A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that a major Starfleet hero dies in in Star Trek: Generations, and adult fans have been known to be driven to tears by the scene (spoiler: in subsequent Star Trek novelizations he's brought back to life, for about the 100th time). There are ray-gun space battles, explosions, and ship crashes. The computerized Mr. Data utters a PG swear word in his struggle with simulated emotions and tries alcohol.
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What's the story?
STAR TREK: GENERATIONS came to theaters as a bridge between the Star Trek movies starring the classic TV cast and a set of new movie blockbusters continuing with the (younger) Next Generation cast. In the 23rd century, the retired Capt. James T. Kirk (William Shatner) is a guest at the ceremonial first voyage of a new starship Enterprise when a dangerous deep-space energy field shears off part of the hull, taking Kirk with it. Seven decades later the crew of a later Enterprise encounters an alien mad scientist (Malcolm McDowell) conspiring with renegade Klingons and blowing up whole star systems in a personal mission to conjure up that same energy field, which serves as a gateway to a timeless, dream-state of existence where wishes and yearnings can come true. Consequently, stalwart 24th-century Enterprise Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) comes face to face with the legendary, long-lost Kirk.
Is it any good?
If you're Trek-illiterate, you'll be lost here, but if you're a follower, you'll be delighted with the dense Treklore and references to TV-episode minutiae. Trying to imagine a movie/TV nut without no Star Trek knowledge is so improbable it borders on sheer science fiction, but only the most devoted fans will be able to pick up all of the references in Star Trek: Generations (two Klingon sisters as recurring villains, holodecks, Picard's brother, etc.).
Yes, the plotline doesn't bear close scrutiny -- it's mainly a gimmicky time-warp deal to bring series icon William Shatner on board for a fond farewell. But that's a minor complaint thanks to the good pacing, splendid special effects, and most of all the way the script cleverly applies generations of backstory and character-development to play with viewer expectations like a flute. It's clever and fun for devotees, young and old, who have invested in this saga so far.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the appeal of Star Trek in its various spin-offs and incarnations. Why are these stories so popular and why do they still resonate with fans today?
What are the similarities and differences in the personalities of James T. Kirk, a maverick who often went around the rules of Starfleet, and Jean-Luc Picard, an authoritarian stickler for regulations and decorum? Is one method better than the other?
Which things in the Star Trek universe are possible and which are purely science fiction?
Mr. Data struggles with simulated emotions. What can we, as humans, do when we struggle with emotions?
- In theaters: November 18, 1994
- On DVD or streaming: September 28, 2004
- Cast: Jonathan Frakes, Whoopi Goldberg, William Shatner
- Director: David Carson
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Space and Aliens
- Run time: 118 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: sci-fi action and some mild violence.
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.