Even though the Star Trek series dropped the Roman numerals with this, the seventh installment, Star Trek Generations is often thought to continue the trend of the odd-numbered sequels being weaker than the even ones. Still, there's a lot to like in this film, and not just because it gives fans the chance to bid a fond farewell to three folks from the original Enterprise: James Doohan's Scotty, Walter Koenig's Chekov, and, most poignantly, William Shatner's Kirk. But taking center stage this time is the crew from Star Trek: The Next Generation, led by Patrick Stewart's Jean-Luc Picard, and it's a pretty convincing theatrical debut, even if the characters are used unevenly. It's smart that we get a big dose of Brent Spiner's Data, the heretofore emotionless android, who installs an emotion chip in order to become more human. This allows Spiner excellent leeway to explore the android's wacky potential -- when, for example, he first tastes a disagreeable beverage, he revels outrageously in how much he dislikes it, then asks for seconds just to experience the thrill. Similarly delightful Data moments do draw screen time from such stalwart crew members as Worf (Michael Dorn), Riker (Jonathan Frakes), and Troi (Marina Sirtis), but the screenwriters only have so much time to dole out. The storyline is typically hyperbolic, as Trek movie storylines go -- Malcolm McDowell blowing up stars, to alter the path of a ribbon-shaped portal floating through space, ends up being both cool and surprisingly plausible, by Trek standards. David Carson, a veteran of numerous episodes of several Trek series, brings it all to the screen with workmanlike competence. Maybe it was just that odd-numbered curse that caused history to view this as a lesser Trek film.
by Derek Armstrong review