrong expectations because all the crappy flicks out there confused them about what heroism is. George Kirk is not a hero because we the audience cry because of his stupid son and wife, he is a hero because he does his duty to the end. We don't cry when Robau dies although he did the same like Kirk, his duty until the bitter end. So whether a scene cracks you up or not is no indication of whether it is good. Every halfwitted soap opera maker can emotionally manipulate his audience.

Heroism it is not about the way you die, it is about the CHOICE you made before you die. Kirk forsake eternal happiness in order to save 230 millions.
I can recommend Kurosawas's Seven Samurai for everybody who still thinks that heroism and glory have to go hand in hand.

Last edited by horatio : 06-29-2014 at 01:50 AM.
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