14 Gripes About A 20 Year Old Movie
Recently I had a short, but for whatever reason, interesting (to people like me) conversation with a friend in a parking lot while heading to lunch about the movie ‘Star Trek: Generations’. I believe it was because he had just recently rewatched it, or I had brought up the fact that I had just rewatched ‘First Contact’. Either way, I had mentioned to him that while I didn’t dislike the movie as a whole, there was basically a 20 or so minute sequence of events that just pissed me the fuck off.
Now, I don’t post often, which I am sure you’re all grateful for. So when I do, you know I have something moronic to rant about.
And I do.
I am going to explain to you why I am literally infuriated by the destruction of the Enterprise-D in ‘Star Trek: Generations’.
You can click the little ‘X’ in the top right-hand corner of your screen now with no penalty. For those of you with the morbid curiosity to continue, let’s do this.
If you did not see the movie, somehow, which if you are bothering to read this post I can’t imagine it is possible, let me give you a quick summary of what happened. A Klingon Bird of Prey, commanded by sisters Lursa and B’Etor; two Next Gen villains, had kidnapped (with the help of the movie’s main antagonist, Soran) Geordi. Picard, in an attempt to stop Soran, offered himself up as an ‘exchange’ for Geordi so he could go and try and stop Soran who was up to some tomfoolery on the planet below. Before Geordi was returned to the Enterprise, however, Soran modified his visor so that he would transmit video back to the Bird of Prey so Lursa and B’Etor could spy on the Enterprise.
Their plan worked, they got the shield frequency of the Enterprise’s shields and critically injured her (although not before being killed themselves), resulting in a warp core breach. Riker ended up crashing the saucer section of the ship into the planet with the survivors.
Okay. So why does this piss me off? Well, let’s get started.
POINT ONE – GEORDI GOES BACK TO WORK TOO SOON!
The Nexus Ribbon was less than an hour away when Geordi was returned to the Enterprise. When he’s beamed back on board, he collapses onto the transporter pad and has to be carted off to sickbay. Yet he’s then patched up and sent back to work with apparently enough time remaining to bathe and wander around aimlessly enough to frustrate Lursa and B’Etor.
I’m sorry but there is NO WAY you send a captured crew member back to work that day, much less within the damned hour. If so, Starfleet has the WORST sick leave policy in the entire quadrant.
POINT TWO – NO ONE NOTICES THE SIGNAL GOING TO THE BOP!
Geordi’s visor is sending a full HD video signal that is not only able to penetrate the many, many decks of the Enterprise-D, her shields, and deal with all the electromagnetic interference that is probably ricocheting all over engineering but is also likely encrypted. How in the name of fuck did none of the 19 extras that were wandering around the bridge throughout the movie fail to notice the signal? The ship has internal sensors. That’s how they were (earlier) able to tell Geordi and Data were not back on the ship!
POINT THREE – VITAL INFORMATION IS INSECURE IN THE 23RD CENTURY…
I don’t care if this is in engineering. I don’t believe for one damned second that something as important as the ship’s shield frequency would be left on a display terminal for just anyone to see. Power level, sure. Frequency? NO WAY. As is very eloquently demonstrated in just a few moments of movie time, the shield frequency is REALLY FUCKING IMPORTANT AND SENSITIVE INFORMATION.
I’m shocked we don’t see the superuser password for the ship’s computer core posted on the side of the warp core.
Also, Lursa (or B’Etor – I can’t tell them apart; go ahead, call me racist) uses CSI style ‘ENHANCE!’. -10 points.
POINT FOUR – TORPEDOES DO NOT WORK THAT WAY!
For the opening salvo against the Enterprise, the Klingons fire torpedoes after ‘adjusting their torpedo frequency to match’.
Uh… Torpedoes are actual physical chunks of… metal? Whatever the hell the Klingons use to make them. The point is that they don’t have a ‘frequency’. Now their disruptor cannons, which are pure energy, sure.
POINT FIVE – JUST SIT AND TAKE IT?
“They have found a way to penetrate our shields!” Worf informs everyone. “Lock phasers and return fire,” Riker responds. That’s not quite sitting and taking it, but what about the shields? Does no one think to rotate or change the shield frequency? That would have INSTANTLY changed the battle into the Enterprise’s favor (which is lucky for the Klingons that they didn’t think of that because that was a MASSIVE oversight in their scheme).
As an aside, I think the writers set out to make Worf as useless as possible in this entire movie. As another aside, there sure are a lot of ‘if only’ moments in this sequence of events.
POINT SIX – WHY DOES THIS FUCKING EXPLODE?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!
The BoP fires a disruptor shot that nails the port side of the drive section of the Enterprise. As a result, there is this HUGE explosion on the starboard side of the bridge that sends extras flying as if Michael Bay suddenly took over directing duties.
I ask you, who is the bigger threat here; the Klingons or Starfleet ship designers who apparently placed C4 storage in such a place – and then wired it down to deck 22?
POINT SEVEN – “DEANNA! TAKE THE HELM!”
Really? Troi? I know several extras were just slaughtered by the wall of death, but there was NO ONE else on the bridge that might have just once, maybe, ever, have actually piloted the Enterprise? Shit, have Worf do it. Not like he was of much use right now anyway.
This also begs the question, are there people hanging out on deck two waiting for someone to be murdered on the bridge so they can take over? If you watch the show, whenever they go on an away team, someone immediately swoops in and takes over if one of the bridge officers leaves his station.
Perhaps they were on their union break?
POINT EIGHT – WALL OF DEATH; REVISITED
Okay first off – when the hell did Worf get a chair? He went seven seasons without a chair, and then he gets one, only for the ship to be destroyed? Rude.
Now this time, the Enterprise takes a shot in her main impulse engine from the BoP. Again, thanks to sadistic Starfleet design work, this results in this poor gold shirt (whom, if you’re not aware, are the Next Gen equivalent of ToS red shirts) not only goes airborne but lands on the captain’s chair – likely thinking to himself ‘I always wanted to land myself this seat, but not like this!’.
POINT NINE – TWO SECONDS, EH?
So I will give the movie a bit of leeway and assume the scene with the Klingons yelling about them cloaking after being ordered to target the bridge is going on at the same time as Riker’s angry-face “Fire.”.
However, I counted 13 seconds from the time that scene started to the time the torpedo hit the BoP (starting the often recycled ‘Klingon ship exploding’ scene from Star Trek 6). Also, OMFG, what a slow ass torpedo. The BoP should have just turned around and drove away from it. Also, why didn’t those idiot Klingons target the bridge from the very beginning? Considering their torps were just ignoring the Enterprise’s shields like a drunk girl at a daycare, they could have ended the battle with the first shot.
Speaking of the torpedo…
POINT TEN – WHICH PART OF ‘SPREAD’ DID YOU NOT UNDERSTAND, WORF?
A single torpedo is not a ‘full spread’ of torpedoes, you fucking asshole. Were you worried you would run out? It was the first goddamned torpedo you fired in the whole blasted battle. Riker said ‘full spread’ and you fire one. No wonder you got transferred to Deep Space Nine and your wife died.
Okay, that was a bit uncalled for.
Some Soran/Picard banter, now more anger:
POINT ELEVEN – ‘NOTHING I CAN DO.’
So that last hit from the BoP seemed to do some serious damage to the Enterprise (not as much as a torpedo to the bridge would have done, but we’re past that). It caused her to have a coolant leak. We can all assume leaking coolant is a bad thing. It was bad for my Malibu, so of course, it’s going to be bad for a starship.
Again, is this the sadistic nature of Starfleet designers that they give their engineers no way to plug a coolant leak? I mean, they have force fields that can plug hull breaches, but nothing that can stop the coolant from leaking out? I stopped it on my Malibu with duct tape. IS THERE NO DUCT TAPE IN THE FUTURE?!?!?!
POINT TWELVE – EVACUATION
Bear with me here. Though if you’re still here, I have to assume you’re in this for the long haul anyway.
Riker orders Troi (the helmsman) to start evacuating everyone to the saucer section as they plan on separating. Okay, but why is Troi doing that? Shouldn’t she be working on driving? That seems more like an issue best suited for security, though given Worf’s recent performance, he might misunderstand and only evacuate one person.
And evacuation to the saucer seems like a last-ditch effort. They haven’t even attempted to jettison the warp core. Kick the core, full impulse the other way, you’re probably going to be okay.
As an edit from the future, I have been told I was mistaken with this and that the warp core ejector was broken. If that was the case, what’s the goddamned point of having a warp core ejector if it’s going to break when you need it most?! God, I hate this movie. Moving on…
But, we’ve chosen to move everyone to the saucer. So…
Here they are. The thing about the Galaxy class ships is they have a LOT of people on them. 1,000 or so according to Memory Alpha (the Wikipedia of all things Star Trek). Because of that most of them live in the saucer section for the express purpose of making it easier to ensure their safety in case of an evacuation.
And in case you think for some reason that these people are NOT in the drive section and being moved upwards, Geordi finds some kids that for some reason, somehow, have lost their parents and orders another engineer to take them to a Jeffries Tube (basically, an access ladder).
Also in the saucer section – main sickbay. Which makes me wonder where in the hell Crusher is taking these people. I can’t imagine anywhere she is taking them is any safer than sickbay, especially at this point as they didn’t yet know they were about to nose dive into a planet.
And if ALL of that wasn’t irritating enough to the neckbearded Trek fan like me, Geordi explicitly stated that the core was going to breach in five minutes. So how long is the saucer separation timer? Five minutes (according to the ranting of the computer), of course. This, Commander Riker, is why you would make a terrible Captain.
Finally, Riker gets on the radio and barks at Geordi about the core breach accelerating. Rather than bark back and tell him that this wouldn’t be an issue at all had he just ejected the fucking thing, he closes up a hatch and states that everyone is out of the drive section and it’s safe to separate. Of course, my question to Geordi would be “HOW THE FUCK DO YOU KNOW THAT?”
That seems like something Riker should double-check with Data or Worf on, rather than just taking Geordi’s – an engineer, not someone who’s trained to evacuate the ship like, say, a security officer – word for it.
POINT THIRTEEN – SURE, NOW TIME MOVES FAST…
So unlike when they had two seconds to do something like fire a ‘spread’ of torpedoes in two seconds and it took thirteen, this event that Data said would happen in one minute happened in about 25 seconds.
The Enterprise just has the damnest luck.
POINT FOURTEEN – CRASH
The (exteriors of the) crash sequence was pretty awesome. ILM did a great job with it – the whole thing was done with models (this was still before Trek totally switched to CGI). The crash was an inspiration for me in some of my writing and to this day I think it’s probably one of the most epic scenes in all of Trek lore.
That won’t stop me from pointing out all the fuck-ups of the studio production people, however.
First off, how many brave Starfleet officers have to die due to exploding panels and walls before some sort of formal investigation is launched? Do they not have recalls in the 24th century? I honestly do not understand how something can explode in flames due to simple kinetic force unless it was predisposed to do so; in which case that seems to me to be a HORRID design flaw. I wonder if Starfleet has a separate memorial at Starfleet Academy for those who didn’t die in battle, but simply died at the hands of an OHSAless Federation?
These explosions also caused fires. Normally on a starship, a fire is extinguished by a force field going up around it and all the oxygen burning out, causing the fire to kill itself. When the Enterprise crashed, she lost power, so she had no force fields. The fires on the bridge burnt without remorse. Either no one thought to go find a fire extinguisher or there aren’t any (because, you know, technology). Just throwing it out there, but fire is the number one cause of death on a submarine. There’s a lot of similarities between a starship and a submarine.
What frustrates me the most is the broken windows. Yeah, it’s a neat shot to show how rough and terrible the crash is; all that glass smashing down on Crusher and her patients (I guess they should have stayed in sickbay, huh?), but it’s not possible since the windows of the Enterprise (or any starship) are not made of glass, but transparent aluminum. Metal. And even if for some reason they decided to make the Enterprise’s windows out of glass, they would not be that fragile. The space shuttle used three panes of glass for each window; one of the panes being three and a half inches thick. And – as far as we know – the shuttle never had to fight Klingons!
More broken glass. Sigh.
I’m not going to rant about Soren’s missile moving to fast, or the shock wave moving to fast or the idiotic notion that Guinen could still be in the Nexus or question why, if Picard could go back anywhere and any time from the Nexus he didn’t just go to a couple of days ago and shank Soren when he was in 10-Forward. I am sure I have annoyed everyone enough. However, if you liked my mindless ranting, you should check out Cinema Sins on YouTube. They basically do this for every movie, except you don’t have to read (unless you read the subtitles).
Counter-arguments and notes telling me to DIAF and to get a life are welcome below!