I think the editors of CoN aregoing to be a little disappointed with this review. I think they expected me to hate this movie (the advance buzz was not promising) and then rip it to shreds in an amusing, if bitter fashion.
Tragically, I ended up liking this movie. In fact, I think it's the strongest of the NextGen movies so far.
You might have two different reactions to that. One might be that you loved First Contact and it had the Borg so no frickin way iz it better than First Contact d00000000000000000d! If that is your reaction, I am willing to donate a substantial amount to fund your vasectomy. We must act before you get a chance to breed.
Your second reaction is that Insurrection being better than the first two movies is no big stretch, considering the quality of Generations and First Contact. Fair enough. For the record, I thought First Contact was okay, but they've done the Borg thing far too many times. Although you have to like a movie where someone attempts Faster Than Light travel to the tune of Magic Carpet Ride by Steppenwolf. As for Generations, I enjoyed the special effects and I loved Malcolm McDowell, but don't think about that plot for a second.
Now, Insurrection is an improvement over these two movies. First, it's the most tightly plotted of all of them. Both Generations and FC had lots of moments where you thought "Why don't they just..." or "How come..." Insurrection isn't perfect, but it does drastically cut down on moments like that.
And although they do have a few too cutesy moments for my taste, they cut down on the more obvious crowd-pleasing moments (The Holodoctor cameo in FC, "Assimilate this," etc).
So my recommendation: go see it. It's a lot of fun, good effects, and the story has a little more thought behind it this time. Besides, the woman Picard falls in love with is hot. Still, I have a few recommendations/suggestions for the problems that still persist in the series. I'm going to list them now to conclude this review. There are no spoilers, at least not anyone with a functioning brain cell. If you are surprised to learn that there's a few dramatic countdowns in a Trek movie and that disaster is averted at the last second, I'll chip in for your vasectomy too.
Jason's Suggestions for a Better Trek Movie
- Eliminate the reliance on technobabble to create and solve problems. I'm really sick of things interfering with the transporter beam.
- Kill the ensemble cast. When they created the TV show, they introduced a huge cast. Maybe somebody wouldn't get used that week, but there was always a show next week to make use of the character. Now they've got less than two hours to give everyone in the cast something to do. Insurrection is better at this, but look at First Contact. What was Crusher's big moment? Activating the Holodoctor, who totally upstaged her. What was Troi's? Getting drunk. Geordi's? He got to focus his artificial eyes on something. Wow. What rewarding parts. There are too many characters and most of them make no impact whatsoever, so some of them should die. My vote goes to Riker. He's getting too pudgy for the role and would rather direct anyway. Besides, he's a menace to the entire crew (see next comment).
- So, if I were in a space ship with inbound hostile ships, and to command my ship I had a choice of Commander Riker, a fourteen year old who was "Not bad" at Wing Commander, and a dead yak, my preferences (in order) would be the fourteen year old, the dead yak, and Riker a distant third. What's really sickening is how they marvel at his tactical brilliance. Let's see, letting the enemy ship beat the hell out of the Enterprise. Asking for a damage report. Getting hit some more. Asking for another damage report. Then trying some technobabble-laden trick to kill other ship. Yep, he's a genius. Riker gets another opportunity to nearly destroy the Enterprise in Insurrection as well.
- Has Picard and company ever followed orders? Just once I'd like to see Star Fleet issue an order and instead of them rebelling, they say "Wow, that idea is a lot better than the lame ass thing we were going to do."
- Message to Rick Berman: did you know that people who like Star Trek tend to like a lot of other scifi? Did you know that a high percentage of people who saw First Contact also saw Aliens? Did you know that a lot of people who have seen Insurrection have also seen Brazil? I can see the story conference for the next Trek movie. Berman bursts in and says and "Hey guys! I found this great but obscure movie we can borrow stuff from. It's directed by some guy named 'Lucas'..."
- Insurrection also has a tendency to cut out effective moments. For example, there's a death scene that could be far gorier than it was. When it went down, you could feel the audience squirm uncomfortably anticipating the worst, but they chicken out with the gore (remember the ear-mite scenes from Wrath of Kahn? This would have been even better). Also, they had a chance to do some cool special effects with a particular feature of the Enterprise, but they cut this down too. Why?
Anyway, rant over. Although it might not sound like it, I did enjoy this movie. Of course, when the words "Episode One" scroll across the screen in May 1999, everyone's going to be saying "Trek who?"
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