Film: This Weary Old Space Yawn Is a Trek Too Far

Birmingham Evening Mail (England), January 1, 1999 | Go to article overview

Film: This Weary Old Space Yawn Is a Trek Too Far


YOU can almost imagine Les Dennis asking the following question on Family Fortunes : "We asked 100 people queuing up at the pictures on New Year's Day 1999 what the title STAR TREK: INSURRECTION (PG) means."

The show could also ask the same 100 people after they've seen the movie - and probably not many more would get the answer right either.

In truth, anyone who says 'Insurrection' is a form of insurance for scaffolders would probably be making as much sense to the uninitiated as the scriptwriter (Michael Piller) of this lame movie.

It's not so much an eighth sequel as an excuse to profit from the extraordinary loyalty of the Star Trek fans, eager to taste anything that beams them up from the hum-drum reality of life on Earth.

Any non-disciple casually expecting to be entertained rather than simply updated with the further annals of the Starship Enterprise, will be sorely disappointed by Jonathan Frakes' follow-up to First Contact (1996).

On this evidence, silver screen Star Trekking is an adult form of entertainment equivalent to Teletubbies for babies.

There's lots of repetition, rubbery faces, gibberish dialogue, characters leaping up and down in funny suits and some very basic effects, too.

Maybe that's the idea, to appear so kitsch as to be almost high art, but the spaceship scenes look exactly like the models they are, while the land-based attacks are the sci-fi equivalent of clay pigeon shooting.

Humour is almost non-existent, save for one Gilbert & Sullivan gag, whose punch-line hits you in the face before you've even heard it - and the score is nothing better than a noisy mess.

The underlying genteel theme of eternal youth will appeal to devotees, but there's no getting away from the fact that as Capt Jean-Luc Picard gets older, actor Patrick Stewart looks ever more likely to step into Ben Kingsley's shoes in a remake of Gandhi .

And the title? 'Insurrection' means rebellion - a far more cinema friendly word which was one of eight working titles dropped along the way.

And the plot? The peace loving Ba'ku community is under threat because their planet has the power to rejuvenate even the most tired body.

Yes, you too, can believe that women several hundreds of years old can be attractive. But, like the movie itself, such fantasies are, I'm afraid, simply a state of mind.

RATING: Fans HH; non-fans - no stars!

IF proof were needed that English actress Minnie Driver (Grosse Point Blank) is fast becoming a major star capable of holding a film together, then period UK drama THE GOVERNESS (15) is it, writes Russell Rhodes.

Driver plays a headstrong Jewess who hides her religion and identity to become a nanny to inventor Tom Wilkinson's (The Full Monty/ Rush Hour) dysfunctional family, and progresses from sharing his photographic experiments to sharing his bed.

With the household's creepy son (Jonathan Rhys Myers) also lusting after her, Driver provides the spark lacking everywhere else in this well-intentioned and handsome-looking, but ultimately dreary tale of female self-empowerment and identity.

And be warned, the sight of Wilkinson doing a full frontal Monty is enough to scare the horses.

RATING: H

The best and the worst of cinema 1998

What were the films of the year in 1998? GRAHAM YOUNG picks out his own favourite ten, as well as the best - and worst - of the rest.

WHO would have thought that Sharon Stone would appear twice in the top ten films of the year?

Certainly not me for the first ten months of 1998, when I hadn't even seen the two movies that have come out on top of my pile.

But for anyone who believes that cinema at its best is all about storytelling, storytelling and storytelling, then Antz and The Mighty were both unmissable.

Antz relies heavily on the insecurity of Woody Allen's persona in the lead role, but the quality of the overall script matches the breathtaking animations which caricature the many stars (Gene Hackman, Sylvester Stallone, Christopher Walken) doing the vo ice overs. …

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