Not Until Tuesday

As pitched, many of Star Trek: Generations’ plotlines sound as if meant for a TV episode. Data (Brent Spiner) implants himself with an emotion chip, allowing him to laugh and feel things for the first time. That’s designed for a single episode, in which the crew deals with a malfunctioning and obnoxious Data (with Spiner having a blast in the role).

Yet it’s also connected to the themes in this story, considering life and its purpose, or what it means to actually live. Villain Soran (Malcolm McDowell) willingly takes down entire galaxies, hunting for the Nexus, where his wishes and fantasies come true. There, however, no truthful emotions exist, as if existing in Data’s confused, pre-chipped mind. The same goes for Kirk (William Shatner), drawn in as connective tissue between the different Star Trek series, while forcing him to reflect on his past.

Star Trek: Generations works better on repeat than on a single watch

It’s similar for Picard (Patrick Stewart), if not with the same engagement or appeal. Kirk openly wonders aloud about his time serving. “What did it get me? An empty house,” he remorsefully states, and that line makes his eventual realization – that his existence in the 24th century is wrong – a powerful one. Life demands regret, hurt, and loss as much as joy and love. Soran’s misguided task seeks to avoid all of that, and therefore never live at all. In that comes Data, for the first time truly living, insomuch as he can, elevating that seemingly kooky storyline to prominence.

The first movie in this semi-connected series, Star Trek: Generations spends extensive time setting itself in a new timeline, building characters for cinema, and not merely bouncing from their TV shows. That takes time, and Star Trek: Generations shows patience, if the audience likely does not. It’s a stagnant follow-up, designed around a philosophical pay-off that’s worth waiting to see, including a number of elegant visual effect sequences. Watching the Enterprise crash land after spectacularly breaching the atmosphere – and without its true captain – gives Star Trek: Generations scale, not only high-dollar excitement.

Uneven or not, the whole works in retrospect, and Star Trek: Generations works better on repeat than on a single watch. Knowing the story, spoilers and all, helps prop up the early drama.


Paramount keeps a thick, hard grain structure completely intact. The clean master helps keep this crisp, and the encode only shows brief spurts wherein it struggles. These can shave off the highest frequency information (look at Picard around 42:20), while the rest sustains a gorgeous peak.

Color is Star Trek: Generations best asset, whether the blues and greens from the various control displays, the red uniforms, or the attractively warmed flesh tones. Dolby Vision brings its own density, and it’s spectacular.

Peak brightness is reserved for space anomalies, lasers, or other intense light source. The rest is appropriately reserved, mounting a strong consistency. Black levels produce dazzling, even brilliant shadows, draping the scenery in outstanding depth.


Brought into the 4K era with a widely spaced TrueHD 7.1 track, Enterprise interiors shake and hiss steam in every speaker, a great showcase that begins with rousing action. Directionality remains a constant, whether that’s a warning beeping from the command deck or a voice just out of frame.

LFE will push a hearty rumble, thick and sustained, if down a notch from the best audio mixes. It’s enough to get the point as the ships face explosions and catastrophes. Certainly, it’s enough to rumble a theater room with a good jolt. The Enterprise crash landing does not, however, have the impact needed to sell the intended scale.


On the UHD, two commentary tracks are on offer. Director David Carson joins Manny Coto on the first. The second pairs Brannon Braga and Ronald D. Moore. Technically, there’s a third as well – it’s a text commentary written by Michael and Denis Okuda.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

Star Trek: Generations
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While many ideas in Star Trek: Generations feel pulled from a list of episode ideas, the grandeur elevates the key themes.

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The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 52 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:

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