There is a much-accepted truism about the Star Trek
movies. The odd-numbered films (Star Trek, The Search for Spock, The Final Frontier)
are rotten, while the even-numbered films (The Wrath of Khan, The Voyage Home, The Undiscovered Country)
are pretty good. As much as the producers of Star Trek: Generations
have tried to avoid using a number, they cannot escape the fact that this is the seventh film in the series. It is also the first with The Next Generation
cast. And after the shaky beginning of the first Star Trek
film, things look bad. Fortunately, the number seven turns out to be very lucky indeed. For people familiar with the popular syndicated TV show, whose finale aired earlier this year, there will not be many surprises regarding the characters. Picard (Stewart) is eloquent, Kirk (Shatner) is a ham, Diana (Sirtis) is annoying, Beverly (McFadden) is all but completely absent, and Data (Spiner)… well there is a change in Data. And change is really what this film is about. As Captain Kirk officially hands over the helm to Captain Picard, they become the two largest icons to be joined on screen since King Kong met Godzilla. But the film isn't actually about the two captains. It belongs solely to The Next Generation. Kirk is not in much of the picture. This film belongs to Stewart and his British comrade, McDowell, who last worked together performing Shakespeare at Stratford-on-Avon in 1966. McDowell could be likened to Khan (Ricardo Montalban) from Star Trek II.
And where Montalban was the perfect match for Shatner's campy acting, McDowell matches Stewart's intensity and grace. This is not to say that the film does not have its problems. There is a cheesy sequence with the entire crew in the holodeck and in a climactic moment when Picard enters a time warp the film suddenly becomes slow and boring. Fortunately, this does not last long. Star Trek: Generations
is a successful entry in the series, and a darn good film on its own.