'Generations' Deemed An Enjoyable VoyageBy Kristine
August 27, 2004 - 8:30 PM
The September 7th release of the Star Trek: Generations two disc Special Edition DVD is right around the corner, and critics are already looking favorably on the first Star Trek film to feature the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
Bill Hunt at The Digital Bits calls Generations his favorite Trek film featuring the TNG cast. "The reason for this is relatively simple," he writes of his preference for the film. "Generations is easily the most cinematically interesting film of the entire Trek series." He credits cinematographer John Alonzo, who he credits with making Generations a "big, wide marvel of a film, epic in location, lush in color and highly atmospheric."
Hunt praises the sound quality: "Sonically...this disc excels," he writes, praising both the Dolby Digital 5.1 and DTS 5.1 options. But he feels it falls down on the video transfer. "The problem, however, is that the video has an overly crisp and digital look... and by overly I mean annoyingly so. Edges tend to jag and shimmer, and there's really no reason for it other than artificial edge-enhancement applied after the fact," Hunt comments.
Hunt enjoyed the commentary on the movie with writers Brannon Braga and Ron Moore, and though he notes the featurettes are of the standard variety found on Trek movies and season sets, he finds the offerings this time around quite good. "The main reason they're good is that for this film, plenty of behind-the-scenes footage was taken during the production," Hunt writes. "While this means that they're all presented in full frame instead of anamorphic widescreen, it also means that there's real substance in most of these featurettes. Rather than just being the typical studio-produced EPK fluff, you're actually going to see many of the things you'd want to see about the production of this film."
Overall, Hunt awards the film itself a B grade, the video a B-, the extras a B+, the Dolby Digital audio a B+ and the DTS an A-.
Steve Krutzler at TrekWeb also praises Alonzo's photography, as well as Dennis McCarthy's score for the film. Krutzler particularly enjoys the frankness of Braga and Moore's commentary, noting that the two admit their inexperience and desire to avoid cliches in the film shaped it, for better or for worse. They also reveal that the scenes on horseback were largely present to please William Shatner (James T. Kirk), who used his own horses in the movie.
Krutzler is less impressed with the bonus features as a whole. He writes:
The bonus materials on the set are admirable, but the lack of any central development featurette is a real standout.... [I]t?d be nice to see newer interviews with everybody reflecting on the general development of the script. Where?s Leonard Nimoy talking about why he wasn?t involved? Where?s some talk about the second script that was considered for production? What about some new interviews with ANY of the cast? There?s a lot of material here, but not a single new interview with a TNG cast member. This is a glaring omission for a product that found plenty of archival footage to fill disc two; that kind of material should be a supplement to and not the core of the bonus slate.
Overall, Krutzler concludes that the film, flawed as it is, is ultimately a worthy addition to a Trekker's DVD collection. "In light of these failings, the bonus features as a whole (with the exception of the commentary) are less impressive than a flawed film that looks really pretty, sounds exciting, and has enough magic to bring more than a few smiles to your face," he notes.