Sep 11, 2020
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) (part 1 of 9)
The Cast of Characters:
Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). Captain of the Enterprise. In this film, he jacks up his self-righteous blowharditude to 15 out of 10, while simultaneously letting his strategic skills go to crap. Just to be extra-annoying, he continues his long-standing practice of falling for women as pompous and arrogant as he is.
Commander Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes). Second in command, though in terms of importance to the story, he ranks about fifth. Sets a new world record for spending almost the entire movie either off his feet, or in a moderately relaxed position, while acting as casual as one possibly can without looking comatose.
Commander Data (Brent Spiner). The Next Generation‘s android version of Spock. Goes haywire solely for the purpose of setting the plot into motion, then does little else for most of the film besides act out a third-rate Terminator 2 rip-off.
Commander Worf (Michael Dorn). Former member of the Enterprise crew, who somehow ends up on the Enterprise again. Deep Space What Now? Doesn’t really do much, outside of being Klingon and making dry wisecracks with a “Dear God, why me?” look on his face. Something tells me it wasn’t just the character making those faces.
Commander Geordi LaForge (LeVar Burton). The ship’s blind engineer, who has these creepy/cool mechanical eyes. Not much else to say here, except I loved Reading Rainbow when I was a kid. And also: Damn, there are a lot of commanders on this ship!
Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis). Ship’s “counselor” (remember, NextGen is a child of the touchy-feely late ’80s) and Riker’s love interest. For a shrink, unusually adept at firing weapons. You’d think that to be a commander, you’d have to be quick on the uptake. But no, Troi is a commander, too.
Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden). Ship’s doctor… and yeah. That’s pretty much it for her role in the film. And… also a commander. At this point I’m expecting to find out that Data’s cat is a commander. Is there anyone on this ship that takes commands?
Anij (Donna Murphy). Picard’s love interest, and the latest in a long line of self-righteous shrews he tends to hook up with. Quite possibly the blandest and least enticing leading lady in Trek history. Civilian, but is ostensibly the leader of her colony, so we’ll just go ahead and give her the honorary rank of commander.
Ru’afo (F. Murray Abraham). The main villain and this film’s winner of the Christopher Plummer Overacting Star Trek Villain Award. More of a melodramatic, whiny, loser asshole than truly evil. In command of his own ship, but probably has the rank of captain so… not a commander.
Admiral Dougherty (Anthony Zerbe). Starfleet admiral who proves to be less than trustworthy. Well, there’s a shock. Does this guy look like he’s trustworthy? Has a weird accent that wants to be British but just … can’t. Holds the rank of admiral, so… well, you know the rest.
I’m not a rabid Star Trek fan. This is not to say that I have any negative feelings towards Trek; I just don’t go crazy for it like some people do. My interest is more casual. I have always, however, felt it was one of the more solid sci-fi franchises out there. I remember watching episodes of the original series when I was a kid, and one of the first films I ever saw in the theater was the fourth film (The One with the Whales).
When The Next Generation started up, I was into it right from the start, and still enjoy it whenever I catch a glimpse on TV. After Deep Space Nine, the franchise went downhill, and I lost a lot of interest. Voyager was underwhelming, Enterprise didn’t impress me in the least, and then there were four films with the Next Generation cast which all felt like overblown TV episodes.
The third of these, and the ninth Star Trek movie overall, was Star Trek: Insurrection. It’s certainly not the worst Trek film ever—that dubious honor is shared by the dull and flat The Motion Picture and the misfire that is The Final Frontier. Insurrection is, however, the worst one to feature the Next Generation cast. A little cheesy acting from William Shatner is really the only thing that raises Star Trek: Generations above this one. And even then, only by inches.
Insurrection‘s last-place standing among Next Generation movies is widely agreed upon by everybody, including the cast. At the 2005 DragonCon, Marina Sirtis said that the last Next Generation movie, Nemesis, “didn’t suck as much as Insurrection.” She added that she fell asleep during the premiere of Insurrection, which she dramatized via slumping back in her chair and making a thumping sound with her microphone. And when the people who are actually in the movie can’t muster the slightest interest in it, what chance do we have?