When your first ship-to-ship combat scene hinges on a Data/Picard Gilbert and Sullivan duet, you really should consider firing all of your writers. If you got far enough into production with the script in this form to actually get a sample of what a Brent Spiner/Patrick Stewart duet would sound like, you really ought to consider firing yourself. If you not only film the scene, but decide to allow Michael Dorn to sing backup, you really need to be shot. If nothing else, director/first officer Jonathon Frakes/Will Riker deserves an award for working in the Trek universe for a decade without ever picking up anything that might lead him to the conclusion that such a scene would be a really freaking bad idea. No wait, I meant "swift kick in the nads" not "award."
There's simply no reason for this movie to exist. It's like the Trek franchise was just treading water after the first really good Next Gen outing in the previous film (First Contact). It was time to make another movie, so they said, "Hey Frakes, go get the gang and throw together another one of them space pictures." So he did, and this was the result.
After a pretty kick-butt opening, in which invisible people chase invisible Data around a primitive village, the movie suddenly devolves into sublime goofiness. It's as if Frakes wasn't content with his character being a big goof, so he had to go and make every other character in the movie a big goof at one point or another as well. There's a goofy scene in which goofy Troi gives advice to Picard about visiting aliens, and the goofy aliens hang a goofy scarf from Picard's goofy bald head. But the biggest goofy moment of the opening ten minutes is the introduction of Worf. As most Trek fans know, Worf left the Enterprise to join Deep Space Nine sometime between Generations and First Contact. First Contact had a fairly plausible mechanism for shoe-horning Worf back onto the Enterprise for the duration of the movie, but this time they don't even bother to try. He just shows up. Picard says, "Mr. Worf, what the devil are you doing here?" and they cut away to goofy old Riker while Worf presumably explains. By the time they cut back, Worf is done. This might not have been all that bad if the Enterprise had been suddenly attacked at that moment and there was no way to send anyone back to their proper ships/space stations before gallivanting off on a mission. But no, that doesn't happen. Instead, Picard gets orders to go somewhere. So, out of the blue, he orders Worf to delay his return to DS9 so he can be in this movie. Apparently Worf has no duties aboard DS9 that have a timeline. Sisko obviously doesn't need to be consulted about the appropriation of his Strategic Operations Officer either. And I always wonder what the current Tactical Officer of the Enterprise thinks when Worf shows up and takes his place whenever he feels like it. Who is the current Tactical Officer on the Enterprise, anyway?? It's one of life's great mysteries.
Before you can say, "Helm! Hard to starboard!" we're off chasing Data in the scene I mentioned in the intro paragraph. I just want to know when Starfleet decided they needed karaoke machines installed in every shuttle craft. Once Picard has Data safely under control again (he went berserk after someone phasered his neck or something) the plot finally starts.
As it turns out, there's this tiny colony of space hippies living on this planet that makes you immortal. I call them space hippies because as it turns out, they're a bunch of people who once had warp drive and advanced technology but have forsaken all that for the "idyllic" life of pre-industrial times. I'd like to point out now that the only reason these damn hippies can even live like this is because they happened to find this planet with the magic "multi-phasic radiation" that makes you all super-healthy and stuff; otherwise, they would have all died of the plague or broken legs or some other pre-industrial disease long ago. They're so insufferably smarmy and superior when they reveal that they're not just a bunch of backwards hicks and that they've voluntarily given up technology that I didn't really care at that point about the "sinister" plot to relocate them and steal their planet. In fact, all I wanted to do was punch them. All six hundred of them. In fact, Picard even looks somewhat annoyed with them at first, and I was hoping he'd just say, "Ok, we're out of here. Let's blow it up!" But, of course, he falls in love with a random three hundred year old woman with big boobs and instead leads a revolt to keep them on their planet.
Fortunately, this leads to a great scene in which Data asks Worf if he notices his boobs firming up.
There's some random running and fighting, a scene in which we find out that orders from your superior officer don't count in Starfleet if he's not wearing his uniform, a scene in which Riker flies the Enterprise with a Logitech Wingman joystick, and a Riker/Troi romance that goes nowhere fast (which is, after all, the one *good* thing about this movie). Finally, the main bad guy lets out this horrid primal scream (so bad that the producers thoughtfully included it in both the teaser and theatrical trailer) and loses. The space hippies are saved, and Worf presumably goes back to DS9 for another couple of years.
In conclusion, I'd just like to say that this is easily the worst Next Gen Trek movie ever, and only Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, in which Kirk fights God and wins, saves it from being the worst Trek ever. See it only if you dig sublime goofiness, space hippies, or if you just want to laugh at it.
Scene to watch for: Three words: Manual. Flight. Control.
Best line: "Saddle up. Lock and load!"
Things that make you go "Huh?": Gilbert and Sullivan???