Picard: That's right.
Kirk: Close to retirement?
Picard: Not planning on it.
Kirk: Let me tell you something. Don't. Don't let them promote you. Don't let them transfer you. Don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship. Because while you're there, you can make a difference.
Star Trek Generations is the seventh movie in the Star Trek film series, released in 1994.
This is the first movie featuring the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Billed as a Crossover (Cross Through?) with Star Trek: The Original Series, although the main TOS representative, apart from the last adventure, is given The Cameo for this one.
It's shortly after the end of the Next Generation TV series, which ended its run just before this film was released. Our baddie is Dr. Soran (Malcolm McDowell), a Mad Scientist with a malicious agenda reaching back seventy-eight years to when he was "saved" from the Nexus by Kirk, who then disappeared into it himself and was presumed dead. Soran now plans to blow up a couple of suns to get back into the Nexus, but Picard gets Kirk to leave the Nexus and join him for a bridge-dropping climax.
Perhaps the best that could be said for Generations is that it's not too badly paced considering how thin the storyline is. Still, the plot is mostly just a vehicle to bring Kirk and Picard together realizing Fan Fic writers wet dreams. Their meeting only occurs at the end and the final battle is over too quickly and extremely predictable. Despite this, the ending is fairly moving. While not considered the greatest start for the TNG crew, the sequel was quick to fix that.
Tropes seen in Generations include:
- Abandon Ship
- In the prologue, the Enterprise-B is beaming aboard the passengers of two refugee ships caught in a Negative Space Wedgie. Subverted in that many of them don't want to leave.
- The Enterprise-D in the film's climax. Played With, in that they simply evacuated everybody into the part of the ship that wasn't about to explode and separated it.
- Absolute Cleavage: Lursa and B'etor, as always.
- Absentee Actor
- They couldn't get Leonard Nimoy or DeForest Kelley to return as Spock and Bones for the opening scene, so Kirk is instead accompanied by Scotty and Chekov. As a result, Chekov seems to be acting in the capacity of a doctor when they pick up the refugees and Scotty calls Kirk "Jim".
- In the alternate opening scene, Kirk boasts about his precision skydiving. Chekov 'helpfully' announces that Kirk was off by a few meters. Definitely a Spock line. As is Scotty's, after Kirk keeps getting up and sitting down as he struggles with countermanding the new, way-out-of-his-depth Enterprise Captain's orders: "Captain, is there something wrong with your chair?"
- Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene
- The entire sequence in the Nexus.
- Outside the Nexus, there is also the scene in which Picard is talking to Deanna about the death of Robert and René.
- Actor Allusion: According to Memory Alpha, Harrimans personnel file from one of the Trek video games says he has "a wife named Sloane and a son named Ferris who both live in Chicago, as well as interests in 20th century Italian sports automobiles."
- A Glitch in the Matrix: A variant. Kirk knows that the Nexus isn't real, but he's content to stick with it because it offers a chance for him to live the life he missed out on. However, when he jumps his horse over a ravine and feels nothing for it, he realizes that he can never appreciate the Nexus because it lacks a defining element of fear.
- Ain't Too Proud to Beg: Two examples:
- The first is Downplayed and non-villainous, and occurs when the Enterprise is trying to rescue two El-Aurian transports from the energy ribbon. After the first one is destroyed and the inexperienced Captain Harriman realizes that he has no idea what to do, he swallows his pride and asks the veteran Captain Kirk for help, which he's practically jumping to provide.Harriman: Captain Kirk...I would appreciate any suggestions you might have.
- The second is played much straighter and scarier. After Soran KO's Geordi, he holds Data at phaserpoint. Data, whose recently-installed emotion chip is malfunctioning, is overcome by fear and begging for his life.Data: Please...do not...do not hurt me. Please, please...
- The first is Downplayed and non-villainous, and occurs when the Enterprise is trying to rescue two El-Aurian transports from the energy ribbon. After the first one is destroyed and the inexperienced Captain Harriman realizes that he has no idea what to do, he swallows his pride and asks the veteran Captain Kirk for help, which he's practically jumping to provide.
- Anyone Can Die: This was supposed to be the overarching theme of the movie ("Time is the fire in which we burn").
- Apocalypse How: Soran causes Stellar Physical Annihilation (Class X-2) in the Amargosa system and the Veridian system...but the Veridian system gets reversed thanks to Picard and Kirk.
- Appeal to Novelty: Many of the more infamous storytelling decisions were made in an attempt to be more "unexpected" and "unconventional," but frequently forgetting that Tropes Are Tools and Tropes Are Not Bad. As SF Debris put it, Moore and Braga were basically saying "Did that story suck? Great, that's just what we were going for!"
- Arc Number: Scotty manages to save 47 people. 47 is an arc number in all the modern Star Trek series.
- Armor-Piercing Question: El-Aurians are "a race of listeners". Well, Dr. Soran shows what happens when they use their powers of observation for evil, as he expertly manipulates Picard in a quietly malicious manner.
- Artistic License Military: The Captain of the Enterprise-B is clearly in over his head and does not know how to proceed when an actual emergency occurs. Kirk is shown as wanting to intervene and take over, but restrains himself because he's not the Captain of the Enterprise-B and simply tries to give quiet advice under his breath to the Captain in order to not be seen undermining him. The problem is, people are dying. Kirk is an Starfleet Admiral with decades of experience, and would have been perfectly justified to immediately relieve the Captain at the first sign that he wasn't up to the task and focus on saving as many lives as he could. In any military, senior officers are expected to immediately relieve anyone who can't accomplish the mission. Sure, the Captain of the Enterprise-B was shown as a decent, responsible individual who simply lacked the necessary experience, but if that was the case, he never should have been put in command of a starship in the first place. Kirk should have immediately recognized this and taken over right away. It might be somewhat justified because they comment in the beginning Kirk is retired. Uniform or not, he's just a passenger and a guest.
- Artistic License Physics:
- Soran's plan to divert the Nexus makes sense at first, but promptly falls apart later. In order to actually get inside, he has to destroy the Veridian star so the Nexus hits the planet instead of a near-miss. Problem is, the timing of this is such that there would be no appreciable change in gravity since the sun is still largely intact and thus a massive gravitational body. The Nexus suddenly altering course to hit the planet would never happen. It would have made more sense to destroy the star then have the Nexus hit a planet in another solar system.
- The effects of the destruction of the Veridian star are observed far too quickly on the planet; due to the speed of light, it should take several minutes for the missile's detonation to be visible on the planet, rather than only a few seconds.
- Avoid the Dreaded G Rating: Data says "Oh shit" to avoid a G rating. This is the last Star Trek film to receive the PG rating, as every film since Star Trek: First Contact has been rated PG-13.
- Back for the Dead: Kirk, sort of.
- Big-Bad Ensemble: Soran and the Duras sisters.
- Big Damn Movie: Captain Kirk dies, entire star systems are in danger of being destroyed, the Enterprise-D is destroyed and crashes, Picard loses his family and Data gets emotions. YMMV over the movie's quality, but events are certainly a step up from the average episode.
- Big-Lipped Alligator Moment: In-universe, even. Data scanning for lifeforms. And singing. With the controls providing instrumentation. The crew is visibly thrown by this.
- Bond One-Liner: An intended one. Soran remarking that Geordi's "heart wasn't in" telling him the information they needed was a reference to a torture technique used in a deleted scene. Since the scene wasn't in the movie, the remark sounds out of place.
- Break Them by Talking: If you ever wondered what would happen if an El-Aurian used their keen insight against someone instead of counseling them - look out.Soran: They say time is the fire in which we burn. Right now, Captain, my time is running out. We leave so many things unfinished in our lives... I know you understand.note
- Brick Joke: One that comes all the way from TNG's pilot episode. Data references one of the very first jokes told to him by Riker, and finally gets the joke.
- Broken Aesop: In the end, Picard tells Riker "time is a companion that goes with us on a journey and reminds us to cherish every moment... because it will never come again." Except that Picard saved the day because he was able to revisit particular moments in time. However one could interpret his speech as a reflection on Soran's obsession with the past, and not being able to move on had he done so, the events of the film would never have happened.
- While exploring the Amargosa Observatory, Data reminds Geordi of a joke Geordi told Riker at Farpoint Station. As noted in Late to the Punchline, Farpoint Station was the setting for the pilot episode of TNG.
- Shortly after the D12 is destroyed, the movie cuts to Geordi in engineering examining an open panel and in the middle of a conversation about the damage the ship's taken. He turns around and communicates with the bridge, only to be cut off as the panel he's just walked away from explodes and engineering rapidly degenerates from being a mess to being an outright hazardous environment. As he's ushering everyone out, Geordi tells the bridge that they're a few minutes away from a warp-core breach he can't stop. This scene mirrors one from the episode Yesterday's Enterprise, where the ship was fatally damaged fighting Klingons in an alternate timeline. It helped that David Carson directed both Yesterday's Enterprise and Generations. It's even the same panel which blows out. The only difference is the time to breach is increased from two minutes to five (to make the subsequent evacuation more believable).
- Furthermore, he escapes from Engineering by doing the Epic Geordi Maneuver, previously seen in "The Best of Both Worlds" - this time it's a lot more justified as the door was actually at waist-height when he started his roll.
- Back in "Descent", Data reasons against trying to install the emotion chip because in part he hates having placed his friend Geordi in danger while under it's influence. In this movie, he elects to install the chip, only for it to malfunction and for him to find himself paralyzed by fear while Geordi gets beaten up and kidnapped by Soran on the observatory, proving his initial fears correct and leaving him feeling guilty.
- As Harriman is worrying about helping the El-Aurians, asking Kirk "What about the gravimetric distortions? They'll tear us apart.", Kirk answers "Risk is part of the game if you want to sit in that chair.", echoing his "Risk is our business" speech from TOS' "Return To Tomorrow".
- One of the El-Aurian ships is the SS Robert Fox, named after the Federation ambassador in the TOS episode "A Taste of Armageddon".
- Call to Agriculture: In the Nexus, Kirk was found chopping wood and frying eggs at his old house in the mountains.
- Changing Clothes Is a Free Action: One of the most subtle examples on record. At the beginning of the film, the main cast is wearing their ST:TNG-era uniforms, with the black shoulders and colored torso. Then a few Red Shirts in the background are seen with the updated ST:DS9 color scheme with the black torso and colored shoulders. Then Data starts wearing it. And then Riker, and Geordi, and finally Picard (though he changes back into his TNG uniform in the end). In at least one case with Riker his uniform literally changes between two scenes where he couldn't possibly have had time to do so in real life. See the entry under Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy in trivia for a possible explanation for all this uniform madness.
- Troi, Worf, and Crusher meanwhile wear the TNG TV uniforms for the entire film.
- *Click* Hello: Soran does this to Admiral Kirk during the battle on Veridian III.
- Closest Thing We Got: "You and you, you've just become nurses. Let's go."
- Comedic Sociopathy: Lampshaded then deconstructed. While Worf was getting dropped into the ocean (in the holodeck...) as "reward" for promotion to Lieutenant Commander...Data: I am uncertain as to why someone falling into freezing water is amusing.
Beverly: It's all in good fun, Data. You've got to live in the moment, get into the spirit of things. Get it?
Data: Got it.(Cue Data pushing Beverly overboard, then wondering why no one is laughing)
- Comic-Book Adaptation: By DC Comics.
- Coming in Hot: The saucer section of the Enterprise after the stardrive section explodes.
- Compliment Backfire: After calling Kirk, Scotty, and Chekov "living legends", Captain Harriman adds "I remember reading about your missions when I was in grade school.", leaving Kirk less than amused.
- Consulting Mister Puppet: Data talking to "Mr. Tricorder".Geordi: Data, come take a look at this. Have you ever seen a solar probe with this kind of configuration?
"Mr. Tricorder": No, Geordi, I have not. (to Data) Have you?
Data: No, I have not. It is most unusual.
- Continuity Nod:
- Though possibly unintentional, Kirk remarked in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier that he knew he would die alone. Specifically, after taking a near-fatal fall off a mountain in Yosemite during a camping trip with McCoy and Spock, he tells McCoy that he felt confident he would survive because both of them were with him. He adds, darkly, "I've always known... I'll die alone." When he "dies" on the Enterprise-B, he's the only guy in the room. His actual death could be argued the same, since Picard was the only other person around and he was too late to actually prevent it. The novelization of the movie actually mentions the callback at Yosemite. This could even be argued to bookend a "Kirk trilogy" of V, VI, and Generations, in which Kirk plays Peter Pan at the end of VI, receives unending exploration within the Nexus, but finally accepts his fate as a man.
- While aboard the observatory, Data mentions the Farpoint mission - which was the subject of the TNG series premiere.
- Continuity Overlap: This one's an interesting case. The film was released during the third season of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and while there are no mentions of the station, characters are wearing the jumpsuit uniforms created for DS9. However, as detailed under Show Accuracy/Toy Accuracy, the usage of the jumpsuits was a last-minute decision, making this an unintentional overlap.
- Continuity Snarl:
- This film establishes that Kirk died (at least presumably) in 2293 during the launch of the Enterprise-B. However, in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Relics," in which Scotty is rescued from being trapped inside a transporter buffer for 75 years, Scotty believes Kirk to still be alive even though from his point of view, he witnessed Kirk's death only one year earlier.
- After being given an emotion chip, Data says he now gets a joke Geordi told him off screen during their very first mission together. We never hear the whole joke, but it apparently involved a Ferengi in a gorilla suit. This is strange, since the Federation didn't really know anything about the Ferengi until some time after that mission. They had met them at least twice before, but never learned who they were in those encounters.
- The Constant: Guinan and Soran.
- Critical Staffing Shortage: The Enterprise-B is launched with a skeleton crew for a press run, so when the call comes in for them to yank some ships out of a Negative Space Wedgie, they wind up with no medical personnel and so few engineering personnel that Kirk has to make a Heroic Sacrifice to save them from certain doom.
- Crusading Widower: Dr. Soran.
- Damage Control: During the battle, Geordi LaForge is seen ordering his repair teams around, although it ultimately turns out to be futile.Geordi: Let's get a stabilizer on that conduit! (steam explosion) Reinforce that starboard interlock! We need to reroute main power through the secondary coupling!
- The Dark Side Will Make You Forget: Soran. "Nice try."
- Deadpan Snarker: Scotty and Chekov good-naturedly rag on Kirk after Harriman insisted that Kirk give the order to take the ship out, amid patronizing applause.Chekov: Wery good, sir.
Scotty: Brought a tear to me eye.
Kirk: (mildly annoyed) Oh, be quiet.
- Defector from Paradise: We have the case of Jean-Luc Picard and Captain Kirk attempting to escape the Nexus. Kirk is reluctant to leave the Nexus at first, but soon realized that the ability to make a difference in the real world was more important to him than anything the Nexus could offer. The tipping point is when he jumps a ravine with his horse, one he jumped numerous times in the real world, only to realize here that the element of danger which made it feel exciting when it was real is absent since he knows he's in the Nexus.
- Demoted to Extra: Deanna Troi and Beverly Crusher. More so in Crusher's case, as she barely did anything in the movie, while Troi's role was proportionately about as large as she got in most TNG episodes.
- Dropped a Bridge on Him: The Trope Namer itself. In fact, it doesn't just literally apply to James T. Kirk; in the way we've defined this trope, the deaths of Robert and Rene Picard are examples too. Ironically, Kirk's death was a reshoot from one that was poorly received by test groups where he just takes a blast to the back and dies. Also, the Enterprise-D herself, being taken out by a ship that by all rights shouldn't have posed a threat to the flagship of the Federationnote .
- Dude, Not Funny!:
- In-universe. At the beginning of the film, the officers are having a promotion party for Worf on the holodeck, where they're on an 18th-century naval ship. They make Worf walk to the end of the plank and jump for his new rank insignia, then Riker orders the computer to "remove the plank." The plank disappears, dropping Worf into the sea, and Riker jokes that he meant to say, "retract". After Crusher attempts to explain the humor to Data, he pushes her overboard.LaForge: Data!
Data: (smirking) That was...
LaForge: ...not funny!
- This serves as the catalyst for Data to have Geordi install his emotion chip, as if he cannot grasp a concept like humor, he will never be human. Though ironically, a good deal of viewers find it very funny, so that Geordi comes off as a humorless priss.
- In-universe. At the beginning of the film, the officers are having a promotion party for Worf on the holodeck, where they're on an 18th-century naval ship. They make Worf walk to the end of the plank and jump for his new rank insignia, then Riker orders the computer to "remove the plank." The plank disappears, dropping Worf into the sea, and Riker jokes that he meant to say, "retract". After Crusher attempts to explain the humor to Data, he pushes her overboard.
- Enhance Button: While looking through Geordi's visor, the Klingon sisters use one to see the Enterprise's shield frequency.
- Epic Launch Sequence: Of the Enterprise-B, which Kirk, Scotty, and Chekov attend as honored guests.
- Eureka Moment: Shatner shows some subtle acting in the film, when he wears an astonished look on his face after leaping over a stream with his horse.note
- Evil Brit: Soran (although technically not British, as he was an alien), played by Malcolm McDowell.
- Exact Time to Failure
- While the Enterprise-B is inside the energy ribbon, a bridge officer says, "45 seconds to structural collapse."
- After the Enterprise-D is damaged by the Klingon attack, Geordi tells the bridge that "We're five minutes from a warp core breach." A few minutes later, Commander Data says that there's one minute to warp core breach.
- Exact Words: The holodeck computer parses Riker's "Computer, remove the plank" order as "remove plank from simulation". Picard calls him out on that.
- Executive Meddling: Happens in-universe to the Enterprise-B: the ship is deployed incomplete, missing key systems and crew for its shakedown cruise, and without other ships around to assist, so that Starfleet can show it off to the press. Meddling confirmed in an comic that takes place after the movie.
- Explosive Instrumentation: During the attack on the Enterprise. One such explosion throws a Red Shirt halfway across the bridge.
- Failure Hero: Picard. As SF Debris put it, the story is less the team-up of two legendary captains like we were promised, than Picard putzing around for an hour until the real hero finally shows up.
- Face Death with Dignity:
- Having been obsessed with death, and with escaping it for so long, when Soran is finally confronted with it he elects to close his eyes and stand his ground rather than do any more futile running or protesting.
- In his final moments, Kirk doesn't lament his fate. He's glad to have been given the chance to help, and his last words are of wonder, not trepidation.
- Fake-Out Opening: Not exactly the opening, but the scene following the 23rd-century prologue shows an 18th-century sailing ship with the caption "78 years later". It turns out to be a holodeck simulation.
- The Final Temptation: Both Kirk and Picard are given their fondest desires being fulfilled in the Nexus, only to not work when Picard realizes that millions were sacrificed in the process of his being in the Nexus, and Kirk realizes that it doesn't give him the same thrill of danger that he normally gets in the real world.
- First Time Feeling: When Data's emotion chip is first installed, he experiences emotions more strongly than the humans around him. Eventually the chip overloads and his emotions become so intense that he collapses, switching rapidly from one to the next, wide-eyed the entire time.
- Fist Pump:
- After the Klingon Bird-of-Prey is destroyed, Data (who is under the influence of the emotion chip) does this gesture and gives a Big "YES!".
- There's an extra in the background who also does a fist pump just before Data does it, then (out of universe) tries to hide the fact that he did it in order to not ruin Data's moment.
- Five-Second Foreshadowing: When Dr. Soran checks on his sun-killer missile after Picard messes with it, the viewscreen says that the missile's locking clamps are still engaged. Soran gets an Oh, Crap! look on his face as he and the audience realize that something bad is going to happen when the missile tries to launch. He has just enough time to close his eyes and Face Death with Dignity before the whole thing explodes, killing him.
- Focus Group Ending: A positive version (kinda): the reason that Kirk has a bridge dropped on him instead of being shot in the back is because it wasn't received well. The eventual death scene still isn't considered the best, but it's definitely a step up.
- Foil: Doctor Soran and Captain Picard: Both characters have been scarred by the Borg, and have lost loved ones to certain circumstances (Soran to the Borg, and Picard to a fire), and both were also devastated by the deaths. The difference is that while Soran is perfectly willing to destroy entire worlds so he'd at least be reunited with his family in some fashion (by the Nexus), Picard isn't.
- Force Field Cage: Inverted. Instead of restraining Picard, Soran has actually sequestered himself inside a giant forcefield dome. Picard beats it by slipping under a rock arch that the forcefield was resting on.
- For the Funnyz: Data spontaneously decides to shove Doctor Crusher into the holodeck ocean when she unintentionally implies to him that it would be funny. None of the Enterprise crew are amused.
- Forgotten Fallen Child: Kirk expresses shock that Sulu has a grown daughter, wondering when he had time what with his career. This is meant to emphasize Kirk's own angst about getting older. Meanwhile Kirk, while having had a biological son, thought he'd have no time to raise a child as Sulu did.
- The Future Is Noir: Very noticeably so, compared to the way the exact same USS Enterprise sets appeared on the TNG television series. The set designer on this movie knew that the sets had been built for the considerably lower resolution of television, and that they'd never stand up to the scrutiny of a cinema screen. The solution? Turn off all the lights, so the audience can't see the joins. This is a rather common technique, and is one big reason why a lot of Sci-Fi shows have dark sets. And in this case, they only had to do it for a single movie, since the sequel traded up to the 1701-E with movie quality sets.
- Gangsta Style: Soran's gun tilts its shooty-part on the side, and he likes to twist his hand to the side to compensate?
- Gilligan Cut: A deleted opening scene had Kirk skydiving, echoing his mid-life crisis in Star Trek V: The Final Frontier. Chekov reminds him that they're scheduled to look over the new Enterprise. Kirk states emphatically, "I'm not going," and of course this would have led to the bottle smashing on the ship and Kirk arriving.
- Gravity Is a Harsh Mistress: Worf has a Gravitational Cognizance moment after Riker says, "Computer, remove the plank."
- Hand Signals: Lursa signals her Klingon crew not to attack Soran when he starts shoving them around.
- Hand Wave: When Kirk was in love with Antonia. According to the film, he temporarily retired from Starfleet at some point between Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and returned to Starfleet once they split up.
- Heaven: The Nexus. It's not explicitly Heaven... but it is functionally. It's essentially a Happy Place in physical space that can give you your heart's deepest desire, free of any Aesoptinum fees.
- Heroic BSoD: Done as only Patrick Stewart can deliver.
- Hero of Another Story: Captain Harriman, though this doesn't begin to become apparent until he overcomes his nervousness at having Captain Kirk aboard and steps up as The Captain.
- Horse Jump: One that, according to Kirk, "scared the hell out of [him] each time". The fact that it doesn't this time forces Kirk to accept that it's not real, and he can't really be happy in the Nexus.
- Humans Are Ugly: "Human females are so repulsive!"
- Idiot Ball: Multiple examples.
- I Like Those Odds: Discussed by Kirk.Kirk: I take it the odds are against us and the situation is grim.
Picard: You could say that.
Kirk: If Spock were here he would call me an illogical, irrational human being for taking on a mission like that... Sounds like fun.
- Indy Hat Roll: When there's a coolant leak in the warp core reactor, the Enterprise engineering crew evacuates the area. Geordi La Forge is the last person out, rolling under the descending door just before it closes.
- Infant Immortality: Spot. Can't have the cat die after all.
- Soran, a Long-Lived El Aurien, rambling about aging and the passage of time to Picard, a human that Soran could easily expect to outlive by centuries under normal circumstances.
- Earlier, Scotty refers to the Enterprise-B as "a damn fine ship". That's hilarious, considering he spent the previous 8 years (movies 3 through 6) insulting the Excelsior, which is the same ship class. It's due to the fact that Scotty at the time was not pleased with the Excelsior being touted as a better ship than the Enterprise. An Excelsior-class ship named Enterprise, however...
- Kicked Upstairs: Kirk is perturbed at having to order the Enterprise-B to move. Everyone on the bridge applauds patronizingly. He later warns Picard not to accept any promotions.
- Killed Mid-Sentence: According to Bill Shatner, the "Oh my..." is the sound of Kirk glimpsing the ultimate unknown. But he dies before he can describe what he's seeing.
- Killed Off for Real: Lursa and B'etor finally get what's coming to them.
- Kirk Summation: Picard allows himself to be exchanged for Geordi as a hostage in an effort to talk Soran down from blowing up another star. Soran sees right through this attempt and confidently tells Picard it won't work, though he does momentarily take pause when Picard brings up his dead wife and child.
- Late to the Punchline: Thanks to his new emotion chip, Data finally gets a joke from the Farpoint mission, which was in the Pilot, seven years ago. This particular joke is never heard in the actual pilot, incidentally.
- Laughing Mad: When Data's emotion chip overloads. It's unsettling.Data: (teary-eyed laughing) I cannot help myself. I think something is wrong!
- Legacy Character: The Enterprise.
- Like Father Like Daughter: Demora Sulu is helmsman on the Enterprise-B.Kirk: It wouldn't be the Enterprise without a Sulu at the helm.
- Living Memory: The echo of Guinan in the Nexus.
- Lotus-Eater Machine: The Nexus.
- Mad Scientist: Soran.
- Made of Explodium: This film has the biggest exploding console plague in Star Trek history; firstly the Enterprise-B navigation officer gets nailed early on in the film, then in the film's big battle scene the entire rear row of consoles on the Enterprise-D's bridge blows up, killing at least half a dozen officers.
- Magic Countdown: For once, inverted; just before the saucer separation Data announces that they're a minute away from the warp core breach. However, it actually explodes just 25 seconds later, meaning the saucer doesn't have time to get clear of the blast and is severely damaged, leading to it crashing on the planet below.
- Manipulative Bastard: Doctor Soran, who plays everyone for his own ends.
- Mass "Oh, Crap!": When their Bird of Prey suddenly cloaks, the Klingons are all openly alarmed. When the Enterprise fires, they can only stare in silent horror.
- Mood Whiplash:
- Worf's lighthearted promotional ceremony is broken up by Picard being visibly devastated by receiving news that his nephew and brother were killed in a fire..
- Data acting up and telling jokes (much to Geordi's increasing irritation), until he suffers the android equivalent of a seizure and keels over.
- Picard having a sorrowful conversation with Deanna about the deaths of Robert and René comes to a sudden end when the Amargosa star goes boom.
- Multiple Endings: The videogame adaptation provides two endings: one which follows that which is seen in the film, and another where you track down Soran before he gets to Veridian III and defeat his starship in battle, circumventing both the destruction of the Enterprise D and also the death of Captain Kirk, who under this scenario does not appear in the plot at all and presumably remains entirely at peace within the Nexus. Needless to say, if you complete the game and get the second ending, then you've created an Alternate Continuity.
- The Movie: Of Star Trek: The Next Generation. Except that Executive Meddling demanded a crossover with TOS because they didn't want to risk giving TNG its own entire movie right away.
- Mythology Gag:
- The Next Gen portion of the movie takes place 78 years after the launching of the Enterprise B — there were 78 original aired episodes of Star Trek: The Original Series (counting its sole two part story as one episode). The Next Generation is said in the series bible to start 78 years after the original series era (Star Trek IV, the latest film at the time is set in 2286. Next Gen begins in 2364).
- Picard throwing a lavish party on a holographic 19th century naval ship. As you'll remember, Roddenberry pitched the original as Horatio Hornblower in space (way back in 1965).
- Negative Space Wedgie: The "ribbon" of "temporal energy" that takes its victims to "the Nexus".
- Never Trust a Trailer: Kirk and Picard do not save the universe, nor anything close.
- Nightmare Face: When Data's emotion chip overloads, they went so far as to stretch his eyeballs.
- Nietzsche Wannabe: Soran explains to Picard: "You know, there was a time when I wouldn't hurt a fly. Then the Borg came, and they showed me that if there is one constant in this whole universe, it's death. Afterwards, I began to realize that it didn't really matter. We're all going to die sometime. It's just a question of how and when." Soran saw the Nexus as the way to escape death forever.
- The '90s: Most of the film manages to hide its age, but Data's fist pump is pure 90's.
- No Challenge Equals No Satisfaction: While in the Nexus, Kirk jumps a horse across a chasm in a reconstruction of his old homestead. Then he turns around and does it again. When Picard catches up with him, he admits that every time he did that before, he was terrified of falling in. But here in the Nexus, there's no risk, no fear...
- Noodle Incident: Data finally understands the joke he heard during the "Farpoint mission" seven years ago, but it was told off-screen, and the joke is never explained to the viewer.
- No OSHA Compliance: Played with. In the deflector room of the Enterprise-B when Kirk is climbing down the ladder we can see what appears to be some kind of deep shaft. It hasn't got any guard rails around it to stop people from falling in... but what it does have is a hilariously small "Caution" sticker on the wall right next to it.
- Not So Different: Picard tries to appeal to Soran by telling him that what he's attempting to do is no different than what the Borg did to his home world. It almost causes Soran to reconsider his actions.
- Oh, Crap!:
- Harriman, when the Enterprise-B's shakedown is interrupted by a Distress Call.
- Data, when he realizes that the Enterprise saucer section is out of control and headed toward the surface of a nearby planet. Actually, more precisely, it's "Ohhh, shit!"
- Klingon equivalent: "WE ARE CLOAKING! OUR SHIELDS ARE DOWN!". Cue the Enterprise firing a photon torpedo...
- Soran, when he realizes what Picard's done with the missile controls.
- Geordi, when it's clear that the Enterprise is screwed.Geordi: It must've been that last torpedo. (taps communicator) LaForge to bridge. I've got a problem down here. The magnetic interlocks have been ruptured. I need— (explosion, accompanied by lots of steam) Coolant leak! We have a coolant leak, everybody! Let's go! Let's get outta here! Everybody out! Let's move! Let's move! Let's go! (as everybody runs while the isolation door lowers) Bridge, we have a new problem! We're five minutes from a warp core breach and there's nothing I can do! (rolls under the door just before it closes)
- One-Hit Kill: Once the shields are down, the Enterprise destroys the Klingon ship in one shot.
- Open Mouth, Insert Foot: Harriman gushes over the TOS crew, remarking how he read about them in grade school. Kirk is unamused.
- Orphaned Punchline: We don't hear the rest of the joke that Data finally "got". A Ferengi in a gorilla suit would be quite a sight, though.
- Outrun the Fireball: An unusual instance, in that it's the Enterprise-D's saucer that's trying to outrun the stardrive section before the warp core goes critical. Also subverted in that the saucer doesn't outrun the fireball — the explosion's shockwave destroys the saucer's impulse engines and knocks it sharply out of orbit, causing it to crash onto the planet below. Played straight earlier with the supernova, though it wasn't the case of outrunning it safely, it was outrunning it safely and making sure the Away Team was on board before it destroyed the space station it was at.
- Personality Chip: The B plot of the movie is Data having an emotion chip implanted in his computer brain.
- Plot Hole: After Geordi is abducted and subsequently rescued, Dr. Crusher mentions removing a nanoprobe from him, which is literally the first and last time this has ever been mentioned. It's an inexplicably-retained artifact of Soran torturing Geordi for information, the nanoprobe being used to stop his heart (hence the "his heart just wasn't in it" line from Soran). It's retained in the novelization.
- Precision F-Strike: "Oh, shit!" If any character other than Data (previously the Emotionless Guy) had delivered this line, it wouldn't have been as profound.
- Protagonist-Centered Morality: Picard has the mother of all Reset Buttons, and uses it to go right back where he was albeit with Kirk. He could have gone a few days back, and apprehended Soran when he was still on the ship. Or gone even further back and prevented the death of his brother's family.
- Real Award, Fictional Character: Apparently one of Picard's ancestors (also named Picard) won a Nobel Prize for Chemistry. Nobody by that name has won it yet.
- Reality Ensues: The series never dwelt on it much, but this movie shows just how terrifying the life-and-death misadventures of the Enterprise would actually be to the children aboard.
- Real Life Writes the Plot: The Enterprise-D is destroyed and the bridge is thoroughly trashed because the models and sets were built for television and didn't have the necessary amount of detail to look good on movie screens as well as the fact that that six-foot model of the ship was an unwieldy monstrosity. The producers wanted to be able to start from scratch should they get another movie.
- Rebuilt Set: The Enterprise-D bridge now has noticeably more workstations than it (usually) did on television. And by the end of the movie, most of them have blown up.
- Refuge in Audacity: After Soran is beamed up by his Klingon allies, he punches one of the Duras sisters in the face on her own bridge. For the Klingons this could amount to a challenge to a Duel to the Death, but the fact that they need him for their own plan allows him to get away with it. She just snarks that he better intended that as part of a mating ritual.
- Refusing Paradise: Picard and Kirk decide to leave the Nexus together in order to stop Soran. Although Kirk is reluctant at first, he soon realizes the ability to make a difference is more important to him than anything the Nexus could offer. He also finds the Nexus lacks one critical element: for all its realism, there's no risk.
- Remember the New Guy?: Kirk's ultimate fantasy world in the Nexus involves the one true love of his life... who we've naturally never heard of before despite Yeoman Rand, Carol Marcus, or even Edith Keeler now being quite viable options for that role. In fairness, the original series made it plain that Kirk had plenty of old girlfriends, and he made quite a few new ones along the way (this is Kirk, after all). The real surprise is that David Marcus was his ONLY child.
- Reset Button: The Nexus can act as one, which allows the film to show the failure of Picard to save the day.
- Reverse Polarity: When Data needs to open a magnetically sealed door, he reverses its polarity by attenuating his axial servo.
- Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony: The bottle-breaking version is used with the Enterprise-B, except the bottle is thrown at the ship instead of just smashed against it. This leads to the hilarious mental image of a dude in a spacesuit trying to pitch the bottle at the ship without missing.
- The Roast: It wouldn't be TNG without a scene where Worf gets emasculated again. His 'promotion' ceremony is carried out in the style of a condemned sailor being forced to walk the plank, with Riker reading off a scroll of charges.
- Rocketless Reentry: The film would have originally opened with Kirk, Scotty, and Chekov orbital skydiving just because they're bored.
- Running Gag: Quite a bit of the Enterprise-B's equipment and essential crew will not be available until next Tuesday, much to Captain Kirk's compounding frustration and Captain Harriman's embarrassment when a crisis breaks out.Kirk: Tractor beam.
Harriman: We don't have a tractor beam.
Kirk: You left Spacedock without a tractor beam?
Harriman: It won't be installed until Tuesday.
Chekov: How big is your medical staff?
Harriman: The medical staff...doesn't arrive until Tuesday.
Chekov: (curses in Russian)
Kirk: Load torpedo bays. Prepare to fire on my command.
Demora: Captain, we don't have any torpedoes.
Kirk: (to Harriman) Don't tell me - Tuesday.
- Rushed Into Service: Near the beginning the Enterprise-B is forced to undertake a rescue mission despite being on a shakedown cruise and not having most of her main systems installed, which was supposed to happen on Tuesday.
- Schrödinger's Butterfly: Captain Picard and Dr. Soran, the villain, enter the Nexus, a dimension of eternal pleasure that shapes itself to your desires. Picard is told by a mental projection of Guinan that he can use it to travel anywhere in time, and so he goes back right before Soran blew up the sun that destroyed the planet they were on and the Enterprise. It's entirely plausible that Picard never did leave the Nexus, and that he still exists there to continue his voyages in his own perfect reality. And if he did really travel through time and stopped Soran, whether the Soran that entered the Nexus in the alternate timeline is actually still there. In fact, see the Star Trek Wild Mass Guessing page for more interpretation of this.
- Sci-Fi Writers Have No Sense of Scale:
- Worf states that Soran's rocket will take eleven seconds to hit the sun. Considering that he shoots it from an M Class planet, which are more-or-less the same as Earth, it would have to be traveling faster than light to make that kind of time. However, it's been established well before this film that there are probes the size of Soran's missile with warp drives, which he could have acquired. On the subject of distance, the probe might have traveled faster than light, but it still would have taken eight or however many light minutes away the planet was before you could actually see the change in light. This is made more infuriating by the fact that once the rocket launches, it's visible in the sky for most of that time.
- The Nexus moves through space at the speed of plot. It clearly moves slower than light, given the Enterprise-B's ability to keep pace with it while using their transporters. Yet it somehow gets from one solar system to another in a matter of hours (it would have to pass near the Amargosa system to be affected by the missing star, then reaches the Veridian system shortly after the Enterprise-D does), instead of taking longer than the lifespans of everyone save Soran and Guinan.
- The Enterprise-B is (once again) the only ship in range to rescue the ships trapped in the Nexus, despite being inside the Sol system, one of the most densely populated and traveled systems of the Federation and the headquarters of Starfleet. This is particularly ridiculous because this is her shakedown cruise, which means Earth is at the moment defended by a ship which isn't even carrying torpedoes.
- Series Continuity Error:
- Scotty witnesses Kirk's death, despite the TNG episode "Relics" showing him as a Human Popsicle who immediately assumes Kirk is the one who found him. Moore and Braga said that they were well aware of the continuity issue, but just couldn't resist seeing Scotty in action one last time. Becomes Fridge Brilliance if you figure that Scotty made that assumption in "Relics" because he doesn't believe Kirk died that day.
- Trilithium resin was introduced back in "Starship Mine", as an unstable byproduct of the warp core which could be used as explosive material. Here, the substance is trilithium, and the crew treat it as a new discovery and its purpose is completely different.
- Shut Up, Kirk!: When Picard tries to convince Soran not to destroy Veridian 3, Soran replies "Nice try."
- Spinoff Sendoff: The movie can be thought of as one for the TNG movies.
- Spoiler Title: The soundtrack release was delayed a month, because one of the tracks was called "Kirk's Death".
- Star Killing: Soran's trilithium-armed probes.
- Stealth Pun: During the battle, B'etor gives the order to "Fire at will." There is an immediate cut to the bridge of the Enterprise, currently commanded by Commander Will Riker.
- Stock Footage
- Stopped Numbering Sequels: This is the first movie in the series since Star Trek: The Motion Picture that doesn't feature a number in the titlenote . Justified because this is the first Next Generation movie (even though there was some crossover with TOS) and none of the rest that followed had numbers either. New DVDs, however, now list the Next Generation films by number, ie. Star Trek VII: Generations.
- Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome: Kirk.
- Techno Babble: Rather than use their full arsenal, the Enterprise resort to technobabble to destroy the Klingon ship.
- This Is Gonna Suck: Riker roaring out "ALL HANDS, BRACE FOR IMPACT!" as the Enterprise-D's saucer section prepares to hit land. This was going to be a bumpy ride.
- Trailers Always Spoil: The 2nd theatrical trailer shows the destruction of the Enterprise-D.
- Trash the Set: The Enterprise being destroyed. A lot of the sequences showing the ship breaking up as it crash lands were given added realism by production crew actually taking a sledgehammer to the sets which had served the television show so well for seven years. In the final scene the bridge set is only barely recognizable.
- Before you get too angry about this, bear in mind that the sets would have been trashed regardless, in order to make way for the sets of Star Trek: Voyager. At least this way we got to see the sets destroyed in action, rather than them just being dumped in some Los Angeles scrapyard.
- Aside from the need for space for the sets of Voyager, the TNG television sets were not built for the higher definition found on film. This was why the film was shot with darkened lighting over its television episodes because the set's flaws would be too apparent in the movie.
- Turn Off the Camera: Kirk to a reporter on the Enterprise-B.
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: When Guinan's echo in the Nexus guides Picard to Kirk, Kirk doesn't seem too shocked to see a stranger in a vaguely Starfleet-style uniform approach his cabin.Kirk: Beautiful day... (resumes chopping wood)
- Unwanted Rescue: Soran's rescue from the Nexus. The others are like this, too, but Soran is the most vocal."No, I have to go... I have to get back. You don't understand! Let me go!"
- Villainous Breakdown:Soran: PICAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARD! Step away from that launcher!
- Visual Pun: Perhaps as a Take That! to all the fans on the wrong side of the "who's the better captain" debate, Kirk literally rides a circle around Picard, who has been established as no slouch of a rider himself.
- Was It Really Worth It?: In the Nexus, Kirk laments that his years of service to Starfleet only seemed to earn him an empty house, noting the relationships he missed because he was too busy being captain. He changes his tune when he sees the Nexus for what it really is.
- A Way Out of a Cave-In: Trapped on one side of a huge Force Field while Soran is working on his sun-killer weapon, Picard notices at the bottom of the field there is a small gap between an archway and the ground. He tosses a couple rocks at the field which bounce off, then tosses one at the archway. It passes through, so Picard sets to work widening the space so he can crawl through.
- Wham Line:
- "Robert... and Rene... were... burned to death in the fire."
- "Their shields are operating on a modulation of 257.4!"
- "We're five minutes from a warp core breach! There is nothing I can do!"
- Wham Shot: Seeing the massive gouge through mountains and a forest that the Enterprise caused during its crash in wide shot.
- What Happened to the Mouse?: As far as we can tell, Geordi still has that camera in his VISOR and no one even knows about it. Luckily, this doesn't cause many problems given his switch to prosthetic eyes in the next film. And, of course, the only ones who knew about it in the first place are all dead by the end of the movie, anyway.
- Lursa's child—first mentioned in Firstborn— is not mentioned at all. It's unknown if he was even born.
- While You Were in Diapers: Kirk to Picard, although not quite about him. Kirk entered service approximately 50 years before Picard was born. If we assume his father and grandfather were born when their own parents were in their twenties or thirties, it works out.Kirk: I was out saving the galaxy when your grandfather was in diapers.
- Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Soran. His all-consuming desire is to return to the Nexus, where the family he lost will exist (and so will he) for all eternity. To get there, he'll kill entire solar systems, inhabited or not, to shift the Nexus' course in such a way that entering it is nothing less than a sure thing.
- Worth It: Kirk's opinion of his last adventure with Picard."It was... fun."
- Ye Goode Olde Days: Picard, in his stuffy naval uniform, gets wistfully sentimental about life on the bounding main. Riker begs to differ: "Bad food, brutal discipline, no women." (And you know which one is the deal-breaker for Number One.)
- Year Outside, Hour Inside: The Nexus is Exactly What It Says on the Tin - a nexus for all points in time, thus time is meaningless. So, no matter how much "time" is spent within the Nexus, no time actually passes, so anyone exiting the Nexus hasn't aged at all.