Review for Star Trek: Insurrection
The crew of the Enterprise E are in the middle of diplomatic negotiations when they receive a disturbing communication from the Briar Patch region. Commander Data is on a special assignment with a joint Starfleet and Son’a mission to observe the primitive Ba’ku planet when he appears to malfunction. When the officer in charge, Admiral Dougherty requests Data’s schematics, Picard and the crew of the Enterprise abandon their mission and set course for the Briar Patch to investigate and if possible, rescue Data. But upon reaching the Ba’ku world they find a deeper conspiracy. The planet’s unique position in the Briar Patch subjects it to a form of rejuvenating radiation. The Ba’ku are to all intents and purposes, immortal. Admiral Dougherty and the Son’a, commanded by Ru’afo are willing to go to any lengths to obtain this fountain of youth for themselves, including displacing the innocent Ba’ku. Picard and his crew are faced with disobeying Starfleet orders and going up against Dougherty and Ru’afo in an attempt to safeguard the Ba’ku.
Insurrection gets a 2.35:1 widescreen 1080p transfer, and it’s a pretty good one. The image is clear and sharp, colour reproduction is excellent, and the movie remains properly filmic throughout, with a light layer of film grain, and even the odd moment of flicker (notably during the opening credits). You can occasionally spot an artefact of anamorphic lensing too, with some frames having distorted edges. If there has been any DNR applied, it’s with a touch light enough not to make a difference to the viewing experience. The one weak point of the transfer is with the CGI, which is looking very dated and unfinished now, especially with the starships.
You have the choice between Dolby TrueHD 5.1 Surround English, and DD 5.1 German, Spanish, Italian, and French, with subtitles in these languages as well as Arabic, Danish, Finnish, Dutch, Norwegian, Swedish, Portuguese and Croatian. Once you turn the volume up, the lossless English audio really is a treat, immersing you in the movie’s action sequences, bring across one of Jerry Goldsmith’s finest Trek scores since the Motion Picture with impact, while keeping the dialogue clear throughout.
The familiar animated menu offers another cornucopia of extra features, a far cry from the barebones DVD that I still have languishing somewhere.
The commentary for the film was recorded in 2009 by director/actor Jonathan Frakes, and actor Marina Sirtis, Riker and Troi. I have more fun listening to them watch the movie than I do watching the movie myself.
The Library Computer is the pop-up navigable trivia track again.
There are 7 featurettes in Production, no doubt taken from the 2-disc DVD release. The total running time is 119:25 SD.
The Star Trek Universe has 7 more featurettes. The three in SD run to 43:08, while the four recorded for this Blu-ray are naturally in HD and run to 30:33.
Creating the Illusion offers 3 more behind the scenes featurettes, and they run to 18:57 SD.
There are 7 deleted scenes for this film in SD format, running to 12:56, with introductions by Peter Lauritson, producer. While Max Grodenchik’s cameo is here, there’s no sign of the infamous Quark coda.
Finally there are a couple of galleries to click through in archives, as well as the Teaser and Theatrical Trailers and the Original Promo featurette.
I enjoyed this movie a lot more when I was a rabid Trek fan, when I could forgive any flaw and rationalise any silliness. By the time of Nemesis and Enterprise, I could no longer do that, but with Insurrection I still was wearing my fan blinkers. I’ve taken them off now, and Insurrection really isn’t that bad. For its sins, it is a fairly typical TNG story, with the Prime Directive at stake, a primitive species about to fall victim to alien exploitation, and with Picard and the Enterprise all that stands in the way. The difference being that the alien exploitation comes in part from the vaunted Federation, and not everything is as it appears with the primitive culture. The real problem with Insurrection is that it really is a Next Generation television episode transferred to the big screen, and not a very interesting one at that.
The original series and Next Generation movies were polar opposites in one way. The original series was always about the trio, Spock, Bones and Kirk, and the movies slowly began to take on more of an ensemble feel. The Next Generation TV show very much was an ensemble cast, but the spin-off movies felt like the Data and Picard franchise. Having said that, Star Trek Insurrection is the Star Trek V of the Next Generation movies. This is where the cast have the most fun on screen, the film with the lighter touch, played more for comedy (which in some ways diminishes the gravity of the main storyline), and when it comes to the Enterprise crew, this film is where they most feel like the television show. The difference is that Insurrection played it safe with its story, where Final Frontier’s reach exceeded its grasp by a long way.
For what we have in Insurrection is another lunatic with a doomsday weapon, a firmly established movie trope now, as each successive Star Trek movie continues to try, and fail to surpass The Wrath of Khan. Ru’afo and his space umbrella of doom was the first naked attempt to recapture the Khan magic, and despite it failing, Star Trek movies have been trying again and again ever since. The name may promise much, but the stakes are comparatively small, and Admiral Dougherty’s collusion with the facelift people and Picard’s refusal to obey Dougherty’s orders, all seem pretty small potatoes when it comes to insurrections. Star Trek and the Space Amish looks like it was a lot of fun to make for the actors, and there are moments in the film that can still delight. But taken as a whole, I don’t have fun watching Insurrection any more. It’s not good, it’s not bad, it just is.