Canadian Reviews

Nemisis Review


Star Trek: Nemesis
Directed by Stuart Baird
Story by John Logan & Rick Berman & Brent Spiner
1hr. 56 min.~2002

After the relatively unsatisfactory release, "Star Trek: Insurrection", the previous and ninth installment in the film series , the next one needed something different, but remain true to the series, to be effective on it's own . The result is a four year break, instead of the average two between each film, to bring more plot-driven characterization to the series. In addition,a new writer and director unfamiliar to the films were brought on to helm this tenth installment of the series.

What's new? Well, there are loads of references to previous Star Trek characters and situations, many of them in-jokes that fans will get, but will not leave those unfamiliar with the Trekverse out of the loop. There are also many historical and mythological influences, such as the "Nosferatu"-like Reman physical and biological traits, Shinzon's almost 'vampiric' need for a 'genetic' donor, Shinzon/Picard's similarities and their Romulus/Remus connections (astrologically, they are the constellation Gemini, who in Roman myth are twins raised at first by a wolf mother who later grew up to build the city-state of Rome. Unfortunately Remus was killed by Romulus in a blind rage, thus the nom de cite ), the Troi/Helena/Cassandra(predicted the downfall of Troi) parrallels, references to ancient Roman civilization and battle tactics , and so on and so forth. Another advantage that this film has over it's predecessors, is the special effects, which are flawlessly detailed and realized, everything from the outside detail of the Romulan capitol to the ships in combat.

The story goes something like this...there seems to be a revolt happening the Romulan Senate, due to the new Reman praeorator Shinzon. Hoping to gain power over the Federation, he sets up a meeting under the pretention that he wants to make peace between Romulus/Remus with the Federation. The starship Enterprise under the command of Captain Jean-Luc Picard is dispatched by Admiral Katherine Janeway to the planet Romulus on a diplomatic mission to this meeting. Accompanying him is his original crew, the recently married first officer, Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes), and his bride, ship's counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis); Dr. Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden); Security Officer Worf (Michael Dorn); Chief Engineer LaForge (LeVar Burton); and the resourceful android, Commander Data (Brent Spiner). On their way to dropping the happy couple on Betazed for their 'second' wedding, the traditionally nude Betazoid ceremony, and their honeymoon, they come across an unusally rare transmission associated with androids like Data. Upon landing (they cannot transport because of planetary ion storms), they find B-4 ("before"), a prototype for Data, seemingly torn asunder by an unknown source. After collecting the remains of the poor android, they are temporarily impeded by forces who have used B-4 as bait to get the Enterprise crew on the planet. Later back on the Enterprise, they have put B-4 back together, who seems to ne naieve and contains a child-like nature and curiosity, compared to the more evolved Data. He also has no memories previous to his scrapping, so Data decides to give his new 'brother' his memories, even though B-4's mind is not as developed as his.

Upon reaching Romulus, Picard discovers that all is not as it seems to be. Shinzon's identity stuns the Enterprise crew, especially Picard, because apparently he looks almost just as Picard did when he was Shinzon's age. Shinzon later explains he is the result of a previous Romulan plan to replace Picard with a clone to ursurp the Federation, later dropped due to political changes. Not being of any particular use to the new political party, he is sent to Remus to fend for himself as a slave in the Reman dilithium mines, but as ten years go by, he develops a rapport and is incorporated into Reman society. Later after returning from a dinner with Shinzon, Picard finds that the Remulan viceroy has telepathic abilities, which are dispatched by Shinzon who has developed an attraction to Troi, since he has not seen many human women in person, and proceeds to invade and mind-rape her into submission, in the attempt at taking out Picard. He intends to use his seemingly invincible warship, the Schimtar, to dispatch the Enterprise, then move to bigger targets, the next one being the destruction of earth using a deadly radiation that in microscopic pockets, can destroy the population of a planet within seconds. Eventually, a massive space battle gets takes place, putting the Enterprise in peril, as it's shields are collapsing slowly with the warp drive out.

After fifteen years of familiarity, Stewart, Frakes, Spiner and all of the original cast have returned brilliantly to the series with relative ease. Tom Hardy's performance as Shinzon (who BTW, not only looks like Picard, but seems to carry traits of John de Lancie's Q) has deservingly already been compared to the villainous and charismatic performance of Ricardo Montalban's Khan (from the second installment "The Wrath of Khan", considered by many the best of the Star Trek film series). Dina Meyer ("Starship Troopers"), as the Romulan Commander Donatra, is incredibly seductive and vindictive. Ron Perlman ("Alien:Ressurrection", "Blade II"), who plays Shinzon's protector/Reman viceroy, is unrecognizable with the all of the makeup appliances, but still performs quite well without bringing to much of the braggado he's brought to his previous performances. Thankfully, Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan has acameo here, as does Bryan Singer as a commanding officer, who happens to be the director of "The Usual Suspects" & "X-Men", maybe you've heard of him? For more character analyses and other spoilers of this film, you can find them here.

Initially, I had my doubts that this film would be just another "Insurrection", but suprisingly, it has reinvigorated the Trekverse, making it uncringeworthy and an enjoyable film. It also makes room for allowing characters from "Deep Space Nine" to carry the next sequel, if one gets made, on their own. Now, without further ado...

My Rating~A-

  

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Added: February 7th 2003
Reviewer Aaron
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