Lt. Cmdr. Data, on a mission to observe the race of Ba'ku, suddenly behaves as if having to fear for his existance. The peaceful Ba'ku, whose planet offers regenerative radiation and therefore incredible lifespans, live in harmony with nature and reject any kind of technology. Their planet and their culture is studied by the starfleet and the associated Son'a - in secrecy. But the So'na, lead by Ru'afo, intend to abduct the Ba'ku in order to take the planet for themselves and for the starfleet officials who all would like to regenerate their bodies. But they did not think of the loyalty of the Enterprise's crew to the Prime Directive.
Directed by: Jonathan Frakes
. Starring: Patrick Stewart
, Jonathan Frakes
, Brent Spiner
, LeVar Burton
, Michael Dorn
, Gates McFadden
, Marina Sirtis
, F. Murray Abraham
, Donna Murphy
, Anthony Zerbe
, Gregg Henry
, Daniel Hugh Kelly
, Michael Welch
. Music by: Jerry Goldsmith
When comparing all ten films made in the "Star Trek" genre, the majority will probably agree that the finest films of this series are numbers II (1982), VI (1991) and VIII (1996). When considering the essence of these films, a certain degree of formulation can be constructed in regard to the "perfect" film. Irrelevant of which crew, whether Picard or Kirk led, the truly great films are those which have action, a decent plot, banter amongst the crew, enough scenes involving the ship and an amazing enemy. In "Star Trek II: The Wrath Of Khan" we had all of these points, the same being true of "The Undiscovered Country" and "First Contact". With this ninth encounter however, we are given a film full of crew banter, a decent plot and action, but for the majority of the time the story is set on a planet and the enemy is actually rather pathetic.
In "Star Trek: Insurrection", Captain Picard travels to an area of space known as the Briar Patch to retrieve Commander Data. Data, who's actions are eventually explained, has gone berserk attacking a Federation outpost as they study a supposedly Prewarp society. When Picard arrives however, he is confronted with a conflict between Federation Orders and a peaceful society which simply wishes to exist. Forced to choose between duty and morality, Picard chooses the obvious answer and sets forth to protect the peaceful Baku from the evil Sonar.
If the previous formula of "plot + banter + ship + enemy + action decent film" is correct, then the only way to analyse "Star Trek: Insurrection" is to consider whether it fills these categories.
Firstly, this film succeeds because it actually has quite a decent plot. By considering the moral implications of an action and having the Federation being on the negative side, it succeeds in making us support Picard's rebellious tendencies. At the same time as this, we are presented to Riker and Troi's blossoming relationship as the two accept their mistakes and link up again. Returning to where they were when the very first episode of the series was shown, these two characters have always meant to be together and this episode's actions lead on nicely to the wedding in the next film. Finally on a plus point, for one brief spell, the ship and action combine themselves well in the assault by the Sonar. Whilst this scene is slightly ridiculed by Riker's use of a joystick to control an enormous ship, in general the mammoth fight scene with the Enterprise being attacked is monumental in that we finally get to see the ship in action.
This film has a decent plot, a lot of banter and the occasional bit of action and starship combat, that's a plus side. Sadly however, "Star Trek: Insurrection" has some key problems.
Firstly, and admittedly this isn't on the formula for a successful film, "Insurrection" is just too nice. The Baku live in a form of paradise, and the way Picard stands up for them is brilliantly written. At the same time though, it feels like they need a dark side. When considering the film viewing audience, everyone loves a hero. We all love that this person will risk their neck to do what's right. At the same time though, we like the hero and the culture they fight for, to have a negative point to them. If you consider films like "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" (1984), the plot is destroyed by the fact that the people Indiana saves are ridiculously nice and appear to have no flaws. In this film the problem is the same. The Baku are a warm, friendly, intelligent, artistic community, but we never learn of their flaws. We never learn of how they were once fools who made countless mistakes and learn from them. Instead of this, we hear that the Baku are just really nice people who want to live a simple life and enjoy themselves. The point is that nobody would deny a happy life to anyone, but it's always nice to hear of a "perfect" persons failings. If the Baku, or anyone for that matter, is too nice, they just sound pretentious and the viewer looses a sense of connection and develops a desire to kick them in the teeth.
Another problem with "Star Trek: Insurrection" is that, as an enemy, the Sonar are just not that good. These whining babies, who have a secret past, spend their entire time trying to steal from the Baku in the meanest possible way. The Sonar remind us of the bully in the school ground who beat up the weakest children out of spite for their parents treating them better than the bully's parents have. They just aren't appealing.
To summarise "Star Trek: Insurrection", it doesn't quite fit the formula. Whilst Rick Berman (writer) has noticed the beauty of the banter between cast and crew, he never really gets the film right with the enemy. If we were to use the potential formula for Star Trek films, then this film has a decent space battle scene, a lot of banter between the crew, and a decent plot. On a downside however, the enemy is a pathetic, waste of space, who needs to grow up, and the Baku, the people Picard tries to save, are just far too nice to really be attached to. Like so many episodes of "Star Trek: Voyager", this film's peaceful Baku give the impression that they paint their walls pink and ignore the fact that anything bad happens in the world. "Star Trek: Insurrection" could have been good, but it falls hideously short of standards.
Review by TheNorthernMonkee from the Internet Movie Database.