Reviews: Star Trek Insurrection
The spirit of routine, not adventure
The TOS crew had such great chemistry, fans would pay to watch them roast marshmallows. TNG, and the spin-offs to follow, could not replicate this off-the-cuff chemistry, which makes films difficult. With TOS, you automatically get it. Exploration, logic vs. emotion, phasers, ship battles, miniskirts... TNG is also thinking man's show. The struggle was to keep diplomacy from breaking down or resorting to violence — when really, one photon torpedo would've ended those episodes in a second. (The show would never fly today.) So, with all that said, I can see why Rick Berman was totally at sea. How to commit this to film? Granted, Berman probably should have sucked it up and resigned, letting fresh blood take over, but we all know how reluctant people are to become retirees. So we end up with a TV movie, with a comparable budget and the ugliest aspects of Trek writ large. Blond-haired, blue-eyed good guys. Butt-ugly villains. Wretched romance. Bonehead humor. And then they went and gave Picard a gun. I can't decide if this was aping Captain Kirk, or a retread of First Contact. I suspect the latter, since Picard tried to talk things out with Soran in Generations. The Federation is sinister again, without cause. The villains are drug dealers with vaguely Arab features. All Ru'afo was missing was a hookah pipe. There are no stakes at all, and nothing of consequence happens besides Riker and Troi hooking up again. How keen. My favorite moment is Picard staring into a mirror, awestruck by his youth, and it's plain old Patrick Stewart.