Star Trek: Nemesis
September 25, 2003
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Ron Perlman, Tom Hardy, Shannon Cochran, Dina Meyer, Jude Ciccolella, Alan Dale, Michael Owen, Kate Mulgrew,
It’s time to boldly go once more where only the bald critic Daz will tread, so strap on those phasers and head on out to the Neutral Zone as we look at the tenth Star Trek; Star Trek: Nemesis.
It’s long since been common knowledge that Star Trek movies follow a very distinct mathematical pattern, the odd numbered movies suffer from a power drain in their entertainment coils (they’re crap) and the even numbered Treks operate at above average levels (they’re quite good). This simple pattern has, by and large, proven true right into the TNG movies, with the possible exception of Star Trek XI (Generations).
With Nemesis being the tenth Trek, an even numbered movie, we were expecting it to be above average, some even held out hope that it would be rather good. That hope, thankfully, has not fallen on deaf ears for Star Trek: Nemesis is one of the best Treks to date, and a serious contender for the best ever – there will of course be fans of Wrath of Khan and Undiscovered Country who will disagree.
Nemesis promised to be shocking, to hold surprises for the viewers, and as if we hadn’t heard this last part before; to be the last outing for The Next Generation crew. It’s perhaps not before time either as the next gen crew are starting to go the way of Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley; their guts are growing and their faces are getting wiry, even the ladies. Marina Sirtis had a little paunch in her negligee; yes she appears in a negligee! Data, who is supposed to be the never aging android, suffers from a bad case of chicken’s throat, but I expect he added that himself so as to appear that he’d aged with the crew. Yes, that’s it.
The film kicks off on familiar territory, but not so familiar terrain as we’re in the Romulan high command council chamber. They’re bickering over a proposed move against the federation and as with all Romulan affairs there is a certain amount of treachery prevalent. Not to spoil the outcome but the debate is ended in time honoured Romulan fashion, but in an oddly violent manner for a Star Trek.
The on/off relationship between Riker and Troy is finally put to bed, literally as it happens as they’re getting married, and there seemed to be no animosity from Warf even though his relationship with Diana had been hinted at regularly during the course of the series. Jean Luc servers as best man, which is again a little strange as any marriages that have occurred during the next gen timeframe have taken place aboard the Enterprise with Picard conducting them. As a captain he is allowed to legally bless marriages after all. You’d think that Riker and Troy would have wanted to get married aboard the Enterprise, but no, they’re on their way to Betazed.
It’s at this point that you start thinking about the shocks that have been promised, and that this is supposedly the last voyage for the next gen crew. You wonder if the happy couple will ever make it to their wedding. After seven seasons and three films it’s not hard to feel genuinely concerned about them, they’re practically family.
The Enterprise is diverted when they pick up a faint signal that can only have emanated from an artificial life-form such as Data. Surprisingly, even when they find said life-form – an exact duplicate of Data – they don’t even entertain the thought that it might be Lore. Lore, as we all know, is Data’s twin, created first but ultimately imperfect because of his uncontrollable emotions making him selfish. Rather like the KITT/KARR thing from Knight Rider. KARR wasn’t evil, he was just programmed with self preservation as a primary instinct. But Lore isn’t even mentioned, instead it’s explained that this ‘new’ android was created first as a prototype, aptly named B4.
Why didn’t they just use the existing character of Lore? To my knowledge this would have been as easy to write in, and far less circumstantial as Lore was dismantled and remained on the Enterprise D when it crashed in Star Trek: Generations. Creating this supposedly new android, without any questioning from Data or Geordi as to why seemed very strange. Indeed the whole human element that was so prevalent in the T.V. series seems to be missing from the films; surely if this had been an episode of TNG we’d have had a large chunk of dialogue concerning B4’s origin. Why was he created, is he genuine and isn’t strange that we’ve just found him laying here?
None of this happens though; it’s as if parts of the script were rushed to fit all that they needed into the running time.
This has been a problem with all of the Next Gen movies; the all important human touch that existed in the series has been lost.
Data and Geordi attempt a download of Data’s memories and experiences into B4 so as to give the primitive android the platform from which to grow, and to become more than he was programmed for. This is the theme of Nemesis, the idea that had you grown up in different circumstances and had different breaks would you still be the person you are today. Eventually Picard and co. find themselves nose to nose with the nemesis of the title, a perfect clone of Jean Luc Picard. A clone who had grown up as a slave, only to resent the outside world and the person from whom he was cloned, namely Picard himself.
The question arose as to how the Romulans were able to clone Picard. Beverly Crushers states that it could have been from a skin cell or a hair follicle. With the best will in the world, I don’t think it was from a hair follicle!
Some posturing later it emerges that Picard version 2 wants to eradicate Earth of all life in the name of Romulan success, and his own of course. He can’t however succeed without the help of Jean Luc Picard, for reasons I won’t divulge here.
The reoccurring theme of Nemesis that you may turn out differently depending on your circumstances is well played, and poignantly brought to a close at the end of the film with more than shocking consequences.
Promised to be the last voyage for the Next Gen crew, it certainly looks as though it will, but the question has to be asked; who will fill the void in subsequent Star Trek movies? Voyager is home now, Admiral Janeway even makes a brief appearance in Nemesis, and so the odds have to be on Deep Space Nine to figure in the next movie.
You can be sure of one thing though; there will be one, there’s plenty of cash left in the Star Trek cash cow yet.