Star Trek: Nemesis
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan Frakes, Tom Hardy, Ron Perlman, Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden
Directed by:Stuart Baird
And here we are at the tenth movie in the Star Trek Franchise. From Star Trek the Motion Picture to Insurrection, I have seen them all, albeit that the first one I saw in a theater was Star Trek III: The Search for Spock. I’ve seen all of the series, although Voyager started to flag in my interest in its last couple of seasons, but I do watch the new series Enterprise. I’ve been to a Star Trek Convention, in the Ambassador Hotel in NYC. George Takei and Marina Sirtis were the Guests of Honor, and I nearly ran into the former by accident in the stairwell.
So you might say that I am a fan. Like Star Trek Fans, though, I can be critical, very critical. I am well aware of the Odd-numbered Movie rule and for the most part agree–the odd number Star Trek Movies are on the balance not as well done as the even number ones. After the rather lackluster Insurrection, number nine, I was hopeful that Nemesis, even number ten, would be better.
The result is a mixed bag. As Star Trek: Nemesis opens, Riker and Troi have been finally married, and we pick up at their reception on Earth. What’s more, they are soon on their way to Betazed for another marriage ceremony, in the true Betazed custom. On their way, Picard and his crew are diverted to the Neutral Zone, to discuss the Romulans’ insistence that they would like to negotiate peace with the Federation, as well as the discovery of an apparent earlier version of Data. What our heroes uncover instead is the fruit of an abandoned years-long plan to infiltrate the Federation–a clone of Picard himself. Challenges, deceit, distrust, and violence ensue.
The space battles are entertaining but the last act of the movie is frankly derivative of Wrath of Khan, on several levels. When the Enterprise and the fearsome Scimitar reach a Nebula, you will start to get flashbacks, and there is a sacrifice of a major member of the crew in a Spockian fashion, complete with an obvious loophole. On the other hand, many of the crew are given disappointingly little to do. Cameos by Traveller Jr. (Wesley Crusher) and (Admiral!) Janeway were welcome, although I wondered with Troi and Riker getting married where Deanna’s mother was in all of this. I think the villain’s achilles heel is too potent, and although his ship was fearsome, it was implied that he had much more at his disposal. I also wondered, with all the Romulan scheming, where the Tal’Shiar was in all of the machinations. I can’t believe, from a series continuity point, that they wouldn’t have their fingers in pies as large as Shinzon’s coup d’etat and his plans against the Federation.
In all, it was a disappointment. I don’t regret seeing it, but I wouldn’t see it again (in movie theaters anyway). I can sense that on some levels that they tried, but a large hole involving Data’s subplot just irks me, and I don’t really want to discuss it just yet because of that bugbear, spoilers. It should be obvious, though, to long-time fans of the Next Generation.
Rating: 2 and a half popcorn kernels out of five.