Star Trek: Generations (1994) (part 5 of 12)

Moving on, Picard enters Ten Forward, while in the foreground Geordi takes a drink of something, a detail I never noticed until now. It’s an oddly nice, ordinary-moment touch, especially if you’re given to zoning out when the movie isn’t going anywhere at the moment.

Picard quietly asks for Soran and finds him with his back turned. For some reason, the director decided to have a second big reveal for Soran, complete with a grand buildup. Okay, we know he’s a famous actor playing the villain. We know. Can we make something happen, please? Anything?

You know, I like Malcolm McDowell. He’s a good actor and he’s been good in a lot of films, but still, it’s just Malcolm McDowell! Not Anthony Hopkins, not Michael Caine, not Peter O’Toole. So why another big reveal? He doesn’t have a weird deformity; he’s not hamming it up like a madman, he’s standing there with his back turned and we’ve seen him twice already before this.

Congratulations on managing the awesome feat of getting him to say yes to the script—it’s not like he says no to a lot of stuff to begin with. He’s pretty much like every other notable UK actor since the dawn of cinema. He works a lot. Come back to me when you land someone who had the sense to say no to two Rob Zombie movies!

Caption contributed by Ed

“So tell me, Malcolm. What the hell were you doing in that Mr. Magoo movie, anyhow?”

Soran says he needs to get back to the observatory so he can finish an experiment he’s been running on a large star nearby. Distracted-by-Bad-News Picard assures him that after the investigation is complete, he’ll let Soran go back, but Soran turns up the obvious villain meter, insisting how important timing is to his experiments, but Picard impatiently talks over him, telling Soran he’ll get his lab back when Picard says so.

As Picard turns to leave, Soran grabs him and creepily remarks, “They say time is the fire in which we burn. Right now, Captain, my time is running out.”

Picard has an expression of shock on his face, and says he’ll see what he can do, before getting the hell away from this guy. Soran checks his watch before leaving as well, and just so we don’t leave any foreshadowing cliché untouched, the scene ends on a lingering, “meaningful” close-up of Guinan after Soran sees her and looks subtly shocked. The sensitive Guinan, however, doesn’t see Soran—she just sort of feels something odd.

And yes, the film does have Soran make constant references to time. It’s about as subtle as a jackhammer, but one must consider the franchise.

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Ed Harris

A fan of less than great cinema since childhood, Ed divides his time between writing scripts, working an actual paying job and subjecting himself willingly to some of the worst films society has produced.

Multi-Part Article: Star Trek: Generations (1994)

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