STAR TREK:
Nemesis

(2002)
With Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis, Tom Hardy, Ron Perlman, Shannon Cochran, Dina Meyer
Directed by Stuart Baird
Reviewed by JB

The Duck Soup mirror scene remake didn't make the final cut     How quickly a franchise can die!  There have been many theories on why NEMESIS, the tenth Star Trek film, killed the series, but the one that I find most believable is overexposure and bad timing. At the time NEMESIS was released, the third and fourth series (Deep Space 9 and Voyager) had just ended and the fifth (Enterprise) had just begun. Despite a couple of hits, the Next Generation cast had not yet caught on with the general public the way the cast of the original series did.  NEMESIS was most likely a do or die proposition. Unfortunately, the movie was released at the same time as the Harry Potter series was just taking off (CHAMBER OF SECRETS) and LORD OF THE RINGS was just becoming the STAR WARS of the new millenium with its second installment, THE TWO TOWERS.  Both films were fresh and exciting new series, while Star Trek had been around since the late sixties.  It seems the general public was growing weary of Trek adventures, and the hardcore fans found the new film lacking proper Trekness or something.

    On its own, NEMESIS is an enjoyable sci-fi adventure with a memorable villain, some nice fight scenes, outstanding effects and a semi-surprise ending.  Unfortunately, when compared to the rest of the films, it has a "been there, done that" feel to it that, try as it might, it never can shake.  NEMESIS sometimes feels like merely a standard Next Generation episode with a larger budget rather than a theatrical motion picture meant to be a huge summer hit.  It also raises theme and ideas that are never fully explored.  For example, early in the film, a prototype of Data is discovered on a desolate planet and brought back to the ship.  Later, a clone of Captain Picard reveals himself to the crew.  All this duality could have been thematically woven into a much better script, but the screenwriters do almost nothing with the idea.  Instead, we get a basic remake of WRATH OF KHAN with a good but less interesting villain, played by Tom Hardy, who is good enough to rise above material written for a basic James Bond villain.  The film was not helped by once again giving Picard and Data all the good material and leaving the rest of the talented cast to fend for themselves. The ending, clearly inspired by Spock's demise in WRATH OF KHAN, would be more effective and affecting had the film not already telegraphed it early in the film and also provided an instant backup replacement character.  (That's all I will say).

    NEMESIS will always be known as the film that killed the Star Trek franchise, but in truth, the franchise was dying of natural causes before this film was ever released.  3 - JB

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