Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)

Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Written by Michael Piller, based on a story by Rick Berman & Michael Piller
Starring Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, F. Murray Abraham, Donna Murphy

My Advice: Wait and Rent It.

Hell, you know the characters.  Those guys in the Enterprise are getting older and bored with playing the diplomat and wish they could, I don't know, go on a bigass adventure so they could have another film.  Well, they certainly get their wish.  There's this planet where the people seem to stay perpetually young, and an alien race called the Son'a (or some name with a pretentious apostrophe) is trying to destroy the planet in order to get the secret of eternal youth, since they're getting face lifts every five minutes.  Here's the supposed kicker: they're doing this with the sanction of Star Fleet Command.  And the stage is set for spleen-venting like you've probably seen before.

And here's the thing: who cares.  Who cares that Donna Murphy's Anjj character's not green, but Picard (Stewart) still wants to tango with her?  Who cares that Picard disobeying Star Fleet is becoming old hat?  And who cares that, well, yes, there are only 600 people affected?  This film sets its tone admirably with Picard wearing a small afghan rug on his head, given to him by some amphibian-looking midgets, and that tone is: "We're not taking any of this seriously, so why should you?"  Granted, when the film tries to get sappy on you (Picard in love, Jordy feeling much better) it makes it a trifle uneven, and a wild west shootout is laughable, but for the most part, it's a fun Star Trek film.  I must say though, the film lost points for executing the much-vaunted Riker manuever using a bad Microsoft force feedback joystick.  Whoever came up with that little notion should be trapped in a holodeck locked in a Jerry Springer Show loop for a week.  Having the most fun of all is Brent Spiner, who not only gets to kung fu some guys in the beginning but gets to say lines like, "In the event of a water landing, I can be used as a flotation device" with a completely straight face.  But as far as F. Murray Abraham goes, he is no Ricardo Montalban, that's for sure.  Not as bad as previous odd-numbered outings have been, it's worth a good rental, since the effects will carry to the small screen.

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