Nerdy Saturday: Defending the “Star Trek: The Next Generation” movies.

When it comes to Star Trek, I can get into all of the different aspects of the franchise (well, not Enterprise so much) but when it comes to lazy afternoon marathon viewing I’ll always revert back to Star Trek: The Next Generation. While Deep Space Nine I think is technically better, TNG is my favorite. I think it comes down to which kind of show you prefer. TNG offers a more old-fashioned sense of science-fiction with a TV drama setting, while DS9 is more of an action/adventure with soap opera elements in a sci-fi setting. I personally prefer the TV drama.

One aspect of TNG that seems to get a bad reputation these days re the movies. (I of course base this on a conversation with one guy and listening regularly to one relevant podcast.) Generations was a bit of a mess; First Contact, well, okay, was pretty good; Insurrection wasn’t necessarily bad but wasn’t really a big enough story to warrant a movie and felt like another episode of the show; Nemesis to some doesn’t feel like it belongs with the others.

I’d like to offer a defense for these movies. (Full disclaimer: I liked Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Deal with it.) Yes, Generations was a bit of a mess production-wise but it wasn’t necessarily a bad story. I do have a problem with the moment when Riker orders Worf to fire on the Klingons when he clearly had them at a point when he could capture them. It made for some cool action sequences but it didn’t feel like the Starfleet way. Other than that, though, it was cool to see Captains Kirk and Picard together. It really felt like the movie was mostly a vehicle to do just that, but that’s a worthy reason to make a movie, isn’t it?

Like I said, First Contact is just a good movie. I’ve seen it so many times by this point I got sick of it, but it’s still good nonetheless.

I agree that Insurrection feels like it should have been an episode of the show rather than a movie. But is that really a bad thing? The show was great, by that point the show was canceled, so anything TNG that feels like TNG is still a good thing. Plus, we got to see Data as a flotation device.

I’ve always said that Nemesis is the “coolest” of the TNG movies. I don’t mean to say that it’s necessarily my favorite. But it was trendier-looking, darker and edgier than the others. It would be hard to make a movie still look like TNG while keeping up with trends in blockbuster movie-making. The movie ended up looking both trendy and out of date. It’s kind of like when your parents try to look cool in front of your friends. They might get the style right, but they still don’t look cool as they’re your parents.

That said, that’s really my only gripe about the movie and it’s not really that big of one. It doesn’t make the movie all that disjointed. Plus, we get some really big moments, such as Wil Wheaton’s cameo as Wesley Crusher that you can just barely see off to the side during Riker and Troi’s wedding reception. Seriously, though, it was one of the best-looking Star Trek movies, effects-wise, up to that point. Also, by making the story more personal about Picard facing his evil doppelganger, it actually felt bigger than the previous movie and it’s planet of youth.

I realize that these aren’t many arguments and I could take them a lot deeper. But that would really entail taking an entire blog post to look at each movie. Perhaps I could do that with each Star Trek movie from the beginning. What do you think? Should I attempt it?


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