Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Star Trek IX: Insurrection

Star Trek: Insurrection (imdb)

I must say that I'm amazed that I like the Next Generation movies better than the old ones, considering the fact that I never really liked the Next Generation TV show all that much.

I also never saw any of the other myriad Star Trek TV shows, other than the original, although it's quite obvious that references are being made to these in the movie. Luckily, other than having to know who the major characters are and the basic theme of the universe, prior knowledge of the TV shows is not necessary (and most likely would just confuse things, anyway).

Once again I'm struck by the universally good acting of these actors, which, while not outstanding in any particular way, is certainly sufficient for the task. And once again I am annoyed by some of the personalities they are required to display: an android who probably holds every single written human work in his memory should hardly have to be lectured on what childhood is.

The plot is also praiseworthy, despite the usual kinds of silliness such as the great fallibility and recklessness of people who supposedly are entrusted in important jobs such as piloting expensive spaceships.

I like the fact that it doesn't follow a single straightforward thread from beginning to end, with the conflict at the beginning and the resolution at the end. Instead, first problems are wrapped up and new problems arise as the movie progresses. This kept me on my toes.

Secondly, I think this must have been the least violent of all ST movies I've seen. For goodness sakes, the plot wasn't about a deranged lunatic who plans to kill thousands of people; it was about arguing for or against humanely moving a small group for the benefit of billions of people. The bad guys could have wiped them all out whenever they wanted, and are frustrated at having to avoid killing as much as possible. That is a unique experience in ST. Of course, it unravels just a bit at the end.

Like the other odd-numbered ST movies, this one deals with the "extended life" theme, which is something they just can't get quite right. The previous movie where this was the most tangential, ST III, was the best of this lot, and so is this one, where, while a main plot point, is at least not also the goal of the movie.

Of course, it's by no means a great movie, and has its share of problems.

The hackneyed scene with the kid who goes back into the collapsing cave because he left his dog behind ... excuse me, his slug behind ... is mighty cliche. The "boobs" line is just inexcusable; at the very least they would have said "breasts", not "boobs". And Data's character, as I mentioned, is still no substitute for Spock.

Where the original cast were swaggering American fighters, and this cast in ST 7 was like a bunch of cocktail-drinking actors, in this movie they are moving a little bit toward reclaiming their masculinity, looking more like lightsaber-wielding heroes than ever.

All in all, it ranks number 2 in my list of ST movies: 4, 9, 8, 2, 3, 7, 6, (5 and 1 which are both the same and horrid).

Previous reviews: ST 8, ST 7, ST 4-6, ST 1-3.


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