Star Trek Insurrection
A Movie Review
This is a review I did shortly after the film Star Trek Insurrection (1998) came out. As you will read I was less than impressed.
Recently I saw Star Trek Insurrection and being a hard core Trekker I have a very high tolerance for Trek no matter how bad it is. Now I am not saying that this is a bad film. My point is that I think the franchise should seriously think of a complete revision of what they are doing. The whole thing is becoming completely formula.
The plot copies STTNG’s, Who Watches the Watchers, just a tad too much. That whole silly scene about Riker’s beard just doesn’t work. Picard’s love interest is a Hollywood BABE. Why can’t the love interest be someone nearer his own age? In effect the plot feels like and looks like a TV episode. It seems like the creativity juices are running out and the Hollywood cookie cutters want more of the same. The special effects are minimal and not terribly spectacular, and a plot which also copies ST’s, The Omega Glory, does not make up for it.
What I liked about the film was the setting. Northern California is certainly beautiful and worked very well as the setting. I enjoyed NOT being bothered by Data’s emotion chip. I consider that to be one of Trek’s greatest mistakes; an emotional Data is really nauseating! Patrick Stewart, as always, is in excellent form and there are a couple of scenes where he does shine. The plot did have its moments where they worked hard on establishing the believability of these peoples immortality.
There is a lot more I could say about the movie but for now I will go into why I feel a rethink is necessary. Unlike a James Bond film, which can repeat the same basic plot over and over again, Star Trek can’t do that without looking creaky and absurd. I had hoped with the death of Kirk in Star Trek, Generations that new creative possibilities would emerge. Instead Star Trek is feeding off itself, regurgitating the same plot elements over and over again. Fans do have their limits and I am getting close to mine.
So by all means see Star Trek, Insurrection, which did not give me indigestion, but pray they have a long and creative hiatus before a next Star Trek film comes out.
After I wrote the above review in 1998 they waited 4 years to do a new Trek movie. That movie was Star Trek Nemesis. Sadly despite an attempt to be different the movie was a mess and simply bad. Obviously the four year delay did them no good has they quite completely failed to have a real rethink of the whole idea of Star Trek. It killed the idea of anymore STTNG Trek films and came close to killing the idea of anymore Trek films period. In fact the resurrection of the franchise with the 2009 film Star Trek was well neigh miraculous and a total surprise. It appears that only after the failure of Star Trek Nemesis did the rethink actually happen. piety it wasn’t earlier.
That Star Trek is still a well established pop cultural phenomena is due to the 2009 Star Trek film which finally broke the mold after the determined efforts as indicated by Insurrection and Nemesis to kill Star Trek.