Trekking With Tim, Day Ten: Star Trek: Nemesis

Editor Tim Ryan is disappointed by the turn the franchise has taken.

by | May 6, 2009 | Comments

Day Ten: Star Trek: Nemesis

Talk about a franchise in need of a reboot. Star Trek: Nemesis is hardly laughable; it’s just not very compelling. This is certainly the dullest entry in the series, lacking even the camp value of The Final Frontier. It’s not a complete waste of time; the visuals are occasionally striking, the actors are game, and there are periodic flashes of wit. However, this is the only Trek movie I’ve seen that felt redundant — Nemesis never justifies its existence, and it finds this series taking a sad slide toward irrelevancy.

Which is a shame, not only because I’ve come to like the Next Generation crew, but also because it’s unlikely we’ll see their likes again — on the big screen, at least. There’s something refreshing about the fact that most of the Enterprise‘s inhabitants don’t look like classic movie stars, and that a whole sci-fi franchise was based around the cerebral rather than the visceral. However, Nemesis ditches the Big Thoughts in favor of more straightforward action fare — and stumbles badly as a result.

The movie opens with a meeting of the Romulan senate, the members of which are debating the merits of opening relations with their lower-caste neighbors, the Remans. However, a deadly chemical is unleashed , killing everyone in the chamber. Meanwhile, the Enterprise crew is celebrating the wedding of Will Riker and Deanna Troi, who will be heading up their own ship once they get to Deanna’s home planet of Betazed. It’s a nice scene, as Picard gives a heartfelt toast to his old colleagues and Data sings a convincing rendition of “Blue Skies” (which sets up the film’s best line, in which a drunken Worf grumbles disdainfully, “Ugh… Irving Berlin!”)


Naturally, the good vibes can’t last. Once the crew begins its journey, it’s waylaid by a mysterious reading from a desert. Picard, Data, and Worf head down to investigate, and find the scattered pieces of an android that appears to be a prototype of Data. However, our heroes are immediately attacked by a group of sand people, which sets up a dull humvee chase that bodes poorly for the film; what’s this standalone action scene doing here? (It doesn’t help that the washed-out cinematography looks self-consciously arty; Steven Soderberg used a similar look in Traffic‘s south-of-the-border scenes to greater effect.)

Subsequently, the Federation tells Picard to go to Romulus, where Shinzon (Tom Hardy) has taken over power after eliminating the senate. Though he bares a remarkable resemblance to Nosferatu, Shinzon is actually a clone of Picard, though an imperfect one. He suffers from a variety of ailments, and though he speaks diplomatically to the Enterprise crew about intergalactic peace, his motives seem sinister. It turns out he was enslaved by the Romulans, and his plan is to establish a new galactic power order, using a potent weapon to destroy Earth, and with it, the Federation.


OK, so with two Datas and two Picards running around, we’ve got a nice little meditation about the yin and yang of human (and android) personality and singularity, right? Nope. The Data clone subplot is never fully explored, and the tension between Picard and Shinzon feels secondhand; we’re never fully convinced that these two share the same DNA, and it doesn’t help that their physical resemblance is hardly striking.

In the annals of Star Trek villains, Shinzon is relatively nondescript. He glowers well enough, but he’s unconvincing as a would-be master of the universe; he barely seems to preside over an empire, as his crew is strangely under-populated, save for a couple loyal Remans. In addition, it’s revealed that Shinzon is a defective clone, and that his body is rapidly breaking down (a comment on the plight of Dolly the sheep, perhaps? Maybe). In other words, why not just wait him out? Things get even sillier as the Enterprise goes to war with Shinzon’s ship. Is it really possible that the Enterprise could simply ram into another craft and survive? And how poignant is the death of a beloved character (in this case, Data) if he has a clone that contains all his memories?


Look, don’t get me wrong. Nemesis looks just fine; after the hit-and-miss aesthetics of Insurrection, this at least doesn’t have the feel of a TV show. But the script is dull, and the conflict is barely existent; this movie just seems to be going through the motions. It’s too bad, because I don’t believe the Next Generation ever got to prove its cinematic mettle; The Next Generation had a longer run on TV than its predecessor, but the movies it inspired (one excellent, one decent, and two thoroughly mediocre), don’t measure up to the Kirk-Spock incarnation.

Tomorrow, we conclude our series with the brand new Star Trek. Does it boldly go where no Trek film has gone before? Will it live up to its impressive Tomatometer ranking?


Tag Cloud

Super Bowl YouTube Premium HBO Crunchyroll disaster television Sci-Fi Binge Guide Box Office nbcuniversal independent USA Network screenings discovery latino best Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Pirates Spectrum Originals CNN Rocketman video on demand Awards Tour 72 Emmy Awards Showtime free movies halloween comics El Rey politics Sundance WGN MSNBC BBC America Film Festival LGBTQ Crackle serial killer comic medical drama Calendar romantic comedy TLC NYCC jamie lee curtis zombie Nat Geo BET cartoon 24 frames Spring TV harry potter Hulu San Diego Comic-Con technology SDCC richard e. Grant revenge The Witch crime Masterpiece First Look Pride Month NBC Christmas Comedy Central Amazon 2017 WarnerMedia Paramount biography ESPN Fox News Best and Worst transformers anime Pet Sematary Disney Plus Rocky Teen MTV Mudbound a nightmare on elm street Grammys Hallmark Christmas movies police drama Star Trek IFC Films award winner classics Western zombies Horror 71st Emmy Awards nature period drama Apple USA Television Critics Association Amazon Studios Brie Larson cancelled TV shows Lifetime Ellie Kemper BBC Superheroe Apple TV Plus Travel Channel Britbox Star Wars documentaries 20th Century Fox Film Discovery Channel Disney+ Disney Plus 2018 Trailer political drama Winners emmy awards Pixar PBS Winter TV indie ghosts Year in Review Toys 2016 Elton John zero dark thirty Pop TV video Cannes Sneak Peek 007 Song of Ice and Fire witnail Quiz Video Games dragons kids Premiere Dates Summer superhero President PaleyFest X-Men stoner See It Skip It Bravo Valentine's Day parents Sundance TV ratings PlayStation Tarantino Countdown psychological thriller green book dramedy Epix crime thriller BBC One Vudu GIFs AMC American Society of Cinematographers MCU natural history Academy Awards A24 Comics on TV Watching Series dark Red Carpet Nickelodeon CBS remakes Tomatazos universal monsters Acorn TV docudrama mutant History Holidays true crime Syfy National Geographic The Arrangement Chernobyl cults spinoff name the review TV teaser crime drama FOX VOD Cartoon Network Esquire Interview TIFF The CW supernatural Drama Polls and Games LGBT Disney Channel cooking Walt Disney Pictures 2019 boxoffice YA sequels Funimation films Avengers hist worst DirecTV Shondaland venice Marvel Studios DC Universe Opinion The Purge theme song hollywood social media book SundanceTV werewolf rotten movies we love Sony Pictures FX on Hulu Holiday binge cancelled fast and furious Mindy Kaling Emmys mockumentary cinemax TBS doctor who Columbia Pictures cops spanish language stand-up comedy Awards movies renewed TV shows slashers Baby Yoda E3 casting Kids & Family christmas movies TruTV Peacock Television Academy joker singing competition Dark Horse Comics Music Reality Marvel Classic Film twilight YouTube Mary Poppins Returns hispanic batman dogs Rom-Com finale Musical Lionsgate breaking bad cats APB critics rotten Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt ABC Certified Fresh crossover Apple TV+ science fiction anthology 21st Century Fox DC streaming service Extras Creative Arts Emmys game show Turner Classic Movies Tubi Arrowverse toronto VICE concert GoT strong female leads Shudder Stephen King news indiana jones Freeform south america festivals Rock 4/20 CBS All Access golden globes ITV Women's History Month diversity robots Endgame adventure based on movie Anna Paquin dceu Hallmark FXX BET Awards worst movies Character Guide aliens YouTube Red Disney TCA Awards cancelled television Mary Tyler Moore child's play OneApp directors screen actors guild what to watch chucky IFC versus vampires reboot TCA Winter 2020 Warner Bros. romance 2015 Fantasy streaming tv talk mission: impossible Schedule miniseries Photos war toy story Oscars Sundance Now canceled Emmy Nominations historical drama TV Land Lucasfilm Ghostbusters First Reviews cancelled TV series Turner scary movies Country TCM CW Seed Thanksgiving Animation children's TV 2020 elevated horror Reality Competition Disney streaming service comiccon Marathons HBO Go canceled TV shows obituary Mary poppins Election Black Mirror SXSW Tumblr movie A&E facebook Lifetime Christmas movies FX TV renewals Musicals Hear Us Out Black History Month blaxploitation Ovation football comedies justice league DC Comics Trivia spain RT History Fall TV Biopics RT21 documentary Comedy TCA 2017 asian-american Food Network Comic Book quibi ABC Family talk show sitcom scorecard OWN animated thriller Amazon Prime die hard Family Adult Swim sequel sports franchise stop motion satire Pop Paramount Network Marvel Television TNT composers festival adaptation dc blockbuster laika CMT criterion Martial Arts Netflix Christmas movies cars Logo spider-man game of thrones Infographic Starz VH1 Writers Guild of America Trophy Talk Action Nominations Mystery BAFTA Cosplay travel New York Comic Con Podcast HBO Max space Netflix sag awards Spike nfl series foreign psycho all-time DGA spy thriller The Walking Dead Superheroes Heroines TCA Universal GLAAD 45 Amazon Prime Video Set visit Captain marvel unscripted E! reviews