Prime Directive has always been clear about avoiding interference
with the development of other civilisations. So Captain Jean-Luc
Picard feels compelled to challenge his superiors when he
discovers that Starfleet Command is a party to the forcible
removal of a race called the Ba'ku from their paradisaic planet...
Trek: First Contact was always going to be
a tough act to follow, so it is not surprising that Insurrection
is a little disappointing by comparison. Even the director,
Jonathan Frakes, admits - in the special feature Director's
Notebook - that the script wasn't as strong as that for
unevenness of tone also makes the movie seem rather schizophrenic.
On one hand, we have the serious topic of Picard (Patrick
Stewart) challenging Starfleet authority, the gruesome stretched
faces of the artificially prolonged Son'a, and dramatic action
in space and within the Son'a collector. On the other hand,
we have all the silliness. There's Data (Brent Spiner) singing
an excerpt from Gilbert and Sullivan's HMS Pinafore,
Worf (Michael Dorn) getting a zit, and Troi (Marina Sirtis)
and Crusher (Gates McFadden) remarking upon how their boobs
have firmed up. It's not that I don't appreciate the humour,
particularly Worf's "Definitely feeling aggressive tendencies,
sir!" and Data's response to Riker's "Smooth as an android's
bottom, eh?" but it seems to me that the film hasn't decided
whether it wants to be a light-hearted Voyage
Home-type escapade or another intense First
are undeniable, though, are the movie's slick production values
and spectacular visual appeal. Production designer Herman
Zimmerman's realisation of the Ba'ku settlement, the creation
of which is explored in the featurette It Takes A Village,
is magnificent, as are the alien makeup designs by Michael
Westmore and the battles in the Briar Patch nebula and on
board the collector.
counting in the film's favour is the moral ambiguity injected
into it by scriptwriter Michael Pillar. There are no easy
right or wrong answers to the moral dilemma that faces Picard
here. Even the villains of the piece, the hideous Son'a, are
motivated by an understandable desperation to survive.
script - which, as told in the special feature The Story,
underwent an almost complete revision, by Pillar, after his
original idea - is only slightly marred by its rather muddled
anti-plastic-surgery ethic. So, it's wrong to artificially
prolong your life or appearance of youth, is it? But isn't
that exactly what the Ba'ku are doing?
extras include more than three hours of documentary featurettes
and copious deleted scenes. For the most part, the excised
scenes comprise comic excesses that Frakes was wise to omit:
such edifying spectacles as Riker and Troi chucking bits of
paper at each other like kids in a school library, and Picard
spilling his lunch over his lap. On the other hand we see
a spectacular stunt that, for some inexplicable reason, never
made it into the movie. Shame. It's also a shame that the
deleted scenes are on a different disc to the movie and cannot
be "branched" into the main feature.
is it really necessary to have an entire minute of generic
credits for all the documentary featurettes at the end of
every single one of them? I saw the same credits more than
a dozen times!
are also trailers, storyboards, galleries and, as usual, an
informative text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda. Surprisingly,
however, there is no audio commentary. Was the director too
busy to record one?
its flaws, Star Trek: Insurrection is a very enjoyable
film. It goes some way towards overturning the popular generalisation
about the even-numbered Trek movies being the best
ones. The next (and, to date, final) film, Star Trek: Nemesis,
would further challenge that crude assumption by being a much
weaker movie than this one.
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