Star Trek: Nemesis Movie Review
Though a love-it-or-hate-it series, "Star Trek" is one of the biggest and most established franchises out there, making billions of dollars worldwide, featuring no less than five television series and ten movies with undoubtedly more to come. The last movie, "Star Trek: Insurrection" was disappointing to say the least, but if the infamous "even-odd" phenomenon holds true (every even movie is considered pretty good, while every odd one is considered not-so-good), the latest movie, "Star Trek: Nemesis" has a bright future.
The movie itself is anything but bright. The Romulans finally come into the mix, basically as The Next Generation's final arch nemesis never to be featured on the big screen. In fact, the Romulans are given very little screen time, as the people in charge decided to go with a more disgusting version of the species called "Remans." Remans are a lower order of Romulans that have basically been working as slaves, and thus are uglier (they are based upon Nosferatu) and don't enjoy the light. They are led by a man who shares a strange connection to Jean Luc Picard, and who is bent on destroying Earth and all humanity. Unlike "Insurrection," there is no happy New Age crap, only darkness, deceit, action and mystery. "Nemesis" isn't as good as "First Contact," but it's definitely better than the other two Next Generation movies.
"Nemesis" immediately draws us in with an introduction featuring the assassination of the Romulan council, the wedding for Deanna Troy and Will Riker, and the strange discovery of an android that looks very similar to Data. Thus leads to a troubling plot of political double-crossing and the mysterious past of our arch villain. The mystery behind the connection between Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Shinzon (Tom Hardy) is intriguing, definitely the most compelling storyline of the film. The discovery of the "second" Data is also interesting, though the movie never really does a good job of explaining where he came from (or where Shinzon came from, for that matter). A nice twist ending would have worked well in this film, but instead everything is pretty straightforward. That is okay, too.
"Nemesis" has a decent amount of action and enough suspense to satisfy any sci-fi fan. The plot is interesting enough to hold everything together, and the visual effects are much improved. Nevertheless, there were a few sore points I would like to touch on.
First, more political deception, please. I am a big fan of conspiracies and so forth, which is why I would have liked to see more going on with the Romulans. In fact, this movie would have been more interesting had there been no Remans at all, but instead a splinter faction of Romulans that took over the Senate. This is the second movie in a row where a "sub-species" has been introduced as the villains; didn't they notice the similarities?
That leads me to my next point, which is its similarities to "The Wrath of Khan." I have no problem with similar storylines - after all, how much different can ten "Star Trek" movies be from one another? - but some people will. The movie is about an intelligent dissident who wants to bring down the Federation, and ends in a gaseous nebula where the Enterprise is crippled and forced to resort to other methods to bring down the enemy. Oh, and a main character loses his life. Which movie am I talking about? "Nemesis" or "Khan;" take your pick.
"Nemesis" is an entertaining and suspenseful film that maybe lacks the politics to put it at the level of "The Undiscovered Country" or the combination of humor and "horror" to put it alongside "First Contact," but it is still one of the better "Star Trek" films in the series, holding true to the "even-odd" track record. However, for the next film, maybe the "Star Trek" producers should try breaking the streak.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.