I will be honest and admit that Insurrection is one of my least favorite Trek films. I rank it down there with the first film due to its many flaws. While it has always been Star Trek’s style to engage in open social commentary, I don’t believe it usually needs to hit you over the head so blatantly. The social message here is too cut and dry. There is not the necessary moral middle-ground to create honest conflict. This is also Brent Spiner’s worst performance. The inside jokes are too cute and forced to appeal to any but the most dedicated fans, and I believe even they might feel insulted. The Picard/Data duet while two shuttles engage in a dogfight is just too much for my gag reflex to handle. Jonathan Frakes, after turning in such an impressive directorial display on First Contact, plays it safe for the entire film. I’ve heard fellow Trek fans say this would have been a better series episode. I disagree. This would have been a poor episode as well. Rich Berman puts one more bullet in the gun that killed Star Trek.
Data (Spiner) appears to be out of control (again). He leads a Federation observation team through a pristine and seemingly primitive planet, causing havoc along the way. When Data reveals a Federation duck blind and takes captives, the Enterprise is called in to capture him. Picard (Stewart) and crew soon discover a Federation black ops plan to relocate a planet’s inhabitants so they can exploit the healing properties of the planet’s atmosphere.
You get a choice of two equally impressive audio tracks. The DTS ES and Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks each deliver a dynamic presentation. Perhaps the DTS track provides more response from the sub. Both are quite aggressive and exhibit a wonderful use of ambient sounds. Dialogue is placed exactly where it should be and is never obscured by careless distractions. The dynamic range is quite wide. You’ll enjoy great depth in the lows and crisp clean highs.
Star Trek: Insurrection is presented in its original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1. While the audio offered a new DTS track, the video transfer is the same as in the previous release. It is still a nice presentation, but an opportunity was missed to use current mastering techniques to make it better. Perhaps Paramount suspected the inferior quality of this particular film did not warrant the work other entries in the franchise did. Still. Colors are often bright and near reference. The planet’s vistas do offer some of the better natural photography found anywhere in the series. Blacks are impressive and contain a great deal of contrast and detail. The bright red swirls of the Briar Patch are as impressive as they were in the theatre.
The first disc offers the film along with the standard text commentary by Michael Okuda. I know some of you like these things, but I have a hard time following them and still watch the picture. If you liked his earlier contributions you’ll like this one as it is basically more of the same.
The second disc offers extras pretty much in line with what we’ve now come to expect from this Collector’s Edition…
The Star Trek Universe:
- “Westmore’s Aliens” is a 20 minute look at the new alien species depicted in the film. His inspirations are a bit surprising, I would say.
- “Star Trek’s Beautiful Alien Women” This feature is not really film specific, as it takes you down memory lane to some of the more memorable Trek Babes over the years. A lot of the male actors get to poke a little fun at some of the slinkier aliens in Trekdom.
- “Creating The Illusion” examines three of the more spectacular f/x shots in detail. The much maligned shuttle chase is one of the scenes to receive about a 5 minute treatment.
- “Deleted Scenes” This is almost an Easter egg since it is not alluded to on the packaging. However, it is plainly accessible in the menus.
- “It Takes A Village” This is a catch-all 15 minute feature that seems to be a summary of the entire production feature.
- “Location Location Location” The feature so good they named it twice. This 20 minute feature more appropriately should have been called “It takes a Village” as it deals almost exclusively with the sets and locations of the film’s village.
- “The Art Of Insurrection” is mostly a guided virtual tour of the conceptual art for the film.
- “Anatomy Of A Stunt” Spends 6 minutes showing us all how a stunt was set up and performed but ultimately deleted from the final cut. Go figure.
- “The Story” is a look at Michael Pillar who wrote and conceived this nonsense. To his credit, he welcomes some of the criticism of the finished product.
- “Making Star Trek Insurrection” Is the better of these features. Spanning nearly a half hour, this is the most in-depth look at the production of the film from the actor’s point of view. You’ll find a ton of tidbits on motivation and acting technique from the cast.
- “Director’s Notebook” This one puts Frakes on the hot seat. He displays a great deal of honesty here. He freely admits the film’s flaws and how it unfavorably compared to First Contact.
- Here’s the traditional text based notes, galleries, and storyboards.
Finally, the film contains 2 trailers in the Advertising heading. The menus are very impressive. Great new CGI work.
The only real reason for buying this release if you have the older one is the extras found on Disc 2. There isn’t enough improvement in the actual film’s presentation to justify the added purchase. I would strongly advise a simple rent to see the extras the one time you will probably watch them. Watching Data become a “flotation device” and Picard doing the Mambo isn’t my idea of Trek’s finest moments. I think I almost went blind watching Riker and Troi in the tub. Please. Also has anyone noticed how every single Next Gen film ends with Picard trying to stop a madman (or woman) from employing a weapon with a countdown? Buy or rent; just don’t be surprised if you find yourself “experiencing violent tendencies”.