Star Trek: Insurrection Review
Star Trek 9 at first glance appears to follow the feature film role that the odd numbers are not as good as the even numbers. Personally I think Insurrection has had a bad rap over the years and this collectors edition DVD is just what it needs to bring it back into the light and let fans see what is a very well crafted film, filled with the sort of ideas that make Star Trek great and what drove The Next Generation to the peak of Trekdom.
The film opens to an idyllic world, where all is green and pleasant. Pulling back we can see this world being covertly observed by federation and Sona personnel within a holographically hidden duck blind. A call for help signifies that the android Commander Data has gone berserk and is attempting to disclose the operation; a mission he succeeds in. On board the Enterprise Captain Picard and his crew are hosting ambassadors when they receive a transmission notifying them of Data's actions. Understandably perturbed by this information, the gallant crew set course for the Ba'ku planet to discover why Data has malfunctioned. They are met with a frosty reception by the Sona ships and Admiral Docherty of Star Fleet who inform them they have 12 hours to remove themselves and Data so normal service can be resumed. After capturing Data, restoring his memory and 'rescuing' the other personnel on the planet a curious anomaly within the planets rings causes the ships crew to start reversing in age. Upon discovering this, the Enterprise soon uncovers a conspiracy to remove the 600 Ba'ku inhabitants to use the plant's unique properties for the 'good of the many'. Such policy is against Picard's ethics and when his challenge falls upon deaf ears he and his crew take it upon themselves to stop the forced removal themselves.
This relatively simple story is a far cry from the action packed drama that was Star Trek First Contact and many fans and critics alike felt it was not strong enough. However, it was a conscious effort on the part of veteran writer Michael Piller to return to basics and explore in a film the dynamic that made Picard so eminently 'right' in the TV series. His persona and justice were the driving force of the show and not only inspired loyalty from the crew, but from fans too. So when one looks at this film as a whole it comes of very much as a big budget TV episode, an observation noted by many. This is its curse, but also its selling point. The TV show was never better in its double episode features; the best know are probably Best of Both Worlds, Chain of Command and, the best of them all, All Good Things. In them Picard normally played the central role and through him and his sense of duty and righteousness the show towered above all before it. Picard was Star fleet, he stood for what Rodenberry epitomised and without him the Trek franchise as we know it today would not exist. Many, if not all of these qualities are in Insurrection, why then is it not liked as much? To be honest I don't know. I can see everything that is trying to be achieved, I can see the quality of the TV show, I can see and feel for the film, and yet it doesn't quite have that edge, that certain something needed that makes a film great. However, it does not deserve the lambasting it has received, nor the lukewarm reception of its previous DVD release. With everything on show, Insurrection is a fine addition to the Star Trek film franchise and the one I rate third after First Contact and Voyage Home in the order of preference.