Movies like "Star Trek: Insurrection" are only as good as their production- and make-up design. And Michael Westmore is the best make-up artist in Hollywood. He wrote the book on it, as it were (The Art of Theatrical Make-Up for Stage and Screen, at a bookstore near you). His talents are all the more obvious, because the "strange aliens" that the Star Ship folks encounter this time are old hippies.
Although the Ba'ku are a simple race of some 600 people in an isolated village, their ultra-natural, unaffected features tell us they've been blissed out for some 300 years on nature, so that the older they get, the better they look. Paradise is standing in the way of progress.
Captain Picard learns of a dastardly scheme to kidnap the whole tribe of Ba'ku and destroy their way of life. Destroying somebody's way of life is high on the list of no-no's in the enlightened Weltanschauung of Picard, and here he has a worthy enemy in F. Murray Abraham. He's superb as the arch-villain, but all of his wrath boils down to vanity. He is aging, and desperate for a supersonic facelifts.
Now, I think the problem of a facelift makes this the most fashionable episode ever for Star Trek - and its edge is all the more cutting for discovering the vanity in a man rather than a woman. Needless to say, when you start examining some of the characters, you can't be sure a facelift would be enough. But I say, if F. Murray and his dastardly crowd can be fixed up, the more power to' em.
In all respects, Star Trek: Insurrection has all the virtues of the television shows and only gains in size upon its arrival on the silver screen. That's the good news. The bad news is that F. Murray and his Son'a tribe could be stretched out for 8 to 10 episodes for TV; and using them up in one swift forray into cinema seems a waste. Acting kudos all around: everyone but FMB seems to be having a good time; FMB looks just a little too worried about that facelift.
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