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*** This review may contain spoilers ***
It's a shame that "Star Trek" is having a tough time surviving in a market
that's glutted with bigger budget, "sexier" stuff like The Matrix, Lord of
the Rings, Harry Potter...
Compared to those blockbusters, Nemesis appears almost quaint, with its heavy reliance on computer graphics that were state of the art - several years ago. Paramount simply isn't investing enough money in these films to keep them looking up-to-date, which is a shame, because Star Trek still has plenty of relevant things to say.
Or does it? You could look at Nemesis as a triumphant return to form, filled with all the action and humanism we've come to expect from these films, or you could look at it as a clumsy rehash of plot elements from "The Wrath of Khan" (revenge! space fight! dramatic death!) and "The Undiscovered Country" (peace with our moral enemies!). I have trouble deciding if this movie is good enough to justify continuing the franchise; I've got nostalgic feelings for the Next Gen crew, even though I prefer the originals, and maybe those feelings are acting in the same capacity as beer goggles.
So what works? Stewart, Frakes, Spiner. The battle is fun. Some of the "deep" questions raised about identity, cloning, and nature vs. nurture got me thinking (although, in the end, they were largely irrelevant - the whole thing devolves into a fight!). What doesn't work? Stilted dialogue. Techno-babble. Boring sets (particularly for the Enterprise). Trying to pass off California filmed through a filter as an alien planet.
Final verdict? First, Star Trek needs a rest. Then, it needs more money. That's what happened to Doctor Who in the last decade, and Godzilla and James Bond went through similar trials in the 1980s. It's bound to happen to any long-running franchise. When it comes back, it does need to be better than Nemesis, not because Nemesis is terrible, but because it's a bit tired. New creative blood revitalized the original crew's films - Nicholas Meyer and Harve Bennet, who knew nothing of Star Trek, managed to give the series the jolt it needed to remain popular for a decade. Another dose of outsiders, with outside perspectives, will be needed to get Star Trek up and running again, sometime in the future...
This was a very different Star Trek film mainly due to its dark tone.
Despite mainstream belief, I think 'Insurrection' was a beautifully written
film and despite the simple story, it worked nicely as the characters were
This film is very serious and although I don't like action films, this movie was pretty intense thanks to its villain. The characters aren't having fun at all which I think detaches the audiences a little cause it's not a fun adventure. The stakes in this film are more personal to the characters so there's no time for the regular jokes once the story kicks in as there's too much at stake.
That aside, this film is handsomely produced with a great production design and has some exciting conflict between Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his nemesis, Shinzon (Tom Hardy). The face off between the two characters in the final 30 minutes is very exciting.
The performances where all brilliant in the film and I hope to see the full version of the film on DVD as I think the mind rape suffered by Troi (Marina Sirtis) could have been further explored.
Why this film failed at the box-office was the timing. You don't release a Star Trek film 5 days before Lord of the Rings. L.O.T.R. is more popular than Star Trek right now but this film could have re-ignited the franchise if people went and saw it. Delaying its release in Australia was a good idea as this has given it a no. 1 spot on opening weekend which it deserves despite an almost non-existent marketing campaign here.
It wasn't a bad film by any means and I think the critics didn't like it because it was so dark and that there's little sense of fun.
I think 'Nemesis' is a very worthy chapter in the Star Trek franchise. It took a while to reach Australian audiences but most of us believe it was well worth the wait. 8 out of 10
Now there has been great debate raging about this particular movie.
It's hard to have perspective when there is no measure, so with that
said I can say safely without a shadow of doubt in my mind that Star
Trek II: Wrath of Kahn is the greatest of the Star Trek Movies ever
made, period. There has never been a movie prior or post this movie
that has engaged, excited or enthralled a Treker. If you want to know
why exactly, read my review on it.
Now during this era of Star Trek movies they never muddled with the plot killer dimension, time, except one, Star Trek IV: Return Home. All of the other movies where, how would 'Q' put it, linear. Honestly, anything that has a plot where someone goes back into time and tries to change it or prevents its change, well lets say, it kills the plot by putting a plot hole the size of a black hole.
I was never a real fan of the time travel as a script concept simply because if it was possible at all, everybody and anybody would eventually try to go back in time and change things to a more favorable outcome for themselves. Basically if you were able to go back in time, wouldn't you pick the winning lottery ticket numbers? So if you can do that why can't I? The next thing you know, you've got a million winning tickets. Star Trek: Nemesis, gets one gold star for having a plot that does not change time on a clock.
In fact it's pretty good. There are flaws and incongruities especially in regards to the Generations episodes and there is no justification for some of the oversights, but the movie shines where it should. A real attempt was made to develop the villains character Shinzon of Remus, Picard's clone. He isn't just a villain, he is a Picard, an alternate version.
So what's new? Picard embodies the perfect Starfleet officer. But take that uniform off and replace it with tattered clothes and remove that individual form his starship and place him in the deep recesses of a sunless world mined by slaves, tortured by Romulans and you get the picture.
What I think people missed in this movie was the big question, are Picard and the clone so different. Shinzon even asks Picard that in the movie. Could Picard have changed or convinced the clone had he had more time? Could the original Picard in a similar situation become evil? Either way, it is the human element and conflict within each of the Picard's and is what will intrigue an audience and is what I especially liked about this movie.
The special effects are good and really enhance a situation not nearly explored enough in Star Trek, the tactics of starship combat. This and only a few other instances has there been such an emphasis on strategy and tactics in starship combat.
Jean-Luc Picard ( Patrick Stewart) and his clone Shinzon of Remus (Tom Hardy) are both at the top of their game and fluently exercise their Shakespearean acting talents. Especially Hardy, who convinces us that he is Picard's clone, and then convinces us he's nothing like Picard. The Enterprise crew is at their best and Stuart Baird's direction gave Nemesis a movie like feeling rather than TV mini-movie feeling.
In closing, who wants to be an ensign when you can be a captain? In the end Trekers have to realize that Star Trek and its stories are about its captain. It is the captain who gets to say those cool lines like: 'Energize', and 'Fire', 'Divert Warp Power' 'Meet me in my ready room' and Picard's trademark lines 'Make it so!'.
A must see for Sci-Fi buffs and open-minded Trekers.
After Insurection went down in flames, the big P fired Riker and sent him to director's school. They remembered action, occasionally amidst the humanism, wake the audience up with some action. The Romulans have some faction led by the lower caste Remens who have a cloned version of Baldy, only a pygmy. No wonder he is so hostile; hey, all the maniacs were short: Hitler, Napoleon. They kill the Romulan High Council and lure Baby No Tears to Romulus; I don't know, maybe dresses were on sale? Shinzon, I know, I ordered a set of those knives myself, says he wants a truce with the Federation. I wouldn't trust him if he's seen your movies with you crying like a little girlie. Picard gets there, spends half the film, brunching, kibitzing with him: finally, Thank God, some action breaks out. Testicle boy wants Picard gone, evidently he saw Highlander too many times, he keeps yelling,"There can be only one!!" Before this, in a miracle, we found an identical Data, who is dumb enough to be the screenplay writer. Now, people who read books only, show of hands? Who thinks they are going to kill Data off at the end of the movie? Gee, what a freaking surprise; yes, it is to people who think Jupiter Ascending is a masterpiece.
Baldy Sr. escapes from Testicle boy and they make a run for it. Unfortunately, he has a ship that looks like it was built by Dick Cheney; he catches up with them and blows the living crap out of the Enterprise. Of course, weepy tries negotiating with him with heartwarming speeches right out of The Sound Of Mucus. No, Testicle boy will not tolerate Picard, come over or I turn on the green mood light and your crew will trip the light fantastic. His ship, the Crapatar, has these spider legs that come out and spray green bug spray all over you. The Dress has to stop him from getting to earth with the green bug spray; It occurs to Chrome Dome that Testicle boy would never notice if he rams his ship with thrusters. If the ship came any slower, he could have knitted a rug. He rams and does to Testicle Boy's ship what the movie will do to your brain. Yes, F's it up big time. Baby No Tears beams over and tries to overpower Testicle Boy, yes, good luck, Picard couldn't take his mama. Data has to space jump over, get in there and serve as surrogate gonads for Baldy Sr.
There is the requisite tragedy, they had the sequel all ready with Data Jr. unfortunately the movie made less money than selling sand to desert people. There is this wonderful epiphany where they all reminisce about Data, talk about hilarious. I cried too, they were not tears of sadness. I remember him flushing my toilet. Suffice to say, unless you worship TNG, do not watch the movie. Yes, it has action along with the Data plot hole you could fit a super-massive Black Hole within. The action is interpolated with insufferable, self pleasuring speeches about the nobility of Baby No Tears in specific or the human race in general. Yes, you know, when there aren't 40 wars going on constantly around the world, how freaking noble we are? Please, use more hand creme, if you take my meaning. The acting, especially Baldy Jr., is just awful. The opening scene with Picard giving that wedding speech, I swear, the next time the doctor says you must vomit to live: I have the scene I need, just have Data sing Irving Berlin. Trust me, if Irving were alive he would be looking for these people and not to thank them.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
STAR TREK: NEMESIS was doomed before it ever reached theaters. When four
long years passed between INSURRECTION and NEMESIS, and Paramount (always
skittish about the expensive series) chose to advertise the film as THE
OF TREK ("A Generation's Final Journey..."), you knew that not only the
film, but the entire franchise was in serious trouble. Certainly Rick
Berman's growing indifference was a factor in the demise of the legendary
series of films, but other factors were involved, as well. First, the
Generation' crew was facing the same obstacle that had destroyed the
credibility of the original cast; they were getting too old for their
With the youngest 'regular', LeVar Burton, now 45, and series favorite,
Brent Spiner, 53 (and getting pretty 'long-in-the-tooth' for the
Data), the youthful edge of the 'Next Generation' had settled into
middle-aged complacency. The only cast members who seemed believable
reprising their TV roles were Patrick Stewart (at 62, still the 'father
figure' he'd always been), and Michael Dorn, 49, as the Klingon, Worf
makeup made him unrecognizable, anyway). The 'age' issue made NEMESIS
more like a TV 'Reunion' special, created to tie up 'loose ends' than a
'cutting edge' Science Fiction film.
Second, competition both on TV and in film had not only 'caught up' with 'Trek', but passed it, in terms of originality and excitement. 'Babylon 5' had given 'Deep Space 9' all it could handle during their TV runs, and 'Voyager' and 'Enterprise' had everything from 'Stargate 1' to 'Farscape', 'Andromeda', and other SF series vying for, and capturing their audiences. At theaters, a crop of FX-heavy SF features exposed a 'Trek' series that had become 'quaint', and even the object of parody (GALAXY QUEST).
Of course, had NEMESIS been as dynamic as THE WRATH OF KHAN or FIRST CONTACT, none of these factors would have become issues. Sadly, it wasn't.
The premise, that a youthful 'cloned' Picard, Shinzon (Tom Hardy), leading a Remus rebellion that conquers the Romulan Empire, decides to attack the Federation to 'get back' at the Enterprise captain, defies logic or believability. "Years spent in the mines" as an explanation for his irrational behavior and variation of appearance are ridiculous (and brings up the question, 'Was Picard ALWAYS bald?', as it seems to be the only common trait Shinzon and Picard share). As a villain, Shinzon lacks the menace of the Borg Queen or the pathos of Khan, and seems more petulant than threatening.
There is a sense of desperation in NEMESIS, of trying to find some 'gimmick' to make the film memorable. Certainly the most flagrant case of this was falling back on the WRATH OF KHAN climax, and having Data die, to save the crew (conveniently after another 'Prototype' Data has received a copy of his memory chip). What was noble in Spock's gesture seems, in NEMESIS, to be nothing more than an excuse to give Spiner a 'big' scene, and to stir up loyal 'Trek' fans, when all else had failed.
With Patrick Stewart enjoying the worldwide success of the X-MEN films, it is unlikely he will don a Federation uniform, again (at least at a salary that won't break Paramount), which most likely finishes off the 'Next Generation' films. With no plans at present to move another 'Trek' TV series to the big screen ('DS9' lacked the wide appeal or ratings of 'The Next Generation', 'Voyager' concluded their 'mission', returning to Federation space, and 'Enterprise' is only barely holding it's own on the small screen), an era has come to an end. Perhaps an 'original' concept film can be produced (STARFLEET ACADEMY has long been discussed), but unless visionaries like Gene Roddenberry can be found to return the excitement to 'Trek', it will never get past the 'talking' stage at Paramount.
As the dying James Kirk said, in GENERATIONS, "It was...fun..." Certainly there is a legacy in the best of the 'Star Trek' films that those of us who grew up on them will always cherish...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Oh that it should end like this. After four years of reflection the
producers of Star Trek finally realised that they should hire an
experienced movie director and writer, one imagines in an attempt to
finally give the Next Generation a chance to enjoy a truly cinematic
adventure, divorced from the production methodology of the T.V series.
The budget had been upped dramatically and writer John Logan (co-writer of the not especially good Gladiator) made encouraging soundings about an epic, grandiose finale with a brooding revenge story at it's heart. Sounds good doesn't it? But Nemesis is not a good movie, in fact its a fitting epitaph for the way the series had progressed and sheds light on the how and why of its ultimate failure.
Producers Rick Berman and Brannon Braga have consistently affirmed that its franchise fatigue that caused the film to die at the box office - a contributory factor perhaps but not the most important reason. In some respects the film's failure was set in stone prior to it's production because the three previous Trek's had been simply so average. You can blame the television shows but frankly, if you've been doing your job right there should be an audience out there looking forward to the new movies because its the kind of event story and spectacle that they can't get on the small screen.
Nemesis had come during a period in which successive Treks both on and off the small screen simply hadn't cut the mustard and this was bound to catch up with Paramount sooner or later. It's ultimate failure though is, as ever, the script.
Logan's story is clearly based on his favourite - The Wrath of Khan and you can see where he's coming from. Khan has it all. The perfectly recreated spirit of the T.V series, the emphasis and development of character, excellent action set pieces and the perfect, solid storyline that mixes the personal and the epic. Nemesis however does none of these things.
It's funny it should be a story about doubles because it's Khan's poorer clone, a sort of a B-4 to the 2nd film's Data if you like, which desperately needs to assert itself an a big-budget action spectacle but in doing so looses the subtly and the character dynamics that produced the best of the T.V series. Stewart and Spiner were given story input and huge salaries to effectively add-testosterone to their characterisations and unsurprisingly place the story emphasis on themselves but in doing so managed to alter both characters so as to divorce from their small screen counterparts. They'll claim they have the right of course but such self-indulgence only points to the general loss of grip exhibited here.
In turning Star Trek into some kind of action-franchise, phaser rifles and the like, the shows heart is gradually lost. In fact the general contempt for the show's history is there everywhere from the way in which Wesley Crusher is relegated to a non-speaking background part (his return warranted explanation), the Romulans are carelessly neutered and Data is needlessly dispatched for for the sake of plot rather than logic. A really awful way to end the series but frankly, if this the kind of thing we're going to get then perhaps it's for the best. Star Treks II, III and IV sure seem a long time ago now...
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Let me state, for the record, that I have loved Star Trek for most of my
life. "The Next Generation" is still one of my favorite TV shows, thanks to
enduring cable exposure. Traditionally, the ST films alternate good/bad.
Star Trek II, IV, VI, and First Contact were very good, but parts I, III, V,
Generations and Insurrection were not that good, with part V being the
outright worst outing ever. Logically, this meant Nemesis should have been
an upswing. Sadly, it is mediocre at best, which in my opinion sounds the
death knell for Star Trek.
The largest problem here is, like Insurrection, the antagonist simply isn't intimidating in the slightest. Besides being skinny and bald, he spends a majority of the film sitting down or doubled over in pain (why I won't say, for "spoilers" sake). His alien subordinates look more intimidating, but don't really DO anything scary. One of them seems kind of psychic, but that is never really explained for any reason.
Speaking of "no explanation," I found the new android to be ludicrous. Without giving anything away, the "other Data" you see in the commercials is a walking plot hole whose every action is a forgone conclusion. When I saw Brent Spiner (the actor who plays Data) had a writing credit, I knew who was responsible too. Data does a lot of ridiculous things in the film, the least of which is sing Irving Berlin's "Blue Skys."
I'm not the die-hard Star Trek fan I once was, and movies like Nemesis show me why. It's just not very good, certainly not worth price of admission. If you want to enjoy a 40-year old franchise, go see James Bond in Die Another Day. Now that movie had a bald bad guy, and it worked! ^_^
As far as I can remember, no Star Trek movie got passed the critics
without being called "a shame for the francise" or "the worst trek
movie ever". Hardcore fans especially are very conservative and don't
accept any new ideas.
"Nemesis" has some serious problems: the scenario was taken out of nowhere and has little to no connection to the TNG series or the other movies. The forced hints given by some characters like Janeway or Shinzon ("like your borg friends would say...") do not help, they're making things worse. Also, there is not much room for the other characters like Geordi or Crusher, even Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis aren't allowed to make much of their roles. The worst of all is the telephatic duel between Deanna and the reman viceroy: it just doesn't fit into the Star Trek universe.
But in the end, "Nemesis" is not all bad. Steward and Spiner are doing a wonderful job, Tom Hardy is also good as Shinzon and Ron Perlman adds yet another dying character to his filmography. The battle between the Enterprise and the Scimitar is pretty good, with many callbacks to the one between the original ship and the Reliant in 'Wrath of Khan'.
To me, the most satisfying thing was the ending: There will be no more movies with the TNG crew, so it was very important for me to see how their story continues. And it does continue, the journey to the final frontier goes on. And that ain't bad!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
After the wedding ceremony of Riker and Troi, the Enterprise ventures near
to the Romulan neutral zone in response to a signal - a signal they find
coming from an uncharted planet where they find a prototype of Data. As
nearest ship, the Enterprise is sent to Romulus to supposedly negotiate
peace with the new government of the planet. On arrival Picard discovers
that the head of the Reman is his clone. The Enterprise quickly finds
the peace talks are no more than the start of a planned attack on
Given that the evens are always the better films when it comes to Star Trek films, I had reasonable hopes for this film, most of which were met adequately (note the choice of word). The plot is where both the potential and the weaknesses lie. The film has the `discovery' of a Data prototype on an uncharted planet, and then the discovery of a Picard clone, and then kicks off into a bigger plot where the Enterprise must stop the Reman from attacking Earth with a powerful, outlawed weapon. The various touches of the film are both good and bad. The discovery of B4 sits awkwardly with the rest of the film and never really makes complete sense. Shinzon being Picard's clone works quite well and allows for a greater level of involvement in the plot than if he had been just another bad guy out to destroy the world. However I did think the film still had room to really go for it and push the emotional conflict a lot better.
Part of the problem was Shinzon himself; I never really ever felt that he was Picard's match where I should have felt like I was watching two titans in battle. That said, when it comes to the battles, they are all pretty enjoyable and the effects are good. Some of them are genuinely quite exciting, although the film struggles to have a consistently tense mood.
The cast are all pretty comfortable in their well-worn roles. Stewart is always good as Picard, but I didn't feel that either Frakes or Sirtis were allowed to do much with their material. With no solo material Dorn, McFadden and Burton do their best and they do well to make an impression regardless. Spiner co-wrote this film and that says a lot. His usual Data role is as good as always, but his B4 just smacks of his self-serving hand in the script; the film would have been better without this character and could have driven the plot in other ways without him. Perlman is almost totally unrecognisable under his makeup but projects menace nonetheless. Hardy is a bit too calm and polished for the role - I didn't get the feeling that he had any of Picard's passion or gutsy mentality, he should have had that AND been a lot more aggressive due to his environment - having a shaved head and an English accent just didn't cut it, even if he was good in earlier scenes.
Overall this is an even-numbered Star Trek, so it is fated to be enjoyable and, on the most part it is. The plot has one good concept that works (the clone) and one concept that really doesn't at all (B4) and would have been dismissed were it not for Spiner's hands on the script. The action is good and Stewart is as good a central point as ever, making for an enjoyable if unexceptional entry in the long running series.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Star Trek: Nemesis has gone through the mill. At first it had the
pressure of being an even numbered Trek film, usually a tell tale sign
that it would be good. Then it has the pressure from fans who were not
happy with Insurrection. So let's first put all things into
perspective. Insurrection was not as good as First Contact but it
certainly wasn't a bad film. It had a tight plot, developed the
characters and was well paced. In fact all the Next Generation films
are very watchable films, even Generations which seemed to think it
needed William Shatner to prop it up.
I really can not see how people can complain about this film. Again it develops the characters further, has plenty of decent actions sequences, which includes by far the best space battle of all the films. The story moves along nicely and I find it thoroughly enjoyable to watch. Jerry Goldsmith gives it a dark edge with his score and so much so that it ends up being darker at times than First Contact.
However, for all the story it has, the reason Nemesis is a fine finale to the Star Trek films is the epic battle at the end. People can moan about its similarities to Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country but they were great battles and why not take elements that work and build on them? I have to admit I sat in the cinema, loving Picard's desperate move, gripped in anticipation. That was something we had never seen. In all other space battles, the enemy had a little trick up their sleeve to beat our heroes. This time, they were out gunned and overpowered, yet sheer bravery and determination win the day, not a fancy homing torpedo or a tricky move. Sheer guts was all that they had left.
It's a good action film and a good Star Trek film. Not the best but still a fine finale
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