The odd-numbered Star Trek film curse strikes again. For those of you unfamiliar with Star Trek lore, it has been maintained that the only good Star Trek films are those with even numbers. Perhaps in response to this, Paramount stopped numbering their Star Trek films after #6. The latest outing of the Star Trek franchise, Star Trek: Insurrection, is the ninth film in the series…and like many of its odd-numbered brethren, it proves to be an awkward misstep.
Once again, it is the Star Trek: The Next Generation crew which takes center stage. This time, they’re embroiled in a plot that feels like a leftover tv episode. The peaceful Ba’ku people are in trouble, but they don’t know it. Their idyllic paradise planet is being lusted after by the evil Son’a race, who crave its fountain-of-youth properties. Certainly the Federation wouldn’t allow this warlike race to totally eliminate another society, would they? Well, therein lies the problem, the evil Son’a are allies with the Federation, and the Federation is willingly assisting the Son’a in their efforts.
Enter Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and crew. Brought in to disable malfunctioning android Data (Brent Spiner), the crew learn of the plot, and quickly take sides against their own beloved Federation in order to save the 600 Ba’ku people.
The dialogue of Star Trek: Insurrection is easily the worst quality yet seen in a Star Trek film. Virtually every other line is either a quip or a catchphrase. The rest of the script is meaningless technobabble. There are several good acting talents among the cast, and they all deserve better than this.
The special effects are above average, though most of them are pointless effects for effects sake. The starship combat scenes are visually impressive, but confusing and lacking urgency. Apparently more time was spent determining what would look cool, rather than worrying about things such as pacing, or even common sense.
There’s precious little, if any, character development here. In fact, several of the characters have seemingly regressed from the events of the last several movies (for example, Data’s emotion chip is nary to be seen). There are a few romantic subplots: Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Troi (Marina Sirtis) rekindle a relationship, and Picard gets together with Anij (Donna Murphy), a Ba’ku woman.
The villains are also rather bland. The most interesting thing about the Son’a is their obsession with obtaining eternal life through technology (rather than the Ba’ku’s “natural” methods). However, their leader, Ru’afo (F. Murray Abraham) is all bark and little bite.
Star Trek: Insurrection isn’t painful to sit through, but it adds nothing to the Star Trek mythos, and overall is a complete waste of time.