Film (1998). Paramount. Directed by Jonathan Frakes. Written by Michael Piller; story Rick Berman & Piller. Cast includes F Murray Abraham, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Frakes, Gates McFadden, Donna Murphy, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart. 103 minutes. Colour.
A utopian world with a fountain of youth is targeted by the Federation for appropriation at the expense of the resident population, who turn out to be post-technological and thus undefended by Prime Directive; the Enterprise crew nevertheless side with the indigenes, and are vindicated when the Federation turns out to have been manipulated.
After hitting one out of the park with the dark, bold Star Trek: First Contact (1996), the film franchise struck out badly with this insipid instalment, which aims honorably enough at a big-screen version of the television series' explorations of political and ethical complexities of the Colonization of Other Worlds, but dissipates its problematics of self-determination and greatest good in the interests of filmic closure and reassurance that all manner of thing shall be well. Stewart advised on the script and took an executive producer credit; other cast regulars are less well served, while the post-technological production design reinforces a narrowly west-coast and new-age take on Utopia and Immortality. One more sequel with the Star Trek: The Next Generation (1987-1994) cast followed, the interesting but commercially catastrophic Star Trek: Nemesis (2002). [NL]
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