In 2015 I reviewed Star Trek: Insurrection. In that review I concluded it’s one of the worst Star Trek films, feeling more like a drawn out episode than a proper film. Upon a recent re-watch I realise how wrong I was.
In actual fact it’s one of the worst films, and can’t hold a phaser to any single episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation, drawn out or not. In my original review I praised the film for putting Data centre stage. And while this is true on paper – his malfunctioning kicks off the plot, and he has at least some scenes which deal with his character – he’s written like a comedy robo sidekick.
Meanwhile Worf is made into a laughing stock which even his admittedly awesome purple space bazooka can’t make up for, and Marina Sirtis completely forgets to do the Deanna Troi voice she did for 7 years on the show. Meanwhile Geordie has had eyes put in, removing his single defining characteristic, and if Beverly Crusher is in it I can’t remember a single thing she says or does. The only character to do anything is Picard, and credit to Patrick Stewart he gives a great performance. When he says the line “I’ve always been into older women” I almost believed him.
The special effects budget appears to have been squandered on a couple of tiny critters on the Ba’Ku planet (Azerbaijan?), while the space battles aren’t just poorly rendered in barfy colours. They’re actually pixelated. If Will Riker was as competent a first officer as Jonathan Frakes is a director the ship would have crashed in episode 1. He’s not helped by a script which is is written like a flirtatious crime caper
The only other major film I can think of which looks this cheap is Superman III, whether it’s the crappy Ba’Ku village, the bluescreen which they couldn’t be bothered to replace with a background or lame costumes. It had a $70 million budget, but it’s apparent novice director Jonathan Frakes has no idea how to use it. The end product surely ranks as one of the greatest insults to Star Trek fans ever, even on a very long (and growing) list.