I ranked my favorite Star Trek movies but realized I hadn’t watched a lot of them for a long time. I am watching them again in chronological order and sharing some of my thoughts after a fresh viewing. Maybe some of the movies will have a chance to move up my list after watching them again.
Last week I watched Star Trek: First Contact. This week I watched Star Trek: Insurrection.
I have been watching a Star Trek movie once a week for the past two months. This week was the first time I really had to force myself to watch the movie. I originally ranked Star Trek: Insurrection as my 11th favorite Star Trek movie, leaving it precariously close bottom. Upon watching it again it may plummet all the way to 12th place.
More than any of the other movies Insurrection feels like an extended episode of The Next Generation. The idea of secretly observing a developing people was addressed in the episode “Who Watches the Watchers” and the plot of the Federation forcefully removing a group of people occurred in the episode “Journey’s End.” Insurrection would have made a great two-part episode but, as a movie, it was a little lacking.
Still there were some redeeming parts to Insurrection. Patrick Stewart is always great as Captain Picard and it was nice to see him summon his inner Kirk in his romantic subplot. The Enterprise-E is a sleek ship and I wish we had more time with her. I really appreciated how Insurrection stood within the context of the Star Trek universe at that time; the impact of the Dominion War was felt even on the silver screen.
Here are some other thoughts I had while watching Star Trek: Insurrection.
Insurrection introduces us to the Ba’ku, a race of advanced humanoids who have turned their back on technology. Instead of exploring the stars and furthering their technology, they have decided to purse a simpler way of life. There is definitely something attractive about a quieter life freed from the demands of technology. Even without warp drive, all of our technology pushes us to do more and be more connected. The Ba’ku had an ability to slow themselves down to better appreciate the beauty of a moment. God commands us to do the same thing in taking a Sabbath. When we rest from the busyness of our everyday lives, we can find God in the quietness and simplicity of an unrushed moment and an unplanned day.
In his review of Star Trek: Insurrection, fellow Christian nerd, Mickey, wrote this:
The Federation doesn’t seem like a government likely to indulge [such] a smarmy villain for such a risky gain. So forcing the Federation into the role of smug imperialists rings false. Really the movie fails because it fails on this point.
We do see the ugly side of the Federation in Insurrection. There would be nothing for Picard and crew to insurrect against if the Federation wasn’t a little naughty. I disagree with Mickey’s assessment, though. During the Dominion War the Federation was desperate. With its back against the wall I think the Federation would have been more than happy to violate its principles and secretly relocate 600 people. What are 600 people compared to saving the alpha quadrant from the Dominion? We can learn from the Federation’s mistakes, though. Christ calls us to live out certain principles in our lives, regardless of how difficult the situation. Even when our backs are against the wall and it would seem easier to abandon Christ’s will, we need to persevere. We won’t save the alpha quadrant but we might just save our souls.
Like Star Trek: Generations, Insurrection also addresses the issue of mortality – just not as directly. Because of the metaphasic radiation of their planet, the Ba’ku are granted extremely long lives. Their long lives allow the Ba’ku to take time to master a skill over the course of decades or simply enjoy a moment without rushing to the next. While we all need to take time to rest and reflect, our mortality also pushes us to do and become more. If I knew I was going to live for hundreds of years, I might not be as motivated to “make hay while the sun shines.” I know I’m not going to live for hundreds of years and I still have a hard time getting going in the morning. I imagine that laziness would only be exacerbated if I knew I’d still have an opportunity to serve God in the 24th century.
I don’t dislike any of the Star Trek movies. I love Star Trek and so any time spent in the universe makes me happy. Star Trek: Insurrection, though, doesn’t make me as happy as the other 11 movies.
What are your thoughts about Star Trek: Insurrection?