Insurrection- 1 Star Trek 2 Many
For those of us old enough to remember when Star Trek first came on TV, it wasnt just the phasors, aliens and Scotty struggling with the Impulse Drive that made it special. With Klingons and Romulans inspired by the Russians and Chinese respectively, Gene Rodenburys scripts allowed the various issues of the day to be explored objectively by dumping characters from a time and place as distant as is conceivably from our own, right into the middle of it. A contemporary of flower-power, the civil rights marches and the Vietnam trauma, it provided us with a painless way to consider the moral and social dilemmas of the era.
"Nice packaging, but where`s the meat?"
"Insurrection" is very much an attempt to return to this and sweep aside much of the clutter and padding of Star Trek`s own genre. Capt Luc Picard and his crew fight to protect the tiny population (600) of a planet that acts like a fountain of eternal youth from ethnic cleansing by a race known as the Soną (Why they have the same name as Montreal`s best disco, I don`t know, but one hopes they have good lawyers!) Is this a proxy for Bosnia? Maybe, yet somehow "Next Generation`s" scriptwriters seem incapable of creating any magic and resort to filling it out with padding again. In an era of Warp Drives, this highly predictable plot moves along as if i`t`s steam-driven.
Once the cutting edge of liberal thought in the US, Star Trek now seems itself to be the victim of political correctness. For instance, the battle between the three starships is beautifully and originally choreographed, yet lasts barely two minutes as hero`s are not supposed to be killing villains nowadays, and it`s almost apologetically back to the padding as soon as possible.
In another curious twist of irony, the padding also shows how our own world has moved since the 1960`s. At the same time that Star Trek appeared, "Gold" was finally released at the box office. Set in South Africa, this little-remebered thriller, starring Roger Moore, had difficulty even obtaining an "Adult Only" rating, because of a bathtub scene identical to the one in "Insurrection" - regarded nowadays as a family movie.
With an ending as exciting as a filing job at Hull Town Hall, one has to say....
Robert L Thompsett