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Review: Don't Fear! Say Goodbye to TNG and Give STAR TREK NEMESIS the Second Chance it Deserves on DVD!


Posted: 08:19:00 on May 16 2003
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: Features More
116 minutes
Rated PG-13
One disc
List price: $29.99
Street date: May 20, 2003

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TrekWeb's Rating:

Written by Steve Krutzler

If NEMESIS destroyed the STAR TREK feature film franchise, I'm still trying to figure out why. After watching the film twice on its new DVD release--hitting U.S. shelves Tuesday--I remain firmly committed to my in-depth review of the film last December and the declaration that NEMESIS is the best of the four NEXT GENERATION features. There is no need to repeat the analysis presented there, but this movie stands up well and is innocent of the atrocious crimes many critics and fans, not to mention the dismal box office, have laid at its doorstep.

Indeed, NEMESIS has everything of a hallmark STAR TREK adventure and is the only TNG film to capture the true cinematic scope of a big screen production. From the serious lighting to Jerry Goldsmith's subdued and nostalgic musical cues, the tenth TREK really has it all. An uber-villain with multiple dimensions, a moral dilemma that takes more than a few brain cells to wrap your head around, impressive and lengthy space battles, the first glimpse of the Romulan Senate, some new Enterprise sets, a healthy dose of Deanna Troi, comedy that works, surprising sacrifices, closure, and hope.

Many say screenwriter John Logan copied STAR TREK II too completely, even down to Shinzon's super-weapon reminiscent of the Genesis Device, and Data's death copped from Spock's stunning sacrifice. Others say the uber-villain vs. good guys structure has grown tiresome, a fact that did little to diminish popular interest in STAR TREK: FIRST CONTACT, let alone DIE ANOTHER DAY, SPIDER-MAN or STAR WARS EPISODE II more recently. In the final analysis, STAR TREK NEMESIS sticks to the formula that worked for the best of the series and considering fan reaction to films that don’t follow this formula, you can't really blame them. Among ten pictures, NEMESIS is easily above the sleep-inducing (albeit enlightening) MOTION PICTURE, the pilgrimage for God that was STAR TREK V, or the good-intentioned INSURRECTION that hardly reached 1:40. GENERATIONS can make no claim to breaking the formula with its silver-haired baddie, and FIRST CONTACT must pull some impressive magic to convince anyone that the slithery Borg Queen had more complexity than a hormonal slug.

If truth be told, only half the STAR TREK movies are really any good in the annals of film history and NEMESIS is hardly the worst of the series. With its parallel plotlines concerning self-identity and familial connection, NEMESIS easily paints the most intricate tapestry of any TNG pic, even if its full potential is never entirely realized. The overarching criticism in my original review was that the film seemed over-edited, with scenes like Picard and Data talking about the future sucked out in favor of action segments like the chase sequence on Kolarus III (a portion that many seem intent on sucking any enjoyment from by insisting that it was a violation of the Prime Directive, even though the Kolaruns fired first).

Upon re-watching the film, however, the final cut is probably as close to the best one that could have been managed. There remain several long dialogue exchanges that, while full of wonderful STAR TREK-ism like the debate that Picard undertakes with Shinzon, would've severely jeopardized the pace of the movie if they had been any longer. After watching several of these moments in the DVD's deleted scene gallery, I've come to the conclusion that many of the problems were rooted in the script and couldn't have been remedied through editing without significant rewrites.

All in all, NEMESIS is guilty of little more than some questionable costume design and insensitivity to the fact that what the fans say they want may not really be what they want. But then again, there's really no evidence to suggest that the fans let NEMESIS down so much as it was scheduled among a plethora of broader-appealing event pictures a mere five days before the Oscar-contending film of the moment. The critics, however, would have us believe NEMESIS bombed because it was the worst film since WATERWORLD or some other colossal misfire. Unfortunately for STAR TREK, it's a myth more easily debunked in the calm of hindsight and six months too late.

Deleted Scenes
The NEMESIS DVD comes with something of a first in the world of STAR TREK: never before seen deleted scenes from the movie. Seven of them, in fact. This is the first TREK movie to release this type of material so soon after theatrical release and certainly the only TNG film to do so. GENERATIONS and INSURRECTION both had a lot of footage excised, none of which has surfaced officially from Paramount. With NEMESIS it was almost a given there would be some on the disc, considering 45 minutes of footage was cut from the final version of the movie. Thankfully, the folks at Paramount Home Entertainment were successful in coaxing Rick Berman from his anti-lost footage stance for this release. Surprisingly, he had little to fear.

Much was made of the missing scenes by fans (myself included) surrounding the movie’s release, proclaiming that the film could’ve been a masterpiece if not for some overly anxious scissor hands. What we see in these seven clips, however, is a collection of scenes best left out of the picture. Probably the most infamous is that of Picard and Data sipping Chateau Picard in the captain’s quarters after the wedding in what would’ve been a foreshadowing of the film’s emotional conclusion. Amazingly, this scene was right to be left out. At about three minutes, the scene is mostly a vacuous soliloquy by Stewart and Logan’s writing is just too on the nose. There is no doubt about the function of a scene like this (cf McCoy in Kirk’s apartment in ST2, but without any of the energizing conflict between the two), but this one would’ve just added to an already long-winded feature and needed reworking in the script phase. Some of the material, about Picard losing his family, could’ve been easily added to the end of the wedding sequence but in this scene it seems as though Picard says twice as much as he needs to get his point across and worse yet, it probably would’ve been too obvious a setup for film’s conclusion.

The other big scene much talked about was the original ending of the script, involving the new first officer calling Picard by his first name and the captain trying out a new captain’s chair outfitted with a seatbelt. Thankfully the filmmakers found a much more poignant way to end the movie than with this silliness, and the scene isn’t really all that fun to watch as it is cringe-inducing. Scenes with Troi analyzing Picard’s dilemma after the discovery of the clone and Picard arriving in Sickbay to observe battle preparations and comment to Beverly on the sorrow of sailing into battle instead of exploration could’ve remained and would’ve given the female characters a few more lines to chew on. Worf warning “extreme caution” from the film’s teaser trailer is virtually worthless, while the first telepathic “rape” of Troi could’ve gone either way, possibly enhancing the Shinzon/Troi/Riker plotline, but providing nothing if the Riker/Viceroy angle was to remain as toned down as it ultimately was.

This leaves two adjoining scenes with Shinzon revealing his plan to the Romulan Senate before we see him on the Scimitar. Count this as probably the smartest thing Stuart Baird did and his explanation for the edit is sound, even if the prologue with Commanders Surak and Donatra and the Viceroy’s “in darkness, there is strength” moment could’ve been preserved without spoiling Shinzon’s eventual unveiling. All the scenes are preceded by an introduction from Rick Berman about the pain of cutting them and some of the scenes are introduced by Baird or Stewart, though none of their remarks will come as new if you followed the film’s interviews and release hype six months ago. The scenes are also very rough and unfinished, making them almost painful to the eyes. I can understand not filling in some green-screen work, but many of these scenes were glimpsed in finished form in the movie’s trailers so why they’re presented so shabbily here is anyone’s guess.

These deleted scenes are bittersweet, however. It’s nice to finally have such material included on a first-disc release, but there are many scenes known to have been shot that are simply left out. Data teaching B4 how to use motor skills in the all-new crew lounge set would’ve added some humor (and another locale) to the middle of the film, and it seems only fair that we should be able to glimpse the scene with Geordi and Worf visiting Data’s quarters after his death, if at least in unfinished form.

Perhaps the least engaging director’s commentary on any STAR TREK DVD awaits you in Stuart Baird’s energy-sapping session. Do yourself a favor and enjoy the movie without his fairly uninteresting and wholly unenthusiastic commentary track. He doesn’t even bother to introduce himself, spends most of the time talking about how just about every scene is shorter than originally written (info you get elsewhere), and offering very little in the way of artistic choices other than to mention a few carefully planned motion control shots. Considering the gravity of this film for the feature franchise, commentary with Berman, Logan and some of the cast would’ve been in order.

Four brand new production documentaries await you on this release, totaling in at about 45 minutes. So soon after the film hit theaters, none of these segments have any of the sort of reflection that might come with several years more to think about it, probably the biggest drawback to the slate. There are remarks from mostly Stuart Baird, Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner, with some interview footage with the rest of the cast. Most of the segments are about 10 minutes and all are culled from this same interview footage with the occasional bit of between-takes conversation interspersed with plenty of production video and of course clips from the film. NEW FRONTIERS: Stuart Baird on Directing NEMESIS consists mostly of the director talking about how he has absolutely no clue about STAR TREK and that this was an asset to the picture. Other personalities chime in to appropriately praise him—no mention of reported set tensions or mistakenly referring to LeVar Burton’s character as an alien in here. Just good, clean, company fun. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just not as salacious as Nimoy’s recollections of fighting with Michael Eisner over STAR TREK III.

A BOLD VISION OF THE FINAL FRONTIER is the best of bunch and contains mostly Baird talking about various production techniques for certain scenes. Particularly intriguing is the split screen technique the featurette producer uses several times to play a sequence from the movie in one part of the screen while simultaneously showing the behind the scenes video of that sequence being filmed. For instance, you’ll see a finished scene of the Enterprise being rocked by weapons fire and the bridge coming apart at the seams, while at the same time in another corner you see the actual set being shook with hydraulics at the corresponding moment. This is something not seen before on a TREK disc and clearly NEMESIS had the benefit of being produced in the age of the ever-curious DVD.

A STAR TREK FAMILY’S FINAL JOURNEY has most of the cast talking about how good the movie is, what the theme of the movie is, why Gene Roddenberry would like the movie, etc. etc. RED ALERT! SHOOTING THE ACTION OF NEMESIS has an extended segment of shooting the much-maligned Kolarun car chase sequence, as well as some photography of the model and CGI work that went into the Enterprise collision sequence. Both are competent and interesting even if not astounding. If you immersed yourself in all the interviews leading up to the film’s release, much of what people have to say won’t come as a surprise to you. However, for everyone else, and for posterity, all this discussion is sure to enlighten.

A photo gallery rounds out the set with over 40 stills of production, many of which are artwork sketches. The disc starts with a handy option to view trailers for the DS9 DVD sets, the STAR TREK EXPERIENCE in Vegas and THE HOURS or proceed right to the NEMESIS goodies. The menus are pretty impressive, featuring the film’s trademark Bassin Rift standoff. Notably absent are trailers for the film.

The Final Blow
The NEMESIS DVD is certainly a product of contradictions. Considering the film’s poor box office, it’s obvious they weren’t going to invest in a massive two-disc set and it’s probably just as well. A few years to absorb the film’s impact on STAR TREK may provide for some much more engaging interviews from all the major players. Even so, this product sets some impressive new precedents for STAR TREK DVDs. It’s a pretty full set with a really fun and visually-stunning film, a feature-length commentary, several behind the scenes programs and a thick group of deleted scenes, the inclusion of which probably marks some sort of personal growth for Rick Berman. There is more footage to be seen, but had they tried to squeeze everything on here it would’ve just compromised the quality of the film’s transfer. With all this in mind, it’s hard to complain about the relatively innocuous special features and after discovering that NEMESIS, indeed, does not suck, you’ll probably agree this is a great buy.

© 2003 TrekWeb.com. All rights reserved.

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Cut up
By cooper2000 ( ) at 02:06:47 on June 14 2003
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Hey, I'll give it a second chance if you give me the movie that was filmed and not cut to smithereens.
Until then, I dont have any desire to see the movie again.

I want character moments and to see my old friends together again. I want to see what the movie was suppose to be before the powers that be decided to up the effect quotient so it would be just another Big Blocbuster Hollywood movie.

They went for the newbies and forgot the true Trek fans and what they wanted to see.
Nuff said!!!!

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

Fine attention to detail BUT..
By Cryoplasm ( ) at 22:48:31 on June 10 2003
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..But the same attention to detail given to sfx and sets aren't upheld in the storyline. The plot is weak which is real shame. Lots of eye candy on the screen and that's all it is, a shell - no substance. Very very sad to see TNG end like this.

BTW any chance we could get a decent forum to post messages? This current version doesn't cut it too well.


* * § 31 * *

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

Gave it one more chance and
By shakamaker ( ) at 07:45:35 on June 03 2003
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It was still a pile of crap!Gene Roddenberry must be turning over in his grave.
The deleted scences were borning to say the least!!
Rick berman thanks for ruining star trek.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

I got mine today too
By Grand Admiral Thrawn ( ) at 03:48:22 on May 26 2003
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I liked the transfer to DVD its crystal clear but audio is lacking. I have a good surround system and this dvd dont even come close to what I felt with movies like LOTR and ATOC. Anyway, the movie menu graphics are quite good with enterprise and the scimitar facing each other for the final battle.
I liked the mvoie but I agree with others that this movie has no soul...it just didn't engross or captivate me. But still its nowhere as bad as Insurrection or Genererations and is a close second to First Contact. It deserved much better box-office than it got. Ah...the curse of B&B:the morons who killed Star Trek


Hardcore trekkie; a endangered breed.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

Nemisis DVD
By Brad McNeely ( ) at 11:29:08 on May 24 2003
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I watched my newly acquired Nemesis DVD with such a mixture of emotion. I was saddened by the continual reuse of plots and concepts and lack of originality. I did enjoy the deleted scenes. However to be fair, of those included on the DVD, only a few of them really added any substance to the movie. I hope if Paramount decides to take on another Trek project for the big screen they'll take some advise:
1. No Admiral Janeway. Actually no Voyager crew at all.
2. You don't have to have the movie end with a contribed "pending disaster" such as the radiation devices used in Insurrection and Nemisis. It's nothing more than a rip off of the Genesis device from TWOK. We let you do something similar to that in First Contact with the deflector dish being used to send a message that had to be stopped, but you just kept reusing the plot over and over.
3. Deep Space 9. You remember that "other" series. It's really the only one that was handled with any dignity since TNG and was the last well written Trek series. Show us some more of that universe.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

After watching the deleted scenes...
By steveleenow ( steveleenow@yahoo.com) at 18:47:33 on May 21 2003
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and especially the scene between picard and data, I think the movie would have been fine with them included in the movie. Even if they could've inserted the scene in the romulan senate, perhaps after we meet him with picard, a longer scene explaining what is going on early on would have helped. It gave a nice exposition of things to come, which was kinda lacking - we had this coup, but why?

And the scene with commander madden was nice. And the second rape scene would have added resonance to Riker's battle with the guy who helped mind rape her.

I think things would have lined up fine and the movie would have only been another 15 minutes long. Just over two hours. That's not too bad.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

Don't Fear!....
By the quickening ( ) at 18:15:36 on May 21 2003
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Having skipped the movie at my local theater, I finally saw NEMESIS last night on DVD. It was no way as bad as I have heard, but I think it is only an average film with the first third of the film being very good, the middle third too talky and the final act just not that exciting to me. As I feared, the space battles just didn't engage me--I am tired of them. I think the public is as well. Even George Lucas in his Star Wars movies knows the "money" shots have to be more than just space battles. All the mistakes that have been mentioned by all who did not like the film were there: a coup that is too quick, too easy and off camera; Shinzon hating the Federation more than the Romulans--the ones who actually mistreated him; direct lifts from TWOK that don't even come close to working to the same effect; too many coincidences and questionable actions--Shinzon finding another Data, acquiring Picard's DNA, Shinzon's finding the Enterprise's location for the final attack way too easy; crashing into a ship with operative shields; unnecessary sex and rape; two much obvious repeating of the "mirror" theme of the movie--let the viewers find some of the text of the movie, don't spell it out like we are children or something. On the plus side the production, CGI, music, acting--especially Stewart, where good. I'll score it with a C+. Better than GENERATIONS and INSURRECTION. I still however, enjoyed FIRST CONTACT more.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

DVD Transfer
By DarthSpock ( ) at 20:05:58 on May 20 2003
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Regardless of what you feel about the film in terms of plot,or direction; the transfer to DVD is flawless.
The video is crystal clear, with bright crisp colors with a clear contrast and the surround sound is masterful. During the battle scenes I could clearly hear various effects from all 5 speakers distinctly and the subwoofer was being pushed hard.

It really does look and sound great.
That alone is worth the price.

(If anyone cares: I liked the movie too, not great, but thought it was a solid entertaining 2 hours. Yes it could have been better, but certainly could have been worse.)


"I am not sure what disappoints me more... your cowardice or your stupidity."

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

Common as Muck
By spacebeluga ( ) at 16:21:33 on May 18 2003
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It was a common as muck action film. A common as muck action film that had good drama and decent acting, and that I thoroughly enjoyed, but still a common as muck action film. I love Star Trek because it is unique, so my standards for it are so much higher.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

NEMESIS had hidden, subtle marvels
By Alawi ( ) at 04:03:35 on May 18 2003
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In order to make a fair assesment of NEMESIS one really must look at its TNG predecessors and to examine the flaws in each film.

GENERATIONS had a great opening (Enterprise B with Kirk and co), an interesting premise about a parallel universe, an effective score (garnering more fans throughout the years), some effective scenes such as the Amargosa planet exploding, a nifty Duras Sisters vs Enterprise battle (albeit with the reused fx shot from ST VI), a great Enterprise saucer crash, but it was bogged down by Dickensian Christmas scenes and of Picard's angst concerning the family he never had. Kirk's chemistry with Picard was evident but the way Kirk was killed off (falling of a bridge for goodness sake's trying to catch a remote control for a missile system) and buried under a pile of rocks was a slap in the face of TOS fans. I like Malcolm McDowell, I think he was a decent villain but he was too preocuppied with his own demons in trying to reach his dead wife and kids via the nexus - he was too caught up in his own thing to be a serious threat to the Enterprise.

FIRST CONTACT was 3 movies (Borg vs Enterprise, Zephram Cochrane and warp, and Borg Queen and Data), the best of which was the Borg vs Enterprise angle. The other sublots were tedious and unambitious. The movie contained one 15 second space battle and was anti-climactic, even though the Zero gravity sequence was effective. I absolutely loathed the Montana sequences and especially Troi's drunken scene.

INSURRECTION was LOST HORIZONS meets THE SOUND OF MUSIC. It was a New Age, cheap-looking film with terrible forced humor (zit jokes, tit jokes, Gilbert and Sullivan singing, Picard doing the mambo etc) and lines ("Everyone lock and load!" "In the event of an emergency I can be used as a flotation device!"). The villains were laughable, especially the plastic surgery angle. INSURRECTION, was all about sagging breasts and plastic surgery, like it was developed by an employee in a Beverly Hills salon. And to make matters worse it has an unbearable sublot with Data and a little kid with that CGI pet of his. INSURRECTION made the movie version of LOST IN SPACE look like CITIZEN KANE.

There are marvels in NEMESIS, if only one pays attention to them. It is an interesting film, and as I mentioned in my casual review on the BBS, I agree with Steve that it is the best TNG film. It is taut, kinetic, and engrossing. It is a lean and mean action thriller with great performances by the cast.

I am not going to focus on the smashing biological-like attack on the Senate, the THREE KINGS-like desert chase, Data's rescue of Picard from "The Scorpion," Troi's 'remember me' scene and the final, beautifully shot, edited and scored battle involving four ships. I love those scenes but there are other very enjoyable albeit more subtle ones in NEMESIS.

The original script of NEMESIS opens with the splicing of DNA as I recall and a frightened child being lead into the Reman mines as a slaveworker.

I remember someone who reviewed that script (maybe it was Robhnbud or Captain Kronos, not sure) who stated that it would be a terrific opening for the film - the full opening credits supposedly would run with theses scenes.

NEMESIS the movie however does not have that opening -it opens in space and zooms into Romulus with just the title STAR TREK NEMESIS . Is it a better film because it started that way, I am not sure, but it still is a pretty good opening.

Later during Picard's dinner with Shinzon, in a room off the Senate (a room which looks suspiciously Medieval somehow) the sequences with the child are introduced but they are shot in hazy, blue monochrome (aided by a nice f/x shot of a pan into the mines). It is an effective scene but Stuart Baird does not wallow in it, so as not to give too unecessary sympathy to Shinzon.

The introductory sequence with Shinzon and the Viceroy coming down those steps, in the dimly lit room, was very atmospheric. Shinzon walks down quietly, like a hungry predator, examining the crew, notably especially Troi and Picard, while a stern Ryker looks on uncomfortably. I loved the darkness of that scene, both in image and in subtext.

Another great scene features Data attempting to explain to B-4 why he has to turn him off (after the former downloads ship secrets). There is an endearing, warm quality to that scene. Brent Spiner -in innefective yellow pancake makeup amplified by DVD's crisp quality - is annoyed at B-4 but not angry; he takes on the role of the older sibling who dissaproves of the actions of the younger one, but just when you think you see an element of anger in Data, he calls B-4 "brother." The term "brother" coming from Data means he has come full circle. In a way he is looking at himself from "Encounter at Farpoint" and is now acting like the human he is not. I am not a fan of Data in general but I loved that scene.

For the first time in a TNG movie we get an effective, ready room sequence where the Captain and his crew discuss Shinzon, and reunite again in it for a farewell toast to their dead colleague.

I also loved the dark orange look of the interior of the space ship (the dark red doors, the panels etc) as well as the background graphics on the monitors and various screens across the ship. Indeed. Mathew Leonetti's (MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 2, TOP GUN) cinematography is excellent, especially considering the confines of the ship.

The Jerry Goldsmith score, somehow was much more effective onscreen with the action, than I remember it being when I heard it on the Cd. Ultimately, it is one of his better TNG scores, and his ST:TMP fanfare at spacedock, in the end, almost brought tears to my eyes - it's like all the ST movies had come full circle, beginning and ending in spacedock.

I love this film.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

Great job Steve
By Hawk11 ( ) at 17:48:04 on May 17 2003
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This is all about everyones personal view of the world we've come to know as Star Trek. All of us who are fans and post our comments here give the in depth ideas as to could have or should have happened in this film. If anyone who doesn't want to buy the DVD doesn't, then don't!! That's your choice and no one will think less of you for it.
With DVD's being so much more popular than the VHS world where you had to wait for 99% of the movies to be available to own. We all wait for great features, or even interesting ones so that we can buy them. Over the past several weeks and in weeks ahead we aren't looking at much in terms of "must own" DVD's. When NEMESIS hits the shelf as the only movie to really offer anything to the millions of DVD enthusiats, I guarantee it will be a pretty hot seller.
I went to see XMEN2 and found that sometimes too much of trying to keep every character so involved takes away from what's going on in the rest of the film. I felt that at times there were very long delays between one scene to another where you could almost forget what was going on in a scene you had just seen previously. Nemesis manages not to do this.
Adding some of those deleted scenes to the final cut might have just given us a bit more of a taste of the characters who seemed to have been left out. I can take or give Baird's performance as a director. A great choice, believe it or not, would have been to take a director from the original series. Someone who knew this whole crew and all their potentials, or who knew what kind of creative influence the cast has on their sets. Think of what the directors of Yesterdays Enterprise, Best of Both Worlds, Redemption, and Chain of Command to name a few, could have done with a 50 million dollar budget rather than a 1 million dollar budget. I think it could have been pretty impressive.
The major fault of NEMESIS put plain and simple, that there was no creativity beyond the original script. We got what was written. The drawback to the production was not believing enough in the fan base to think we couldn't stay interested in this movie for more than a 2 hour feature.
We knew enough of the conflict between Schinzon and the Romulans, but after eliminating the Senate, why be so pissed at the federation? Why? answer: conquest. that's it. no reason to go further.
I will buy it, I will enjoy having it, and I'm sure I will watch it over and over hoping for the final release of the disc after the rest of the special editions are made.
By the way, what's the holding of making the special edition for ST: The Final Frontier? must be having trouble with coming up with a great selling point for this one.
And Steve, if you would like to see upwards of about 250 really great reviews, be it negative or positive, but mostly positive, visit amazon.com and read what people wrote there. I have never seen so many reviews written about one movie. not even for Star Wars episodes 1 or 2. It's very high on the sales rank there and it will do fine come May 20th.
Thanks for all your incite and to everyone who replies to these articles whatever your opinion may be.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

Just Don't See It
By covetom ( ) at 08:32:35 on May 17 2003
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You know, Steve, I normally respect your opinions of Star Trek, but I just can't get it with why you have so much praise for Nemesis. I'm not one of the Nemesis-haters. I think it was an entertaining film.

But better than The Motion Picture? Or this intricate tapestry you mention? I just don't see it. Sure, people point to the "nature vs. nurture" theme to prove that Nemesis was more than an action film. But, frankly, that whole theme feels like something that was just dropped into a few scenes to make an action film feel like it had more depth. It doesn't feel like that theme is the purpose of the movie, or that it is ever fully explored.

In First Contact, which you seem to constantly say was not as good as Nemesis, I truly felt that the inner turmoil that Picard was going through as a result of his personal experience with the Borg was central to the plot. I really feel like the first warp flight was something monumentally important, and that the TNG characters on the ground worked as the great team they are to make that happen. First Contact felt like it had a purpose and a point and that it wasn't just driving from one action scene to another. Nemesis just feels like a Hollywood action movie with a few scenes to fit it into our TNG universe.

There are other things too. Data's death lacked any emotional punch for me. Spock's death is enough to make me cry, even to this day. Data's death comes nowhere close and, worse than that, seems meaningless and unnecessary. The entire B-9 subplot was corny in my opinion. Not to mention that it began with the absolutely ridiculous Star Trek car chase.

No, Steve, I just don't see it. The Motion Picture succeeded on an intellectual level. The Wrath of Khan succeeded on an emotional level. Nemesis succeeds on neither, in my opinion. Even The Final Frontier, for all its corniness and flaws, captured the interpersonal dynamic of the Kirk/Spock/McCoy trio better than any other Trek film.

Nemesis, while entertaining, is only entertaining because it's a competently-made action movie with a couple of extremely brief bits of banter between characters that we already know and love. Beyond that, I can't see much to latch on to in this particular entry in the Trek saga.

Take care!



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Steve, in your opinion,
By Osnard ( ) at 00:54:43 on May 17 2003
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will there ever be a Nemesis Ultimate Edition DVD? Looking over at the extras on Nemesis, they seem fairly comprable to what Paramount is doing with the TOS Special Editons (commentary, a few docs). I firmly plan on buying Nemeis, I just don't want to buy it twice.


Batman would break Frank Castle's jaw, and he'd enjoy it.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

NEMESIS wasn't the worst--but it sure as hell ain't the best!
By Shaun ( ) at 18:29:56 on May 16 2003
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For one thing, I don't remember any of the major critics calling NEMESIS the worst TREK film ever--if any did, they were few and far between. What I DO recall from most of the reviews I read/heard was an overwhelming and resounding sense of resignation with STAR TREK in general. This has also been happening with the BOND series for years. Does ANY film series need to go on indefinitely? Rather than just make a series of over-blown 2-hour TV movies, I'd appreciate the TREK series of films more if they actually made MOVIES--huge in scope, emotion and characterization. The one to beat in terms of scope in THE MOTION PICTURE. The emotion and characterization prize goes to WRATH OF KHAN and SEARCH FOR SPOCK. The TNG films haven't even come close. As for NEMESIS in particular, Picard and Shinzon's conflict bored me to tears (their conversations lack any real spark or wit) and Data's death left me completely unmoved. And why no mention of either Lore or Troi's previous relationship with Worf? And B-9's insipid comments didn't help matters ("Why is the captain's head shiny?" Puh-leeze).

I don't have a problem with anyone liking NEMESIS. I can see how some would. But I do have a problem with someone who implies that fans who DON'T like it are the ones with the problem! NEMESIS is not the worst film ever made, but it is still poorly made, written and edited, and in some cases, photographed. I was up for enjoying this one--I really was. I've watched every episode of TNG at least twice, and I went with my father, who's a first-generation TREK fan. We were both bored stiff. We went a week after it opened and the theater was only 1/4 full (at a 7:30 show!). There were barely any laughs or "woo-hoos" during the space battles. When the film finally ended, there was no applause of any sort and every one just kind of filed out of the theater like zombies. No one leaving was animated in any way saying, "What a great TREK movie!" There was more a sense of, "That was it?"

I still enjoy STAR TREK, but at the same time, I'm simply tired of Berman & Braga's version of it. TREK is their meal-ticket and they're going to ride it for all it's worth. No one can convince me that they have any sort of passion whatsoever for this material. To them, it's a steady job, plain and simple, and as long as we keep supporting them, then they'll keep churning out TREK-Lite until the well runs completely dry. NEMESIS is proof that their idea of STAR TREK is going absolutely nowhere. By supporting a movie like that, we're telling the powers-that-be that we're okay with half-baked TREK. Does being a TREK fan mean you have to be complacent or filled with denial when sub-par movies and TV series are heaped on us...?

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I'm positive too but I wonder.
By Hbasm ( ) at 18:01:52 on May 16 2003
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So why did the movie get a bunch of negative rewievs? I read one in my local newspaper. It said it was another B-movie, only worth looking at if you were member of the StarTrek cult and a mindless follower of the dreaded saga from the series. The rewiever said Nemesis featured ship technology that looked like a Commodore 64 computer, and was the last glimpse of dim light from a dying star.

Grr! To me this looks like a general dislike for Star Trek that surfaces every time these people get a chance! But it cant be true, that rewievers are allowed to kick a film besed on preconceptions? I'm really tired of all the Trek / Berman bashing!

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Thank you Steve...
By Ensign Ro-Your-Boat ( ) at 13:23:27 on May 16 2003
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Spot on. I couldn't have said it better myself.

My opinion on NEM is really quite simple--it's one of the four Trek flicks I'm buying now that I finally broke down and got myself a DVD player.

As far as I'm concerned, NEM, TWOK, TSFS and (of course!) TVH are the only Trek flicks actually worth owning.


"Rock and roll's a prostitute. It should be tarted up, perfomed."

--"Maxwell Demon" (Brian Slade)

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I love that you agree w/ me, or I with you, on this movie. I loved it and cried at the end. I was so excited to see this movie that I went by myself w/o any friends to ruin the experience on opening day. I went and was NOT let down in the least bit. I loved it! Excellet review. I could not agree more.


"Yes, madam, I am drunk. But in the morning I will be sober and you will still be ugly.
-- Winston Churchill

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Why just 7 deleted scenes?
By John ( ) at 10:46:32 on May 16 2003
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Where's the rest of the 45 minutes taken out? And after making such a big deal about bringing back Wil Wheaton then having to cut his stuff out at the wedding, where's that? What about Bev talking about leaving the ship to go back to Starfleet Medical? Like ST5, this is one DVD I won't be buying until it's done right. Maybe they should have let Kevin Smith take a stab at directing this, at least he throws every piece of deleted material on his DVD's.

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Good Review and Commentary
By Tbar ( tbar@divertigo.com) at 09:49:43 on May 16 2003
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Good work on this review Steve. I am in total agreement with you about the film and I can't wait to get my copy of it next week.

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I'll Stick with My View, Too
By vjmurphy ( ) at 09:37:45 on May 16 2003
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"The critics, however, would have us believe NEMESIS bombed because it was the worst film since WATERWORLD or some other colossal misfire."

No. Critics would have us believe that the film failed because it was derivative of other, better movies in the Star Trek series, for one, something that your review even mentions.

Critics complained that the story was weak, that the villains were not terribly compelling, and that the dialogue was pretty awful. And that, even as a Star Trek movie, with all the diminished expectations, it did not deliver what was promised: a new, energized Star Trek movie.

After advertising the Romulans all over the place, we actually don't even GET the Romulans. They end up being footnotes in their own movie.

I'll reiterate my own issues with the movie: when I see a Star Trek movie, I want to see everyone. Crusher, LaForge, Worf. I don't want to see Brent Spiner overact in a pointless double-role, or Stewart/Hardy chew the scenery in overly long and pedantic scenes.

The space-dune-buggy scene ruined the movie for me: you've got a captain violating the Prime Directive so he can get his jollies. That's not Picard. That typical "we gotta have a car chase" thinking.

You've got the typical "heheheheh! I'm evil" villain with the typical doomsday weapon who doesn't even adequately use the full resources given him. Shinzon could have been an extremely compelling protagonist, but they instead turn him into Khan Junior.

Then we have the sacrifice that makes no sense, either in terms of the movie logic, or the Trek logic. There was absolutely no reason for that character to do what he did. It was pointless, meaningless, emotionless. And serves to just point out the superiority of ST2. That movie had a sacrifice that made sense, was emotional, and resonated.

I've rewatched Nemesis on DVD now. My opinion, if anything, has hardened: the small screen at least makes the movie more bearable, but the lack of any characterization for any of the crew (well, Riker and Troi, sort of) makes this the worst Star Trek TNG movie by far. By far.

The jury is still out on if I dislike it more than ST5: while that movie is a disaster, at least the script gives the rest of the crew some screen time. To me, Nemesis is defintely a kindred soul to the Final Frontier: good ideas spoiled by bad execution.

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You're right. It doesn't suck.
By ety3 ( ) at 09:16:39 on May 16 2003
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But it does lack emotional weight. Data is dead, and when it happened, I wasn't sure that I really cared. I didn't know it was going to happen, yet here was a character that I had known and loved for 15 years dying and I didn't feel the blow. I'm not sure what to make of that, but I am sure that better scripting would have helped the scene make an impact.

Other than that, I enjoyed the film. Certainly undeserving of the heavy negative reviews and fan comments. But also undeserving of the lousy opening weekend Paramount gave it.

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