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Overall Rating

Awesome: 4.03%
Worth A Look: 20.16%
Just Average36.29%
Pretty Crappy: 22.58%
Sucks: 16.94%

4 reviews, 100 user ratings

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Star Trek: Insurrection
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by Rob Gonsalves

"High-minded and shallow."
3 stars

I'm not much given to quoting myself, but leaving 'Star Trek: Insurrection,' I remembered what I'd written in my review of 1994's 'Star Trek Generations,' the first film featuring the 'Next Generation' crew.

"The Trek movies," I wrote, "are comfortably familiar; you can count on them to be either terrible or better than you expected. It's no fun when they're just sort of competent and not-bad." In the same review, I talked about the Odd Number Curse, which afflicted Generations (the first Next Generation film and the seventh Trek feature) and also taints Insurrection, the third Next Generation outing and the ninth Trek movie. (The Odd Number Curse theory holds that all even-numbered Trek movies are good, while all others disappoint.)

Perhaps I shouldn't feel guilty about rehashing myself, since the people behind Insurrection have done essentially the same thing. Here, the crew of the Enterprise, led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), find themselves on the horns of a moral dilemma. A civilization of blissed-out immortals named the Ba'ku are threatened by a rival race, the Son'a, who want to benefit from the Ba'ku's life-giving turf specifically, by evicting the Ba'ku and claiming their planet. This, of course, makes large veins pop out of Picard's forehead. More than once, he draws implicit parallels between the Son'a and the Nazis or slave traders a hefty historical allusion that this movie, which is basically a sci-fi joyride, can't handle. We know all the agonizing will just lead to the usual zap-zap, good-vs.-evil stuff.

It should be said that Jonathan Frakes, who plays Commander Riker and who directed 1996's terrific First Contact as well as this one, is a whiz at zap-zap. Give him an action scene to play with, and he goes at it with retro, masculine gusto; he works with a precision and vigor that are particularly satisfying in this era of stubbornly incoherent Hollywood spectacles. Trouble is, this voyage is short on zap-zap and long on furrowed-brow scenes it feels as if Picard directed it, except for the clownish scenes of the crew members regressing under the rejuvenating powers of the Ba'ku atmosphere; these scenes seem to have been directed by the android Data (Brent Spiner) in his goofy mode from Generations. (There's much character comedy to tickle the fans; neutral parties, like myself, may find it fairly precious.)

Every Trek movie needs ugly villains, and the Son'a are real lookers, all right; they're led by Ru'afo (F. Murray Abraham), a scowling, rather pissy fellow with Silly Putty features stretched across his skull, like Katherine Helmond in Brazil. The unintentional comedy of Star Trek is that the ugly mega-villains the Klingons, even the Borg (in the curvaceous person of Seven of Nine) eventually become Federation-friendly anyway, so why lose sleep over them? Me, I thought there was more going on with the Son'a than with the Ba'ku, who struck me as insufferably pure and noble. "We understand technology," one bright-eyed Ba'ku announces, "but we choose not to use it because if we let machines do our work, it takes something away from humans." Well, good for you.

The movie is full of such gassy moralizing, and Picard falls in love with an angelic Ba'ku named Anij (Donna Murphy), as if to say, "Why should Captain Kirk get all the interspecies nookie?" It never occurs to Picard that his feelings may have a little something to do with the fact that lovely Anij will never sag anywhere, have hot flashes, or need to bleach her upper lip.

By the end of the movie, the innocent Ba'ku have been defended without having to dirty their hands, there is effortless and highly implausible reconciliation (this movie shares with 'A Bug's Life' the questionable theory that if you get rid of the evil leader, all his minions will see the light and repent), and the crew of the Enterprise go off to their next adventure.

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originally posted: 02/02/07 14:14:21
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User Comments

5/26/13 Jeff Wilder Entertaining enough. A tad underpraised. 4 stars
5/16/09 Sam Should've been titled "Star Trek: Wrath of Riker." Wobbly, but oddly satisfying. 4 stars
2/07/09 KingNeutron Easily the WORST movie in the whole Trek series. 1 stars
7/21/08 the dork knight So bad, it's painful 1 stars
2/18/07 Nick Maday Decent, but not as good as First Contact. 3 stars
8/14/06 Indrid Cold Once again a ST movie suffers from the "nothing more than a good episode" problem. 3 stars
8/10/05 ES Why do the aliens always look like guys in rubber suits? 1 stars
6/07/05 Drew Peltier Another ok Star Trek movie 3 stars
10/06/04 Valerie If you liked the TV show, you'd like this. 4 stars
6/14/04 PR Oh this was crap. This is start Trek, not spaceballs (too much comedy for SCI-FI) 3 stars
4/24/04 Easter Lemming 2 3/4 - Average Film That Should Have Been Better 3 stars
12/17/03 Tim Triangle The smug people on the paradise planet were way too annoying to care about some good action 4 stars
2/21/03 alien assassin Berman is to Star Trek what John Nathan Turner was to Dr. Who 3 stars
2/19/03 Matthew Jones Not too bad; nice to see Troi and Riker back together. 4 stars
2/13/03 Brian Jacobson the most underrated star trek film 4 stars
1/20/03 Eric This silly, preachy entry is REALLY boring compared to First Contact. 2 stars
12/09/02 Zefram Mann Somebody get a rifle and put this franchise out of its misery. 2 stars
12/03/02 Rippedjeans Nothing but a lost television episode thrown up on the silver screen 1 stars
11/26/02 Down with Berman This thing was like a really retarded 2 hour episode - like all TNG movies, but worse. 1 stars
11/22/02 Charles Tatum Strong entry 4 stars
10/18/02 Red Shirt Guy A sub-par episode, but the Riker Joystick maneuver killed it!! 2 stars
8/29/02 M4SQUER4DE Boring. Stupid. Full of plot holes. The characters look ridiculous most of the time... 1 stars
8/18/02 P.Rodriguez Pretty Disapointing, but leaves the way for a more exicting future ST movie 2 stars
2/27/02 Shrike Didn't love it, didn't mind it 3 stars
2/23/02 Mark Lloyd Only good part was the 1min space battle for the FX, that's it! 1 stars
1/04/02 elizaveta pretty good, pretty fun 4 stars
12/15/01 Kenneth E. Carper The only thing that sucks more dick than this movie is TLsmooth & Avenger Girl! PURE SHIT!! 1 stars
10/14/01 Andrew Carden The Ending Was Good, but The Rest Was Unexciting and Boring. 2 stars
10/12/01 lukas very boring!pretty bad! 2 stars
8/01/01 KC Au Not as awful as "First Contact" but that's not a compliment either!! 2 stars
7/31/01 TLsmooth For the love of god, stop making faggy trek movie or I will kill myself. 1 stars
7/14/01 Rampage I've seen better on Red Dwarf 2 stars
5/31/01 Roy Smith Stupid, poorly thought out, and embarrasing. 2 stars
5/17/01 Chris Bower I never thought a Trek film could be worse than ST:V, until this one... 1 stars
4/10/01 Emperor Matthew I This just plain sucked! 1 stars
4/04/01 Hawkeye A few funny scenes save this from sucking all ass. Spare yourself and watch First Contact. 2 stars
2/28/01 Steve in Prague teen movie ii is Avenger girls lesbian clit licking lover 4 stars
2/04/01 Avenger Girl All trekkies need to get a life..grow up this is shite 1 stars
1/02/01 fifu this seemed more like a good episode 3 stars
12/12/00 Emperor Websterus This was nothing but a rip-off of STIII, which was far superior. 1 stars
11/01/00 viking I'm getting sick of "Star Trek" spinoffs. Bring back "Dr. Who" and "Blakes Seven" !!! 3 stars
10/08/00 Ground Zero not bad, but ST: First Contact rules! 3 stars
5/25/00 Add Worth seeing just for Riker's "Were through running from these bastards" scene. Rest suxs!! 3 stars
5/03/00 P.Rodriguez Most people think this movie is average, but in reality it builds for a great sequel. 4 stars
3/08/00 Mr. Kramitall A perfectly good ST movie, yet Hawkboy's review had to ruin it for me. 3 stars
2/20/00 Nessus C-A-M-P-Y, the curse of the odd numbers lives on 2 stars
2/13/00 Will better than the usual 'time travel' bullshit they use for ST movies. 4 stars
1/18/00 Jedi15 I hate Jonathan Frakes. 2 stars
1/09/00 John Markham Overblown T.V. episode. 3 stars
12/18/99 SID Hawkboy's review sucks, cause he's biased. This movie is underrated. 4 stars
10/24/99 Scarface Good movie well directed and fun and interesting 4 stars
10/07/99 sophia962 Disappointing. Script weak and plot weaker. Piller and Berman phoned it in. 3 stars
10/03/99 Joe Schmoe it was okay. needs more improvement. 3 stars
6/27/99 Ah Dooey not too bad, Agsmith's review is great. Could use a better plot. Same old, same old 3 stars
6/11/99 JDC a slight step up in some areas, but Trek has a long way to go to be respectable again 3 stars
5/09/99 Arkansas Jon The storyline is not that gripping, but the characters develop - some. and good effects too 3 stars
4/15/99 Mr. Kramitall not too bad 3 stars
4/01/99 The Incredible Sulk I agree with Agsmith's review, not Hawkboy's. 3 stars
3/30/99 youngm_sisko Not as cool as First Contact 4 stars
3/22/99 Sean Dannenfeldt Was there a movie here? All I saw was a string of cheap jokes and special effects. 1 stars
3/19/99 Dee Dee Oh, puh-lease. It wasn't that bad, and not that good either. 3 stars. 3 stars
3/17/99 Scott Stipe Man, it just sucked 1 stars
3/09/99 Oggy Anyone who is smarter than Beef (below) and Hawkboy's review knows that it deserves 3 stars 3 stars
3/06/99 Beef shitty, terrible, unenlightening 1 stars
3/05/99 Mike Rotch ST: Voyager's Dark Frontier was a great movie. See ST: First Contact. 3 stars
3/04/99 buddyblunt blow it to hell 1 stars
3/02/99 Kenda It was tight. 4 stars
2/26/99 JeanLucStubing@startrekmail.com Star Trek Voyager: Dark Frontier was a better movie. 3 stars
2/22/99 Jeff HOUN Typical Star Trek movie basics, nothing really spectacular, expected much more 3 stars
2/14/99 Xuxana Smith I love Jon Frakes as Riker, not a director. See ST: Generations. 4 stars
2/09/99 Kari Great effects; good plot; loved the Troi/Riker thang (woo-hoo!) 4 stars
2/01/99 Jacques Strap Yo, I'm no Trekker, but this movie is great. 'Cept for the same old cast. 4 stars
1/31/99 Dexter It wouldn't have been *as* disappointing, if they'd called Star Trek: Cranky Camp-Out 2 stars
1/20/99 Angus I sure hope they didn't pay the writers too much for this mind numbing incongruous pablum 2 stars
1/20/99 Timothy Hata enjoyable but could of been a 2parter for tng 5 stars
1/19/99 William Gates Better than that piece of shit called First Contact 3 stars
1/19/99 Odd Pieman Not as good as the last, but better than Generations. No Kirk! Die you fat bastard! Die! 4 stars
1/13/99 Melody Shanahan-Kluth Not bad...typical odd number ST film..last one was better 3 stars
1/05/99 E Trek at its most bland. Silly movie feels stitched together from other trek movies. 2 stars
1/02/99 Negative Creep suffers from the Star Trek Odd Number curse. I compare this to Part 5. 1 stars
1/02/99 Dasha No First Contact, but I still enjoyed it a lot 5 stars
1/01/99 Fat Joe Not Bad...like the TV show, nothing great though. 4 stars
1/01/99 Oscar Goldman Location shooting was a plus. Same lifeless characters and mediocre writing. 3 stars
1/01/99 dennis marks jr beginning drags 4 stars
12/29/98 thEnd Wart gets a zit? Peuberty in space... how wonderful... 3 stars
12/28/98 Hugh Jass Stewart is too professorish to be believable. TNG was an overrated show. 4 more of these? 1 stars
12/26/98 Clint Beastwood Shatner, Nimoy, Kelley did it best. TV series magic was never reproduced on big screen. 2 stars
12/25/98 Karandago Star Trek meets X-Files where the hell did they come up with this crap? 1 stars
12/25/98 Cage Could've been done in a one hour episode... Not bad, not great. 3 stars
12/23/98 Lou Pine, Jr. Post Borg letdown with lower stakes and the appeal of a two-part series episode. Not bad. 4 stars
12/22/98 Cartman's Symphatizer Not your average Trek show. Kick ass! 5 stars
12/22/98 Brent Like a long episode. Trek fans will enjoy it more, non-fans less. 3 stars
12/20/98 Mr Showbiz Boldly goes straight down the tubes. 3 stars
12/14/98 16 in. of swingin' meat and a bucket of balls The "Trek Movie Curse" (all odd # films suck) is broken. Awesome flick! 5 stars
12/13/98 Lucy B. More like an episode than a movie but thoroughly entertaining and a real treat for TNG fans 4 stars
12/12/98 Scat Man Lighter story, fun characters, and many chuckles. I wish Data brought his emotions chip. 4 stars
12/11/98 Johny No First Contact, but fine entertainment 4 stars
11/24/98 Vanessa Just because it isn't released yet, doesn't mean he didn't see it. Knock down patrol. 1 stars
11/06/98 Goddess Dionysus It's not out yet, why just average? Not fair so here is my boost! 5 stars
10/19/98 Aint-It-Cool This film is tired (but not terrible), uninspired, and just plain boring. 3 stars
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  11-Dec-1998 (PG)
  DVD: 07-Jun-2005


  31-Dec-1998 (PG)

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