I always found it interesting the way the Federation had the Prime Directive, yet went about observing and interacting with the very peoples they weren’t supposed to interfere with. This is shown in multiple episodes and films. In Star Trek Insurrection, Data is working with just such an observation/interaction post when he suddenly malfunctions and exposes the Federation deception.
When Picard and the rest of the U.S.S. Enterprise crew arrive, they find out the Ba’ku are actually a high-tech society who have chosen to to abandon that in favor of a simpler existence. It doesn’t hurt that they live on a planet that gives them virtual immortality.
The real stars of Star Trek Insurrection were the guest stars. Donna Murphy as Anij was wonderful. Her character was smart and interesting, and she was perfect for the part. I really enjoyed F. Murray Abraham as Ru’afo, leader of the Son’a, a group of exiles intent on taking the planet from the Ba’ku (holy apostrophes, Batman!). He made a great villain, much better than the sniveling Admiral Dougherty (Anthony Zerbe). Something was off in almost every scene with Zerbe, which is frustrating because he is a decent actor with a long history of good roles.
From the regular cast, Troi (Marina Sirtis) and Picard (Patrick Stewart) stood out for their roles. While the bubblebath scene was a little strange, I liked the rekindled romance between Riker and Troi. That always seemed to make the most sense on the television series, so I was glad to see them get back together finally. I always thought they really worked well as a couple. I really enjoyed the scenes with Picard and Anij. Despite the age difference with Stewart, Murphy projected maturity and wisdom. Of all the love interests for Picard from The Next Generation, this one really worked.
The story was quite a bit better than in Generations, but not quite as enjoyable as First Contact. While it still felt like a two-part episode from The Next Generation, Star Trek Insurrection was a really good one. The pacing flowed much more consistently. I also liked how it showed that everything in the Federation isn’t absolutely perfect. The “perfect utopia” always seemed a little unrealistic to me.
The visual effects and production design were excellent. The town they built is typically small for a Star Trek town on a far-flung world. I really liked the architectural details in the set. The harvester set was very fun, and I loved how they filmed it from all different angles.
I generally enjoyed Star Trek Insurrection. It had a few drawbacks and parts I didn’t enjoy as much, but I have now watched it several times over the years. While it’s not my favorite Star Trek film, it’s still a solid film.
Release Date: December 11, 1998 (USA)
MPAA Rating: PG
Alcohol/Drugs: 1 (brief social drinking)
Language: 1 (occasional, mild)
Sexuality: 1 (very brief)
Violence: 2 (space battles, some fisticuffs, death)