Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
March 6, 2020 10:35 PM - Subscribe

The Enterprise is diverted to the Romulan homeworld Romulus, supposedly because they want to negotiate a peace treaty. Captain Picard and his crew discover a serious threat to the Federation once Praetor Shinzon plans to attack Earth.

As per usual, Memory Alpha has a lot of interesting details, including a plot summary for those not inclined to watch the whole movie. Some relevant bits:

- This TNG film featured the longest gap between it and the preceding movie, a span of about four years. This was also the longest drought in the franchise until it was surpassed by the next film in the series, Star Trek, which was released nearly six and a half years later. However, due to its very poor box-office performance and reception, Nemesis was also the very last chronologically set in the prime universe (save for the Spock Prime mind-meld 2387 flashbacks in the 2009 film).

- Jeri Ryan was asked to reprise the role of Seven of Nine in a cameo at Riker and Troi's wedding, but refused both because she wanted to avoid being too attached to Star Trek and she was confused as to why Seven would attend the wedding of people she did not know.

- The song Riker can't remember from his first encounter with Data was "Pop Goes the Weasel," dating all the way back to the pilot, "Encounter at Farpoint".

- Although Wil Wheaton's (Wesley Crusher) only scene in the movie with any dialogue was cut from the final film, he can be seen sitting to the left of his mother at the far end of the front table during the wedding celebration (note inset photo marked "The wedding"). Several deleted scenes, including that one, can be seen in the two-disc DVD Special Collector's Edition.

- The film contains references to all five live-action Star Trek television series that had been released at this time. Riker employs an evasive maneuver named after James T. Kirk, the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation appears, Riker discusses the Remans' participation in the war with the Dominion, Admiral Janeway appears, and a USS Archer is listed among a Starfleet battle group.

- Data's self-sacrifice became a major plot point for Jean-Luc Picard in Star Trek: Picard which premiered in 2020, and in which Picard stated on several occasions that he still mourned his friend after two decades. It was also revealed in the opening episode "Remembrance" that B-4 had been deactivated and disassembled when it became evident that Data's memory engrams had not taken hold after all. The disassembled B-4 being put in storage at the Daystrom Institute indefinitely, it effectively put an end to any possibility of Data being resurrected à la Spock as he only appeared in Picard's guilt induced dreams.

- LeVar Burton is on record as having said that the film "sucked." Marina Sirtis backed him up, but also quipped "it sucked less than Insurrection." Burton and Sirtis also criticized Stuart Baird for not watching a single episode of TNG. In later years, Sirtis has been more vocal in her criticisms of Baird, referring to him as "an idiot." According to Burton and several other members of the main cast, Baird kept referring to LeVar as "Laverne" throughout production and thought the character of Geordi La Forge was an alien.

- Fans came to agree with the assessments of Burton and Sirtis: the film review website Rotten Tomatoes calculated a 37% overall approval rate for Nemesis. As of 2016, this is the second lowest of all Star Trek films, only surpassed by Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, which is widely considered to be the worst Star Trek film. Released at a time when the franchise was already under fire for the poorly-received television series Star Trek: Enterprise, it added considerable weight to a fan campaign seeking the removal of the "current leadership of the franchise from their positions, including Rick Berman, Brannon Braga [note: who, incidentally, had not worked on Nemesis], and their entire staff".

Poster's Log:

I decided to rewatch this and make a post about it pretty much 100% because of Star Trek: Picard, which refers to the events of this movie, particularly Commander Data's fate. This movie gets blamed not only for killing off Data, but the franchise in general, at least for a while (particularly where the TNG characters are concerned), along with (Star Trek:) Enterprise. And, you know, is it that bad?

Well... maybe not that bad, although it should (and could, I think) have been better. The film has some impressive design work in it, particularly in the design of the Scimitar, which takes some of the design of the Klingon Bird of Prey, as well as resembling a particularly exotic fighting fish when it's ready to fire off its thalaron radiation burst. There are also some pretty cool action sequences, such as the dune buggy chase scene (silly, but they're obviously having fun with it), some of the space battles, the Scorpion fighter escape sequence (although that also demonstrates how improbably large and empty the corridors of the Scimitar are), and the "space dive" scene, which IMO is much better than the similar sequence in Star Trek Into Darkness. The wedding wasn't bad.

But, really, the script stinks, sadly and oddly so coming from someone (John Logan) who would get Oscar nominations for Gladiator and The Aviator, among many other films that he's written. As Memory Alpha points out, this has a number of similarities to Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, and it's one of the oddities of the franchise that someone working in it occasionally thinks that they can not just pay tribute to the best film in the franchise but basically just slap a more-or-less fresh coat of paint on it and pass it off as this year's model. Shinzon is no Khan, to put it very mildly, and although Tom Hardy does his best with the part, too much of the part has him chewing on the scenery. (It doesn't help that he absolutely doesn't look like a young clone of Stewart; the script tries to dodge around this by saying that Shinzon got beat up in the dilithium mines, but then says that they have the same eyes, which no, they don't, not even close. And later we get bald Hardy in a Starfleet uniform, when we already know what Young Jean-Luc looks like.) Deanna Troi has more to do in this film than any of the others, but unfortunately, that includes mind rape, again. That eventually gets turned back on Shinzon and crew, but it makes for one seriously disturbing scene, as well as one ridiculous one (Shinzon, having just met his genetic "father", takes the time out to ask Troi if he can touch her hair). Worf gets jobbed into an embarrassing scene at the beginning, which is something that happens in most of the TNG films (the exception, First Contact, was the most successful of the TNG films... hmm...). And Ron Perlman, who has one of the most unique faces of any character actor, has it hidden behind nearly immobile makeup.

So, yeah. It's not that good, even though it sets up the superlative PIC. And it breaks the even-odd Trek movie rule, although I still believe that STIII did that, and some argue that including Galaxy Quest as a Trek movie preserves the pattern.

Poster's Log, Supplemental: I'll let others detail the connections between this and PIC, including the music.
posted by Halloween Jack (20 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
posted by Chrysostom at 10:40 PM on March 6 [7 favorites]

Tom Hardy was a bad choice to be a clone of Picard,and the entire concept of "A clone of Picard" was dumb to begin with. Someone who cared about Star Trek continuity would have pulled Denise Crosby to play Sela one last time.

Killing Data off in itself isn't a bad idea, Brent Spiner was getting too old to play him and Data deserved a conclusion to his character arc. But B-4 was a terrible idea. One: "B-4... oh, like Before!" makes no sense, did Soong say "Well, I'm probably going to make better androids after this one, so I'll name this one 'before'?" Two: if you're going to give your character a legacy don't make it "He lives on, but as a simpler, less capable version of himself." Bring back Lal, or another offspring, or heck do what I really want and have Data reveal he's built an entire secret civilization of his kind, hidden from the Federation's constant desire to study and enslave them.
posted by Mr.Encyclopedia at 6:37 AM on March 7 [6 favorites]

I didn’t realize until last year that the two main female Romulan characters are different people. That’s how bad the script and editing are.
posted by Automocar at 7:28 AM on March 7

Recently saw this again, because of Picard, also.

It's not good, but not as horrible as I remembered the first time around. As a sendoff to TNG, it was appropriately powered, I guess.

The dune buggy was stupid, B4 was stupid, it sucked having Data cannonically die sacrificing himself. Dune Buggy Redux (flying around inside of the Reman ship) was stupid. The giant Reman ship was kind of cool looking, but made very little sense. Much of the background made very little sense.

iirc, Troi has taken emergency command of the Enterprise before (or am I misremembering Crusher?) and was kind of effective as a shorthand to show how truly FUBAR the situation is supposed to be.

I couldn't recognize Tom Hardy nor Ron Perlman. Recognized Dina Meyer.

Agreed, the whole idea of a Picard clone is dumb and throwing him into the dilithium mine - instead of just disintegrating him when he was determined to be surplus to requirements - is incredibly dumb.

If I had to apologize for Tom Hardy's appearance as a Picard clone, well, the Romulans could have screwed up his genome/ epigenetics in an attempt to achieve an appropriately aged clone (ie., clone's apparent age catches up with Picard's while Picard is still in active service). The lack of hair could be just an affectation.
posted by porpoise at 3:09 PM on March 7

The onnnnnly thing I remember thinking was at all worthwhile about this movie was that the Picard-clone stuff gave Stewart and Hardy some decent fuel for acting and interacting. Do I remember correctly, or was that also bad? (I don't care enough to rewatch it.) Certainly, I don't seem to remember there being much OF it.

I guess I agree about the Romulan design—the planet scenes, the ship interiors and exteriors, that's good stuff. But I can get that from stills, and skip the movie.
posted by CheesesOfBrazil at 3:22 PM on March 7

iirc, Troi has taken emergency command of the Enterprise before (or am I misremembering Crusher?) and was kind of effective as a shorthand to show how truly FUBAR the situation is supposed to be.

There was a TNG storyline about Troy studying to become the night shift commander on the Enterprise - so she routinely commanded the ship.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:32 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

I've long thought that they could've fixed most of this movie's problems by just casting Patrick Stewart in a dual role as Picard and an aged-up Shinzon. It's not that the script is terrible, and Hardy plays the part with gusto, but you've got this young guy who doesn't look anything like Picard and they never really seem like the same person. One more pass at the script and Patrick Stewart pulling double duty, and this may have been one of the better entries in the franchise instead of being widely considered one of the worst.

I saw a bunch of deleted scenes a few years back and it seemed like they cut all the character stuff, emotional moments that would have let the film breathe a little. Given that the cast was apparently really pissed at the director, I'm kind of surprised the film isn't worse. I'd call it a solid B-. It was slightly better than the very meh Insurrecton, but it came at a time when the franchise was looking exhausted and they really, really needed a hit. This wasn't it. I loved Generations (I know, I'm one of the few) and thought First Contact was pretty good, but then we got two movies that were just kind of mediocre and unfortunately that was it for TNG on the big screen.

One of the many reasons I'm grateful for Picard is that it shows us the Prime timeline didn't get poofed away by all that time travel idiocy in the Abrams-verse. (Trek has always been a bit loosey-goosey with the rules of time travel, but according to about 90% of the rules established in Trek's time travel stories Abrams erased everything after Enterprise.) This movie takes such pains to set up a future, Spock-like resurrection for Data via B4, and while Picard shows us that never happened I wouldn't be surprised if Data comes back anyhow. I'm a few episodes behind (so no spoilers, if you please!) but they did say that if even a bit of Data survived it was possible all his memories could be recreated. I think the showrunners are laying the groundwork for Data's return, which would be lovely.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 4:17 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]

iirc, Troi has taken emergency command of the Enterprise before (or am I misremembering Crusher?) and was kind of effective as a shorthand to show how truly FUBAR the situation is supposed to be.

There was a TNG storyline about Troy studying to become the night shift commander on the Enterprise - so she routinely commanded the ship.

IIRC Troi ends up in charge of the enterprise in the episode where Picard gets trapped in the turbolift with some kids, then in a later episode she takes the exam so she can have command regularly? The exam involves sending hologram Geordie to his doom (I want to say).
posted by biffa at 4:45 PM on March 7 [2 favorites]

There was a TNG storyline about Troy studying to become the night shift commander on the Enterprise - so she routinely commanded the ship.

I was wrong about this. The episode is Thine Own Self, in season 7. When it starts out, Crusher is commanding the night shift. And after chatting to her Troy decides to take the Bridge Officer year to become a full commander. She cites the time she took command after the Enterprise hit a ‘quantum filament’.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 7:34 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

But at the end of the episode she does say that she is taking a watch on the bridge.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:00 PM on March 7

Brent Spiner was getting too old to play him

It was established in the series that Data was programmed to age in appearance with the passage of time, so Spiner's age was/is irrelevant.

Loved Wesley showing up for the wedding with no explanation. Hated Troi being mind-raped again.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 8:11 PM on March 7

The onnnnnly thing I remember thinking was at all worthwhile about this movie was that the Picard-clone stuff gave Stewart and Hardy some decent fuel for acting and interacting. Do I remember correctly, or was that also bad?

It's not bad; Shinzon is trying to convince Picard that he wants to do the Romulan version of the Khitomer Accords, and if we hadn't already seen him murder the whole Romulan Senate--not to mention getting creepy with Troi in front of the whole landing party--it might have worked.
posted by Halloween Jack at 9:01 PM on March 7 [1 favorite]

Wesley showing up for the wedding

I loved the cameo also, but... at this point in time, he's been transformed or transcendent or transwarped or something already.

The mom-son talks must have been super awkward AF?

Just glad that Jerry Ryan turned down showing up as Seven. "Why would Seven attend a wedding where she knows nobody?" - Jerry Ryan (paraphrased).

Shinzon-Picard were some of the better parts of the film, granted. But my takeaway is that despite their shared genetics, Shinzon and Picard ended up being very very different people by the time that they met.

Which was probably the point the film wanted to get across.
posted by porpoise at 12:10 AM on March 8 [1 favorite]

I loved the cameo also, but... at this point in time, he's been transformed or transcendent or transwarped or something already.

The mom-son talks must have been super awkward AF?

Well, his mentor The Traveler could phase in and out of our dimension, so I assume he has the same ability. But, yeah, I can totally imagine Beverly being all, "Would it kill you to give your mother a call next time you're on this plane of existence?"
posted by The Underpants Monster at 11:37 AM on March 8 [2 favorites]

I remember watching this in the theatre and being so pissed off that this was the send off they were giving the TNG crew. It felt like a contractual obligation for all involved. Given who the studio handed the reigns to to make the movie, they clearly felt the same way.

I remember the first three TNG movies were huge fandom events. I went on opening day with friends/fellow fans. People cheered during the films, even in certain moment of Insurrection, flimsy as it was. By the time Nemesis rolled around, all the steam had gone out of that iteration of the franchise. I went alone a week or two after it opened. The crowd in the theatre was sparse and the audience and the actors felt like everyone was going through the motions. The plot was stupid and did it's best to try to wreck several aspects of the TNG canon. Even Data's sacrifice felt hollow. There was no weight to it. I appreciate that the Picard series has given it some meaning after the fact. They are doing pretty good with what they were handed.
posted by dry white toast at 9:29 PM on March 8 [1 favorite]

I watched this a few weeks ago as part of a run through all the Trek movies. I don’t think it’s the worst, but Hardy was neither convincing as a young Patrick Stewart, nor Shinzon a convincing variation of Picard’s character (his only innate qualities are baldness and being a leader??). I LOL’ed at Shinzon’s death scene, and the sheer goofiness of it made me think of how it might’ve read back in 2002 - there are things about Hardy’s performance that are a bit... Dr Evil-esque. I found the fighter going through the corridors enjoyably silly, my first thought was “hey, Picard’s playing Descent”. My brain was in full 90s throwback mode by that point. Poor Data and his dumb, unjustified death, I hadn’t seen this movie before, and I’m glad I’m watching ST:PIC so soon after to wash the stink of that away. I get why people were bitter.
posted by threecheesetrees at 3:34 AM on March 9

The day we went to the theater for this, the guy in front of us in line was returning tickets for it at the booth. Never a good sign!

I've always liked elements of the visual design, but the tone and storyline are a long way from the show by this point.
The new series is very much a followup in this regard. Grimdarky Old Man Picard With Cool Aesthetics v0.

Crusher gets virtually nothing to do in this film(or any of them really).
posted by StarkRoads at 8:37 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]

I enjoyed this film, particularly the set design and costumes. The special effects were also engaging, and the story line ties some stuff together for me, since I have not seen all the films that act as, (or don't,) linkage between time frames and series. I just binge watched all of Star Trek over the last year and a half, a gift to myself, as I threw out my TV's in 2006, after watching pretty much nothing but bits and pieces of Star Trek, and some Leno, (single parenting.) It is fascinating watching all the interconnections and "bit" players who work in different series. The actor who plays Shram the Andorian, then plays the Weyoun the Clone, and the Ferangi SEC, (basically,) Jeffrey Combs is a fave of mine. I am engaged by how on Earth the writers and producers have kept this whole, wide ranging series on the road for so long. I am glad I saw the film, and the smarmy, murky connections between man and clone.

I found myself sitting three feet from Robert Beltran, before I saw all of Voyager and his role in it. While I was watching Voyager I picked up such a familiar sense of Commander Chacotay, I looked him up, and yeah, his accent is pure Bakersfield, where he grew up. He reminds me of my Son in Law, local guy, educated in the arts, comes with a linguistic stamp.

Fresh back relatively from the total Nest Gen assimilation, you could see how the budget started, with fog machines, and bad house plants, and went forward with more budgeting for sets, and then digital. I am sure Nemesis did and didn't cost a lot, since so much visual is special effects anymore. Great art in this film.
posted by Oyéah at 11:13 AM on March 9 [1 favorite]

IIRC Troi ends up in charge of the enterprise in the episode where Picard gets trapped in the turbolift with some kids

Hah, I was going to mention this because I'd just watched that episode this weekend. 70% of the time I've known my now wife there has been one of the various Trek shows playing in the background (lately the rest of the time it's one of the various 90 Day Fiancee shows). I actually don't super care for Trek that much, but I've "seen" each of the shows all the way through at least 4 times via osmosis.

It's the 4th season episode where Picard sings Frère Jacques with the kids. I actually remember seeing this one as a kid the first time it aired.
posted by sideshow at 9:55 AM on March 10 [1 favorite]

That little kid is grown up now and having an existential crisis over the fact that there's no such thing as a Chief Mushroom Officer.
posted by The Underpants Monster at 2:02 PM on March 10

« Older The X-Files: Fallen Angel...   |  The New Pope: Eighth Episode... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments