Review of Star Trek: Insurrection
Another light year, another Star Trek movie. This latest instalment has the crew of the venerable U.S.S. Enterprise visiting a distant planet where, surrounded by a ring of ‘metaphasic radiation` the inhabitants, a race known as the Ba`ku, fail to age. A sort of planet `Oil of Ulay` if you will. Here they have lived happily (and youthfully) for centuries, but now the wrinkly Son`a (allies of the Federation) want the Ba`ku kidnapped and forcibly removed. This will then leave the planet in the hands of the Son`a and the Federation. Whatever happened to the `Prime Directive` I hear you ask? Well, corruption, it seems, is knocking at the door at the once-honourable Federation.
So with a bark of `Engage!` we set off again with Picard et al, all boldly going where nobody their age should be allowed to go.
The anamorphic 2.35 transfer is good, but not as sharp as I would have liked from such modern source material. There also seems to be the occasional instance of poor detail resolution, which is particularly noticeable in the first scene where we see children playing in the hay. Instead of a well-detailed image, we get what appear almost to be solid blocks of colour (made worse when the camera pans). Also, I noticed that the standard of the transfer seems to vary between scenes, almost as though Paramount had different teams of people (with differing technical skills) working on separate sections. However, this doesn`t really detract from what`s happening on-screen.
This said, both the outdoor and indoor scenes are well captured with vivid colours and good contrast. The space scenes have transferred very nicely, with deep, solid blacks overlaid with bright stars and the colourful streaks of the obligatory photon-torpedo fire.
The soundtrack is presented in DD5.1, which will fill your viewing room with ambient effects whilst at the same time providing a clear and spacious dialogue channel. It is a very good example of how a DD soundtrack should be done. There are some real sub-stretchers, particularly during the space scenes (which will give your surrounds a good workout too). Jerry Goldsmith`s orchestral score is up to his usual excellent standard and adds a great deal to the overall experience. Your neighbours will definitely know that you are watching a sci-fi movie!
Seeing as this is Paramount`s first UK Star Trek DVD release, you would have thought they would try to impress us and go to town on the extras. Well, they haven`t. All we get is a forgettable 5-minute `behind the scenes` featurette, a teaser trailer and the obligatory theatrical trailer. When you think of the wealth of information that Paramount must have at their disposal, this is a very poor effort. I hope they make up for this shortfall in their forthcoming releases.
It is good to know though that the region 1 version is just as spartan and has received similar criticism, so maybe Paramount will take these comments on-board.
As you may have guessed, I am a big Star Trek fan. However, I do not wear stick-on Vulcan ears, shave my head or take day trips to Eastbourne to attend conventions. I just like the escapism, the varied story lines and the sheer excitement that this film series generates.
The standard of the acting is very good, with a quite emotional scene (for him) from LaForge (LeVar Burton) as he gazes on his first sunset, his sight restored by the planet`s youth-giving radiation. Patrick Stewart is his usual Picard and it is good to see him display some `normal` emotions as he falls for the 309 year-old Anjii (Donna Murphy), one of the female planet-dwellers. Data (Brent Spiner) appears, as you would expect, as his normal self and injects some comic relief. The scene where he and Picard sing opera to each other is a work of genius!
This, the ninth film in the series (and the third to feature the `Next Generation` crew) is definitely one of the best. It is recommended not only to the die-hard Trekkies but also to those who only tend to watch the `better` Star Trek films. There is enough humour to raise more than the odd chuckle and a couple of real laugh-out-loud moments. With this film, they seem to have got the mix of excitement, humour and serious stuff just right.
My wife watched it all the way through without a murmur and said afterwards that she quite enjoyed it. `Nuff said.