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Saturday, May 31, 2003
By Steven Taylor

In my ongoing quest to catch up on movies I haven’t seen (and would have already seen if I didn’t have small children), my wife and I watched Star Trek: Nemesis last night. Some pre-commentary disclaimers: 1) I am a Trekkie (Trekker, Trekkite, guy who likes Star Trek …whichever label you prefer) who has been watching Trek since the Original Series was in syndication back in the early 1970s, so I am predisposed to liking Trek flicks, and 2) I had somewhat low expectations for this one, as the reviews were mixed and even friends who liked Trek and saw it seemed to think it was fine, but not spectacular.

Overall, I quite liked it. It was substantially better than the previous, and highly forgettable, Star Trek: Insurrection, although not as good as First Contact. In the pantheon of Trek flicks I would rank them thusly: II: The Wrath of Khan (the very best, and one of my favorite movies of all time), III: The Search for Spock, First Contact and IV: The Voyage Home (the whale one) are roughly tied, followed by VI: The Undiscovered Country and Nemesis (tied), Generations, Insurrection, I (STTMP), and at the very bottom on the heap: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (man, that one really was pretty darn bad—there were a few decent scenes, but overall, a real stinker).

I enjoyed the pace, visuals, dialog and story of Nemesis. Although I will admit that the basic plot was rather uninspired. It was cool to see more of the Romulans, although quite honestly the politics of the situation made little sense. For example, why would the Romulans collude with a human clone in the coup? Why not just take the weapon? Indeed, it would have been more interesting if they had taken the Picard clone thing farther, and actually had him as a Romulan-trained general set up to take on the Federation after the original switcheroo plan was put to rest.

A major plot problem: how did a race of slaves manage to build such a doomsday weapon?

Of course, this one has the quintessential Trek problem: the inconsistent usage of technology for the purposes of the story. A few that really bothered me:

  • If Shinzon could manage to locate and beam Picard directly off the Enterprise, why not use the same trick onboard the Scimitar after Data freed Picard? For that matter, why not beam him off of the fighter that he stole? Does no one think of these things?
  • Given Replicator technology, why was there only one of those emergency transporter devices? Further, in the past, two people normally could easily transport out for the price of one (many times someone would jump into the beam when only one person was supposed to beam out, and it worked just fine).
  • Speaking of transporters, it made no sense that all the transporters on the Enterprise would be out just because Geordi’s board on the brigde shorted out.

    The real problem is that the technology of Trek has gotten to the point that it really makes for some difficult story problems if one takes the tech to its logical potential.

    Of course, most of those are geekboy problems. On balance an enjoyable movie and a decent send-off for the TNG crew. I must admit I was surprised by Data’s exit—and even more surprised that they didn’t use some lame trick with B4 to obviate the sacrifice.

    Overall: ***1/2 out of five.

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    2 Responses to “PoliReview: Nemesis”

    1. Tiger Says:

      We must be close to the same age. I was there in the beginning with the pilot show.

      The biggest problems with the latest projects has been that Berman is not Roddenberry. Simple fact.

      The best Roddenberry show on now is “Andromeda.”

      Series ratings (and these are contraversial:

      #1 Voyager: Most novelty: premise, crew composition, plot possibilities, newest aliens, mega-Borg, best replacement: Seven-of-Nine. Horrible ending.

      #2 STNG: Best crew, best ST actor:(Spiner), Best Captain: Picard, timeliness

      #3 Star Trek: Class in itself, the most innovative series of its time and for decades to come

      #4 Enterprise: Too early to tell

      #5 DS9: Best alien: Odo; unfulfilled potential; trite premise

      Series I would like to see: Kirk in Star Fleet Academy

    2. Steven Says:

      Voyager may actually be my least favorite, although I agree that the jury is still out on Enterprise.

      And in re: Berman, et al v. Roddenberry–there is something to that, except that TNG got quite a bit better in season 2, after Roddenberry took a less central role. And Gene was a bit too interested in this idea that humans were moving toward perfection, and hence wanting less conflict amongst the TNG crew.

      Ah well, ’tis late and so more on this will have to wait.


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