"STAR TREK: GENERATIONS" (aka "Star Trek VII")
I just realized that whenever I've bought a movie ticket in advance, it had either the word "Star" or "Rings" in the title. I was so excited to see this movie, the 7th Trek movie, that I bought the advance ticket for an opening night non-matinee. This was the first time I ever felt the need to buy a ticket in advance. The non-matinee was rare in and of itself, as I was a cheap teenager practicing for his cheap adulthood. I was so excited about "Generations" that I considered skipping a short performance with my musical theater group so I could attend an earlier show with my Trekkie friend and fellow performer, Craig. Craig did skip the performance, despite my token protests. I was so excited that, being naturally gullible, I believed the plot details disclosed by a witty troll on an AOL message board. According to the post, at one point, the android Data would have sex with a female Klingon commander, as a tactical distraction. This was something I accepted as truth.
After the short show with the musical group, I sped to the movie theater. I did make the movie, just in time to join the line when they opened the doors. I laughed when a group of guys yelled out "Engage!" at the opening shot of a star field. I applauded the title and the entrance of Kirk. I'm sure I exited the movie in an equally ecstatic mood, from the experience alone. You can see a bad movie with a great audience ("Titanic") and not realize you're seeing a bad movie. But christ, it's a mess. Considering that they must have taken the fans into consideration by choosing to make a movie where new (Captain Picard) meets old (Captain Kirk), it's staggering to consider the degree of their failure.
A mad doctor, Dr. Soren (Malcolm Macdowell), is obsessed with entering the Nexus. The Star Trek wiki describes the Nexus as a "non-linear temporal phenomenon capable of delivering an individual to a non-corporeal Utopian existence. The entrance into the Nexus was a temporal flux energy ribbon which crossed the Milky Way Galaxy every 39.1 years." If you enter the Nexus via this (pink lightning-like) energy ribbon, you go to your eternal happy place, specific to each person's greatest desires. We meet Soren in the beginning of the movie, when, much to his overacting dismay, he is transported out of the Nexus by the Enterprise-B. Enterprise-B is on its maiden voyage, joined by special guest Admiral James Kirk. While saving the ship, Kirk is apparently sucked out into deep space, and no one bothers to search for his body despite his being the greatest hero in Earth's history.
Much later in the movie and 110-something years later, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) is Nexus'ed after failing to stop Soren's mad scientist plan -- it involves a supernova and the destruction of a solar system. His happy place is a fictional family on Christmas in what appears to be Victorian England. I guess it's always Christmas Eve in this universe? His real-world nephew is a part of this family, and the whole idea is that Picard's most intense regret is spending his entire adult life alone, married to his Starfleet work, without a family of his own.
Why is this nephew included? We saw this nephew in exactly one episode of the series. He lived in a vineyard in rural France. Well, because near the beginning of the movie, we have an amateurishly written scene with terrible mistake of editing and writing that left me believing that the director and producers never watched the whole movie. When Counselor Troi visits the Captain and asks him what's wrong (he's clearly upset over something), he tearfully informs her that his nephew Phillipe "burned to death in the fire."
Not "a fire," but "the fire," as if there was a mention of a fire earlier in the movie (which there wasn't). Of course, Picard is an emotional wreck as he says this, so you can say "Oh, he forgot that he didn't tell anyone about a fire at the house in France," but damnit, it should have been "he died in a fire." This is the sort of error I'd expect from a fan film, not a major Paramount release with an estimated $35 million budget. The line might have even got past the audience -- if it wasn't in a room full of rabid Trekkies. I'm frankly bewildered that there's no mention of it on the IMDB. I fast-forwarded to the scene, courtesy of Hulu, to verify that it was how I remembered hearing it. It is exactly how I remember it.
Picard, in the Nexus, meets up with a "shadow" of spirit guide Guinan, (Whoopi Goldberg). It is not adequately explained how she got into his vision. Then again, they never did explain anything about Guinan's mind powers. Guinan tells Picard that he can find help via another occupant of the Nexus: Kirk! So what happens when these two sci-fi icons unite for the first (and only) time? It must be something incredible. We've been waiting the whole movie for this. Hell, as soon as the Next Generation series hit its stride, we were waiting for this! It's going to be great when they're on the bridge of the Enterprise together, yeah? Yeah! So what do they do when they meet?
They cook eggs and ride horses. ... ... ... Yep. Granted, after Picard is able to convince Kirk to leave the Nexus with him, they also stop the mad doctor from activating his missile in a clumsy comedy of errors/fight, but the majority of their time is spent in and around a rural cabin. Shatner is an actual horseman, and I fear that this was probably written into his contract when he signed on for this turkey. "Mr. Shatner wants a scene where he rides his prize horse Daisy." "Consider it done." Kirk dies, but William Shatner brought him back in a series of (presumably ghost-written) novels. I read a couple of them. I've read worse fan fiction.