Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) – Review

3 Stars


Star Trek: Insurrection is the closet, in spirit, to the television series since the first film. Much lighter in tone than the previous two entries that had a darker, harsh angle. As I watched the film, I began to wonder if after the dealings with the death of Capt. Kirk in Generations , and the Borg debacle of First Contact, the producers made a conscious decision to make a more low-key effort. The lack of an iconic menacing villain species is not missed here, instead we are treated to the most though provoking Star Trek adventure since The Voyage Home. The story poses to us a fantastic moral dilemma, are the lives of 600 people as important as the survival of six million?

Those 600 people occupy a planet that contains the healing and regenerative powers to help billions of ailing people throughout the federation. Life spans will be doubled and an entirely new medical science will be developed. The crux is that the non-indigenous population must be relocated to a different planet. The best of the series have always posed interesting allegories and this installment is in keeping with that heritage. However, no Star Trek film can escape the thinking that all the characters are trotted out to do their bit. For instance the romance between Riker (director,Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna has become uninvolved and perfunctory. The only characters that are fresh and vibrant is the enemy race of So’na, led by Ru’afo (F. Murray Abraham), a man with skin pulled so tight that he tears and bleeds through it when he gets angered. Nice touch

Insurrection is one of the most imaginative and handsomely designed productions in the entire series. Hard core SCI- Fi fans will appreciate the philosophic musings of the breezily paced entry. It also contains Patrick Stewart’s best performance as Capt. Picard. After a decade of playing the character, he stills finds subtle nuances to bring to an (as written) stale role. He is notably aided by an above average screenplay that gives him ample dramatic scenes with a few moments of humor and nobility mixed in. Those looking for the Star Wars-esque CGI spectacle of First Contact may be disappointed.

Director: Jonathan Frakes
Stars: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, F. Murray Abraham

One thought on “Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) – Review

  1. I never much cared for the Next Generation movies as I think, for the most part, they play like television episodes rather than full scale motion pictures. I don’t think the producers ever managed to make the leap from the small screen to the large screen. Insurrection, more than any other film, played like a bloated television episode.

    This is my least favorite film of the series. I thought the film lacked an interesting villain and the conflict didn’t warrant a movie production. In fact, the plot was so forgettable, I had to refresh my memory by reading a plot summary online. I still don’t remember the entire film and I’m tempted to watch it again to see if my opinion about the film has changed. Although I don’t know if I want to do that to myself.

    I will concede, however, Insurrection did make an attempt to incorporate a moral dilemma in the storyline rather than just make this a shoot ’em up picture. Morality tales and character development are plot points that Star Trek has touched on throughout its existence lifting it above most science fiction endeavors. Unfortunately, the Next Generation films never achieved the success hoped for.

    Interestingly, I think the best film of the series was First Contact as the Borg and Borg Queen made a great villain. This film did have its flaws, no doubt, but it played better than the others.

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