Film (1994). Paramount. Produced by Rick Berman. Directed by David Carson. Written by Ronald D Moore and Brannon Braga, based on a story by Berman, Moore and Braga. Cast includes LeVar Burton, James Doohan, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, Walter Koenig, Malcolm McDowell, Gates McFadden, William Shatner, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart. 117 minutes. Colour.
This is the seventh film spin-off from the Star Trek franchise, though the first actually spun off from Star Trek: The Next Generation rather than Star Trek itself. Kirk (Shatner), Chekov (Koenig) and Scotty (Doohan) appear in a twenty-minute prologue, in which Kirk appears to die, and then the story proper takes place at the time Jean-Luc Picard (Stewart) is in command of the Enterprise, 80 years later. The two Enterprise captains meet in a virtual reality world, courtesy of a "temporal nexus", at the end. The story melds elements thoroughly familiar to ST followers: war-crazed Klingons; a mad, genocidal astronomer, Dr Soran McDowell; and a strange energy field with the power to cocoon those who enter it in re-enactments of their most desired fantasies. In the appealingly silly sub-plot, the android Data (Spiner) inserts an "emotions chip", and has to cope with upwards of 272 different feelings. Kirk dies heroically again. The moral, thumped home in the ST manner, is that it is better to face real life rather than escape into worlds of happy delusion. The film looks good, and makes better than usual use of the wide screen (cinematographer the distinguished John A Alonzo), but has an air of staleness and predictability. Directed by a television director, Carson, the film appears designed to counteract the deprivation felt by fans of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the television series which had recently completed its seventh and last season. [PN]
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