Star Trek: Nemesis Review
It's dead, Jim. The movie franchise of Star Trek is finally over, as Nemesis, the tenth chapter of the cinematic legacy, is arguably the worst of them all. Forget any Trekker myth that the even numbered instalments of the series are the best, as this latest effort, directed without any trace of artistic passion by Brit Stuart Baird, undoes the mighty efforts of previous classics such as The Wrath Of Khan and The Undiscovered Country.
Figuring that the previous films have already used up mighty villains such as the Klingons and the Borg, Trek producers have instead gone with the Romulans as some sort of formidable enemy, and have tried to use the premise of a clone of Captain Picard to arouse interest. Sadly, excitement is kept to a bare minimum, with each plot strand severely compromised so that it can appeal to both die-hard trek fans and average, mainstream audiences. Sadly, the result ends up somewhere in the Neutral Zone in between.
Each of the main characters seem to have had their personality's spliced and reduced into stock stereotypes. Picard himself is barely recognisable in terms of emotional content compared to his Next Generation version, and how many times does Data's monotonous pedantry have to be the only source of the film's humour? Surely other intoxicating substances can be found than Romulan Ale? Considering the bad press of this particular drink you’d be a fool to ever touch it!
Riker, Worf, LaForge and co barely figure in any of the plot or action and are usually just decorating the background of the action. All of the essence and soul of The Next Generation has been ripped out, leaving an empty science-fiction mess that barely breathes any life. The score by Jerry Goldsmith, himself usually a decent musical contributor, is lifeless and inferior. Even the cinematography by Jeffrey Kimball is far too dull and underlit to give any seriousness to the plot.
The most annoying things about Star Trek: Nemesis is the fact that for the most part it’s very watchable, which suggests that it clearly has been cut down from quite a long length. Guinan (Whoopi Goldberg) and Wesley Crusher (Wil Wheaton) make dialogue-less cameos unnecessarily which suggests that in early drafts they had speaking parts. Maybe if the DVD is an extended version some meat will be added to this skeleton.
It’s hard to see who is to blame for all this - Stuart Baird’s pedestrian direction? Outsider John Logan coming into the Trek fold and writing a bland, amateur script? Or even Paramount’s fault, for attempting to unleash this to the vultures amidst such quality offerings as The Two Towers, or for failing to realise just what made Star Trek so popular in the first place.
Out of the ten movie spin-offs more have been good than bad, but unfortunately this is the worst. It’s hard to see now how the Trek universe can survive, be it on TV or in the cinemas. Maybe it’s time Paramount stopped taking trips to the well and appreciate the fact that they’ve drank enough. Oh, and yes that is Neighbour’s Jim Robinson (Alan Dale) as Romulan Praetor Hiren!