Jun 15, 2012

[Movies] Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

It was a bit of a surprise to me that I had never realized prior to this week that I had not seen Star Trek: Nemesis completely from start to finish. Don't ask me why, I wouldn't be able to give you a halfway decent reason. All I know is that when I loaded the DVD and started the movie, it had dawned on me that I couldn't remember seeing any of the initial sequences at all. Life is funny that way.

Although now that I have in fact watched the whole thing from start to finish, I see that I wasn't missing all that much. There are just so many things that felt, well, wrong about this movie when compared to what we have come to know and believe in with regard to the Star Trek universe. The movie just had all these elements that had me scratching my heading wondering, "What the hell were they thinking?" when they put this movie together.

But it exists and so I watched it in order to get this particular item off my to-do list. And thus we come to today's movie review, which also wraps up my reviews of all the existing Star Trek movies to-date.

Yay me.

Synopsis: Star Trek: Nemesis is the 2002 science fiction movie that counts as the 4th feature that involved the cast of Star Trek: the Next Generation (TNG). Overall, the movie also counts as the 10th Star Trek movie ever released. It was directed by Stuart Baird based on screenplay by John Logan, who also worked on the original story together with Rick Berman and Brent Spiner.

The Enterprise crew have arranged a send-off for Commander William Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), who are due to be married on her homeworld of Betazed. En route to the planet however, they detect an unusual positronic signal in the Kolaran system and decide to investigate before continuing on. They they find the scattered pieces of an android similar to Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner) but is of an older, slightly less advanced make. They barely manage to escape the planet with the robot given the efforts of unknown adversaries.

On Romulus, a coup organized by the Romulan military together with the Reman military manage to kill the Romulan senate and assert control over the Romulan Star Empire. The new government then extends an invitation to the Federation to open talks of peace between the two governments along with the liberation of Remus. The Enterprise-E, as commanded by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), is ordered on a diplomatic mission to meet the new Praetor. But once there, they discover that Praetor Shinzon (Tom Hardy) is actually a human and is in fact a clone of Picard.

English: Glenn Cote and Brent Spiner on the se...
English: Glenn Cote and Brent Spiner on the set of "Star Trek: Nemesis" (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Now the movie featured a lot of elements that seemed, well, like cheap shots. take for example B-4, a robot who is somewhat Data's predecessor. As much as we theoretically knew there were several Noonian type androids out there in the galaxy, TNG had largely dealt with Data and Lore. To have another one come into play just for the movie that just happened to involve Spiner in the original story concept seemed a bit too self-serving. And when you talk about self-serving plot devices, don't tell me you couldn't predict what that experimental single-use personal transporter was going to be used for? Seriously!

And don't get me started on the need to utilize tricked out Federation ATVs on that Kolaran planet or the fact that the Remans had a nearly perfect warship that had an undetectable cloak, ultra-powerful shields and the ability to fire while cloaked. I mean come on, what was the point of all this? And the big battle with the Enterprise and the Scimitar towards the end - was that truly how Picard would have handled things? What was the point of his "surprise" maneuver?

And that brings us to the core plot point that was supposed to drive the movie - it's our favorite TNG crew versus a clone of their captain. A clone. Let's say that again - a clone. What is so special about a clone to make him a truly formidable enemy? It's not like he shares any of Picard's memories or tactical skill. You can't even truly argue that he knows how Picard things since that has nothing to do with his core genetic pattern. They have have the same DNA and the same genetic predispositions for diseases, as was so eloquently stressed in the movie.

And I feel bad about that since I kinda like Tom Hardy. He tends to have pretty fun roles and I'm not sure what he could have done with this one. Stewart did a pretty decent job of handling things on a whole, however I do wonder what everybody else was thinking given the roles written for them.

In the end, I'm no longer surprised that it was sometime after the release of this movie that someone decided not to make any more TNG films and the on-going TV series Star Trek: Enterprise was cancelled. Something just broke in the creation of this movie and its taint contaminated the rest of the franchise (I exaggerate, I know). And to think this was an even-numbered Star Trek movie, which in the past meant they coincidentally happened to be the better ones.

Star Trek: Nemesis is what happens when someone who does not intimately know the source material handles the movie. It has the trappings of Star Trek but it doesn't feel like it's truly Star Trek. And I feel that's what made this movie such a downer in the end. Thus I can only rate this movie as 2 Federation buggies jumping of cliffs to land precisely inside a waiting shuttle out of a possible 5.

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