Sandwiched uncomfortably between the best and the last Star Trek films to feature the popular Next Generation crew, Star Trek: Insurrection is something of a forgotten film within the sprawling film franchise. Directed by series regular Jonathan Frakes, it took a respectable $112m at the box office, but highlighted a seeming decline in the popularity of the franchise.
Expanding upon the TV episode Who Watches the Watchers by having the team observing a civilization of people from a hidden location to assess how advanced they are. The people in this circumstance are the peaceful Ba’ku who live an agricultural lifestyle and whose population totals a mere 600. What makes them so fascinating is their exposure to the radiation of the rings around that planet that acts as a ˜fountain of eternal life.’ Trouble surfaces when Cmdr. Data (Brent Spiner) appears to malfunction and begins to take people hostage. Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) offers to go seek out Data and find out what has happened, but stumbles upon a plot involving the Son’a people and their leader Ahdur Ru’afo (F. Murray Abraham).
There is an old saying that suggests that all even-numbered Star Trek films are good and all odd-numbered films are not. Star Trek: Insurrection does nothing to disprove this theory. It’s not that it’s as actively bad like Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, but rather that it feels like an extended episode, complete with ideological debates taking precedent over action. This is fine in theory, but in the confines of Star Trek: Insurrection’s plot, it doesn’t work. There is a lack of definitive direction in terms of message and the obvious route of thinking is dismissed as amoral.
The plan to move the Ba’ku people from their home so that the science behind eternal life can be explored, is a no-brainer decision. But the methods by which the main characters debate and then act make no sense. Why do they not simply ask if their can study the effects of the radiation, instead of a bonkers plot to move them from their home? Once the central conceit fails, the film fails. The Star Trek franchise is therefore lucky to be able to rely on such exceptional actors to carry the burdon of an underwhelming script, with Patrick Stewart the obvious stand-out.
As the forgotten film of the franchise, Star Trek: Insurrection is neither bad enough to lambaste nor good enough to cheer, instead occupying the most disappointing of positions, that of the forgettable film. It’s just below average enough not to recommend to anyone, or generally talk about.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)¦ Coming Soon