There really is nothing quite like a good Trek.
Collected together for re-release, Star Trek: The Next Generation 4-Movie Collection features the stories that (almost) helped redefine science fiction on the big screen. Spanning almost 10 years in theatres Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) and Star Trek: Nemesis(2002) were meant to revive the Trek franchise and keep it relevant as the world marched into the next millennium. Now, newly remastered in 4K, the series is back for the next generation to enjoy in the comfort of their home.
Admittedly, the Next Generation films have truly never looked better. Although the final film, Nemesis, was released over 20 years ago, the new transfer truly makes them feel fresh. There is a crispness of the visuals that revives each piece in superior fashion. These sorts of reissues are painstakingly difficult processes but Paramount has done their best to ensure that each film sparkles on the home screen.
In terms of extras, the films also do their best to meet the high standards of Trek fans. With multiple featurettes and hours of content, they offer suitable background information to the Trek universe. However, the most standout features come from multiple commentaries on each disc, offering different perspectives and deep dives of information that should satisfy the most hardcore of fans.
Having said this, although the films themselves have never looked better, no amount of rendering can cover over their various flaws. Although time has been kinder to the four Next Generation films strange storytelling decisions and poor character arcs still plague several of these adventures and serve as a reminder why it was not long before it was rebooted into the Chris Pine era. Insurrections still feels somewhat goofy, even if it feels the truest to the series and Nemesis still feels like a misfire. However, other entries fare better with the lens of time. With its merging of crews and love of nostalgia, Generations has aged better than expected. There’s a certain sense of joy seeing Picard and Kirk share the screen together, even if the story doesn’t always work. What’s more, as the darkest (and most accessible entry), First Contact continues to shine the brightest. There’s a focus within that film that still feels like one of the best of the entire series—and the reconstruction truly brings it to life with new clarity.
By revisiting these entries, the heart of Trek still beats loudly. Whereas the other beloved sci-fi space opera that takes place in a Galaxy Far, Far Away has always been about family and justice, the true joy of Trek lies in its unshakeable belief in hope for mankind. Although the Trek series has danced with God before (sigh… in the misguided fifth film), Next Generation has always put its faith in science wherever possible. This is a series about progressing and ‘bettering ourselves’, as Picard reminds us in Contact. Star Trek has always acknowledged the brokenness of humanity. But, it also argues that, through the quest for knowledge, we have the opportunity to evolve and change. This sense of growth shines through in these films, ranging from the emotional changes in Insurrections to Data’s desire to experience emotion in Generations. In Trek, it’s a cold world but knowledge brings truth.
Rather than focus on revolution, this series fights for evolution.
In this way, growth becomes a form of grace. Humanity’s desire to heal brings a certain sense of hope to it. This sense of optimism has always brought light to the Trek world and, even with their flaws, shines through in this series. Although the visuals of the re-issue are stunning, it’s always been the joy embedded within this series that seems to keep it relevant, even after all this time. Between that positivity and it’s stunning remastering, these rereleases are more than worth the Trek to the store for purchase.
Star Trek: The Next Generation 4-Movie Collection is available on 4K on Tuesday, April 4th, 2023.