Star Trek: Nemesis


The movies utilizing the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation exited the stage not with a bang but with a crashing bore and forever destroyed the myth that even-numbered Star Trek films were the good ones.

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The tenth film of Paramount’s cash cow franchise recycles the basic plot of the vastly superior Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, only without the depth of feeling or the memorable villain. Tom Hardy cuts an impressive and charismatic figure as the human who has seized power of the Romulan Empire, but his character lacks the resonance that Khan brought to Star Trek II.

During the extra features on the new DVD edition of this movie, cast and crew waxed euphoric that screenwriter John Logan was a lifelong Trekkie and brought a fan’s love for Star Trek to the project. To me, that is exactly the problem. The story of Nemesis reads like a piece of fan fiction and anyone who has read enough of that deathless prose knows why, on average, this is not a good thing.


The film opens with a promising scene of the Romulan Senate being overthrown in a coup, then cuts the first fanboy wet dream scene, the wedding of Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis). It’s not a bad scene and reflects touchingly on the long friendship between the characters as well as the actors who play them. I should say it’s not a bad scene until Data (Brent Spiner) starts singing. Spiner is an accomplished singer, but that doesn’t make this scene any less cringe-worthy.

After the wedding, and back on the Enterprise, the crew picks up a signal that matches the brain in Data’s head, from somewhere near the Romulan Neutral Zone. They fly off to investigate and discover a disassembled android identical to Data. Suddenly, for no apparent reason and to the great detriment of the movie, they are chased across the planet in a pointless action sequence that does nothing but consume several minutes of screen time.

Once they have escaped the planet and we have escaped from the inane chase scene, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) gets a call from Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) informing him that Romulans are looking to open peace negotiations and he is to travel to Romulus meet with Shinzon, the new Romulan leader. They arrive to discover that the Remans, formerly a subjugated race within the Romulan Empire who closely resemble Max Shreck in F.W. Marnau’s Nosferatu, have seized power. More surprisingly, their leader Shinzon (Hardy) is human and bears a striking resemblance to a young Picard (unless, of course, you ever watched the series and remember what the younger Picard looked like in the flashbacks). It also appears that Shinzon has been raiding Laurence Fishburne’s wardrobe from The Matrix.

It turns out that Shinzon was a clone created by the Romulans to replace Picard as a spy, but banished to the Spice Mines of Kessel, er, the dilithium mines of Remus when the government that hatched the plan fell out of favor. Now harboring a monster grudge, he has constructed a warship with the power to wipe out Earth, but first needs to eliminate Picard for reasons that are never made clear. There’s some pyscho-babble about Shinzon needing Picard out of the way to become a complete person, but this is another part where Nemesis begins to sound like junior-high-level fan fiction.

While the film’s story is a mess, it contains kernels of what could have been a superior Trek outing. The issues of identity, that we are what we do, are worth exploring far more deeply than they do here. The theme of a family moving on to new stages in their lives, which dominate the beginning and end of this movie, are about the only thing that works. The actors play their roles with a comfort and confidence earned with 15 years of familiarity and there are scenes here that make this film worthy of a rental viewing for loyal Next Generation fans. Too bad they didn’t fashion a story worthy of hanging them on.

4 thoughts on “Star Trek: Nemesis

  1. Bog Blogger

    Totally agree – I watched this film with increasing disappointment – this should have been a grand finale.

    The space ship effects were great as usual and I would like to have one of those disruptor weapons to get rid of some stubborn stains, such as my solicitor or the man who recently threatened me with a pair of hedge strimmers.

  2. Andrés Meza

    I agree with you. Actually, the only Next-Generations movie that I have really enjoied is “First Contact” while the others (including this one) maybe should be recommended just for a very, very devoted fan of the franchise.
    Great review, congratulations.

  3. SciFiBuff

    I disagree This movie showed what could happen if you met yourself but found that this other you was the complete oppisite. as for the reason why shinzon wanted Picard was because he was dieing and needed Picards DNA to continue livig.

  4. Steffie

    Unfortunately, I too must agree with your comments. I feel that the possibilities of inventing a new race, whilst interesting, could not have been explored properly in this confused storyline. Yes Shinzon did need Picard’s DNA in order to survive, but really, if I were Shinzon I would have done so straight away. However, because you can’t have the hero killed off at the beginning of the movie, we ended up with cumbersome lines straight out of Days of Our lives. I also feel allowing a ‘Trekkie’ to write the story is a bad idea. Let’s be honest, a lot of writers get prescious over their work, and to add a die-hard trekkie to that factor has ended with…well this… Don’t get me worng some parts were enjoyable, but most has left me with a bad taste in my mouth.


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