For the days leading up to Christmas, Strangers and Aliens presents 24 Christmas movies that aren’t Christmas movies, but really kind of are, for various reasons.
What it’s supposed to be: The first Star Trek movie with no number in the title, Generations was intended to be the passing of the torch from the original series cast to the Next Generation cast on the big screen, and also show us the dramatic death of Captain Kirk!
Why it’s a Christmas movie: In the middle of the movie, Captain Picard goes into a strange space rift called the Nexus, in which all your dreams come true. Of course, Captain Picard’s dream is of the family he never had, showed in idealized form as a Dickensian Christmas complete with children and presents and food and a tree and everything.
Thoughts: First thing’s first: this movie has a LOT of problems. Like Captain Kirk’s death. It’s weaksauce, man. We always expected Kirk to die on the bridge, not to die because a bridge fell on him!
But other elements do work. Kirk and Picard’s meeting in the Nexus, where we see both of their ideas of idealized living, is charming and warm and insightful. Seeing the Next Generation cast on the big screen was fun, and they still feel like family. We get to see a previously unseen Enterprise. Theoretically, this would be a lot of fun for Trekkies.
If only Kirk had a chance for a better death. Sadly, they already told the story that would have been the best end for Captain Kirk in a Next Generation episode, “Yesterday’s Enterprise.” What they did in this movie was to try to not do what was expected and also give fans satisfaction. Give them points for trying, for sure.
The biggest theme in this movie is one of family. And home. Picard loses family and loses his home in the movie, and the experience of loss is deeply felt (especially as performed by Patrick Stewart).
Using Christmas, a time for family, and using the visuals of a classic Christmas underline the loss of family Picard experienced, but also underlines the family life Picard never had because he never married and never had children. The scene is, again, warm and meaningful (and, sadly, overshadowed by Kirk’s death when people look back on the film). Because of the meanings we give to Christmas and the holiday season, so much can be said in just a few visuals.
Of course, the good captain is having a VERY British vision of Christmas, considering he’s French.
But the Nexus isn’t real, and the people aren’t real and Picard has a planet to save. Kirk’s Nexus fantasy isn’t real either, and people need saving.
Is It Naughty or Nice? Is this movie worth watching?
Yes. I know it gets the hackles up for some Trekkers, but it is not a bad sci-fi exploration of finding meaning and belonging.
There’s obviously much more to the movie than this Christmas element, but for me it’s nice to have a Christmas Trek movie. (Just like it’s nice to have a Christmas Bond movie. (That’s coming!)
Santa Ben’s Verdict: Nice.
Your verdict? Let me know below in the comments!
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