In Defense of Star Trek: Insurrection by R.P. Lauer - Distant Web

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In Defense of Star Trek: Insurrection
In Defense of Star Trek: Insurrection by R.P. Lauer - Distant Web
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I am a massive and life long fan of Star Trek. I love the movies, I love the shows, I love the stories and I love the characters. I'm not a blind fan however, and I can acknowledge that there are weaker entries in terms of individual movies, episodes or entire branches; I personally don't care for newer Star Trek entries and many have despised the show Star Trek: Enterprise, for instance. I also doubt anyone, even fans of the entry itself, would argue that Star Trek 5 is gold (maybe I'm wrong).

And as with pretty much everything in life, opinions can and will vary.

One entry that gets a lot of hate, however, has always boggled my mind; not so much because a Star Trek fan would hate it, but why they hate it in terms of the most common complains I've seen/heard/read. Star Trek: Insurrection gets so much hate, and fans from all over who openly talk about it tend to almost universally have a lot of the same complaints, and those complaints make no sense to me as a Star Trek fan.

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I can totally understand the more casual fans not only disliking this film, but also having some (if not all) of these issues, where they only watch the occasional film here and there and have no understanding or knowledge of the wealth of cannon behind the film. Fans who claim to be 'core' fans, however, the fans who claim to not just watch the movies but the shows as well, claim to know all there is to know about Star Trek, and yet make these complaints about Insurrection just show their own ignorance by doing so in my opinion.

Now, before I get into this, let me just say that this is not 'gatekeeping'. I'm not saying that you are 'not a true fan' if you don't like Insurrection. What I am saying is that if you are claiming to be a hardcore fan, a fan who has seen every episode, even if it's just with Next Gen, and you have made some of the following claims about Insurrection, you really need to go back and re-watch those episodes and then re-watch this movie and separate your personal dislike with what the 'franchise' has said/shown.

I'm not saying that you cannot call yourself a fan, but you really should stop touting your 'superior knowledge' because that knowledge is seriously lacking.

With that said, I do want to start off with a criticism that is absolutely not unique to 'core' fans, a criticism that is almost universal between casual, core and all in between, but is a criticism that makes NO sense to me nonetheless. Basically it's something along the lines of, "It's just a high budget episode of the show". Now, some will also attach the modifier, 'Mediocre', as in, "it's just a high budget mediocre episode". The problem with the modifier is that 'fans' don't often line up with each other on which episodes are the best, which are the worst, and which are 'mediocre', so it's hard to take that seriously.

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So sticking specifically to the description of it being 'just' a higher budget episode of the TV show, isn't that exactly what a fan of the show should want? When taking a TV show and extending it (not rebooting it) to the big screen, isn't that perfect? Are you wanting them to completely reinvent the show that you are now paying to see? And that description describes the first X-Files movie TO A T, yet I have never heard anyone knock that first X-Files movie for being just a high budget episode of the show (the second was garbage and I think most can agree on that).

The idea that this Theatrical entry of a TV Franchise feels like a Theatrical entry of a TV Show sounds like a compliment to me, not an insult. And as a huge fan of the TV show, that's honestly one thing I love about this movie. This entire criticism itches my brain in a way that I cannot seem to ease the irritation.

Anyway, that is the most common criticism I have heard about Insurrection and it really makes no sense to me. So now let's move on to the more 'core' fan complaints, complaints that are in my opinion, equally questionable but on a whole different level. Unfortunately these complaints aren't usually presented in a clear cut 'bullet-point' fashion and are typically lumped together in long diatribes summarizing the general plot and a handful of plot points, so I will do my best to sum up as best as I can.

Basically the movie is described in a fashion that says that the Admiral's side is actually the 'good' side, and the Enterprise Crew (Picard) side is the 'bad' side. The Admiral and the Son'a, are trying to benefit the whole of the Federation while only displacing a handful of individuals who don't have a claim in the first place, and the Enterprise crew are just stopping 'progress'.

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The justifications are that the Ba'ku have no claim to the planet because A) they are not indigenous to the planet, and B) the Federation owns it anyway, as it is in Federation Space/Territory, so the Federation can do whatever the hell they want with the planet.

There is so much wrong with these justifications and it pains me to think that there are actual Star Trek fans who think like this. Let me start with point B because this really grinds my gears. The terms Federation Space and Federation Territory do NOT denote 'Federation Ownership'. These are terms that basically just refer to a region of space that is occupied and protected by the Federation; it does not mean that they actually 'own' the space and all planets, objects and people that reside in that space. A more aggressive species/government like the Romulans (for example), would probably take that stance, but the Federation is better than that and any Star Trek fan should know that.

It's basically just the boundaries that separate the Federation itself from other opposing forces.

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Vulcan, for one example, is not 'owned' by the Federation; Vulcan is a part of the Federation, but the Federation cannot just 'decide' to move in and do what they wish. It doesn't work that way. The Federation is not some tyrannical dictatorship and to suggest that they own any planet within their boarders, and they can just displace any civilization like that shows a massive lack of understanding of what Gene Roddenberry created.

If you are a fan of the show, that has actually watched all of the episodes of at least Next Gen and you believe that the Federation owned this planet in this way where they can do what they wish to the people there, I highly recommend going back and re-watching some episodes like "Who Watches the Watchers" (season 3, episode 4) and "First Contact" (season 4, episode 15). As far as I can tell, both of the planets at the focus of those episodes are IN 'Federation Territory', but the Federation does not 'OWN' them.

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So let me move on to point A as this actually trumps point B anyway; the Ba'ku being indigenous or not doesn't even come into play as either way they have absolute right to the planet. I would hope that their right would be clear had they been indigenous, but even without being indigenous, their right supersedes any claim the Federation could have possibly thought they had.

In the movie, they clearly and specifically state that they found that planet and settled there (aka, colonized) 309 years ago. The Federation itself is only about 200 years old at this point in time (214 to be exact). At the time that the Ba'ku settled on that planet, only THREE years had passed since Zefram Cochrane's inaugural Warp Flight.

The Ba'ku claimed that planet as their own 95 years before the Federation would even exist. If you honestly believe that the Federation has any valid claim on the planet, that they are justified in the plan to remove the Ba'ku and relocate them, then you have betrayed the principles upon which the Federation was founded.

I have seen several fans over the years draw a comparison to one specific episode and this movie, as some example of why the movie went against its own cannon, and it's a comparison that does not actually hold any weight. That episode is "Journey's End" (season 7, episode 20).

In that episode, a group of Native Americans from Earth had settled on a planet some 20 years previous (or so), a planet that was recently given to the Cardassian's, and the Enterprise is there to try and relocate the Native Americans elsewhere (as demanded by the new Cardassian owners). Let me demonstrate why this comparison hold no water:

Journey's End: A group of Native Americans from Earth settle on a planet they know is in dispute; they know going in that there is a high possibility that the planet will be handed over to the Cardassians, and if that happens, they will HAVE to leave.

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Insurrection: A group of Ba'ku settle on a planet in empty unclaimed space that would sometime later, over 95 years later, fall into a new power, aka The Federation (I say over 95 years later because the Federation did NOT claim that region of space the second the Federation was formed, I guarantee it).

If you cannot see the vast difference between those two scenarios, I honestly don't know how to help you. In my eyes however, those two scenarios are not even close to comparable outside of 'colony'. But it does tell me that you see no difference in claiming a deserted island out in the middle of international waters as your own, and claiming some random property's back yard as your own.

Anyway, if you just don't like Star Trek: Insurrection, that is absolutely fine. But if you have to justify your dislike, and you justify it with points that hold no true value, maybe just admit you don't like it because you simply don't like it? There's nothing wrong with not having any good reasons for not liking something. Sometimes something just doesn't 'click', and there is nothing wrong with that.

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