A couple pages back and a couple weeks ago I put my cynic's hat on and ranted for a while. While not a horrible thing to do, I feel that that could have reflected badly upon me. In the spirit of me looking good, I offer you, dear readers, a movie review.
Star Trek: Generations.
Yep, I'm gonna give it a fair shake.
I noticed it was on television tonight (14/07/1998) and couldn't resist watching it after realizing I perhaps had been too quick in judging it at first. After all, I watched Great Expectations (maybe I thought it would get better if I knew what was coming?) a whopping six times, eventually feeling a sort of respect welling up within me for the finer moments of the film, the two that there are, and blatant ripoffs of the book at that. But my point is, after a couple watchings I realized that behind the horrible movie facade there was some substance there (i.e. what little of the book the director left unchanged. Believe it or not but I like the book's theme).
Thus Generations. In a modified form, for content and to fit my screen.
It starts out with the crew of the old Enterprise, and they're getting as old and creaky as the good ship herself. They're on hand for the launching of the Enterprise-B, crewed by those of a younger generation. They get to be the curmudgeonly yet smug old fogies as the new kids lead the reporters around. The filmmakers seemingly tossed in that reference to how times have changed since the sixties -- Kirk's Enterprise (or Pike's or whoever's it was when it was launched) received no such fanfare.
Barely out of the dock but alas, they receive a distress call. Skeleton-crewed and hampered by cutbacks in production (e.g. neither the torpedoes nor the medical staff will arrive until Tuesday) they nevertheless gallantly plunge into the rescue effort, which claims Jim Kirk's existence when he is sucked into the void from working on some random part of the ship to save the day.
Sixteen minutes into the film and Kirk's gone. I like it already. (He was sucked into a temporal flux ... sort of like anti time? hmmmm...)
They rescue 47 people, among whom are Guinan, and the cool evil guy, Malcolm McDowell, and then it's the (later) where we join the cast of the 'newest' Enterprise.
And it's a commercial break. I just told a telemarketer from the Science Fiction Book Club that although I liked their literature (I doubt she got the pun) I was going to have too much hassle in the next two years to want the trouble of buying two books after I got six for free. Thank you, <click>. All in one breath. Why do these interactions leave me feeling so powerful?
Back to the show. Data's having second thoughts about his emotion chip. In the holodeck he had tried to create fun by pushing Beverly into the water. Woefully not funny.
But what was he to know? Bev had just given him some of the best lines of the movie: Data, "You've got to get into the spirit of things. Be spontaneous! Do something unexpected!"
More hijinks later when he suddenly 'gets' a joke from the first season. What a knee-slapper!
Data had hoped that the chip could help him understand "something so simple as humor". Oh, if only it were that simple, the entire writing staff for the WB could finally ...
Anyway, it's another commercial break already, with Jerry Seinfeld for American Express. I like the idea of him ascending into the commercial realm -- it condenses (as it were) a plot into 30 seconds, a feat he more than often beat by writing half hours at a time with no plot at all!
Trouble in space -- some heavy stuff has fallen on the survivors of a horrible disaster on a space station! Worf lifts the debris and reveals: Mr. Evil Guy, Doctor Soren himself!
If he's a doctor, why can't he figure out where the gravity's coming from in space? Not to say that they couldn't generate it I suppose, but on a half-destroyed derelict space station why would the gravity work and not the lights? Hmmm...
Commercials AGAIN!! I flip to MTV, showing "Say What". It's a rap video, for "Rapper's delight", one of the clearest and not-needing-of-close-captioning rap songs I have ever heard. I find myself almost liking the simplistic repetitive funky bass riff. Naah. It's amusing, to see the words 'super sperm' on screen, but the moment passes.
Back to Trek. I'm reminded, in the lower left, by those great guys at Fox, that I'm watching Star Trek Generations.
It's a sepia-toned moment, of retrospection or conflict, as Picard confronts life, death, families, and his First Officer. There's a sinister motive aboard the space station -- Romulan tri-lithium.
Tri-lithium. It slows down nuclear reactions. That's Tri-lithium. Tri some today.
(That was not a real commercial. Sorry.)
Back to Picard, in the orange hue. He's talking to Deanna, telling her what no doubt her empathic skills already picked up, his sorrow that his nephew Rene will never experience the joys of life: "...going to the academy, reading books, listening to music, falling in love, building a life..." Sounds like a pretty good list to me.
The laws of physics are then broken. A star is destroyed by the evil Dr. Soren, and a shock wave rumbles from the exploding gas ball. Yes, rumbling in space. Long before a shock wave. Go figure. This is only one of many small implausibilities that seem to haunt or at least stop by for a visit in this film. Yes, that was a play on the word 'haunt'. Look it up in an old dictionary.
Use dictionaries. But get a big one. The one I have here is too often woefully lacking in the better words, it seems.
Speaking of little-used resources, the Captain and Data venture to Stellar Cartography, a wonderful room that puts ever planetarium ever made to shame. A room we've never seen before. A room that in seven years of running a starship has never come into visible use. Hmmm...
Data's different now. The chip has given him a sense of humor, and
confidence, and arrogance. There is much more of an edge to his voice, and he somewhat annoys me now. I'm reminded of my recent encounter with part of my distanced past, Steve. In the year that I've mellowed, he has becomed what I realized I was, a loud, egotistical, horny, annoying teenage punk. I hope he cools off before someone gives him another nostril.
I'd hate to ruin this movie for anyone who still wants to see this movie, so I'll stop the play-by-play banter.
Other highlights of my viewing included the visible reunion of Tony Danza with the small screen, as a foolish father-figure in a phone commercial. That puts him into the same league as, oh, Al Bundy and Newman. At least Seinfeld's in the same bind.
There's a 'new' show on CBS, with TV's 'newest' hero, with a 'new' twist. He's from hell. Can you say 'Spawn: the non-animated series?' Only time will tell on this one.
This is due of course, to Doctor Soren. He, in being uttterly pleasure driven, to evil, gets to utter the great lines, "if there is one constant in this universe, it's death. We're all gonna die; it's just a question of how or when. Death is a predator, stalking us for life. Except in the Nexus. Time has no meaning there. The predator has no teeth."
Cool ideas -- the inevitablity of death, and the meaninglessness of time, all wrapped up into an evil metaphor.
But is death inevitable? Picard sees time as a companion not a predator. What matters to him is, "not what we leave behind, but how we live. After all, we're only mortal."
Sounds pretty Hedonistic? Riker's reply more so:
"...not me! I'm going to live forever!"
I can relate to that.
I'm invincible, after all.
All things considered, not a horrible movie. It did what it had to do, with minimal fuss and much less dialogue from William Shatner than I thought possible.
It was, in a word, 'Adequate'.
And that's my fair shake.
Maybe this fair shake stuff isn't all that bad. I find myself wondering who else deserves that second look. I also find myself wondering what Bill Clinton has done for me. I've tuned out scandalgate after scandalgate, but I haven't heard anything else. Could it be that the man so worried about how he'll appear in the history books won't have anything good to be written about him there? I'm curious. They guy's been living on Pennsylvania for six years now -- doing what? Whom? There are only so many interns, after all.