"Star Trek: Nemesis"
Directed by Stuart Baird.
Written by John Logan. Based on the television series.
Starring Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes and Brent Spiner.
Release Year: 2002
Review Date: 12/16/02
Well, it’s all sealed up—this needs to be
the last “Star Trek” film featuring the crew from “Star Trek: The
As the 10th “Star Trek” film opens, we are
treated to watching the old crew, including Picard (Patrick
Stewart), Riker (Jonathan Frakes), La Forge (Levar Burton), Worf
(Michael Dorn), Troi (Marina Sirtis), Dr. Crusher (Gates McFadden)
and Data (Brent Spiner), hang out at a reception for
soon-to-be-newlyweds Riker and Troi. As I sat there, watching the
old chums joke around about Romulan ale and all of those battles
they had fought through in their past, I realized how boring these
characters are. (Apparently, Wil Wheaton is so boring—he played Dr.
Crusher’s son Wesley on the TV show—that he is shown in this first
scene, given no lines to speak, and then CREDITED at the end of the
film. It was almost as if he was in “Nemesis” because he hadn’t
been in the other three films with this cast and somebody felt sorry
I had considered it before, but in “Star
Trek: Nemesis”, it becomes crystal clear how uninteresting the
characters from this iteration of the Star Trek universe are, or
more correctly, how inappropriate they are for a movie screen.
Picard and Data have carried this crew for three of the four movies
this crew has starred in, and there are moments in “Nemesis” where I
asked myself how many minutes I would make it if Picard was killed
off at any point during this film. Two? Four? It definitely
wouldn’t be longer than five, because Stewart and his character are
so essential to this cast that there would simply be no movie
without him. Sure, the plot revolves around both Picard and an
alter ego Romulan outcast (Tom Hardy) that battle it out to
establish control of a strangely Genesis-like weapon that could
destroy Earth and eradicate all of mankind, so we get a lot of
Picard time anyway.
But, when you go down the cast from “The
Next Generation” TV series, you realize that this cast is just not
built for movie screens the way the first cast was. Kirk, Spock,
McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu and Chekhov have enough personality
spread out over their characters to make scenes interesting; here in
“Nemesis” (and in “First Contact” and “Generations”), you just spend
time waiting for Picard to come back on screen, or for Data to say
something logical, which by its nature makes him funny. Even
throwing in a cameo by Kate Mulgrew (who played Captain Janeway on
the spinoff series “Star Trek: Voyager”) brings nothing to the
“Nemesis” experience. Adding to these problems is the lack of an
interesting villain (like Ricardo Montalban from “The Wrath of
Khan”) in this current film; Hardy is fine, but he isn’t very evil,
which makes watching his scenes a bit tiresome. “Insurrection”
faced a similar problem, and I thought they would end this painful
series of films after that release, but I was wrong!
Give credit to writer John Logan
(“Gladiator”) for trying to stay true to the roots of the series
while writing a screenplay that features the series’ best
assets—obligatory shootouts between Picard and Everybody Else (in
case you didn’t get the memo, Picard IS a better killer than Rambo
ever was; they should nickname Picard “Bodybags”, because he fills
about 50 in “Nemesis”); explosions on the bridge of the Enterprise
and the requisite “Captain, Decks 12-18 have lost power and life
support” lines when the bridge is getting hit with missile, railgun,
machine gun, phaser and torpedo fire; unfathomable forays onto
planet surfaces with three of the ship’s most important officers,
instead of sending five ensigns that double as professional
Hollywood film extras; and, of course, shots of the Enterprise going
into warp speed.
Honestly, this was probably the only time
since the first film in the series where it seemed like there was a
lot going on, but there really wasn’t anything going on. For all
the shootouts, the peace talks, the DNA duplications, and the
cloaking technology, there wasn’t really anything too interesting
going on, but I like Stewart enough to keep watching for his bald
pate at every turn. If you are a hardcore Trekkie, you saw the film
this weekend, so I’m already too late; otherwise, you can probably
skip this drivel.
Comments? Drop me a line at
Bellview Rating System:
"Opening Weekend": This is
the highest rating a movie can receive. Reserved for movies that
exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development,
setting...or Salma Hayek. Not necessarily in that order.
"$X.XX Show": This price
changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently,
it is the $9.50 Show. While not technically perfect, this is a
movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.
"Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca",
but you'll have a great time watching. The $9.50 Show won't win any
Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see
"Matinee": An average movie
that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.
Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about
yourself. A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave
the theater saying "That wasn't too bad...man, did you see that
Lakers game last night?"
"Rental": This rating
indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your
friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one." Mostly forgettable, you
couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to
watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the
video store was out of copies of "Ronin." If you can, see this
movie for free. This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a
"Hard Vice": This rating is
the bottom of the barrel. A movie that only six other human beings
have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen. A Shannon
Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every
one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a
movie. Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or
"Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this
movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!
(Warning: strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard