The last film in the series (Star Trek: First Contact) set the bar very high for being not only a great Star Trek film but a great film in general. Could First Contact’s sequel, Star Trek: Insurrection, live up to its predecessor’s quality? Read on, find out! Warning: Spoilers ahead.
Insurrection attempts to kick things off on the right foot as Lieutenant Commander Data (on a stealth mission with a different crew on an alien planet) flips out and attacks his fellow crewman, blowing the cover of the entire operation. What is this alien planet? What is the operation? What happened to Data and why is he with this crew? All are to be revealed in excruciatingly slow fashion as the film continues. There isn’t much action in this introduction, instead too many questions to be answered. I’m used to a little mystery being thrown out there at the beginning of a film (like “Rosebud” from Citizen Kane) but with Insurrection you have no idea what’s going on… it makes it kind of hard to care. This might work on an episode of Next Generation, you know to keep the viewer from changing the channel but this is a film we’re talking about here.
Meanwhile across the galaxy the USS Enterprise-E is welcoming the Evora, a group of protectorates, as the Enterprise has been serving in a diplomatic role as of late. This is frustrating to the crew (and the viewer) considering there is a bloody war going on against the Dominion at the moment. So why has this crew, who have saved the universe time and time again, been relegated to diplomatic duties instead of head on action packed warfare? We’re never told and it’s never mentioned again which means this whole section of the movie should have never even happened in the first place since it serves no purpose in the plot. Anyhow, Admiral Dougherty (who earlier we saw working on the stealth mission) calls Enterprise to inform Picard that Data has gone rogue and taken up hostages on the alien planet. Dougherty wants Data’s schematics so he and his crew can come up with a way to take Data down but Picard decides to just warp across the galaxy and lend a hand himself.
At this time we get an inside look at an alien space ship and its inhabitants that are apparently working alongside Admiral Dougherty on this secretive mission. These aliens, known as the Son’a, are purple mummy like beings who have their skin stretched and stapled onto their skulls for fun, sort of like in Brazil. It appears that the Son’a are working with the Federation to secretly relocate the peaceful inhabitants of the alien world, known as the Ba’ku so they can harvest the planets regenerative radiation in a process that would decimate all life on the planet. It turns out that sometime during the process Data’s morality senses went off and turned him berserk, throwing a wrench in the Son’a’s plans. It took about forty seconds for me to type those last few sentences but it took over an hour for the film to reveal what exactly is going on. Again, I don’t mind a nice mystery but I can’t stand not knowing what’s going on for such a long time. Like I said earlier, if you don’t know you don’t care!
The crew of the Enterprise eventually neutralizes Data, head down to the planet and uncover the plot of the Son’a. Picard takes this information to Admiral Dougherty who informs him that Starfleet knew all along and that this operation will result in medical leaps that could save millions of lives in the long run. Picard argues that you can’t ethically force a group of people out of their home even if there are only about 600 people on the planet. Dougherty counters this by informing Picard that the Ba’ku aren’t native to the planet so relocating them isn’t that big of a deal and sadly I have to agree with him here. I forgot to mention that the Ba’ku are immortal as long as they live on this planet so moving them away would cause them to become mortal again… so yeah, kinda just makes me agree with Dougherty even more and that’s not good. Millions of people saved if we just move a few hundred refugees to another planet where they can no longer cheat death? Why not? After all of this information comes to light, why wouldn’t you agree with Admiral Doherty? If you lose your support for the “heroes” of the story what do you have left? Well, there is one final point toward Picard’s stance…
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