Making the Grades
Why is the robotic Data (Brent Spiner) behaving so strangely? Why is the Federation ignoring the much touted Prime Directive -- a piece of legislation that prevents societies from interfering with one another? Racing to the planet where Data has been assigned to help complete a study on a tribe of people called the Ba'ku, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) finds himself in a difficult position.
A Federation admiral is insisting the six hundred Ba'ku be relocated to another planet so that all people can enjoy the immortalizing effects of the "metaphysic radiation" generated by the planet's rings. Picard sees this as a major violation of the Directive, and must choose between fighting the Federation or turning his back on the issue. Guess which he will choose...
But even with conflict brewing, the quiet life of the Ba'ku sets the tone for this film. The most violent scenes involve spaceship to spaceship combat, and people running for cover to avoid being beamed aboard the Federation ship. Exceptions are when a face is pushed through a glass window, and then put in a machine intended to stretch aging skin, while another scene has a man engulfed in flames. Some crew members mention feeling an increased interest in sexual activity as a result of the anti-aging process, and one scene has two unmarried people in a hot tub, presumably naked.
After the almost horror-like First Contact, it was time for a more serene mission. Unfortunately, the lower levels of sex, violence, and language are met with an equally lower quality of writing. Even a force field can't hold this script together, leaving many gaping unanswered questions that are so obvious they impede the enjoyment of the movie.
For instance, why do the 600 Ba'ku need to be moved? Surely others could visit the planet, and never have to go near the Ba'ku. Or why not bottle some of the rays and take them elsewhere, leaving enough radiation to keep the Ba'ku wrinkle free? In the words of the great all-knowing Spock: "It's highly illogical, Captain."
Discussion Ideas After The Movie
Teaching ideas and topics to discuss about Star Trek: Insurrection.
Assuming the only way to share the youthful rays is by removing the Ba’ku, is it right to remove a small number of people so that many more will have the opportunity of living forever? Can you think of any other ways they could share the planet’s resource? Can you think of similar examples where a few people have been asked to move for the good of many in our world?
When Captain Picard asks Ba’ku citizen Anij (Donna Murphy) why she isn’t married after 300 years, she says, “Why rush?” If you were given the opportunity to live forever, would you accept it? What would be the best and worse part of living forever? How would being able to live forever change your feelings of needing to complete things in your life?