Star Trek: The Next Generation 4-Movie Collection
review by Bobby Blakey
There are few sci-fi franchises that have had the staying power and impact of Star Trek. The original short run series has spawned numerous films and TV series. Star Trek: The Next Generation kicked off the next wave of the franchise with a successful TV series that ran for 7 seasons. Much like the original series it eventually spun off into its own feature film franchise with four big screen adventures featuring Picard, Riker, Data, LaForge, Worf, Troi, and Dr. Crusher.
Over the years all of these films have been released in numerous forms and reviewed so I am going to go through a quick thought on each film and then more about the bonus features and overall look and feel of it all which is outstanding.
Star Trek: Generations follows the newly-christened U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-B boasts such luminaries as Pavel Chekov, Montgomery Scott, and the legendary Captain James T. Kirk as guests. But her maiden voyage turns into a disaster as the unprepared starship is forced to rescue two transport ships from a mysterious energy ribbon. The Enterprise manages to save a handful
of the ships' passengers and barely succeeds out intact, but at the cost of Captain Kirk's life. Seventy-eight years later, Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-D crew find themselves at odds with renegade scientist Dr. Tolian Soran, who is destroying entire star systems. Only one man can help Picard stop Soran's scheme, and he has been dead for seventy-eight years.
I was never a big fan of Next Generation, for no other reason than I just didn’t really get into the shows until Voyager. That being said I was still excited to see them make the transition to the big screen and really dug what they did with this flick. For various reasons it sadly didn’t include all the original cast, but did serve a great purpose of passing the torch while offering up a good story. There are some elements that still felt like it was just part of the show as opposed to a big budget feature, but it works great. Getting to see Picard and Kirk sharing the screen is worth the film alone, but they all bring their A game to create a worthy start to their big screen adventures.
Star Trek: First Contact follows the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-E that has been ordered to patrol the Romulan Neutral Zone by the Federation to avoid interference with their battle against the insidious Borg. Witnessing the loss of the battle, Captain Jean-Luc Picard ignores orders and takes command of the fleet engaging the Borg. But the Borg plan to travel back into the twenty-first century through a vortex with the intention to stop Earth's first contact with an alien race (the Vulcans). Following the Borg sphere, Picard and his crew realize that they have taken over the Enterprise in order to carry out their mission. Their only chance to do away with the Borg and their seductive Queen is to make sure that Zefram Cochrane makes his famous faster-than-light travel to the stars.
I actually dig all the films in the Next Generation time on the big screen, but First Contact is easily my favorite. It is the first film to really let them cut loose as the new stars of the franchise, but also feels like a bigger budget film complete with uniform upgrades and the Borg getting a facelift to bigger
threats. With all the new stuff they also bring the adventure and lore to the forefront taking us deeper into things we had only heard about in passing throughout the course of the franchise. It also connects directly to storylines form the TV series that further deepens its connection to the bigger universe.
Star Trek: Insurrection Lieutenant Commander Data suddenly behaves as if having to fear for his existence while on a mission to observe the peaceful Ba'ku race. The immortal Ba'ku, whose planet offers regenerative radiation, and therefore incredible lifespans, live in harmony with nature and reject advanced technology. Their planet and their culture is secretly researched by the Federation associated with an alien race called the Son'a. But the Son'a intend to abduct the Ba'ku in order to take the planet for themselves and for the Starfleet officials who all would like to regenerate their bodies. But they did not think of the loyalty of Captain Jean-Luc Picard and the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-E to the Prime Directive.
Of all the films in their run this might be my least favorite. It’s not that it isn’t a good time, but it feels like it plays more like just a long episode as opposed to a big screen feature. It will works and does some interesting stuff with the characters, but not overly compelling. The villains were only memorable in their visual appearance and not much else to me. That being said it still keeps to moving the characters forward as a whole instead of just a standalone film.
Seeing the shadier side of the Federation is a good touch to help it standout a bit, but still not anything overly memorable in their series of stories.
Star Trek: Nemesis the Enterprise crew who stumble upon a positronic signature which results in a prototype version of the android Data. Then the Enterprise is invited to Romulus to negotiate a peace treaty with the Romulans by their new leader, Praetor Shinzon. However, Shinzon is revealed to be a clone of Picard who was raised on Remus, a slave planet to the Romulans. Later on, Picard discovers that this peace treaty was nothing more than a set-up on account of the fact that Shinzon needs Picard in order to survive. But little do the Enterprise crew know that Shinzon also plans to do away with the Federation by unleashing a weapon that could destroy a whole planet.
This film gets a lot of flak and sadly didn’t do well at the box office and essentially killed the chance for more entries for this cast. I honestly don’t understand the hate as I dig this one. Sure it has issues here and there and while I love seeing a then unknown Tom Hardy in the role of the big bad it would have worked better with Stewart playing both roles. There is a lot more space action and fun action sequences that made it stand out for me and ditched too much of the long drawn out away missions. Plus the clever story
with Data allowed them to do some new things and make for a smart way to change up the character in the future.
In the end all four films are a mixed back much like the original cast series, but think they cut it too short too soon. Despite their ups and downs the 4K transfers are great and really bring more depth to some of them, especially the space sequences. In addition to the 4K versions of the film it also includes all the legacy bonus content and access to Digital copies of each film. The Collection is presented in a slipcase beautifully illustrated to complement the Star Trek Origianl 6-Movie Collection, making this a must-own set to complete every fan’s collection.
Boldly return to the Starship Enterprise and grab your copy of the Star Trek: The Next Generation 4-Film Collection on 4K available now as well as all 4 films separately on 4K from CBS and Paramount Home Entertainment.