Star Trek: Insurrection

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Star Trek: Insurrection
Insurrection poster.jpg

Rick Berman


Jonathan Frakes


Paramount Pictures

Release Date:

December 11, 1998



Star Trek: Insurrection is the ninth film in the Star Trek franchise and third set in the TNG era. It's generally considered to be one of the worst Star Trek movies because its poor cast of villains and, putting it mildly, questionable morals.


Data has been loaned out to a scientific expedition studying an apparently primitive race, the Ba'ku. The Federation has established a cloaked "duck blind" and joined forces with another space-faring race, the Son'a, for the mission. Data goes berserk and reveals himself and the observation post to the Ba'ku. Admiral Dougherty, the Federation leader of the mission, calls Captain Picard for Data's schematics. Picard complies but decides to investigate the situation personally.

Shortly before the Enterprise-E arrives in the area, known as the Briar Patch, Data attacks the Son'a starship in the system with a shuttle. The Son'a commander, Ru'afo, already furious about the attack on the observation post, now wants Data destroyed. Picard intervenes though. After a short shuttle chase, he and Worf are able to distract and subsequently shut down Data and take him back to the Enterprise.

Upon examination, Geordi discovers that Data had been attacked by Son'a weapons, and the damage from the attack caused his malfunction. The Son'a insist that they didn't attack until after he began malfunctioning. Realizing there is more to the story, the Enterprise crew retrace Data's steps to a reservoir on the planet upstream of the Bak'u village. Walking underneath the surface of the water, Data discovers a cloaked ship hidden in the lake. After lowering the lake at least 2 stories, which should have caused a massive flood, they reveal the cloaked Holo-ship. Inside the ship is a holographic replica of the Ba'ku village. They realize that someone was planning on moving the Ba'ku to another planet without their knowledge.

Meanwhile, the Enterprise crew have noticed some physical and behavioral abnormalities. Picard does a Captain Kirk and falls for the female alien of the week. Riker and Troi renew their past romantic relationship. Worf sleeps through his alarm and grows a Klingon pimple. Geordi even begins to grow new eyes. The Briar Patch has high levels of "metaphasic radiation" (the technobabble radiation of the week) and it happens to be a fountain of youth. We learn that the Ba'ku adults are hundreds of years old, and this resource is the real reason for the Federation/Son'a presence here and why they planned to relocate the Ba'ku.

Ru'afo, meanwhile, is furious. The Enterprise is still snooping around, and his men are being held prisoner. Picard confronts him about the cloaked ship which only makes things worse. Dougherty explains that by harvesting the metaphasic particles, they will be able to eliminate disease in the Federation and double life expectancies; however, the planet will be rendered completely uninhabitable by the harvesting process. The Son'a are a dying race and the radiation is the only thing that can save them.

Alarmed by these discoveries, Picard takes a few of his crew and prepare to help the Ba'ku evacuate their village. He orders Riker to take the Enterprise out of the Briar Patch and tell Starfleet what is really happening in the area. Ru'afo has plans of his own. Technobabble exotic minerals in the hills (kelvanite) and transport inhibitors planted by Picard and company render transporters ineffective. In response, the Son'a dispatch small drones to attach more technobabble devices (isolinear tags) that will overcome the obstacles and allow transport. Eventually Picard and Anij, his alien love interest, are tagged and transported into Son'a holding cells.

Ru'afo also sends two of his warships to prevent the Enterprise from contacting Starfleet. They are initially winning the battle, but Riker eventually defeats them through more technobabble -- this time "unstable metreon gas" which the Enterprise collects, dumps near the Son'a ships, and detonates, destroying one and heavily damaging the other.

Now fully enraged over the loss of his ships and the likely loss of their partnership with the Federation, Ru'afo decides to begin harvesting the metaphasic particles even though many people remain on the planet. It turns out that the Son'a and Ba'ku are the same species. Wanting to have a different life than that of a farmer, some young Ba'ku rebelled and were exiled, becoming the Son'a. Ru'afo now plans on getting revenge. He also plans on making sure no one knows what happened and thus orders his second in command (Gallatin) to make sure the Federation prisoners are in the part of the ship that is exposed to the procedure, thus killing them.

Gallatin, with prodding from Picard, predictably has a change of heart and helps free Picard and the others held on the Son'a ship. Data attacks using the captain's yacht, resulting in the Son'a needing to adjust their shields. This allows our brave heros to quickly transport them to the holo-ship, which has been reprogrammed to depict a hologram of the Son'a bridge, complete with the harvesting operation proceeding as predicted. This gives the heroes time needed to take over the Son'a command ship and stop the harvester. Initially, the Son'a are completely unaware that they are no longer on their own ship or that the harvester has been stopped.

When conflicting readings are reported, Ru'afo realizes the ruse and transports to the harvester ship to restart the procedure. Picard beams over to the collector to stop the countdown again and for the mano-a-mano showdown with Ru'afo. Ru'afo is killed in the fight, the collector is destroyed, the Enterprise returns with orders from the Federation to stop the procedure, and the remaining Son'a decide to try and rejoin the Ba'ku community.


  • The Ba'ku come across as a bunch of selfish Luddites, making it hard to sympathize with their situation. Also what they say contradicts things we see in their own village. We see them using machines, low-tech machines but still machines, making them two-faced hypocrites.
  • The villains, the So'na, are dull cliches.
  • The space battle between the Enterprise and two So'na warships is resolved with a typically absurd gimmick; causing an explosion of ambient nebula gas that is somehow powerful enough damage shields designed to handle matter-antimatter explosions.

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