After the brief excitement of Star Trek: First Contact, it’s back to boring basics for the Gene Roddenberry franchise. Picard (Patrick Stewart) and crew uncover an elaborate, confusing conspiracy that involves plastic-surgery obsessed aliens (including an unrecognizable F. Murray Abraham) who have joined forces with the Federation to spy on an idyllic planet of annoying hippies. Director Jonathan Frakes, who also plays Commander William Riker, proves his adeptness at the helm of First Contact must have been a fluke, so dull and lifeless is this installment. He does provide himself with an icky candlelit bath between Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), which comes out of nowhere if you’re unfamiliar with the television series. Picard also gets a “romance” with one of those hippies (Donna Murphy), but true to Star Trek form, this mainly involves endless walks while philosophically debating things such as the passage of time. During Star Trek: Insurrection, time moves very slowly indeed.