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STAR TREK GENERATIONS ($30) is not only the first STAR TREK film to feature the cast from THE NEXT GENERATION, but also the seventh film in the series and subject to the curse that has plagued all the odd numbered installments. This is not to say that STAR TREK GENERATIONS is a bad movie, it’s just not as good as the even numbered films. STAR TREK GENERATIONS opens with the christening voyage of the Starship Enterprise, registration number NCC-1701B. Retired legend, Captain James T. Kirk (William Shatner) is in attendance for all the pomp and ceremony as well as quick trip around the solar system aboard the new Starship. A crisis arises in a nearby sector of space and the Enterprise B is called into service for a rescue mission- a mission in which Captain Kirk is lost.

STAR TREK GENERATIONS then flashes forward 78 years to the Starship Enterprise D, with Captain Jean-Luc Picard in command. Here, Picard and crew encounter Dr. Tolian Soran (Malcolm McDowell), a madman who will stop at nothing to return to the galactic phenomenon from which he was rescued 78 years earlier by Captain Kirk and the Enterprise B. The primary story of STAR TREK GENERATIONS is somewhat convoluted. Thankfully, the secondary story about the android officer Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) experiencing emotions for the first time delivers the requisite entertainment value. Still, STAR TREK GENERATIONS features some great special effects and a number of fun moments that are certain to appeal to TREK fans. The cast of STAR TREK GENERATIONS also includes Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, James Doohan, Walter Koenig, Alan Ruck, Jacqui Kim and Jenette Goldstein.

Paramount Home Video offers STAR TREK GENERATIONS on DVD in a wide screen presentation that lacks the anamorphic enhancement for 16:9 aspect ratio televisions. In my humble opinion, STAR TREK GENERATIONS is about the best looking film in the entire STAR TREK series thanks to John A. Alonzo’s atmospheric cinematography. Unfortunately, his fine work is done a disservice by this presentation. In addition to lacking the anamorphic component, the Letterboxed transfer seems to come from the previous Laserdisc issue of about four years ago. Unfortunately, this transfer has begun to show its age. While sharp and detailed, STAR TREK GENERATIONS doesn’t look as good as films that have been given a fresh anamorphic enhanced transfer. Colors appear over-saturated and lack the stability that one fines in the best transfers. It’s quite apparent that the less than perfect transfer used to master this DVD caused the compression artifacts that were noticeable in a number of places.

The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack packs a punch with a lot of sound effects jumping out of all the discrete channels, including the surrounds. Additionally, Both bass and dialogue reproduction are strong. A matrixed Dolby Surround soundtrack has also been included as well as a French language track. English captioning and Spanish subtitles have been encoded into the disc. The interactive menus are bare bones, but offer the standard scene and language selection features.

Considering that STAR TREK has been Paramount’s biggest cash cow of all time, they really should re-issue STAR TREK GENERATIONS on DVD with a new anamorphic enhanced transfer, plus a nice array of extras designed specifically for fans. Heck, while they are at it, every STAR TREK movie should be made available as a Special Edition with an anamorphic enhanced transfer and a ton of extra features.





DVD reviews are Copyright 1999 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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