"Star Trek: The Next Generation" goes out with a whimper
Lawrance M. Bernabo | The Zenith City, Duluth, Minnesota | 05/22/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The plot of "Star Trek: Nemesis" comes down to three situations. First, and most importantly, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) discovers that he not only has a clone (Tom Hardy) who was created by the Romulans by raised by the Remuseans, but that the enterprising Shinzon has become Praetor of the Romulan Empire, which has a weapon that can destroy all life on Earth. Second, in an obvious parallel, Data (Brent Spiner) discovers yet another of Dr. Soong's prototype androids, named B-4 (also Spiner). Third, and finally in more ways than one, Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis) are finally getting married. This 10th Star Trek film, and four in the STNG part of the series, has its moments but is ultimately less than satisfying.Part of the problem is that even before the film's climatic death scene we are already aware that we have another Star Trek death that is not really death scene. Yes, this is certainly more plausible than the first one in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan"/"Star Trek III: The Search for Spock," but that it is at the expense of the shock and emotional impact the first time around. Consequently, the big payoff rings hollow, which is never a good sing for a major theatrical release. Another part of the problem is that the cast is so large that few of them have much of value to do. Geordi LaForge (LeVar Burton) has been standing by for several films mainly to ask Data what he is doing so the android can explain, Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden) waits for casualties to show up in sick bay, and Worf (Michael Dorn) is at least good for a few laughs with the comments he makes in his cups while everyone is toasting Riker and Troi. As far as the movies go, STNG has boiled down to Picard and Data, and the rest are along for the ride, posing stiffly and formly in the background. That being said, "Nemesis" finally gives Counselor Troi the main supporting role and a couple of scenes when she proves she can give as well as receive. But overall there are two many cast members sitting around with little or nothing to do; compare this with the series finale "All Good Things..."Finally, there are just too many significant gaps in the thinking of the main characters. Picard and his clone think they understand each other as if in the future the nature versus nurture issue has gone the way of safety belts being required on alll chairs on spaceships. Yes, having a clone is creeping. Yes, having your clone serving in a Romulan slave pit is disturbing. But the idea that the result is a younger version of itself was never legitimated by novels/films like "The Boys From Brazil." This is supposed to be the future, but the "science" here is about on par with a 1950s film. If I, who know virtually nothing about science in general or cloning in particular can see the holes in this logic, than Picard's Starfleet Academy training should serve him in much better stead. Now that we are apparently here at the end of the road for "Star Trek: The Next Generation" it might be appropriate to conduct a post mortem and consider the question of why the theatrical films were never as good as any of the two-part episodes of the television series. The short explanation is they went for bigger (e.g., the Borg rewrite human history) rather than better. What is so puzzling is why a creative staff that came up with several solid story lines almost every season for many years could not cut it when it was required to come up with one very good idea every few years. "Star Trek - Nemesis" has the characters of STNG but neither the style nor the substance; what does Picard driving a intergalactic dune buggy have to do with why we loved this television show? Plus, the lighting makes Data's skin look really weird. At least we have the original STNG out on DVD now."
More Special Features For This Final Collectors Edition
Lee Neville | London, ENGLAND | 08/14/2005
(4 out of 5 stars)
"It was just a couple of years ago that Star Trek Nemesis, featuring the final journey of the next generation crew was released on DVD. Featuring the music of the late veteran composer Jerry Goldsmith, it tells the story of how the Enterprise-E, led by Captain Picard is invited by the Romulans to commence final peace negotiations. Unfortunately it is all a ploy by a younger clone of Captain Picard to not only cripple the Federation but exterminate Earth altogether using their new weapon. The weapon is stored aboard Shinzon's ultra-predator-battleship that carries enough photon torpedoes to take out entire fleets of starships, and a perfect cloaking device making it possible to fire in perfect invisibility- unlike the klingon ship from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country that had a flaw. Complicating circumstances is the discovery of a prototype android of the Enterprise's Lt Commander Data.
There is definitely a sense of goodbye with this film, and although Star Trek Nemesis may not be the final Star Trek movie, it is most likely the final next generation movie. Partings in this film, as well as the loss of a beloved member of our senior crew, include Dr Beverly Crusher who is transferring to Starfleet Medical (as she did in Season 2 of Star Trek The Next Generation), Riker who at last has accepted his promotion to Captain and is taking command of another starship, and Counselor Deanna Troi who is going with him as his wife. In this final next generation movie we also get to see Lt Commander Worf who though leaving to be an ambassador at the end of Star Trek Deep Space Nine has returned to the Enterprise crew. Other minor appearances include Janeway who was promoted to Admiral after leading the crew from Star Trek Voyager home, Guinan who was last seen in Star Trek Generations and Wesley Crusher who we haven't seen since the final season of Star Trek The Next Generation.
As for my summary of the whole movie itself- I like it. Quite a few fans have berated it but I like it very much. Despite not being the most original story (just one ship battle really), the dark atmosphere (the darkest for a Star Trek movie to date) really takes our characters into genuine unknown territory. I'm also glad that some of the cheap jokes aimed at the very oldest of Star Trek fans is kept to a minimum here. A negative and a positive about Star Trek Nemesis is the realization of how old our crew have been getting, and indeed how Star Trek itself is. I think the biggest mistake was when the villain of Star Trek Insurrection referred to the Federation as being old. Star Trek is the Federation, and that reference makes Star Trek seem tired. I think that whole thought has connected with viewers, and quite possibly affected the success of Star Trek Nemesis, as well as the final season of Star Trek Deep Space Nine, the last three seasons of Star Trek Voyager, and most definitely the whole of Star Trek Enterprise. I hope that one day the producers of Star Trek move even further along in the Star Trek timeline to an all-new more positive future.
So now we have the new 2 Disc collectors edition of Star Trek Nemesis. New special features exclusive to this edition include the movie in more impactful DTS sound, an audio commentary by the man who has continued Star Trek within the 24th Century- Producer Rick Berman and a text commentary- regular to the collectors edition DVDs. New Production featurettes include Nemesis Revisited, Storyboarding the action, Build and rebuild, Four-Wheeling in the Final Frontier, Shinzon screen test. There are new Star Trek Universe featurettes including A Bold Vision of the Final Frontier, and The Enterprise-E. We also have featurettes studying the Romulan Empire including Romulan Lore, Shinzon & the Viceroy, Romulan Design, The Romulan Senate, The Scimitar. Other special features include new deleted scenes and trailers.
Special features from the first Star Trek Nemesis DVD are also included.
In conclusion, this is a fitting end for the next generation crew. Some may love this movie, some may not, but either way, it's time to end the journey of the next generation and this is indeed, the end."
STAR TREK NEMESIS is the best TNG film to date, by far.
Lawrance M. Bernabo | 05/19/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"As for NEMESIS, I am going out on a limb here and going to state that even though the film is highly derivative from previous Trek films, it is by far the most rousing, kinetic and engrossing of all the TNG movies to date (hand to hand combat, phaser firing in corridors, space battles). It is miles ahead of FIRST CONTACT.From the opening of film, with the reversed "Star Trek" title on the screen to the climactic 4 ship battle, this film delivered the goods. It is the most action-packed of all the Trek films, including the TOS films and the special effects, mostly, are quite impressive. For once, the film LOOKS like it was made for the big screen, although more use of exterior, non-ship locales would have added another dimension.The film listed at 116 minutes, the film moved quite briskly, and I had a great time watching it, relishing every minute, every snippet of dialogue, every bit of throwaway humor (which thankfully this time, is not forced). I was sorry to see it end. All the regulars especially Patrick Stewart, this time giving a more emotional, more layered performance, is wonderful. The chemistry between Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis is great, and, contrary to what you may have heard, Worf is not reduced to a "drunken reservation Indian" (as referred to by prominent an online reviewer). He has a brief drunk, but quiet scene at the wedding, and his bad lines in the original script ("Well Romulan ale should be more illegal") are nowhere to be seen in the film.I am not going to focus on the smashing biological-like attack on the Senate, the THREE KINGS-like desert chase, Data's rescue of Picard from "The Scorpion," Troi's 'remember me' scene and the final, beautifully shot, edited and scored battle involving four ships. I love those scenes but there are other very enjoyable albeit more subtle ones in NEMESIS. There are some gems prevalent in NEMESIS, including an introductory sequence with Shinzon and his henchman the Viceroy coming down those steps, in the dimly lit room, was very atmospheric. Shinzon walks down quietly, like a hungry predator, examining the crew, notably especially Troi and Picard, while a stern Ryker looks on uncomfortably. I loved the darkness of that scene, both in image and in subtext.Another effective scenes features Picard's dinner with Shinzon, in a room off the Senate (a room which looks suspiciously medieval somehow) the sequences with the child are introduced but they are shot in hazy, blue monochrome (aided by a nice f/x shot of a pan into the mines). It is an effective scene but Stuart Baird does not wallow in it, so as not to give too unnecessary sympathy to Shinzon. For fans, like myself in the past, who always complained about the Picard-Data focus in the movies, Data has quite a lesser role in this film, as opposed to the previous ones. A memorable sequence features Data attempting to explain to B-4 (an android) why he has to turn him off (after the former downloads the ship's classified data banks). Brent Spiner - in ineffective yellow pancake makeup amplified by the large-screen - is annoyed at B-4 but not angry; he takes on the role of the older sibling who disapproves of the actions of the younger one, but just when you think you see an element of anger in Data, he calls B-4 "brother." The term "brother" coming from Data means he has come full circle. In a way he is looking at himself from "Encounter at Farpoint" and is now acting like the human he is not. I am not a fan of Data in general but loved the endearing, warm quality to that scene. For the first time in a TNG movie we also get an effective, ready room sequence where the Captain and his crew discuss Shinzon, and reunite again in it for a farewell toast to dead colleague.I loved the dark orange look of the interior of the space ship (the dark red doors, the panels etc) as well as the background graphics on the monitors and various screens across the ship. Indeed. Mathew Leonetti's (MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2, TOP GUN) cinematography is excellent, especially considering the confines of the ship. The Jerry Goldsmith score, somehow was much more effective onscreen with the action, than I remember it being when I heard it on the CD. Ultimately, it is one of his better TNG scores, and his ST: TMP fanfare at space dock, in the end, almost brought tears to my eyes - it's like all the ST movies had come full circle, beginning and ending in space dock. I love this film."
Good Film Despite Its Missed Potential
David M. Garrison Jr. | Woodland, CA | 04/23/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"The problem with a franchise like Star Trek is that it has a very committed and opinionated fan base, and so these fans will tend to be overly-critical and aggressive about their feelings regarding anything new in the franchise. Star Trek has the benefit of being based in a very broad and immersive universe that is made up of a dynamic and diverse cast of characters. This is both a blessing and a curse: a blessing because in each new motion picture installment there is a lot to build from; a curse because it can be difficult to stay true to the characters and the spirit behind the universe.When making a film from the Next Generation television series, one would be confronted with two problems: the first being that the series was at times uneven and muddled; the second being that there is a different expectation in a film than in a television show. That being said, it is the characters that made the series great, and the thing that made First Contact (Trek film #8) such a resounding success is that even though it had action, it was primarily character-based and the plot had all the things that make Trek fans salivate: time travel, tough decisions and a great villain(s). I mean, really, does it get better than the Borg?My girlfriend (who is a die-hard fan) and I went to see this with high hopes, and left with mixed feelings. Overall, it was a pretty decent film. It was well-paced and the action was decent. The starship battle at the end was as good as the one in Wrath of Kahn (the best of the Trek films), and the special effects were top notch. Plus, to her delight, we got to see Riker and Troi get married. However, there were some acute problems, the most glaring being the overuse of Captain Picard. The director, Stuart Baird, does not treat this like the ensemble cast-driven film that it should be. Furthermore, the carefree and loose attitude that Picard seems to have developed (a dune-buggy?) is not consistent with the character that the fans grew to know and love over the television series' seven years on the air. This isn't helped by the fact that his storyline feels contrived. The motivation that the Romulans have for building a Picard-clone (his "nemesis" in the film) is flimsy and almost laughable (kind of like America's own Missile Defense Shield). Furthermore, I felt cheated by the back-story of the planet Remus (they must really dig on Roman mythology).Data's storyline is old-hat, and is merely a satellite to Picard's - and everyone else is just a peripheral. I found myself wishing that Picard would just die, just so we could see some more of the other characters. The wedding scene was ok, but too short. The romantic relationship that Troi and Warf began to develop in the series goes unmentioned (again!), and a chance for some great dramatic tension between him and Riker was completely missed. Nitpicking aside however, it was a decent film and clearly better than the pile of you-know-what that was Star Trek V (as one reviewer asserted) or than its muddled predecessor, Insurrection. It was entertaining, and the plot holes, even if annoying, were forgivable. The drama on Romulus was interesting, and Shinzon's ship (can't remember the name) was threatening and scary. Despite my complaints about Picard, Patrick Stewart is still a great actor and the tension that develops between him and Shinzon is engrossing (could you kill a clone of yourself?). There are some great philosophical quandaries that are raised, even if they aren't explored much, and it was suspenseful. It was Trek film that was made with its eye on the passing fan and the general public rather than the die-hard fan - which brings me back to the point that I raised earlier about the expectations for making a film being different than for a television series. In order for a studio to green-light a big-budget film like this one, it has to have broad appeal. If the film were to depend too much on obscure references and be ensemble-cast centered, it would not be nearly as appealing to Johnny Public - even if it would make a better film.What I would ask for is a longer cut: I would watch 2 ½ hours of this film if it meant that I could see more of everyone else (not another dune-buggy chase). The rumored deleted scenes sound as if they would make a killer director's cut. In future Trek films I would ask for more Brent Spiner (he is a great actor, probably the best in the bunch), for Geordi to get his cool visor back, for Picard to be treated like the Captain of a crew rather than an action star, and lastly, for a plot that involves more of the rich Trek universe, thank you."
Nemesis worth the purchase
Brent | Phoenix, AZ USA | 04/28/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"Having followed the TNG cast since day 1, I think Star Trek fans will find Nemesis as a very satisfying ending to what was by all accounts a wonderful series. That being said, I doubt non-Trek fans will find this installment of Trek very appealing. Producer Rick Berman was in charge of all four TNG movies (Generations, First Contact, Insurrection and Nemesis) and as a fan I would rank this movie somewhere in between First Contact and Generations, with Insurrection being the worst of the four.
Berman and the Star Trek franchise got the formula right with First Contact. It offered a solid story line with spectacular action, character development on all ends of the spectrum and an enemy that even non-Trek fans could appreciate in the Borg. With Nemesis, there is somewhat of an appeal similar to that in First Contact, but it falls slightly short. The B4/Data development should have had more time in this movie and the Picard/Shinzon conflict never materialized in a particularly realistic fashion. Still, Trek fans will appreciate the action sequences towards the beginning of this movie as well as the battle between starships towards the end. Fans will also appreciate the chemistry between Riker and Troi as they take a big step in their life.I walked out of this movie depressed about the ending and I won't say why but you'll understand when you see the movie. Overall, I would recommend that Trek fans purchase the DVD for its value as an action flick and the fact that its loaded with tons of extras. As for me, while I will buy the DVD and I'm really hoping they use the actions scenes from the movie and turn it into something even more fun, a Playstation 2 game."