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Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
laugh out loud funny -- in a bad way
disclaimer: i *am* a "star trek: the next generation" fan, and grew up loving the show. i <shudder> even own the technical manual and encyclopedia. =P
that being said, after watching the trailer, and seeing the current state of the star trek universe, i went into "nemesis" with very, very low expectations, hoping (against hope!) to be pleasantly surprised.
i was wrong.
"nemesis" has great pacing and a few memorable one-liners, but it simply lacks that emotional depth that characterizes *good* movies, or that was such a hallmark of classic episodes like "the inner light," "darmok," or "yesterday's enterprise," let alone "all good things...."
moreover, the script suffers from the "george lucas and the phantom menace" phenomenon, namely placing random scenes in the movie solely to showcase special effects/stunt sequences but which serve no coherent or relevant purpose. in the end, they're silly and caused people in the theater to openly laugh/snicker (including my college buddy, also a trek devotee).
look, there's suspension of disbelief in the star trek universe, (hey, i'll buy that warp drive is possible)...and then there are simply sub-par scripts with multiple plot holes and action sequences that make you wonder out loud, "my gosh, what would gene rodenberry say?"
"nemesis" falls on the latter end of the spectrum.
(I WILL BE DISCUSSING THE PLOT; MULTIPLE SPOILERS AHEAD)
scenes that made me laugh out loud:
1) picard, worf and data land on a planet that's never been charted or explored before and lo and behold, they find data's android ancestor (albeit in pieces). they then DRIVE all over the ROUGH, BOUNCING TERRAIN in a vehicle that's part humvee, part buggy (nevermind that they've somehow managed to figure out a way past einstein's relativity [warp] and heisenberg's uncertainy principle [transporters] in the 24th century -- they still, apparently, need wheels) in a lame search for these disassembled parts.
finding the head of the android, the trio is then ambushed by a team of "pre-warp, post-industrial" natives, who, surprisingly, are also driving humvee/buggies, with automatic machine guns mounted on top.
the trio, in a brilliant show of diplomacy in first contact with an alien species, fire and destroy multiple vehicles in retaliation, drive away frantically in what i suppose rick berman imagined to be a heart-pounding chase sequence, and then, get this, DRIVE OFF A CLIFF into the waiting bay of their shuttlecraft.
the aliens? never appear again.
2) in a nod to all those pre-pubescent boys who fantasized about deanna troi, the good counselor appears in a nightgown, brings her new husband riker to bed, and the love-making ensues, somehow, with a sheet wrapped around deanna's upper torso up to her armpits until the two are violently interrupted by an alien mental intrusion.
(producers pre-production note: put a female character in something skimpy, and the seven of nine fans will come. it's all about the demographics!)
3) remans led by the viceroy beam on board the enterprise in a boarding party to capture picard. nevermind that they're a fierce warrior race -- there's only about six of them, they all went to the stormtrooper school of sharpshooting, and they've got to get through riker, worf and squad of red-shirts to get to the bridge. there's a "fierce" phaser battle, and the viceroy, since he knows the lay-out of the ship *so* well, decides to JUMP INTO a jeffries tube to escape the battle.
this is what makes it special: riker JUMPS IN after him, and a lame, 30 second duke 'em out in the jeffries tubes ensues. no other starfleet officer follows after riker, of course (to heighten the dramatic tension), and in the end, the viceroy falls down the INFINITE VERTICAL TUBE O' DEATH of "return of the jedi/phantom menace" lore (why are these things always in space? and how could the enterprise have a single tube running the ENTIRE vertical length of the ship, and then some)?
4) in the "nemesis" world, all senior officers of the bridge must, for dramatic necessity, accompany all away teams and dangerous incursions into enemy vessels. chain of command considerations and "who-the-heck-is-going-to-run-things-if-i-die, gosh-i-hope-it's-not-that-two-day-extra, oh-nevermind-i'm-picard-they-wouldn't-kill me" worries need not apply, here.
5) the ship is being torn apart, people are dying, so naturally, deanna troi, ship's counselor, TAKES OVER THE HELM. picard, then, in a move so daring, you couldn't have imagined! rams the ship into the renegade reman vessel commanded by our "nemesis."
cue: slow-motion special effects sequence of ship ramming into another ship (nevermind that it's the living quarters section of the enterprise). lots of explosions, debris scattering, sparks flying. (approx two minutes)
oh no, the reman ship is going in reverse!
cue: slow-motion special effects sequence of previously rammed ships separating from each other. lots of explosions, debris scattering, sparks flying. (approx two minutes)
(high fives all around to CGI team).
6) a major character dies without much fanfare. brief 30 second eulogy-esque scene that is apallingly unfitting for someone so beloved by ST:TNG fans, a brief 30 second speech by picard that's meant to be meaningful but falls hard, flat on its face. seriously, they treated this death about as extensively as tasha yar's. emotion? flat. meaning? non-existent. audience reception? cold.
"star trek: first contact" did everything this movie couldn't. thank goodness we have DVD's and ST:TNG reruns.
if you're feeling blue, watch this for a good laugh. but if you're anything short of a die-hard fanatic, by all means, wait for the video at the very least.