Star Trek: Generations (1994) (part 8 of 12)
After Soran provides the plot point that “time has no meaning” in the Nexus, we go back to the sisters, who are still watching Geordicam footage and starting to get tremendously bored. In a good movie, Geordi’s dithering would turn out to be part of a plan—the camera was found and Geordi is just messing with the villains, going to the barber shop, watching porn, etc.—but this movie isn’t that sharp.
Helga gripes that he’s just been wandering around and that “He must be the only engineer in Starfleet who doesn’t go to Engineering!” Well, naturally. If your only function is to follow Data around and occasionally hold the blowtorch while he fucks with his own head, then yeah, that’s gonna be a problem.
On the Enterprise, Worf is having trouble locating Picard. Riker asks Data to see if he can help. Happy as a clam now that Geordi’s okay, Data pauses to say, “I just love scanning for life forms!” He then sings an idiotic little ditty while punching blipping buttons on his console as though it were a keyboard, while the entire bridge crew pulls WTF faces.
I would imagine audiences had a similar reaction.
Oy. Are we sure it was an emotion chip he had installed, and not the electronic equivalent of a Bahama Mama and a couple of Vicodin? Something tells me Dr. Crusher cleared him for duty as some sick form of revenge on Data for the boat thing earlier, although it would make more sense as revenge on the bridge crew that has to work with him.
Seriously, this goes beyond bad comedy and into the realm of just plain weirdness for the sake of being weird. I guess the writers thought it would be funny to have Data, who’s new at the whole emotion thing, go to town with being happy about being happy. But to watch this is to have to pinch yourself to make sure you’re not having some sort of hallucination, while feeling your upper lip curl involuntarily in revulsion.
Of course, one of the screenwriters of this thing also thinks that humans will eventually evolve into really big salamanders. So it’s possible there are some disconnected brain synapses at work here.
Back to the sisters watching the GeordiVision Network, which I have to say is not terribly stimulating, until it finally pays off when he happens to glance at a control panel displaying the Enterprise shield frequency. Yes, the shield frequency, something you would think would be a pretty tightly guarded secret, is on display for any asshole to see. I guess in the future, security procedures are a bit lax.
So the sisters get their torpedoes adjusted, and the next thing you know, the Enterprise is getting the shit kicked out of it by an antique, underpowered stolen Klingon warbird. The Enterprise fires its phasers wildly but does little in the way of damage, and our heroes turn to flee. Huh, so the Klingon sisters are a legitimate threat, after all. Who saw that coming? Of course, they’re only a legitimate threat because nobody bothered to check their returned war prisoner for surveillance devices, but hey, an advantage generated by incompetence is still an advantage.
You know, it really doesn’t make the villains look too good when they underestimate the ability of their ship, even when they know they have an ace in the hole. On a related note, it doesn’t make the heroes look too good either when an antique mosquito can give them an ass-kicking. All in all, it’s not that great of a space battle. In fact, it’s just there to justify the presence of the sisters, when what really matters is the deadlock down on the planet.
On the bridge, the helmsman is injured, and Troi takes over. Oh no. Data reports hull breaches. Riker, a little frantically, asks Worf if the enemy ship has any weaknesses, to which Worf replies that it was pulled from service due to a design flaw linking the shields to the cloaking device. Well, that sounds convenient.
Riker and Data formulate a Treknobabble-heavy plan involving remotely making the Klingon ship’s cloaking device activate and the shields drop, in the process recycling the climactic moment from Star Trek II. Riker orders a spread of photon torpedoes, and of course the plan works perfectly as the warbird begins to cloak. Frakes gets a nice close-up, as with great relish, he orders the ship to fire… and then things go south again.
One torpedo is fired (the term “spread” must have a different definition in the Trek universe), but it turns out that’s all that was needed. That one measly little torpedo blows up the entire Klingon vessel. So basically, the sisters stole the Klingon equivalent of a Ford Pinto? Yeah, I’m going to have to take the whole “legitimate threat” thing back. These villains suck.
All this would be fine if not for the shot of the bad guys blowing up, which is the exact same effects shot used in the previous movie. Same angles, same effects, only re-colored a bit and put in a slightly different aspect ratio. It’s the same goddamn shot! Simply hilarious.
Here, see for yourself. Here’s the shot from Star Trek VI…
And here’s almost the exact same shot from Generations.
Jesus, I thought this sort of cheapness was only found in the realm of B-movies and syndicated action shows. You can get away with this sort of thing on TV because nobody realistically expects fresh f/x shots every week. You can even pull it off in a movie, provided the footage isn’t clearly from a film made three years previously that made a pretty decent chunk of change worldwide! It really says something that the funniest thing in the movie was completely unintentional.
Not that they haven’t ripped themselves off before. But the climactic moment of a space battle?
Data does a fist pump (telegraphed by an extra in the background, who realizes he’s undermining Spiner’s big moment and, hilariously, tries to stop) and then we go back to the planet. Interestingly enough, in an earlier draft of the script, the Klingons ended up crashing on the planet, but survived. I’m not sure if this would have been better, but either way the extra villains were fairly superfluous here, and were clearly just around to allow for a space battle.
On the planet, Picard has given up on trying to talk Soran out of his plan, and is now just killing time throwing pebbles at the force field. Soran asks, as do I, whether Picard has anything better to do, to which Picard responds by very purposefully sitting on a rock. Wow, a heroic captain who calls sitting on his ass a viable strategy. Sign me up to his crew right now!
As Soran makes adjustments to his missile, Picard notices a small clump of rocks he can toss a stone through, thus getting past the force field.
Back on the ship, things are going badly in Engineering. A coolant leak has erupted, causing a warp core breach that can’t be stopped and will occur in five minutes. Geordi gets everyone out of Engineering, rolling to safety just in time to do a cool relaxed pose. Oh, if only he was this cool all the time.
So the star drive, AKA the bottom section of the ship is gonna blow, and Riker has Troi evacuate everyone to the saucer section. We then get an evacuation sequence which manages to work in the cheesiest cliché in the book, as a little girl being bundled off to safety loses her teddy bear in the process, only able to stare helplessly at the lost toy as she’s carried away.
Wow, and I thought using stock footage from your previous film was shameless! Hauling out the Stuffed Toy Gratuitous Pathos Principle takes this movie’s cheesiness to a whole new level. Even Roger Corman would balk at this sort of thing, though that’s partly because his casts generally consist of maybe a dozen people, making for kind of a lame evacuation scene.