Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)

Rating: C

Dir: Jonathan Frakes
Star: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, F. Murray Abraham

This has been sitting on the shelf for years, largely because our son Robert kept nagging us to watch it. Finally, we picked it up ourselves, and despite the curse of the even-numbered entries, this is no disaster. Admittedly, there isn’t much tension – the main baddies, the Son’a (led by F. Murray Abraham), look wrapped in toilet paper, and are addicted to plastic surgery. Any similarity to Anne Nicole Smith is purely coincidental, but it’s hardly what you’d call a threat. Thanks to a convenient loophole in the Prime Directive, they convince the Federation to relocate a planet’s inhabitants, in order to “mine” the rejuvenating radiation in which it basks.

Of course, it’s up to Picard and the crew to save the day, the premise being that the needs of a bunch of aging hippies…er, non-aging hippies, outweigh the needs of everyone else in the Federation. If you buy that, you’re probably too busy hugging trees to be reading this review. However, the tone is light, which definitely helps matters – Data’s impression of a seat-cushion is a moment to treasure, closer to Red Dwarf than anything. The conspiratorial aspects are also welcome, even if they rely on conveniently opaque chunks of space preventing anyone contacting the authorities. It does presume familiarity with the show (where did Geordie’s glasses go?) and the first 20 minutes are simply confusing. But apart from a questionable central premise, this was better than expected. Or, at least, not as bad as Robert’s enthusiasm suggested.