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Why couldn't Insurrection have been more like?

31st_Century_Temporal_Age
nt

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Report this Jan. 25 2010, 12:33 am

After seeing Avatar it by far ranks as my most favorite sci fi movie hands down now. So with the allegory being pretty much identical to Star Trek Insurrection my question to us all is why couldn't Insurrection have been as emotionally gripping as Avatar? Avatar made me feel like the humans were doing wrong. Insurrection just basically told us the Federation was doing wrong. :O

Vger23

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Report this Jan. 25 2010, 9:35 am

Because Insurrection was a hodge-podge of lazy writing, uninspired special effects, corny humor and tepid contrived action scenes.

When you put those three elements together, you're not going to get a very emotionally unengaging story, unfortunately.

Vger23

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Report this Jan. 25 2010, 9:54 am

Quote (VAD_BAXTER @ Jan. 25 2010, 9:43 am)
Quote (Vger23 @ Jan. 25 2010, 6:35 am)

Quote

When you put those three elements together, you're not going to get a very emotionally unengaging story, unfortunately.


INS actually has a very engaging story, its just that it usually is seen in a non sci-fi format.

I think INS was much more "artificial feel-good" than any of the TNG episodes.

People say it was "most like a TNG episode," but I disagree. TNG episodes (even the feel-goodie ones) were generally very concise, well-laid-out, and character driven dramas that succeeded in making me CARE about what was happening on the screen. So, structually and thematically, yes...it was very much like a TNG episode. But, from an execution standpoint, it was not.

I maintain that INS suffered from having too many fingers in the pie. Stewart wanted to fit in some romance for the captain. Ok. Spiner wants showtunes and dancing becuase, well, he's Spiner. Ok. The studio wants a "lighter" story. Ok. Piller wanted a "darker" story. Ok. Let's get Riker and Troi back together because the fans will like that. Ok. Perhaps "lazy writing" was the wrong term. Just "bad writing" or "bad writing PROCESS" would have been more accurate.

The execution of INS was what causes me to feel it is not a good film. I have yet to see Avatar, but I'm sure Avatar was executed like a major motion picture...and not like a C-grade episode from a 1980's television show.

EDIT:

The STORY might have been an engaging idea, but the execution did not engage me. Another example: I find TFF to be a VERY engaging story, but the execution of that movie suffered badly as well.

rocketscientist

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Report this Jan. 25 2010, 1:17 pm

Why couldn't Insurrection be more like Avatar?  

1.  Avatar had a much better script.

2.  Avatar had more money and betters sfx.

Ndirsch11

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Report this Jan. 25 2010, 2:55 pm

To be perfectly honest, I don't think "Avatar" is that much better than "Star Trek:  Insurrection."  I gave them both the same score on IMDb.  Maybe I've just seen too many movies, but I honestly can't say I was surprised by anything that happened in "Avatar."  It's a very standard plot that simply doesn't play as something fresh.  Cameron even steals from his previous movies like "Aliens," which had Sigourney Weaver fighting the mother alien in one of those futuristic looking forklifts.  In "Avatar," we get a virtual reality forklift and the corporations/military are (again!;) up to no good.  If Cameron was intending to make a political parable about Iraq I think he's a few years too late.  This movie might have been more provocative back in 2005.

Still, "Avatar" was a lot of fun.  I think it works as entertainment and I was impressed by the 3D and the special effects.  And I was really happy to see Sigourney Weaver on the big screen again and with a substantial role to play.  She's one of my favorite actresses.  And even if the story is derivative, it still works.

Of course, "Insurrection" didn't have a budget of $250 million +, endless media hype, or state of the art special effects.  The entire film industry wasn't depending on the success of the ninth Trek film so it was easy for "Insurrection" to fade into obscurity.  I'd say "Insurrection" was a movie that didn't really appeal to the general public at large.  What do casual viewers know about the prime directive?  Will they understand its implications and all the references to the Dominion and other Trek in-jokes?  But wait ... I'm falling into the trap of thinking Star Trek wasn't popular in the 90's.  I better stop myself before I get started.

"Insurrrection" might have had too inconsequential a story, but it WAS up to film standards.  It was well directed by Jonathan Frakes (who actually knows how to shoot a movie) and the score by Jerry Goldsmith was much better than James Horner's score for "Avatar."  I was shocked by how lackluster the music was in "Avatar."  Horner has really turned into a hack.

1701AtoE

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Report this Jan. 25 2010, 3:30 pm

I just saw Avatar myself few days ago, and asked the same exact question! I think if JJ Abrams have done ST:INS with similar budget than ST XI (not even Avatar level) and using the new TOS crew with updated (non-geeky script) then I think it can come close. Several reasons I think INS fell way short compared to Avatar:

1. The title "Avatar" is used timely, because most people have more than one avatar on the Internet, including one for this website. So it's creative for adopting it as an infiltration technique and brilliant for the "in" marketing.

2. Opposite of #1, the very name "Star Trek" gartnered very negative perception for longest time, associating with geeks and almost deteriorated beyond repair with main stream.

3. Avatar has better romance elements, like that of Disney's Pocohantas. (Picard's romance.. just not attractive to general public). It also have more emotional charged defense from natives like Braveheart, Robinhood, etc.

4. Like Pocohantas, natives were referred to savages and held low regards compared to the invading "superior" beings. This brings out strong feelings with a lot of folks around the world who can relate directly. Yahoo ran a story of a famous Chinese movie director, giving kudos and admiration for the ability to send a message that people can relate to (e.g., government forcing relocation) without getting the film censored.  The $1B+ gross world-wide is mind boggling.

5. Avatar is also a fantasy film, not just sci-fi. Fantasy themes are very popular in gaming, and I'm sure that attracted a lot of attention, especially in Asia and other regions of the world big in fantasy games/movies. The natives are beautified, which garner trendy followers for their art more than our native Indians (just checkout Youtube for Avatar makeup techniques from teenagers)

There is probably also the James Cameron factor, just like JJ Abrams have done wonders for Star Trek. If ST XII has similar style with Avatar and add 3D, JJ probably can get 3/4 of Avatar domestic (US) gross. (There will always still be this negative thing associated with Star Trek in general)

But after a few days to digest Avatar, I can find more holes in Avatar than ST XI. I think mass ratings like Rotten Tomatoes with 82% for Avatar and 94 - 95% for ST XI speak for themselves of what public thinks afterward. Both are re-imagined stories but I think ST XI is a lot more clever and difficult to do with all it's legacy. I truly hope Trek writers win the WGA award.

DataLore04

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Report this Jan. 25 2010, 4:39 pm

Visually Avatar is light-years away from Insurrection or XI for that matter. Avatar also has better pacing and has a very grandiose feel to it that Insurrection lacks.

Story-wise and dialogue it isn't any better or worse. There are cringe-worthy moments in both movies. Both "villains," are over the top and the Avatar villain verges on pure cheese. The message and outcomes are obvious and predictable in both films.

Give Insurrection the effects, budget and "acclaimed," director and viola it becomes a much better film. If the Ba'ku didn't look exactly like humans and were actual aliens it would have been much more interesting.  

Star Trek with a few exceptions has never benefited from that kind of budget. It has always been much more shoe-string.

Narada

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Report this Jan. 25 2010, 4:47 pm

Good comments from everyone. I agree with DataLore04 that the Ba'ku would be more effective if they were more alien like and not so human. There are also other problems with the movie which many people mentioned here. I like Insurrection but I only consider it as an average Star Trek movie. They did a good job but it was not as imaginative or well produced as Avatar.

TrekFan1701E

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Report this Jan. 25 2010, 6:54 pm

Quote (TheChronicOne @ Jan. 25 2010, 12:41 am)
Some people say it's about Al Gore and climate stuff. :eyesroll:

And making the US Army being the bad guys. I would never want a Trek movie or Trek in general to be like Avatar.

Unregistered_Guest

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Report this Jan. 26 2010, 3:00 am

Quote (Vger23 @ Jan. 25 2010, 6:35 am)
Because Insurrection was a hodge-podge of lazy writing, uninspired special effects, corny humor and tepid contrived action scenes.

Indeed.  If you need evidence for the statement check out Director  Frakes commentary on the Blu Ray version of INS.

"Not the world's greatest writing."

Hated the haystack scene, calling it cloying.

"I hated those [DS9] costumes."

"This was absurd."  Commenting on the village evacuation scene.

"They look like 'temps' would today"  commenting on the FX.

An so on....

DataLore04

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Report this Jan. 26 2010, 2:34 pm

Interesting that Frakes said to promote the movie that the Injector/Collector was "worth the price of admission alone."

The effects weren't bad, actually some were good. But why is he Oh Noing about it now, he WAS the director. If Insurrection had been hit he wouldn't be going on about it.

Vger23

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Report this Jan. 26 2010, 3:50 pm

Quote (DataLore04 @ Jan. 26 2010, 2:34 pm)
Interesting that Frakes said to promote the movie that the Injector/Collector was "worth the price of admission alone."

The effects weren't bad, actually some were good. But why is he Oh Noing about it now, he WAS the director. If Insurrection had been hit he wouldn't be going on about it.

At least he has the balls to be a man about the fact that it was kind of a pile of dung. He takes it all in stride, and I like that.

It's far better than Stuart Baird's reactions, Rick Berman's finger-pointing, or even (I love him, but c'mon) Shatner's delusions about their respective movies.

Frakes is comfortable enough with himself to know that INS was pretty weak, and he has no problem admitting it. After all, most of the problems on INS were not his fault.

DataLore04

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Report this Jan. 27 2010, 11:53 am

I agree it is just funny how hindsight works....

Vger23

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Report this Jan. 29 2010, 12:37 pm

Quote (ServalanFan @ Jan. 28 2010, 7:19 pm)
I agree with most people here.
Budget and special effects help Avatar.
The Star Trek name can both help and hinder though. There is the geeky reputation but there is also the fan base. They probably cancel each other out.
But most of all I did not sympathise with the Ba'ku. I wish either the writing or the acting made me care about them but it didn't.
I don't care about the Prime directive all that much for advanced races such as the Ba'ku.
The story may have intrigued me more if there was more of a moral conflict on Picard's side. Because of the so-called 'romance' aspect of it, Picard was already compromised in my book.

Fascinatingly enough, the Prime Directive was said not to apply to these people within the dialogue of the movie.

I find not only was the film weak and unengaging for a Star Trek story, but there was a massive and unexplainable plothole right in the middle of the thing (and those who know me know that I am the first guy to usually excuse plotholes in Trek movies):

You have the Federation and the So'na working together in a very thorough and precise survey of the village and surrounding terrain that the Baku live in. One would assume (although it was never overtly explained) that this was because they needed to create a holoprogram precise enough to fool the Baku villagers into thinking they are still on their planet.

Ok...but to what end? What is the point of this exercise?? Why is the holoship needed? Why do they need to fool the Baku? Certainly, if it takes that much time and effort to recreate the village in a holoprogram, then the villagers are CERTAIN to recognize that they are on a different planet when they wake up in the morning after being relocated! I mean, there's NO WAY that they could terraform the planet and construct an identical village such that the Baku would never realize they'd been taken from their homes (at least, until they started to age normally).

But, even more fundamental is WHY FOOL THEM ANYWAY?? What is the need for all this? Why not just beam them all up into the So'na cargohold, keep them locked up in isolation, and then dump their hippy a$$es on some other planet?? It makes absolutely no logical sense to go about it the way that they do using the holoship. I't sonly delaying the inevitable. And, since this whole element is absolutely fundamental to the plot and moving the story forward (in fact, it's pretty much what the whole movie is about), then the lack of intuitive logic completely ruins the story.

DataLore04

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Report this Jan. 29 2010, 1:29 pm

Quote (Vger23 @ Jan. 29 2010, 12:37 pm)
Quote (ServalanFan @ Jan. 28 2010, 7:19 pm)
I agree with most people here.
Budget and special effects help Avatar.
The Star Trek name can both help and hinder though. There is the geeky reputation but there is also the fan base. They probably cancel each other out.
But most of all I did not sympathise with the Ba'ku. I wish either the writing or the acting made me care about them but it didn't.
I don't care about the Prime directive all that much for advanced races such as the Ba'ku.
The story may have intrigued me more if there was more of a moral conflict on Picard's side. Because of the so-called 'romance' aspect of it, Picard was already compromised in my book.

Fascinatingly enough, the Prime Directive was said not to apply to these people within the dialogue of the movie.

I find not only was the film weak and unengaging for a Star Trek story, but there was a massive and unexplainable plothole right in the middle of the thing (and those who know me know that I am the first guy to usually excuse plotholes in Trek movies):

You have the Federation and the So'na working together in a very thorough and precise survey of the village and surrounding terrain that the Baku live in. One would assume (although it was never overtly explained) that this was because they needed to create a holoprogram precise enough to fool the Baku villagers into thinking they are still on their planet.

Ok...but to what end? What is the point of this exercise?? Why is the holoship needed? Why do they need to fool the Baku? Certainly, if it takes that much time and effort to recreate the village in a holoprogram, then the villagers are CERTAIN to recognize that they are on a different planet when they wake up in the morning after being relocated! I mean, there's NO WAY that they could terraform the planet and construct an identical village such that the Baku would never realize they'd been taken from their homes (at least, until they started to age normally).

But, even more fundamental is WHY FOOL THEM ANYWAY?? What is the need for all this? Why not just beam them all up into the So'na cargohold, keep them locked up in isolation, and then dump their hippy a$$es on some other planet?? It makes absolutely no logical sense to go about it the way that they do using the holoship. I't sonly delaying the inevitable. And, since this whole element is absolutely fundamental to the plot and moving the story forward (in fact, it's pretty much what the whole movie is about), then the lack of intuitive logic completely ruins the story.

They set it up like it was just an ordinary "duck blind," mission like the one seen in the TNG episode "Who Watches The Watchers." That all they were doing was studying the indigenous people of the planet. It seemed that the only ones who truly knew what was going on were the So'na and Admiral Daugherty and the highest levels of Starfleet Command and the Federation Council.

However I do agree that the holoship and efforts to move the Ba'ku without them knowing it were pointless. It seemed like a plan that the So'na didn't want any part in and it was something being pushed by the Federation to make their forced relocation more "humanitarian."

It was another plot device stolen from another TNG episode "Homeward," in which Worf's adopted brother beams up a pre-warp civilization onto the Holodeck to save them from destruction then they beam them down to a similar world and construct some lame story to explain why things look so different.

It didn't work then and certainly wouldn't work in the case of the Ba'ku. Even though Picard and co. and to piece together the puzzle, the Admiral and the So'na already knew it wouldn't fool them.

It would have been more interesting if it was just a flat out ordered relocation on Picard's part. And he defied orders to save the Ba'ku from relocation.

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