Upon seeing ST VI:TUC, I excitedly declared that it was the best Trek film ever. After reflecting upon it later, I hesitantly changed my mind and admitted that ST II: TWOK still held the throne. History repeated itself three years later when I watched Generations, and again when I saw First Contact. I was getting accustomed to being impressed every time I saw a new Trek installment.
I watched Insurrection tonight, and for the first time in the 90's I was disappointed with a Star Trek movie at the first viewing. It was no ST V:TFF, but it was no First Contact either, and as for ST II: TWOK, Insurrection wasn't in the same ballpark.
Oh, I enjoyed myself. It is a good popcorn flick; fast, colorful and fun.
There are also moments in which the film tries to be something more memorable. A shot of Picard watching a hummingbird as time slows to a crawl is my favorite. However, none of these scenes are as involving or touching as they were meant to be; they are not important enough. It seemed Director Frakes tried desparately to instill an epic look and feel into a story that is simply not epic. Grandiose scenery shots did not deepen the shallow script. Oddly enough, despite the intricate Ba'ku village set and the shots of the drop-dead gorgeous Sierra Nevadas, the movie looks more like a television episode than any other in the series so far.
Piller's script produces most of the problems. The lines are an orgy of technobabble. The attempts at humor fall flat right and left. At one point Picard distracts Data by singing a Gilbert and Sullivan tune, and embarrasses the audience nearly as much as Kirk's and McKoy's rendition of "Row Your Boat." Once again, most of the crew's main characters have little to do (Poor McFadden; I believe her onscreen time from all three TNG films combined adds up to about five minutes).
Insurrection entertained, but it is no Trek classic, and it won't be the breakthrough crossover hit I have wanted Trek films to achieve since ST IV. It wasn't as dumb as ST V:TFF or as dull as ST:TMP, but I'm afraid that as Trek films go, this one ranks about seventh.