A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Star Trek Nemesis

January 25, 2011

Star Trek Nemesis

For a long time it seemed this was to have been the last Star Trek movie. It’s also the tenth Star Trek movie which means that in accordance with the supposed curse it should have been one of the better films. Sadly this is not the case. This is actually a pretty disappointing send off for the Enterprise E and the Next Generation crew. In many ways it is a blatant rip-off of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan – from its obsessed enemy bent on the defeat of the Enterprises captain to the selfless sacrifice of a crew member at the end. The problem is that it doesn’t do too good a job of it. It has all the tropes and cliches of an action sci-fi movie but its as if somebody collected them in one place but didn’t quite know how to make a movie out of them.

The basic plot here is that a group of Reman rebels (from the shadowy slave mines on Romulus’ sister planet Remus) have overthrown the Romulan senate. They send overtures to the Federation claiming to desire peace – and naturally Jean-Luc Picard and his crew are sent as envoys. Imagine their shock when it transpires that the leader of the rebels is not only human, but is a clone of Picard himself. This is a pretty cool idea, but the movie doesn’t seem to know what to do with it. At first there’s a lot of noise about how if Picard had lived his life as a Reman slave he would have turned out like Shinzon, but ultimately that thread is dropped in favor of using Shinzon’s origin as an excuse for him to hunt Picard to the ends of the galaxy. Shinzon is dying, you see, and he needs Picard’s blood to stay alive. Or something like that. Oh, and Shinzon’s ship, the Scimitar, has an unstable ultimate weapon that could be used to wipe out all life on an entire planet. For no discernible reason, except that he wants to be a bastard I suppose, Shinzon wants to wipe out the entire population of Earth with this doomsday device. The Enterprise must stop him at any cost.

There are a whole bunch of other threads woven into the film as well, but they are supposed to support the primary plot. Although at times they seem slapped on and wedged in. There’s a whole plot about a Soong-type android prototype called B-4 which the crew discover on a desert planet before the main plot gets started. B-4 looks like Data but is simple-minded and childish.

Then there is Ron Pearlman as one of the bat-faced Remans (they evolved in darkness on the side of Remus that faces away from their sun you see.) Not content to have the bad-guys here be a bunch of caricatures that look like monster-movie rejects the film makers felt the need to imbue the chief Reman, Vkruk, with mental powers which he uses to help Shinzon mind-rape Councillor Troi. Why? Because they’re EVIL dammit! The movie tries to make this into some kind of macho thing between Vkruk and Troi’s new husband Will (nee Riker.) Why do they get into a one-on-one hand-to-hand battle in the bowls of the Enterprise during a space battle? Because you need a macho hand-to-hand fight, right?

That’s what I mean about this movie going through the motions of being an action movie. It has Riker and Vkruk dangling over a bottomless pit net because it makes any sense to have a bottomless pit inside the Enterprise but because that’s the sort of thing that happens to a macho hero. Why at the start of the film do Picard, Data and Worf land so very far away from the positronic readings they’re investigating? So they can tool around in a Worthog from the Halo series and have a Mad Max inspired chase (the end of which apparently Joss Whedon stole for Serenity two years later.) Why are the corridors on the Scimitar so oddly spacious? So that Picard can fly a captured fighter craft through them (in a scene which was unintentionaly hilarious to me because it looked like the opening credits to a Naked Gun movie.)

Furthermore, after having watched nothing but Star Trek movies for more than a week before this one there’s a distinct feeling of having seen a lot of this movie before. The ship that can fire on the Enterprise while still cloaked? Star Trek VI. The character death at the end of the movie? Star Trek II. The enemy bent on the destruction of Earth? Star Trek I, IV, and First Contact. A spectacular and lengthy scene of the Enterprise crashing? Star Trek Generations. I really didn’t feel like this movie had anything new to contribute. Unless you count the kind of cute wedding scene at the beginning of the movie – but if I want to see Enterprise crew members pairing off I’ll just read some fanfic. I don’t need a movie for that.

The odd thing is that there is clear groundwork laid for a Search for Spock style sequel to this movie but nothing ever came of it. The entire franchise had run out of steam it seems and for eight long years after this movie there were no new Star Treks in theaters. There had been one every two or three years since 1979 and then… silence. It’s like a loved one taken off of life support – you can’t bear to see them go but they were only a pale shadow of what they once were. Then, suddenly, in 2010 – the resurrection. But that’s tomorrow’s review.

January 25, 2011 - Posted by | daily reviews | , ,

1 Comment »

  1. “Like a loved one taken off life support…” – brilliant. Couldn’t have summed it up better.

    Comment by Jeff | January 26, 2011 | Reply

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