Plot: What’s it about?
The Federation was built upon the Prime Directive, which was stated clearly and left no room for any kind of interpretation. The Prime Directive orders that no Starfleet expedition may interfere with the natural development of other civilizations. Starfleet expeditions may have to intervene in times of conflict and ease tensions between opposing sides, but that is not the same. The residents of Ba’ku are such peaceful people, who live on a planet that provides them with valuable benefits. The planet’s atmosphere has regenerative radiation, which means those who live there experience incredible lifespans. The Ba’ku locals reject technology and embrace nature, which allows them such long lives. But some in the Federation seek to take control of the planet, remove the Ba’ku, and put the atmosphere to use for their own personal gains. Will Picard and his crew follow these orders, or will they enforce the Prime Directive, at any cost?
Although Star Trek: The Next Generation was a huge success on television, the series didn’t translate well to the big screen. First Contact was a solid hit, but the other installments were poor box office performers and even Star Trek nerds were disappointed. Insurrection is perhaps the least popular of The Next Generation movies, but Paramount has still given us this two disc Special Collector’s Edition. I think the main reason this movie is so disliked is that there is no epic scale, no grand stage kind of vibe. In other words, this feels like an extended episode, which is both good and bad. Good because that means it retains the feel of the series, but bad, because we expect more of feature films, right? There is some potential here, but it is not fulfilled and we’re left with a film even diehard Star Trek nerds are unable to defend. At least Paramount’s treatment is impressive, so if you’re one of the rare fans of Insurrection, this release is a virtual goldmine.
Video: How does it look?
Insurrection is presented in 2.35:1 anamorphic widescreen. A new transfer is included here and while it does have some minor improvements, don’t expect the world here. If you’ve seen the previous disc, then you know about what to expect. I found this to be a more refined visual effort, perhaps the same print, just with a more streamlined transfer process. In any event, the movie looks good and starts off with a clean source print, which is the foundation for all great visual efforts. The colors look bright and never waver, while black levels have a stark appearance throughout. This is not head and shoulders above the previous release, but this new treatment does offer some level of improvement.
Audio: How does it sound?
The same Dolby Digital 5.1 surround option returns from the original disc, which is good news, as that was and still is a solid presentation. I’d classify the soundtrack as good, but not great. So that is why I was pleased to find that Paramount has included a new DTS soundtrack as well. As is often the case, the DTS track offers a more immersive experience, with enhanced surround use. The surrounds have a tighter, more refined sound, which makes a lot of difference. But if you can’t make use of the DTS option, then the Dolby Digital soundtrack is by all means still a solid presentation. This release also includes a French language track, as well as subtitles in English and Spanish.
Supplements: What are the extras?
This release is stocked with numerous bonus materials, but most of the supplements aren’t as substantial as fans would like. The case lists a wealth of behind the scenes featurettes, but only one runs over twenty minutes and some fail to cross the ten minute mark. I think if you took all the worthwhile content and put it into one single piece, you’d have a terrific look behind the scenes. But it stands, you have to watch a series of brief, though well focused featurettes. On the better side is the text commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda, which is up to the same level of goodness as the previous installments. A lot of insight you probably didn’t know, even if you’re a Star Trek nerd. This release also includes some still photos, storyboards, deleted scenes, and the film’s teaser and theatrical trailers.