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Review: Nothing revolutionary in 'Star Trek: Insurrection'

Web posted on:
Thursday, December 10, 1998 12:03:31 PM EST

From Reviewer Paul Clinton

(CNN) -- I am not a Trekkie. I did follow the television show, "Star Trek: The Next Generation," so I am familiar with the characters. However, there are no shrines honoring the Federation in my house, and I don't know Captain Picard's hat size, blood type or his favorite color.

Therefore, I'm fairly sure, that my opinion will be blasphemy to diehard fans. Well, get over it. Don't send those little hairy Tribbles out to get me, and get ready to be beamed up. The "Star Trek" legend, created by the late Gene Roddenberry, continues.

The ninth edition of the "Star Trek" series, "Star Trek: Insurrection," is flying into theaters across the country at warp speed. Why? Because a lot of people have very big mortgages to pay.

Theatrical preview for "Star Trek: Insurrection"

Windows Media: 28k or 56k
Real: 28k or 56k

Paul's Pix: "Star Trek: Insurrection"

Windows Media: 28k or 56k
Real: 28k or 56k

So once again we'll join Capt. Jean-Luc Picard, aka Patrick Stewart; Lt. Cmdr. Data, aka Brent Spiner; Lt. Cmdr. Geordi LaForge, aka LeVar Burton; Counselor Deanna Troi, aka Marina Sirtis; Dr. Beverly Crusher, aka Gates McFadden and Cmdr. Will Riker, aka Jonathan Frakes, as they go where no one has gone before.

Going where no one has gone before?

Actually, "Star Trek: Insurrection" doesn't take us anyplace we haven't been before. We've all been there -- again and again and again.

This latest edition of the adventures of those wild and crazy space boys and girls is once more directed by Jonathan Frakes, who led the helm of the last movie -- "Star Trek: First Contact" -- as well.

This time our intergalactic gang is trying to save the simple Ba'ku people from losing their planet in a plot between the the Enterprise's own Federation and the Federation's allies, the Son'a.

The Ba'ku are helpless since they've given up all technology in favor of a peaceful life in paradise. But there's something strange in this paradise. The Ba'ku never grow old. Gaseous rings around the Ba'kus' planet provide a non-aging energy.

Enter the bad guys and their motivation: F. Murray Abraham, as Ru'afo, the Son'a leader, is the Michael Jackson of space travel (is that redundant?), continually using plastic surgery to keep himself young. He wants that planet. He wants that gas, and he wants it bad -- until Picard and his cohorts save the day. Hey, was there ever any doubt?

Even good, odd bad may not hold

According to "Trekkie" folklore, even-numbered "Star Trek" films are good, and odd-numbered sequels are failures. If that rule holds true for number nine, "Insurrection" will be a bomb. But I don't think so.

Everyone involved really seems to have had a blast making this film. Picard even gets a Ba'ku girlfriend, played winsomely by Donna Murphy. The banter between all these familiar characters is charming, and the action is everything you've come to expect.

Splashy effects, original vision in 'Star Trek: Insurrection'

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Almost everybody behind the camera also has lots of "Star Trekking" on their resumes. One is producer Rick Berman, and another is veteran Production Designer Herman Zimmerman. The director of photography, Matthew Leonetti, is also back having lensed "Star Trek: First Contact."

All the Ba'ku are good-looking, healthy people who look like they've been beamed up from a beach at Malibu. And despite the fact that they've given up all technology, the Ba'ku women have managed to saved the push-up bra. Diehard Trekkies are already in line at theaters.

Overall this is mainly a TV movie with a huge budget. However, if you like "Star Trek" films at all, your prime directive is to check this one out. Live long and prosper.

"Star Trek: Insurrection" is rated PG with a running time of 104 minutes.

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