Star Trek: Insurrection

Keeping a movie franchise alive and vibrant for nearly two decades is a massive undertaking in itself, but Paramount has not disappointed with the worthy installment Star Trek: Insurrection. This ninth feature in the long-running series, and third to include the cast of Star Trek : The Next Generation, plays out like an intriguing two-part episode but on a much bigger canvas, much like the last Trek film First Contact. The crew of the Enterprise must disobey direct Starfleet orders if they want to save a race of people from being depopulated from their home planet. Jonathan Frakes once again wore two hats serving as actor and director and was joined by series regulars Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, and Marina Sirtis. Stewart also served as Associate Producer.

After an otherwise dull title sequence, Insurrection wastes no time jumping right into the action. Commander Data (Spiner) runs amok during a cultural survey of the humble people of Ba'ku jeopardizing the mission. When informed by Admiral Dougherty (Anthony Zerbe) of his crew member's erratic behavior, Captain Picard (Stewart) volunteers to apprehend Data and investigate why he suddenly turned into a renegade. In the process, Picard and his crew stumble upon evidence that the Federation's "cultural survey" is actually a disguise for a plan to rid the peaceful Ba'ku from their valuable planet.

Upon learning of this deception, Picard essentially pulls a Kirk and chooses to disobey Starfleet orders so as to do the right thing and save the innocent and defenseless. What ensues is a tactical battle, filled with a few clever maneuvers, between the Enterprise crew and the aging Son'a led by Ru'afo (F. Murray Abraham) who are determined to take the Ba'ku planet at all costs.

Insurrection differs from First Contact in that the enemy is not clearly defined. Whereas First Contact had the slimy, yet sexy, Borg Queen and her collective, Insurrection introduces a set of characters with varying motives focused on deception. While First Contact's story dealt with the domination and assimilation of Earth, Insurrection offers an ethics issue and a more complex storyline. The Prime Directive, which forbids the interference of the natural development of a civilization, plays a key role in the characters' actions in this new film.

Aside from a standard science-fiction story, Insurrection is sprinkled with comedic and romantic moments. Most notably, Picard meets Anij (Donna Murphy), a Ba'ku woman who touches the Captain in a profound way. Even Commander Riker (Frakes) can't help but let his horny side show a little bit. But as with First Contact, the directorial demands put on Frakes lead to less screen time for Riker who deserves to be a more integral component of the film. Although non-Trekkers can enjoy Insurrection for the action-adventure picture it is, true fans will be able to pick up on insider humor and situations that will fly over the heads of the uninitiated.

While not one of the greatest films in the Star Trek series, Insurrection is an enjoyable and entertaining feature that delivers action, laughs, and some thought-provoking insight. Since the Next Generation cast cannot be seen together anywhere else, Insurrection is a must-see for fans of the popular franchise.

"Star Trek: Insurrection"

Directed by Jonathan Frakes; Produced by Rick Berman

Released by Paramount Pictures (opening on December 11, 1998)

Running time : 103 minutes

Rating : PG

Reviewed by Gitesh Pandya on : December 5, 1998

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