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Star Trek: Nemesis
Beavis and Butt-Head Star Trek Dream
Star Trek: Nemesis
Director: Stuart Baird
Writers: Gene Roddenberry, John Logan, Rick Berman, Brent Spiner
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Marina Sirtis, Gates McFadden, Tom Hardy, Ron Perlman, Shannon Cochran, Dina Meyer, Jude Ciccolella, Alan Dale, John Berg, Michael Owen, Kate Mulgrew, Robertson Dean, David Ralphe, J. Patrick McCormack, Wil Wheaton, Majel Barrett, Whoopi Goldberg, Bryan Singer
Synopsis: After the Enterprise is diverted to the Romulan planet of Romulus, supposedly because they want to negotiate a truce, the Federation soon find out the Romulans are planning an attack on Earth.
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and peril and a scene of sexual content
Note: In honor of the upcoming movie, "Star Trek Into Darkness", I've taken it upon myself to review every "Star Trek" film ever conceived; with the notable exception of the 2009 reboot because I already reviewed it.
Star Trek pays homage to Animal House
Robot Chicken's Rap Song About Data (Warning: Contains Violent images, suggestive themes, and adult language. Parental discretion advised)
Star Trek: Q's Lessons
A Generation's Final Journey Begins
After reviewing all the other "Star Trek" films thus far, it seems kind of a shame that this might end up being the final movie ever featuring the cast of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." As I pointed out earlier in my review "Star Trek: Insurrection", one of the many things about the movies featuring the "next generation" cast is that many of the characters were mostly out of character. Picard wasn't like he was on the show, and the films primarily focused too much on Picard and Data; almost as if Paramount wanted them to be substitute action versions of Kirk and Spock.
However, that's never been what "Star Trek: The Next Generation" was about. Any Trekkie fan out there will tell you that the series featuring Jean Luc Picard and his crew was more of a sophisticated science fiction drama; which meshed together interesting concepts and ideas, with great character development. Jean Luc Picard was a stoic captain that did things logically, and tried to always find the most diplomatic resolutions to any given situation; which added a startling contrast between him and James Kirk, who'd always had to be held back by Spock and McCoy.
Unlike the original cast when they got their own movies, it doesn't seem like Paramount really cared about keeping with the character's true personalities; once the TNG (short for "Star Trek: The Next Generation") cast got their own films.
No, it seems like they tried to turn Picard into more of an old school action hero, while trying to make him as rebellious as Captain James T. Kirk. Meanwhile, Paramounts tries to use Data as the new generation's Spock. First of all, Picard is NOTHING like Kirk, as they're clearly as different as night and day. In fact, it's one of the many reasons why Trekkies debate to this day on who's the better captain.
As for Data, Paramount didn't change anything about his character as far as I could tell, but it did seem like they tried too hard to make Picard and Data have the same relationship that Spock and Kirk shared on the original set of movies. Although it's true that Picard is close to Data, the reality is that they were never best friends on the show; like Kirk was to Spock.
And unlike the original series that primarily focused on McCoy, Kirk and Spock, TNG benefitted from better writing, and the opportunity to being on TV for more seasons; which allowed them to expand on almost all their characters. Not just three of them; which means that any one of the main characters, from TNG, could've carried a film.
However, it seemed like Paramount didn't care about that, when adapting the TNG series into movies. No, they wanted to duplicate the same success they had with the original series of films; while making it more action packed to appeal to the younger generation.
Unfortunately, it comes off as a cluttered mess. Granted, the first movie with the cast of TNG wasn't too bad. Sure, "Star Trek: Generations" had it's share of flaws, with it's plot holes and whatnot. However, it was still a fairly decent movie. As for "Star Trek: First Contact", I'll admit that the continuity changes were kind of disturbing considering that they made Picard more obsessed with the Borg than he's ever been on the TNG series. However, in context to the story it was trying to tell, it was still a solid film that featured a lot of strong epic moments.
Granted, like most fans, I too can get annoyed at the lack of consistency when it comes to continuity in various mediums. However, if the story for the movie is well told, then it can easily be forgiven (ala "X-Men: First Class). And, don't even get me started on "Star Trek: Insurrection." Unfortunately, "Star Trek: Nemesis" isn't such a film.
Not only are there a lot of continuity errors in this movie, but the film itself doesn't even make up for it by telling an epic story. Granted, it has an interesting premise to go on, but that's basically about it. The plot makes absolutely zero sense from a logical perspective and like "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier", the special effects are inconsistent throughout the movie.
In one scene, the special effects look very well detailed; while in the next scene, it looks like a cheap CGI effect. Very unimpressive to say the least. As for the continuity issues between the TNG series and the movies, we'll go over that very briefly. I should point out to my readers that I'm only a casual Trek fan, so if I misspell any of the races' names or whatnot, then I do apologize, as I'm only looking at this from a casual fan's perspective. Same thing goes if I'm missing something whenever I point out a lack of continuity between the TV series and the movie, "Star Trek: Nemesis."
For starters, let's talk about the appearance of Worf again. As most Trekkies know, Worf was inevitably transferred to the TV spin off series known as DS9 (short for "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine"), after "Star Trek: Generations" was released. Since then, the writers had to always invent reasons for Worf to show up on rest of the movies; even though technically he's not even supposed to be there in the first place.
In "Star Trek: First Contact", they got away with it because they came up with a rational explanation for his appearance. Sadly, in "Star Trek: Insurrection", they didn't even bother to come up with one at all. As some Trekkies may know, Worf was named the federation ambassador to Qo'noS (the Klingon homeworld), at the end of DS9's run on TV; which coincidentally was three years prior to this film.
Although the movie does come up with a reasonable excuse for his character to be there, as it starts off at Riker's wedding to Deanna Troi. Therefore, one could say that he was an invited guest, as he does hold a great relationship with the crew of the enterprise. However, when it comes time for the enterprise to go on their next mission immediately following the wedding, one does have to ask why Worf would need to be there to help out the enterprise crew. And for that matter, why did he bring his starfleet uniform instead of donning what should've been an ambassador's uniform for the federation? Were the writers scared that audiences wouldn't understand it? Seriously, it wouldn't have ruined the movie if Worf was an ambassador instead of working as an officer on board the enterprise again. Hell, he's rarely ever seen in most of these movies, as he's always a supporting character anyway in all the TNG movies.
All it would've took is like maybe five minutes worth of exposition just to explain he got promoted up to a federation ambassador, during his services on board DS9. Simple. End of story. And before anyone says that they were doing it for marketing purposes because audiences don't want to see the TNG cast split up, I would like to bring up a little known movie called "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country." In that film, Sulu was promoted up to Captain of his own ship called the USS Excelsior. Not only that, but he was also shown throughout the rest of the movie serving on the Excelsior rather than the enterprise. Therefore, "Star Trek: Nemesis" has no excuse for why they don't show Worf being portrayed as a federation ambassador; for no other reason than perhaps the filmmakers themselves didn't care one bit about continuity.
Another thing to point out is the appearance of Wil Wheaton in this movie, for a brief cameo during Riker's wedding. For those wondering who he is, he played Wesley Crusher on the TNG show for awhile, but the last time we saw his character he ended up quitting starfleet, so he could become a part of some higher plane of existence. It's explained better on the TNG show, but the point is he's not supposed to be a starfleet officer. Granted, they don't come out and say he's part of starfleet again, but it is mentioned in one of the deleted scenes of the movie, where he's essentially assigned to become Riker's first officer on board the USS Titan.
I know some people would say that I'm being too nitpicky about a scene that's not even in the finished cut of the movie, and that's a fair point. However, in that brief cameo that did make the final cut, we see Wheaton wearing a starfleet uniform. Granted, one could say that since they never come out and say it's Wesley in the final cut, so it could easily be a guy that looks like him. Now, if they had included that deleted scene they took out, then it would be a major plot hole, in terms of continuity. However, for what it happens to be now, it's just an easter egg for fans to talk about. Nothing more, or less.
As I mentioned earlier, all these continuity errors can be forgiven as long as the movie itself holds up on it's own. Sadly, it doesn't. Granted, it has a great premise to work with, as it features the whole concept of nature vs. nurture. And, it borrows elements from other classic Trek films such as "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan", by featuring a villain that has a personal vendetta against the captain of the enterprise; while also borrowing elements from "Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country", with it's themes of racism in a utopian future.
Granted, on the surface of things, you might think those ingredients alone would be enough to make a great movie. Sadly, that isn't the case at all. The story essentially takes place years after the events of "Star Trek: Insurrection", as Riker is marrying Deanna Troi, and he's been recently promoted up to captain to take over the USS Titan.
Unfortunately, the romance between Riker and Troi feels forced at times, and it mostly happens off camera, as they were barely seen getting back together in "Star Trek: Insurrection." And even in that movie, we rarely saw much of their romance blossom, as it felt forced half the time; almost as if Paramount only had them get back together just to appease Trekkies, without even thinking about how it meshes well with the story.
Anyways, Picard receives orders from Admiral Katherine Janeway (former captain of the USS Voyager, as most Trekkies know) to investigate an underdeveloped planet. On the surface, they discover another android named B4, who's been mysteriously divided up into pieces; thus our heroes are forced to gather the parts. Although they take the shuttlecraft down to the planet, they decide to use an argo vehicle to search for the parts. Um...wouldn't a shuttlecraft be faster to use than an argo vehicle? I mean an argo vehicle is restricted to where it can be used; while a shuttlecraft isn't. I mean what if one of those parts they were looking for was like on top of a damn mountain or something?
Plus, during this scene, they end up being chased by some of the natives on their terrain argo vehicles; which makes the enterprise crew an easy target. Again, why wasn't a shuttlecraft used instead? I mean they end up having the argo get into the shuttlecraft in Hollywood chasing style anyway, so again...why was this scene even necessary? Granted, I know Patrick Stewart said in interviews on how much he wanted to use an argo in the damn movie, but sometimes giving an actor whatever the hell he/she wants isn't always what's best for the movie.
Take Halle Berry in "X-Men 3: The Last Stand" for example. Halle demanded to have so much more screen time that very little if any was given to Jean Grey, so the audience never got enough screen time to feel an emotional connection to her death; even though her story was supposed to be one of the main focal points of the movie. This is primary example of how sometimes what an actor wants in a movie isn't always what's best for telling a great story. Granted, there's been a few exceptions where an actor improving can help make a film better like when Harrison Ford says, "I know", instead of saying "I love you too", in his final scene in "Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back." But if it involves changing the damn script just to appease them, then most of the time it's met with results that can sometimes hinder a movie's performance. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that's always the case, but it does happen quite often.
Moving on. Picard orders LaForge and Data to reassemble B4, and to upload him with any current data from the Data's memory systems. Um...what purpose would that serve exactly? If memory serves me correctly, the last time something like this happened the android turned out to be Data's evil android twin brother, Lore, who almost took over the ship. Therefore, why would Picard be that trusting to B4? Also where the hell did B4 come from? Granted, they explain B4 was set conveniently in pieces on the planet by the film's antagonist, Shinzon (Tom Hardy), whom we'll get to in a minute. However, where did Shinzon find him to begin with? They never explain it in the film, so did Data's creator invent him before he invented Lore and Data? Was B4 that crappy of an android that he essentially ditched him altogether? Oh well, this is just another example of how bad the continuity is in this movie.
Anyways, after a series of events, Picard learns that B4 was conveniently in pieces on the planet, so he could gather and reassemble him back on the enterprise, to attain information. We also learn that Shinzon was part of a Romulan plot to overthrow the federation, as he was meant to be a clone of Picard. The original idea was that once the clone was fully matured, then they'd kill off the real Picard, and replace him with Shinzon, so the Romulans could have a spy within the federation.
However, due to their fears of the plan backfiring, they scrap the plan before Shinzon is fully developed, and basically leave him for dead on a slave planet; within Romulan space. Gee, one could wonder why they didn't simply just shoot him in the head or something, and then burn the damn body to ashes, to eliminate the evidence he ever existed. But if they did that, then we never would've gotten a movie right?
And for god knows whatever reasons, Shinzon manages to overthrow the Romulan empire with his vastly superior built ship, and deadly weapons. Um...how the hell did he get that ship? Was Shinzon genetically designed to be some sort of mad super genius or something? They never explain this in the film, but somehow he manages to possess a very powerful Romulan ship that's not only damn near indestructible, but it can shoot even while it's cloaked. For those non fans out there, it means they can attack any ship without being seen or detected; which is not something that can be done in Trek lore normally.
Anyways, Shinzon easily takes over Romulus, and then sets his sights on destroying the federation's main planet, Earth; using some sort of doomsday device. Why that planet you ask? I have no freaking idea, as the film never cares to explain it, so why should I? Also to make matters interesting, Shinzon is dying, and needs a full blood transfusion from Picard if he hopes to live. And, that's all I really need to say about the story without giving away too much.
As I mentioned earlier, the premise of the movie is great with it's concept of nature vs nurture, as it invokes the question if Picard had grown up the same way Shinzon did, then would he have ended up like him, or vice versa. After all, they share the same blood line, and Shinzon is allegedly a clone of Picard. It's an interesting query, and the film does a great job using that theme to it's advantage, as it's arguably one of the best parts of the movie. In fact, it's even better when you have two great actors in Patrick Stewart and Tom Hardy playing off each other perfectly.
Unfortunately, Shinzon's motives are rather sketchy at best, in this movie. For starters, if Shinzon was forced to work on a slave planet by the Romulan empire, then why the hell would he want to blow up Earth? Shouldn't his motivation be to blow up Romulus instead? Wouldn't that make much more sense?
Secondly, if he needs Picard's blood to live that badly, then why the hell did he not take advantage of the situation, when he captured Picard in the film. He had Picard held captive for a very long time in the movie, so why didn't he have his men do the operation immediately that would've saved his life. Is he stupid or something?
Thirdly, when was Picard ever bald when he was younger? Granted, I can forgive Shinzon being bald, but after Picard meets him, we see a later scene where Picard is looking at an old starfleet academy photo he took of himself. In the pic, we see that he's bald...just like he is now... The irony is that in various episode of TNG they clearly established that Picard did have hair once in his life, and that his baldness was just a result of common male pattern baldness. But, I guess the filmmakers thought we were too stupid, and needed to have Picard look at a photo of a bald kid, so we would know it's him. However, it's a minor nitpick, as I doubt most casual fans will notice.
Anyways, without giving away too much, it seems like the movie borrows too much from "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan"; which makes the movie seem like it deliberately rips off various plot points instead of paying homage to it, as it was originally intended.
Don't get me wrong, "Star Trek: Nemesis" isn't a bad film by any means, as it has a strong premise, while featuring great performances from Tom Hardy and Patrick Stewart. Unfortunately, it's the script that's the main problem of this movie, as it hinders what should've been a strong send off for the enterprise crew of TNG. In the end, I'd have to give this movie a two out of four. It's worth a rental if you're a "Star Trek" fan, but I wouldn't expect too much out of it.