Star Trek: Insurrection

Even though it under performed at the box office last Christmas, I really enjoyed “Star Trek: Insurrection.” Maybe it was the title. Maybe it was the time of year. Whatever the reason, this latest entry into the “ST” franchise is a perfect example of what a “Star Trek” film should be all about.


startrekinsurrectionThe “Star Trek” films that I hold near and dear to my heart (“Wrath of Khan,” “The Voyage Home,” “First Contact“) were first and foremost character studies rather than space operas. That is what I liked about the original television series, which this film reminded me of. It took me a while to warm up to the “Next Generation” cast.

I wasn’t a devout “Star Trek” fan when it was on back in the 1960s. “Lost in Space” was my science-fiction fix at the time (plus the fact that “Star Trek” came on after my bedtime). I rediscovered “Star Trek” in the 1970s, and have been a fan ever since (although I’m not devoted enough to be a Trekker). However, after spending three films and several years with the “Next Generation” cast,

I have come to think of them as part of my life, friends I can count on for a good time. That is exactly what they provide in “Star Trek: Insurrection.” The human element is high in “Resurrection,” but there’s enough space hardware and action to keep event the most ardent fan happy. The action takes place in a nasty little region of the universe called the Briar Patch. In this cluster of instability is a small planet where the Ba’ku people reside.

A race of 600 people, the Ba’ku look and live like the citizens of Shangri- La in “Lost Horizon.” It’s an idyllic existence, and no wonder the people look young and vibrant. The radiation emitted from the rings around their planet create a fountain of youth effect. This phenomenon has not been lost on the Federation, who have built and invisible observation platform in which to observe the Ba’ku. When their cover is blown by an out-of-control Data (Brent Spiner), the Ba’ku people come face to face with members of the Federation, who plan to move them from their planet in order exploit their planet’s powers.

The Enterprise and its crew become involved when they arrive in the Briar Patch to retrieve Data, and become suspicious of the Federation’s involvement with the Son’a, a dying alien race with an agenda all their own. The best “Star Trek” movies have great villains, and “Resurrection” is blessed with Oscar-winner F. Murray Abraham as the Son’a leader Ru’afo, who resorts to barbaric methods to maintain a youthful appearance (it doesn’t work). Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart, always noble) learns that the Son’a were once allies but chose different paths, and they plan to use the Federation’s directive to force them from their planet and secure the force of the radiation belts.

It’s all rather complex is a simplistic sort of way, but it all makes sense and works wonderfully well. When the crew of the Enterprise are forced to break the Federation’s directive in order to save the Ba’ku, it sets up a “10 Commandments” moment where Picard must lead the Ba’ku people to safety. Sure, it’s a little hokey, but it’s still grand entertainment. All of the familiar “Next Generation” characters get an opportunity to shine (Michael Dorn is back as “Worf,” on leave from “Deep Space Nine“), while Picard gets a love interest in the form of Donna Murphy.

There’s even a death-defying chase through the Briar Patch as the Enterprise is hunted down by the Son’a warships. “Star Trek” Resurrection” should have a long life on video and DVD, where audiences can discover it for the first time, or rediscover it in all it’s widescreen glory.

COMPLETE CHECK-UP

VISION: [ X ] 20/20 [ ] Good [ ] Cataracts [ ] Blind

Sharp 2.35:1 widescreen digital transfer (enhanced at 16:9) delivers excellent image quality and definition. The colors are absolutely life-like, while the flesh tones are realistic. Blacks are strong and impenetrable, while the whites and shadows are clean. Hardly any trace of compression artifacts (if any), and absolutely no pixelation whatsoever. Instead, what you get is a clean transfer thanks to a pristine negative, which provides excellent color saturation and nails down the hard to transfer patterns. The field of depth is exceptional, as is attention to detail.

HEARING: [ X ] Excellent [ ] Minor Hearing Loss [ ] Needs Hearing Aid [ ] Deaf

Excellent 5.1 Dolby Digital Surround soundtrack packs quite a punch. The stereo effects are totally awesome, while the clarity is as pure as they come. Basses so profound they can move furniture, while the middle and high ends are so clean they literally purr like kittens. Left to right stereo split is definitive, while the front to rear spatial separation sounds accurate. Dialogue mix is exceptional, while the musical score by Jerry Goldsmith sounds live. The soundtrack is also available in both an English and French language Dolby Surround soundtrack.

ORAL: [ ] Excellent [ X ] Good [ ] Poor

Closed captions in English for the hard of hearing.

COORDINATION: [ ] Excellent [ X ] Good [ ] Clumsy [ ] Weak

The DVD features handsome main and scene access menus, a playful behind-the-scenes featurette, and two theatrical trailers.

PROGNOSIS: [ X ] Excellent [ ] Fit [ ] Will Live [ ] Resuscitate [ ] Terminal

The DVD of “Resurrection” acts as its own fountain of youth, preserving this wonderful film for ages to come.

VITALS: $29.99/Rated PG/103 Minutes/Color/24 Chapter Stops/Keepcase/#335887

ATTENDING RESIDENT: John Larsen

PATIENT: STAR TREK: INSURRECTION

BIRTH DATE: 1998

HMO: Paramount Home Video



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