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Monday, August 10, 2020

Star Trek Reviews: TNG Trek Movies

Part Four of my reviews for all of the Star Trek shows and movies, split across several posts for each “stage” of Trek:

  1. Early Trek (TOS, TAS)
  2. TOS Trek Movies (ST MP through ST VI)
  3. ’90s Trek TV (TNG, DS9, Voyager)
  4. TNG Trek Movies (Generations through Nemesis)
  5. Enterprise
  6. Trek Reboot Movies
  7. Streaming Trek (Discovery, Picard, Trek shorts)

See the first post for an explanation of my letter-grade ranking system. The short version: C is average, something I have no strong feelings about one way or another. To avoid uncontrollable rage, please remember: Average is not Bad. It’s just average.

This post is all about the Star Trek: The Next Generation movies. I didn’t see any of these in the theaters, skipped most of them on TV for a long while. Spoiler Alert: I don’t regret that move in the slightest.

Star Trek: Generations

Rating: C+

Which is more surprising: me not giving ST Generations a D or F grade, or me giving it the same grade as The Wrath of Khan?

When I was filling in the gaps for Trek movies, I found that I didn’t like the pacing any more than I liked it in other Trek movies. This really does feel like a very long TV episode with a higher budget, probably all of which was blown on the stupid holodeck scene where they make Whorf walk the plank because it’s a tradition … which we’ve never seen before. But the thing most people hate about Generations is the thing that raises the entire movie above a straight C grade for me: Kirk’s “meaningless” death. Honestly, it was a pretty dangerous situation and someone dying isn’t far-fetched, plus if you think about it thematically, the Nexus is a stand-in for Heaven. Kirk basically died a meaningless death already. By getting the chance to come back briefly and prevent a madman from committing genocide, he made his death meaningful. It’s actually the best ending shown in TNG for a TOS character: McCoy gets a dumb cameo, Scotty gets his own space shuttle to do who knows what with. Spock at least gets a good story, but… well, more on that later.

Star Trek: First Contact

Rating: C+

I guess I can’t complain about Zefram Cochrane no longer being from Alpha Centauri. Even if I want to. I do think it’s stupid that he builds a warp-capable ship in what basically appears to be the Fallout universe, cobbling the thing together from scrounged parts. I also want to complain about the Borg being overused, but I know I’m alone in that.

I originally gave the movie a C grade, because I had no strong feelings for it. Yeah, I might watch it again, if I had a TV running and it happened to come on. But thinking about it a little more, I guess I do like it better than a lot of the TOS Trek movies and about as much as ST Generations. It’s worth a C+ grade.

Star Trek: Insurrection

Rating: C

I know I’ve seen it, although every time I watch it, I think “Have I seen it before?” It’s forgettable. But not to the point of being horrible. A so-so movie.

(After I had written that, I actually caught something like 40-50% of the middle of the movie and pretty much confirmed my previous feelings.)

Star Trek: Nemesis

Rating: C-

I couldn’t decide when I first rated the movies whether Nemesis should be a C or a C-. It’s certainly forgettable, but so is Insurrection, and so are most of the TOS movies. But there are some cinematography choices in Nemesis I don’t like. In fact, first time I watched it and saw the opening titles, my first thought was “I already hate the font.”

The dune buggy chase annoyed me. The long drawn-out scene where not only has everyone in the audience figured out the Romulan is really a human, but even the characters announce “We know you’re human, not Romulan, so why not reveal yourself?” It’s one of the least suspenseful moments in film.

Nevertheless, as dull and ugly as this movie is, I couldn’t justify giving it an actual D grade, so it stays at C-.

Next Post: Back to TV for a prequel series.

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  1. All of TNG movies are, for me, literally forgettable. I barely remember watching them.

    1. If I can't remember anything about a movie, I consider that a bad sign. There have literally been times I've sat down to finally watch a movie I've hear about for months and discovered I've already seen it. It was just so dull I forgot. A couple were Star Trek movies.

      Compare that to No Country for Old Men. About a yer after it came out, I was lying awake one night, thinking about a lot of different scenes and the plot and themes of it, when I thought "Man, I seem to remember a lot of details. How many times did I see it?"

      Once. I had only saw it once, a year before, and still remembered a lot of details. The movie still affected me.