Splashy effects, original vision in 'Star Trek: Insurrection'
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HOLLYWOOD (CNN) -- "Star Trek: Insurrection," the ninth film in the franchise, finds the Federation beset on all sides.
Not only is it troubled by enemies but also by new allies, the Son'A.
Maybe all the trouble is the result of the Federation officials seeking to betray the prime directive by forcing a peaceful civilization off its world. Will the crew of the Enterprise just stand by?
In a way, the movie -- which opens in theaters nationwide on Friday -- is a metaphor for Star Trek's standing in Hollywood.
Once the only major science fiction franchise, it is now part of a panoply that includes "The X-Files," "Men in Black," "Babylon Five" and dozens of other space-themed films and television shows.
Sticking to what made it 'Star Trek'
"Star Trek" maintains its place in that universe by sticking to what made it "Star Trek" in the first place.
"Rick Berman, the writers, the other producers and the cast have been absolutely determined to hold onto what were the fundamentals, most of the fundamentals, of Gene Roddenberry's vision," said Patrick Stewart, who plays Capt. Jean-Luc Picard.
But if you're looking for a dry lecture on ethics, you won't find it in "Star Trek: Insurrection."
Second-time director Jonathan Frakes, who Trekkies know for his role as the resourceful second-in-command Will Riker, is very sure about the course the Enterprise is taking while he is at the helm.
"Our science fiction has plenty of space battles and explosions and pyrotechnics and visual effects but it is still, at its root, about relationships, and it's not afraid to talk about something philosophical, something political, to take a moral or ethnical stand," he said.
Taking it outside
This latest "Star Trek" film offers plenty that is new -- along with things that are reassuringly familiar.
The ninth installment has more outdoor scenes that any other movie in the series. Much of it was shot in the Sierras, instead of on the Paramount lot.
In addition, the movie has wilder, more sweeping special effects, now that the special effects are done on computers.
Yet with all the changes, it's still "Star Trek."
"Without sounding too, uh, cocky, we really do it better than anybody else," Frakes said.
That should keep the Son'A, and the Borg and the competing studios at least a few parsecs behind.
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