The whole movie had a "last gasp" feel about it. Examples:
1) Well, the Klingons are in the federation now, and the Borg are crippled....Romulans!
2) Okay, so they're a massive military power that has, thus far, had the ability to decimate a great area of Federation space due to their superior firepower and governmental organization. That much is clear. So how do we...wait! Clone of Picard
rebels, and destroys the entire Romulan senate at once!
3) Need a new threat. Radiation!
Gadzooks! That always works!
3.5) Lacking any new technology, insert new gadget. Hell, we're out of ideas, let's just give 'em a sand rail and let Picard drive around for a while. Oooh, and a personal transporter!
4) We need a martyr. Can't be Frakes, he's like, important and stuff. Kill Data. Everyone loves Data - that'll be poignant.
Was it a good movie? Well, when held against ST:2-4, no. It was crap. Complete crap. Character development was nil. They rehashed the same lines we'd come to know and love from years of watching TNG (The Data trying to better himself thread was MORE than established in his ongoing struggles against Lore), tossed in Romulans as the only remaining enemy that didn't encroach in existing franchises (DS9, leaving the possibility of another movie there), and did the best they could. And their best was, at best, contrived. And at least with the original series we eventually saw Sulu promoted to Captain and assigned to the Excelsior (which he admitted to wanting at the end of 4). How interesting would it have been to see Data work his way through the ranks, gain command of a star ship, and head out to explore the universe? Hell, you could even work in Vger (minus, or maybe even plus hot bald chick) and how Data responds to it (her).
I think the argument here is one of, pardoning movie title references, generations. I grew up with the original Star Trek. And while ST:V
was crap, the other movies continued to develop the characters/relationships that had been established by the original series. As a fan, I watched TNG, and enjoyed the hell out of it. But by the time that Return to Farpoint
was done with, it felt like the series was pretty much done. The characters were complete. After the end....
hold on...pause for a really damn good Rage Against The Machine track.
Right - on we go. After the end of TNG, everything was pretty much wrapped up. The writers of the original series movies made a few smart moves (promoting Kirk to admiral, moving Spock back to Vulcan to perfect himself) that left openings. None of this was done with the TNG movies. They had two outs. Guinan (who they pretty much used up with Generations
), and Picard's (Locutus) connection with the Borg. First Contact
showed a little bit of creative thought (relying on the ST:IV
formula), but outside of that, the TNG movies were pandering efforts at making a buck with little character development.
But that's just my $.02USD. Honestly, I'd thought I'd catch more crap for owning multiple copies of a Shatner album.