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Star Trek: Insurrection (PG)
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This is the third film based on the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation, and the ninth "Star Trek" film overall. It came out in 1998, and I can't recall if I saw it in a theater or not. I'm re-watching it in 2023 as part of my summer of Star Trek. Like the previous movie, it was directed by Jonathan Frakes. I didn't remember much about the movie from the first time I saw it, but I ended up liking it more than I thought I would. Although it did feel somewhat like a retread of the "Next generation" episode "Homeward".

The film begins with an idyllic, pre-industrial society, the Ba'ku, going about their daily lives. We then see that they're being observed from a cloaked facility by both Starfleet personnel and aliens called Son'a. Then Data goes rogue, reveals himself to the Ba'ku, and fires a phaser at the observation station, decloaking it. One of the Starfleet observers, Admiral Dougherty (Anthony Zerbe), contacts Picard and asks for him to transmit Data's schematics. Picard decides to take the Enterprise to the planet of the Ba'ku and try to stop Data rather than let the Admiral destroy him, or whatever he might have been planning. Picard is also curious why Starfleet was still observing the Ba'ku, a mission that should have ended by now. He eventually learns that Dougherty and the Son'a are working together to... do something to the rings of the planet, which would benefit both the Son'a and the Federation, but leave the planet uninhabitable. They planned to transport the Ba'ku to another planet without their knowledge, using a holodeck transport ship that has been programmed to look like the Ba'ku's town. (There are only 600 Ba'ku on the entire planet, in that one town, a fact that I found hard to believe until revelations about them that I won't spoil.)

Picard believes this plan contradicts the Prime Directive, and he and his crew try to stop it, which puts themselves in danger. The leader of the Son'a, Ru'afo (F. Murray Abraham), is obsessed with carrying out his plan, and will do anything to stop the Enterprise crew from interfering. (In fact, it surprised me that he even cared about moving the Ba'ku, it seemed like he would have been willing to let them all die, if not for another eventual revelation that I'm also not going to spoil.) Meanwhile, Picard befriends a Ba'ku woman named Anij (Donna Murphy). And Data, after Geordi fixes him, befriends a young Ba'ku boy. And um... other stuff happens. I'm not sure what else to say. Oh yeah, Worf was there, but this time I didn't catch any explanation of why he wasn't on Deep Space Nine. Riker tries to renew his old relationship with Deanna, but that doesn't appear to go anywhere. Of course, the Enterprise crew win in the end, with some help from Ru'afo's second in command, Gallatin (Gregg Henry). I'm leaving out a lot of details about the plot, to avoid any major spoilers, including the exact nature of the Ba'ku's planet, and what the Son'a and Starfleet hoped to gain from it.

Anyway, I thought it was a pretty good story, for the most part. Apparently a lot of people think it feels more like an extended TV episode than a movie, and I can't really argue with that, but I don't feel that that's a bad thing. It might not be among the very best episodes of the series, but it would be better than average. And I thought Anij was a pretty good character, whom I wish we could have seen more of in later Star Trek projects.

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