Star Trek - Nemesis Reviews
Sooo here we are again, Earth in danger from an alien race and Picard is also being abused by another alien race, again. First he's assimilated now he's being mentally tortured by his power crazed clone who wants his blood...literately, some days huh.
I must admit I can't get my head around film responses at times, I've read this was looked upon negatively. Why? its actually a pretty good Trek adventure and possibly the slickest of the next generation films, maybe the best of the four. Certainly better than 'Insurrection' and 'Generations' and much more open for everyone instead of just the Trekkies, which is probably for the best if you think about it.
Plot wise this is total Star Trek, exactly as you would expect with overblown ideas and fantastic notions of sci-fi. Its not original and its not gonna surprise you but at the end of the day it does the job and entertains for the run time.
Hardy is the bad guy dressed in shiny black armour (and am I the only one who forgot all about him being in this?! I was like...hey that's Tom Hardy!), He's bald, he sounds like David Thewlis and he's unpredictable with bouts of sulky anger down to his young age, I presume that was intended. Put simply he was a darn good villain (finally) who was perfectly slimy enough to get under your skin, just what the franchise needed.
The rest of the bad guys all look really decent too. The Reman makeup/prosthetics are excellent in fact, first really good Star Trek aliens I've seen to be truthful. OK they do look like a race of Nosferatu, in fact a bit too close really, almost a complete rip-off, but I must admit they look damn good, highly aggressive and imposing visually, kudos.
Actually the bad guys in this film coupled with the nice makeup and regal work/designs on the Romulans completely steal the show from the Enterprise crew. We all know the next gen crew are dull but they pale in comparison to the villainy on screen here, I actually wanted the bad guys to win this, would of been much more interesting.
It was also weak to see they finally got the balls to kill off one of the next gen crew (Data) only to basically have him survive on by introducing an earlier model. I could see that coming miles away, and of course Data conveniently manages to upload all his personal 'data' into the earlier model before he sacrifices himself. So basically Data was killed but low and behold the replica earlier model takes his place complete with all Data's personal memories and attributes, as if he had never left *groan*.
As I said earlier this is easily the best looking of the next gen films, probably all the Trek films. Production values look high with pretty much everything in the film, all sets look quite swish with depth and a solid appearance. Picard and his crew look as boring as ever in their grey uniforms but as I said before both the Romulans and Reman outfits all look superbly crafted and border more on Star Wars quality.
Space sequences look delicious as they tend to in these films but this time the starships look much better than before. Its mainly CGI as usual but clearly much sharper and with some good looking weight to them, still not quite up to Mr Lucas' spaceships but getting close, the cloaking effect still looks a bit dodgy.
Must mention the rather sweet looking cityscape on Romulus at the start of the film, very much on form with another certain popular sci-fi fantasy, dare I say quite Naboo-ish. A big kudos to the death sequence of the Romulan Imperial Senate also at the start. The infection and fast decay shown is some of the best CGI mixed with real time model work I've seen. These effects really put the film in good stead showcasing a newer sexier Trek offering.
I guess you could say this one film is merely an action film in Star Trek clothes and not exactly what Star Trek is all about. Where has all the exploration gone? the seeking out of new worlds and new civilisations etc...There is definitely more bias towards fighting, death, multiple laser blasting and even the obligatory action film 'car chase' sequence. But its hard to win with Star Trek, either its too flashy and gun-ho, not Trekkie enough for the core fans. Or its too dull and slow for everyone like some of the older Trek films or its too in depth for non core fans and more of a Trekkie treat fan film.
Its not very original and is pretty much a cookie cutter production but what do you expect with Star Trek. Plenty of decent action in space and a bit on land with a moon buggy chase, some of the best effects so far (about time), great visual designs throughout with the usual high caliber imagination but maybe it loses the true Star Trek essence along the way?
Entirely predictable to the last minute but ultimately very enjoyable like most of the good Trek adventures. Another good franchise bookend, this time for the next generation crew. It hasn't been as memorable as the classic crew films in my opinion but a valiant effort none the less.
The death of a main character felt a little hollow and pointless as well.
As the final movie for this cast there were a lot of changes being made but I think there were also a lot more missed opportunities as well.
As a story for a final adventure, Nemesis isn't quite the epic one may hope for. The plot mostly focuses on the parallels between Picard and the new Romulan leader, a human named Shinzon (Tom Hardy), who claims to desire peace between the Romulans and the Federation. He also has a special bond to Picard, which I won't give away, suffice to say Data also gets to experience something similar throughout the film. Essentially, the plot isn't particularly interesting and it works primarily as a set-up for the climactic space battle, definitely the movie's highlight.
Before then, the only setpieces worthy of interest are a gratuitous but enjoyable car chase (!) on a desert planet that resolves in a grin-inducing fashion, and a fast-paced shootout on board Shinzon's warship, the Scimitar, which also resolves in a pretty cool manner. That's all the action we get in the first 80 or so minutes, meaning there's a lot of talky scenes that go nowhere and clumsily insert the good ol' "Nature vs. Nurture" debate to no avail. Outside of the action, what makes the first 3/4's of the movie watchable are the excellent special effects and the crew's camaraderie. Acting wise, we get excellent performances from Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner (by the way, is it just me or does Stewart look even more physically fit than ever? Old age is doing little to bring him down)
Clearly, the final space battle is what we've been waiting for, and after 10 movies and 23 years, we get what is easily the most elaborate action sequence of the entire Trek franchise. The segment runs just short of a half-hour and features the Enterprise going toe-to-toe with the Scimitar, and to keep the concept of one starship battling another from getting boring (because let's face it, that gets old in a matter of minutes), director Stuart Baird throws in a few more ships, some more phaser fights from boarding enemy parties (which prove to be the most exciting parts of the movie), fisticuffs, and even a self-destruct sequence that could prove fatal for everyone. It's a doozy of an action scene, even if it is slightly marred by Troi's psychic link and tiresome reports of collapsing shields. This is the sequence that makes the movie worth watching to sci-fi action fans.
Personally, I would have preferred had Baird just spaced the action out more evenly (a la First Contact), rather than stuffing it all in the conclusion, since the plot itself is hard to hold interest on its own. Still, from the space battle alone, this is more action-packed than any of the original crew's films and comes out just ahead of First Contact in terms of quantity, if not in quality. The finale also features the death of a beloved character, which isn't executed quite as properly as it should have, but is touching on its own. Once again, I'm hoping the director's cut will fix that up. Until then, this is just satisfying enough to those who thirst for outerspace action.
Trekkie's Law #1: The even numbered films in the series are always outstanding (Khan, First Contact, Voyage Home) while the odd films are always iffy (Insurrection, Final Frontier). Search For Spock being the exception to this law.
Law #2: Occasionally borrowing from other sci-fi sources is ok, but borrowing from oneself is bad.
Murphy's Law: If something bad can happen, it will.
"Star Trek Nemesis" is an engaging idea, but several scenes, plotpoints and concepts taken directly from "Wrath of Khan" cripple this one and shows how close this "Generations" writers have come to running out of ideas.
If youre a true sci-fi fan, you'll catch the obvious Trek references as well as others to "Star Wars" and "2001". Too bad the cute in-jokes don't help what is essentially a fundamentally weak script.
Plotline is as follows, a warning......spoilers may be contained herein, read the next Four paragraphs at your own discretion.
Somewhere, somehow, the Romulans gained a copy of Capt. Picard (Patrick Stewart)'s DNA. This was the beginning of a plan to create a clone of him, so that they may infiltrate the Federation at the highest levels. This clone's name: Shinzon. Once this plan is abandoned by yet another government shakeup, Shinzon (wonderfully played by Tom Hardy) is left for dead in the dilithium mines on planet Remus. There he finds companionship and eventually assassinates the Romulan government, putting himself in charge.
Of course, like a bad James Bond villain, Shinzon invites peace talks with the Federation and naturally the Enterprise is the only ship in the area, heading to Betazed following the wedding of Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis) and Cmdr. Riker (Jonathan Frakes). Naturally, Shinzon is happy with his development, as he has other things in mind for Picard.
Epic space battles follow, with Romulan warbirds gallantly assisting Enterprise in her attempts to defeat Shinzon's massive warbird. Dina Meyer ("Starship Troopers") plays a good, if not underused Romulan known as Commander Donatra. Nice to see her again, as she takes what shes given and makes the most of it.
Tom Hardy, as previously stated, is wonderful as the vengance seeking Shinzon. Blaming not only the Romulans, but the people of earth as well, his maniaical quest for revenge drives him to violate numerous interstellar treaties in the creation of an ultimate weapon that can terminate all life in a given area in seconds (Genesis anyone???). Very nicely played though.
Patrick Stewart gives a workman's redition of Picard, almost looking like he'd rather be working on and X Men movie rather than this film, but Picard is always the leader and even gets a chance to "let his hair down" in his one.
Jonathan Frakes is all but left out of this one, save for an out of place love scene with new wife Troi, which leads into other plot points, but could have been handled less cheesily.
Brent Spiner delivers a scene stealing Data, and even as the less advanced version B-4 he shines on through this muddled mess. Data always seems to be one of the more interesting characters, and Spiner has yet to fail in this series.
None of the other cast mattered or figured in this one, save for Ron Perlman (tv's "Beauty and the Beast") as Shinzon's Viceroy. Very nicely done.
It won't be hard to see the "Khan" ripoffs, or the "Doomsday Machine" references. Having had 4 years to work on the story ("Insurrection was released in 1998), one would naturally assume to not be sitting in the theater, making jokes about expecting to hear Kirk's epiloge "of all the souls I've encountered in my travels" speech at the end! Very poor storywriting and cinematography (did the power fail at the studio one day and they write the story around that?) make this final voyage one I was sad to take.
Captain Picard and his crew come up against a very dangerous Romulan leader Shinzon and his powerful weapon of destruction. There's some unnecessary business about Shinzon being a clone of Picard which I ignored.
There's a great opening buggy-chase on a desolate planet surface, where the Enterprise answer a distress call.
But then the remainder of the film is primarily set in a wicked ship-to-ship combat. It's hard not to think of this as an imitator of "The Wrath of Khan" plotline.
Like Wrath, this film is important for the loss of a major Star Trek character. It however seems hokey that they would instantly introduce a remedy for the loss, negating it.
Many of the scenes are forgettable. I didn't want the Star Trek series to end this way; I wanted something bigger and more memorable. They cheaped out.
Some crew members seem to act out of character and a few dialogues are rather silly. But the showdown is rather exciting at least.
For Nemesis, a new director, who knew very little about Star Trek, took the reigns. Brent Spiner, who knew writer John Logan, contributed to the story with Rick Berman. In special feature interviews, Spiner said they went through a handful of re-writes. This movie ignores the fact that Data has a "brother" named Lore. Data, Picard, and Worf act so puzzled when they find a disassembled android that looks like Data. Patrick Stewart supposedly didn't want to explore father/son issues, since a son character was already introduced on the series, so they changed the story to involve a clone. However, Brent Spiner repeats many of the same character explorations when his new "brother," named B-4, is assembled and may be evil.
Riker and Troi are married, but are delayed from their honeymoon, when a new mission diverts the Enterprise's course. Turns out the Romulans have an unexamined caste system. The Roman myth of Romulus and Remus is used to name the haves and the have-nots of their society. On Remus, the Remans are bat-like humanoids, who have been used as forced laborers. A new leader of a faction of Remans has attacked the ruling Romulan counsel. Admiral Janeway makes a cameo to send Picard and the Enterprise to intervene. This new Reman leader is named Shinzon. Shinzon (Tom Hardy) is really a young human, who has been raised by the Remans, and has given up his humanity. He is also a clone of Captain Picard, who will die if he doesn't get a fresh biological sample to keep his cells growing! Nature vs. Nurture themes are considered. Despite the effort made by the makeup artists, Hardy does not resemble Stewart very much. Shinzon has a mentor and lieutenant, or Viceroy (Ron Perlman) of the Remans working with him. The Viceroy has the ability to violate the minds of people to steal strategic plans. He uses this ability on Counselor Troi. It all comes down to a weapon of mass destruction and Picard finding a way to stop this version of himself. There are a few good action scenes, but overall the seven lead crew members aren't each utilized to the best of their abilities. The Federation flagship must work with the Romulans to overcome their mutual enemy. In a similar way to The Wrath of Khan, the Captain is saved by his logical friend. Data makes the ultimate sacrifice and it is pretty emotional. Not a great conclusion to this cast's movie run, but not as bad as some critics claim.
Continuing on with the Next Generation crew lead by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Sir Patrick Stewart) they are sent to planet Romulus where they meet the planet's new leader Shinzon (Tom Hardy) a clone of Captain Picard who was created to overthrow Starfleet but was abandoned to the lowest rank of the caste system, a slave on the sister planet Remus.
As an experience for a Trekkie like me I felt a bit cheated at times. While it does has it's share of strong moments between the characters we all know and love, there is too little of these moments and they are too far and between. This would have been a perfect opportunity to say farewell to the beloved TNG cast but to no avail. Some of the themes are strong too that lie between Picard and Shinzon and also the android crew member Lt.Commander Data (Brent Spiner) and his less advanced "sibling" B4 (also played by Brent Spiner) but at times didn't really pay off.
The writing is rather ok from John Logan, Spiner, and Rick Berman (who also served as producer) but after watching interviews from Spiner, he subtly talked about the script's original intention; the continuation of the Terran Empire story lines from the Deep Space Nine and Original Series shows. But the thing I didn't like from this film is the direction from Stuart Baird as I see it's the major weak point. Most of the character moments that made Star Trek what it is was cut for action scenes which there's too much and they're rather cliched. (with the exception of the crash between The Enterprise E and The Schimatar) I have the feeling that Baird didn't know what he was in for. (He reportedly was never a fan of the series and refused to watch a single episode of the TV series)
So watch Nemesis if your a long time fan of Star Trek or if you can get your hands on a DVD or Blu-Ray with deleted scenes that show off the potential that this film had.