With Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, F. Murray Abraham, Donna Murphy, Anthony Zerbe
Directed by Jonathan Frakes
Reviewed by JB

And then one day, Nancy Pelosi's skin just gave out     STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT proved the Next Generation cast could carry a film by themselves.  Now they had to prove they could carry a franchise. Unfortunately, INSURRECTION did not make the big splash Paramount had hoped.  How could it? A cliched plot about an idyllic planet combined with a reprise of the GENERATIONS plot where a madman is willing to destroy entire planets to get what he wants, a WRATH OF KHAN inspired scene where the Enterprise takes refuge in a nebula... there is little that is original or exciting in INSURRECTION.

    For once in a Next Generation film, there is much character stuff given to the cast.  Uninteresting character stuff, but nonetheless, they at least made an attempt to make the film more of a team effort rather than simply concentrating on Captain Picard (Patric Stewart) and Data (Brent Spiner) to carry the day.  The supporting cast features such fine players as F. Murray Abraham and Anthony Zerbe as antagonists, but they aren't given enough support from the script or the story to make much of an impression.  Several tendencies from the series itself also mar the film, as well as the next one.  There is a general overuse of sci-fi jargon to the point of distraction, a equally distracting and quite pointless and undeveloped subplot for Data, a beautiful but boring love interest for Picard.  The overall effect, when combined with unimpressive special effects, is tedium.

    Perhaps the main problem with the franchise at this point was that while Next Generation featured great characters played by an excellent cast, they were not the cultural icons of the original series.  Only Captain Picard and Data approached the kind of public status that Kirk, McCoy, Spock, even Sulu, Uhuru and Scotty had reached.  FIRST CONTACT was as good as the Next Generation cast would ever do.  It would be four years before Paramount attempted another Trek film, by which time, it was clear the whole Star Trek phenomenon was coming to an end, at least temporarily.  3½ - JB

Star Trek     The Secret Vortex


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