Sunday, April 26, 2009

Star Trek: Insurrection

This was the first Trek movie where my first impression of it was fonder than upon revisiting it. I'm not sure why, but I just didn't click with this movie like I thought I would. The really confusing part, is that I can only come up with reasons why I should like it more than I do. Not that it's bad, but it just isn't as great as I initially thought it would be. When I think about what the movie was about and everything it had in it, I really should have loved it.

What I think was detracting me:

First difference that I noticed with this movie is that they don't start out in the Star Trek universe. They start out on the alien planet. They even have serene and pastoral music at this point to match the pastoral setting. I guess it's done to help establish some pathos (or ethos? it's some kind of *thos) for the people and their plight and to juxtapose with the action sequence that they jump into. But I think this is the only Trek movie that didn't have a grand Trek intro.

The movie is full of a nostalgic feeling. We get lots of glimpses into Picard's, Riker's, and Troi's past. Not just with the crew, but with the entire situation that they face, it feels a bit like we're looking behind us at the past instead of traveling forward to something new and exciting.

They did look a bit at the differet cultural values of the other races but I would have liked a more in depth look at how their society runs. The Baku (sp?) seem to be a very highly evolved, peaceful, spiritual people but we don't get much of a sense of their political organization and how decisions are made.

There were a number of bits that felt contrived or hokey: Worf reuniting with the crew for this mission, the kid and his animated pet, it seemed to take too long to wrap things up at the end, and some of the dialogue was just too cheesey for me.

Things that make me want to love it:

I thought they did a very good job portraying a realistic post-war role for the Enterprise and her crew. They waste no time reminding us of where we are in the Trek universe and all the upheaval that has been going on through the galaxy. The crew seems to be in a bit of a state of shock after all the high adventure to return to diplomacy, talks, paperwork, etc.

The theme of the movie deals with a lot of ethics and the spirit of the Prime Directive. Thematically, I should have loved the movie, but it wasn't quite enough for me to get past the other points. They are dealing with forced relocation and trying to define the balance between the needs of the many and the needs of the few.

There's also a bit of a political message going on that is applicable to any day and age as they explore the consequences of making an alliance with a political entity that has quite different values than they do. In a sense they are making a deal with a devil 'for the greater good' but gambling on whether they will be able to control the devil further down the road.

The entire way that the villains were handled here was also great. The decisions about how they look lends a certain poetry to it all. Their exterior physical state really mirrored their inner moral decay.

Cool Science/Tech:

  • genetic manipulations to preserve youth
  • metaphasic energy
  • they actually used the ramscoop!
Fun Stuff:
  • Picard kind of gets a girlfriend but Beverly doesn't really seem to care. Perhaps the invigorating experience has her considering aiming her sights at someone younger than the Captain?
  • Geordie's eyes heal! And I can't remember if it's permanent or not. Guess I'll find out next week when I watch the next movie.
  • They had a good villain with a clear goal, motivation, and conflict (appealed to the writer in me) and he has a really awesome scream when he realizes his plans get foiled!
  • Riker really gets a chance to display that he is very ready for the Captain's chair now.
  • It's kind of nice to know that futuristic military organizations still let people bank their vacation/shore-leave days.
  • The crew literally gets re-invigorated for one last movie after this one *sniff, sniff*


Genie Sea said...

This one was one of my faves :)

Kim said...

Well, as you pointed out, the villain had that great scream, so that was enough for me!

Speaking to the "Picard gets a girlfriend and Crusher doesn't seem to care" bit: one of the more recent Star Trek: The Next Generation novels has a lovely storyline that pretty much deals with their relationship once and for all!

Anonymous said...

I have been following your Trek Tuesday (or Wednesday or Thursday ;-) posts for a while now and have enjoyed them a lot.