Star Trek: Insurrection

2.5 stars

Theatrical release: 12/11/1998
PG; 1 hr. 43 min.
Screenplay by Michael Piller
Story by Rick Berman & Michael Piller
Produced by Rick Berman
Directed by Jonathan Frakes

Review by Jamahl Epsicokhan

February 21, 1999

Nutshell: Entertaining but thin.

Two years ago, First Contact set a very respectable new standard for the Star Trek film franchise. It maintained the perfect balance of everything Trek cinema should, in my view, have: action, humor, neat sci-fi technical aspects, a story with imagination and wonder, and an overall sense of insight regarding what Star Trek is about. At the same time, it was approachable as good science fiction, so even a non-Trekker would probably find it well worth the time.

Insurrection, on the other hand, is more of a Hollywood comfort film. Omnipresent in the movie is the sense that everyone involved was so intent on having fun while making it that they could barely extend themselves far enough to tell a story bearing any consequence.

Don't get me wrong; there's a lot that works in Insurrection. But overall I couldn't escape the feeling that I was watching actors who were trying very hard to deliver lighthearted lines with the underlying attitude of, "Oh, but this is all just fluff and fun—feel good about it!" than a genuine attempt to say much new about their characters or the state of the Federation or Star Trek universe.

The plot involves a science-fiction device that's older than science fiction itself: A Search for the Fountain of Youth. The fountain might lie within the planet of the Ba'ku, a peaceful non-technological people who, as the movie opens, are being watched by Starfleet. Is it a prelude to first contact, or something more insidious? Starfleet high-ups talk ominously.

The plot thickens: Suddenly, Data comes bursting onto the scene wearing a suit that makes him invisible to the naked eye. (Pretty neat.) Having been damaged, he's malfunctioning and out of control. He turns his phaser on the hidden Starfleet watching post, making it visible to the nearby Ba'ku. The issue involving the Ba'ku is forced when Picard is brought to the planet to disable and retrieve Data, who is operating on "conscience" alone: Data knows there's something morally wrong with the Starfleet plan for the Ba'ku, but he has no mental process for addressing it. What's Starfleet's unusual interest in this planet—located in a turbulent and unstable area of space known as the "Briar Patch"—and what is the motivation behind the Son'a, the race with which Starfleet has allied itself while investigating this world?

Who are the Son'a? Well, for one, they scream "BAD GUYS" in capital letters. They speak in gruff, stern voices and wear ominous-looking hoods. (How does a hood look ominous? I dunno; it just does.) And they look as if they've had skin grafts on their faces just a few hours ago—probably because they have; on more than one occasion in the movie, we see them receiving grafts while lying down under a device that literally stretches their faces to make the new skin fit better.

Once the Enterprise arrives on the scene, Picard, along with Worf (whose presence on the Enterprise is so contrived this time around that we aren't even allowed to hear most of the throwaway lines explaining it), retrieve Data in an action scene combining music, singing, special effects, and goofy comedy in a somewhat unlikely yet effective way that sets the tone for the film: light, funny, relatively inconsequential, fairly diverting.

With Data's memory restored, a quiet investigation of the Ba'ku village leads Picard to uncover the planet's mystery. A Ba'ku woman named Anij (Donna Murphy) gives Picard the brief tour and history of their people. As it happens, the Ba'ku are not as technologically primitive as they appear; they were warp-capable space travelers at one point, but a small subset of their civilization abandoned the problems of technology in favor of a simpler life in this village. Picard becomes more suspicious of the situation when he and Data discover a cloaked ship resting in a lake not far from the Ba'ku village. The ship is equipped with a massive holographic grid, purpose unknown. Eventually, Anij levels with Picard: The Ba'ku do not age on this planet. No one does.

It's not long before the brass have to come clean with Picard: Admiral Dougherty (Anthony Zerbe), on orders from the Federation Council, has made a deal with the Son'a to relocate the Ba'ku to another planet, using a holographic simulation on the specially designed ship as a way of transporting them without their knowledge and therefore, as what would be the cause for objection, without their consent. The Federation wants to study the world because of its properties that slow or halt aging, and they've made a deal with the Son'a because only they have the technology that will allow Starfleet to harvest any permanent scientific advances from the planet's mysterious properties. Unfortunately, this will leave the planet uninhabitable. Starfleet has looked at other alternatives, Dougherty tells Picard, but this is the only option.

Picard calls the action an outright theft of a world. He will have nothing to do with it and intends to argue the matter with the council. Problem is, doing so would render the issue moot; by the time the council hears what he has to say the Ba'ku will be relocated (which could potentially have serious consequences to their survival) and the planet will be all but destroyed.

The morality question is the film's most interesting element: At what point do the ends justify the means? Is research of a phenomenon that could literally be a fountain of youth benefiting billions of people worth sacrificing one's principles? After all, Dougherty argues, it's only 600 people. But how many people, Picard responds, does it take before it becomes wrong?

As interesting as the moral question is, the film doesn't develop it nearly as far as it could've and should've. The film's titular "insurrection" comes when Picard and crew decide to take up arms ("Lock and load," Data says, obviously unaware he's been reprogrammed as a sound bite for Paramount Studios) and defend the Ba'ku from being forcefully removed from the planet. Being inside the Briar Patch, with complications arising from the intervention of the Son'a and a host of other mitigating factors, the Enterprise crew's actions comprise not so much an insurrection as a minor resistance against an adversary that becomes completely severed from the rest of the Federation's knowledge and control (though I must admit that Star Trek: Isolated Skirmish probably wouldn't have been a very good movie title). Picard isn't taking a stand against the Federation; he's taking a stand against Dougherty, whose judgment and actions clearly become suspect as the film progresses, thanks to the presence of Son'a leader Ru'afo (F. Murray Abraham) whose personal interest in the matter is neither selfless nor subtle.

Particularly since Ru'afo changes the master plan whenever he damn well pleases—deciding to remove the Ba'ku from the planet by force once Picard intervenes—the moral ambiguity dissipates rather quickly, turning the conflict into an entertaining but routine example of the Enterprise crew versus the bad guys. Admiral Dougherty just gets stuck on the wrong team.

That's a shame, because a real "insurrection" could've been very interesting—something that might've actually challenged the moral compass of the Federation. I liked the idea of Picard putting his career on the line to defend these people, but if two-thirds into the film it becomes clear that Picard's actions will ultimately be unquestionably heralded as the Right Thing by the Federation Council, it seems a little too much like the Easy Way Out. The risk to Picard's career isn't real because he was never in any real danger of facing any consequences.

The "battle for paradise," as the taglines put it, works through a familiar two-tiered plot structure. On one level is Picard's planet-bound defiance, as he leads the Ba'ku from their village into the rocky area terrain where they can hide from flying Son'a "tagging" devices, which tag people with small transmitters that beam them into a Son'a ship's holding cell.

On the other level is Riker in command of the Enterprise, which is pursued by Son'a ships, leading to the entertaining requisite battle sequences involving technobabble and gas particles that ignite and explode, thanks to the volatile properties of the Briar Patch. The space battles between the Enterprise and the Son'a ships (which look really cool, by the way) are fun in their cavalier sense, including a line where Riker actually says, "We aren't running from these bastards anymore!" and then uses a joystick to manually take control of the helm. Meanwhile, Geordi is ejecting the warp core as a necessary defensive measure, and when the Son'a regroup for another assault, Geordi gets the priceless opportunity to say, "We're fresh out of warp cores!" I liked the departure from the TNG battle standard (this turns back the clock to Star Trek II battle attitudes), although the cavalier sense also supports my argument that the film panders to a mass-market audience.

Of course, if you want mass-market pandering attitudes, you don't have to look much further than the humor undercurrent. The tone of Insurrection is very different from First Contact (and very different from its own advertising campaign), and I have no problem whatsoever with that. Star Trek has always been diverse in story theme and approach. The problem with this approach, however, is that Insurrection has a tendency at times to beat the audience over the head with the sentiment.

Natural humor is one thing; obligatory forays into humor are another. Insurrection has both, but it seems there's more of the latter than the former.

Example: "Have you noticed your boobs starting to firm up?" Beverly asks Deanna in one scene, obviously amazed at the wonderful benefits of a Fountain of Youth. Data overhears. Then he walks a few feet away and repeats what he has overheard to an innocent bystander. Funny? Somewhat so, if for the wrong reason—the I'm-surprised-they-stooped-to-such-silliness reason. There's plenty of that sort of thing in Insurrection. Worf is detoured into the film mostly so he can be on the receiving end of jokes involving pimples and the nature of Klingon puberty. (I suppose that's better than Gates McFadden's character, though; for the third movie in a row, Crusher is reduced to a cog in the wheel of the plot and given little to do.)

I have nothing against Trek humor, but I enjoy it more when it comes naturally. Star Trek IV's humor was somewhat understated, and grew naturally from the characters as we knew them. Insurrection, however, goes on fairly large detours of circumstance to arrive at goofy situational humor, and comes off as more forced as a result. But some of it is fun.

And concerning matters of romance ... it's something of a mixed bag, too. The Riker/Troi thing is something that's obviously been in the character histories for a long time, and I particularly liked the amusing issue concerning Riker's beard. But this is the sort of thing that worked better in television series format, where one could get an update every few weeks. Coming in the third TNG film, it seems out of the blue, and I have to ask if it's worth the time given how rarely we see the cast these days. It's exactly the sort of thing that makes Insurrection more difficult for the non-Trekker to understand; they aren't in on the joke. In film format, I'd rather see a solid story than a bunch of detours into past elements left unresolved.

Picard's gradual affections for Anij make more sense in story terms, and the chemistry between Patrick Stewart and Donna Murphy is always right there on the edge of being powerful ... yet it doesn't quite get there. Anij has an ability to slow down time, and she shares this experience with Picard, but in the flurry of the plot the romance almost feels like an afterthought.

The other subplot involves Data's friendship with the young Ba'ku boy, Artim (Michael Welch). Artim initially fears Data as an artificial being, as he was raised without an understanding of technology, but a friendship begins to develop, especially after the boy's father, Sojef (Daniel Hugh-Kelly), is tagged and beamed away to the Son'a ship. This subplot is amiable, but not very useful in terms of Data's quest for humanity. We've been here, and done this, haven't we? There's also the whole issue of Data's emotion chip, which now apparently can be removed on a whim. My question to the producers of the TNG film series: Do you want Data to have emotions or not? Whatever the case, it's a waste to simply have Data in a state of non-growth. The dialog here between the android and the kid at times seems to regress Data back to mid-run of the television series—at the very least pre-Generations. There are only so many opportunities for Data these days; wasting him like this is a shame.

Overall, the guest cast is entertaining, but, again, thin. They certainly cast these roles perfectly, and the guest actors did a great job with what they were given. Unfortunately, they simply weren't supplied with much substance.

Anthony Zerbe is perfect as Admiral Dougherty, a figure of bureaucracy that finds himself on the wrong side, comes to his senses too late, and pays the price for it. He gets the movie's best death scene when Ru'afo knocks him around and then shoves him into one of the face-stretching machines and face-stretches him to death. Fine and good, but there isn't much subtlety or depth to Dougherty concerning his motives and actions. His about-face once the situation runs out of control is nothing short of obvious, and the second he went into a room alone to confront Ru'afo, I said to myself, "Welp, he's gonna die."

As a villain, Ru'afo is essentially a thug. He isn't coolly bitter like Malcolm McDowell in Generations, and he isn't manipulative or mysterious like the Borg Queen in First Contact. He's an intimidating brute short on patience and high on repressed rage, and he doesn't hesitate to throw an admiral around a room when he gets ticked off.

It's almost as if a conscious decision were made in the pre-production stage that Ru'afo would be a return to the scenery-chewing comic-book villains like Khan or Kruge (which is not to slight Khan at all, because his style and dialog as such was unforgettable). The problem is, Michael Piller's script doesn't give Ru'afo much in terms of good dialog to flesh out the character. Lines like "If Picard or any of his people interfere, eliminate them" seem to emanate from the comic-book realm.

But even if Ru'afo is a one-note thug, he's a good one-note thug. F. Murray Abraham, not surprisingly, brings a lot to a relatively underwritten villain, with an explosive anger and a directness that sells the intimidation well. Abraham has an urgency that transcends the part, making Ru'afo teeter on the edge of obsession and bitter fury. When Abraham says something like "eliminate them," it's still enjoyable on a sort of cheesy theatrical level.

Ru'afo's motives aren't very nice. Perhaps that's an understatement. Turns out the Son'a and Ba'ku are really the same race. The Son'a had long ago been expelled from the planet following an attempt to revolt against the Ba'ku's non-technological ideology. Now the Son'a want the planet back (so they can harvest its life-rejuvenating properties), and Ru'afo will do whatever it takes to get what he wants. The Federation's interest in the Ba'ku planet had unwittingly found its way into the middle of a blood feud.

I did appreciate that there's subtlety to be found in Ru'afo's number two, Gallatin (Gregg Henry). He was also part of the original revolt against the Ba'ku, but it becomes clear that all the killings Ru'afo is about to commit to take the planet back is something eating away at Gallatin's conscience. With time ticking down, Picard clues in on this, and, in a scene of extreme swiftness yet surprising urgency (a Patrick Stewart performance can bring urgency to about any situation) Picard talks Gallatin into listening to his conscience and doing the right thing.

This leads to a series of events that nearly defies synopsis, as Picard somehow beams Ru'afo and his crew onto the holographic-illusion ship to trick Ru'afo into thinking he is on board his own ship. Thus, when he thinks he's activating the "metaphasic injector" (the device that will harvest the fountain of youth and poison the planet), he is actually only flipping a dummy switch, thereby buying Picard and his crew time to foil the plan. Jonathan Frakes, who brought great clarity to First Contact, does his best in directing this confusion, but it somewhat strains credibility. It makes more sense than it probably should, but I still felt the symptoms of several double-takes.

Ru'afo figures out what's going on and beams himself onto the injector to manually start it, leading Picard to beam over to stop him in The Final Showdown™.

Like most everything else in the movie, the special effects are entertaining and move the story along. But they're not breathtaking—certainly nothing that connects the visual with the visceral like, say, the opening shot of First Contact. The invisible suits comprised a reasonably interesting action scene. And there's the "palm pet," which was cute but hardly essential. Then there are plenty of flying tag robots, which provide a series of watchable though not exactly riveting action scenes. And the decent holographic deceptions. Oh, yes, and Anij's ability to slow down time until we can see the wing flapping on a hummingbird—one of few visual effects that exists for its emotional content rather than spectacle.

But most of the big special effects are about blowing things up. Case in point: this final showdown, which comes complete with a Movie Bomb, which naturally comes equipped with a digital readout that counts down while beeping, while Picard and Ru'afo shoot at each other inside the metaphasic injector—a huge device with awesome-looking space sails on the outside and plenty of open space (conducive for a shooting gallery) on the inside.

Original villain death scenes are hard to come by these days, but Ru'afo's death is another one of those instances where we're supposed to cheer when Picard is beamed out of the exploding injector at the Last Possible Moment, while Ru'afo gets blowed up real good. This is Hollywood moviemaking all the way, lacking imagination and instead going with the safe bet.

In a way, Ru'afo's explosive demise perfectly sums up my feelings of Insurrection. Did I enjoy watching him blow up? Sure. Was there much thought or ironic insight required to come to the conclusion that Ru'afo must be blown up? Not a chance. Did I want something more? Yep.

The movie is entertaining in a superficial way. I sort of liked Insurrection. But I also felt kind of disappointed afterward. Considering TNG movies only happen once every two (or more, in the future) years, it seems to me that more should be done with a film than to make it a glorified episode where the ship glides in, solves the problem, and glides out—end of story. What's lacking are the lingering questions. A fountain of youth is something that would change the perception of the entire Federation. Isn't that worth examining? Having one admiral (who dies) as the sole Federation representative for eternal youth is simply not enough, and watching the Enterprise fly away from what could be the Greatest Discovery Ever seems a little simplistic.

The bottom line is simple: The film is a good diversion. But you might want to be sure your brain is in the "off" position before, during, and after viewing.

Upcoming: Assuming there will be another TNG feature, I'm of the opinion they should wait more than two years for the next one. As much as I like a Trek movie, I'd much rather see them as "event" movies, rather than getting in the habit of releasing them so frequently that the receiving attitude is one of "Another Trek movie ... ALREADY?"

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Next: Star Trek: Nemesis

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143 comments on this post

Mon, Jan 21, 2008, 12:24pm (UTC -6)
I still agree with Patrick Stewart that this should have been the first entry in a film arc on the corruption in the Federation. "Nemesis" should have been the continuation, not what it was.
Tue, Apr 15, 2008, 7:39pm (UTC -6)
I would think Insurrection would've been good, had it been a TV episode.

It seems very lacking for a movie.
Thu, Jun 12, 2008, 2:16pm (UTC -6)
This was a terrible movie and an utter failure in all aspects. I can't believe you describe it as enjoyable.

First off, there's the stupid Ba'ku, Space Amish Wholesome Small Towners. This is a Hollywood cliche that needs to die horribly, especially in SciFi. Small town people are not wholesome. At all. Ever. That is an invented romanticism by morons who have never set foot in a real small town. Secondly, the Space Amish archetype is inherently foolish; absconding technology does not make things better, it makes them worse by any possible measurement. Especially in -SCIENCE- fiction, this lunatic mooning over a "simpler" life (which is not actually simple at all -- there is a colossal amount of labor involved) is misplaced. It is also moronic in that it also doesn't work... the Ba'ku clearly use technology, even if its only Iron Age level. At what point does technology suddenly stop being good and wholesome? Furthermore, the Ba'ku clearly retain knowledge of advanced technology... one wonders where they have time to study this and how they can get practical study done without the actual devices?

We, the audience, are also supposed to fully support the Ba'ku's territorial claim and the morality of the crew of the Enterprize. The problem here is that anyone reasonable -wouldn't- approve of either; the planet is in Federation territory, and the Federation is exercising its right to that territory by moving these god-awful self-righteous primitive screw heads off it, rather than let them die horribly as they really could have. Since the Ba'ku themselves are not indigenous species, they can hardly claim rights on the planet that is in Federation space. Hmm... some advanced technology could really help right about now, huh?

Ethically, the Ba'ku don't have a leg to stand on either. The Ba'ku want the planet because... they want the planet. Furthermore, they want to keep the planet all to themselves and give a big middle-finger salute to the rest of the universe. Meanwhile, the Federation wants the planet to improve the standard of living and lives of -trillions- of people. The Ba'ku are selfish assholes who, quite frankly, deserved to fry with their planet. They do not have the moral high ground here. This is a decision weighing the -minor inconvenience- (relocation) of a few hundred people vs the health and well being of billions if not trillions. Only the most rigid, inflexible deontologist could possibly find issue here. It doesn't make the crew of the Enterprise look like heroes sticking to their moral guns, it makes them look like fanatic idiots worshiping doctrine and dogma and absconding free thought.

I could go on, but this is just a worthless shell of a film. It deserves negative stars.
Thu, Jun 12, 2008, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
LOL. That's one seriously pissed-off post. Kudos.
Thu, Nov 27, 2008, 1:52pm (UTC -6)
Although it was nice seeing Troi & Riker hook up again, this film, like First Contact before it, began to rub me the wrong way by giving us yet another arbitrary female guest star for Picard to confide in instead of the more obvious choice of Beverly.
Mon, Dec 29, 2008, 10:08pm (UTC -6)
I couldn't agree with you more Jake. I enjoyed Donna Murphy's performance in this movie but it seems to me they could have easily fixed the problem of Beverly having nothing to do by having her step up to the romantic lead role with Picard. A wasted opportunity if ever there was one now that there will be no more TNG movies.
Daniel Lebovic
Thu, May 14, 2009, 5:23pm (UTC -6)
The "pissed-off" poster's comments are well-taken.

While we don't know what would have happened had the Ba'ku been ASKED by the Federation to voluntarily relocate (the Federation could simply have told the Son'a, "Even though you have the technology, the planet is a Federation protectorate, so we don't have to entertain your ideas of forced relocation), the events depicted at the end of the film suggest an answer:

The last portion of the film reveals that the Ba'ku, whom we have been told are peaceful people who do not believe in using state-of-the-art technology, nonetheless used that technology in the service of exiling those with whom they had a disagreement. The Ba'ku state that the Son'a tried to "take over the colony." Even if this was done by force, two wrongs do not make a right.
The Ba'ku behavior, thus, gives one reasonable grounds to think (albeit after the fact) that had they been simply beeen asked to do soemthing for the Federation and perhaps the rest of the quadrant (with an admitted sacrifice),they would have refused. This did not justify the attempt to remove the Ba'ku by force, but I would have enjoyed a dialogue scene where, even after it was noted the Ba'ku were asked, we actually would get to the nitty-gritty of the reasons behind the Ba'ku refusal. Would leaving really destroy their culture? Would it really destroy them, as Picard speechified?

If we view the film through this alternative lens - through skepticism rather than Picard's presumed moral perfection- it becomes clear that it was not Admiral Dougherty who brought the Federation (not willingly, anyway) into a blood feud; the Federation was brought in because the Ba'ku welcomed their aid while hiding their true reason for wanting the aid (to again fend off a sub-section of their race). And of course, the Ba'ku hardly minded when Starfleet's advanced technology was used to intervene on their behalf.

If I didn't know better, I'd think that the filmmakers, one day, sat down and came up with a premise, "Hey! Let's have Picard risk everything in fighting the good fight to protect the rights of a minority," but once they had to plot that theme out-after they introduced the element of the Ba'ku planet possessing life-altering properties that the Ba'ku were happy to keep all to themselves (just....because), the self-righteousness began to seem absurd, but, having deadlines to meet, the filmmmakers continued to pursue the theme of persecution to the point where we were left with a perverse moral: every party (the Son'a, the Ba'ku and the Federaton) in this film acted from selfish purposes, but only the Ba'ku - the disingeuous hoarders - came off looking like the good guy. Self-righteousness is its own virtue and reward, the film tells us, without regard to what occurs outside of the microcosm of the boxed-in plot and the Ba'ku mindset.
Thu, Jul 16, 2009, 9:17am (UTC -6)
In my eyes, this has been by far the most intriguing , funny and overall the best done movie of the entire franchise. If anyone does not know, what StarTrek is about, this film tells him: It is about humanity. And this was one of the last SciFi-movies in general where the main plot does not focus on dark, cruel alien planets and a sad future with plenty of violence and hatred. This one is optimistic and makes much, much fun.

I watched it more than a dozen times probably - it never gets boring at all!
Sun, Nov 8, 2009, 12:15am (UTC -6)
This movie makes me think about the seventh season episode of TNG, Homeward, where Worf's adoptive brother shows up, and move a race of aliens to another planet when their planet is about to be destroyed, using, guess what, the holodeck.

Would have been interesting if the Admiral had called Picard out on this.
Elliot Wilson
Fri, Feb 12, 2010, 9:45pm (UTC -6)
What he actually says is, quote, "We're through running from these bastards," unquote. Plus |||I||| think Isolated Skirmish would actually make a kick-ass name for a Star Trek movie! :P
Wed, Feb 24, 2010, 4:35am (UTC -6)
I'm suprised you didn't mention this quote Jammer:

"Federation support, Federation procedures, Federation rules... look in the mirror, admiral... the Federation is old... in the last twenty four months, it's been challenged by every major power in the quadrant – the Borg, the Cardassians, the Dominion... they all smell the scent of death on the Federation. That's why you've embraced our offer... because it will give your dear Federation new life."

It's an interesting point. The Federation has really had everyone challenge it. He forgot the Changeling-initiated war with the Klingons, but still. It could have been carried into some message that the Federation was reaching the end of it's life or something else. Perhaps an allegory for the decline of Star Trek as a whole. It's simply too old.
Wed, Feb 24, 2010, 4:36am (UTC -6)
Forgot to add the


at the end of that quote.
Tue, Mar 9, 2010, 8:34am (UTC -6)
It has the feel of a TV episode and nothing more.
Thu, May 20, 2010, 4:35am (UTC -6)
Nolan - Picard was subject to a fait accompli put in a position where he had to break the PD no matter what. That became a humanitarian mission to save the people - this was the opposite.
Sun, May 30, 2010, 1:42pm (UTC -6)
Enjoyed this one throughout, excellent pacing, good acting. Few clangers, yes, but still good all round. The clangers...'Are the torque sensors out of position?' 'Why, yes, Captain, 12 microns'. 'You know, when I was an ensign, I could detect 3 microns...' [cue, glances between helm officer and Geordi meaning, 'don't invite him to next party'].

Boobs, thing, yes. Believe it was Worf not 'innocent bystander'. Funny scene with Worf, where he develops spot and Data whispers into Picard's ear. Data shows great awareness to do so and then shakes head vigorously...then sneaks another look. Hilarious.

Easily the best of the TNG films. They seemed Nemesis they seem tired.
Sun, May 30, 2010, 1:44pm (UTC -6)
Ooh, let's not forget...'His emotion chip?' 'No he left it behind..' Is this the emotion chip that got integrated into his neural net in Generations?
Fri, Jun 25, 2010, 5:12pm (UTC -6)
It pains me that the attempts to give Data funny lines end up undoing years of character development and instead just make him look like a retard. “Have you noticed your boobs have started to firm up?” Ugh!

By the way, you know what scene we never saw in this movie? Dougherty says to the Baku, “If you were to move to another planet, yes, it would end your immortality. But you it would mean medical advances and breakthroughs for billions and billions of people. What do you say?”. And the Baku would reply, “Sorry, we prefer to live forever”.

Would have made it hard to root for the Baku, huh? But, essentially, that’s who the Baku were.
Thu, Jul 15, 2010, 12:56pm (UTC -6)
I wonder what the Romulans would have thought about the cloaked suits and the duck blinds. Although that treaty only pertains to cloaked starships, right?
Eric Dugdale
Sat, Apr 2, 2011, 11:14pm (UTC -6)
Jeff, by this point in continuity the Treaty of Algeron has already been flagrantly violated by Benjamin Sisko on the Defiant.

Not that it matters. This sort of small-scale cloaking technology has been in use by the Federation since mid-TNG days. Remember that episode where the Federation was maintaining a cloaked observation-base on the planet with those proto-Vulcan-ish aliens? Same idea.
Sat, Sep 17, 2011, 8:29pm (UTC -6)
But going on with what Jeff said, how can a cloaked vessel like the one in the lake be of "Federation origin"?

STD is absolutely right...the morality belongs to the greater good. Even Spock said the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. That's why they had to make that side of the moral equation - the Admiral and the So'na - so cartoonishly evil (keeping subordinate races as serfs, being Dominion allies - it was really over the top the lengths to which they went), lest everyone notice that they actually had the high ground in the situation.

Nemesis was more flat-out stupid, but this movie was more unforgivaeble.

100% agree with the comments about Beverly being ridiculously replaced by Guest Woman for two films running.
Sat, Sep 17, 2011, 8:44pm (UTC -6)
Also, perhaps to reinforce the notion of them being mustache-twirlingly evil, in the S7 DS9 episode "Penumbra", there is throwaway dialogue from Gul Damar suggesting that the So'na joined the Dominion soon after the events of this film.
Sat, Sep 17, 2011, 8:47pm (UTC -6)
OMG I almost forgot how intelligence insulteing the whole "poweer to freeze time" notion was...are the Ba'ku deities? Inexcusable.
Mon, Nov 28, 2011, 11:00am (UTC -6)
I watched this movie for the first time in a few years the other night. It aged better than I expected -- the effects are good, and the actors' performances hold up -- but there are a few things that could have been tweaked to make a decent movie go to very good.

The Picard/Anij stuff is just really dull. I think it was a mistake to give Picard a love interest. It dragged down the plot. More time could have been spent with Picard talking about the moral issues -- particularly with the whole "Federation is old" angle.

As others have mentioned, reverting Data throughout the TNG movie franchise is really annoying -- no more than in this movie.

This one has bothered me for a long time. When the senior staff goes to confront Picard, Riker and Geordi are still in their uniforms. It's almost as if they knew that Picard would choose everybody else to go with him -- or that Picard chose based on uniforms. It makes sense that those two would stay, but why would the others figure they would definitely be going?

Finally, a real issue with the movies is that the roles for the characters is pretty much the same in each movie (particularly after 'Generations'). Picard and Data always go in first, and Worf usually comes along. Riker and Picard are almost never together -- it's pretty clear the creators got bored with Riker shortly after 'Best of Both Worlds' -- and Crusher has next to nothing to do.
Sat, Apr 7, 2012, 1:34am (UTC -6)
The tie in novel for Insurrection, was actually a lot more solid than the movie. A cousin bought me a copy for Christmas the year after the release. I was very surprised, and it demonstrated that there were perhaps elements of the script which got lost in translation.
Tue, May 1, 2012, 11:48pm (UTC -6)
It's better than Star Trek V. High praise, I know.

@ Eric Dugdale, the cloaking device on the Defiant was on loan from the Romulans and they never asked for it back, so technically they're not breaking the treaty, even though they did break the agreement to not use it in the Alpha Quadrant quite often.
Fri, May 4, 2012, 7:59pm (UTC -6)
I think it's worth noting that the Son'a were never willing to cross the line into killing any of the Baku. It makes for a more interesting story when your villains are not cold blooded killers. Although, what was with that "fresco" transporter beam? It looked cool if nothing else...
Wed, Sep 12, 2012, 3:04pm (UTC -6)
I just spent half a week reading Fade-In: The Writing of Star Trek Insurrection, narrated by Michael Piller himself.

I recommend it to anyone interested in the process of how the film came together, and how challenging and arduous the process and production of the film was for Piller.

It really shows the movie in a new light. It's impressive how much input these film scripts have from other sources. Most notably, a frank assessment of the script's shortcomings by Ira Behr.

No matter how hard Piller tries, the movie won't go anywhere without the okay from the following people: Rick Berman, Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner and the Paramount execs.

Also, an interesting detail as to why Piller left Voyager after two seasons. Two of the writers threatened to quit if he stayed, citing reasons related to the infamous 'Roddenberry's Box'.
Tue, Sep 18, 2012, 2:21pm (UTC -6)
I think that we should be suspicious when big budget movies appear to be awful. I am going to watch this movie again, but with a particular eye toward detecting coded messages. Everyone in this movie is a symbol of something. The symbolic interactions represent something other than what they are overtly portrayed as. Asking yourself - "what is represented by what?" in this movie may help you to grok its true meaning. Look for allusions to enlightenment, transcendence, corporeal (earthly, human) existence, something akin to the matrix, some agency who occults the "true nature" of some character(s), a struggle to uncover some truth, a striving hero, a realization or uncovering of truth, and the destruction of earthly illusions that results in a new truth being reveaeled. I think this movie is about enlightenment, and man's true nature as an eternal being of light and wisdom being hidden from him (us) by those who would profit (attain power) by keeping us sick, stupid, and slaves.
Sun, Jan 27, 2013, 6:03pm (UTC -6)
That duck blind was pretty much next to the town. How were they able to build it without being seen? I doubt that a fully constructed and fully embedded in rock duck blind can be beamed in place, cloaked, straight from a ship.

And...doesn't this all violate the treaty with the Romulans about utilizing cloaking technology?
Thu, Feb 14, 2013, 12:04pm (UTC -6)
It also seemed absurd that the Federation wouldn't realize that they really were a warp-capable species living spartanly. A natural civilization of a planet consisting entirely of one prosperpous village of 600 people and no one else on the planet anywhere? Really?
Mon, Mar 4, 2013, 8:00pm (UTC -6)
I was a young teenager when this movie was released and I waited for it with great anticipation basically from the moment I saw FIrst Contact (which rocked!). But sadly I view this movie as a colossal failure. Having waited two years I was really curious to see how the characters would have changed or evolved since the last film - who would be promoted or off the Enterprise, etc. - but sadly they just made it seem like nothing had happened at all (and the same is true for Nemesis to a large extent). I think this is indicative of Rick Berman's unchallenged helmship of the Star Trek franchise - no story arcs, no character evolutions,dismissiveness towards continuity and a belief that appealing to mass audiences at the expense of core fans is sustainable.
Mon, Mar 4, 2013, 8:13pm (UTC -6)

"a belief that appealing to mass audiences at the expense of core fans is sustainable"

This last part, sadly, proved to be one of the biggest reasons for JJ Abrams success with his execrable reboot series. Hopefully, in time, he'll be so focused on the Star Wars franchise, he'll leave Trek the hell alone.
Nick P.
Mon, Apr 8, 2013, 8:57am (UTC -6)
@ Justin, I disagree, this was way worse than Star Trek 5. for all of the production non-sense, I "BUY" the plot concept. If there really was evidence of a god being at the center of the galaxy, I "buy" that Kirk and crew would go look for it. It was done poorly, but the plot was very trekky, this move would have you buy that Picard would give up the CURE FOR DEATH because of a good lookin space hippy?!?

@ Patrick, I sincerely hope you are wrong. Abrams isn't perfect, but I will take the fun of Abrams over the boredom and repetitiveness of Berman & Piller any day. Berman Destroyed Star Trek, Abrams breathed fresh life into it.
Mon, Apr 8, 2013, 1:46pm (UTC -6)
@Justin: It just depends on what you think makes a worse movie, but I'd give the slight nod to ST5.

The extended camping scenes and horrible characterization of every character but Bones just push me over the edge. The movie has bad effects, really hollow Klingon villains and a premise that is far more ridiculous than ST9. There's just no way Starfleet would have sent the Enterprise as it was at the beginning of ST5 to Nimbus III.

The TNG characters are largely off in ST9, but at least you can chalk that up to the youthful effects of the planet. Also, the effects are pretty good. And the movie's plot doesn't hinge on the Enterprise being so broken down that the crew is vulnerable in ST9.

Lastly, ST9 had one interesting conceptual idea whereas ST5 had none: Part of the premise -- and part of the reason Starfleet is in bed with the Son'a -- is that the Federation is struggling after the conflicts post-Generations. That was a really interesting idea. It's not very well utilized. But the only conceptual think ST5 has is more "Kirk-no-like-Klingons" (and vice versa).

Also, ST9 doesn't have anything as ridiculous as Scotty hitting his head walking down a corridor or Sulu and Chekov getting lost in the woods or Uhura doing a fan dance.
Wed, Apr 10, 2013, 12:42pm (UTC -6)
Ruafo's screaming fit ain't no "KHAAAAAAAAN!"
Sat, Jul 6, 2013, 11:32pm (UTC -6)
Thanks for the tip about Piller's memoir, Eduardo. At the risk of derailing into yet another slam against Voyager, I must say I hardly noticed any change once the writers, straining against the Roddenberry Box enforced by Piller, were supposedly set free.

In his introduction, Piller says, "Second-guess me. If you’d been writing the script would you have made the same decisions I made?" I think SF Debris had one good answer: make the story a conflict within the Enterprise family, Picard and Riker each leading factions with opposing (yet equally logical, defensible, and ethical) views on the Baku question. If this idea never occurred to Piller, it was probably because (under deadline pressure) he was too committed to the "Data as Kurtz" scenario to start over yet again.
Sun, Jul 7, 2013, 3:33am (UTC -6)
...And now that I've read Piller's account, I think I know where they went wrong, which explains the dissatisfaction I felt with this movie. At one point, Piller says, the story became shaped by the budget. They had to trim how many llamas could be hired. Alien makeup for the Baku was too expensive, so they ended up looking like "Wisconsin dairy farmers." Piller had conceived a story that could only work with an epic budget, but when an epic budget was not to be had, he nibbled around the edges rather than re-conceive a smaller-scale story. And the reason it was too late to start over was an old Hollywood problem: setting a release date before the script is written.

Piller's conclusion is a prediction, eerily accurate in light of his passing, of the now-dominant style of action scripting, of which Star Trek Into Darkness is a typical example.
William B
Sun, Jul 7, 2013, 1:36pm (UTC -6)
I'm reading through the original treatment right now in Piller's book. One thing that jumps out at me is that the natives of the planet are *adapted* to the planet, in biology; moving them will kill them, not merely deprive them of immortality, as turned out in the final film.
Thu, Aug 22, 2013, 2:17pm (UTC -6)
Watched this on Netflix the other night. I fast-forwarded through all the boring Anij stuff and all the dumb stuff with Data and the kid and some of the stuff with the Ba'Ku running from the tagging robots.

It's a much better movie. The battle scenes are pretty good and the stuff with the Son'a and the admiral work.
Sat, Sep 7, 2013, 11:07pm (UTC -6)
Piller's book was revealing. It seems Patrick Stewart's ego really did sidetrack the TNG movie machine to a big extent. A lot of his original ideas were a lot more interesting. And making the Ba'ku dependent on the planet for life would have created a REAL polemic, instead of the sham that we had.

The budget constraints were obvious. Spinning the camera to simulate the shuttle careening out of control, the reduced quality of phaser shots, the set design and everything.

And man, I wish they'd gone with the original ending of Ru'afo getting sucked out into space and de-aged to a fetus by the planet's radiation. That's exactly the kind of imagination and irony that Trek has been sorely lacking.

Not that Orci and Kurtzman have enough brains for it, either. Berman may have killed Trek, but Abrams and Co did not (may God curse this excruciatingly tired cliché) "breathe fresh life into it". They just turned it into a zombie. Same body, same appearance, no life.
Sun, Sep 15, 2013, 9:56am (UTC -6)
I disliked this movie basically for all the reasons stated by STD further above.

There is almost nothing in movies that annoys me more than the glorification of primitive, simple (wholesome...) lifestyles. I really don't want to see that kind of romanticism in a SciFi movie (it's everywhere else, in mainstream movies, in comedies, in literature... why can't we even be spared it in SciFi??) Just didn't work for me.
Fri, Feb 28, 2014, 7:31pm (UTC -6)
Funny, unpretentious, entertaining, with great scenes between the characters. This is my favorite Next Generation movie.
Sat, Mar 1, 2014, 4:25pm (UTC -6)
Oops... I meant the interactions between the characters were great. The dialogue was fun.
Baron Samedi
Wed, Aug 27, 2014, 3:45pm (UTC -6)
I agree with the "pissed-off" comment near the top - every single idea that went into this film was a bad one. Zero stars from me. There's a TNG episode where Picard follows orders to relocate a bunch of impoverished Native Americans, but here he refuses to relocate a bunch of selfish, healthy morons who don't want to help trillions of people by sharing the healing conditions of their planet that they A) found (in Federation space), rather than were indigenous to and B) only occupy a tiny percentage of anyway? The entire notion of small towns without (some) technology being conducive to a simple, happy life is absurdly stupid and directly contrary to the entire spirit of Star Trek. The guest actors are poor, the dialogue stilted, the costumes bland, the special effects cheesy, the story inconsequential. The insurrection even turns out to be supported by StarFleet at the end. What a cop-out! I can give Insurrection some credit for at least trying to be about ideas, but refusing to even show the Ba'ku facing the consequences of their decision robbed the movie of any potential power. There are some great Star Trek movies, but when they miss, they miss badly. The most tragic thing is that The Final Frontier - deservedly ravaged by critics when it came out - is only the fifth worst Trek movie thanks to Generations, Nemesis, Into Darkness, and this. Similarly, the most tragic thing about this movie is that Data singing with Picard at the beginning is only, like, the twentieth worst thing about it.
Sat, Oct 18, 2014, 10:41am (UTC -6)
I too want to cosign the "pissed off" comment from STD. Great rant, kudos.
Wed, Dec 24, 2014, 7:23pm (UTC -6)
I would disagree with STD and a few others on two major points, thought I agree that the idea of Space Amish is horrible Hollywood tripe.

It's a weak plot, but there is merit to the film from a thematic point of view, it's a slow drama/western that perfectly should have meld with Star Trek's original premise as the "Wagon Train" to the Stars that Gene Roddenberry had imagined. Before we judge this movie as bad, let's not forget that Star Trek has always been about reflecting on human history (The age of Colonialism and Imperialism) before the era of SFX.

1. The western aspect of the movie at least brings us back to Trek, not modern themes like terrorism (Into Darkness) or really crappy exotic concepts (Nemesis). I would honestly rate this movie higher than either movie easily, because it's not reflecting on our worst qualities of humanity or our sience first. That's the best part of Star Trek that we have given up on over the decades, humanism.

2. Technological progress in the Star Trek Universe and even in our universe is never quite so clear cut.

The ancient Egyptians could build massive pyramids, which were unrivaled for thousands of years, Napoleon would later stand in awe of them four thousand years later. They just needed good mathematics and labor management skills. You can advance a civilization through science without having to rely on industrial technological progression; advanced mathematics could allow you to develop tools and in Star Trek, we've seen biotechnology on exotic alien worlds operate at the level of Federation future tech.

I agree the plot is weak and dialogue is uncharacteristic (Data + Boobs = does not compute).

However, the theme and technology of the Ba'ku are not that weird or unreasonable for Star Trek as it fits really well into their universe.
John Logan
Mon, May 18, 2015, 9:05am (UTC -6)
I hope nobody reads this, whispers, I LOVE THIS MOVIE. I actually love most of the Star Trek Films. Yes I have seen Redlettermedias, CM`s, SFDBris`, and The Nostalgia Critic/ Linkara reviews. Here is my response:

1. The Federation might claim the planet is in there space but the Baku settled here BEFORE the Federation was founded. So it is like the Collonialists claiming America and calling the Indians tresspassers.

2. This makes this a pure invasion, it is actually worse then with the Indians as they were Federation citizens whom the Federation had authority over, and who settled on a world after it had come to be a part of the Federation.

3. The Baku are the Original inhabitans as they settled there first. The Indians originally claim from Asia also, but they were the first to come there.

4. If one can ignore the prime directive when it serves a greater purpose they could have interfered in the klingon civil war.

5. Unless the prime directive doesn`t apply when you help one people conquer another in which case what the Dominion did could be justified.

In other words, this was an invasion. People have tried to justify this because it serves the greater good, which is ironic, now we have a more morally grey conflict instead of good vs evil and a simple action plot, but now people don`t like how complicated it is.

6. The use of Spocks the needs of the many remark is wrong because: A. He voluntarely sacrificed himself, he didn`t force a man in there to die for the crew, Cartman does stuff like that, B. It was a sollution to an exceptional no wind scenario, C. It was Spocks personal, Vulcan, logical coldblooded opinion, D. Kirk disagrees with him in Star III, E. So does he when he after he accepts his human side in Star Trek IV risks everything to save Mecoy as it is the human thing, and F. Spocks logical is similar to that of the Vulcans and the Borg, valueling each individual is what is supposed to make humans different from the Borg. Slavery also often served many people in societies, so did Eugenics, and forced sterilisation, or drafting people into the army. There is a difference between the rebel pilot in Return of the Jedi commiting a suicide attack, or forcing someone to sacrifice their life.

7. The Sona tried to take over, that is the only reason they were banished. They had slaves and supported the Dominion, and they finally explained how the Dominion kept supplying the Jem Haddar. They wanted revenge, while the Baku wanted to forgive them, and they refused to take anyone prisoner.

8. I don`t agree with living with less technology but Star Trek is supposed to show a diversity of cultures.

9. Picard clearly learned from what happened in the Journeys End. He didn`t like to move them, he was simply following orders, and it didn`t happen. He was also silenced when Wesley resigned as he does here. Wesley clearly impressed him, I think they tried to show Picard grew as a person. I think that what happened with the Maquis showed the Federation was wrong, and I liked how this film showed the effects of both the Borg and the Dominion War. Now that they didn`t just want to screw over their own citizens but seperate cultures Picard realised he had to do something.

10. Both Sisko and Kirk disciplined their officers when they disobeyed orders while both still disobeyed them themselves. In the show Picard also defies orders, at one point just to save Wesley.
William B
Fri, Jun 19, 2015, 9:01am (UTC -6)
Just rewatched.

I had started, and plan to continue at some point, the Michael Piller manuscript regarding the troubled production of this film and its script. On the one hand, I'm not sure if there is any possible excuse for the joke of Data asking if Worf's boobs have started to firm up. On the other, there are hints that there are interesting ideas struggling to get out.

So, I agree with Picard that the forced relocation of the Ba'ku is wrong. So I guess the movie holds up for me as far as that goes. It is wrong because it's wrong to sneak in, bundle a bunch of people up in the middle of the night, put them into a box and take them to a new location. It's sleazy and dishonest. The Ba'ku will, what, wake up on a new, slightly different planet, and slowly start aging and wonder why?

That said, the movie hurts badly by at no point having anyone *talk* to the Ba'ku about this pitch: "We want to double lifespans for millions, develop new and important medical procedures. You could use it, too. We are facing conflicts and may soon be at war. Please." The Ba'ku's response, and their willingness to talk about different options, would matter a lot to the film.

The reason Dougherty said to Picard that they couldn't just suggest the Son'a settle on a different part of the planet rather than use the space collector thing is that it may take up to ten years for the planet's radiation to start affecting the Son'a properly and they might die by then. OK -- but the Federation doesn't have to bow to the Son'a's wishes either. I guess I found myself interested in the things Picard and Dougherty didn't discuss, because it seemed to me as if the Son'a procedure to collect the metaphasic radiation was a one-time burst which would render that planet uninhabitable, but the planet, just sitting there, can give people seemingly limitless lifespans. That suggests that the Son'a procedure may not even be the best method to take advantage of the radiation even if the Ba'ku weren't there. If the needs of the Federation outweighs the needs of the Ba'ku, it also outweighs the needs of the Son'a, you know?

While the Ba'ku arrived at the planet a few hundred years ago, it's noteworthy that they are *literally*, in most cases, the same people who landed there. I agree that the fact that they are not indigenous to the planet does not automatically bar them from rights to it, but is everything *just* a game of possession as nine-tenths? Similarly, the Son'a were seemingly born on that planet; while it makes sense that the Ba'ku can evict them from the community, could they really exile them from the whole planet, the vast majority of which is uninhabited? Isn't there some kind of equivalent of at least banishing them to Siberia?

The inability to reach compromise between what Dougherty wants (and what the Federation needs) and the Ba'ku's claim on the planet they are inhabiting because simply no one bothers discussing it (with the Picard/Dougherty argument being the only real exception) hobbles the movie; there is not even a suggestion of setting up spas on the vast unused portions of the planet, where the Briar Patch serves as the proper deterrent. (Yeah, yeah, "ten years before the Son'a would get an effect," blah blah -- but everyone on the Enterprise felt effects immediately.) It may be that a real discussion would come to an impasse; the Ba'ku might claim that the whole planet is theirs because they've settled a tiny portion of it, or indicate that they are afraid that other colonies on the planet's surface would eventually want their little slice of heaven as a result of greater and greater expansion. Dougherty might claim on behalf of the Federation that research has progressed for so long and it still seems impossible to believe that this Fountain of Youth can be duplicated without the Son'a's collection. The Ba'ku might refuse to move if it turns out that there is no conclusive way to share what this planet offers with others in the galaxy. And so on.

And it may be that if the Ba'ku absolutely refused to give an inch, that Picard might still side with them ultimately -- that it's not for the Federation to decide on what he Ba'ku's rights are to the planet they have held for a few hundred years. But if the Ba'ku were shown openly saying, "No, we don't want anything to do with you Offworlders," refusing to share their gift which they themselves credit with revolutionizing and improving their lives, it might add some much-needed ambivalence to Picard's actions. I think there is little doubt that *Picard* would, and would encourage people, to share a Holy Grail if he believed its benefits truly outweighed its drawbacks, and I think he would/should encourage the same in the Ba'ku, and would find their behaviour wanting if they refused to even work with the Federation on finding ways to allow others to take advantage of what could extend or save billions of lives, especially in exchange for (say) military protection in a quadrant on the brink of war. This is *not* a pre-warp civilization, and *negotiations* have never been banned. And had the Ba'ku absolutely refused to make any concessions or considerations beyond their own hippie commune, Picard may well think less of them. And if he *still* risked everything to protect them -- well, that would say something, wouldn't it? I could very much imagine a Picard bound by his conscience to defend the Ba'ku's claim on this planet, which ultimately predates the Federations, all the while finding himself frustrated or even disgusted with the way they (a warp-capable civilization themselves once torn by war) are unwilling to bend to any "Offworlder" demands. How many times has Picard had to undergo long negotiations with some planet that has a much-needed vaccine? And this planet has the ultimate vaccine.

And the big Pandora's Box of whether permanent youth is A Good Thing is opened and then its contents never observed or examined. The movie should really be at least somewhat about this -- the idea is there, with the Son'a and Ba'ku reflecting two disparate reactions to, and attempts to talk about, reactions to old age. However, obviously, the Ba'ku's hippie, We Don't Need Technology!, peacenik attitude comes down to the fact that they have immortality and no health problems. If their radiation started failing them, they might want some dialysis machines, stat. The Son'a are meant to look bad because of their inability to let go of life, their creepy, out-of-Terry-Gilliam's-"Brazil" face-stretching procedures, their genetic manipulation, and are meant to be evil because they are displacing the Ba'ku to get their extra lifetimes back, but do we know that the Ba'ku who didn't rebel would react all that differently if they had their longevity cut from them? It's easy to recommend a slow-paced provincial life when time stretches out infinitely, and there is the suggestion throughout the Ba'ku scenes that we are meant to at least somewhat admire their philosophy, when the only reason they can make their "no technology, no fast-paced nonsense!" philosophy stick is because the planet has magic radiation to make them live forever. The Son'a's desperation to get the immortality for themselves is rendered as evil, which feels like it *should* be demonstrating the power of temptation inherent in the idea of immortal life and youth -- and the case for aging gracefully. And yet, the Ba'ku-good-guys/Son'a-bad-guys basically says that the root of evil is the inability to accept death and old age (which is a common theme, and for good reason), and the way to be good is to...oh yeah, find a fountain of youth that makes you live forever! The Ba'ku don't have to age or die gracefully, unlike every person on this planet, so with all respect their philosophy can bite me.

Now, it also occurs to me that once it's discovered that the Son'a *ARE* the Ba'ku, and not even distant cousins like the Romulans and the Vulcans but actually were *born* Ba'ku, on that planet, doesn't the Son'a/Ba'ku conflict become a civil war? Picard tells Dougherty with disdain that Dougherty got the Federation involved in a blood feud. True -- but I think that means Picard got involved in it, too. I suppose the Son'a have essentially established themselves a separate state. And yet, is the Son'a's attempt to take over the Ba'ku's planet all that different from a Duras family coup on Gowron? What is it that gives the Ba'ku full legitimacy over what is to be done with that planet that the Son'a, also native to the planet (and indeed, it sounds like they were born on the planet, unlike most of the leaders of the community), don't have? OK, so Dougherty shouldn't have been involved, and Picard sending Riker to tell the Federation Council would still make sense, and some of Picard's actions make sense as a way of counteracting the Federation involvement (like the blockade to take away the Romulan involvement in "Redemption"). But once Dougherty is dead, the issue really does become Son'a vs. Ba'ku, with Picard and his crew very clearly choosing one faction over another. That doesn't mean Picard et al. are wrong to involve themselves, especially once Ru'afo turns up the heat and moves from Forced Relocation to Murder, but it surely does a lot of damage to the Prime Directive argument for involvement on the Ba'ku's behalf once it is revealed that they are *all* Ba'ku.

All of which is mostly to say that I think there are a lot of ways in which the movie's arguments could have been made more interesting, and should have been. It may be that bringing up (some of) these arguments would have significantly changed the story, but they would at the very least have made it more interesting and would probably have made it more coherent. It is hard to get involved with the story when there is such a big sense that Picard is not asking the right questions, that data is being omitted to make the choices appear easier in a way that actually undermines those choices.

As a piece of entertainment...ehh. I found myself bored by most of the action (compare for First Contact, which was stunning throughout). I did like the duck blind sequence at the beginning -- after the opening credits' version of paradise thankfully ended. As goofy as it is, I admit I enjoyed the HMS Pinafore Picard/Worf/Data sequence. Riker and Troi getting together is something I am fine with overall, and the scenes between them are somewhat cute but still a bit off. (And yes, Troi DID kiss Riker with a beard before -- Menage a Troi. Well, and she kissed Tom Riker with a beard, but I can understand not wanting to bring that up.) Geordi's scene looking at the sunrise was effective, if a tiny bit obvious, partly because LeVar Burton's eyes are very expressive and he doesn't get a chance to use them that often. Worf puberty plotline -- no. Data and the child was...okay, though really, Data learning to "have fun" every day is rather a waste of the character. Picard's romance with Anij did not hold my interest. F. Murray Abraham is an incredibly talented performer, slotted into a nothing of a character.

I'd probably give the whole package 1.5 stars.
William B
Fri, Jun 19, 2015, 9:03am (UTC -6)
I did like that the Son'a lieutenant was convinced by Picard to call off the, you know, mass murder, and Picard played peacemaker to let him rejoin the Ba'ku. I mean, presumably he will still die, if we are to believe the "they may not last the ten years it will take for the metaphasic radiation to take effect" thing (which, again, Worf went through *puberty* in like a day, but I digress).
William B
Fri, Jun 19, 2015, 9:06am (UTC -6)
Also: I admit that it is pretty funny that Riker shaving his beard essentially functions as a reversal of the "growing the beard" trope; Riker growing the beard signaled the show's big increase in quality, and his shaving it signals a big drop. I mean, he has it back again for Nemesis (which is worse than this one), so it's not as if it's a useful measure for real.
William B
Fri, Jun 19, 2015, 9:14am (UTC -6)
Okay, one or two more points.

What was with that time-slowing-down thing? Like, okay, as metaphor, fine, but Anij and then Picard actually had magical powers to make time slow down not just in their own perception, but in the other person's, through touch? Was that a metaphasic property too?

I think my disappointment in the film comes down to the sense that (as Jammer states in the last paragraph of the review) this huge, massive discovery -- a Fountain of Youth! -- just is not given its proper weight. Compared to the way ST2-3 played the Genesis Device, or First Contact played first contact, or ST6 the Khitomer accords, or even the way Generations played the Nexus, there is no sense of the scope of this important discovery. It just sits there.
Fri, Jul 10, 2015, 7:21pm (UTC -6)
I have lots of thoughts on this movie & what some of the other commenters have said, so I'll break my comment into 3 parts (hopefully easier to read).

Michael Piller wanted this to evoke the "Trail of Tears"; but the movie completely fails that analogy. The Amerindians were deprived of their private property so that Whites could then take it as their private property. This was pure racism and doesn't correspond to what the Federation was doing here. Instead, we have Picard & company defending the property of the "Space Amish" (I like that term STD!) against the collectivist Federation who want to acquire the property in the name of the "greater good."

As an aside, I want to point out that this isn't quite analogous to the power of "Eminent domain" in the US & (as far as I know) other western countries. You're supposed to get fair market value when the government seizes your property in the US. On the surface it looks like they're getting fair market value, one planet exchanged for another planet with the same climate (as another aside, even a primitive culture would realize something's different; the stars would change). However, this clearly isn't the true market value. What if the Space Amish decided to partner with the Ferengi & sell little homesteads on their "fountain of youth" planet? Even if you believe the Ferengi would swindle them on the contract terms, the Space Amish should easily make enough to buy dozens (if not hundreds) of planets like the one the Federation is giving them.

So this isn't a case of eminent domain; it is a case of private property vs. the "greater good". On the one hand, you have the Space Amish who got to this planet first and have claimed it as their own. If you believe in their property rights, of course they can keep it all to themselves; if you believe in their property rights, of course they have the right to kick those ungrateful punk kids all the way off their planet! So what if the kids will die while their parents live forever? Now the Federation comes in, claims the well being of billions of people & the lives of the exiled kids are superior to individual property rights of these 600 people, and decides they're going to take the property without anything resembling fair compensation.

Normally, we'd expect Picard to lecture the Space Amish on how greedy & self-centered they're being in keeping their property all to themselves; they should be forced to share for the greater good! I find it refreshing Picard took the opposite side this time (and you may think I'm being sarcastic on this particular point, but I'm really not). More than that, the story wants you to side with the Space Amish. First of all, it made them non-violent, while the Punk Kids had weapons. Of course that means the Punk Kids are the bad guys. Secondly, they had the "attractive guest actress who totally takes Dr. Crusher's role in the film". This also manipulates the audience into rooting for the Space Amish. If the Punk Kids wanted the audience to empathize with them, they should have had a pretty lady of their own to steal all Crusher's lines.

From reading Michel Piller's book* (or most of it, I skimmed some of the longer draft excerpts) and seeing some interviews, I know this is not what he intended, but it's what it became. Moreover, while there are some stuff that would have worked better in some of the early drafts, there's also stuff that I don't think would have worked as well.

*For those of you who don't know about Piller's book, which others have referenced above, it was never published, but his family released it for free on the internet. I'd recommend all fans of the TNG read it.
Fri, Jul 10, 2015, 7:29pm (UTC -6)
Despite the fact that we've heard Star Trek occasionally say things like "the Federation doesn't use money", many people who believe in capitalism are fans of Star Trek. First of all, even writers of Star Trek have admitted they don't know how the economy is supposed to work in any real sense. Secondly, we know there is some form of property in the Federation; there are original painting, antiquities, rare alcohol vintages, restaurants, vineyards, & other things that appear to be in private hands. So viewers who don't believe private property is really going away in the future can accept some of the over the top socialist statements as some of the many inconsistencies that pop up in Star Trek (read the comments of most of Jammer's reviews, and you'll find someone pointing out how something is inconsistent with something from another episode, or even with something in the same episode).

So how do people who aren't particularly socialist buy into the overall Star Trek ethos? They accept what may be the most fundamental ideal of Star Trek: that technological development means things like food, housing, & health care are ridiculously cheap. The Federation doesn't stress itself by giving everything away to the many non-federation members (like Bajor during DS9), but they still help out at apparently little expense to themselves. Your planet has an incurable disease? Just one doctor on one of our ships will be able to cure it in week! Star Trek doesn't show us the population of the Federation suffering to produce a socialist ideal; it shows us a society that can give stuff away at little cost to themselves. And the writers & producers wisely never try to show us how the Earth's economy works in any real way.

Left wing people ST fans can argue we'll only develop our economy enough to arrive at that future by socialism; right wing ST fans can argue that we'll only develop our economy enough by capitalism. Both agree, however, that technological development is the key! This is why it's always difficult & paradoxical for a Star Trek story to take an anti-technology stance. ST III was an anti-technology story that somewhat worked (it wasn't completely against technology, but it argued against overreaching with your ambition); this one didn't.

I will say that while the anti-technology message didn't work, the message to "stop and enjoy the moment" was somewhat more successful. Of course it was undermined by the fact that it was delivered by a race of people who have eternal youth and, therefore, have no reason to hurry & do anything (especially if outsiders like Picard will fight their battles for them). I think many people could use the message to use their technology more wisely; put down their cell phones for 30 minutes or an hour at a time and have real conversations with the people in front of you.

There's a lot of ideas in this film, but they're not thought out well (and often contrast with what the writer intended). Despite the muddled ideas, the plot moves along and is diverting enough that I'd give a similar summary as Jammer: "entertaining but thin".
Fri, Jul 10, 2015, 7:37pm (UTC -6)
The idea of the planet being "Federation territory" is a bit of a misnomer, since this is clearly not a Federation planet. I don't think ST writers have ever thought very clearly about this, but there are truly 2 concepts of Federation territory that are used in Star Trek stories.

The first concept of Federation territory comes from treaties with other major powers, like the Romulans, Klingons, and Cardassians. They draw boundaries in space and say the Federation will stay on one side, generally referred to as "Federation territory". But everything on that side of the boundary isn't truly territory of the Federation, since they don't generally force planets to join the Federation. It would probably be better to refer to these treaties as producing "exclusion zones", that keep other major powers out. The Romulans won't cross into the Federation's "exclusion zone"; this helps reduce the chances of conflict as a Federation colony won't find itself vulnerable from Romulan bases all around it.

The second concept of Federation territory comes from the actual planets that are members of the Federation. This is a much smaller territory; there are clearly many pre-warp civilizations that aren't aware of the Federation in the 'exclusive zone', and there must be warp capable planets within that zone that either haven't been invited to join the Federation (because they don't live up to their ideals) or decided not to join the Federation when invited. Moreover, unless the Federation is much more dictatorial than they claim to be, there must be trade routes these non-aligned worlds can use to travel through the Federation's "exclusion zone".

In this movie, the planet is clearly "Federation territory" only in the first sense. It doesn't really appear the Son'a need legal approval from the Federation to attack another non-aligned planet. In fact, the Federation would be obliged not to interfere if they prove it is a civil war. The Son'a probably invited the Federation only to ensure they wouldn't interfere. We know from the TV shows that Federation captains have a habit of ignoring the Prime Directive when it suits them.
Andy's Friend
Sat, Jul 11, 2015, 4:47am (UTC -6)
@Methane: “... I want to point out that this isn't quite analogous to the power of "Eminent domain" in the US & (as far as I know) other western countries. You're supposed to get fair market value when the government seizes your property...”

In a first comment, I understand and appreciate your point. But in fact, the concept of “eminent domain” varies considerably in Western Europe.

Because of its millennial feudal tradition, which far surpasses anything else in Western Europe, the lands of the Holy Roman Empire, today mostly Austria and Germany, have by far the most conservative legislation when it comes to protecting private ownership of land from expropriation by the Crown, or the modern State(s).

In the Holy Roman Empire―unlike say, Britain―private land ownership was always absolute: the possession of land was of paramount importance in the hierarchical structure of the Empire, from the Princes and Counts of the Empire to the lowly Free Knights (with lesser domains, but no lord other than the Emperor). The Empire had a most patrilinear tradition of inheritance; but in case of the absence of a male heir, the lands would *not* revert to the Crown, as in many other European kingdoms, but to the nearest male relative, through female transmission. But the female herself was merely a vessel: noble not in her own right, so to speak, but because her father had been so, and thus able to transmit his nobility to her sons.

The direct opposite of this is seen in the Iberian Peninsula, where all land in theory belonged to the Crown, but where noble women were nobles in their own right. Thus the concept of female transmission there was of a very different nature altogether; as this is totally off-topic, I will not elaborate here. Suffice it to say, that private ownership of land is, accordingly, much less protected today in legislation in Portugal and Spain than in Austria and Germany. England and France lie somewhere in between, but generally, historically, are somewhat closer to the Iberian model than to the Imperial one.

It all comes down to the role of women: in extremely patrilinear Northern Europe, women were nothing if not a vessel, linking their fathers to their sons. The further south you get, the more important women become―and thus the more chaotic land inheritance and succession becomes, with a multitude of possible claimants, including numerous descendants in female lines, which are virtually totally absent in Imperial lands.

It is higly interesting, considering the modern political and economical chaos of Southern Europe, totally lacking in clear-cut lines and rigid policies, to see how well this chaos reflects their nobiliarchic laws since the Middle Ages, so full of exceptions and loop-holes; and how the well-defined and rigorous political and social model of the conservative, Austro-German Christian Democracy inversely perfectly reflects the inflexible nobiliarchic system of those realms also since the Middle Ages.

Knowledge such as this (which, I know, is above what most viewers will have) makes me wonder how Klingon society is structured, and which historical European or other model resembles it most. And it's great when Star Trek makes you think of such things :)
Andy's Friend
Sat, Jul 11, 2015, 4:49am (UTC -6)
@Methane: “I think many people could use the message to use their technology more wisely; put down their cell phones for 30 minutes or an hour at a time and have real conversations with the people in front of you.”

This is so true. I remember a world without cell phones; and it was, in some ways, a better world when it came to human relations.

I do not remember a world without television. But I suspect that it too, in some ways, must have been a better world when it came to human relations. I’m pretty sure people visited each other more often, spent more time being and talking to each other, and wrote more letters―and importantly, more thoughts―to each other than they do today.

I am always astonished, when I read letters written by 20-year-old boys and girls in the late 19th or early 20th centuries, to see the degree of maturity, thoughtfulness, and humanity their letters contain. Not only a philosopher like Wittgenstein, writting home as a boy from the front lines in the Great War, but a great many young men of more humble origins were capable of expressing beautiful human thoughts in those days. Many more, and much nobler thoughts, than our youth today seems capable of.

This is one of the reasons I like “Inserruction” so much. At its core, the message of these “Space Amish” (you’re right: it's a great term) is a very true one.
Thu, Jul 16, 2015, 4:36pm (UTC -6)
I wasn't at all fond of this movie. It starts moderately promising, but the moment you start to see the chinks in its armor is when Worf is brought in for absolutely no reason, and they just throw the teased explanation out the window by having Dorn be interrupted in the middle of it.

It's like they're saying to you "we know you don't care why Worf's here, wink wink Star Trek fans!"

I DO care why Worf is in the movie. Things that happen in a story should make sense, or be thrown out of the story.

It just starts falling apart from there. That affront to any intelligent moviegoers may as well be The Moment It All Came Crashing Down.

The borderline moronic plot has been rightfully excoriated by STD and others. "Save the Space Amish!! Pay no attention to the bland script that glosses over the story details in favor of dumb ass computer effects and dad-ish, imbecilic humor, just Save the Space Amish!!"

If there's anyone now who cares whether this franchise sinks or swims, they must learn from the mistakes the franchise has committed, one of them being "don't start making the movie until the script is ready." That would seem an obvious and prudent movie-making strategy, but in Hollywood, the script may as well be 200 pages of fart jokes with the Star Trek fanfare on top. They don't give a crap whether the movie's any good; they rely on the huge name recognition the series has to sell tickets.

I don't appreciate a movie that insults my intelligence. Less so when it's a Star Trek movie, Star Trek being the standard-bearer for thought-provoking fiction as it is.

This movie take my intelligence and wipes it's ass with it, then hands it back to me saying "throw that in the garbage would you? There's a good Trekkie!!"
Latex Zebra
Fri, Nov 20, 2015, 6:43pm (UTC -6)
How has everyone overlooked this gem of a line.

Picard: Mr. Worf, do you know Gilbert and Sullivan?
Worf: No sir, I have not had a chance to meet all the new crew members since I have been back.

I crease up everytime.

But yeah, this would have been a great two part episode but they should have been thinking bigger for the movies.
Sat, Dec 19, 2015, 12:01am (UTC -6)
I really wanted to like this movie more than I ended up liking it in the end. The ethical dilemma posed was a very good one initially, but ultimately wasted in favor of flashy action scenes and dumb one liners.

Jammer was spot on in his assessment: "A real "insurrection" could've been very interesting—something that might've actually challenged the moral compass of the Federation... if two-thirds into the film it becomes clear that Picard's actions will ultimately be unquestionably heralded as the Right Thing by the Federation Council, it seems a little too much like the Easy Way Out."

Especially with the Dominion War going on, that would have been a perfect reason for the Fed Council to say "Screw ethics, we're steamrolling the planet" and set the stage for an actual Picard-vs-Starfleet rebellion. (Never mind the question of why the Enterprise-E is busy on relatively unimportant explorations **in the middle of a war which the Feds are losing**. Shouldn't they be on the front lines with Sisko and Admiral Ross?)

Not to be too negative, there were still a lot of good scenes. The Picard-Anij scenes were quite good, and there were some good dialogue moments (the Gilbert and Sullivan line, and Picard's "How many does it take Admiral?!" speech also deserves to go down as a classic scene). And the visuals are quite good even by today's standards. The 1701-E is still my favorite starship design of the TNG era. (Not a fan of the gray Starfleet uniforms though - although one would not want to wear a bright red shirt to a dangerous away mission for more than one obvious reason, the gray uniforms come off as drab and boring. I still like the original TNG uniforms - they were bright and cheerful!)
Sat, Feb 6, 2016, 10:07pm (UTC -6)
"There's also the whole issue of Data's emotion chip, which now apparently can be removed on a whim. My question to the producers of the TNG film series: Do you want Data to have emotions or not? Whatever the case, it's a waste to simply have Data in a state of non-growth."

For a long time, the brush-off of the chip bugged me because it violated an established rule. However, just because the chip couldn't be removed in Generations doesn't mean further experimentation wouldn't find a way. These people can cure incurable diseases in a single episode! Clearly, Data has been busy, offscreen, trying to rid himself of his bothersome emotions.

Think of it! Data achieved his lifelong goal but chose to reject it. (Or maybe his friends, tired of the "Mr. Tricorder" routine, persuaded him.) This isn't non-growth; it's a hint of a deeper tragedy.

Which would've been more interesting than this movie.
Trek fan
Mon, Nov 28, 2016, 11:49pm (UTC -6)
I'm watching all of the ST films, from TMP to Beyond, with a large and very mixed group of people in their 20s and 30s right now. As we wrap up our weekly marathon, I must say: Every single person agreed that Insurrection is the absolute worst Star Trek movie ever made. Yes, it's worse than Star Trek V. Utterly awful. And "Nemesis" actually holds up well; we were rather entertained by it. Not sure how Jammer could give both "Insurrection" and "Nemesis" 2 1/2 stars, as the latter is at least trying to do something.
james alexander
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 2:21am (UTC -6)
I've taken to calling them space druids, with their apparent refusal to progress past the Iron Age Technologically.

the "Fountain of youth" should have been done away with, because the way it is executed leaves the space-druids without an argument:
the ugly buggers are coming back to a planet that supposedly grants long life-spans or something, and the space-druids won't piss off, despite the progress that they could make in another place. (McCoy lived to 140 according to the books, which isn't bad)
so the druids have the knowledge of advanced technology but they refuse to use it, instead they refuse to leave Narnia.
james alexander
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 2:28am (UTC -6)
Trek fan, I kind of agree with you.

nemesis was unspeakably dull but at least it had that battle.

insurrection is just painful to watch, with the comedy layered over a badly written political story, that also thinks it's an action film. in the first twenty minutes we see Data lose his mind, causing Picard and Data to stunt-fly their shuttles and somehow lock them together, without smashing into the ground, while Data sings HMS Pinafore. screw the Prime Directive, we're going to outfly the red arrows, in space shuttles.
there was one good moment and that was also completely bonkers, when Riker pulls out a joystick and starts flying the Enterprise like it's a computer game.
james alexander
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 2:44am (UTC -6)
third thing that I need to bitch about:
Action Picard, and this is an issue with all the films. in this one we see a bald man in his sixties climbing all over a scaffold while holding a rifle, and he even stops to complain that he's too old at one point. Show Picard was a wise captain who would talk the back legs of a donkey then debate the moral justification for doing so, and now he's taking the Bruce Willis roles, in the films?

I can understand Riker doing action stuff, because it's Riker, and I can buy Worf beating people up, although he's starting to get fat in this one, but is Picard having a midlife crisis?
Peter G.
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 7:42am (UTC -6)
"Action Picard, and this is an issue with all the films. in this one we see a bald man in his sixties climbing all over a scaffold while holding a rifle, and he even stops to complain that he's too old at one point. "

Recall that at the academy Picard was for all intents and purposes an olympic level athlete. Although he's older now, we're given clues now and then that he keeps himself in shape and is still athletically very capable. Also we may as well forget about his age, as medical technology by then probably makes a man in his 60's as lithe as someone today would be in their 40's. What Picard does in the films is child's play compared to what he had to do over and over in "Chain of Command."
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 9:30am (UTC -6)
@james alexander

Blame Rick Berman for trying to use the cast to do too much action stuff despite them proven at more thoughtful Sci-Fi pieces. It's funny, people complain about Abrams' Trek, but at least Abrams knew how to work with his cast. You certainly didn't see him pushing Nimoy into any stunts.

Insurrection could've been so much better if it was played out more like a TNG episode such as "The Ensigns of Command" or "Who Watches the Watchers". Those episodes and many others play to the cast's acting strengths.
james alexander
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 9:40am (UTC -6)
that's a good point Peter, people are living longer and Picard has been put through worse situations before, such as in Chain of Command, or even the episode where his artificial heart blew-out and it was revealed that Q is Saint Peter.
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 9:57am (UTC -6)
To be fair, Picard being used in that Chain of Command mission seemed pretty unrealistic itself. I always thought Nechayev had it out for him, putting Picard on that mission as a form of punishment.
james alexander
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 10:06am (UTC -6)
well, somebody thought that it was a good idea for a flag-officer to beam down to a Cardassian Planet on a black-ops mission.
Peter G.
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 10:26am (UTC -6)
I think too much is made about how 'realistic' it was for Picard to be assigned to that mission. It's a given circumstance that the Cardassians engineered a technical threat that *only* Picard was qualified to deal with. It doesn't matter what that threat actually was - it's just a McGuffin. The point is that it had to be Picard and no one else, by design of the trap. Nechayev may have signed off on the order, but she wasn't the one who chose Picard; the Cardassians were. We may quibble about whether the script gave explicit enough detail about why Picard was the only one who could accomplish the mission, but really it doesn't matter. The Cardassians found some way to lure him in, and that's that.

That Picard was a starship Captain might have made the decision to send him difficult, but if it was between that and the Cardassians developing an illegal weapon I don't think there was much of a choice. He would almost certainly have volunteered even if they didn't order him to go.
Fri, Dec 9, 2016, 10:39am (UTC -6)
It would've been more believable if the assignment was something we knew Picard was good at, like archeology. Instead the audience is supposed to buy some technobabble and think, "Oh right, theta-band carrier waves, Picard's perfect for that."
Sun, Jan 15, 2017, 2:53pm (UTC -6)
I can't even watch the opening scene where the camera pans through the village without my blood starting to boil, because of the sheer selfishness and hypocrisy of the Ba'ku and the ENT crew
Sun, Jan 15, 2017, 3:05pm (UTC -6)
Also, I wonder what the Enterprise's current Chief of Security thinks of getting an unwarranted demotion every time Worf strays back onto the Enterprise.
Sun, Jan 22, 2017, 11:49am (UTC -6)
So much nauseatingly trite banter in this film, including pretty every Anij/Picard conversation. And who the hell would want to spend 40 years as an apprentice? If adults never age and vacate social positions, the children will basically stay children even long after they're adults. What a stagnant civilization that would be. Another example of a "heaven" actually being rather hellish.
Sun, Jan 22, 2017, 11:53am (UTC -6)
And isn't it interesting that Ro's actions in Preemptive Strike were a violation of core Federation principles. and here the exact other point of view is a violation of core Federation principles. Here is where Picard surrenders his right to champion core Federation principles.
Roger W Norris
Mon, Aug 7, 2017, 12:51pm (UTC -6)
Has Star Trek forgotten its own history? They had the same situation a century ago (their time) in the Omega Glory! You had some Federation official find that the native inhabitants lived long, and tried to aid one side to get the secret. Didn't anyone remember that? According to one independent reference book, Omega IV joined the federation as "Reagan's World." You had a vaguely similar situation in "Miri."
For that matter, where the heck was Guinan? She's about 400 years old. She would know about long lives. (Though I am upset that we never saw Borg drones from her home planet. And did the Borg use the el-Aurians to extend their own lifespans?)
An old idea reused--and not well.
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 6:42pm (UTC -6)
This is the only TNG film I like.

Someone recently started a post berating Insurrection's "terrible moral message". The film is stupid, they claim, because "600 Baku hippies prevent the Federation from using a planet with healing properties to save all lives in the Universe."

People seem to forget the film carefully parcels information out to Picard. At various points, he doesn't know the planet has healing properties, he doesn't know what the Admiralty is up to, he doesn't know what the Son'a want (they want to essentially nuke the planet to steal its healing radiation), and he doesn't know the relationship between the Sona and the Baku. Repeatedly throughout the film, Picard makes decisions based on partial information, and his ultimate aim throughout the film is always to simply "slow things down" so that proper decisions can be made. Picard isn't looking to solve the ethical dilemma Insurrection proposes. He's simply hoping to stop others making that decision behind closed doors. He's hoping to stall things so that others can gather information and weigh in on this problem. He's stopping others from hastily playing God.

One can easily envision Picard's success at stalling the Sona leading to a Federation outpost permanently above the planet, working in collaboration with the Baku below, and further studying its properties. Picard in the episode is simply arguing for time, deliberation and reasoned action.

One must also remember that the healing planet is not a member of the Federation (and so the Feds have no legal right to relocate the Baku), that the Baku die if removed from the planet, that the Sona work with the Dominion (they make ketracel while), and that the Sona selfishly want to nuke the planet because of their own existential problems.

The film is also careful to point out that Sona are simply impatient. Only their older leaders are at risk of death, and even then, most may survive the roughly ten years of radiation exposure needed to reverse their condition. In short, a small group of impatient Sona simply want the fountain of youth NOW, everyone else be damned. Their manic urgency is contrasted with the Baku and Picard, who want to slow things right down. Indeed, the Baku culture implicitly hinges upon the slowing of time.

And of course the Sona's means of collecting the metaphasic radiation is revealed to be a one-time burst which would render that planet uninhabitable, and would kill the planet's ability to give future generations seemingly limitless lifespans. To paraphrase William B above, this suggests that the Sona procedure may not even be the best method to take advantage of the radiation even if the Baku weren't there. If the needs of the Federation outweighs the needs of the Baku, it also outweighs the needs of the Sona.
Peter G.
Fri, Feb 16, 2018, 11:12pm (UTC -6)
@ Trent,

"This is the only TNG film I like."

Aha! I thought I was the only one. I don't like all of it, and over the Sona aren't that interesting to watch, but the general tenor of the film feels like an actual TNG episode to me, ruined only by needless action scenes and ultra-high stakes. But after being rather disappointed by Generations, and outright disliking First Contact, this one at least struck me as being quite watchable, if ill-conceived in certain respects. And of course Nemesis is the worst, to the point where when I first tried rewatching it for the first time I actually couldn't make it to the end.

One thing about the morality of the fountain of youth plot here, is that the TNG cast itself seemed mostly of a mind that they fundamentally disagreed with the position of the script and believed that the Federation ought to be seeking ways to mine the fountain to save people. Of course the Sona are portrayed as being Really Evil, but putting that aside the cast seemed unconvinced that the well being of a small village compared to the fate of billions or trillions, and they had a hard time accepting that they were fighting for the side against that. As you point out, Trent, that's not exactly what was happening, but because of weaknesses in the script it certainly comes across that way at first glance, as it did to the cast.

One can tell that more went wrong with the script than merely having a murky sense of exactly what Picard was fighting for, because we don't particularly see any "insurrection" taking place. As I understand it the original plot concept was that the Federation had found something so valuable that it was in danger of being corrupted by it (the One Ring, what else) and that Picard had a clearer picture of what the Federation needed to do than they did. It's sort of a Michael Burnham situation, if you'll forgive the comparison. But that plotline seems to have gotten scuttled along the way and the story is instead portrayed as Picard trying to expose one corrupt Admiral, which is course is hardly an insurrection at all but rather what one would expect any good Starfleet officer to do. In this case I think this type of story was handled much better in Ensign Ro.

Nevertheless for its faults it's still fundamentally a TNG tale, which is more than I can really say for the other films, which I think have correctly been criticized for being too action-oriented.
Sat, Feb 17, 2018, 1:40am (UTC -6)
Yeah, Piller's original idea (Heart of Darkness in reverse) was great, but I think Patrick Stewart and Spiner stepped in and vetoed alot of stuff. Once the "thing needed on the planet" was changed to a Fountain of Youth, decisions were also made to make a more comedic film. Everyone was looking to repeat the success of Star Trek 4.

Nemesis' core philosophical message (nature vs nurture; how sympathetic should we be to those warped by environmental factors, and how much freedom do we have to rise above our station?) is good too, with its Picard and Mirror Picard conflict. There's something very utopian about it (to infinity and beyond! Be like Picard!) and also horrifically chilling (you are a product of sheer, fleshy causal chains: no amount of morality and attempts at righteousness will overcome a nature inscribed and programmed into you by the universe!). But like Insurrection, all the interesting stuff just gets suffocated by action-movie demands.
Dan Bolger
Mon, Mar 12, 2018, 5:42pm (UTC -6)
I think the only great plus in this instalment was the music. Some of the humour was funny. Um and urmmmm the um, eject disc button.
Mon, Apr 23, 2018, 5:45pm (UTC -6)
For me, the unforgivable sin of Insurrection was its failure to be internally consistent with the rest of the ST universe, i.e. the events of DS9.

The movie was released during the final season of DS9. At that time, in-universe, the Federation was fighting for its very survival against the Dominion. You'd think that all other projects and missions would have been on hold at that time. It simply made no in-universe sense that the Federation's flagship and one of its most powerful warships, the Sovereign-Class Enterprise-E, would be doing anything but playing an important part in the Dominion war.

The TNG Novel "Tunnel Through The Stars" tells the kind of story that the 3rd TNG movie should have told: an epic, grand-scale adventure. I can't be the only fan who wanted to see the TNG crew (and Data in particularly) fight the Jem'Hadar.

Not making this into a TNG Dominion War movie also made no real world sense. The Star Trek franchise as a whole would have benefited from the synergy of Star Trek TV and Star Trek movies cross-promoting and being consistent with each other. Oh, and getting Worf into the story would have been natural and effortless.

I cannot comprehend how Berman and Paramount could not see that this was the right thing to do.
Big Top
Tue, Aug 28, 2018, 11:23pm (UTC -6)
Not the most pressing issue, but what is with the names in this film? Ba'ku? Son'a? Ru'afo? Anij? Sojef? They sound like names my 3-year-old might come up by throwing random syllables together. They are utterly unmemorable except insofar as they're memorably childish, like something from an 80s Saturday Morning Cartoon.
Tue, Dec 25, 2018, 7:42pm (UTC -6)
Rewatching with very low expectations, it unfortunately is about as bad and as or more frustrating than I last thought ...

The film really feels like three (or more) very much at-odds types of film: the basic story and its heart, the drama, is flawed but still pretty good (there's just a little too little doubt, dilemma or urgency but it's still pretty effective both in taking a stand and being fairly balanced, the core Picard/Dougherty conflict is really well-done), the drama is mostly diminished just by having too little of it (especially not having any Riker actually persuading the Federation Council) and too much of the other types-the humor and action are way too forced and overdone and yet also half-hearted or even lackluster.

The regular cast feels way too apathetic really early on, then the early Picard/Anij interaction is pretty good although the closeness becomes just a little too rushed, then the romance feels really thrown-in, forced, also at odds with the basic story and its drama. Crusher and Troi get really little to do and poor Worf is really unfortunately wasted.
Sean Hagins
Thu, Dec 27, 2018, 2:18am (UTC -6)
I for one liked this movie! The only issue I had with it at the time and still kind of do is the actress who plays Anij. I know this is a matter of personal preference, but to me she was far too old and unattractive. Ok, those are two separate things-first her age:

If the planet was supposed to de-age people, I would have chosen an actress close to her early 20s (although the real world reason is that it would make Patrick Stewart seem more a pervert than anything else. The episode with the flashback with him in the academy had a young actress (she was 17 I think), but he was supposed to be young as well.

The attractiveness angle is again my own opinion, and I know that my view on female attractiveness is vastly different than most guys (I found NONE of the regulars on Star Trek attractive except Ezri Dax and Kes), but again, there you have it.

But the movie itself to me was FUNNY! The line where Worf thought Gilbert and Sullivan were new crew members was Hilarious! (But I will grant that 375 years from now, they would have been more obscure-honestly, sad to say a lot of people even now might not know them!) And other lines and situations were downright funny/entertaining.
Wed, Feb 6, 2019, 11:09am (UTC -6)
When I was rewatching TNG I kept waiting for that one episode when Data goes beserk in an invisible suit. But it wasn't an episode but this movie. I've rewatched it just now and really enjoyed it. Yes, it could have been more ambitious, but it's a real good trip down Nostalgia Lane. Now I only have Nemesis left...
Sleeper Agent
Sat, Jun 1, 2019, 3:19pm (UTC -6)
Definitively the best of the TNG films. The pace and delivery of the story was excellent. The bad guys were great in that they started out as an ally, but slowly evolved to end up as these deranged freaks (I love it when a stream of blood pours down from a crack in Ru'afos forehead). However, in classic Star Trek fashion, one of them however, returns to his parents, thus adding nuance to a palette which is very back and white in the other (TNG) movies.

As many have pointed out, it feels like an good old episode. Personally, I welcome this, seeing as the best episodes of Trek are among the best entertainment the world has seen.

3 solid stars.
Latex Zebra
Fri, Dec 6, 2019, 3:48am (UTC -6)
Watched this last night for the first time in absolutely ages and I enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. Light and breezy, I think the humour works and doesn't feel too forced apart from a couple of jokes. A decent story, cool bad guys, a funky space battle.
Yeah, not the best but not the worst. I reckon this is a 3.
Mon, Jul 6, 2020, 3:46pm (UTC -6)
I just found it mostly boring. Some intriguing stuff, like I liked how Picard realized he was feeling younger when he started dancing to the Latin music.

But I did not like the massive regression of Data. Annoying and boring retread.

Also, the reveal that the Son’a and Ba’ku were not only the same species, but actual children and parents was rather strange. Were they aware of this or not? Why was this hidden? And the Enterprise figures it out easily enough. Did those Starfleet in charge of the duck blind do no due diligence?

One might think the Feds were so intent on stealing the fountain of youth from the planet that they skipped some steps. But then why bother with the duck blind at all? Seems like a rather cumbersome formality.

And of course why does Picard have such certitude the Baku own the planet? This is squatters’ rights on steroids.

Kudos though to mentioning the losses to the Borg and Dominion. Nice continuity, though it makes one wonder what the Enterprise has been up to during the Dominion war.

Lol though Riker flying the freaking 1701 with a PC joystick. Oh, and the joystick popping up so dramatic out of the floor. Wow, it goes back to the old joke that the worst science on Star Trek was always computer science.
Mon, Jul 27, 2020, 4:04pm (UTC -6)
This is a good film. I'd say it's actually grown on me even more so as the years have passed and I now consider it fairly obvious a par with First Contact and Generations, two films I've always enjoyed. It's a far more lively and vibrant film than Nemesis which always feels a bit tired and the actors clearly didn't have as much fun making Nemesis as they did with this film, and it shows!
Thu, Sep 10, 2020, 5:54pm (UTC -6)
Watching this film again, I still regard it as my favorite TNG movie. Having read the script, and Michael Piller's book on the making of the film, I'm also convinced that much of the bad stuff in this film is a result of a rushed production, and Frakes' rather anonymous work as a director. The actual core idea and story structure is better here than in any other TNG movie.

In this regard, "Insurrection" opens with a great sequence. Here Data goes rogue and reveals a cloaked Federation outpost on an alien planet. I'd have maybe milked the sequence a bit more - show Federation scientists and anthropologists studying the locals and peacefully gathering data etc - before Data goes rogue, but it's a cool sequence nonetheless.

We then get a series of neat vignettes. Here Piller effortlessly introduces us to TNG's huge cast, by having the gang attend a party hosted for an alien delegation. Picard is immediately sketched as an explorer, ambassador and man of culture, as he struggles to pronounce alien phrases, wear alien headgear, and mingle with pint-sized alien politicians. The dialogue here is packed with wit, charm and humor ("Our guests have arrived. They are eating the floral arrangements.", "Better have the chef whip up a light vinaigrette... something that goes well with chrysanthemums.").

But it's good Trek humor, poking fun at the wackiness of life in the Federation, be you scientist ("We can't delay the archaeological expedition to Hanoran Two. That'll put us right in the middle of monsoon season!"), maître d' ("Ensign, would you report to the galley and tell the chef to skip the fish course.") or mediator ("You'll be expected to dance with Regent Cuzar", "Can she mambo?").

Crucially, the TNG cast are handled here like the TOS movies handled their cast. With their tongues firmly in cheek, everyone's comical, rougish, easy-going, friendly and busy dropping zingers. Watched back to back with the other TNG movies - all either grim or too serious for what is dumb material - the difference is stark.

We then get a call from the Evil Admiral, Picard and crew dispatched to the Briar Patch to collect their android. It's a good, portentous scene. Unfortunately it's then followed by the film's first bad scene, as we watch Evil Villains and Evil Admirals talking on their ship and plotting Evil Stuff. Every good writer omits these scenes entirely. Indeed, the greatest writers/directors tend to omit antagonists entirely (It's to Nick Meyer's credit that he managed to craft two great mustache twirling villains in a row, largely by turning them into glorious hams).

More good scenes follow, Riker and Troi bonding, the Enterprise entering the Briar Patch and losing all communications with Federation space, and the gang browsing the computers to learn more about their destination. Picard also has a number of great little moments, like when he senses the torque sensors being twelve microns out of alignment, or orders Worf to "Straighten your baldric!". It's little touches like this - Nicholas Meyer was good at such things - which really conveys the sense of a futuristic space Navy.

Next comes the infamous shuttle sequence, in which Data and Picard battle in shuttles and share a sing-a-long. The sing-a-long never bothered me - I thought it was funny and I loved the Gilbert and Sullivan joke - but the shuttle battle always seemed lame to me, despite being directed about as good as something like this can be directed.

I'd have omitted the shuttle battle idea and gone the Joseph Conrad route, Data mad and holed up in an alien household and seemingly holding the locals hostage. Picard enters the dark and shadowy house, finds Data there surrounded by imprisoned Son'a and obedient Baku, and feels dread at what his android buddy has become. But Data, of course, promptly surrenders. He's been protecting the locals and waiting on genuine Federation representation all this time!

Piller's script then gives us a tour of the Baku settlement. Fans hated this rejection of their techno-idealism, but I loved the back-to-nature chic. Yes, Frakes is not strong enough an auteur to elevate these sequences, and yes the script doesn't interrogate the nature/technology dichotomy well enough (the low tech Baku rely on the high tech Federation for survival, and the high-tech Federation clearly lose something in their hermetically sealed spaceships, but both cultures are also not blind to the appeals of the other; Picard's always been a kind of naturalist, and the Baku can build a warp core with the best of 'em), but there's some neat stuff along the way. For every hokey blonde-haired Baku boy and CGI rodent, Frakes' gives us great shots of mountains or the crystal clear waters/lakes around the Baku settlement.

We then get the discovery of the “holo-ship”, which is another great sequence. We also get Data turning a giant wheel and damming the river/lake, Data underwater, a cool wooden boat ride, the discovery of the cloaked settlement and the insidious implications of a kind of far-future, "compassionate", "techno-relocation project"...lots of great little moments.

Even better, Data never becomes as overbearing as he does in the other TNG movies. Here, he is but a comical tool, occasionally employed or whipped out by Picard when necessary.

Next Picard and the crew begin to notice the effects of the planet's Fountain of Youth Energy. Worf turns into a teenager (pimples and late sleeping), Picard dances, Riker and Troi share bubble baths, Geordi sees a sunset for the first time. I like all these scenes - Geordi's in particular - which culminate with Picard and a Baku woman discussing the planet's regenerative properties. There's a low-key, sedate, graceful quality to their scenes together which I like.

The infamous argument between Picard and the Evil Admiral occurs next. It's a good scene, and we begin to appreciate the predicament Piller's script puts everyone in: the Federation own the planet, the alien settlers didn't originate there, the settlement is small, the benefits of removing them are enormous, and the Baku are indirectly responsible for the degeneration of the Sona. It's a nice little pretzel.

The problem is that it's IMMEDIATELY followed by Picard throwing away his uniform and going Rambo. The film needed a discussion between Picard and the gang, where they discuss the Evil Admiral's point of view, and challenge Picard's. There also needs to be a moment where Riker and Picard discuss their options. The lack of such rigorous scenes open the film up to unfair criticisms; fans, for example, routinely bash Picard for essentially denying the universe access to Healthcare. That Picard just wants to alert the Federation and bring the discussion out in the open - he wants transparency, and he wants the Baku to have a seat at the negotiating table - isn't made clear enough.

(Because of this, the film attracts a specific type of hater. Techno-utopians who see Picard as a dopey, romantic primitivist, and who ignore the fact that the Baku don't know why they're being hunted down, and that the Baku aren't actually denying anyone access to their planet)

Up until this point, I would say "Insurrection" has the most consistently good 30 or 40 minutes of TNG movie-Trek. Unfortunately, from this point onward, the film gets steadily worse. Piller has Picard and the gang beam down to the planet and help the Baku hide out in the hills. We then get a kind of Trail of Tears exodus, action scenes more pacy and free flowing than the other TNG movies, but also fairly unimaginative (point at drone and shoot!).

Meanwhile Riker and the Enterprise try to make it out of the Briar Patch and shoot off a signal to the Federation. This should lead to a nice race-against-time sequence, the Enterprise falling apart as it tries desperately to clear the Patch, but instead we get Riker using a joystick, and a dumb moment with the warp core ejecting.

Then we get to the climax, which takes a great idea - using the holo-ship to outsmart the enemy (very Kirky!) - and wraps it up in indefensible crap. And so the enemy has some kind of Death Star superweapon, Picard and Data get sweaty and engage in fisticuffs while dangling from ledges, and bad, unfinished CGI starships shoot and blow crap up in unimaginative ways.

How to fix all of this? Remove the superweapon and remove the Sona. Your plot then becomes a Federation Admiral removing aliens from a Federation planet. The Admiral is dying of some disease and needs that Medicare, but he's also been sanctioned by the Federation Council itself. Perhaps the Council has been misled by the Admiral, or perhaps the Dominion War has pushed them into crossing lines they would not ordinarily cross.

Either way, Picard challenges the Admiral (maybe he's in an old, refitted Excelsior class ship), but they soon find themselves in a dilemma. Picard can't leave the the Briar Patch to talk to the Federation without the Admiral taking the planet, and the Admiral can't kill Picard or take the planet because the Enterprise outguns the Excelsior-class. Meanwhile Picard can't fire on the Admiral because he'd be court martialed or something.

Instead of Riker having to sneak the Enterprise out of the Briar Patch, have the Enterprise forced to blockade the Admiral's ship. The Enterprise struggles to get a shuttle out of the patch, but manages, only to have the shuttle met by a trio of Federation ships heading into the Briar Patch. Turns out the Federation are sending reinforcements not to help Picard, but the Admiral. Seeing that the Federation is sanctioning the relocation, Picard stands down and offers to negotiate with the Baku. The Baku, not being jerks, concede to leaving the planet.

You can then use this to really get to the meat of Piller's idea, not just an interrogation of colonialism (the unjust removal of people from land), but utilitarianism, property rights (land commonly owned for the good of the majority), and issues of individualism vs collectivism as well (why should I give this up for you?). Think the 1960 Elia Kazan film "Wild River" (itself the influence on a DS9 episode).

Such a film would also have to offer a philosophical and political defense of Progress and also delineate what exactly constitutes The Greater Good. Because removing the Baku starts looking like the real-life exterminating and relocation of indigenous peoples in the name of "Modernity", if you don't offer a robust explanation as to why your conception of Progress is Morally Sound.

Such a hypothetical film should thus show the Federation eventually bending over backwards for the Baku, and bending over backwards to meet all their relocation demands. And it should be made clear why the Baku - maybe not all of them - eventually agree to leave, and how the Federation actually uses their planet for the Greater Good.

This is all interesting stuff, and Piller has some of it on his mind, but I suspect the realities of mainstream American film-making got in the way. Getting audiences to cry for relocated space natives is easy - most viewers identify as propertarians themselves - but a film defending a state's re-purposing and repossessing of property strikes against some deeply held American notions.

In a way, it's a shame "Insurrection" and "Star Trek V" are so flawed, because they're arguably the most thematically meaty of all the Trek films.
Tommy Tutone
Sun, Sep 27, 2020, 3:45pm (UTC -6)
Note: For those who have read Michael Piller's book, the whole point of the book wasn't "My script got ruined by meddling from executives and actors." The point of the book is "This is how a typical script gets made in Hollywood."

I'm not sure if any of Pillar's script ideas would've worked, but eventually they had a deadline to meet and did the best with what they had. There's not much I can say to add that hasn't been said already, from the lame villain and muddled moral dilemma to the inconsistent tone and bland guest stars.

I can sum up the movie in one word: Boring.

And it's a shame that this movie essentially killed the franchise. After doing a movie written and directed by two Trek veterans (Piller and Frakes) which flopped, they went with outsiders for Nemesis which was even worse. RIP TNG
Mon, Sep 28, 2020, 7:26am (UTC -6)
I watched "Insurrection" this weekend. It was the first time I had seen it in years, and I have to say, I really enjoyed it. I'm not sure why this film gets so much grief, because there's a lot to enjoy and very little to dislike. It's a fun adventure for the TNG crew, with some nice moments for most of the characters (though poor Dr. Crusher gets nothing to do once again). 3 stars.
Hotel bastardos
Wed, Jan 27, 2021, 2:27pm (UTC -6)
Umm... Good stuff, but problematic. Monsieur Picard didn't wring his hands in the past when it came to letting civilisations getting whacked... Then again, maybe he seen the error of his ways... Star trek is of course all about evolution....
Sarjenka's Brother
Sat, Feb 6, 2021, 4:46pm (UTC -6)
Bottom line: We wanted a GREAT movie with cinematic impact. Instead, we got a merely good movie with no real lasting repercussions.

I don't understand the hate for "Insurrection," though. I watched it last night here in early 2021 (I think this was my third viewing). I stayed entertained start to finish. But it simply isn't a hall of famer like ST 2-4, Undiscovered Country and First Contact. It's a middle child. It's not a stinker, it's not epic. (It actually would have been a good two-parter for TV, as others have said.)

I think they actually had a GREAT idea/theme but just didn't sell it all the way. And that's the Federation has taken a lot of hits. It's weakened and wounded. And maybe ready to be a bit more flexible, to say the least, with its ideals in this weakened and humiliate state.

I agree with the person who posted that Patrick Stewart thought that should be the theme for a trilogy of movies. I agree: A battle for the soul of the Federation, as members cross lines that shouldn't be crossed.

While I had nothing per se against the entire Ba'ku / Son'a storyline, I think there were better vehicles to explore this idea of the Federation crossing ethical and moral lines. And I think I would have stayed with races and planets already established, at least in the first movie for the "Battle for the Soul of the Federation" trilogy.

I'd borrow from "In the Pale Moonlight" and "Empire Strikes Back" to some degree:

Open up with the Enterprise under attack by several Orion ships after falling into a trap set by them. The Enterprise, which supposedly has better technology, should prevail but is surprised to find the Orions have more powerful weapons than previously known and in is serious danger of losing the battle. At the last minute, a Federation ship of Andorians come to the rescue. Turns out the Orions (and the Tholians and Gorn off-screen) have become increasingly aggressive since the Dominion War.

Picard feels a grateful kinship with the Andorian captain because he loses his ship and some of his crew while saving the Enterprise. The A captain tells Picard he has now gathered conclusive evidence that Romulans (specifically Tomalak) are secretly assisting the Orions, Gorn and Tholians to further weaken the Federation in a proxy war. And Beverly meets an Andorian scientist she's always admired who survived the battle.

Starfleet calls both vessels to Earth for highly secretive talks. The Federation Council decides to launch a secret preemptive attack on Romulus, with just the Enterprise and a special Andorian ship, both equipped with cloaks and new weapons technology developed and repurposed from captured J'em Haddar ships. Also along for the ride, a J'em Haddar officer to assist.

Long story short: Turns out the Romulans are NOT aiding and abetting the Orions.

It's the Andorian captain, who dreams of heading a more aggressive and militaristic Federation. He's promised an ambitious Orion "slave woman" -- who is anything but a slave -- that they'll be calling the shots. It's unclear who is leading who in this power-hungry duo.

And what better place to start than an attack on Romulans, who have been so sneaky in the past? (And it later turns out the Federation Council KNOWS of this plot but the leadership thinks they'll be able to scapegoat the Andorians and Orions after the deed is done. This includes Vulcan, Human and Tellarite council members.)

It's the good Andorian scientist, Beverly and Geordi who first get wind of this on the Andorian ship en route to Romulus, but there's a lot of peril for them and can't warn Picard (however you set that up).

So the orders are: Do the attack. Picard has grown increasingly uneasy with the enthusiasm of his new Andorian buddy, but until minutes before the attack, doesn't have true evidence. Finally, the A scientist, Beverly and LaForge are able to warn Picard (and the A scientist is killed and Beverly severely injured in getting the evidence to the Enterprise).

Picard turns on the A ship, there's a huge battle as Romulan warbirds approaching. The A captain and his Orion accomplice escape just before their ship blows up. Before the crippled Enterprise can pursue, the Romulans surround the Enterprise and force it to surrender, genuinely having no idea what's going on other than it appears the Enterprise was about to launch an attack.

The movie ends with several scenes set a week later:

-- The Federation Council announcing that Picard and the Enterpise went rogue and they disavow all knowledge of the attack in front of the Romulan ambassador.

-- The Andorian captain and his Orion woman ally are seen meeting with a Ferengi about the purchase of a derelict Klingon ship.

-- Geordi and Beverly, near death, are in an Andorian escape pod drifting in space with no communications equipment. No one knows they are alive. All of a sudden, a Delta Quadrant Vidiian ship, of all things, approaches them.

-- Picard, Riker, Troi, Data, Worf and the J'em Haddar officer (the latter two who have bonded) are paraded in front of Tomalak and the Romulan Senate. Tomalak condemns them to death for crimes against the Romulan Star Empire.

BAM. Movie ends with a close-up of a stony faced Picard.
Bok R'Mor
Sat, Feb 13, 2021, 4:43pm (UTC -6)
As a few other commenters have pointed out above, reading Michael Piller's unpublished book about the writing of this film and the creative and practical compromises that went into it (and which go into the making of any film) gives you a fuller understanding of what was intended, what was traded away, and what was outright lost. Recommended.

As viewers we rarely appreciate the sheer time and effort (much less the stress and horse trading) invested in every second of screentime we see, good or bad.

That said, Insurrection as a final product is ultimately inoffensive, well-meaning filler, and fairly forgettable. The consensus - that it feels like an extended episode of the series - is hardly disputable, but even as a two-parter in S7 of TNG I doubt that final product would have been hailed as anything other than pleasantly mediocre.

Given that it is one of only four big screen outings for the TNG crew, Insurrection feels very much the wasted opportunity, even though (like all films) it did not set out to be one.
James G
Sun, Mar 14, 2021, 11:39am (UTC -6)
So I worked through the seven TV series, then I started to watch the TNG films. Then this one was next up, and it took me a long time to get round to it. Having seen at the cinema when it came out, I just didn't have any real enthusiasm for it.

As it turns out I enjoyed it a bit more than I expected. But not much more. I think it's overlong. It's an idea that would have stretched to a one hour TV episode that, for me, would have been average at best.

My main problem with it though is the idea it's based on, this notion of a natural fountain of youth. Even for sci-fi, it stretches credulity too far. It would change the whole history of humanity. It would surely be reproduced synthetically eventually and then the whole fabric of human (and Klingon, etc etc) life and society is changed irrevocably. It's best not to touch huge concepts like this, they raise too many questions and problems.

It's also sort of hard to support the notion that, since their world could indeed benefit billions, this small settlement of 600 people should just be left alone. Especially when they aren't indigenous.

I found it odd that a society that has, in Picard's words, "rejected technology" should be able to diagnose the fault in Data's positronic gubbins. Why do they learn that sort of thing?

I don't really like Data going off the rails and attacking Starfleet, even as a consequence of damage from being attacked. It really undermines his character.

There's a certain sentimental whimsy in the way the main characters are played that I suppose is inevitable after over ten years, especially since this must have been the first time for a few years that the cast was back together. And interestingly they're starting to look a bit middle-aged, especially Brent Spiner.

But my main dislike is the long, drawn out, dramatic action movie conclusion. It just didn't grab me.

Anyway, it's not that bad. But to be honest it felt like a bit of a chore sitting through it. My recollection is that Nemesis is a bit better so I'll do that one soon.
Dave in MN
Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 12:27am (UTC -6)
Would THAT much change socially if people didn't grow old and die (unless they opted out)? I really question this notion that living longer equates with some massive change in the human condition.
Bob (a different one)
Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 10:44am (UTC -6)
"Would THAT much change socially if people didn't grow old and die?"

Yeah, of course it would be a massive social change.
Dave In MN
Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 11:04am (UTC -6)
well, setting aside societal changes in demographics/employment and when people would choose to have children, what exactly would change about individual human behavior?

You could grow old and die if you wanted to and there would still be the Wild Card of accidental death. The threat of permanent demise would still be ever-present.

But behavior-wise, I doubt a 120 year old with a young body wouldn't do all the things a younger person with the same body would: they'd have fun, have romantic partners, hold down a job, etc.

People are people and their nature isn't going to change just because they have more birthdays. The human life span doubling hasn't done anything as far as changing what motivated and drives us. It's not like living an extra 30,000 days would turn you into some unrecognizble sexless sage on a mountaintop disinterested in the affairs of men.
Bob (a different one)
Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 12:02pm (UTC -6)
What if Albert Einstein lived for 10,000 years?

What if Alexander the Great hadn't died at 33?

What if you could spend 500 years just studying?

What if you could piss away 500 years just doing nothing without really having lost anything?

Have you never said "Boy, if I knew then what I knew now, things would be different?" Imagine having an eternity to actually do just that!

Rewatch the scene between Data and his creator in "Brothers" where they discuss having children and the importance of cherishing old things. How would that scene play out between two immortals?

What would be the effects on society if the young never had to support the elderly and infirm?

What would the economy look like if there were an unending surplus of able bodied workers?

How would gaining immortality conflict with the hardwired biology of humans? Would they still be driven to do have children? Wage war?

There are millions and millions of things that would be different. The only way I could list them all is if I were an immortal. Unfortunately, I am not.
Dave in MN
Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 1:51pm (UTC -6)
I'm suggesting that the things that drive us (our instincts and our passions) won't change because you live longer. You can become a enlightened and educated human as possible, but that doesn't erase the underlying biology and how that influences behavior.

Just think of all the famous people from the 20th Century that passed on. Do you think they would be behaving any differently just because they were alive for an extra few youthful decades?

I'm talking about the human experience and the operation of the mind, not the economic ramifications.

Having a youthful body is just that. A youthful body.
Dave in MN
Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 1:55pm (UTC -6)
And, like I said, when the "Fountain of Youth" is finally invented (and patented), that still won't stop you from dying if a safe drops on you or you catch the latest pandemic du jour.

Death would still be a real possibility and that fear would still operate on the way we behave. It wouldn't be true immorality because the risk would still be ever present.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 2:15pm (UTC -6)
The economic ramifications are important because someone who lives forever would be able to achieve financial independence in relatively short order. Even small savings would accumulate enough to allow one to live off interest/investment/dividend income after a certain point. Assuming the world financial system stays relatively the same anyway. Point being, those people would do only what they want. They may do more academic, humanitarian, or entertainment related jobs, and maybe only for a handful of hours a week, or they'd just pursue hobbies.

The scientific advancement that would allow is immeasurable. Think about how long it takes a human to really become a functional adult. We spend the first 20 years, if not more, of our lives simply learning how to learn. It's only after that point that we really start to use those skills. If Isaac Newton was still around he'd be smarter than Stephen Hawking. Put Newton, Einstein, and Hawking together with all the knowledge they accrued and they would change the world. Sure some people would be content to just watch TV for centuries, but those who have something more to contribute would at least continue their trajectory, if not linearly then exponentially.

So what if our base instincts stay relatively the same? The results can still be extraordinary.
Dave in MN
Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 4:28pm (UTC -6)
I'm not questioning whether the world would be different as a result, what I'm questioning is why soneone aged 200 would be assumed to be these exalted beings of enlightenment just because they have the body of a 20 year old.. and I question why living longer has a pejorative connotation.

There was a man out West who lived until 122 and was hearty and healthy until the day he died. There are interviews up with him on YouTube.

Yeah, he was a pretty laid back cool guy, but he was human through and through and seemed excited by the prospect of seeing as much of the future as possible. If his body hadn't finally given out, he would still be out and engaged with the world, just like the rest of us. He wasn'tthis canonized being hovering above all our mortal concerns.
Bob (a different one)
Mon, Mar 15, 2021, 4:56pm (UTC -6)
You began by saying "Would THAT much change socially if people didn't grow old and die (unless they opted out)? I really question this notion that living longer equates with some massive change in the human condition."

Now you seem to be making an argument against a point that neither I nor JJ made.
Jason R.
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 4:26am (UTC -6)
"Death would still be a real possibility and that fear would still operate on the way we behave. It wouldn't be true immorality because the risk would still be ever present."

One wonders if immortality would make people more fearful of death, not less.
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 8:09am (UTC -6)
Honestly I think it depends on how long you were immortal for; at some point you'd probably grow suicidal looking at how much longer you have to live, and at other parts you don't want to give up that same immortality. But that's just me
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 8:29am (UTC -6)
They say with age comes wisdom so the longer you live the more knowledge you posses, the more ypu learn from your mistakes and evolve intellectually.

Dave in MN said "But behavior-wise, I doubt a 120 year old with a young body wouldn't do all the things a younger person with the same body would: they'd have fun, have romantic partners, hold down a job, etc."

Yes but I doubt someone with 120 years of life experience would describe having fun the same way that a younger person would same body or not. Their choice in a romantic partner who they choose to invest time in would not be the same either nor what they'd consider doing for a living.

Just because your body does not grow doesn't mean your mind won't. Your outlook on life would be greatly affected the more you are alive therefore things that you are passionate about and even how you react to certain situations will change as a result of that.
Jason R.
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 8:56am (UTC -6)
Some people at age 120 would continue to behave like they were 20, especially if possessing a perpetually 20 year old body.

On the other hand, some would undoubtedly evolve into something different.

Some would find immortality unbearable and commit suicide.

Some would become sage like.

Some would become hedonistic seeking ever increasing thrills constantly upping the ante.

Some would become paranoid hermits terrified of leaving the safety of their homes and risking possible death due to accident or disease.

Some would continue along living balanced lives of remarkable stability.

This is all conjecture of course since immortality has never been possible and so we have no real world examples. We can only extrapolate based on what we know about human psychology.

One thing I do feel certain about is that there would be no universal experience applicable to all. Trends and patterns sure, but my hunch is freed from the constraints of age people would behave according to their individual nature and not by some template we associate with the elderly.

As an aside, I challenge the common assumption that age grants wisdom. I feel this is true to a point, but in my experience, there is also a point at which it seems people not only don't become wiser with age, but actually become less wise, diminishing rather than growing.

To be fair, this may be part of the physical and mental deterioration that would presumably be eliminated by our fountain of youth, but that said, even among very elderly people who are mentally sharp and physically fit, it seems like many become set into patterns of thought and action that make them ultimately less than what they were in their youth. Whatever flaws they had, whatever personal blind spots seem to magnify and calcify. The point being I challenge the assumption that the typical 90 year old is necessarily "wiser" than his 60 year old counterpart- quite the contrary I think.

I realize of course that "wisdom" is perhaps a nebulous concept but nevertheless, I feel that extreme age diminishes everything, not just your cognition and body.
Bob (a different one)
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 9:09am (UTC -6)
This is my least favorite Trek flick. In fact, I have never been able to get through it in a single sitting. I walked out of the theater embarrassed to be a Trek fan. Well, more embarrassed than usual anyway.
Dave in MN
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 6:26pm (UTC -6)
@ Bob

I posted, you replied and I realized you misunderstood my point due to my unclear word choice.

I immediately responded with two much longer posts clarifying what I meant .... so I'm not sure why you later decided to mischaracterize how the conversation happened and then scolded me for that mischaracterization.

On another subject: it's funny, some posters have laid out all these elaborate coping mechanisms non-aging people would have and none of those posited scenarios are any different than what people choose to do with our finite lifetimes in the present day .... which sort of proves my point.

Humans will still be humans and act/react in certain predictable human ways.... no matter what their age is. Some will be hedonists, some will be philosophers, some will be antisocial and some will prefer a life of service and some will live a life of luxury and so on.
Bob ( a different one)
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 6:32pm (UTC -6)
You are a liar, Dave.
Dave in MN
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 6:35pm (UTC -6)
I most definitely am not.

Anyone can scroll up and see it for themselves so .... yeah, that's all I need to say about that.
Dave in MN
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 6:37pm (UTC -6)
" People are people and their nature isn't going to change simply because they have more birthdays .... " etc.

I very clearly made the point that more a lifespan of more time is not going to create outcomes that already don't occur today within the spectrum of human existence. An individual may change, but it will be in predictably human ways.
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 6:38pm (UTC -6)
Isn't that just because we have no idea what it would be like to be immortal? I see it as similar to imagining eternity - when you've lived with time your whole life, it's impossible to imagine what timelessness is like. Our experience of being alive, of being a person, is so infused with the certainty of death that I don't think we can rely on that crystal ball we're looking into.
Dave in MN
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 6:44pm (UTC -6)
I can imagine it pretty easily. After all, 42 years have gone by for me in a blink of an eye.

I imagine 200 and 300 years is probably the same way .... why would a thousand or a million really be any different? If and when one finally did die, wouldn't it all seem like it went in a flash no matter how old you were?

As long as you have mental simulation, social input and purpose, would the length of time elapsed in life really make the act of living a day to day life any different?

I really wonder about that.
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 7:04pm (UTC -6)
Yes but those 42 years have all gone by with the assumption that it matters what you do, that succeeding in life is important, that if you don't do something there could be negative consequences. Imagine how embodied those assumptions are, and for most people, it only gets worse over time. You don't learn what it's like to live forever just by living more years, if those years have been lived under the constant shadow of death. Our thoughts and beliefs about what life is like is what creates our perceptions.
Dave in MN
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 8:11pm (UTC -6)
I might have different responses to stimuli at 42 than I did at 22, but I don't think my increased maturity is connected to my acceptance or fear of death: I just learned from my mistakes.

Wisdom derives from the correct analysis and application of accumulated experience, not from the passage of time itself. There are plenty of old fools and young mature people.

Yes, more time living probably will result in higher percentage of mature folks in the long term, but I don't see how a longer life span equates to a psyche beyond our current understanding of the human condition.

Anyhow, I've made my point I yield the floor.
James White
Tue, Mar 16, 2021, 10:21pm (UTC -6)
Nietzsche's perspective trumps any of the BS posted so far. Also, knock it off Bob (whoever the hell you are).
Wed, Mar 17, 2021, 1:10am (UTC -6)
Nietzsche had a perspective on a Star Trek movie?

Wow. Please share!

He must have got this immortality thing down pat.
Wed, Mar 17, 2021, 3:01am (UTC -6)
mhhh an argument about speculations. Those are the best. :)
Sun, Apr 25, 2021, 4:59pm (UTC -6)
Heh, some spicy discussion. This movie could have been improved by incorporating this stuff!

I read somewhere that if people only died by accident, the average lifespan would be 2,000 years.

I haven't read Piller's book, sounds interesting.

But I did find this movie vaguely offensive. It's gently offensive, but offensive nonetheless. Data has another sort circuit from another hidden program. That really doesn't make the character look good. And the Worf/Data/Picard singing shuttle thing was one cheesy cringey way to get the three TNG stars other in a scene.

And of course Data didn't bring his emotion chip, so his personality regresses and we see scenes between him and the kid that we saw years ago. Great, thanks. It's just like The Motion Picture remaking The Changeling. That hardly feels like a reward to (or respect of) actual fans of the franchise.

And it's just boring.
Sun, Apr 25, 2021, 7:51pm (UTC -6)

I agree. Insurrection was little more than an extra TV episode. And a "just okay" TV episode, at that.
Thu, Apr 29, 2021, 5:52am (UTC -6)
I watched it a bit again tonight, and seems to me there is an absolutely jaw dropping screw up:

Picard and company are acting rather casual and goofy, long before they even head to the briar patch. The most obvious is Riker and Troi getting frisky.

But Picard was also practically joking about the war with the Dominion and the battle with the Borg.
Sat, May 1, 2021, 6:55pm (UTC -6)
And what in the world is it with those white dress uniforms? They make Picard and company look like the wait staff. Give me the old dress dress uniforms any day over these.
Fri, May 7, 2021, 3:25pm (UTC -6)
Interesting comment above - "I agree with the person who posted that Patrick Stewart thought that should be the theme for a trilogy of movies. I agree: A battle for the soul of the Federation, as members cross lines that shouldn't be crossed."

True. This film was not bad, but I can see the argument that it felt like a TV episode. Perhaps with a bit more of a serious tone at the start, and maybe with the potential for a civil war within Starfleet over the best way forward for the Federation, it could add some weight to it. Especially since the Federation Council had already given orders to the Admiral to okay this plan.

You'd then have the tension of Starfleet potentially firing upon other Starfleet vessels and Picard maybe giving an impassioned speech to honour the ideals they were sworn to uphold.

I did like the Baku lady, Word was funny, Deanna, Geordi's eyes scene which was very moving to be able to see, and the Enterprise E in general.

I'm not sure I'd have had the Enterprise E struggle that much even though they weren't outfitted for that type of space. Perhaps have them severely outnumbered rather than just facing two ships to explain that difficulty.

You could have had an interesting scene of events with Starfleet ships ordered to suppress the "Insurrection" of the flagship and then Picard sway them with words and impress sanity upon the Federation Council again.
Jeffery's Tube
Fri, Jul 9, 2021, 8:58pm (UTC -6)
This movie has aged better than I expected in re-watch. If it was a two-part episode of the TNG TV series, we would consider it among the best episodes of that series. Not top ten, but probably in the lower half of the top twenty.

It's not, though. It's supposed to be a movie, and that's the entire problem. It needed to be bigger, and grander, with more substantial consequences. It's what happens when you put people in charge of making television in charge of making a movie, then impose the same restrictions on them you gave them in television like budget and the need to preserve the characters. They're used to making the sausage a certain way, so if you give them the same ingredients and tell them to make a sausage, guess how it's going to come out? They may have wanted to do the sausage a different way, but you didn't give them anything different to work with, so they made the best sausage they could: one the audience has already eaten many times before. Or something like that. I'm tired of this metaphor. Let's move on.

It's not as cool a TNG movie adventure as we might have had, and as we deserved, but as a TNG movie adventure we DO have, it isn't so bad. It isn't Nemesis . . .

Just watch it as a "lost" episode of the TV series, not with the expectations that come with it being a "MOVIE." I was surprised how enjoyable it was when I did that, and Insurrection has moved up from being a "terrible" film in my estimation to an enjoyable one that remains slightly disappointing.

At the very least it doesn't wreck anything, either, like Nemesis did. Say what you like about ST: Picard, at least it's fixing some of Nemesis's sins by giving Data a better end. Living with the status quo of that movie being the end of the Star Trek universe for nearly twenty years was hard to take. If Insurrection had been the end, it would have been a lot better. Just sayin'.
Fri, Jul 9, 2021, 9:12pm (UTC -6)
@Jeffery's Tube

You make a good point; if Insurrection had been the last movie, we would all have been spared Nemesis. Perhaps picturing the characters just continuing their trek through the stars indefinitely, as if the series went on, would have been better than what we got. The very "feels like just another TV episode" quality of Insurrection would have contributed nicely to that.

Maybe I'll watch it tonight with that in mind!
Sat, Jul 10, 2021, 11:52pm (UTC -6)
Upon re-watch, I was struck by Picard's awe and puzzlement over Anij's talk about a moment that is an entire universe, that lasts forever, however you want to think of it.

Picard should have been able to say without hesitation, "Yes, I know what that's like, and it's not all it's cracked up to be."

After all, he has experienced the Nexus.
Jason R.
Sun, Jul 11, 2021, 6:13am (UTC -6)
@Trish I thought you were going to mention being Locutus.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Mon, Jul 12, 2021, 3:47pm (UTC -6)
Don't forget The Inner Light.
Gorn with the Wind
Wed, Aug 25, 2021, 10:22pm (UTC -6)
The more I think about this movie the more I dislike it. There’s just so much wrong with it.

Ironically, it violates Michael Piller’s dictum of character over plot. From the very beginning, the Baku colony is exposed by a Data who’s malfunctioning only because the plot needs him to, not because of any kind of recognizable character motivation. As bad as Generations is, at least Data had a reason to implant the emotion chip, here the justification for him going berserker mode is a tossed off bit of dialogue after the fact.

This arbitrary, artificial, confusing, unconvincing story development is the name of the game for the rest of the movie. Sure, Picard throws his lot in with the Baku for vaguely Star Trekkian reasons, but this isn’t a surprising or challenging choice on his or the movie’s part. Of course our heroes support the Baku! Did you see how ugly and evil the Son’a look? Gosh — I wonder if Picard is going to fight for the good looking space amish, one of whom he’s in love with, or the grotesque plastic surgery disasters who want to murder everyone. Tough call.

If the producers and Piller wanted this to be “Star Trek Date Night” or wholesome light hearted Trek like The Voyage Home, they should have followed Nimoy and Harve Bennett’s requirement of “no dying, no fist fighting, no shooting, no photon torpedoes, no phaser blasts, no stereotypical ‘bad guy’”, and told a story that reminds us of why we loved these characters, not a garbled mess of plot shenanigans and nonsensical, belabored action set pieces with last gen CGI

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. 1/2 star.
Matt B
Fri, Sep 17, 2021, 1:36am (UTC -6)
After rewatching this (might be only the 3rd time, and definitely been at least ten years since I saw it, and not many times after I saw it in theaters), it was actually more enjoyable than I remembered! I actually may put it above Generations, especially with that weird diversion into the Nexus. Its not a great movie, but its not as bad as STI:TMP and probably a little better than STV.
Thu, Oct 7, 2021, 6:04pm (UTC -6)
I really genuinely hate this one. I think it's probably the worst Trek movie, period.

It's so inconsequential. It just feels like an episode, not a movie. I mean it even looks like an episode: the cinematography, the lighting, the set design, it's all so mediocre.

I can't bring myself to care about the Ba'ku or their plight, at all. Honestly I have to kind of side with the Admiral here. These people aren't native to this planet, and the potential to help billions of people is certainly worth more than a village of 600 people.

God, this movie sucks. I'd rather watch 1, I would rather watch 5, I'd even rather watch Generations.

.5 stars.
Gorn with the Wind
Thu, Oct 7, 2021, 9:01pm (UTC -6)

Couldn’t agree more.

This heap of shit is like a “Live Laugh Love” throw pillow in movie form. Saying it’s better than TMP is like saying we should toss Guernica into a furnace and replace with a Thomas Kincaid.
Wed, Dec 15, 2021, 1:30pm (UTC -6)
This film is where Picard and company thoroughly became the Maquis.

Compare this to Preemptive Strike, where Ro basically does exactly what the crew does here, and note how furious and indignant Picard is about it.

Trek films tend to traffick in character assassination, and this is a glaring example for Picard in the hypocrisy department.
Jeffrey Jakucyk
Thu, Dec 16, 2021, 10:55am (UTC -6)
I finished reading Piller's "Fade In" manuscript and it's enlightening but not too surprising. The amount of "writing by committee" is sad, and seems to be a major reason the film ended up the way it did. Nevertheless, a lot of the notes from studio execs actually make sense. Most centered around establishing character motivations and closing plot holes. That's legit criticism. Interestingly, a lot of those notes were ignored.

The bigger issue I saw was the ego tripping of Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner. For one thing, all the TNG movies have this Picard/Data focus that is trying to play to the Kirk/Spock dynamic. The thing is, Picard and Data don't have that sort of relationship. They're not friends. Data is just Picard's valued second officer. Yes Picard has gone to bat for Data when his rights are being threatened, but he does that for everyone, Data just happens to bear the brunt of those problems.

Anyway, Stewart is given way too much consideration to the detriment of the story. This is how we got the episode Starship Mine (Die Hard in Space), with similar Picard Action Man stuff in Generations and First Contact, plus the reprehensible dune buggy chase in Nemesis. I don't know enough about Star Trek: Picard to comment on it, though I haven't heard much good. This is all vanity for Stewart, and he assassinates Picard for the sake of it. His notes to Piller about Insurrection is that he doesn't want to be brooding and conflicted, he wants sexy action. He's trying to be John McClain or Indiana Jones, but Picard is more of a "general on horseback" type at best.

Anyway, back to the overall account of writing the script, all the back and forth with Berman, the execs, and Stewart. It just got so mired in changes that once the budget and release date were set they just had to call "pencils down" at some point and let it go rather than doing what needed to be done to make the script work. It's sad that the Ba'ku "space Amish" elves are so milquetoast, but that's a budgetary factor when you have so many of them milling about. That doesn't excuse it mind you, but it's at least an explanation.

The whole "rural simplicity" thing is very grating though, and the production design is face-palming in its preciousness. As if a village of 600 people with enough cropland to feed them for maybe one weekend and who have eschewed technology can feed and shelter and clothe themselves while still having time to meticulously design, maintain, clean, and manicure their surroundings to a level equal to the most over-the-top suburban gated community HOA. The artfully designed pagoda-like sluice gates for their garden...I mean agricultural...plots are what really get my eyes rolling.

The blacksmith gently hammering on a bar of metal (that's technology by the way) must have a mine somewhere to get that ore, but no machines to excavate it. The children playing space hacky sack aren't filthy urchins covered in soot and muck after working the fields and the mines all day. Where's the denuded forest for all the firewood they need, or are they burning coal? I could go on, SFDebris tears this apart better than I can.

Still, the notion that these people can just up and fix Data's positronic brain is absurd. Even if they have knowledge of modern technology and choose not to exercise it, even the best minds at Starfleet don't know how Data's brain works. It's a one-off invention from a random scientist. Do the Ba'ku spend all their free time (which they shouldn't have any of without technology to feed and...never mind) brushing up on advanced cybernetics and quantum physics just in case it might come up?

I'll stop now.
Thu, Dec 16, 2021, 11:48am (UTC -6)
@Jeffrey Jakucyk
I can enlighten you about Picard in ST:Picard. He is Jesus. He sacrifices himself for the entire galaxy, saves the galaxy and is then reborn.
Your account is really not surprising. When Insurrection was made he was already rich, famous and beloved for a decade. That messes with your brain. When will people learn to differentiate between actor and character?
Tue, May 24, 2022, 8:13pm (UTC -6)
Jammer your review was perfect. I was bored. Of course I am watching this on my computer, but the plot was boring. A much better movie would have been to focus on the fountain of youth properties this place had. Now that is very interesting. That felt like it got glossed over. One final observation, the entire TNG cast looked quite sunburn in this movie. I know the areas where they shot it and I am pretty sure they all did get sunburned. They looked less sunburned about 3/4th of the way in.
Beard of Sisko
Wed, Jul 6, 2022, 6:05pm (UTC -6)
The movie wasn't particularly interesting to begin with, but it completely lost me at the reveal that the Sona and Baku are the same race. The Baku showed themselves to be the true villains by banishing the other faction to a slow, painful death simply because they wanted to hog the planet to themselves and decided nobody who wishes to live differently from them deserves to live there. Who made those selfish pricks the gatekeepers of the planet? Neither side is indigenous to this place.
Thu, Jul 14, 2022, 8:25am (UTC -6)
Aside from plot holes and poor characterizations and such, this movie is missing something else crucial to this sort of story: the 1701-D.

The 1701-E debuted in First Contact, but you don't see that much of its exterior, which is ironic considering they are battling the Borg. In First Contact the story focuses tightly on the characters and the look of the E fits the movie's theme.

Insurrection has a great deal of footage of E's exterior with a quite extensive battle. I just always think "where's the Enterprise?" The E looks so drastically different that it's hard to believe it's the same lineage.

The E's hyper militant appearance doesn't fit the tone of this movie at all. (And ironically the ship gets absolutely clobbered.) I can see how some might like the E's design aesthetics, but it just doesn't fit as an Enterprise.

Considering how iconic the D was (because, frankly, it looked bizarre), changing the design so drastically so soon after the end of the series feels like major brand mismanagement. If you go from TOS's Enterprise to the refit in The Motion Picture, it's immediately recognizable as a refinement of the same ship.

I think Paramount figured that out too. Seems like the E is all but forgotten and the D is what is now associated with TNG.
Antoine H
Sat, Nov 12, 2022, 3:28am (UTC -6)
A lot of the comments here are quite vitriolic. I quite enjoyed Insurrection. Did it play like an extended tv episode? Yes. I have no problem with that, personally. Perhaps it's because I first watched this on HBO Max that I don't feel as...hateful as some others feel about this film.

@Silly - Personally, I much prefer the sleek design of the Enterprise-E to the fatter design of the Enterprise-D. It looks like a proper flagship. Reminds me of World War II-era battleships and cruisers. The nose looks like it was made to slice through the sea. Not surprising, I suppose, since I think Voyager is the hero ship with the best design.
Wed, May 3, 2023, 1:42pm (UTC -6)
@Antoine H

I agree with you about the sleek design of the Enterprise E. Beautiful ship and a worthy ship to be called the Enterprise.

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