Robin Bland

EW on Trek films

157 posts in this topic

Like many of the commenters on the article, I came away less impressed.  It was full of unverifiable assumptions by the writer who strained to seem both witty and wise with limited success.  I didn't continue to page 2.

I do love the fact that you find all these Trek things from a wide array of sources.  All hail Gus, the master internet sleuth.

Edited by Mutai Sho-Rin

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Like many of the commenters on the article, I came away less impressed.  It was full of unverifiable assumptions by the writer who strained to seem both witty and wise with limited success.  I didn't continue to page 2.

I do love the fact that you find all these Trek things from a wide array of sources.  All hail Gus, the master internet sleuth.

I only liked this particular review when it came to actually discussing the movie itself.   I could've done without the preamble about Nimoy and Shatner's relationship speculation.   But the actual portion of the review that centered on the movie was pretty interesting. 

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What I can say ? I love STAR TREK V and GENERATIONS.

Guilty.

Gus

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"Someone once told me that time was a predator that stalked us all our lives. I rather believe that time is a companion who goes with us on the journey and reminds us to cherish every moment, because it will never come again. What we leave behind is not as important as how we’ve lived. After all Number One, we’re only mortal."
 
"Speak for yourself sir, I plan to live forever."

EW criticizes STAR TREK GENERATIONS in their extensive review (as expected) which can be found at

http://www.ew.com/article/2016/06/10/star-trek-generations-end-cinema

I still love this movie, nevertheless.

13315751_10209666283673071_8489014982294

Gus

Edited by GustavoLeao

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I read the review, and it sounds to me like the reviewer spent the whole running time of GEN mentally comparing it to "All Good Things..." rather than as a standalone movie.  Movies and TV shows, at least back in Ye Olden Times, had different requirements.   GEN had to up the action/FX quotient because movie audiences wouldn't be able to sit through 10 min. technobabble discussions about time/anti-time and subspace anomalies created by focusing energy beams into... blah, blah, blah.

To me, AGT was a great finale; no question.   But it was simply a different story then GEN.   AGT was about friends solving a puzzle together.  GEN is about loss and moving on.  I saw AGT as the happy wrap party; I saw GEN as the somber wake.   Same generation of ST characters, but in episodes with different goals.   Much in the same way that one wouldn't compare "Inner Light" with "Trouble With Tribbles"; both are satisfying, but in very different ways.

And yes, some of the staging in GEN is clumsy, but arguably not much more so than other ST films.  And considering that they had a MONTH between wrapping AGT and shooting GEN, I think they pulled off a damn miracle.  And at least the reviewer had the insight to point out GEN's beautiful cinematography by the late John Alonzo (though he fails to give him credit; the man was DP on "Chinatown" for gods' sake).  GEN's cinematography is some of the best in all of ST (IMO).   

And is Malcolm McDowell's 'mad scientist' (a fair description) any less cliche than Klingon Kruge and his own ridiculous dialogue ("Giiiivve meee Geeneesissss!!!")?  I don't think so.   The ST movies have always been ST 'dummied down' for mass consumption; in this way, GEN is no different than the rest.   But at least it tried to reach for some poignancy and depth.   Yes, Picard is reduced to the 'action guy' when he and Kirk team up, but the reviewer made little mention of the profound scenes of Picard and Troi when he tells her about his dead brother and nephew, or the beautiful coda when Picard and Riker waxing philosophically about mortality and continuance.   That was a BEAUTIFUL scene that spoke very powerfully to me (esp. at that time in my life).   None of that gets its fair share in the review; Rene's tragic offscreen loss is only referred to as "Kirk's dead son = Picard's dead nephew."    Wow.  Deep insight there, dude... :loopy:

Comparing individual episodes of the series to the movies is always a losing battle because television is ST's native format; it's a creature of the cathode ray tube (or the modern flatscreen), not the silver screen.   The movies are always entertaining, but they're rarely as deep or substantive as the best of the series; at least GEN tried to be.  It wasn't all about budget and spectacle (which you'd think it was, from the reviewer's bias).   At any rate, ST belongs on TV more so than it does on movie screens and this is one of the reasons I'm more excited about the ST Continues fan films and 2017 series than I am about ST Beyond.   Nothing against the movies (and overall they're very entertaining) but in a 2 hour feature film there is simply no time to explore things that can be developed over multiple episodes, or even with a single one hour episode devoted to a minor character. 

I think it would've been more apropos if the reviewer kept his review to the movie at hand, or its relation to other ST movies.  Comparing it to one of the better TNG episodes is not really fair.   Any of the best TNGs are arguably better than the best of the movies. 

That said?  I still love GEN for what is there rather than what isn't, and a negative review doesn't change my opinion of it.  The heart wants what it wants.  ;)

 

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I read the review as well, and while I'm not a fan of Generations AT ALL, neither am I fan of "All Good Things..." so I have no preference between the two of them and I'm not biased because I dislike them equally for different reasons. That being said, I fail to see the relevance in comparing these two in the first place. I mean of course AGT is different from GEN, because it CONCLUDES a TV series, it doesn't START a movie franchise. This is comparing apples and oranges, IMO.

Also, I fail to see just WHY the reviewer dislikes GEN so much. Going on about the REALLY few scenes in which Jean-Luc and Kirk punch Soran hardly makes a convincing point - out of ALL the TNG movies, GEN is still the one that is still most faithful to the TV series character-wise. "I dislike Generations because it isn't First Contact" is almost literally a line from that review, and... umm... solid reasoning there. Like, not?

I expected to find a long list of plot points that made no sense and a deep analysis of just WHY killing off René is such a terrible idea but all I got was a half-hearted "hey I dislike this because I liked the show's final episode much better and this movie isn't like the next one and meh, whatever". It doesn't even really touch the problems GEN has, it only rambles on about how different Jean-Luc and Kirk are (we KNOW that, yawn) and how bored Sir Patrick looks having to play getting stuck between rocks (it was terribly UNCOMFORTABLE to shoot that scene, thank you very much - ugh, I don't appreciate unwarranted Sir Patrick bashing). Like, umm... where are that author's ARGUMENTS? All I'm getting is "yeah but it's not as shiny as this or that". It seems very... superficial to me. And hey, if I end up wanting to DEFEND Generations while reading an article, something REALLY is wrong.

/rant

Maybe the review actually has the same problem as the TNG movies - it's dumbed down in order to appeal to a wider audience? :P

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Been busy - kept meaning to read these EW articles on each film, so thanks for the reminder, Gus. 

This one reads like it was written right after Generations came out, 20 odd years ago. Nothing new whatsoever to say with the benefit of hindsight in all that time, but it's nice that the writer provides a useful list of why it's bad, including greatest hits such as "It's not as deep as it would like to be" and "Less is more." You'll also find a handy comparison chart in the shape of "It's not as good as All Good Things." (By the way, one's a TV episode and one's a movie, so now let's discuss the relative merits of the two media.) 

Etc. 

As others have noticed, the focus of the article itself is a mirror of the film - all over the place.

Yeah, Generations is a mess. Don't think you'll find even people who like it (like me) disagreeing with that one. The production reasons for that have been endlessly discussed (and yeah, I saw that interview with Moore and Braga a couple of years ago). It's a structural pile of odds-and-ends that attempt to assemble themselves into a story featuring characters who can't even wear the same kinds of uniforms, let alone have the elegance of similar motivations. It's very easy to pick holes, but it's a shame they didn't come at this with a more celebratory feel, looking for reasons to watch and enjoy it. Instead, the writer bludgeons you over the head with the obvious. A disappointingly crappy article, given how good the one about TMP was.

I must go back and read the others. Wonder what they said about TFF?  

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Been busy - kept meaning to read these EW articles on each film, so thanks for the reminder, Gus. 

This one reads like it was written right after Generations came out, 20 odd years ago. Nothing new whatsoever to say with the benefit of hindsight in all that time, but it's nice that the writer provides a useful list of why it's bad, including greatest hits such as "It's not as deep as it would like to be" and "Less is more." You'll also find a handy comparison chart in the shape of "It's not as good as All Good Things." (By the way, one's a TV episode and one's a movie, so now let's discuss the relative merits of the two media.) 

Etc. 

As others have noticed, the focus of the article itself is a mirror of the film - all over the place.

Yeah, Generations is a mess. Don't think you'll find even people who like it (like me) disagreeing with that one. The production reasons for that have been endlessly discussed (and yeah, I saw that interview with Moore and Braga a couple of years ago). It's a structural pile of odds-and-ends that attempt to assemble themselves into a story featuring characters who can't even wear the same kinds of uniforms, let alone have the elegance of similar motivations. It's very easy to pick holes, but it's a shame they didn't come at this with a more celebratory feel, looking for reasons to watch and enjoy it. Instead, the writer bludgeons you over the head with the obvious. A disappointingly crappy article, given how good the one about TMP was.

I must go back and read the others. Wonder what they said about TFF?  

^
Yeah, that! 
:laugh:

I agree that GEN is by no means a perfect film; the Data emotions subplot feels like a tired leftover from the series, as does Lursa and B'etohr.   But those elements didn't ruin the overall experience for me.  I thought the film, like TMP and even TFF, had a lot of ambition; and for that, I give it serious kudos.  GEN aspired to be a blend of action (the saucer crash is amazing; I didn't mind seeing it twice in one movie) as well an interesting insight on dealing with loss (the nexus providing an artificial escape from the pain of said loss; for Soren, Kirk and Picard).  

The 'nexus' reminded me of a TNG-version of "The Cage"; where Pike was given a choice of living his life as a never-ending fantasy or deal with reality, warts and all.  Kirk and Picard both face a similar choice in GEN, only without nasty little Talosians to prod them one way or the other.    They choose the pain of reality over the fantasy.   And the ending, while sad (the loss of the Ent-D) still felt hopeful and optimistic, in the best ST tradition.  

Again, it's not a perfect film, but it's not the disaster so many make it out to be either.

 

 

 

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My pleasure, Robin.

I just love GENERATIONS so this review means almost nothing to me you know.

 I love Shatner and Stewart (and even Malcolm McDowell) performances in this movie. I think Shatner was excellent in GENERATIONS, one of his best acting in the role of Kirk.

And David Carson - wonderful director with great cinematography from the late John Alonzo and wonderful FX from ILM.

I imagined the reviewer will trash INSURRECTION and NEMESIS even more. Well, that I agree.

Gus

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My pleasure, Robin.

I just love GENERATIONS so this review means almost nothing to me you know.

 I love Shatner and Stewart (and even Malcolm McDowell) performances in this movie. I think Shatner was excellent in GENERATIONS, one of his best acting in the role of Kirk.

And David Carson - wonderful director with great cinematography from the late John Alonzo and wonderful FX from ILM.

I imagined the reviewer will trash INSURRECTION and NEMESIS even more. Well, that I agree.

Gus

^

He won't get arguments from me on either INS or NEM; or on STID, if he does all of the ST movies... 

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Here is his review of STAR TREK V THE FINAL FRONTIER which he wrote "God help me – Fake Alien God help me – but I enjoy The Final Frontier. It helps to remember just how goofy Star Trek always could be. We hail the great episodes of the original series, which tend to be serious or tribble-coded as “silly.” But Trek could also be half-baked, horny, macho, gruff; before “mythology” was a thing,"

For me, STAR TREK V is a movie, not about searching God, but about friendship, pain and loyalty, which was also the themes of some of the other movies

You can read the STAR TREK V review, which also covers the Shatnerverse novels a bit, at

http://www.ew.com/article/2016/05/27/star-trek-v-final-frontier-shatner-geekly

13041292_10209210028186969_3239870034670

Gus

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Only Bones could pull off an ascot with western wear... what a guy.  ;)

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My pleasure, Robin.

I just love GENERATIONS so this review means almost nothing to me you know.

 I love Shatner and Stewart (and even Malcolm McDowell) performances in this movie. I think Shatner was excellent in GENERATIONS, one of his best acting in the role of Kirk.

And David Carson - wonderful director with great cinematography from the late John Alonzo and wonderful FX from ILM.

I imagined the reviewer will trash INSURRECTION and NEMESIS even more. Well, that I agree.

Gus

I hope the INS and NEM reviews won't make me want to actually defend Nemesis, or worse, Insurrection as well, like the Generations one did... ;) Ugh, what a terrible thought. Haha.

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Sometimes I feel compelled to defend INSURRECTION (after reading Michael Piller un-published book FADE-IN THE WRITING OF STAR TREK INSURRECTION and how that movie was in some sort of development hell and it was a difficult task for Mr Piller) and then I just shake this out of my mind.

And NEMESIS - good FX and some good moments ruined by Stuart Baird lack of vision and Baird dont even knew the name of the characters (calling Goerdi of "Laverne") so he was the worst director Rick Berman would get for the project......a missed oportunity.

INSURRECTION and NEMESIS made me appreciate GENERATIONS and FIRST CONTACT even more.

Gus

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IMO, the problems didn't start with FC, bit with TWOK:

Meyer just didn't GET Star Trek. He turned it into an u-boat-like militaristic adventure. This militaristic tone is nothing like TOS. :P

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Sometimes I feel compelled to defend INSURRECTION (after reading Michael Piller un-published book FADE-IN THE WRITING OF STAR TREK INSURRECTION and how that movie was in some sort of development hell and it was a difficult task for Mr Piller) and then I just shake this out of my mind.

And NEMESIS - good FX and some good moments ruined by Stuart Baird lack of vision and Baird dont even knew the name of the characters (calling Goerdi of "Laverne") so he was the worst director Rick Berman would get for the project......a missed oportunity.

INSURRECTION and NEMESIS made me appreciate GENERATIONS and FIRST CONTACT even more.

Gus

 

Yeah, that's a fascinating read. There were many other factors that contributed to Insurrection being such a disappointing movie. It certainly clarified his position and gave a sense of the movie he wanted to make. That said, although it was certainly a difficult time for Piller (for all sorts of personal reasons as well as dealing with the making of the movie), I also felt he really needed to shoulder some of the blame for the "business-as-usual" approach he and Berman took to Insurrection. And I say that about him despite very much admiring his achievements on TNG, DS9 and even Voyager. 

I'd take Generations over either Insurrection or Nemesis any day. It has its problems, but it's still got a lot of heart and spectacle. 

Been busy - kept meaning to read these EW articles on each film, so thanks for the reminder, Gus. 

This one reads like it was written right after Generations came out, 20 odd years ago. Nothing new whatsoever to say with the benefit of hindsight in all that time, but it's nice that the writer provides a useful list of why it's bad, including greatest hits such as "It's not as deep as it would like to be" and "Less is more." You'll also find a handy comparison chart in the shape of "It's not as good as All Good Things." (By the way, one's a TV episode and one's a movie, so now let's discuss the relative merits of the two media.) 

Etc. 

As others have noticed, the focus of the article itself is a mirror of the film - all over the place.

Yeah, Generations is a mess. Don't think you'll find even people who like it (like me) disagreeing with that one. The production reasons for that have been endlessly discussed (and yeah, I saw that interview with Moore and Braga a couple of years ago). It's a structural pile of odds-and-ends that attempt to assemble themselves into a story featuring characters who can't even wear the same kinds of uniforms, let alone have the elegance of similar motivations. It's very easy to pick holes, but it's a shame they didn't come at this with a more celebratory feel, looking for reasons to watch and enjoy it. Instead, the writer bludgeons you over the head with the obvious. A disappointingly crappy article, given how good the one about TMP was.

I must go back and read the others. Wonder what they said about TFF?  

^
Yeah, that! 
:laugh:

I agree that GEN is by no means a perfect film; the Data emotions subplot feels like a tired leftover from the series, as does Lursa and B'etohr.   But those elements didn't ruin the overall experience for me.  I thought the film, like TMP and even TFF, had a lot of ambition; and for that, I give it serious kudos.  GEN aspired to be a blend of action (the saucer crash is amazing; I didn't mind seeing it twice in one movie) as well an interesting insight on dealing with loss (the nexus providing an artificial escape from the pain of said loss; for Soren, Kirk and Picard).  

The 'nexus' reminded me of a TNG-version of "The Cage"; where Pike was given a choice of living his life as a never-ending fantasy or deal with reality, warts and all.  Kirk and Picard both face a similar choice in GEN, only without nasty little Talosians to prod them one way or the other.    They choose the pain of reality over the fantasy.   And the ending, while sad (the loss of the Ent-D) still felt hopeful and optimistic, in the best ST tradition.  

Again, it's not a perfect film, but it's not the disaster so many make it out to be either.

 

 

 

Right. I'll take a flawed but ambitious movie over something that just presses the "reset" button on the characters. 

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Sometimes I feel compelled to defend INSURRECTION (after reading Michael Piller un-published book FADE-IN THE WRITING OF STAR TREK INSURRECTION and how that movie was in some sort of development hell and it was a difficult task for Mr Piller) and then I just shake this out of my mind.

 

Never read the book, but from what I recall it was going to be a much different and darker tale. Was also surprised that it was Patrick Stewart who was the main one against the original ideas. From what I can remember from the story line it would have been better than what it ended up being, though I like it the way it is more than many others do. 

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From an old TrekWeb.com article of mine >
 

Michael Piller's one-line pitch to producer Rick Berman for the story of STAR TREK INSURRECTION was simple : do the flipside of Apocalypse Now - "The Heart of Lightness" if you will - as a source of inspiration.

"I wanted to start the picture off with Picard at the Academy and we see what a rowdy young man he was" Piller said "He's really not the same Picard we've grown to respect and admire. So we show him in a relationship with one of his best friends, who gets him into trouble. We bring Boothby back to get him out of trouble and answer that great Star Trek question that was set up in the series about Boothby's history with Picard, and what trouble he did get into."

"Then we would flash foward to the future, where Starfleet sends Picard on a mission 'up in the river' to a strange unknown galaxy. There he finds his old friend who has seemingly gone berserk, striking ships, and creating all kind of havoc in the Neutral Zone. So Picard is forced to go off after his oldest friend, and when he gets there, he discovers his friends looks exactly the same way when we saw him in the opening sequence. It's then revealed that this planet has a magical younthful affect on the habitants. When Picard discovers his old friend has discovered a conspiracy to steal this planet from the people who lived there, ultimately Picard joins him to fight the good fight. At the time I think it was against the Romulans."

"At that point, Rick started losing confidence in the story," Piller said "His biggest problem was he felt Patrick would have a serious problem with the fact that Picard didnt get to be a true hero and that he wouldn't get to swashbuckle until he turned into a young man. And what you're basically saying there is, your lead character is an old man. When I heard that, I had a hard time arguing."

Berman then wondered : "What if Data were the guy in the planet ?"

"I knew a good idea when I heard one, and it seemed to work, because sunddely Picard is sent to find Data and fundamentally he's sent to kill him, just like in Heart of Darkness," Piller said "We went down that route a long way and our whole Fountain of Youth story fell away. We had a very serious drama in which Picard is forced to kill Data during the first half of the movie only to discover that Data had in fact been defending a defenceless people. So Picard takes up the gauntlet and fights the good fight. This was not fun and light, but was a meaningful story. The studio liked it quite a bit as well."

One executive did have some serious concerns about the direction Insurrection was taking, feeling it was too dark. The nail in the coffin was when Patrick Stewart called and said he didn't like it at all either.

"Patrick basically said 'It's dark, it's not fun, it's dreary and it's not entertaining'" Piller said "Then he sent a very eloquent letter saying all the reasons why he didn't want to do this story. We realised then we wanted something fun. I told Rick that if he wanted to salvage some of the work we had done for the last four months to throw the Fountain of Youth thing back at Patrick. So Rick called him and Patrick thought it was 'marvelous'. He said, "Darling, it's terrific. It's exactly what everyone is interested in, with youth culture these days'. So all that energy that was expended went off in strange new directions."

Source : DreamWatch Magazine

Gus

Edited by GustavoLeao

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It sounds like Insurrection had several interesting drafts that eventually morphed into a watered down boring mess of what it was going to be.  Just elements from the better ideas making it through to what became a muddled movie. 

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http://www.ew.com/article/2016/06/10/star-trek-generations-end-cinema

This guy is reviewing all the Trek films in the lead up to the 50th, and Beyond. Ive only read this one but he has a unique perspective and fresh ideas. 

He quotes Rob Moore saying that the concepts (i.e. studio directives) that the movie were based on were flawed from the start.  

It got me wondering: whether you like GEN or not, what would have been a better concept that could have brought Kirk and Picard together and passed the torch? I seem to recall that one of the directives was no time travel. Maybe that was a mistake. Thoughts?   

 

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http://www.ew.com/article/2016/06/10/star-trek-generations-end-cinema

This guy is reviewing all the Trek films in the lead up to the 50th, and Beyond. Ive only read this one but he has a unique perspective and fresh ideas. 

He quotes Rob Moore saying that the concepts (i.e. studio directives) that the movie were based on were flawed from the start.  

It got me wondering: whether you like GEN or not, what would have been a better concept that could have brought Kirk and Picard together and passed the torch? I seem to recall that one of the directives was no time travel. Maybe that was a mistake. Thoughts?   

 

Hate to say it, but Gus scooped you on this one.   No worries. I'll merge them... 

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