Star Trek: Generations (1994) (part 7 of 12)

Back on the Klingon ship, Soran is trying to intimidate Geordi into giving him the Enterprise’s shield frequencies. It’s at this point that he makes the remark about being a great listener, while “ironically” not shutting up.

Cut back to the Enterprise, as Picard logs a report stating that Crusher has discovered that the malfunctioning emotion chip has fused into Data’s head and cannot be removed. Despite this, she’s cleared him for duty [?] and we get a scene with Picard and Data in the Stellar Cartography part of the ship. I guess this was a big deal with Trekkies at the time, seeing a new part of the ship. Actually, it’s rendered in a fairly neat manner, though it looks nothing like the Stellar Cartography section we saw in an earlier TNG episode.

Before we get into it, I should also note the establishing shot of the ship looks suspiciously like stock footage from the series blown up and enhanced for the movie.

The scene flip flops between tracking the Nexus, and Data getting worked up about how his newfound emotions endangered his best friend Geordi. Data even asks to be shut down at one point, before Picard yells at him and essentially orders him to grow a pair. The scene almost works, as Stewart is his usual commanding self, but Spiner overdoes it a bit, trying to match Stewart for intensity.

Caption contributed by Ed

“I don’t care if I smelled it first, Commander. You’re the one who dealt it!”

In fact, the decision to have the two conversations in the same scene hurts both plots. The tracking of the Nexus is important to the movie, but the emotion chip conundrum is comparatively trivial—something that could have easily been placed in any episode from the series. This scene minimizes the importance of the A plot, makes the B plot even more trivial, and tries to distract the audience with well-rendered computer imaging that’s constantly in motion, so the whole thing is a little disorienting.

Interestingly, the writers’ commentary on the special edition DVD does address this. While I’m hard on the writing team, I do applaud their ability to admit their faults on the track. Still, at the end of the day, they’re partly responsible for the fact that this film is not just a mess, but a hodgepodge of messes.

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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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