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‘Star Trek Generations’ (PG)

By Desson Howe
Washington Post Staff Writer
November 18, 1994

"Star Trek Generations” may be the ultimate Star Trek adventure—so far, at least. At the end of this seventh movie voyage, there’s an unmistakable hint that the Captain’s Log is far from closed. But don’t think about the future. Think about getting in line: While it doesn’t have Spock (Leonard Nimoy reportedly got his ears out of joint over his paltry role), “Generations” has everything else:

• Captains James T. Kirk (William Shatner) and Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), a generation apart, meet. Their mission: to stop Dr. Soran (Malcolm McDowell) from holocaust-minded mayhem.

“I take it the odds are against us and the situation’s grim?” asks Kirk.

• Both crews come together, including old hands Scotty (James Doohan) and Chekov (Walter Koenig) from the original “Star Trek” TV series, and the folks from “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” whose show took its final bow last April.

• That new crew—including Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Data (Brent Spiner), Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton) and Lt. Worf (Michael Dorn)—comes entertainingly into its own. In fact, Data—who goes humanly haywire when an emotion chip is inserted into his circuitry—is the runaway star of the movie.

• Shatner’s toupee is starting to look real.

“Generations,” directed by David Carson, starts off with characteristic humor, as honored veterans Kirk (William Shatner), Scotty (James Doohan) and Chekov (Walter Koenig) come aboard the new Enterprise B, as guests of young Captain Harriman (Alan Ruck). “I’ve been reading about your missions since I was in grade school,” Harriman tells Kirk. When unexpected trouble occurs, however, the younger captain is soon begging Kirk to take command.

It would spoil things to recount the details, but the scenario, written by Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga (producers on “The Next Generation”), is a rich and absorbing saga that involves post-Gene Roddenberry musings on mortality; clashes with Soran (picture McDowell as Sting) and renegade Klingons; the usual techno trouble-shooting (damn those fluctuations in the warp plasma relays!); and Picard’s journey into a time-fluid entity known as the Nexus. The special effects by Industrial Light & Magic—including a spectacular intergalactic crash landing—are fantastic. But best of all is the comedy, which transports you through “Generations” at enjoyable warp speed. Android Data’s experiences with the emotion chip are particularly funny, as he learns what it is to be human.

“I believe this beverage has produced an emotional response,” he says, after downing a killer brew concocted by Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg).

“Looks like he hates it,” she says.

“Yes, that is it. I hate this!” says Data, excited at his new discovery.

“More?” asks Guinan.

“Please,” says Data.

"Star Trek Generations" contains light violence.

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