Star Trek: Nemesis Review

by Bob Bloom (bobbloom AT iquest DOT net)
December 16th, 2002

STAR TREK: NEMESIS (2002) 3 stars out of 4. Starring Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Tom Hardy, Ron Perlman, Dina Meyer and Kate Mulgrew. Music by Jerry Goldsmith. Story by John Logan & Rick Berman & Brent Spiner. Screenplay by John Logan. Directed by Stuart Baird. Rated PG-13. Running time: Approx 2 hours.

Star Trek: Nemesis begins with a wedding and closes on the possibilities of new beginnings.

The latest adventure of "The Next Generation" crew is a rip-roaring space opera that, while containing some grand set pieces, is a bit uneven, failing to realize its full potential.

The film flies on action, drama, special effects and humor, and it is the light-heartedness of the film's first few scenes that draw you into the adventure.

Two longtime Enterprise crew mates are finally get married. Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) serves as best man while the android Data (Brent Spiner) serenades the happy couple with a rendition of Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies."

From this jumping off point, the Enterprise and her crew head back into space. The Federation, in the guise of Adm. Kathryn Janeway (guest star Kate Mulgrew from Star Trek: Voyager) dispatches the Enterprise to the home world of its archenemy, the Romulans, there to meet that world's new ruler who is interested in peace with its longtime enemy.

Picard and company are surprised to learn that the new leader, Shinzon (Tom Hardy), is human; more than that, he is a clone of Picard. And Shinzon is from the Romulan sister planet of Remus, a world comprised mostly of slaves and prisoners who toil in the planet's mines under the whips of Romulan overseers.

But Shinzon is not all that he appears, and neither are his motives. For he has developed a terrible weapon with which he could annihilate not only the Enterprise and its crew, but the planet Earth.

So it falls to Picard and crew to discover Shinzon's true plans and foil them. It is no surprise, of course, that the Enterprise succeeds, but the cost of victory is high.

Even at a running time of about two hours, Nemesis seems to drag in spots. Ironically, it also feels incomplete, as if a lot of motivation and explanation was left on the cutting room floor.

For example Shinzon's fixation with the Enterprise's counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis) is left unanswered as well as why he continually delays implementing his central plan, especially when he knows he is working within a specific time frame.

Despite all its hardware, starships, super-weapons and special effects, Nemesis basically boils down to a study about loyalty and sacrifice.
It is the relationship between Picard and Data, which is the crux of the story, and that is understandable since Spiner, along with producer Rick Berman and screenwriter John Logan (Gladiator), conceived the story.

Unfortunately, one character also seems to be shorted screen time during any given Star Trek film, and in this outing it is Michael Dorn's Lt. Worf who has little to do, but man the weapons console.

Star Trek fans will enjoy this outing, which those familiar with the series will notice echoes some themes from an earlier film, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

If Nemesis has a weak point, it is Hardy, who does not act as formidable as the script alleges he is. Shinzon's scenes with Picard, which should be the centerpiece of the film, fail to resonate. Shinzon should be one of those larger-than-life villains, but at times he comes across as just an impulsive, mean-spirited young man.

Do not, however, let that dissuade you from Nemesis. It features some great special effects and stunts, including a wild vehicular chase across a planet's desolate surface, and a climatic space battle that is one of the boldest in the franchise's history.

What lies ahead for the Star Trek series on the big screen is anyone's guess. However, if this be the final assignment for the "Next Generation" crew, at least they handled their farewell mission with style and grace.

Bob Bloom is the film critic at the Journal and Courier in Lafayette, IN. He can be reached by e-mail at [email protected] or at [email protected] Other reviews by Bloom can be found at www.jconline.com by clicking on movies.
Bloom's reviews also appear on the Web at the Rottentomatoes Web site, www.rottentomatoes.com and at the Internet Movie Database:
http://www.imdb.com/M/reviews_by?Bob+Bloom

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