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Star Trek: Insurrection

movie reviewmovie review out of 4

*Also starring: Jonathan Frakes, Marina Sirtis, Gates McFadden, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, F. Murray Abraham, Daniel Hugh Kelly, Donna Murphy

Review by Walter Frith
2½ stars out of 4

Anyone who knows the 'Star Trek' movie series knows that they are all characteristically different in style as well as substance. The even numbered ones, 2, 4, 6, and 8 are said to be better than the odd numbered films 1, 3, 5, and 7, but each film in its own different way has been mystical, action packed, compelling, funny, religious, intriguing, harmonic, and terrifying. Notice that there are 8 adjectives described here. One for each film in order since 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture' in 1979. Wow! Talk about a movie critic who doesn't ramble on! What better way to describe these films than in one word.

The adjective that best describes 'Star Trek: Insurrection' is "romantic". The film is a nice 180 degree turn from 'Star Trek: First Contact', the best of the three films so far that incorporates the cast from television's 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' (1987-1994).

Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his crew help a race of people who are about to be sent into exile from their peaceful planet of prosperity by others of the same race who want to take revenge for being sent into exile years before. The plot is quite monstrous. Led by Ru'afo (F.Murray Abraham), the exodus will come without the citizens knowing it. You see, in the 24th century it is possible to create a hologram which is a fake image of something that seems real. The entire planet was to become a hologram and the unwitting citizens would be whisked off the planet living in this hologram without even knowing it is false. Riker (Jonathan Frakes), Data (Brent Spiner), LaForge (LeVar Burton), Crusher (Gates McFadden) Troi (Marina Sirtis), and Worf (Michael Dorn) tag along with Picard in heroic fashion to help save the people of the planet and fight against the Federation at the same time who make a disastrous decision early in the film.

The good thing about this movie is that all of the film's characters seem to be displayed in an even flow of presentation and none of them are given too much or too little screen time. I thoroughly enjoyed this film for taking the necessary steps and keeping in the tradition of being very different from the other eight 'Star Trek' films.

Jonathan Frakes does a good job directing the picture while keeping the pace free flowing and the running time relatively short. Some of the dialogue is wooden and a few of the performances a bit lazy but overall I recommend this installment in the series simply for its ability to entertain, tell a good but nevertheless predictable story and establish its own identity. When you consider that so many films that get released are copies or variations of other films, it's really a surprise to see a NINTH installment in a film series come off looking so much different than its other chapters.

F. Murray Abraham (remember him). He won a Best Actor Oscar in 1984 for 'Amadeus' for playing Mozart's rival Antonio Salieri. His work as the villain in this film isn't exactly the way I wanted to see him make a comeback in film but he does his job well and creates probably the best 'Star Trek' villain since Christopher Plummer's portrayal of the evil General Chang in 'Star TrekVI: The Undiscovered Country' in 1991.

Take advantage of this film on the big screen if you value the 'Star Trek' series and while talk of this being the last 'Star Trek' film has made its way through the movie grape vine in recent days, its box office numbers suggest otherwise. It remains a profitable and successful franchise and the term 'Star Trek', when entered into any search engine on the Internet, probably brings up more matches than any other genre of its kind.

Copyright 2000 Walter Frith

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