Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Star Trek: Insurrection

** (2 stars out of 5)
And maybe two stars is generous. What the hell, Star Trek?

Data's emotion chip went from permanently fused hardware in Generations, to having an on/off software in First Contact, and now it's like burped tupperware- it's totally removable. Is this also what happened to the creator's brains?

Our programmable plastic pal has apparently gone coo-coo for cocoa puffs, running amok in a peaceful village in his invisible red footy pajamas. He exposes the dirty dealings of the Federation and a gang of cosmetic surgery disasters called the Son'a.  

Interrupted in the middle of what looked like a much better story (involving the diplomatic efforts of flower-munching bead-making fish-goblins called the Evora, and the way they're being rushed into Federation Protectorate status too quickly due to the war), Picard and company rush to Data's rescue. 

They are told to make it snappy while poking around the "Briar Patch" by Admiral Doughy... uh, Dougherty. I mean Beardface.  Riker and Troi start poking around and discover that the Son'a deal ketracel-white to the Dominion and keep two slave races. But who cares! It's just slavery. Riker and Troi start poking around each other and getting in bed together holds their attention better than why the Federation would ever get in bed with these rotting freak shows.

Picard and Worf chase Data down and catch him by singing to him. It is the last good moment in what begins to feel like a nine hour film. Round about then, they meet a race of hippies or dentists or hippie dentists called the Ba'ku. Data strikes up a creepy friendship with a tow-headed youngster, while Picard begins the most tepid romance of all time with the holier-than-thou agrarian leader Anij. Bland, bland Anij.

The Captain and Mr. Data discover a cloaked holoship of Federation design (because an invisible brick has the distinctiveness of the Federation written ALL over it). It was meant for Beardface and his Son'a Cronies to pull a Nikolai Rozhenko with, supplanting the Ba'ku and stealing the planet's metaphasic rings of eternal youth for themselves (and incidentally the billions of other sick and aged races). 

For the Fountain of Youth is what's behind it all. That's why Worf has a giant oily "gorch" on his nose,  why Riker and Troi have rekindled, why Crusher uses archaic slang like "boobs firming up", and why Geordi's eyes have grown in. Why Picard has started to mambo is anyone's guess.

But with billions of sick and wounded people like Geordi out there, Picard cannot conscience letting 600 self-righteous douche-canoes hoard immortality for themselves. He immediately supports the Admiral's plan and boots the Ba'ku from the Briar Patch for the greater good. What? He doesn't?

No, Picard takes the morally confused stance that the needs of 600 people outweigh the needs of the billions, and defends his girlfriend's village against relocation. In much the same way that he did NOT do on Dorvan V, resulting in every Maquis problem ever since.  (It feels a bit like he made exactly the wrong choice for the right reasons both times.) His loyal team of catchphrase-spewing cowboys and cowgirls set out to shoot things down and blow other things up until some sort of compromise can be reached. 

So, kiss your eyes good-bye, Geordi. Kiss your limbs farewell, Dominion-wounded Nog. Kiss whatever you can reach with your tightly stretched lips, undeserving Son'a. Nobody gets nothin' unless they're white, centuries-old know-it-alls who despise the very science and technology that has built Earth's paradise.

Say... that's true. Before they were Son'a (spoilers... but seriously who cares) the Son'a were Ba'ku. The Ba'ku eschew technology. So how did a handful of backward, vain, drug dealing slave owners get the science background to out-science the Federation?

How can you keep the Son'a down on the farm, after they've seen Paree? (By which I mean someplace with urban decay and wee in the streets, not the NICE bits of Paris.)

Oh, also the Ba'ku are magic time wizards or something. But slowing time down is the LAST skill you'll want if you're watching this movie.

I used to be a staunch defender of "Star Trek: Insurrection". 'O.K., it's slow, but it's charming! C'mon, you guys, look at those effects! What a sunny view! I want a pocket squirrel-seal! (Not a euphemism)' But it clearly wore out its welcome. This time I was not just bored, I was a little MAD.

What movie MIGHT have been made with this money? And would I actually be proud to have it on my shelf?

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