The curse of the odd numbered Star Trek films strikes again with this seventh cinematic mission materialising far short of the mark. This is a disappointment since it is an arena is which the torch of the world’s favourite sci-fi saga is handed from the classic Star Trek crew to the Next Generation.
Erstwhile Enterprise Captain James T. Kirk has an unfortunate encouter with a vocarious, planet-munching nexus – whatever that is – and disappears with a bang into a time-warp. Seventy-eight years late the Next Generation’s crew, led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard are going boldly aboard the 24th Century’s Enterprise model “D” when the nasty nexus reappears, to the evident and worrying delight of a mysterious mad scientist.
What is he up to? Well, nothing terribly comprehensible in a poorly paced screenplay that mistakes techno-babble for narrative, and is peppered with sporadic bouts of flashy action and lowbrow, cutesy humour that betrays the sophistication the Next Generation frequently attained in its seven TV years.
Stewart is the most accomplished actor from either series, but even this former RSC thesp is crippled by a script that has his well-established character behaving embarassingly atypically and pairs him with Kirk in a loop in the space time-continium where Shatner is ludicrously indulged with unseemly action man stunts.
Buffs of the original team will be disheartened by the absence of Spock while Next Generation fans will deplore how little their faves are given to do. Meanwhile, the uninitiated will be mystified by the many in-jokes and working out just who the hell all these sketchy subordinates are (such as Whoopi Goldberg’s Guinan), since, as saving civilization adventures go, this is shockingly low on sense or thrills. Mericfully, there are occasionally some sensational special effects.