Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

Alan:

Ebert: San Francisco Examiner:1/2 TV Guide:


Warning major plot points revealed.

In honor of the first (and possibly last) Star Trek Movie review to be posted to my website, I am going to employ two separate reviews for this film.  One will be for the fans of Star Trek and the other is for everyone else.  If you are unsure which category youíre in just answer this simple Trek trivia question to determine your status.  What is a trans-warp conduit used for? 

If you know the answer to this easy question, feel free to read my review of the film.  If you donít know the answer hereís your review:

Star Trek Nemesis (or any Star Trek film for that matter) is not for you. You wonít understand who the characters are, what theyíre doing or why.  You will be disappointed with the film and you may casually mention your displeasure and cast me into a fit of rage.  Iím warning you, donít dis Star Trek around me.  If you donít understand it (see Roger Ebert or CNN), thatís your problem.

At this point youíre probably saying to yourself, ďI seen Star Trek. I seen tons of episodes.  Just cause I donít know what a stupid trans-warp conduit is donít make me any less a fan.Ē  Unfortunately youíre very, very wrong. You are a casual observer of Trek and thatís even more intolerable.  You are either undyingly loyal to Star Trek or youíre not.  There is no in between.

ThereÖ Now that we got that out of the way, we can finally begin the real review.  Last chance to bail if youíre a non-trekie.  If, however, you went into the movie knowing with absolute certainty that it was going to be a triumph, please read onÖ

Star Trek Nemesis is easily the best Star Trek film ever made.  And since the box office gross has been weaker than ever for a Trek film, it will undoubtedly be the last time we see a Next Generation adventure on the big screen.  I'm unsure as to why this film has done so poorly.  Unlike Star Trek Insurrection, which suffered from little to no studio promotional support, Nemesis had a media campaign that should have caught the public's attention.  The reviews were poor but they were written by people (see Roger Ebert or CNN) who were obviously unqualified to review a Star Trek film.  At the very least there should have been legions of Trekies with cash in hand to ensure the continuation of the series.  Unfortunately, we have in Nemesis, the end of an era.  The final Trek of the Star Ship Enterprise. 

Shinzon, a clone of Enterprise Captain Jean Luc Picard, has taken control of the Romulan Senate by murdering the entire legislature.  Shinzon's original destiny, was to replace Picard and become a well seated Romulan spy.  Politics ultimately cancelled that program and he was sentenced to death in the labor mines of Romulan sister planet Remus. In the mines he was befriended by a Reman prisoner and placed on a path of greater importance.  With a new destiny and a horrifically powerful ship/weapon, Shinzon will settle for nothing less than the absolute destruction of humanity.  En route to investigate overtures of peace from the Romulan government, the Enterprise encounters the familiar positronic signature of an android that, once assembled, appears to be a prototype for Lt. Commander Data.  The android, named B4, is not as advanced as Data and seems a harmless curiosity until it's true nature is discovered.  Soon after the Enterprise arrives at Romulus, Shinzon is forced to show his true nature as well and the battle for survival begins.

This movie is masterwork of Trek.  The space action is outstanding and the references to Trek-lore are plentiful.  Itís everything you ever wanted from a Star Trek movie.  The Enterprise itself has become a tough-looking ship.  Itís a sleek and intimidating design.  I like it.  I always thought the architecture of Federation ships was too peaceful.  Shinzonís Romulan ship is a terrific new design as well.  Itís primarily just a flying weapon and it looks like it. I like it. Watching the two ships in battle was glorious. 

All the regular cast are back in limited capacity.  At the beginning of the film we get to see Wesley and Guinan for a moment and Admiral Janeway even makes an appearance.  Weíre quickly brought up to speed on the present life situations of all the characters and the film is able to commence without too much delay. 

All I ever require of a Star Trek movie is that it be as good as the best episodes of STTNG and have a slightly better special effects budget.  Nemesis is a perfect example of all requirements in perfect balance.  If youíre a Star Trek fan youíve probably seen the film by now so I wonít continue raving.

Epilogue: Eulogy For Data 

Spock is undeniably the most popular character in the Trek universe.  His death was difficult for many of us but was quickly resolved in the following film.  Data was a close second in popularity and was definitely the key element that made Next Generation such a success.  Additionally, I believe it was the lack of a Data-type character that made the following 3 series (Deep Space 9, Voyager, and Enterprise) less popular.  Each show had it's own weakness' but the lack of Data was a void that they could never fill.  Data was Picard's surrogate son, he was Geordi LaForge's best friend, he was Riker's best chance of surviving an away-mission, he was the only warrior on the ship who could challenge Worf.  He was Tasha's lover, Troy's psychological project, and Wesley's confidant.   He was the lynchpin of the entire series. 

I did not research the film prior to seeing it so I was unprepared for Dataís death.  There was no real foreshadowing and the surprise was actually painful for me.  Even though it would have spoiled the shock, I would liked to have seen even more of Data in the film.  Perhaps the whole movie should have been about him.  His death was honorable and had meaning but it was just too sudden.  And now he is gone forever.  Thank God for parallel universes, alternate realities and quantum time distortions.  At least thereís hope.

Lt. Commander Data 1987 - 2002