Star Trek: Generations

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Details At A Glance

Category Science Fiction None
Year Released 1994
Running Time 113:04 minutes
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (63:30)
Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Selection then Programme
Region 4 Director David Carson

Starring Patrick Stewart
Jonathan Frakes
Brent Spiner
Levar Burton
Michael Dorn
Gates McFadden
Marina Sirtis
Malcolm McDowell
James Doohan
Walter Koenig
William Shatner
RPI $39.95 Music Dennis McCarthy

Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448Kb/s)
French (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448Kb/s)
Italian (Dolby Digital 5.1, 448Kb/s)
Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0 , 192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
Macrovision ? Smoking No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Annoying Product Placement Placement: Yes
Annoying: No
(it's good to see that champagne is still around in the 23rd Century)
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Star Trek: Generations is a movie that once-and-for-all closed the book on the original Star Trek crew, with the reins being handed over to the Next Generation crew in no uncertain terms. As a "hand-over ceremony", if you will, it works reasonably well. As a stand-alone movie, it tends to drag just a little, and could have done with around 15 minutes of tightening around the edges. It is not helped by a script that tended to see random events happen for no good reason other than to advance to the next set piece and uses excessive Star Trek-speak.

    Question without notice for the Star Trek ship designers - you KNOW your starships will be flung around violently when they are under attack, so why don't you build in seats with seatbelts? It sure would save all of those actors and stuntmen diving around your bridge set looking silly, which they do to excess in this movie.

    The movie opens with the launch of the Enterprise-B; James T. Kirk (William Shatner), Montgomery Scott (James Doohan) and Pavel Chekov (Walter Koenig) on board as guests of honour. The ship isn't quite complete (no sick bay, no photon torpedoes - they'll be installed "next Tuesday"), but that won't stop the media circus seeing off the federation's flagship.

    Let's see if you can figure out what will happen next; incomplete Enterprise-B, three legacy crew-members on board, out on a test mission. It doesn't take a rocket scientist to realize that; a. an emergency will arise, b. no other starship will be within cooee, and c. the missing items of equipment will be essential to the completion of the mission, unless our feisty heroes can find a work-around.

    In this case, the emergency takes the form of two ships caught in an energy ribbon known as the Nexus. The Enterprise assists, but in the process a large hole is blown in the side of the ship. In a sequence that almost had me crying out "Noooooo, not this way, not so soon" at the theatre when I saw this for the first time, it is revealed that James T. Kirk was in the area now occupied by void.

    Fast-forward 78 years, and the Next Generation crew is enjoying some well-earned R&R when a distress call sees them head for Amargosa. The observatory there has been attacked, with very few survivors, other than an El Aurian physicist named Sorin (Malcolm McDowell)...

Transfer Quality


    In a word, this is a gorgeous transfer. Two trivial problems deny it reference quality status, but it is certainly the best-looking Star Trek DVD that I have seen to date.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is brilliantly sharp, with a multitude of super-fine detail on offer in this transfer. Shadow detail is generally good, but this is dependant on the cinematography to a certain extent. This is certainly one of the more stylishly photographed Star Treks, with lots of use of unusual shadows and unusual colours for dramatic effect. The bottom line with the shadow detail is that if you were meant to see it, you will. If something was meant to be hidden, it will be. There is, of course, no low level noise to mar the blacks. There is perhaps some very minor edge enhancement. Occasionally, I saw black outlines around the actors, but these could well have been matte lines, not edge enhancement.

    The colours are gloriously rendered according to the cinematographer's intent, with the Enterprise and her crew gorgeously vibrant in colouration. Picard is often lit with yellow lighting to reflect his mood which gives his skin an odd colouration at times, but this is clearly a cinematographic choice and indeed fits very well with the movie's plot. Colour bleed? Nup, not a scrap of it. This is a seriously good-looking transfer in the colour department.

    MPEG artefacts are absent. There are a few instances of minor aliasing, with the worst being shown on the Enterprise-B whilst she is exiting dry dock for the first time between 6:14 and 6:30. This section also shows a moiré effect. As with the other Star Treks that I have reviewed to date, there is far less aliasing in this transfer than I would have expected given the clarity and sharpness of the image and the nature of the sets being photographed. Well done to the technical crew for a superb film-to-disc transfer.

    There are a few minor film artefacts here and there, more than on previous Trek DVDs, but certainly not at any distracting level. There is also some minor grain in shots of the sky towards the end of the movie and at 93:45.

    This DVD is RSDL formatted, with the layer change occurring at 63:30. It is a tad jarring, but not overly so.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    This is a superb, reference quality soundtrack.

    There are four audio tracks on this DVD; English, French and Italian in Dolby Digital 5.1 at the higher bitrate of 448Kb/s and Spanish in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround encoded. I listened only to the English soundtrack.

    Dialogue is wonderfully clear and easy to understand, even at times of high ambient noise. There was a singular flaw in the dialogue track, at 20:24 where there is some minor distortion as Commander Riker says "Sorry" to Worf. There were no audio sync problems noted.

    The music is by Dennis McCarthy, and whilst true to the Star Trek themes of the past, was relatively unremarkable. It was certainly suited to the on-screen action, but tended to force the emotional tone of a scene rather than complement it.

    The surround channels were highly active for most of this movie. Occasionally, they appropriately collapsed into mono for some dialogue sequences, but as a rule they had something to contribute to almost every scene. Action sequences were marvellously enveloping, with phaser shots, explosions and general mayhem aggressively spread throughout the entire 360 degree soundfield. Music, too, was mixed into the rears to enhance the envelopment of various scenes. Subtle ambience was also frequently present in the rear surrounds, further enhancing the immersiveness of this soundtrack.

    The subwoofer is magnificently integrated into this soundtrack. Loud and uproarious when required, it not once called attention to itself, being superbly integrated into the overall sound mix at all times. This is a superb example of how to utilize the subwoofer channel to good effect - underscoring the on-screen action without ever becoming overbearing.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    There are no extras on this DVD.


    Extremely basic. 16x9 enhanced.

R4 vs R1

    The R1 version misses out on;     The R4 version misses out on;     No contest. The R4 is the version of choice.


    Star Trek: Generations is entertaining, albeit slightly over-long, and a fitting way for the baton to be handed from the old to the new. The video and audio transfers are magnificent. I know that many of you will bemoan the lack of extras (there is room on the disc - the movie takes up 6Gb of the available 9Gb), but frankly, give me an immaculate video and audio transfer any day over extras.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Michael Demtschyna (read my bio)
18th May 2001

Review Equipment
DVD Denon DVD-3300, using RGB output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the RGB input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Denon AVD-1000 DTS AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials and the NTSC DVD version of The Ultimate DVD Demo Disc.
Amplification EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifier for Left & Right Front; Marantz MA6100 125W per channel monoblock amplifiers for Left & Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO Subwoofer