Star Trek Generations
|Star Trek Generations|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||David Carson|
|Produced by||Rick Berman|
|Screenplay by||Ronald D. Moore
|Story by||Rick Berman
Ronald D. Moore
|Based on||Star Trek by
|Music by||Dennis McCarthy|
|Cinematography||John A. Alonzo|
|Edited by||Peter E. Berger|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Box office||$118 million|
Star Trek Generations is a 1994 American science fiction film directed by David Carson and based on the franchise of the same name created by Gene Roddenberry. It is the seventh film in the Star Trek film series, as well as the first to star the cast of the series Star Trek: The Next Generation. In the film, Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the USS Enterprise-D teams up with his predecessor, Captain James T. Kirk, to stop a villain from destroying a planet.
Parts of the film were shot at the Valley of Fire State Park near Overton, Nevada, Paramount Studios, and Lone Pine, California. While the film received mixed reviews from critics, it performed well at the box office.
In the year 2293, retired Captain James T. Kirk, Montgomery Scott, and Pavel Chekov attend the maiden voyage of the Federation starship USS Enterprise-B, under the command of the unseasoned Capt. John Harriman. During the voyage, Enterprise is pressed into a rescue mission to save two El-Aurian ships from a strange energy ribbon. Enterprise is able to save some of the refugees before their ships are destroyed, but the starship becomes trapped in the ribbon. Kirk goes to deflector control to alter the deflector dish, allowing Enterprise to escape, but the trailing end of the ribbon rakes across Enterprise's hull, exposing the section Kirk is in to space; he is presumed dead.
In 2371, the crew of the USS Enterprise-D celebrate the promotion of Worf to Lieutenant Commander. Captain Jean-Luc Picard receives a message that his brother and nephew were killed in a fire, meaning the storied Picard family line will end with him. Enterprise receives a distress call from an observatory in orbit of the star Amargosa, where they rescue the El-Aurian Dr. Tolian Soran. The android Data and engineer Geordi La Forge discover a compound called trilithium in a hidden room of the observatory. Soran appears, knocks La Forge unconscious, and launches a trilithium solar probe at Amargosa. The probe causes the star to implode, sending a shock wave toward the observatory. Soran and La Forge are transported away by a Klingon Bird of Prey belonging to the treacherous Duras sisters, who had stolen the trilithium for Soran in exchange for the designs for a trilithium weapon. Data is rescued just before the station is destroyed by the shock wave.
Guinan, Enterprise's bartender, tells Captain Jean-Luc Picard more about Soran; they were among the El-Aurians rescued by the Enterprise-B in 2293. Guinan explains that Soran is obsessed with reentering the "Nexus", an extra-dimensional realm where time has no meaning and anyone can experience whatever they desire. Picard and Data determine that Soran, unable to fly a ship into the ribbon due to the uncertainty that the ship will survive long enough to ensure his success, is instead altering the path of the ribbon by destroying stars, and that he will attempt to re-enter the Nexus on Veridian III by destroying its sun—and, by extension, a heavily populated planet in the system.
Upon entering the Veridian system, Enterprise makes contact with the Duras Bird of Prey. Picard offers himself to the sisters in exchange for La Forge, but insists that he be transported to Soran's location first. La Forge is returned to Enterprise, but he inadvertently reveals Enterprise's shield frequency, allowing the Duras sisters to inflict crippling damage on Enterprise. Enterprise destroys the Bird of Prey, but has sustained irreversible damage to its warp core. Commander William Riker orders an evacuation to the forward saucer section of the ship which separates from the star drive. The shock wave from the star drive's destruction sends the saucer crashing to the surface of Veridian III.
Picard fails to talk Soran out of his plan and is too late to stop him from launching his missile. The collapse of the Veridian star alters the course of the Nexus ribbon as predicted, and it sweeps Picard and Soran away while the shock wave from the star obliterates everything in the system. In the Nexus, Picard finds himself surrounded by the family he never had, including a wife and children, but realizes it is an illusion. He is confronted by an "echo" of Guinan. After being told that he may leave whenever he chooses and go wherever and whenever he wishes, Guinan sends him to meet Kirk, also safe in the Nexus. Though Kirk is at first reluctant to leave, Picard convinces Kirk to return to Picard's present and stop Soran by assuring him that it will fulfill his desire to make a difference.
Leaving the Nexus, the two arrive on Veridian III minutes before Soran launches the missile. Kirk distracts Soran long enough for Picard to lock the missile in place, causing it to explode on the launchpad and kill Soran. Kirk is fatally injured by a fall during the encounter; as he dies, Picard assures him that he made a difference. Picard buries Kirk before a shuttle arrives to transport him to the wreckage of the Enterprise saucer. Three Federation starships enter orbit to retrieve Enterprise's survivors.
The entire main cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation appears in Generations. Many of the cast members, no longer working a steady job on a television series, were wary of the so-called "Star Trek curse" preventing them from finding non-Trek roles in the future.
- Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard
- William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk
- Jonathan Frakes as Commander William T. Riker
- Brent Spiner as Lieutenant Commander Data
- LeVar Burton as Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Commander Worf. Unlike his TNG co-stars, this was his second Star Trek film, having appeared on Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, portraying his TNG character's grandfather, Colonel Worf, who defended Kirk and McCoy at their trial.
- Gates McFadden as Chief Medical Officer Commander Beverly Crusher
- Marina Sirtis as ship's counselor Commander Deanna Troi
- Alan Ruck as Enterprise-B captain John Harriman
- Malcolm McDowell as Tolian Soran
- Jacqueline Kim as Ensign Demora Sulu, helmsman of Enterprise-B and the daughter of the original Enterprise's helmsman, Hikaru Sulu. Kim consulted with art supervisor Michael Okuda to make sure her hand movements and manipulations of the ships' controls were consistent and accurate.
- Barbara March and Gwynyth Walsh as the villainous Klingon sisters Lursa and B'Etor
- Patti Yasutake as Enterprise nurse Lieutenant Alyssa Ogawa
- Whoopi Goldberg (not credited) as Enterprise bartender Guinan
Many of the background players appeared in different roles throughout the run of the series. Tim Russ, who appears as an Enterprise-B bridge officer, played a terrorist in "Starship Mine" and a Klingon in "Invasive Procedures", and later joined the cast of Star Trek: Voyager as the Vulcan Tuvok. Various background roles were played by the main cast's stunt doubles.
Initially, the entire principal cast of The Original Series was featured in the film's first script, but only three members appeared in the film: William Shatner as Captain James T. Kirk, James Doohan as Montgomery Scott, and Walter Koenig as Pavel Chekov. Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley declined to appear as Spock and Leonard McCoy. Nimoy (who was offered the job of directing the film) felt that there were story problems with the script and that Spock's role was extraneous—"I said to everybody concerned [...] that if you took the dozen or so lines of Spock dialog and simply changed the name of the character, nobody would notice the difference." The Next Generation producer Rick Berman said that "Both Leonard Nimoy and DeForest Kelley felt they made a proper goodbye in the last movie [Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country]".
Nimoy and Kelley's lines were subsequently modified for Doohan and Koenig. In Scotty's case, it created a seeming continuity discrepancy, given Scotty's dialogue in the TNG episode "Relics". In that episode, Scotty implied that he believed Kirk to be still alive, although the scene's setting was after Scotty had witnessed Kirk's apparent death in Star Trek: Generations. The official explanation for the inconsistency is that Scotty was disoriented in "Relics" after being kept alive in a transporter loop. The news that the entire main cast of The Original Series was not in the film did not get passed to all of The Next Generation actors. When Goldberg arrived on set on her first day, she immediately asked to see Nichelle Nichols, who portrayed Uhura in The Original Series. When told that Nichols was not in the film, she said to Koenig "The fans have been waiting for years to see Nichelle and me and Uhura and Guinan on screen together." Patrick Stewart said that he had made an effort to ensure that the original cast were involved in the film, saying "I've been passionate about that from the first time that a Next Generation movie had been mentioned, I didn't want us to sail into the future just as The Next Generation cast."
After the release of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country in 1991, it was expected that the next Star Trek feature film would feature the cast of the Star Trek: The Next Generation television spinoff series. Paramount Pictures executives approached The Next Generation producer Rick Berman in late 1992 about creating a feature film, four months before the official announcement.
Berman informed Ronald D. Moore and Brannon Braga that Paramount had approved a two-picture deal around midway through The Next Generation's sixth season. Moore and Braga, who were convinced Berman had called them into his office to tell them The Next Generation was cancelled, instead found Berman asking them to write one of the Star Trek films. Berman also worked with former Next Generation producer Maurice Hurley to develop possible story ideas. Executive producer Michael Piller turned down the opportunity to develop ideas, objecting to what he saw as a "competition" for the job. Ultimately Moore and Braga's script was chosen; the writers spent weeks with Berman developing the story before taking a working vacation in May 1993 to write the first-draft screenplay, completed June 1.
Moore described Generations as a project with a number of required elements that the film "had to have". Berman felt that including the original cast of the previous Star Trek films felt like a "good way to pass the baton" to the next series. The studio wanted the original cast to only appear in the first minutes, with Kirk only recurring at the end of the film. Other requests included a big Khan Noonien Singh-like antagonist, Klingons, and a humorous Data plot.
In the initial draft of the screenplay, the original series cast appeared in a prologue, and Guinan served as the bridge between the two generations. The opening shot would have been the entire original series cast crammed into an elevator aboard the Enterprise-B, happy to be back together. The Enterprise-D's end also appeared—the saucer crash had first been proposed as the cliffhanger for Moore's original seventh-season finale "All Good Things...", which eventually became the series finale. Kirk's death was initially developed in Braga, Moore and Berman's story sessions. Moore recalled that "we wanted to aim high, do something different and big... We knew we had to have a strong Picard story arc, so what are the profound things in a man's life he has to face? Mortality tops the list." After the idea of killing off a Next Generation cast member was vetoed, someone suggested that Kirk die instead. Moore recalled that "we all sorta looked around and said, 'That might be it.' " The studio and Shatner himself had few concerns about the plot point.
Refining the script also meant facing the realities of budget constraints. The initial proposal included location shooting in Hawaii, Idaho and the Midwestern United States and the total budget was over $30 million. After negotiations, the budget was reduced to $25 million. A revised version of the script from March 1994 included feedback from the producers, studio, actors and director; the writers changed a sequence where Harriman trained his predecessors in the Enterprise-B's operation after Shatner felt the scene's joke went too far. Picard's personal tragedy was written as his brother Robert's heart attack, but Stewart suggested the loss of his entire family in a fire to add emotional impact. The draft script's opening sequence took place on the solar observatory with two Rosencrantz and Guildenstern-influenced characters talking shortly before the Romulans' attack; Next Generation writer Jeri Taylor suggested that the opening should be something "fun", leading to the switch to a holodeck promotion-at-sea.
Nimoy turned down the chance to direct the feature as well as reprise the role of Spock. The producers chose David Carson. The British director had no feature film experience, but had directed several episodes of Star Trek, including the popular Next Generation episode "Yesterday's Enterprise" and the Deep Space Nine double-length pilot episode "Emissary".
Design and costumes
Generations's production designer was Star Trek veteran Herman Zimmerman, who had worked on previous Star Trek films, Star Trek: The Next Generation and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Zimmerman collaborated with illustrator John Eaves for many designs. Zimmerman's approach to realizing a vision of the future was to take existing and familiar designs and use them in a different manner to express living in the future. Taking cues from director Nicholas Meyer's approach to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Zimmerman noted that even in the future humanity will still need life support and have the same furniture needs, so a logical approach was to start with what would remain the same and work from there.
Transitioning from a television screen to a movie meant that sets and designs needed to be more detailed, with a higher level of polish to stand up on the big screen. Zimmerman felt obliged to improve on the sets fans had watched for seven seasons, especially the bridge. Zimmerman repainted the set, added computer consoles, raised the captain's chair for a more commanding presence, and reworked the bridge's ceiling struts; Zimmerman had always been unhappy with how the ceiling looked but had never had the time or money to rework it previously.
The script called for an entirely new location on the Enterprise, stellar cartography. According to Zimmerman, the script characterized the location as a small room with maps on one wall. Finding the concept uninteresting, Zimmerman designed a circular set with three stories to give the impression the actors are inside a star map. Zimmerman's previous work designing a crisis management center influenced the design, dominated by video screens. Before the rise of large-format inkjet printers and computer graphics software in the few years before the film was made, the backlit starmaps that covered three-quarters of the wall would have been infeasible to create. The set's size made it one of the largest sets ever constructed on a Paramount lot.
The film marked the first appearance of the Enterprise-B. The ship model was a modification of the Excelsior vessel, designed and built by Bill George and effects house Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) for Star Trek III: The Search for Spock a decade earlier. Coproducer Peter Lauritson, illustrator John Eaves, and Zimmerman designed the Enterprise-B with additions to its hull, some of which were added so that they could depict damage to the ship without harming the underlying model's surface, and to improve the look of the ship when it was filmed from angles called for in the script. The ship's bridge was based on previous designs for the Enterprise-A and Excelsior sets he had created for The Undiscovered Country, using pieces from each. The surrounding spacedock for Enterprise's maiden voyage was a modification of the model created for Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979), refurbished and slightly modified by removing a row of lights to fit better into the anamorphic screen frame.
Like Zimmerman, George also took the opportunity for the Enterprise-D's screen debut to touch up its exterior. Because Generations featured the Enterprise-D separating into its saucer and engineering sections, the original 6-foot (1.8 m) model built by ILM for the television series was hauled out of storage. The ship was stripped, rewired, and its surface detailed to stand up to scrutiny of the silver screen. George changed the paint job, as he recalled they had been in a rush to prep the model for television and its green-and-blue color scheme did not properly read on film. The paint scheme was shifted towards a "battleship grey", with glossy tiled areas reminiscent of the original feature film Enterprise.
While the feature film made use of new sets and props, Dwyer reused previous Star Trek props or made new ones out of premade materials where possible rather than spend more money on entirely new items: a chair used to torture LaForge was created using a birthing chair, nosehair clippers and flashlights for accents; packing materials formed the shapes of set walls for the Bird of Prey bridge; and Soran's missile used a bird feeder and other garden store supplies for its interior elements. The Amargosa stellar observatory set was filled with reused props from The Next Generation, with others added in deliberate nods to past episodes. In addition to sets used on The Next Generation, other reused sets included the Klingon bridge built for Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home, and ribbed plastic walls in the Jefferies tubes were repurposed from the sets of The Hunt for Red October. Other set pieces and props were original; these included paintings of Picard's ancestors and a cowboy for the locations in the Nexus.
Robert Blackman, The Next Generation's long serving costume designer re-designed the Starfleet uniforms which the Enterprise-D crew would wear in the film. Blackman designed militaristic-looking uniforms with rank sleeves inspired by The Original Series, high collars, and jackets reminiscent of the uniforms developed for Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Ultimately the redesign was abandoned, and the cast wore combinations of uniforms from the television series as the producers instead used a combination of the uniforms seen on the later episodes of Star Trek: The Next Generation and the uniforms from the early episodes of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and throughout Star Trek: Voyager; the only new addition was an Eaves-designed angular com badge that replaced the previous oval shape and was later used on Deep Space Nine, starting with Season 3 and throughout Star Trek: Voyager and the time was so short that Jonathan Frakes and Levar Burton had to borrow Avery Brooks and Colm Meaney's costumes respectively for filming. The designs were only seen in the range of licensed action figures by Playmates Toys. Also created by Blackman was a skydiving outfit worn by Shatner that was eventually reused in the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Extreme Risk".
Filming commenced Monday, March 28, 1994. Production on Generations began while The Next Generation was still filming, so scenes that did not feature The Next Generation regulars were filmed first. After the end of the show, there was only six months before the film was scheduled to be released in theaters. The first scenes filmed were those in the Enterprise-B deflector room; the beginning of filming was concurrent with The Next Generation's production, and the film and show were filmed simultaneously on different soundstages on Paramount Studio's lot. Scenes of Harriman, Chekov, and Scott reacting to Kirk's apparent death were filmed a week later, to allow time for the deflector room to be suitably distressed to visualize the damage.
Stage 7 was where the Enterprise-B's bridge, deflector room and corridors were built and filmed. The jolts and shocks of the ship in the hold of the energy ribbon were created by camera bumps and motors to shake the set. Filming of the scenes took place in April 1994, while residents were still skittish from the recent 1994 Northridge earthquake; the effects staff deliberately hid the set shakers until cameras were rolling to elecit more genuine reactions. The Amargosa observatory set was an elaborate redress of the Enterprise-B bridge, with an added back room, second level, and swapped walls changing the layout to appear a different setting. Control panels styled after those in the original Star Trek television series helped suggest the age of the station.
Despite the budget cuts, Generations shot many scenes on location. The Enterprise-D promotion ceremony on the holodeck was filmed on Lady Washington, a full-scale replica of the first American sailing ship to visit Japan. The Washington was anchored at Marina del Rey and sailed out a few miles from shore over five days of shooting. Some of Washington's crew appeared amongst Enterprise crewmembers.
The film's climax on Veridian III was filmed over eight days on an elevated plateau in the "Valley of Fire", north of Las Vegas, Nevada. The rise's height and sloped sides required cast and crew to climb 160 vertical feet using safety ropes and carry all provisions and equipment with them. The 110-degree heat was difficult for all involved, especially Shatner, as his character wore an all-wool uniform. Safety harnesses and wires were used to keep performers safe from tumbling off a precipice, which were then removed digitally.
Picard's house in the Nexus was a private home in Pasadena, California; almost all the furnishings were custom props or outside items. Portions of the scene were shot in May 1994, followed by new shoots five months later. The revisions included adding Picard's nephew René to his imagined Christmas celebration with his family. The house of Kirk's Nexus recollections was located in Lone Pine, California, with the cabin filled with props to represent Kirk's career, from a Klingon bat'leth to a painting of Enterprise.
The Enterprise-D crash scenes were filmed mid-May 1994, and were among the last remaining shots before the existing The Next Generation sets were demolished to make way for Voyager. As a result, the crew distressed and damaged the sets for the end result of the crash more than would have been normal during the series run.
After test screenings, it was decided to re-shoot Captain Kirk's death. Originally, Kirk was shot and killed by Doctor Soran, but it was felt by the test audience that this was not a fitting death for such an iconic character. The re-shoot changed the manner of his death, so that instead, he sacrifices himself by leaping across a broken walkway to retrieve Soran's control pad and de-cloak the trilithium warhead. As the production crew had already spent weeks removing traces of their shoot from the Valley of Fire, the set had to be rebuilt under a very tight schedule, followed by effects work to remove wires and rigging in time for the footage to be included in the final cut.
Generations' special effects tasks were split between the television show's various effects vendors and ILM. ILM CG Supervisor John Schlag recalled that it was easy to recruit staff who wanted to work on Star Trek; working on the film "gave me a chance to be a part of the whole Trek thing [...] ILM is practically an entire company filled with Trek geeks." Effects supervisor John Knoll recalled that Generations' screenwriters filled the initial drafts with exciting—and expensive—effects. Knolls's team then storyboarded the effects sequences, figuring out how to best service the script as cheaply as possible. When even those estimates proved too costly, ILM continued cutting shots. "[We had] nothing left to cut, and we still had to cut stuff out," Knoll recalled.
The previous Star Trek films had used conventional motion control techniques to record multiple passes of the starship models and miniatures. For Generations, the effects artists began using computer-generated imagery and models for certain shots. No physical shooting models were ever built for the refugee ships, although George recalled that he found it easier to create a quick physical miniature for CG modeler Rob Coleman to iterate from, rather than try to articulate his feedback without it. Other CGI elements included the solar collapses, and the Veridian III planet. Knoll also used a digital version of the Enterprise-D for the warp effect; the limitations of the motion-control programming and slitscan effect for the original meant that the effect "barely holds up", Knoll said, whereas the CG recreation could keep consistent lighting throughout. While digital techniques were used for many sequences and ships, a few new models were physically built, including the observatory, built by model shop foreman John Goodson.
The climactic battle between Enterprise and the Klingons over Veridian III was all accomplished using traditional motion control, but without the budget for practical explosions and special breakaway models, the impacts and battle damage were simulated with practical compositing tricks and computer-generated effects, while the final destruction of the Bird of Prey was a straight reuse of footage from The Undiscovered Country. The weapons fire and energy bolts were hand-animated, but Knoll had a different idea for the photon torpedoes. A fan of the impressive, arcing look of the torpedoes from The Motion Picture, Knoll scanned in footage from the film and turned to computer-generated effects. A simulator program created a similar look that could be animated from any point the effects artists wanted, without the expense and tedium required to replicate the original effect, produced by shining lasers through a crystal in a smoky environment.
Carson described the Nexus energy ribbon as the true villain of the film; ILM was responsible for conceiving what the ribbon would look like with no natural analog. "When creating something from scratch, it's always important to rough out the whole thing [...] because there are so many paths you can explore, it's easy to get bogged down," recalled effects co-superviosr Alex Seiden, who had worked as a technical director on the planetary explosion of Praxis from The Undiscovered Country. Knoll decided the ribbon was a rip through universes, filled with chaotic energy, taking inspiration from images he had seen of magnetic fields around Uranus from a Jet Propulsion Laboratory simulation. The airfoil-shaped core of the undulating ribbon was enhanced with electrical tendrils. To sell the ribbon's vastness in space shots where no sense of scale would be available, Seiden and George created a debris field of embers that trailed the ribbon.
The inside of the ribbon was conceptualized as similar to a dense electrical storm, with tendrils of electricity fogging the screen. Because of the complex interplay of the ribbon elements with the ships that would be trapped within it, ILM decided the refugee ships and Enterprise-B should be CG models. To make the switch between computer-generated and motion-control passes of the physical model appear seamless, ILM created a wireframe of the physical model, with the computer-generated model's textures taken from photos of the physical model, shot in flat light with a long lens. The tendril strike that sends Kirk into the Nexus was simulated with the layering of multiple pieces of animation, including CG explosions Knoll rendered on his personal computer and a recycled explosion effect from The Empire Strikes Back.
For animation in the stellar cartography set, the backlit starmaps were removed, and a bluescreen was rolled into place, replaced by a computer-animated star map composited in post-production. The star maps were created by Santa Barbara Studios.
The Enterprise-D crash sequence was filmed in a 40-by-80 ft forest floor set extended by matte paintings, built outside so ILM could use natural light. A 12-foot model Enterprise saucer was constructed specifically for the shots; the model's size gave it the right sense of scale for flying dirt and debris, an illusion enhanced by shooting with a high-speed camera to give the saucer the expected slow movement of a massive object. ILM shot its crew members walking about their parking lot and matted the footage onto the top of the saucer to represent the Starfleet personnel evacuating the saucer section.
Dennis McCarthy, a composer who had worked on The Next Generation, was given the task of composing for the feature. Critic Jeff Bond wrote that while McCarthy's score was "tasked with straddling the styles of both series", it also offered the opportunity for the composer to produce stronger dramatic writing. The film's opening music is a choral piece that plays while a floating champagne bottle tumbles through space. For the action scenes with the Enterprise-B, McCarthy used low brass chords. Kirk was given a brass motif accented by snare drums (a sound not used on The Next Generation), while the scene ends with dissonant notes as Scott and Chekov discover Kirk has been blown into space.
McCarthy expanded his brassy style for the film's action sequences, such as the battle over Veridian III and the crash-landing of the Enterprise. For Picard's trip to the Nexus, more choral music and synthesizers accompany Picard's discovery of his family. The film's only distinct theme, a broad fanfare, first plays when Picard and Kirk meet. The theme blends McCarthy's theme for Picard from The Next Generation's first season, notes from the theme for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and Alexander Courage's Star Trek theme.
For the final battle of Kirk and Picard against Soran, McCarthy used staccato music to accentuate the fistfight. For Kirk's death, McCarthy mated lyrical strings with another statement of the Courage theme, while a shot of Picard standing over Kirk's grave is scored with more pomp. The Courage theme plays again at the film's close.
Star Trek Generations went on general release in North America on November 18, 1994 and grossed $23.1 million during the opening weekend, averaging $8,694 across 2,659 theatres. It was the highest-grossing film during the first week of its release in the United States, and stayed in the top ten for a further four weeks. The film went on to gross $75,671,125 in the U.S. and $42,400,000 internationally, making $118 million worldwide against a $35 million budget. In Japan, the film grossed $1.2 million its opening weekend, a large amount considering the franchise's usual poor performance in that market.
Generations's marketing included a web site, the first on the internet to officially publicize a motion picture. The site was a success, being viewed millions of times worldwide in the weeks leading to the film's release at a time when fewer than a million Americans had internet access. A novelization of the film written by J.M. Dillard spent three weeks on The New York Times Best Seller list. Guyana produced stamps and souvenir sheets for the film's release.
Several tie-in video games were released to coincide with the film's release. These included a PC game by developers MicroProse called Star Trek: Generations (albeit three years after the film's release), which featured the film's cast as voice actors. The game roughly followed the plot of the film with the majority of the game played in a first-person perspective. Absolute Entertainment published Star Trek: Generations – Beyond the Nexus for the Game Boy and the Game Gear handheld devices.
Star Trek Generations earned mixed reviews from critics. As of September 2016, the film currently holds a 49% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 49 reviews with the consensus: "Generations stands as a mediocre changing of the guard for crews of the Enterprise, with a dull plot that sometimes seems like an expanded episode of the television series."
James Berardinelli of ReelViews gave Generations two and a half stars out of four, saying: "Despite a reasonably original story line, familiar characters, first rate special effects, and the hallmark meeting between Captains Kirk and Picard, there's something fundamentally dissatisfying about [the movie]. The problem is that [...] too often it seems like little more than an overbudgeted, double-length episode of the Next Generation television series."
Janet Maslin of The New York Times said: "Generations is predictably flabby and impenetrable in places, but it has enough pomp, spectacle and high-tech small talk to keep the franchise afloat." Jeremy Conrad of IGN gave the film a score of 7 out of 10, saying that it "feels a little rushed and manufactured," but called it "one of the better of the odd-numbered Trek films," referring to a belief that even-numbered Star Trek films are traditionally of higher quality. Jay Carr in The Boston Globe described the film as "reassuringly predictable", saying that it featured elements that would be recognisable by the fans of both series. He praised the improved special effects in a comparison with The Next Generation, and said that the "lack of surprises" was a benefit in this instance.
In a negative review, Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times asserted that Generations was "undone by its narcissism" due to the film's overemphasis on franchise in-jokes and the overuse of "polysyllabic pseudoscientific gobbledygook" uttered by its characters. Ebert also lamented the film's unimaginative script and complained "the starship can go boldly where no one has gone before, but the screenwriters can only do vice versa."
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