Sunday, March 18, 2012

Star Trek: Generations A Mediocre Card Release For A Mediocre Movie.

The Good: Easy to collect, Good images
The Bad: Poor collectible value, Nothing superlative on the chase card front.
The Basics: Despite having decent images and a consistent layout, Star Trek: Generations trading cards only carry value when purchased as a set.

I remember when Star Trek: Generations (reviewed here!) came out in the movie theaters. It was only the second Star Trek film I was old enough to go on my own to see immediately when it was released and it was the first I made it to the opening-day showing for. I was dating a quilter at the time and her school's production of Quilters opened the same night as Star Trek: Generations so I went from a film I was ambivalent about to watching a play I was more or less bored by. What got me into the bad place with my friend was that I commented more on the movie than on the play. I wonder what the statute of limitations is on apologizing for being a jerk to an ex is . . .

Anyway, now I have a box full of photographs to remember her. For Star Trek: Generations, I have the DVD and the trading card set to remember that by. Hmm . . . well, the trading card set is no comparison . . .

Basics/Set Composition

The Star Trek: Generations trading card set is a ninety-one card trading card set, with almost all of the common and chase cards presented in the oversized "widevision" format to accommodate the full image that was presented on the movie screen. This means that when assembled in a binder using standard movie card-sized card sheets, the pages are six cards per page. Star Trek: Generations cards focus on the first cinematic endeavor of the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast and crew and the cards have full bleed (one big image) pictures on the front, text on the back and are all oriented in the landscape format (with three minor exceptions).

Star Trek: Generations trading cards were available originally in eight card packs with thirty-six packs of cards per box. Given that there were very few bonus cards, most packs only had the common cards, though there were a number of cards that were not available in the boxes. The ninety-one card set is comprised of seventy-two common cards and nineteen bonus cards - nine from the packs, ten which were available outside the boxes of cards only!

Common Cards

The seventy-two card common set is a rather standard trading card release for a film. Star Trek: Generations was largely about passing the torch from one Star Trek generation to the next and the card set attempt to capitalize on that by including a large number of images from the first fifteen minutes of the film, including the alternate opening to Star Trek: Generations that features Kirk skydiving!

The seventy-two card set is made up of fifty-six plot cards detailing the events of Star Trek: Generations, fourteen character cards exploring the significant characters of the film and two checklist cards. The character cards are an interesting mix of images of the crewmembers in their standard StarFleet uniforms and in their 18th Century Naval dress from the holodeck sequence that opens their portion of the movie. The only truly disappointing aspect to the character cards is that the same image is used on the front and back (on the back it is smaller and the background has been eliminated to highlight the person featured, but it's the same image . . .). Conversely, many of the plot cards have different images on the front than on the back, which increases the value of this set as it allows more uncommon images from the film to be presented.

The writing on the backs of the cards is good and tells the story of Star Trek: Generations accurately and with a flair that will keep those reading the movie (as opposed to seeing it) engaged. It is a nice, generally inexpensive and remarkably average trading card set. For those looking for just the common card set, a box yields about three, which has kept the price of this set of cards to a fair $5 - $10.

Chase Cards

There are nineteen bonus cards in the Star Trek: Generations set and largely they are unexciting. Nine of those cards are available in the boxes of trading cards and the average box yields most of the bonus cards! Bonus cards, for those not hip to the lingo, are cards that are (usually) outside the standard numbering system and have something special about them (foil, holographic images, autographs, costume pieces, etc.). They are more rare than the common cards and they are sought after by collectors.

The Star Trek: Generations set has bonus cards in the packs which include the Cinema Collection advertisement card (not technically a chase card, but part of the set for all serious collectors) and a survey card (ditto), three villains cards, three captain's cards and a SkyMotion redemption card. The Villains cards are foil reprints of cards from the common set that feature the adversaries of "Star Trek: Generations:" the Duras Sisters and Dr. Tolian Soran. The foil cards are very lightly etched and include a black border on the side that the common cards lack. These foil cards are mildly interesting and a box of the trading card tends to have all three. The market has pretty well settled on $5.00 per card for these cards.

The Captain's cards are straightforward Spectra etched foil recreations of three of the cards featuring Kirk, Picard and one of the pair together. These are nice and there are only one to two of them per box, which tends to keep their price inflated. These are a nice tribute to the captains, but at the end of the day, they are simply foil reprint cards and only a real collector is bound to get too excited by them.

Similarly, the SkyMotion redemption card is one that only a true completist will be thrilled by. One per five or six boxes, a redemption card was inserted. That card could be redeemed for the SkyMotion card from SkyBox. On its own, it is an expired card (SkyBox has long since stopped redeeming them) with a place to put one's address to get the SkyMotion card back. Because most of these were redeemed for the actual SkyMotion cards, redemption cards still have some value in the set and are coveted by collectors still.

Non-Box/Pack Cards

All of the best cards in this set, though, were not available in the boxes of trading cards. And there are ten cards for collectors to hunt down, the most obvious of which is the SkyMotion card. The SkyMotion card is a thicker plastic card that is translucent and allows collectors to have an image of the Enterprise that moves. The Enterprise-D flies into the Generations Delta logo with about thirty frames of movement! This was a novelty at the time and it is still something of a thrill today, even though lenticular (motion) cards are more common now.

In addition to the standard trading card-sized motion card (one of the three cards in a portrait orientation), Fleer/SkyBox released an oversized motion card. Identical to the standard Skymotion card, the oversized one is the identical image only twice as large. It is little clearer. This was available to be purchased directly through SkyBox as part of the promotion with the factory-released binder.

As well, there is a prototype card which seems to be one of the harder ones to find. It features Worf on the deck of the 18th Century naval vessel and it is a nice enough card.

The two grails of this set, though, are cards many collectors did not even know existed! First, there was a set of six behind-the-scenes Star Trek: Generations cards. These cards were only available to those who purchased all six of the Cinema Collection sets directly from SkyBox. The six cards have candid, on-set shots of people and props and because so few people took advantage of SkyBox's overpriced Cinema Collection offer, these cards are almost impossible to come by.

Equally as difficult to find is the Mastercard exclusive #0 card. "Limited" to 10,000 cards, this seems like it would be simple to track down, save for all the hoops one had to go through to get it and the very low quantity of people who both went through the hoops or knew what they had gotten. The #0 promo required people to sign up for the Star Trek Mastercard, make a purchase and when one paid their first bill, they were sent the exclusive promotional card. Well, most people simply chucked the card when it arrived with their next bill. As a result, remarkably few of these cards are circulating and, like the behind-the-scenes set of six, it is virtually impossible to find this card, much less pick it up for less than $100. The card itself features the theatrical release poster image for Star Trek: Generations.


This is a rather average set and by the box, it is hard to get excited about it. Indeed, with all of the best cards available outside the box, the only way to get this and have it be of value to collectors is by buying the master set. This might seem disproportionately expensive compared to the box price, but it gets collectors all of the goodies that the box will not yield. Of course, for those looking for simple and inexpensive, the boxes of "Generations" cards might satisfy. As a "bells and whistles" type person, I'd go for the full set from a dealer and avoid the boxes.

There are no surprises in the boxes and it is hard to get excited about them.

This set culls images exclusively from Star Trek: Generations (link above).

For other trading card collections based upon the Star Trek films, please check out my reviews of:
Star Trek: The Motion Picture Topps card Set
Star Trek Master Series
Star Trek 1994 Edition Master Series
Star Trek: First Contact
Star Trek Cinema Collection
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Cinema Collection
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Cinema Collection
Star Trek: Insurrection
Star Trek Cinema 2000
Star Trek Movies In Motion
Star Trek (2009 movie) cards


For other trading card reviews, please visit my index page on the subject by clicking here!

© 2012, 2008 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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