Star Trek: Insurrection

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Science Fiction Teaser Trailer
Theatrical Trailer
Featurette-Behind The Scenes
Rating Disc Rating
Year Of Production 1998
Running Time 98:45
RSDL/Flipper RSDL (59:24) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Programme
Region Coding Director(s) Frakes, Jonathan

Starring Stewart, Patrick
Frakes, Jonathan
Spiner, Brent
Burton, Levar
Dorn, Michael
McFadden, Gates
Sirtis, Marina
Abraham, F. Murray
Murphy, Donna
Zerbe, Anthony
Case Amaray-Transparent
RPI $39.95 Music Goldsmith, Jerry

Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) 
French Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) 
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) 
Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s) 
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

Plot Synopsis

    Star Trek Movie Rule #1: The even-numbered Star Trek movies are always better than the odd-numbered Star Trek movies.

    Star Trek Movie Rule #2: If members of the cast sing in a Star Trek Movie, be afraid. Be very afraid.

    Star Trek Movie Rule #3: If the Director of a Star Trek movie also stars in the movie, he'll give himself some really hammy and gratuitous scenes.

    Star Trek: Insurrection follows all of these rules, more or less. The 9th movie to date, and the 3rd with the Next Generation crew, it is weaker than its predecessor, but overall is one of the better "odd" movies in the franchise, but don't even think of getting me started on the singing...

    The 600 Ba'ku are a peaceful but small in number race. Their planet, however, is remarkable for its fountain-of-youth-like properties - the race has not aged in over 300 years. The Son'a have developed a device to capture the unique radiation which bathes this planet, but need the support of the Federation in order to harvest this radiation as the Ba'ku planet is in Federation territory.

    One slight problem: harvesting the radiation will kill all the inhabitants of the planet, so a plan is devised to translocate the Ba'ku to another planet whilst maintaining the illusion that they are still on their home planet. Unfortunately, this would result in the Ba'ku ageing and dying, but it is felt by the Federation and the Son'a that this is a small price to pay for a technology that could benefit billions of people. Captain Jean Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his crew feel otherwise, and there is a nice little sting in this tale to keep the interest level high.

Transfer Quality


    This is a beautiful transfer that only just falls short of reference quality because of some very minor issues.

    The transfer is presented in an aspect ratio of 2.35:1. It is 16x9 enhanced.

    The transfer is beautifully sharp and clear at all times, with tremendous amounts of fine foreground and fine background detail being visible at all times. Shadow detail is superb, with the darker scenes on the Ba'ku planet being particularly stand-out in this regard. Take a look at the detail visible on Picard's uniform at around the 40:00 mark. Despite being darkly lit, fine gradations in texture are clearly apparent during this sequence. Having said that, to take full advantage of all this lovely detail on offer, you will need to watch this DVD in strictly controlled lighting conditions. There is, of course, no low level noise to mar the image.

    Colours are interestingly rendered. As I remarked in my review of Star Trek: First Contact, the planetary greens are on the pale side - perhaps this is a conscious colour palette choice on the part of the director and cinematographer, but I cannot remember how Insurrection and First Contact looked theatrically in this regard, but they both exhibit the same, undersaturated greens in foliage. This is not an issue on the various starships, where colours are uniformly strong and vibrant. Interestingly, all blues were very vibrant, making for some stunning planetary shots of water and sky.

    No MPEG artefacts were noted. Film-to-video artefacts consisted of some very minor aliasing, most noted during the slow pans in the opening sequence, but noticeable enough for me to drop the rating of this video transfer below reference quality. Film artefacts were essentially non-existent.

    This disc is RSDL formatted. The layer change is placed at 59:24, between Chapters 13 and 14, and is moderately disruptive.

Video Ratings Summary
Shadow Detail
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts


    A reasonably immersive soundtrack accompanies this movie, although it does tend to collapse into mono during the dialogue sequences.

    There are 4 audio tracks on this DVD; English, French, Italian and Spanish in Dolby Digital 5.1, all at the higher bitrate of 448Kb/s. I listened only to the English soundtrack.

    Dialogue is always clear, easy to understand and firmly planted in the center channel. There are no audio sync anomalies.

    Jerry Goldsmith has crafted another superb Star Trek score for Insurrection. I particularly liked his "Paradise theme", which sets the scene nicely for the Ba'ku planet. Other than this specific outstanding notable moment, the music effectively took a companion seat to the on-screen action, helping it along beautifully without ever getting in the way of it.

    The surround channels carry the special effects, but less effectively than I expected them to. There was little aggressive use of the surround channels other than during the cave sequence, where they sprung into life to provide some quite unexpectedly aggressive ambient support to the front soundstage. The many space battles tended to focus the soundstage towards the front, rather than being all-immersive, although the music carried enough ambience in the rear channels to be quite immersive.

    The subwoofer, whilst active, was restrained in its activity, and the various explosions, phaser shots, crashes and the like seemed strangely reigned in and muted rather than full-on as a result.

Audio Ratings Summary
Audio Sync
Surround Channel Use


    The extras are quite limited.


    All menus are 16x9 enhanced.

Teaser Trailer

    1.66:1, non-16x9 enhanced and carrying Dolby Digital 5.1 sound that sounds mono, this is a teaser that seems more like a full-on theatrical trailer.

Theatrical Trailer

    Presented as above, but this time with nicely immersive 5.1 sound, this does a good job of selling the movie.

Featurette-Behind The Scenes

    Only 5:07 in length, presented in varying aspect ratios and not 16x9 enhanced, this is your typical promotional fluff piece. In this case, however, there is far less self-congratulation than is the norm, making it worth viewing at least once.


    As far as we are aware, there are no censorship issues with this DVD.

R4 vs R1

    The R4 and R1 versions of this DVD are identically featured.


    As one of the better odd-numbered Star Treks, I didn't mind Star Trek: Insurrection at all. In fact, it makes me hanker for the next movie - if the last few Treks are anything to go by, it should be a beauty. Technically, there is nothing wrong with the disc, and it's another terrific first-up disc for Paramount in Region 4.

Ratings (out of 5)


© Demtschyna, Michael (read my bio)
Sunday, April 22, 2001

Review Equipment
DVD Denon DVD-3300, using RGB output
Display Loewe Art-95 95cm direct view CRT in 16:9 mode, via the RGB input. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials.
Audio Decoder Denon AVD-2000 Dolby Digital AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Denon AVD-1000 DTS AddOn Decoder, used as a standalone processor. Calibrated with the NTSC DVD version of Video Essentials and the NTSC DVD version of The Ultimate DVD Demo Disc.
Amplification EA Playmaster 100W per channel stereo amplifier for Left & Right Front; Marantz MA6100 125W per channel monoblock amplifiers for Left & Right Rear; Philips 360 50W per channel stereo amplifier for Centre and Subwoofer
Speakers Philips S2000 speakers for Left, Right; Polk Audio CS-100 Centre Speaker; Apex AS-123 speakers for Left Rear and Right Rear; Hsu Research TN-1220HO Subwoofer