Makes you want to retch


THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS (which might not be intelligible unless you've seen the film). I can't think of this movie without feeling queasy about the future of Trekdom. I have never rolled my eyes, winced and groaned as much during a Star Trek movie as I did during Insurrection. The odd-numbered curse is alive and well, as is its progeny, that every other odd-numbered Trek movie is particularly bad.

I had gone into the movie on opening night right after reading (very recent) good reviews, but during it, I found myself gagging, laughing AT the movie instead of with it, and, honestly, as it reached a climax, looking at my watch and waiting for the damn thing to die. Harlan Ellison once wrote an essay about, I believe the term was "Xenogamy," which means the offspring not resembling the parents. (He was talking about fans, but the term is what I'm focusing on.) The groans came when the producers/writers threw in things which were obviously non-Star Trekian (possibly to appeal to the non-Trek crowd). A joystick to pilot the ship! Where are we, on a Viper in Battlestar Galactica? I want Star Trek to expand and introduce new ideas within the context of its own universe--- the captain's yacht, for example, is described in the Tech Manual, and it was nice to see it appear in a film, but the joystick comes from left field. (A joystick seems appropriate for a small, highly manuverable craft, which the Enterprise is not.) I could accept Picard and Data singing, because they had sung before. But what I object to is the sheer EXCESS of cutesy little scenes--- does the two seconds of seeing Picard mambo add or subtract from the movie as a whole? Some of the humor worked (I laughed at the flotation device line, despite its improbability - Data is basically a solid chunk of metal), as I did at the Klingons not doing anything small line, but ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!

In and of itself, each bad joke isn't a big deal, but mambo piled on top of Klingon zits, flotation devices, bubble baths, joysticks, "yuck", firming breasts, saddling up, locking and loading, lack of justification for his actions on the part of Dougherty, more cliche philosophizing, etc. ad nauseum, makes this movie just one massive heap of unwatchable silliness. Did I like anything in this movie? I thought the alien ships were all really nifty designs, and I'd like to own Galoob miniatures of them all, esp. the collector. I was touched by Geordi being able to see a sunrise. A couple other scenes were nice--- but Trek V had some good scenes too, and a couple isn't enough to float a whole film.

Is it worse that Trek I? Trek I was boring, bloated and bland, but had fewer groaners, as did Trek V (but Uhuru nude dancing v. Riker's joystick? Row Yer Boat v. British Tar? Kirk's toupee v. Riker's baby cheeks? Who can say which is worse? Who can hold a moonbeam in his hand?) Sigh.

I don't know if I'm more disappointed in the impeachment proceedings or the newest Trek movie. Bleak mid-winter, indeed.

I remember the profound disappointment I had when Trek I came out, after that long, long wait. After years with no Trek at all (except the animated series). After rumors of a new TV series, and rumors of no new show but a new movie, then rumors of no movie, but maybe a new TV show, then rumors of a movie again, after watching the first (non-space-going) space shuttle named after the Enterprise, after seeing Shatner and Nimoy scrounging for work in pseudo-documentaries and margarine commercials... I was there, I remember the disappointment of Trek I. I was there for it all. I lined up in the theater cue to see Khan and Nicholas Meyer revive the franchise. I was there when Shatner nearly killed it off single-handedly. And now Trek has entered its fourth decade of existence, and, like the characters in ST 9, it's showing its middle age. I'm not ready yet to say about Trek, "Let it die," but, boy, they have to stop pulling plotlines off the shelf and bad jokes from other movies and universes. Or else the franchise WILL die.


Agree or disagree? Let me know.

Jonathan Harvey writes:

I don't think ST9 was nearly as bad as ST1 or ST5. The leads in 1 were *completely* (almost 100%) out of character and it had a story that could *not* be stretched to 2 hours unless they added more characters and subplots which they did not- a fundamentally flawed script to begin with, and ST5 is very poorly *directed* in terms of just basic fundamental stuff like pacing and editing. (I thought the idea of 5 had potential, and with a good script doctor and a different director, it could have made it.) Insurrection is competently directed as 5 is not, and has a sound starting point which 1 does not.

The basic problem with Insurrection is that it is like a good omelet that got overdone and burned on one side.

Insurrection is disappointing because the franchise as a whole is in trouble- Voyager is shaky and wobbling, DS9 is ending, and for ST9 to be so rocky adds insult to injury.


OTHER MOVIE REVIEWS: Austin Powers (References), Being John Malkovich, Blah Witch Project, Deep Blue Sea, Dune, eXistenZ, Iron Giant, The Matrix, The Mummy, Princess Mononoke, The Sixth Sense, Sleepy Hollow, Star Trek IX: Indigestion, Star Wars: The Turgid Menace, Thirteenth Floor, Toy Story 2, Trekkies, Vile Vile West, The World Is Not Enough

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