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Film Review: Star Trek: Insurrection
In 1998, Jonathan Frakes directed, Star Trek: Insurrection, based on the 1987 television series Star Trek: The Next Generation, as the ninth film based on the franchise. Starring Patrick Stewart, Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVart Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, F. Murry Abraham, Donna Murphy, and Anthony Zerbe. the film grossed $112.6 million at the box office.
After discovering a conspiracy with a species known as the Son’a to steal a planet and its resources from an entire group of people, called the Ba’ku, the crew of the Enterprise rebel against Starfleet. Soon, the crew finds that the planet is starting to have an effect on them and they realize that the two groups are more connected than the crew first thought.
Star Trek: Insurrection doesn’t really deserve the bad reputation many give it. Yes, it has a very overt political tone, but to decry the film based on that would be missing the forest for the trees. Star Trek has always been overt in its politics, from the tone of the original series to The Undiscovered Country. With all of that in mind, Insurrection isn’t all that bad of a film.
The plot, while very much a political metaphor for the relocation of the Native Americans, is fairly enjoyable. Picard knows that forced relocation of a people would usually result in genocide, which is why he goes against the conspiracy. What’s more is Starfleet itself wasn’t involved, just a rogue admiral going along with the Son’a, who had their own twisted reasons for wanting to do so. The Son’a desire to move the Ba’ku because they wanted to use the planet’s properties of eternal youth for themselves drove them to become monsters not only in spirit, but physically as well. It could be argued that Spock's argument in the second film would fit here as the “many” who would need the properties outweigh the “few” Ba’ku, it should be noted that there’s no evidence that the Son’a would prevent anybody but themselves from using it, no matter what may have been previously promised.
This doesn’t mean that this plot is perfect, as there are some holes. For instance, it’s stated that there are only 600 Ba’ku and they don’t use technology. If that's true, the Son'a could take up residence on the opposite side of the planet. Also, the people who decry the evils of technology are ultimately saved by the use of it. The film has a very pro-nature message, but it comes across as muddled when the use of technology saves the day. The film has a continuity error as well with Data not being able to take his emotion chip with him, even though it fused to him.
The film also has some great individual moments, many of which are from the interactions Data and Artim have. At first, the latter is cold towards the former simply because he’s an artificial being. Yet, after the two have some moments with each other, where Data opens up that he wishes he could have had something akin to a childhood and wishes he were human and Artim expresses an interest in Data as more than a walking machine, the two begin to have something of a friendship. There’s also the part where Enterprise is being chased through a nebula. Riker ordering them to collect the gas, in spite of how dangerous it is, just so they can use it against their pursuers is a great moment. Commenting that it could be known as the Riker Maneuver if it succeeds is also quite a fun instance of witty dialogue in the face of danger. Further, chasing down Data and defeating him with a song from H.M.S. Pinafore is such a stupid idea made awesome purely because it’s Star Trek.
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- Bogey Award in Silver
International Film Music Critics Awards
- Best Original Score for a Fantasy/Science Fiction Film
Young Artist Awards
- Best Performance in a Feature Film - Supporting Young Actor (Michael Welch)
Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films Saturn Awards
- Best Science Fiction Film
- Best Make-Up
- Best Dramatic Presentation
Online Film & Television Association Awards
- Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Actor (Patrick Stewart)
- Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror Ensemble
- Best Makeup and Hairstyling
- Best Visual Effects
Young Artist Awards
- Best Family Feature - Drama