||I found the beginning of this movie to
be rather slow. There was a good mix of character interaction, but very
little growth. They spent their time talking about... not much. I am not
saying that the movie should be all action, like
First Contact, but I
wish something had been done differently. The movie looked like it was
written by fans, which it was, but which also means that it gets to
laugh at itself at our expense. It almost feels inbred.
I found myself wondering if it was wrong
to show us what was going on between the bad guys, as perhaps that would
have led to more of a mystery about their intentions. I think Star Trek
movies, or perhaps action movie in general, show too much, so that too
much of the plot can be seen way in advance. Here, the characters simply
moved in the way that they always do. Picard gets to say things that
seem moving, in a very fatherly manner. Data gets to show that he has
learned very little in the fifteen years he has been part of the crew:
he is still puzzled by human behavior, even things that are routine,
that he has seen numerous times before. Riker gets to stand around
looking inept, or with a stupid grin on his face... and so on.
Most of the plot holes that bugged me
are listed in my first review, below. I must amend one of my complaints,
though, as reading through the Star Trek Next Generation Companion, I
learned (or re-leaned, perhaps), that Data had three precursors, which
validates the use of B-4. It also means that there might be another
prototype lurking around somewhere. Still, I have trouble with the fact
that they can pick up a trace of a positronic signature from that huge
distance. If that is the case, the rest of the fleet should have been
able to determine that the Enterprise was stopped in the "rift" by
scanning for Data, or anybody should be able to figure out where the
ship is at any time!
Apparently, there was a tribute to the
TV show Enterprise in here somewhere; I've heard rumor that it is mentioned as U.S.S.
Archer, but I didn't hear or see anything of that sort. Maybe on repeat
viewings, I'll find it.
Still, I was impressed with the
action scenes at the end, even if they followed the typical logic of
action scenes. The visual effects during that battle were quite
impressive, and I liked the look of the two Romulan warbirds and
Enterprise firing upon the unknown position of the enemy. I still can't
figure out why Worf doesn't fire the phasers constantly, always waiting
for Picard's command. Why can't he
triangulate where the enemy shots are coming from instead of where they
are hit? Why does everybody stops firing from time to time -even the bad
guys? But that's Star
One part of the music that I neglected
to comment on below was the use of the classic Trek theme at the very
end. I thought that was a beautiful touch, with the Enterprise in
dry-dock undergoing such repairs.
The extras on the DVD don't really show
much. What's with the menus, which look like they come from a video
game? The interview with the director basically said nothing, through
several of the features. He seems pretty high on himself, especially
since he made a mediocre movie. The interviews with the cast showed some
insight into what they thought of the film, and I can see their points,
though they read a little too much into the plot. While the
deleted scenes showed more character development, a lot of it was still
quite slow, and unnecessary. Strangely enough, I loved the preview for
the Deep Space Nine series set of DVDs! Ah, well...
The movie itself looked beautiful, as
always. The spacescapes were breathtaking, the ships looked awesome (if
a little too CG), and the battles looked "real". That's not quite enough
for a great movie, though.
||I don't expect much from Star Trek
these days, and this movie delivered about what I thought it would. It
offered excellent visuals and a mostly a decent story, but left the
usual amounts of stupid plot points and unanswered questions in its
This wasn't great Star
Trek, by any means. However, the only Trek that I am currently watching
is Enterprise, which is barely recognizable as Trek. I don't like it,
but hang onto it in the vain hope that it might get better. So Nemesis
was a nice change. The characters are competent and not annoying, there
is an ensemble cast (even if much of it doesn't get much to do), and
they all wear practical uniforms -at least the good guys do.
One thing that has appeared in the
movies, which wasn't a big part of the TV series is a turn of humor.
Usually it is given to Data, who can often pull it off, and less often
to Worf, who does comedy inadvertently, and Picard, who never had a real
sense of humor in the series. For the most part, the humor occurs at the
beginning of the episode, before things start to get really serious.
Some of it works, at other times, it is cringe-worthy.
This is one of my favorite crews, as I
can even admire their flaws. Only the crew of Deep Space Nine has grown
more, and that includes Worf. But I have to say that time has not given
the three leads any benefit: all three look like they've put on weight
-especially Data. Wow, his neck was bulging at the collar of his
uniform! I am sure that Riker had to let his uniform out for this movie.
Picard was looking very old here; I'm sure some of the wrinkles were
very intentional, though. It was nice to see Riker grow a beard back, as
he looked terrible at the end of Insurrection bare-faced.
Their flaws? Data and Picard were shown
most. Data has always felt alone, and so he has constantly sided with
those who were most like him, whether it was those sentient computer
chips ("ugly bags of mostly water") or his brother, Lore. Though I find
it hard to believe that yet another Data-like android exists, it
shapes Data's attitudes correctly. I wish we could have spent more time
between Data and B4. As it was, all we really got was a reservoir for
Data's memories, so that you know they can be reinstated at a later
The flaw of Picard's that is exploited
in this movie is one that we saw in Generations, long ago. He is still
the last of the Picard family. His brother and nephew died in
Generations, so when he finds out that a clone of his exists, no wonder
he has trouble destroying it when he finds that it is evil.
My main complaint about this film comes
early in the movie, when they are recovering B4's parts. The lighting of
the film was
over-exposed- on purpose, I think. It made for terrible picture quality,
and I don't understand why that was necessary! Actually, I could have
done without the entire dune-buggy scene. Picard looks like he's having
a mid-life crisis.
Although Picard's part of the story was
interesting from his point of view, I didn't feel any attachment to
Shinzon at all. His Reman allies looked like orcs from
The Fellowship of
the Ring, and even if one took him under the wing, how in the world did
he escape, build a secret construction bay, build a super-sized and
super-powerful spaceship, and gain the support of the Romulans? Even if
he was brought up on Remus, he is human! Much of his back-story
was missing -the important parts. I didn't find the motivation given was
strong enough to give him a desire to wipe out Earth -more likely he
would have destroyed Romulus in that case.
The movie leaves even more unanswered
questions. For example, why did the pre-industrial culture attack the
Enterprise away team? Who were they? Why didn't Picard even mention the
Prime Directive at some point -they must have screwed up the local
religion something huge! Another passing thought is why Picard didn't
have any hair when he was younger, in the photo of a young cadet? I
really thought the photo was of Shinzon (of course, it was...).
Finally, why did Shinzon psychically
rape Deanna? Plot-wise, this is obvious, but a passing interest in a
human woman (or half-human) does not give us the whole story, or a
Many, many more unanswered questions
exist, but I think that is sufficient to illustrate the point without
getting too tiresome. Just as important were the stupid plot points
required to get the story to work. Most of the issues, like a lack of
security in Starfleet computers, was typical all the way back to Kirk's
time, and can be excused with a sigh. However, the plot was not as tight
as the best episodes of this series.
The most obvious part was the memory
transfer to B4 from Data. As Geordi said, I can't believe the Captain
agreed to that, but it was a good thing that he did, afterwards. During
the big battle at the end, suddenly everybody stopped shooting. It's bad
enough that Picard has an incredibly good aim and the Remans shoot
terribly, but after a certain point, so that we can get several
conversations going at once, all the action stops, and nobody takes
advantage of the lull. Similarly, when Shinzon's ship is seen for the
first time, everybody is facing the screen except Picard, and they all
stare dumbly at the approaching ship. Finally Data stumbles something
out so that Picard turns around! After crashing the Enterprise into the
Scimitar, Picard simply sits there. Shouldn't he continue ramming again
until he has lost all power? Or perhaps move out of position so that the
Scimitar doesn't have a direct line of fire between them? Once again,
there are so many little stupid things that happen in this movie, or
obvious things that didn't happen, that at times it became frustrating.
Still, so many of these things also happen in typical Trek episodes that
we enjoy so much.
Besides, there were some wonderful
moments, even plot-wise. It was good of Data to stress, more than once,
that B4 was not him, so that we could not expect a full recovery after
his death. That made the loss something like Spock's in
The Wrath of
Khan, since it is possible to have full recovery in some years. Although
I thought there should have been some talk beforehand of sacrifice,
maybe even with Data as the mentor to somebody, his death was still
quite striking. I didn't expect the ship to blow up, but simply for Data
to be crippled. I especially liked the way he beamed Picard away, so
that Picard didn't even get to hear his savior say "goodbye".
A subtle moment that I enjoyed was
Deanna's hand on Worf's, while searching for the Reman on the Scimitar.
We never get to hear how Worf feels about Deanna and Riker, but it was
nice to see her guiding Worf like that. I expect that he was on the
Enterprise to attend the wedding, though in that case, he wouldn't have
been in charge of security.
I had some trouble accepting Picard's
emotional attachment to his clone, especially after he finds out that
Shinzon is intent on attacking Earth. However, I did grasp that he was
desperate to find out if it was possible for him to become so evil, so
filled with vengeance. His clone demonstrated that yes, it was possible,
and his actions in First Contact confirm it. The look in his face after
he killed Shinzon, a.k.a. himself, was worth all of it. I'm just glad
that the pole he grabbed from the wall was made of wood. Imagine his
surprise if it had been made of bronze or steel!
Both the visuals and the music in this
film were amazing. The visuals were less so, because it was fairly easy
to see what was computer generated. The lawns on Romulus looked
terrible, for example -a single textured green outside the council
chamber. The ships were nicely streamlined, though perhaps too perfect.
I prefer the models that they used in the TV series. The nebula was
really creepy and cool, and in some ways looked better than the one in
Star Trek II, mainly because of the quality of graphics today. Seeing so
much firepower between several ships was a really wonderful way to use
the big screen.
The crash was not as dramatic as say in
The Search for Spock or
Generations, and the damage somehow not as
painful as at the end of Undiscovered Country. But the effects at that
point were amazing. The effects people really took the look of
devastation from the World Trade Center and applied it to the front end
of the Enterprise. I don't know if we would have believed the damage
could be all grey and colorless, with no physical presence, before that.
The looks on the faces of the crew on
the remains of the Enterprise bridge was amazing when they realized that
they had lost Picard and Data, as was their joy at seeing Picard
materialize behind them, and the sudden turn again, when he shook his
head that Data didn't make it back. Even if the crew didn't get to do
much, at least they got that.
The music was the real high point of
the movie. The traditional Next Generation theme was present, but
usually either slower or with a different style than we are used to. Mix
that together with the ominous music when something bad was about to
happen, or in the presence of Shinzon, and the battle music, and it was
I must agree that the Romulans made
their turnaround a little too conveniently. Their sudden attack of
conscience about siding with Shinzon was a little forced, but I can
accept that they are a race of conquerors, not exterminators. Besides,
seeing them join the battle (especially Picard's "please coordinate
tactics with the Romulan vessels" was hilarious) was impressive and fun.
Yes, Data's ploy was pretty transparent
to viewers, but I didn't expect him to actually change places with B4 to
rescue Picard. It was one of those tricks that just makes enough sense that
they have to use it.
This movie has a lot in common with
Wrath of Khan, but that is not a bad thing. I don't see why Star Trek
movies have to include a bad guy; some of the best episodes are ones of
discovery. But if the film has to have a bad guy, he should be
courageous and partially insane, obsessed with his goal, a description
that fits both Khan and Shinzon. Their similarity doesn't make one a
duplicate of the other -they just have similar personality traits.
As a final note, I was disheartened to
see Janeway in this movie. I suppose it makes sense, but I would have
rather seen an anonymous Admiral. I guess I should be grateful that she
isn't out Captaining a ship around the Federation!
There was a lot to like about this
movie, and a lot that could distract from it, especially to people who
know Trek very well -or don't know it enough. I think this movie is
comparable with First Contact, because while that one focused mostly on
plot at the expense of many characters, this one had a good mix of plot
and character moments. The characters grew, at least, and in the end,
there is a true shakeup of the crew. Riker and Troi are now married and
off to a new ship, where he will be captain. That was a nice send-off
scene, though I expected to see Riker's new ship as the credits loomed.
I'll have to see it again to be sure,
but I think the movie is better in hindsight. If I can just ignore all
the plot holes, I think I could enjoy it. I'll try again later this year