Star Trek: Insurrection
Star Trek: Insurrection (or stylized as Star Trek IX: Insurrection) is the ninth film in the Star Trek franchise, and the third film to feature the crew of Star Trek: The Next Generation.
After Data suddenly runs amok during a mission to study a seemingly primitive civilization called the Ba'ku, the USS Enterprise-E crew manages to subdue him. On further investigation, it turns out that special radiation on the Ba'ku planet gives the natives eternal youth and the ability to heal any injury. When it turns out that the Federation wants to help another race called the Son'a destroy the planet's atmosphere to harvest the radiation, however, Captain Picard and his crew take up arms against their superiors.
- The Son'a and Federation are depicted as villains for wanting to harvest the radiation from the planet in order to help billions and save the lives of the dying Son'a. Note that they don't actually intend to kill the Ba'ku (of who there are only 500 in total), just move them to another planet where they won't be immortal. There's not even any discussion of who's in the right here; Picard declares the Federation to be in the wrong for wanting to remove the Ba'ku, and that's that.
- The film's main villain, Ru'afo isn't very effective. The only two especially evil things he does are murder the Starfleet admiral in charge of the operation when he tries to abort it, and then attempt to kill Picard in the action climax, which come across more as acts of desperation than evil, considering that it's mentioned several times that Ru'afo and the other Son'a will soon die if they don't harvest the planet's radiation.
- Weak action scenes, which aren't any better than what you'd have seen on the two TV shows (Deep Space Nine and Voyager) that were airing when the film came out.
- Like Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, the film's tone is completely wrong. It deals with a heavy issue but tries to turn it into a light action-comedy.
- Executive Meddling: Also like The Final Frontier, this is the result of studio interference; the initial script was inspired by Heart of Darkness (the novel that was adapted into Apocalypse Now), but after Paramount demanded that the film be more light-hearted, they ended up altering the mood of the film but not getting rid of or properly addressing the moral dilemma at the heart of the original script.
- There was a great opportunity to mention the Dominion War that was taking place on Deep Space Nine and the implications of how gaining the healing technology the Son'a were offering could have helped them. Instead, the war only gets a couple of fleeting mentions.
- A sub-plot about Commander Riker and Counsellor Troi rekindling their relationship from the TV series is abruptly dropped at the halfway point. It's not until the next film that we find out whether or not it stuck.
- The effects of the planet give Geordi natural eyesight for the first time in his life, which should hint at the potential that technology based on it could have. Instead, he just treats it as a cool novelty, and it's never mentioned again.
- The film is full of jokes that are forgettable at best and cringeworthy at worst, most notably Data asking Worf if his breasts have started to firm up (after hearing Dr. Crusher and Troi discussing the same thing).
- Very weak special effects, even for the time. The Enterprise-E looks flat and cartoonish in most of the shots we see it in, outside of a couple of stock shots from the previous film.
- The ending has most of the Son'a (who turn out to be heavily aged and diseased Ba'ku) returning to living on the planet, and treats this as a happy ending, even though it was stated clearly early on in the film that this will just delay the deaths of the Son'a, not stop it.
- Nothing that occurs in the film outside of Riker and Troi resuming their relationship ever becomes relevant in the franchise again, making it feel like a waste of time.
- The basic idea of the Enterprise crew going rogue in order to stand up for what's right is actually a good one, and arguably even the truest to the spirit of Star Trek of all the four TNG movies. It's mostly the poor handling of the story's main moral dilemma that lets it down.
- Some nice location filming.
- The novelty of seeing Riker without his beard for the first time since the first season of The Next Generation.
- Good soundtrack from Jerry Goldsmith.
- Less of a focus on Picard and Data than the other three Next Generation-based movies, meaning that the other cast members get a little more to do.
Though the film initially got a reasonably positive reception, albeit not as good as that of the previous film, Star Trek: First Contact, its reception soon declined, to the point where it was seen as one of the weakest Star Trek films. It was also the lowest-earning film since Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, earning only slightly more than that film with more than double the budget.
The film currently holds a 55% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 67 reviews, with critic consensus being that "Although not terrible, the sluggishly paced Insurrection plays like an extended episode of the TV series." On Metacritic the film has a score of 64/100, based on reviews from 19 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".
Several of the cast members have also criticized the film, with Patrick Stewart feeling the film's moral dilemma was poorly handled, and both LeVar Burton and Marina Sirtis considering it the worst of the Star Trek films they appeared in. Director and co-star Jonathan Frakes also had mixed feelings about the film.