Star Trek: Nemesis

Star Trek: The Next GenerationStardate 56844.9: On the eve of the wedding of Commander Riker and Counselor Troi (and their reassignment as Riker is scheduled to take command of the U.S.S. Titan), the Enterprise investigates sensor readings indicating positronic activity, and on a distant world the disassembled body of a Soong-type android is found. When Data assembles his newfound “brother,” it identifies itself as B-4, and it turns out to be very primitive indeed – perhaps even an original prototype constructed before Lore. Picard receives new orders from Starfleet Command: Admiral Janeway is sending the Enterprise to begin peace talks with what appears to be a new Romulan government. But when he arrives at Romulus, Picard finds a young human – almost a mirror image of himself – has installed himself as the Romulan Praetor after killing the entire Romulan Senate in a coup. Picard is given shocking proof that Shinzon, the new Praetor, is a young clone of himself. Shinzon claims to have been the remnant of an abandoned project to replace Picard and infiltrate the Federation, but now – with the same drive, ambition and charisma as Picard possesses – he claims to want peace. Picard is concerned by the blood spilled by Shinzon’s coup, especially when Shinzon commands a gigantic battleship called the Scimitar. Troi suffers a telepathic intrusion from Shinzon’s Reman Viceroy, and Dr. Crusher discovers something else – thalaron radiation, which, when used as a weapon, completely disrupts living matter at a submolecular level. B-4 also appears to be part of whatever plot Shinzon is hatching, though Geordi and Data discover this in time to prevent the android from passing any sensitive information along to Shinzon. Shinzon kidnaps Picard and beams B-4 aboard the Scimitar – though he doesn’t realize until later that he has brought Data aboard instead. Data helps Picard escape after the captain learns of Shinzon’s true agenda: to topple not just the Romulans, but the Federation as well. And unless someone makes a supreme sacrifice to destroy it, Shinzon has a weapon more than adequate to the task.

Order the DVDsDownload this episode via Amazon's Unboxscreenplay by John Logan
story by John Logan & Rick Berman & Brent Spiner
directed by Stuart Baird
music by Jerry Goldsmith

Cast: Patrick Stewart (Picard), Jonathan Frakes (Riker), Brent Spiner (Data / B-4), LeVar Burton (Geordi), Michael Dorn (Worf), Gates McFadden (Beverly Crusher), Marina Sirtis (Troi), Tom Hardy (Shinzon), Ron Perlman (Viceroy), Shannon Cochran (Senator Tal’aura), Dina Meyer (Commander Donatra), Jude Ciccolella (Commander Suran), Alan Dale (Praetor Hiren), John Berg (Senator), Michael Owen (Helm Officer Branson), Kate Mulgrew (Admiral Kathryn Janeway), Robertson Dean (Reman Officer), David Ralphe (Commander), J. Patrick McCormack (Commander), Wil Wheaton (Wesley Crusher), Whoopi Goldberg (Guinan), Majel Barrett Roddenberry (Computer voice)

Notes: A scene introducing Commander Madden (played by Steven Culp), Riker’s replacement as the Enterprise’s first officer, was cut out of the film. Director Bryan Singer, Patrick Stewart’s boss in the X-Men films, plays an uncredited role as an Enterprise bridge officer. One of the Starfleet ships at sector 1045 is the U.S.S. Archer, according to the viewscreen display; this may or may not be a reference to Captain Archer of the 22nd century Enterprise. In a bit of a blooper, Picard looks at a photo of himself in a Kirk-era Starfleet cadet uniform, completely bald – though in the fifth season episode Violations, it was established that he had hair as recently as when he brought Jack Crusher’s body home.

LogBook entry by Earl Green

Review: As the tenth installment in Star Trek movie franchise, Star Trek: Nemesis is entertaining science fiction, but like previous films featuring Picard and company, it plays too much like a big-budget TV episode. And in the worst tradition of The Next Generation TV series, it’s far too talky and technical and is ultimately undone by its complete lack of originality.

Nemesis begins promisingly, with a dark, atypical title sequence and a neat death scene involving some Romulans that reminds you of the Ark opening at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. The movie segues into Riker and Troi’s wedding in Alaska, where Picard is giving his best-man’s speech. The scene is well-written and directed and at times hilarious, with cameos from Wil Wheaton and Whoopi Goldberg.

The problems with movie begin when the plot kicks in and the ship is ordered to Romulus to investigate an offer of peace made by its new praetor, Shinzon, played by Tom Hardy. Picard discovers the praetor is a younger clone of himself, whose real intent is to destroy the Federation. In the meantime, the crew have picked up on planet Kolaris III the remains of an android that looks like Data.

How much excitement can you expect from a fight between two versions of Picard – a man we know to prefer diplomacy over fisticuffs? The answer: not much. As hard as he tries to be sinister, Tom Hardy is down-right dull as Picard’s… well… nemesis. Patrick Stewart sleeps his way through the movie and the supporting cast is, for the most part, nowhere to be found.

Despite some new creative talent behind the scenes, the movie is visually unremarkable and the script, by Trek fan John Logan, overflows with every Star Trek clichè known to man. I saw my share of evil twin episodes in the series. Surely, after four years, the producers could have come up with something more original and interesting for a new Star Trek movie. And if I see another Trek movie where the Enterprise is the closest ship to any galactic crisis again…

The movie does boast some great special effects (no surprise there) and a moody score by Jerry Goldsmith. A space battle featuring Shinzon’s super warbird, some Romulan ships and the Enterprise is pulse-pounding but the scene quickly flatlines when interrupted by yet another unwelcome talk scene between Picard and Shinzon.

Although the movie ends with the death of an important character and a reassignment for another, the producers have left the door open for future Trek voyages, especially if the movie does well at the box office. After seeing this movie, perhaps it’s time to keep the Enterprise E in space dock once and for all.