Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
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"If only we could harness the power of every nerd and sci-fi dweeb in the Universe--we could kick these evil bastard's ass to Pluto and back!"
For those of you who subscribe to that theory that only the even numbered Trek films are good, you may be disappointed by Nemesis. Does that make it a bad movie? No. But I wouldn't rank it above the best either.
In Nemesis, Picard and his crew battle and all new villain in the form of Shinzan, a brooding, evil human with World domination on his mind. Actually, Shinzan has other plans as well. One in particular, involves Picard, in what should be a surprise in the film's plot, but it's not thanks to Paramount's all too revealing marketing campaign.
Producer Rick Berman decided it was time that the franchise get some new blood, so he hired John Logan (Gladiator screenwriter and longtime Trek fan) to write, and Stuart Baird (U.S. Marshalls) to direct, hoping that the creative team might break barriers and bring a fresh take on Star Trek. Certainly, Nemesis has an interesting premise, but the execution is all wrong, and this picture doesn't sustain any kind of rhythm.
Logan is obviously a fan of Trek, for followers of the franchise will notice key similarities between this picture and the fantastic Wrath of Khan. Look even closer and you'll also see obvious shades of Star Wars (a key scene between Picard and Khan echoes a moment between Darth Vader and Luke Skywalker in Return of the Jedi.) I would have been fine with all of this if Nemesis would have gone anywhere, but unfortunately, this movie feels like a build up without a worthy payoff.
Most of the mainstream critics across the country are quick to point out that Nemesis portrays an outdated view of the future. That there's nothing high tech or original about the look of the film. Well, familiarity is something that Trek fans have come to know and love, and I had absolutely no problem with look of Nemesis. I had a problem with it's tone and convoluted structure. This is to say nothing of the lack of comradarie amongst the cast. This tenth installment is the Picard and Data show, giving very little for the rest of the cast to do. I can see why some of the Trek regulars were skeptical about reprising their roles.
Patrick Stewart is absolutely fantastic. No one can recite bad dialogue better then him, and he looks to be having a fun time in the action scenes as well. In Nemesis, he seems very comfortable in the captain's shoes and even has an opportunity to be a little lighter in nature. Brent Spiner is also great as the lovable android Data, and is given a chance to play two roles. Well, sort of. You'll see what I'm talking about when you see the film. Tom Hardy is both delightfully menacing and sympathetic as Shinzon, and the chemistry between he and Stewart is perfect. In fact, it is the moments in which these two actors share the screen, that Nemesis really comes alive.
As expected, Star Trek: Nemesis is heavy in the special effects department, and most of the visuals here are impressive. However, if you've seen the trailer for this movie, then you've seen the big set pieces already. There is a collision sequence that is quite spectacular, but again, they show it in the trailer. The movie doesn't have much more to offer except for some splendid word play between Stewart and Hardy.
What's most disheartening about Star Trek: Nemesis, is the fact that this very well could be the last Next Generation big screen adventure. If it is, it's definitely a low note to go out on. I hope this movie makes a lot of money if for no other reason, than to see Star Trek 11 get made so that our fearless crew might go out with a bang in a story that includes Q, perhaps. Why they have yet to used this creative character in one of the films is beyond me.
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