[Screen It]


(1998) (Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner) (PG)

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Bad Attitude
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Sci-fi: A starship captain must decide whether to disobey orders to save a civilization from being removed from their planet.
The Ba'Ku are a small group of advanced people living on a remote planet where abnormal radiation has prevented them from aging for the past several hundred years. A peaceful society that abhors technology, they have unknowingly been the subject of covert observation by members of the Son'a, another alien race, and the Federation, the universe-spanning collection of civilized "good guys." It turns out that both of those parties have entered into a partnership to collect the planet's anti-aging materials.

This seemingly benign relationship is shattered when Lieutenant Data (BRENT SPINER), an android assigned by the Federation to study the Ba'Ku, suddenly goes haywire and exposes the Federation and Son'a research teams.

Hearing that Data -- one of his trusted crew members -- is about to be terminated, Captain Jean- Luc Picard (PATRICK STEWART) takes his crew aboard the starship Enterprise -- including Commander William Riker (JONATHAN FRAKES), Lieutenant Commanders Geordi La Forge (LeVAR BURTON), Worf (MICHAEL DORN), and Deanna Troi (MARINA SIRTIS), and Dr. Beverly Crusher (GATES McfADDEN) -- and sets off to safely recover Data and figure out what went wrong.

Once among the Ba'ku, Picard and his team eventually discover that Federation Admiral Dougherty (ANTHONY ZERBE) and the Son'a leader, Ru'afo (F. MURRAY ABRAHAM), plan to relocate the peaceful settlers out of harm's way while they mine the planet's materials.

Ordered to leave, Picard most then chose whether to obey Admiral Dougherty, or face the consequences of protecting the Federation's "prime directive" that states that the Federation shall not intervene or interfere with the natural evolution of a foreign civilization.

If they're fans of any of the previous or current "Star Trek" TV shows or movies, they probably will.
For sci-fi action violence, mild language and sensuality.
  • In general, the crew of the Enterprise are decent role models (although Riker and Deanna appearing in the same bathtub may raise some eyebrows) while Dougherty and especially Ru'Afo are the standard villains.


    OUR TAKE: 3 out of 10
    Appropriately titled for the action that fans of the series will take should more duds like this one be released, "Star Trek: Insurrection" is a listless, unimaginative sci-fi flick. This, the ninth big screen installment of the venerable TV show (counting the first six and a half featuring Bill Shatner and company), should only further strengthen the odd/even belief held by die-hard fans of the series (that the odd numbered theatrical installments are generally bad while the even numbered ones are good).

    While "Insurrection" isn't as sterile as the big budget "Star Trek: The Motion Picture (#1) and clearly isn't as awful as "Star Trek: The Final Frontier (#5), it's certainly not as good as the earlier efforts in the series, "Wrath of Khan" (#2) and "The Voyage Home" (#4).

    Playing out like a weak installment from either the original TV show or its "Next Generation" successor -- where the writers had brain lock for the week and couldn't come up with anything decent -- this picture is boring and trite and shows very little of the imaginative sci-fi elements for which the series is often revered.

    Working from the ages old fountain of youth plot, the film contains many long and dull scenes featuring the Ba'Ku, a small group of peaceful, but (more importantly) non-aging technophobes who are so advanced that they no longer need nor want technology.

    No, they don't use telekinetic powers to get things done. Instead, they spend their time happily farming and milling and playing some form of hacky sack (that apparently hasn't advanced much over the intervening centuries since it was invented).

    As you can tell, that sounds like pretty exciting stuff, but wait, there are also some bad guys who want to relocate these people (no, not kill or harm, just relocate) so that they can collect the fountain of youth properties for themselves. And Captain Picard -- the decent humanitarian that he is -- just doesn't think that's right. Well, it doesn't take a rocket scientist -- or a Trek fan -- to realize that all of that's pretty boring stuff, and guess what? It is.

    Sure, there are some inside jokes for those fans -- a few of which elicited some laughs from our audience -- but using exaggerated pimple gags and comments for humor can only be considering as mining the bottom of the comedy barrel.

    The performances are all standard issue for the series -- meaning they're decent, but not outstanding -- but "guest" villain F. Murray Abraham ("Amadeus") can't do much with his character who's as thinly developed as the skin he constantly has stretched across his face.

    On the other hand, Patrick Stewart, as our trustworthy captain, gets to show off his theatrical tonsils in a goofy bit featuring him singing a tune from Gilbert and Sullivan's "H.M.S. Pinafore." That and other similar moments are apparently intended to further the series' attempts at lightening up his previously stuffy character.

    The special effects -- for what little screen time they get -- are okay, but appear too computer generated to be considered outstanding. Otherwise, the village setting of the Ba'Ku has that inexpensive, movie-set look often seen in similarly staged, peaceful futuristic settings.

    Not the worst of the big screen series, but not even close to being on par with the best, it nearly seems as if the filmmakers -- director Jonathan Frakes (who also appears in the films as Commander Riker and who directed the last big screen installment) and Michael Piller (making his big screen writing debut after working on TV) -- simply decided not to try very hard to make a good picture (knowing this was an odd numbered installment).

    Not surprisingly, it shows and while die-hard fans may find bits and pieces to enjoy (and will be pleased simply by getting to see their favorite characters back on the big screen once again), the film will do nothing to lure in, or please the average moviegoer. We give "Star Trek: Insurrection" a 3 out of 10.

    Here's a quick look at the content found in this PG-rated film. Standard issue sci-fi action and violence occurs and isn't greatly worse than what's seen on the TV series, but the results are just a bit bloodier and a few people are non-graphically killed.

    A few mild profanities occur, as do some comments about "boobs" firming up (due to the planet's regenerative properties) and we see two characters sharing a mildly sensual, but brief bubble bath. Beyond that and the obligatory bad attitudes of the villains, however, the remaining categories don't have much (or any) in the way of major objectionable content.

  • Crew members and dignitaries have some sort of drinks (that may or may not be alcoholic) at a reception.
  • Riker reads a report that briefly mentions the Son'a somehow being involved in some sort of narcotics.
  • Deanna drinks something that looks like wine.
  • Data (the android) has a tear in the "flesh" on his neck (that isn't bloody).
  • There are several shots of Ru'afo's skin being stretched across his head/face that may be a little gross to some viewers (and in one we see the reddish "skin" underneath the surface skin, as well as staples of some sort being applied to hold the skin in place).
  • We see a large needle that's inserted into Ru'afo's neck.
  • We see a trickle of blood suddenly stream out from Ru'afo's forehead.
  • A man's mouth is a little bloody.
  • Gashes in a man's face are torn open wider after his head is put in a device that stretches the skin.
  • Obviously Ru'afo and Admiral Dougherty have both for wanting to remove the Ba'ku from their planet for their own gains.
  • Some of the action scenes (listed under "Violence") may be suspenseful to some viewers, but none are intentionally scary.
  • Two connected spacecraft nearly crash onto the surface of a planet.
  • Picard and the others lead the Ba'ku to safety, but not before they're attacked by small probes and trapped in a collapsing cave.
  • Picard battles a villain while a detonation timer clicks down toward zero.
  • Phasers (hand held and ship mounted laser guns): Used to threaten people or blow up things. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "Boobs" and "Bastards."
  • None.
  • Some action-oriented and dramatically suspenseful music occurs in several scenes during the film.
  • None.
  • 3 hells, 1 damn and 1 use of "Oh my God" as exclamations.
  • As Riker and Deanna play patient and therapist (including a "couch" of sorts), Deanna tells him to sit up and he playfully suggests that she lie down.
  • We see Deanna and Riker together in a bubble bath where she's shaving off his beard (nothing sexual happens that is seen, but they're obviously nude together under those bubbles).
  • Talking about the planet's regenerative properties, Deanna and Crusher talk about their "boobs firming up."
  • A Ba'Ku woman shows some minor cleavage in the outfits she wears.
  • Some briefly seen women working with Ru'afo wear skintight outfits that accentuate their breasts.
  • None.
  • None.
  • The Federation's "prime directive" that states that the Federation shall not intervene or interfere with another civilization's evolution.
  • The film's message about the pros and cons of technology.
  • Picard's argument of how many people it takes before an action taken against them becomes unacceptable.
  • Data fires several phaser shots at other people, and then hits or knocks them down as they try to stop him.
  • Data, in a small spaceship, opens fire on a large ship. Later, he also fires at Picard and Worf in their small spaceship.
  • Picard and Data briefly get into a phaser battle with another man who they end up shooting (he's injured or killed).
  • Some phaser blasts hit the planet, blowing up a few things and knocking people down and possibly injuring them.
  • A woman is injured from a cave collapse.
  • A ship fires upon the Enterprise.
  • The crew fires at and destroys (and occasionally hit and destroy) small probes that are tagging the planet's inhabitants.
  • A huge explosion rocks the Enterprise and crew members are knocked around (and we briefly see one man partially on fire).
  • An attacking ship is destroyed and another damaged in an explosion.
  • Ru'afo grabs Admiral Dougherty and throws him around a room (and smashes him into a glass cabinet) before placing his head in a device that stretches his skin and tears open some bigger gashes in his face.
  • More fighting takes place with phaser shots being fired at others and Worf hitting other people (including one that sounds like he breaks the man's arm).
  • An explosion blows up a vessel, apparently killing a man onboard.

  • Reviewed December 8, 1998 / Posted on December 11, 1998

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