Review: Star Trek IX: Insurrection [1998]; Have You Noticed… We’re Spending Time With the Village Folk

Cᴏɴᴛᴇɴᴛ Iɴᴅᴇx —

a (kinda short) review by the Azure-Winged Magpie.

Click here to skip to the review!

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First Officer‘s log, Stardate 96762.55: Awright! Let’s see them (warning: the giffy might be distubring)! smiles on them faces! Come on! Show em! 

No Tiny Team Update today (cause I did a proper Team Update like yesterday) so I’m gonna go ahead and jump straight into this review and see who’s insurrecting who today in the Star Trek universe. 

(Sorry if this post seems a bit… off. I just had an “aftershock” from my condition. I’m not all “there” today).

And since this film is the only one in the series that doesn’t come with a “swoop swoop” scene… here’s the two best “looks” the film has in it! 

And here’s the “beauty shot” of the Enterprise E herself! 

Right! We got our gifs in place and the post looks all pretty! Let’s go! 


Star Trek VIII:
Spending Time With the Village Folk

SPOILER LEVELS at MINIMAL

🖖 (◔ _ ◔)

Right… this is a tough one. Star Trek: Insurrection‘s also directed by Jonathan Frakes who did such a swell job with the last one and something’s… different. This film fixes one of the big problems I had with First Contact but ends up going straight to [BLEEP] with things I thought First Contact did fine. 

First thing that comes up is that the crew’s back to acting normal again. In First Contact, Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden) and Worf (Michael Dorn) had nothing to do and were being treated like they were just noobies on the Enterprise. Troi (Marina Sirtis) didn’t have a lot to do other than get drunk and hit on 

(◔ _ ◔) …

and even though Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Geordi (LeVar Burton) were fine… they weren’t on the ship.

And y’know what? This film puts them right back to being on the ship. The Enterprise feels “lived in” again and everyone’s getting along. That’s a good thing. That’s what the last two TNG films were missing. Everyone kept getting split up and going off in different directions and everything.

Even Picard (the PatStew)’s back to normal and smiling and just happy to be here. No random brothers go dying all over the place and no ʙᴏʀɢ start talking to him in his sleep. He just gets a funny hat-thing put on his head because… we can do that. Yup.

Funny “hat”

So here’s the deal. Data (Brent Spiner)’s gone off crazy on this temporary assignment he took up. He ran through a village on some backwards planet and broke General Order 1 of the Prime Directive. He slaps some fools and wrecks the cloak keeping this observation station hidden away from these village people. So the Enterprise is called in (after some tiny verbosage pushing by Picard, who can verbosely shove anyone outta his way) to bring him in. And that’s where the… singing… comes in…

(◔ _ ◔) …oookay

Okay. I know a lot of folks are gonna have a problem with this scene but this has gotta be one of the most The Next Generation scenes ever… the PatStew going full ham with Picard’s Gilbert and Sullivan and Worf having to sign along even though he doesn’t want to (cause like who does?!) and then we got Brent Spiner making funny faces and doing his impression of the PatStew. It’s cringy as, but it really is a TNG film now. 

So anyway… Picard and Worf bring Data down with the power of song and go and meet the village folk. And this is where the film gets into the first facepalm moment, but we’ll get to that in a mo. The village folks are called the Ba’ku (I ca’n put apo’stro’ph’e’s’ ever’y’whe’re t’o’o’) and they were super advanced only a few hundred years ago and gave up technology cause they don’t think technology’s all that no more. Okay. No problems there even though they’re being a bit smug about it. They kept the alien hostages nice and safe. Sweet! And they’re so advanced that they even tried to repair Data’s positronic brain which is tech even Starfleet can’t figure out.

Oookay. You know what? At this point I’m going to split my opinions on this film into two sections. Let’s start with…

Star Trek: Insurrection Good

Like I said, the good parts of the film are all about the crew. Not how the crew deals with the Ba’ku. Just the crew. Picard and Riker are back to acting normal around each other again. Worf and Picard are back to their uncle nephew thing. Troi and Crusher are best buds again. Geordi gets actual eyes for the first time so he’s off doing his thing, and it’s just him and Data that don’t get so much to do around each other. But then they both have good moments on their own.

(I dunno how smooth android bums really are but Data sells their smootheness real good). 

And then we get the cutest thing this film gets right…

It’s the spitting image. Spitting!

(⊙◡) …❤!

I dunno about you lot but the Troi x Riker thing had me hooked. Sure they get turned into giggling hormonal teenagers but… ohyasplz. This is the ship when it comes to TNG and they’re just perfect in this one. Someone somewhere snapped that moment up there and y’know what? It rang bells. They don’t get much time to play around but everything about the romance just works. And even though Troi’s memory seems more defective than Data’s… I hear you girl. First time the dude grows a beard it is a bit weird.

Aaand that’s about it. 

This is not gonna end well

Now let’s talk...

Star Trek: Insurrection Bad

Right!

So the basic plot makes sense. That’s a good thing. But y’know what? NOTHING ELSE does! Why is this SECRET STARFLEET OP even dealing with Data?! He’s a Mr. Goody Two Shoes to a fault and it’s never gonna end well for you if you bring him in without telling him everything. And is this admiral (Anthony Zerbe) the only one Starfleet has running this op?!

Why do admirals only come in ones when the situation’s that sensitive?! It’s not like he’s working on his own. Starfleet Command knew exactly what’s going on from what I could tell.

And then we get to the big problem. Remember this line?! 

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few. Or the one. 

— some pointy-eared dude, sometime

Okay look. Picard… I get it. Some of the “darkest chapters” of human history do deal with forced relocations. I get it. What’s going on is a little “immoral”. Yep. But you know what? This “radiation” the Ba’ku got isn’t theirs to start with. It’s not like the planet’s even theirs. And if you collect it, the Ba’ku can keep their long lifespans (maybe not their big village) and everyoneEVERYONE can get all the medical benefits that come with it!

And… remember those times YOU RELOCATED PEOPLE without thinking twice? You didn’t even need to be forced to relocating people! You just did it! 

(> っ <) …Hypocrite!

What the “bad guys” are up to is actually kind of a best-case here. It’s actually a kind of a peaceful solution. Hell… even Starfleet agrees with them. They don’t really even think about killing people until the Enterprise crew interferes and throws their whole plan off. And even then it’s really only the Big Bad Ru’afo (F. Murray Abraham! Remember him?!) who thinks it. And I’m putting a lot of that down to the idea that he’s about to snuff it soon.

Heck. Why didn’t Starfleet kindly ask the Ba’ku to “back you” off (see what I did there?!) the planet so that they could go in and collect this life-saving radiation that would save BILLIONS of people all over the galaxy?! 

I could go on and on but the more think about it the more holes I start finding so I’m going to cut it all out and just say that the story does a good lot more harm to the TNG charatcer’s moral position than it does good. And if you think they’re 100% right and the bad guys are 100% bad… I’m sorry but you’re a bit simple in the head aren’t you? I actually kinda feel bad for the Son’a (the “bad guys”). The Ba’ku can be right [BLEEP]s. I knew something was off about their being so smug!

I‘m just going to list some little points that miffed me off now.

  • The Enterprise can be piloted by… a joystick?
  • The Crow can confirm that I react the same way. The first time the Crow and I went from workmates to mates-mates, my old man had too much to drink and the Crow dragged him back to mine. I reacted the exact same way. 
  • The CGI is terrible in this one. All the good things from First Contact are straight gone. Someone must’ve pointed out how bad these effects were. 
  • Okay what’s going on with this slowing down time thing? How can Picard suddenly do this? What is this and why is it here? Will it ever come up again? (No).
  • I thought that the blue guy’s paper would have something to do with the radiation. But nope. Sorry blue guy. I dunno why you’re here either. 

So Insurrection‘s a fun watch only if you forget who these people are. If it was anyone other than the TNG characters, it’d be a good film. But with them here… it just makes everyone look bad. There are so many holes in this story that it looks like one of those wedges of cheese from old Disney cartoons and whatnot.

I liked the design of the bad guys and I even like Ru’afo’s silly screaming but it felt really half-bummed. If Insurrection was an episode and had some twist that made the characters think differently… I could get behind it. But for a feature length film… no. Just no. This was pretty bad. It looks bad. It ruined my favourite characters ever. And it just let me down so so so much.

There’s a lot of fun in it though. Worf is adorable and boobs are getting firmer and Data’s real fun. It even has a good kid actor in it (a good one)! But I’m not going to recommend it. It’s just a huge waste of space. It’s only the second Star Trek film (so far) that we’re not recommending (The Final Frontier‘s the other one) and believe you me… there are more reasons than the ones I put out to it.

Unless… you’re like me and want to watch Troi and Riker being all cute around each other. And y’know what…? The Crow’s got a… pretty full beard these days… hmm… …

Anyway… I’ll just leave this here… 

See you in the next one! 

Azure-Winged Magpie up! Up! And Awayyy! *BONK!* 


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Final Ratings

THE AZURE-WINGED MAGPIE: 4/10
THE CROW: 2.5/10


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See Also


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