I ranked my favorite Star Trek movies but realized I hadn’t watched a lot of them for a long time. I am watching them again in chronological order and sharing some of my thoughts after a fresh viewing. Maybe some of the movies will have a chance to move up my list after watching them again.
Last week I watched Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. This week I watched Star Trek: Generations.
Star Trek: Generations was one of the first movies I was really excited to see. Before Generations I really hadn’t looked forward to a movie’s release or counted down the weeks until it would be in theaters. That seems a far cry from my behavior today; I entered all of Marvel’s Phase 2 movies into my calendar months ago.
Star Trek: The Next Generation is my favorite television show of all time. It introduced me to the Star Trek universe. I watched at least six or seven episodes a week. During a time in my life when I didn’t have a lot of friends, the crew of the Enterprise-D were my most constant companions.
I was crushed when The Next Generation went off the air but had Generations to look forward to. I remember sitting in the theater opening weekend, thrilled to see more adventures of Picard and crew. After watching it again, though, it’s more accurate to say I saw the adventures of Picard and Kirk, with a little Riker, Data, Worf, LaForge, Troi and Crusher thrown in.
I forgot how much screen time Kirk, Scotty and Chekov received. Even though it’s the NCC-1701-D’s crew’s first movie, they don’t show up for almost 20 minutes. It works, though, because Generations acts best as a passing of the torch. It’s not a great Star Trek movie but it is great to see Picard and Kirk onscreen together. After watching it again, I especially appreciated when Kirk told Picard to call him Jim.
Here are some other thoughts I had while watching Star Trek: Generations.
Captain Picard is a wonderfully complex character. Even after seven seasons, there were still more layers to the captain. After the death of his brother and nephew, Picard is struck with grief. He’s not just grieving the deaths of his loved ones, but he’s also grieving a legacy that will no longer be left. Even in the 24th century people still want to leave a legacy, they want to leave mark that will outlast their last breath. Picard had hoped that his family name and some of his legacy would carry on through his brother and nephew. Whether we have children of our own or not, the best way to leave a legacy is by investing in the lives of others. Possessions will definitely fade away, but the investments we make in people can continue producing fruit forever.
Star Trek: Generations revolves around the Nexus, an energy ribbon that allows people to experience whatever they want for as long as they want. Guinan described the Nexus as being inside pure joy and the most content she had ever been. For followers of Jesus, joy isn’t found in getting whatever we want but in Christ himself. The Psalms are filled with verses about finding joy in the Lord and in his precepts. Even when we experience trials and tribulations (or tibbleations), we can still have joy because joy is independent of our circumstances. Had Soran understood that reality, he may have been able to handle living outside the Nexus.
It’s our mortality that defines us, Soran. It’s the truth of our existence.
Screenwriter Ronald D. Moore said that he wanted to give Picard a major story arc and what’s more major than facing mortality? The death of his brother and nephew forced Picard to reexamine his own mortality. Soran’s inability to face his own mortality steeled Picard’s ability to face his. We shouldn’t fear death. Because of Jesus, death has lost its sting and hell has no victory. Even though we shouldn’t fear death, we should allow our mortality to push us to action. We only have a limited time to make an impact for God’s kingdom in this world. Like Kirk, we should strive to make a difference in all that we do.
I originally ranked Star Trek: Generations as my seventh favorite Star Trek move. After some stronger-than-expected showings by some of the original crew’s movies, Generations my fall a little further down the list. Still, I love seeing the next generation in a movie, even if they spent most of it celebrating the previous generation.
What are your thoughts about Star Trek: Generations?