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Tear Jerker / Star Trek: Generations

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"All hands BRACE FOR IMPACT."
William Riker, the Enterprise D's final moments.

  • The "death" of the Enterprise-D may not be as heart-wrenching as that of the original ship, but when it's out-right stated that she can't be salvaged, that's when it hits you.
    • What about that slow pull back once the saucer has come to rest? There's a moment of relief at the realization that they made it through, and then it really hits you - the crew survived, but the Enterprise won't be getting back up from that one.
    • Hell, the whole sequence of the evacuation from Geordi rushing everyone out of engineering (himself being the last to leave after staring back at the warp core, his engine room), Beverly rushing everyone out of Sick Bay, and the final view of the saucer separating and leaving behind an obviously disintergrating lower ship... ... Something about it feels so different from every other incident or near evacuation. Somehow you just know the ship won't survive this.
  • The "final" death of James T. Kirk, Captain of the Enterprise.
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    • While the way in which he died might be poor, the death scene itself is amazingly done. The music is heart-wrenchingly beautiful and the dialogue is lovely, especially Kirk's last words.
      "It was the least I could do... for the Captain of the Enterprise. It was...fun....oh, my..."
  • Picard talking with Troi about his family, who he has just learned had all but one died in a fire. He manages a few words with Troi before he breaks and just starts sobbing over the loss of his nephew Rene, to whom he was exceptionally close. All he's been through in his career and life, and that the man is still capable of showing such emotion makes for an intensely powerful scene. Even worse is his attempt at a Stiff Upper Lip by saying it's all right - and Troi replying, barely holding back tears herself, "Captain! It's not all right!". After so long as the calm, collected Captain of the ship, Troi has to remind him that it's okay to fall apart after such news.
    • Picard giving a Nexus recreation of Rene a hug.
    • Picard having to abandon his fantasy. He is so close to just letting himself get sucked into the illusion; here, he has a family again after his real relatives were so cruelly taken from him just days before. Even the illusory Guinan doesn't attempt to stop him- but he knows that to stay would be to condemn millions of lives to death as the Veridian system's sun goes nova, and in the end, he lets his fantasy go for the sake of the many.
  • Kirk sounds so broken when he accepts that the Nexus isn't real, despite him wanting everything so much. He has lost just as much as Picard in his life, though his losses weren't quite as fresh.
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  • Cat owners identify with Data crying over finding Spot.
  • After seeing the Enterprise-B auxillary control room Kirk was in is now just a massive hull breach:
    Chekov: My God! Was anyone in here?
    Scotty: (solemnly) Aye.
    • Behind the scenes, imagine how devastated Spock and McCoy were when they got the news of their best friend's (supposed) death.
      • If you read the novelisation, you don't have to use your imagination. It's as devastating as you'd expect. McCoy blames himself, because he was tired of Starfleet and knew that Kirk was feeling alone to the point of being a Death Seeker, Spock will outlive all his friends, and everyone is desperate to believe it's like The Tholian Web again.
    • It's worse. Had Kelley and Nimoy been in the roles intended for them, imagine this scenario.
      McCoy: My God! Was anyone in here?
      Spock: Yes.
    • A deleted scene has one final moment with the two, on the bridge where Demora confirms no trace of Kirk even his body. Poor Chekov is sobbing how he can't believe after all they'd been through "it would end like this" while Scotty just mutters about how they were just going on a quick "Run around the block" and then tries to reason that everyone has to go sometime, but Chekov isn't convinced and thinks Kirk deserved better. It's not just that Kirk died, but how to them. They knew full well the risks they took on their adventure but never expected the heroic Captain James Kirk who survived a 30 year career in Starfleet to get spaced like a random crewman during a few hour press tour only a few months after he'd officially retired. And they don't even have anything to bury.
  • William Shatner himself has said that this following line was the hardest he ever had to deliver:
    "Who am I to argue with the Captain of the Enterprise?"
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    • Dovetailing that, there's moment where Harriman tells Kirk that he has the bridge. Kirk proceeds to sit in the center chair, and, moments later, changes his mind and goes to Deck 15 instead of Harriman. In that moment he is in that chair, you can tell he is experiencing two simultaneous thoughts - "I'm back where I belong" and "This is no longer my place." And the latter feeling wins. When Captain Kirk genuinely realizes that he is not the rightful inhabitant of that chair...
  • What about Scotty's report on how many of the refugees he managed to transport off the failing refugee ship?
    "I got 47...out of 150."
  • Sulu's daughter reading off the damage report on Engineering, hesitating over "... and Deck 15" where Kirk was, and then just sitting there shocked and horrified that the man her father's been telling her incredible stories about since she was a baby is gone. And somebody's going to have to tell her Dad about it.
    • In the novelization, it's Chekov who makes the call, and it's heartbreaking. Doubly so because Rand is there to hear the news as well.
  • Rewatch Bonus reveals how agonized Soran was.
    Soran: No, no! You don't understand! I have to go back! I have to go BACK!
  • Many people have questioned how a Starfleet icon like Kirk could ever seriously consider staying in the Nexus and not trying to save the day? He explains, he's spent his whole life saving the galaxy, and all it got him....was an empty house. There are several people who can relate to feeling they missed out on things because of devotion to career.
    Kirk: I was like you once... so worried about duty and obligations that I couldn't see past my own uniform. And what did it get me? An empty house?
    • It speaks volumes that even with above, when he finally stops to think about it, he totally goes with Picard. James Tiberius Kirk will never EVER not do his job. Not even in (kinda sorta) death.
      • Not precisely. He goes because it's not real, not because it's not desired.
    • Another reason is a subtly sad moment when Jim is shocked Sulu had a daughter, someone who was climbing the Federation ranks just as hard as he was. It was his shocked realization that he had no one in his life at all. No Carol. No Antonia. No David. No one except his shipmates (who he's now mostly separated from), and that isn't quite enough. No wonder he'd jump at being able to fill "the empty house". Scotty unintentionally shoves the dagger in even further by commenting, "Well like you always say, if something's important, you make the time."
  • However, he discovers that it isn't the "empty house". It's the "empty chair" — retired, he finds himself useless unless he's "making a difference".
    Kirk: Nothing here is [real]... Nothing here... matters. You know, maybe this isn't about that empty house. Maybe it's about that empty chair on the bridge of the Enterprise. Ever since I left Starfleet I haven't made a difference.
    • However, that relates to having a legacy — without one, he's not making a difference with progeny.
  • The novelization has one that's sadly missing from the movie; Captain Sulu and the crew of the Excelsior are running an evacuation drill, when a grieving Chekov calls in and interrupts (this is after the Enterprise-B escapes the Nexus). Sulu immediately thinks something has happened to his daughter, but Chekov tells him it's "the Captain". For a moment Sulu is baffled, wondering why Chekov is calling him about Harriman — then Rand, standing next to him, gasps, and Sulu realizes what Chekov is actually telling him.
  • Guinan warns Picard that the Nexus would be so tempting that he would never want to leave. While easy to pass this off as an attempt by the movie to build up the Nexus as a threat to the character, it still speaks to Guinan's state of mind when she was in the Nexus - if Soran lost his entire family to the Borg, so did Guinan (or at least much of it), and at least five hundred years is a lot of time to build a family. To her, in that moment, she was able to have everything she lost back, and she was ripped away from it, meaning, like Soran, she lost it all a second time. It's easy to imagine why it would be so tempting for her to remain there instead of return to the world where loss and pain is so persistent, and, given her life span, she still manages to outlive all those around her.
    • The spin-off novel Stargazer- Oblivion expands on this idea by looking at the circumstances of Picard's first meeting with Guinan while he was still captain of the Stargazer, which includes her reflecting that, when she was in the Nexus, she was reunited with Jevi, the daughter who was most like her and born after all her other children had moved out. Even over forty years after the Nexus, Guinan continued to grieve what she had lost in the Nexus until she was 'reunited' with Picard (having met his future self in "Time's Arrow"), his courage and commitment helping her realise there could still be joy in the real world.
  • The novelisation has Kirk preparing to jump for the bridge, maybe knowing he might die, and one of his last thoughts is wondering if Spock was still alive.
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