STAR TREK: NEMESIS
Film Review © 2002 by Trip Reynolds
Directed by Stuart Baird; Screenplay by Rick Berman, John Logan, and Brent Spiner; Produced by Rick Berman; Executive Produced by Marty Hornstein.
Starring Patrick Stewart (as Captain Jean-Luc Picard), LeVar Burton (as chief engineer, Geordi La Forge), Brent Spiner (as Data), Jonathan Frakes (as first officer, William Riker), Gates McFadden (as doctor Beverly Crusher), Marina Sirtis (as Counselor Deanna Troi, and the new Mrs. William Riker), Wil Wheaton (as Wesley Crusher), Whoopi Goldberg (as Guinan), Michael Dorn (as Worf), Kate Mulgrew (as Star Trek: Voyager's Captain Kathryn Janeway), Majel Barrett (as the federation ship computer voice), Thomas Hardy (as Picard's nemesis and deteriorating clone, Shinzon), Ron Perlman (as Romulan Viceroy), Jude Ciccolella (as Commander Suran), Shannon Cochran (as Senator Tal'aura), Alan Dale (as Praetor Hiran), Robertson Dean (as reman Officer), J. Patrick McCormack (as Commander), Dina Meyer (as romulan Commander Donatra), Michael Owen (as Helm Officer Branson), David Ralphe (as Commander), John Berg (as Senator), and Steven Culp.
They had their chances but, as again demonstrated by this latest failing effort, the progeny of the original Enterprise has consistently failed to make compelling films. Without question, films made by the original crew are superior to Trek's Next Generation (ST:TNG). Like it or not, the impact of Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Chekov, and Sulu is not even remotely reduced by the appearance of Picard, La Forge, Data, Riker, Worf, Crusher, Troi, and Guinan. This second series in the Trek television franchise has never been effectively transitioned to motion pictures. If this is finally the last Next Generation movie, then good riddance.
As with the recent "re-imaging" of "The Planet of the Ape," this Trek film is essentially nothing more than a "re-imaging" of "The Wrath of Khan." Paramount Studios should not allow producer Rick Berman and his creative team of script writers (that's a joke) to helm the Trek films if the best they can do is to pilfer plot ideas from Harve Bennett and Jack B. Sowards who wrote "Khan." Been there, done that - yada, yada, yada!
The similarities between "Khan" and "Nemesis" are blatant: (1) introduce a villain ("Khan" in "Khan" and "Shinzon" in "Nemesis") who has a personal vendetta against the Enterprise captain (Khan hates original Enterprise Captain Kirk for marooning him on a desolate planet; and Shinzon - who's actually a deteriorating clone of Next Generation Enterprise Captain Picard - hates him for being the "original" and the apparent genetic source for his cure); (2) place the Enterprise in a remote area of space where it plays a critical role to maintain peace (with the Romulans in "Nemesis") or to prevent destruction of the universe (via the Genesis Project in "Khan"); (3) add some perfunctory space battles and special effects; and (4) create what appears to be a life or death situation where a key member of the Enterprise crew must die (Spock in "Khan" and Data in "Nemesis"). Oops, did I tell you too much about Nemesis? It doesn't really matter because "Nemesis" is more a remake than an original film.
Collectively, there's been more excitement in the Next Generation television series than in any of the Next Generation movies. Let's hope Paramount doesn't make anymore Next Generation movies. So, as far as feature films, what's left? A "Star Trek: Deep Space IX (ST:DS9)" film? Or, a "Star Trek: Voyager (ST:V)" movie? Probably, neither. For the interim, Paramount should place greater focus on the new "Enterprise" television series and, hopefully, recapture the success generated by the original Star Trek television series.
Sadly, it really appears Paramount doesn't know exactly what to do with the Star Trek franchise on television or film. Afterall, if Paramount really wanted Star Trek to succeed why engage in an on-going practice of flip-flopping character development and engineering the planned cancellation of their own shows? Consider the following: in film, they killed Spock and then brought him back to life; on television, they kept Mr. Scott (from the original Star Trek) alive in a transporter loop for placement during the "real time" of ST:TNG; on television, they began the "real time" of ST:TNG with Dr. McCoy still alive and well walking on the Enterprise; but in film they killed Captain Kirk. Plus, despite on-going success, Paramount has been eliminating the televised Star Trek: gone is ST:TNG; gone is ST:DS9; and eventually first run episodes of ST:V will disappear. Again, does Paramount really want Star Trek to succeed? Plus, as with the transfer of Michael Dorn (Worf) from ST:TNG to ST:DS9, and the cameo of original Star Trek character Spock to ST:TNG, why doesn't Paramount consider even more "open" exchanges of the Star Trek "family" of characters, and particularly in the feature films? This would certainly put some surprises, twists and turns in the Star Trek universe. Why not?
Ultimately, the greatest harm to the Star Trek universe was the death of Kirk which, I believe, continues to have a negative impact on both the television programs and feature films. If Paramount is smart, and if they have the money, they should bring back Kirk. Even an old Kirk is a helluva lot more entertaining than a younger and more cerebral Picard. Of course, Paramount would make "big money" bringing Kirk back to life by marketing and exploiting every conceivable aspect of the event. It's a win - win, but not to Paramount. By the way, if you didn't know, Captain Kirk continues to live in William Shatner's books and audiobooks which are quite enjoyable.
Let's not have any more Star Trek films unless Paramount decides to bring back Captain James T. Kirk. For more information on the movement (yes, there's a movement) to bring back Kirk, go to the official web site:
Film is directed with (yawn) "been there, done that" pseudo-bravado by Stuart Baird.
Film is episodically paced with a running length of 117 minutes.
Recommendation: It's strictly a cable movie!