In this fourth 'Next Generation' film there's a popping of champagne corks as Captain Picard fulfills his role as best man at the dinner celebrating the marriage of his first officer and ship's councillor; Will Riker and Deanna Troi. It's also a farewell as the happy couple are due to leave the ship and start duties on the USS Titan. But their last few days on the ship are interrupted by the chance discovery of a positronic signal from a nearby planet which is deemed worthy of investigation.
The trip down is more eventful than expected - after discovering Data's slightly backwards twin they find themselves escaping a hostile reception in action packed style. No sooner are they back on the ship with their new visitor, the crew are required at Romulus to attend the scene of a mass political assassination. The film gives us some interesting insights into Romulan culture, or rather 'Remus' culture. Remus is a neighbouring planet where the native Remans are forced to live on the constantly dark side of their planet, they are viewed by Romulus to be a lesser race and considered nothing better than slaves. However, it appears they have a saviour in the guise of a vaguely familiar human, Picard's clone "Schinzon".
Nemesis turns into a very personal battle between Picard and his younger genetically matched adversary. The two debate on how they are the same, and Schinzon states how if given the same upbringing, Picard would be just like him. The battle of wits is often quite compelling and at first it looks as though the film is going to take the easy option and see the young 'Picard' have an epiphany and accept that he can use his influence for more altruistic means, but thankfully he remains a twisted, dark soul. Tom Hardy plays Schinzon with a manic lust for power which comes through strong, he's a fine nemesis with a dramatic delivery not seen since Khan showed his wrath.
The Enterprise here looks fantastic at times, there's a scene where it collides and the ensuing carnage looks superb. The bridge interior is stunning with the dark hues maintaining the nod to the original cast films. But some of the other scenes look a bit ropey, many of the locations are obvious studio shots and have a made-for-TV look which detracts from the film.
Also, the make-up sometimes looks poor, we can see where the Romulan face make-up begins and ends in one instance, it's the sort of thing you accept on TV but high definition is less forgiving. The Remans would be a scary looking bunch if it weren't for the fact the make-up isn't that convincing.
Nemesis seems to lack something, there are plot holes which make the whole film feel a bit weak and the tension never builds because you aren't convinced by any real peril. The Enterprise seems a little too easily held to ransom by Shinzon and Romulan assistance appears to be too convenient. It doesn't help that the film was heavily edited, the additional material may not have filled in the gaps, but it might have made for a more satisfyingly developed film. Deleted scenes can be found on this Blu-Ray release but they are in standard definition. It would have been nice to have had an option to watch a longer cut of the film rather than simply browse these scenes as extras. Also, a brief appearance by Admiral Janeway is a tie-in with the Voyager TV series but feels a bit unnecessary and simply shoe-horned in believing that the fans would like it.
There are efforts made to inject humour, once again Data is used as a source of funny lines - and thankfully they aren't as cheesy as they have been in the past (personally I enjoyed Picard's subtle quip with the newly wed Riker: "Mr Troi!"). As another reviewer here has pointed out, the most comic moment may have been unintentional and involves Doctor Crusher musing on how Picard was cloned: "They probably used a hair follicle or a skin cell" - my money's on the skin cell.
In a nutshell: This Star Trek film is better than Insurrection and its poor box-office performance isn't a true reflection of it (it was up against Lord of the Rings). Yes, it has flaws and isn't among the best 'Trek films but it's still a decent watch. Too much effort was made to get action scenes in, but they do look good and can be enjoyed for what they are.
Patrick Stewart - 'Jean Luc Picard'
Brent Spiner - 'Data/ B-4'
Johnathan Frakes - 'William Riker'
LeVar Burton - 'Geordi La Forge'
Michael Dorn - 'Worf'
Marina Sirtis - 'Deanna Troi'
Gates McFadden - 'Beverly Crusher'
Whilst investigating signals on an unchartered planet, the Captain, Data and Worf , shuttle down to the surface,
much to their supprise they find several robotic parts, it's a double of Data.
They become under attack from a number of the planets occupants, they escape along with 'Data's' double, ....
Enterprise and it's crew are ordered to 'Romulus' to act as an escort to the new 'Romulan' leader 'Preator Shinzan'
'Jean Luc' is in for a supprise when realizing the new 'Romulan' leader is a 'clone' of himself, perhaps his most
dangerous adversary yet.
The 'Clone' has an agenda, as well as conquering the entire 'Romulan' empire, the destruction of earth and the death
of 'Jean Luc'
The Enterprise Captain has to battle himself.
It becomes a battle against superior odds for the crew of the Enterprise, ultimately a heavy price will be paid for the
encounter with ';Shinzan'
(The film gives us a glimpse of the series's future, our first, if but brief sequence with 'Kathryn Janeway')
For me - This is probably my favourite 'Generations' movie, equal to anything that had come before, this having the
benefit of some impressive Special-Effects and Battle sequences.
Special Features -
* Commentary by - Michael and Denise Okuda.
* Reunion with the Rikers HD
* Todays Tech Tomorrow's Data HD
* Robot Hall of Fame
* Brent Spiner - Data and beyond - part 4 HD
* Trek Roundtable - Nemesis HD
* Starfleet Academy - Thalaron Radiation
Blu-ray Exclusives -
* Library Computer
* Star Trek IQ - (BD-Live)
* Plus over 3 hours of previously released content
Star Trek: Nemesis killed off the movie series for years, and on a second viewing it's not hard to see why. While it's not quite as bad as its detractors claim, it suffers from a terrible screenplay by John Logan that never manages to integrate characterization into the action, leaving most of it to be found in the DVD's deleted scenes bin, while slogging through an incredibly undernourished but tediously dragged out and dull story that has one good but barely utilized idea in having as its villain a younger clone of the Enterprise's captain. How did they manage it? They must have got a hair off the bald captain's comb is the main theory offered (this may be a joke, but judging from how crude the comedy is elsewhere that's doubtful). Why did they do it? Part of an elaborate conspiracy they, er, gave up on years ago. But he's got a plan to make the Romulan Empire great again, of course. Probably. Quite what his nefarious plot to destroy the Federation is is never really explained so there's not much in the way of threat - especially since the villain only has one spaceship and quickly loses his allies because he keeps wasting time playing mind games or committing the odd psychic rape rather than getting down to delivering the conquest and pillage he promised. Oh, and he needs Captain Picard's DNA to stop himself prematurely self-destructing. Only, on second thoughts, he decides not to bother and to do something else instead. Quite what isn't exactly clear, but it involves filling much of the last third of the movie with a desperately unexciting space battle against a dull green background before yet another of the regular TV cast makes the ultimate sacrifice. Unfortunately this time round there is absolutely no reason for him to do so, and this being Star Trek where no popular character is allowed to stay dead (it even took two death scenes to kill off Captain Kirk in Generations) the ending is yet another copout. Koboyashi Maru indeed...
A clumsy and half-hearted rehash of The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country, this voyage is clearly one for the money, with the regulars topping up their pension funds big time and the guest stars getting screwed. Even Ron Perlman makes no impression whatsoever in what looks like a cheap Halloween Skeletor mask (easily the worst makeup job in Star Trek history, and that includes the green chick and the plastic lizard guy in the 60s TV show). Still, you can have a few cheap laughs at the expense of the distinctly unthreatening Tom Hardy and the gleeful sadism of casting someone who can't pronounce his `r's as a Reman who has usurped control of the Romulan Empire, leading to lines like "Womulans feel thweatened by Wemen upstawts" or "We will no longer bow befawr anyone as slaves. Not the Womulans and not yaw mighty Fedewation. We are a wace bwed for waw... and conqwest" - at times it's like listening to Biggus Dickus addressing the crowd in Monty Python's Life of Brian. The usually reliable Stuart Baird, wearing his directing hat, can do nothing to liven things up, and even the great Jerry Goldsmith's score is distinctly professional but workmanlike. Incredibly dull stuff.
The extras package on the 2-disc set at least is impressive, carrying over all the extras from the one-disc release and adding to them comprehensively with additional added scenes and more featurettes than you could possibly want - even the Easter egg featurettes are a decent length for once - and earn the DVD an extra star. If only they graced a better film...
Chances are, if you are buying this movie, you have already formed an opinion on it by now. As the reviews suggest, it is not an outright success story, but it has to be said it does miss the mark on a lot too.
This re-release as a special edition gives a chance to re-evaluate what seems like it will be the last in the Next Generation movies. In viewing again, long after the excitement of a new Trek movie has passed, and the disappointment of something less than was hoped for or hyped has faded, Nemesis turns out to be not such a bad movie after all. The plot revolves around the Romulan Empire, specifically its new leader who has taken power with the Remans, previously the dominated race. This new leader, Schinzon, turns out to be Picards clone, and when Schinzon summons Picard and the Enterprise, the question is - what are his motives. Well, predictably after a period of cautious circling and meaning infused dinners, the motives turn out to be domination and destruction, and our heroes have to save the day - however, along the way the writer (John Logan, also writer of Gladiator) infuses much subtext of families and the dilemna of facing the evil within yourself, and aspiring to become something better - very much the stuff of Trek.
For the movie, the writing is not bad, the effects fantastic, and this version boasts a wonderful dts mix as well as 5.1. However, as comfortable as the leads are in their roles, and Tom Hardy fills out his part well also, there is a nagging feeling of tiredness about it all. It's refreshing to see the characters move on - one of the excellent deleted scenes has Picard discuss with data the passage of time marked by occasions such as weddings and funerals, not just without but within too, and it's this sort of character growth that helped inject so much humanity into the classic trek characters - shame they cut that scene. However, the attempt to find a 'personal' villain for Picard does not hit the mark - we never do feel that passionately involved, as the characater is so completely new to us. How much more resonant it might have been if the character was from Picards past, and featured in the TV series, such as Khan was for Kirk.
If you already have the movie and are debating whether to get it for the extras, I can only say - do it. The second disc is heaving with extras on all subjects possible. The deleted scenes last almost 30 minutes, and almost all genuinely add something. One can understand the need to trim a movie down, but honestly it feels like this could have been a richer movie with some of these scenes intact. The production, the music, the director, all are featured with extensive interviews. There are two commentaries on the disc, plus one text commentary - if you think you can really watch the movie that often! While mostly interesting, the extras do show less honest heart-searching on the end result, as it does sound like PR plurb, but that's a minor quibble.
In short, for a Trek movie this would not be a first choice, but well worth buying to complete the Star trek movie experience. As a special edition, this is well worth it for the extras on display. 7/10
on 11 February 2009
This was the Star Trek film that bombed - and, in tandem with the flaccid final spin-off 'Enterprise', all-but killed the Trek franchise. Many of the fans are vitriolic in their hatred of Nemesis and, as for the general public, judging by box office figures hardly any of them bothered to see it. Personally, I was surprised at the amount of scorn that was heaped upon Nemesis. I actually rather enjoyed it when I went to see it, although I was of course very much aware of its flaws, of which there are a great many.
It has some major pluses, to be sure (and for which reason this review has just scraped a three star rating and not a two). Stuart Baird's directing is excellent and he does a good job with the material he's given. The action sequences are brilliantly executed and there's an intensity and darkness reflected in the lighting and cinematography. The cast give their all and the effects are a distinct improvement over Insurrection. When Nemesis is good it's enticing, creepy, dark and intense.
The problem can be summed up in one word: the screenplay (or, OK, two words!). It might have sounded like a good idea to hire an Oscar-winning screenplay writer who happened to be a Trek fan, but sadly Logan's script is a meandering, unfinished mess. There are some good ideas at the core, but sadly the execution doesn't do them justice: the script is patchy, unfocussed and meandering, with about as many plot holes as there are stars in the sky. The notion of Shinzon as a Picard clone is inspired, but it doesn't quite work thanks to the patchwork script: their interaction lacks punch and is exceedingly repetitive and unfocussed. Tom Hardy does a decent enough job as Shinzon, but as a villain he doesn't quite cut it: he comes across as more of a sultry adolescent than a dangerous villain. His quest to destroy Earth seems totally without motivation and, as a result, falls utterly flat. A Borg cube or a Dominion assault force heading toward Earth would elicit some degree of tension, but Shinzon in his Scimitar? Yeah, whatever. The fact it takes the Scimitar SEVEN MINUTES to load up its supposed superweapon is just laughable and immediately all tension flew out the window. This is a serious storytelling error and could have been easily fixed if Logan had put a bit more thought into it.
Brent Spiner also had a hand in the script and a rather self-serving one at that: the B4 storyline is rather pointless and, like many aspects of this film, is recycled from previous storylines (I can't believe no one even mentions Lore). While Data gets to make a heroic sacrifice, in a virtual remake of The Wrath of Khan's climax, the end result is disappointingly unemotional. Witness the weak memorial scene and compare that with Spock's heartbreaking funeral scene in Star Trek II. The final scene, which uses B4 as a potential reset button is just an insult and, all in all, this is a lousy send-off for the Next Generation characters.
The more I think about Nemesis the more I get annoyed by all its many deficiencies; deficiencies that could easily have been corrected had someone taken Logan, given him a firm shake and told him to brush up his half-baked screenplay. Somewhere inside Nemesis is a great film struggling to get out. There are flashes of greatness: as I noted, the directing, production, effects, performances and music are all first-rate. To begin with the pace is quite well-judged: but sadly, like a struggling old car that's ready for the scrapheap, every time it musters some speed, it abruptly chugs to a halt again: and in this case that's due to Logan's meandering script. If the script had been reworked, tightened and resequenced and the dialogue polished, Nemesis would have actually been a pretty darn good film. But it's futile to dwell on 'if only'.... As it stands, this is not a bad film by any stretch and is more or less entertaining throughout but, considering how good it could (and should!) have been, it's deeply disappointing. 3 stars seems quite generous for such an unceremonious departure for the Next Gen crew after 15 years. But, it could have been worse I guess and thankfully this film, while one of the most disappointing of the Trek films, is still massively better than Star Trek V. Thank heaven for small comforts.
on 4 March 2004
I have a confession to make. I have to turn in my Trekkie credentials. It took me two years to watch the last Star Trek film, Insurrection. Now, it's taken me almost that long to watch the latest (and probably last) Trek movie, Nemesis. I hang my head in shame...
Last night, though, I rectified that by watching it on DVD. Was it worth the wait? Was it worthy of the name Star Trek? How did our illustrious Enterprise crew acquit themselves? And just what is it with bald men in the 24th century? The answers to all of these questions is: yes, yes, reasonably well, and bald is sexy (not to me, of course, but some women seem to like it). It's probably the second best Next Generation movie out there, after First Contact. It's a bit rough around the edges, a bit "been there, done that," but overall it's entertaining.
When I first heard about Nemesis, my first thought was: COOL!! ROMULANS! Then, I watched this movie, and was a bit disheartened. There were hardly any Romulans in it! Instead, Nemesis introduces the Remans, a slave race from the Romulans' sister planet, who have decided that they've had enough. The make-up for the Remans was really cool, but I want my Romulans!!! I had to make do with a couple of iffy military types, Donatra and Suran (Dina Meyer and Jude Ciccolella). They got a few lines (Meyer more than Ciccolella), were able to sound suitably haughty, but that was about it. Neither had the chance to really stretch themselves (though Meyer was able to sport some interesting green bruises on her face when her ship was damaged).
A lack of pointy-eared enemies was not my only problem with this movie, however. The whole android sub-plot with B4 seemed shoehorned into the film. Yes, he is part of Shinzon's plan, but it just seemed like an excuse to get Spiner some more screen time and to give Data and Picard a way off of Shinzon's ship. While the whole B4 sequence can be defended, the execution of how they find him was ludicrous. It smacked of "we're 30 minutes into the film and we haven't had an action sequence! Quick, go find Michael Bay!" The whole dune buggy chase scene was completely ridiculous. The "inventive" way that they are able to escape was even more ridiculous (it's hard to be more than completely ridiculous, but this sequence manages it). Not to mention that it's against Starfleet policy of interfering with a pre-warp civilization. Just imagine what would happen if, in the early 20th century, a bunch of US soldiers were chasing a car and that car jumped into a floating spacecraft and took off. What would be the reaction? Yet our intrepid crew ignore other possibilities (sure, transporting a crew down there might leave them stranded, but how about beaming the sources of the signals up instead?).
My final complaint (just to get them all out of the way) is the fact that most of this stuff has been done before in Trek. Sure, there hasn't been a clone of one of the major characters done before, but the issues explored (identity, nature vs nurture, etc) have been. Nemesis seems like a souped-up Toyota Tercel. Sure, it's a sleek looking, motor-revving Tercel, but the old Tercel was just as good and besides, it's still a Tercel! Give me something new with my extra money.
After all that, you'd expect me to give this movie a really low rating. Right? Ok, no fair...the rating is at the top of the review so you've already seen it. 4 stars? Really? Why? It's simple. I was entertained by Nemesis and I love these characters. Patrick Stewart is simply wonderful with the material he's given. Tom Hardy makes a pretty good adversary for him, and I didn't have much trouble feeling like this was a Picard who had a horrible upbringing and is ready to lash out at everybody. He has the same sense of drama as Picard can have at times. Brent Spiner folds himself in his Data persona but also does a wonderful job with the naïve B4 (despite the fact that I don't think he was necessary). The other regulars don't get a lot of screen time, but they are also perfectly in character and bring a warm, cozy feeling to the whole thing (though I don't think Sirtis did the greatest job in the mind-rape scene).
The special effects and the battle choreography were probably the best I've seen in a Trek movie. Everything had a greenish tinge, which matches with the greenish look that the Romulans have. I thought that was a nice touch. The collision of starships was simply brilliant (it's a wonder what you can do with computers!). By battle choreography, I'm speaking of the starship battles. I couldn't believe it when they all actually moved in 3 dimensions. Other than Wrath of Khan (where they make special mention of it), no other Trek movie (and only an episode or two that I can think of) has actually had ships zooming in different directions, over and under ships, etc. Everything's always been in two dimensions, and it's been annoying. It was a wonder to see in this case.
All in all, I found Nemesis to be an entertaining time-waster, even more so if you're already a Trek fan and have something invested in the characters. It felt nice to see old friends again. If I wasn't a Trek fan, this would probably be only 3 stars (or maybe even 2), but since I enjoyed it, I'll be generous.
on 17 May 2009
I really enjoyed this film. Similar in style to Wrath of Kahn with a good space battle. In some ways it suffers because the plot is too divisive trying to visit too many areas and tie up too many loose ends which can leave the plot feeling shallow in places. However it's by no means a bad film and I found it enjoyable and entertaining from start to finish.
on 16 January 2004
I found Nemesis to be a bit of a disappointment. It has some good scenes and some good dramatic tension, but doesn't really capture The Next Generation's spirit. Overall, it seems like they concentrated a bit too much on action and a bit too little on the reasoning, intellectualism and humanism that made the series so great. The special effects are high-quality, and in places even a little understated, which is good, since too many series and films rely on big flashing things to overcome the story. It's solid work, but it has many continuity errors and if you had different actors, it could be any sci-fi as opposed to being easily recognisable as Star Trek.
Like many Trek fans, I have mixed feelings about The Next Generation's final big screen outing. On the surface, it's actually a pretty good little film. It has action (quite a lot, actually), drama and a few lighter moments.
However, there's something about it that just leaves you (and me and the wider audience) a bit cold. I didn't notice the numerous similarities to (Trek II) The Wrath of Khan until I read other people's comments on the internet. My reasons for not looking at it as a classic are due to a lot of it not really making much sense. Despite listening to fans' criticism about Star Trek 9 being little more than a glorified TV episode, the film-makers have tried to go all out on the action front, but, while doing so, have left many glaring gaps in logic which don't ever get addressed. I heard a lot of the film was left on the cutting room floor in an attempt to speed it up and it certainly does come across as rushed.
If you like Trek (or at least the Trek films) you'll probably get at least some entertainment out of Piccard and co's last outing (Piccard and Data are - once again -the central characters. The others all get their moments, but most seems a little forced and the fight scene between Riker and a Romulan near the end seems simply added to remind viewers that he is also just as heroic as Piccard).
Perhaps its major flaw that most people who have watched it have almost loved it. And, in some ways, a film that could have been great, is worse than a film that is simply bad.
on 27 January 2013
In my opinion Star Trek: Nemesis is the most underrated Star Trek film. Rotten Tomatoes, a review compilation website, gives it 38%, meaning that only 59 out of 157 professional critics gave it good reviews. Perhaps by that point we'd grown tired of Star Trek films and wanted a new crew exploring the big screen, but if you remove it from its franchise context Star Trek: Nemesis is a very good sci-fi film. It tells a fast-paced moving story about age, regret and anger, themes which distinguished the best Star Trek film, Wrath of Khan. It also has elements of the sixth episode, The Undiscovered Country, which was about forging peace with Klingons (this time it's Romulans), though these are less prominent.
The Next Generation crew are disbanding; Deanna and Riker, who'll soon be married, are leaving for another ship, while the rest will go their separate ways. Before that happens, however, they're called to the Romulan Empire with a promised potential of peace. But when they arrive they're greeted by Shinzon (Tom Hardy), a fearsome warrior with darker plans.
Hardy is a striking villain. Astute viewers will notice similarities between this character and Bane, who Hardy played in The Dark Knight Rises. Hardy's a really fine actor, and he does a great deal to make Shinzon one of the better Trek villains. His performance expresses both sadism and sadness; some of his dialogues with Picard are genuinely moving. Shinzon's an angry, tragic man. Real pathos lies in the secret of his identity, which I'll leave you to discover if other critics haven't revealed it. Patrick Stewart, as always, does wonderful work as Picard. He gives the Next Generation films a solid core of integrity and sophistication, delivering each line with easy but practised confidence. As an actor he's a skilled craftsman; watching him share the screen with Hardy is one of Nemesis' pleasures. Another Starfleet captain makes a cameo, and Brent Spiner's also great as Data, whose story arc is the best of his in all the films.
It may go without saying that the effects and action are excellent. Picard's bridge takes one of its most awesome poundings here. However, a problem Nemesis does have is that unlike Wrath of Khan it doesn't feel more suited to a feature than a TV episode. Not to say it should have been an episode; it's just not quite as intense as it could have been. Overall, though, Nemesis is an unfairly maligned Trek film, much better than its immediate predecessor Insurrection, which did a lot more business at the box office. Its plot is intriguing, acting superlative and visuals top-drawer.
A note on the DVD: My copy has some wonderful deleted scenes which add a lot to the characters' motivations and personalities. Apparently the film was drastically trimmed to replace wordier scenes with action. Maybe Nemesis would be better regarded if it hadn't done so.