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Sadly NOT a movie about the Enterprise fighting a giant ghost face in space. That would have been so much more awesome.[1]

Joining forces with some unsavory Rubber Forehead... and face... Aliens offering their technology friendship, The Federation decides that the Prime Directive is optional so that they can relocate the new-agey Space Amish inhabitants of a paradise planet. After all, Utopia Justifies the Means, right? The Enterprise crew uncovers the plot and rebels against Starfleet (hence the title) to save the day.

With bigger guns, the rekindling of the Riker/Troi romance, and a generally out-of-character original cast, the movie is a far cry from Star Trek: The Next Generation, clearly created to draw in a broader audience. It is considered by some to be among the worst of the Trek films, though not without its merits.

Tropes used in Star Trek: Insurrection include:
  • Badass Boast: "We're through running from these bastards."
  • Beauty Equals Goodness: Thanks to centuries of living with eternal youth, the Ba'ku look like catalog models
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: Between Ru'afo and Admiral Matthew Doughherty.
    • Then Dougherty turns out to have standards, so Ru'afo kills him and becomes sole Big Bad.
  • Big No: Ru'afo has four different ones.
    • For many fans, this is the only thing they remember about him as the villain.
  • Black and White Morality: Geordi uses this idea to describe the thought processes going through Data's head after having his memory engrams damaged by a phaser blast. Which comes across as frightening when one considers that Data attacked Picard and Worf's shuttle, believing Starfleet personnel to be someone who would take advantage of his memory loss. It sets up a Black and Gray Morality theme for the whole movie (The Federation attempting to advance medical technology through the harm of the Ba'ku vs. the Son'a, mostly Ru'afo, seeking revenge on the parents who exiled them from home) with the crew of the Enterprise as the only people trying to settle things reasonably. It also sets up how easily music can distract Data after experiencing his equivalent to a concussion.
  • Character Shilling: The movie has the crew go on and on about how perfect and wonderful the Ba'ku and their society are, right down to the movie's tagline being "The battle for paradise has begun".
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: A native population is relocated so that their resources can be exploited. Hmm.
    • It's also very similar to an episode of The Next Generation where Picard's stance on the exact same situation was the exact opposite, although one can argue the strategic and scientific value of Ba'ku is a sufficient difference to change his mind.
      • The script has been accused of being racist in tone: the group who Picard was perfectly willing to deport were Ambiguously Brown while the Ba'ku are lily white yet they get to keep their planet. Many fans don't like turning one of the most peaceful and enlightened captains in Star Trek into a racist.
      • An argument that doesn't really hold water. The Boraalans of TNG were on a planet that was going to naturally die out. Picard refused to interfere with the natural order by saving them. Once forced into it he went along still trying to minimize the damage to their culture thus upholding the Prime Directive. With the Ba'ku he was again refusing to interfere, and further more damned well not going to allow someone else to simply force people off of their homeworld and then destroy it utterly. Not so the Son'a could further unnaturally extend their lives, or so that the Federation (which isn't exactly a cesspool of dying people, instead a highly medically advanced civilization) can gain a new medical technology. His point stands, if they were moving six hundred people it would be just as wrong as six million. Completely different situation.
      • There's actually several episodes which feature a vaguely comparable situation. It's hard to think of a case where Picard actually allows a native population to be exploited, whether out of racism or some other reason, but there are at least two instances of him being asked to relocate colonists who have ended up on someone else's planet: He actually does relocate a planet of white people (and the odd Token Black) in "The Ensigns of Command" but ultimately leaves a group of Native Americans alone, albeit under Cardassian rule, in "Journey's End".
      • The important detail is that in both cases, the colonies were made up of Federation citizens, and in the case of the Native Americans, he only left them alone after they had renounced that citizenship.
  • Eureka Moment: Picard salsas happily in his quarters until he catches sight of himself in the mirror, sporting quite the youthful sheen. The very next shot is him standing at the Ba'ku's front door: "How old are you?"
  • Even Evil Has Standards: Dougherty is fine with forcibly relocating the Ba'ku, but draws the line at genocide. So Ru'afo kills him.
  • Evil Overlooker
  • Fan Sequel: The sixty-episode series Hidden Frontier takes place almost entirely in the Briar Patch and explores it extensively beyond Ba'ku, with an (obviously recast) older Artum joining Starfleet after developing a case of wanderlust from meeting Data. Many jokes can be made about it being superior to the actual movie, the show's shoestring-budget being the punchline.
  • Fan Service: Troi and Riker taking a bath together.
    • Troi and Dr. Crusher talk about how much firmer their boobs are, using that exact word. The fans weren't exactly happy.
  • Foreshadowing: Well, hinting, really.
    • Picard's Machine Empathy; in the scene where it comes up, he mentions that it was much more acute when he was younger.
    • At one point Crusher notes that the Captain was quite a dancer, when he was younger.
    • Once we get to the Ba'ku planet, there's the rekindling of the Riker/Troi romance and Worf's Klingon Zit.
  • Fountain of Youth
  • Freudian Couch
  • Government Conspiracy
  • Heel Face Turn: Galatin. Dougherty tries as well but Ru'afo kills him.
  • Hidden Elf Village: The Ba'ku's planet.
  • Human Alien: The Ba'ku, they look exactly like humans.
  • Hypocrite: The Ba'ku's clothing looks nice for a race that doesn't believe in technology like a loom. Their crops benefit from an irrigation system, and that stone dam with a wheel and chain system can't possibly be technology. Also note that they don't seem all that ungrateful of being saved my medical technology when crushed by rocks.
    • They're tools that need to be operated by hand, not machines. Big difference.
      • Not really. Especially the thing by the dam with the wheel and chain system. Any tool of sufficient complicated nature is technology. Heck, depending on one's definition, a hammer can be considered technology. If the Baku meant "fully automated machines" they could have been more clear. Irrigation is typically considered technology, as is a dam.
      • In fact, the wheel, inclined plane, wedge, screw and lever are all what are typically known as "Simple Machines," the basis of all more complex devices. A truly machine-free society would be more primitive than a stone-age society, with no tools.
    • It's ironic that Picard protests the relocation of the Ba'ku by... staging a relocation of the Ba'ku.
  • Immortality Begins At Twenty: The magic radiation takes some time to have its full effect allowing children to age normally.
  • Invisibility Cloak: In the opening scene Data runs around cloaked while being chased by several cloaked away team members. Then later they find a cloaked ship hidden in a lake.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: In their argument, Admiral Dougherty actually makes a valid point that Picard seemingly ignores.

  Dougherty: They are not indigenous to this world, they were never meant to be immortal!

  • Love Transcends Spacetime: Anij's ability to slow down time seems linked to how romantic it makes the moment.
  • Ludd Was Right: The Federation are portrayed as the villains, using their advanced technology to bully peaceful agrarian settlers. Linkara stated that this was one of his least favorite Star Trek films because of this trope, as it was a blatant contradiction to Gene Roddenberry's original intent of embracing technology.
  • The Magnificent Seven Samurai: Complete with "Seven to beam up." Hmm....
  • Machine Empathy: Picard detects that the ship's torque sensors are slightly out of alignment just because "they don't sound right."
    • Star Trek Nemesis indicates that Picard was born with a rare genetic condition that gives him supersensitive hearing. Although treated in his youth to ensure that even the slightest of sounds don't cause him pain, it's entirely possible that Picard would retain extremely acute hearing (by most human standards) into adulthood.
  • Mundane Utility: So its implied that all of the Ba'ku have developed the ability to significantly slow the passage of time. What is stopping them from using this to avoid being tagged by the seeker drones?
  • Nightmare Face: The Son'a with that face-stretcher device. Okay, maybe that's not being fair to them; how about Admiral Dougherty with that face-stretcher device.
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat
  • Obviously Evil
  • Offstage Villainy: The library scene really goes out of its way to make the Son'a unlikeable, with records of conquering and enslaving worlds, drug dealing, and possessing illegal weapons. It makes the Federation look really stupid to have ever turned to them.
    • Especially since the drug they are mentioned to be dealing is often brought up in Deep Space Nine - as the drug the Dominion uses to keep its Jem'Hadar stormtroopers in line. Which means that the Son'a are the allies of a nation which the Federation is at war with. This is actually lampshaded when Troi is clearly flabbergasted by the Federation's involvement with them, but the Phlebotinum is starting to affect her and she's too busy flirting with Riker to take the thought any further.
    • It's not outright stated they're Dominion allies until a later episode of Deep Space Nine. So it's possible the Son'a just happened to make ketracel-white for other people besides the Dominion and after the events of Insurrection their falling out with the Federation gave them the final push to join forces.
      • What other people? Ketracel-white's sole purpose is to keep the Jem'Hadar healthy. It's never stated that it has uses for other people. It was created just for the Jem'Hadar. Though, I can get around this by saying maybe Ru'afo's group was not part of the Dominion alliance.
    • In the Deep Space Nine relaunch novel Section 31: Abyss, Commander Vaughn says that the entire operation was organized by Section 31, and when it went bad, the deceased Admiral Dougherty was made the fall guy.
  • Off-the-Shelf FX: Riker's "manual steering column" is an off-the-shelf computer game joystick.
    • Made Hilarious in Hindsight since in Star Trek Online you can use a joystick to pilot your starship, and if you own the exact same model of joystick...
    • On the other hand, this is exactly the job joysticks were created to do. We don't mock real-world fighter pilots for using them.
      • That's because fighter aircraft is designed with joysticks in mind. In Star Trek, this is the first time we've seen one used. It looks so narmishly out of place.
        • Yet, years later, the NX-01 would be piloted by a joystick. I'm not even kidding.
  • Perfect Pacifist People: The Ba'ku, whose leader even says "The moment we pick up a weapon, we become one of them."
    • Which is actually a nice bit of foreshadowing; the Son'a are just non-pacifist non-luddite Ba'ku.
  • Precision F-Strike: After detonating the warp core to neutralize the Son'a's sub-space weapon:

 Commander Riker: We're through running from these bastards!

  • Really Seven Hundred Years Old: The Ba'ku.
  • Redemption Equals Death: When Admiral Dougherty develops a sense of morality, Ru'afo kills him.
  • Reed Richards Is Useless: The Ba'ku have discovered a planet with amazing healing/rejuvenating powers, which would surely help billions more, but keep it to themselves because... they believe a life without technology is better?
  • Series Continuity Error: Troi saying she's never kissed Riker while he had a beard. Number of times this happened in the series: four. You'd think at least Frakes (who was also directing, remember) or Sirtis would point this out.
  • Space Amish: the Ba'ku.
  • Theme Tune Cameo
  • The Needs of the Many: The last tropes you'd expect to be subverted in Star Trek. Picard chosing to help 600 Ba'ku when the technology studying the planet would bring could save literally billions.
    • Especially since this was taking place at around the same time as The Dominion War, where such advanced medical technology would have been especially useful in the war that the Federation was losing.
  • Utopia Justifies the Means: Not while Picard yet breathes, it doesn't!
    • The tagline was The Battle For Paradise.
  • Villainy Free Villain: With the sole exception of killing Admiral Dougherty, Ru'afo really doesn't do anything but complain and moan throughout the movie.
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