Star Trek : Insurrection
The one with the aliens that are into plastic surgery.
Yeah…I barely remember this one. I saw it when it came out and then again at home sometime five or so years ago. One viewing is usually enough for me. But even after two viewings, this one is still pretty forgettable.
The opening is cool. But Data’s exposure to the locals is awfully reminiscent of a better TV story. “Who Watches the Watchers,” from season three, has the Federation’s surveillance of a primitive race exposed, leading to one of the most interesting missions for Picard and crew. The similarly themed movie turns this premise into a story about Picard bucking the system. While somewhat cool, putting Picard in that position just doesn’t feel right.
The Federation doesn’t seem like a government likely to indulge some a smarmy villain for such a risky gain. So forcing the Federation into the role of smug imperialists rings false. Really the movie fails because it fails on this point. The Federation has acted against our heroes in the past. It’s believable when Kirk is in trouble for activating the Genesis device. The Federation doesn’t go bad at that point. Kirk’s the one that goes rogue, for reasons his bosses don’t understand. The other big anti-Enterprise action committed by the Federation, Starfleet this time, is in the final episodes of TNG’s first season. In this story, some wormy, insect-y aliens have taken over some key positions in Starfleet Command. Big deal. An infiltration is hardly the government itself going bad. Neither is Starfleet’s pursuit of Kirk really indicative of anything besides an organization maintaining its laws and principles.
This movie attempts something very bold in showing evil inside the Federation, and in power. But it just comes across as petty. Like, I get that maybe they were going for a bit of social commentary. That’s a cool concept, but … well, I guess I don’t really have strong reasons for why I think they fail in this. I just have feelings. So I’ll shut up about that.
One complaint I’ve heard a thousand times is that this movie feels like a long episode of the TV show. I don’t entirely disagree. The scope of the Federation’s turn to the dark side is a bit expansive for a TV episode. It’s a concept too big for a two-parter TV episode. But the botched first contact would, and did, make a great episode. And the exodus of the village people does seem like a story more fitting an hour of TV than a Star Trek movie. The attempts to expand the scope of the story kind of fall flat and are mostly unmemorable. The bad guy’s sail ship space ship (which might come from the opening pages of the Planet of the Apes novel) is cool, but I honestly forget why he even used it, and where he was going to.
I need to watch this one again. I truly can’t remember much of anything.
So I’ll watch it again, but I doubt it will move up the list at all. Maybe I’ll do a fan-edit, if it looks like there’s enough cool stuff to salvage it.
Oh. And is this the one with the joystick on the captain’s chair?
The list so far: