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The needs of the few...

  • Aug 26, 2010

The Star Trek movie franchise continues in good hands with Insurrection, the ninth installment (third with the Next Generation cast) in the series. In its long history, Star Trek has given us a quest for God, encounters with gods, death and reincarnation, secrets of the soul and the revitalization of an extinct species. Now, it offers a literal Fountain of Youth -- an entire world where people grow younger, stronger and, apparently, friskier.

The film has its bucolic beginning on a non-industrial planet, where invisible Star Fleet and Son'a personnel are in the midst of a secret survey mission. Data (Brent Spiner), on loan from Enterprise, disrupts their cover in a violent act of seeming madness. Meanwhile, the Enterprise crew is in the midst of a series of diplomatic and other mundane missions -- dull stuff compared to their old save-the-galaxy exploits. "Remember when we were explorers?" Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) asks plaintively before yet another formal reception. Meanwhile, Worf (Michael Dorn), still on assignment with Deep Space 9, makes a coincidental visit to his old shipmates, just in time to receive the message that Data's gone wacko.

They embark to the homeworld of the Ba'ku in the "briar patch," a region of spatial distortions. There, Picard and crew uncover a joint Star Fleet/Son'a plot to steal the planet from its 600 inhabitants in order to gain the secrets of their longevity. And, claiming that the good of the few outweighs the good of the many, they defend the planet from assault in a series of space and land battles.

In Insurrection, the once-rigid Picard continues his long-overdue evolution, going off on dangerous away missions, disobeying orders, dancing a mambo in his quarters and singing Gilbert & Sullivan in combat. How refreshing! He even gains a new love interest, the fetching Ba'ku sage Anij (Donna Murphy).

Another bright patch: the romance between Cmdr. Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), so thoroughly deconstructed during the final season of the TV series, is back on track -- all the way to the bathtub, where an unfortunate side effect is the loss of Riker's beard.

Insurrection introduces us to the Ba'ku, the long-lived, time-wisened race at risk, and the Son'a, the new alien villains suffering rapid degeneration and needing frequent skin-stretching and other cosmetic reconstructions. Their leader, Ad'har Ru'afo (F. Murray Abraham), is thoroughly despicable and he screams real good. Star Fleet's Admiral Dougherty (Anthony Zerbe) is a fairly two-dimensional role, although he is called upon to stretch his character somewhat by the end.

There are even a few handy new additions to the Enterprise accessory list, such as a snap-on captain's yacht and a bridge-level joystick for emergency control situations. It's also fun to watch the Enterprise crew enjoy the benefits of the planet's power, although those benefits are rather unequally distributed; Troi and Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) gain firmer bustlines, while Worf re-enters puberty and gets Klingon-sized pimples. Blind engineer Geordie LaForge (LeVar Burton) regains his sight, and his first sunrise is a particularly good movie moment.

As I write this, the 10th Star Trek film is in pre-production. I have no idea of the next storyline or how long the current crew will continue the series, but I certainly hope they can maintain the excellent standards they've set so far.

By Tom Knapp, the Rambles.NET guy

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August 27, 2010
Even though this was nice and light hearted compared to what Trek had on TV at the time which was darker and grimmer, this movie to me has more of those big ol' plotholes and thankfully none of the time traveling variety. Even a bad Trek movie I can sit through.
More Star Trek: Insurrection reviews
Quick Tip by . May 16, 2010
The Enterprise fights for an alien species against the Federation and a shifty alien race that wants the planet. Real lapses in logic.
review by . October 02, 2009
Insurrection box art
Star Trek Insurrection's downfall was that it felt more like any ordinary episode of The Next Generation and after seven years, I think fans wanted something fresh and new, which, unfortunately, Insurrection didn't offer.  While the movie was geared more as a family film, it still lacked what you would expect from a full feature.  The most exciting parts of Insurrection were those that took place away from the main plot, mainly those that took place aboard the Enterprise-E, while being …
Quick Tip by . November 20, 2009
Trek film has the Enterprise fighting for a Shangri-La like planet from a dying race. Full of plot holes and lapses in thought but fun.
review by . June 21, 2009
Picard and Crusher fight back for the planet
Star Trek movies have always been entertaining whether they are good (Wrath of Khan, Undiscovered Country) or bad (Generations, The Final Frontier) but all of them at least had a story that you only needed a grain of salt or three to accept.  Insurrection needs the whole salt shaker.      Captain Picard of the Enterprise has picked up a distress call from way out in the hinterlands of space where a Federation special forces team of sorts is watching an alien civilization …
review by . March 09, 2008
Pros: Very nice special effects.     Cons: Not interesting enough; nothing new under the sun.     The Bottom Line: This one is best viewed on a cold Saturday afternoon with nothing better to do.     Plot Details: This opinion reveals minor details about the movie''s plot. The Star Trek franchise has been alive for over forty years now and in the later part of the 㣾’s it seemed to be in full swing. Although Star Trek The Next Generation …
About the reviewer
Tom Knapp ()
Ranked #283
I founded the online review site, Rambles.NET, in 1999 and continue to operate the site with more than 200 contributors and more than 14,000 reviews in our permanent online archives. A fraction of my … more
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