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Why I Hate the TNG Movies September 14, 2010

Posted by Skippy in Rants, Science Ficton, Uncategorized.
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The other day, as I was flipping channels, I saw that “Star Trek: First Contact” was on the HDNet channel. Being an inveterate Trekkie, I of course hit “record.” Allegedly, this movie is supposed to be the “best” of the TNG Trek movies. Of course, after the abomination that was “Star Trek: Generations,” I suppose the powers that be could have filmed Jean-Luc Picard taking a dump and it would automatically have been better than “Generations.” However, after watching “First Contact” again, I have come to an unalterable conclusion:

All of the TNG Trek movies completely suck.


Fig. 1: I’d be laughing too if I got scads of money to play a dumbed-down version of my character.

Wanna know why? Of course you do.

1. They’re too damned derivative of the far superior TOS movies
You know a movie is going to suck when the pre-release press is invoking prior superior films. In the example of “Nemesis,” the tenth ST film and the fourth TNG movie, the pre-release press kept invoking “The Wrath of Khan.” “Nemesis” was definitely no “Wrath of Khan,” even though they tried mightily. Hell, the idiots in charge of “Generations” were so uncreative, they decided to get Shatner and two other guys (they wanted Nimoy and Kelley, but neither wanted to be bothered). So they wind up with Kirk, Chekov, and Scotty. Blah, blah, blah, stupid Nexus nonsense, and now, the crew of the Enterprise-D (and by crew, I mean, Picard) must stop a scene-chewing villain who will stop at nothing to blah, blah, who gives a frak?

The problem with the TNG movies is that they all lived in the shadow of the TOS movies. They rushed Generations to the screen–if memory serves, it premiered not even a full year after the end of the TV show. Not really enough time to miss the TNG cast and then have fond memories of the show. Instead, the movies made me wish that they’d just stop making these increasingly creaky, boring wastes of time.

2. There was no good reason to destroy the Enterprise-D
I guess the monkeys in charge of the franchise thought, “Hey, blowing up the refit Enterprise worked in Search For Spock–let’s blow up the Ent-D!” I mean, what was the point? Oh, I know what the point was–the powers that were wanted a “new” Enterprise to grace the screen. I’ll get to that pathetic excuse for a starship in a minute. Anyway, of all the ways to send the Enterprise-D off to her final reward, the idiots-in-charge decide to have it get blown up…by a frakkin’ Klingon Bird-of-Prey and Deanna Troi’s inability to drive a starship.

Fig. 1: Basically, nobody in the 24th Century is competent at their jobs.

Of course, what they forget here was that when the original Enterprise (no bloody A, B, C, or D) was destroyed in “The Search For Spock,” that was an emotional scene–for Trekkies, the Enterprise is as much a character as Kirk, Spock and McCoy, and seeing Kirk blow it up is supposed to pack an emotional punch. Kirk has sacrificed his career to retrieve Spock’s body from the Genesis Planet and then, at the last, he has to sacrifice the Enterprise. This pivotal moment in the movie is dramatic and actually has a point.

Fig. 2: This wasn’t for shits and giggles and it sure wasn’t to introduce a hot-rodded new Enterprise.

2a. The Enterprise-E SUCKS.
I’ve tried to like the Sovereign-class Enterprise. But it looks like a damn fanboy sat down and said to himself, “How can I make the Enterprise coooool?” It’s squat, ugly, has about as much grace as Howard Stern at a sensitivity workshop, and has no personality—much like the TNG movies themselves, come to think of it.

Fig. 3: Ooooh, shiny! Does it come with satellite-linked navigation and seat warmers?

3. The movies turned into the Picard-Data Show…and that show is boring
Desperate to cash in on the Kirk-Spock-McCoy triumvirate that made Star Trek sing, every director and writer decided to focus on Picard and Data. Yes, Patrick Stewart is a master thespian and yes, Brent Spiner has been known to portray multiple characters in one episode of TNG (the dreadfully awful seventh season “Masks,” for example)—but that doesn’t mean that the audience wants to see two hours of that. Picard gets angry, Data uses his emotion chip. Data malfunctions, Picard loses his nephew and brother in a random-ass fire. Picard turns into a fucking Action Hero, Data “dies” in a not-at-all-veiled callback to Spock’s sacrifice in Wrath of Khan.

Fig. 4: Why. The. Hell. Is THIS HAPPENING?

4. They decided to mind-rape Troi. TWICE.
For those of us unfortunate enough to have thought that “Nemesis” (the final TNG movie) would have been anything in the neighborhood of “good,” we were going to be awfully disappointed. For a show that—at least on the surface—presented women in leading roles, the movies completely shoved Counselor Troi and Dr. Crusher into the background. You can count the lines that they had in Generations and First Contact and probably not break into double digits. But with Nemesis, we get the insult added to the injury. The craptastic wannabe-Khan villain “Shinzon” decides to, for whatever nonsense reason, mind-rape Counselor Troi. Some folks say they’re creeped out by the Ceti Alpha eels in Wrath of Khan; this mind rape scene for me is the worst scene in ANY Trek movie.

Do you know what’s worse? In the deleted scenes…IT HAPPENS AGAIN.

5. The movies wasted both the Borg and the Romulans
I remember seeing the teaser trailer for First Contact and thinking, like every other Trekkie out there, that a big screen Star Trek movie with the Borg would have to be AWESOME. Besides, it was the tenth movie, and, as most Trekkies agree, the even-numbered movies are better than the odd numbered movies. Rumors about this movie flew around this archaic thing called the World Wide Web at 56k. I read rumors that this movie would explain the origins of the Borg. How could this movie suck?

Well, by turning the Borg into a bunch of zombies led by a Queen, that’s how. They turned the Borg Collective into a bunch of zombiefied morons who weren’t really a collective—the introduction of an individual called “the Borg Queen” robbed the collective of what made it interesting and completely different from every other foe the Federation had ever faced. The Borg from “The Best of Both Worlds” were single-minded, implacable and virtually unstoppable. Their only goal was assimilation; they couldn’t be reasoned with. The Borg of First Contact were mindless henchmen doing the will of a scene-chewing, cybernetic seductress who wasn’t even smart enough to send, like, TEN freakin’ Borg Cubes to Earth. And the time travel storyline made no sense whatsoever…but, hell, none of the TNG movie plots made any sense.

Which brings me to the freakin’ Romulans. For seven years, we patient Trekkies had been teased about the Romulans. There were probably a grand total of six or seven episodes of the series that dealt with the Romulans and only one where we actually saw a Romulan Warbird fire on the Enterprise. Because Picard loved to talk, what we got out of that encounter was Picard call up some Klingon ships to create a standoff.

Fig. 5: You know Kirk would NEVER have appealed to Klingons for help.

So anyway, when we get to “Nemesis,” hopes were high. Again, this was going to be an even-numbered movie, and this movie was going to feature the Romulans. ROMULANS! I kept hearing crap from the director and cast that this was going to be “like Wrath of Khan.” By this point, I had begun to take such proclamations with a grain of salt—especially when they specifically said they weren’t going to bring back Romulan Commander Sela, a villain who had history with the crew of the Enterprise and would have been a natural villain.

Children, the less said about what this giant waste of celluloid did to the Star Trek franchise, the better.

Fig. 6: Captain, I’m detecting large quantities of bullshit.

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