[Picture of projector]

Laramie Movie Scope:
Star Trek: Insurrection

Another entry in the Star Trek series of films

[Strip of film rule]
by Robert Roten, Film Critic
[Strip of film rule]

December 13, 1998, updated January 5, 1999 -- The Star Trek series of films, now almost 20 years old, has proved to be a very durable series, especially given its shaky beginnings. "Star Trek: Insurrection" is one of the weaker entries in the series.

Although this film has a fairly strong story, it tries a little too hard to be funny. Essentially, the story is serious as the crew of the Enterprise happens upon a secret plot to destroy the home world of a race of people who seem to have found both the fountain of youth and Utopia. A Federation admiral, Matthew Dougherty, played by Anthony Zerbe, has made an unauthorized deal for the use of alien technology which he hopes will steal the secret to eternal life.

In order to duplicate the unique type of radiation bathing the planet which gives people eternal life, the source of the radiation must be destroyed and the planet must also be rendered uninhabitable. When Captain Picard of the Enterprise finds out about the secret deal, he decides to fight it. He and other rebellious Enterprise crewmen offer their help to prevent the planet's people from losing their home.

Along the way there are a couple of romances and a number of jokes and sight gags. These sometimes don't work well together with the high drama. The story also fails to generate a real sense of jeopardy since the bad guys are merely trying to relocate, rather than kill the inhabitants of this blessed world. There are a few plot twists along the way, but the story bogs down during an extended sequence when the people of the planet are trying to hide from their pursuers.

While the story lacks a strong edge, it does benefit from some strong performances by Picard (Patrick Stewart), Data (Brent Spiner), Worf (Michael Dorn) and the chief villain, Ru'afo (played by the great F. Murray Abraham, who will always be remembered for his Oscar-winning performance as Salieri in "Amadeus"). Despite that, the uneven tone and pacing of this film relegate it to the bottom half of the Star Trek films. It rates a C.

Update: I went back to see this film again recently. Maybe I was tired or something the first time I saw it, but it was much better the second time around. It was fun, and I got some of the veiled references that I missed the first time through because I knew what was going to happen. Anyway, I enjoyed the humor in the film more and am upgrading my rating to a B.

Click here for links to places to buy this movie in video and/or DVD format, the soundtrack, books, even used videos, games and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

[Strip of film rule]
Copyright © 1998 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
[Strip of film rule]
Back to the Laramie Movie Scope index.
[Rule made of Seventh Seal sillouettes]

Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)