So the baton is passed from one crew to another. After six big screen adventures the original set of Starfleet officers from the USS Enterprise have retired and another generation of explorers are set to take over the ongoing quest. The move, making sense in terms of the age of the original cast, was the obvious thing to do. It still was a little risky. Sure the Next Generation was a worldwide television hit but would its small screen success translate to the cinemas.
Aboard the new Enterprise -B, Kirk, Scotty and Chekov are the guests of honour for its maiden voyage. Primarily a public relations exercise to mark the retiral of Kirk it soon changes to something else entirely. The Enterprise receives a distress call from two ships caught in a ribbon of energy. The choices the Enterprise crew has to hand to enable a rescue operation are limited due to the fact that the ship is not yet finished. An impromptu plan is drawn up and is successful until it is discovered that the Enterprise sustained some damage in an area where Kirk was stationed. He is gone, presumed dead.
Seventy years on The Next Generation crew are at the helm of the Enterprise. Picard receives some disturbing news from home regarding his family. At the same time a space station in the area has come under attack. As they embark on a mission to find out what happened the crew rescue Soran, a professor who was a victim of the energy ribbon encountered by Kirk all those years before. He is desperate to return to the space station to carry out vital experiments. Unbeknown to Picard granting Sorans request will have consequences to the crew of the Enterprise, Picard, Kirk and the entire sector of space.
Splitting the screen time between the old and the new gives the viewer a natural transition. It was a master stroke in having the two captains able to work together through a means other than time travel (the usual standby). The contrast between the two leads is clear to see. Patrick Stewart is a classically trained actor who had a long and distinguished career prior to donning the captains uniform. On the other hand William Shatner has a unique acting style, often derided, never bettered.
The story itself is not one of the great Star Trek tales. It could have been done in half the time and it is plain to se that they had to tack on a couple of sub plots in order to pad it out. The story involving Data enabling his emotion chip could have been quite interesting. Unfortunately it quickly runs out of steam becoming increasingly annoying as the film progresses. This could be to do with the fact that I never liked Data as a character in the TV series. I always found his story lines to be rather dull.
The other sub plot involves the Enterprise crew struggling to fight against Sorans Klingon crew. The way this plays out is predicable in its conclusion and it comes as no surprise to see yet another Enterprise being destroyed. It would have been a surprise to see it survive a film for a change.
Overall a slightly disapointing entry in the series. Barely recommended.