Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

Rating: C

Dir: Stuart Baird
Star: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Tom Hardy, Brent Spiner

The last entry in the series I saw was number four, so I feared having to whisper questions to my more-knowledgeable other half in the cinema – “the bald one, he’s the captain, right?” Fortunately, I needn’t have worried: in the fifteen years since my last cinematic Trek, the names may have changed, but the scenarios are as comfortable and familiar as an old red jumper. Bad guy with personal grudge against Kir…Picard, also happens to possess a doomsday weapon. You just know it’s going to end in a fist-fight between the two. With Data and Worf, there’s even echoes of the old Spock-McCoy relationship, though the latter gets little to do here.

There are some interesting ideas thrown up – the villain is a clone of Picard, and Data also has a duplicate, raising questions about the nature of self. But the conversations between Picard and his evil twin are deadly dull; Tom Hardy doesn’t have the necessary weight for the role, and comes across as colourless compared to any of the truly memorable Trek villains. Being honest, even the shrieking space cylinder from part four had more charisma. When the action gets going, it looks great, but I still can’t get over the way crucial personnel still cheerfully abandon their posts at the drop of a yellow alert. What happened to military discipline? But hey, what do I know. For a more informed (Trekker? Trekkie? Trek-tator?) review, from someone who does, I will hand you over to Chris…

One of my hobbies as a “kind-of” Trekker is going to the Star Trek films and finding the references to and/or actors from, the original series. It’s something to do when you pretty much know a film isn’t going to be great. Nemesis was not great, but it was interesting. The one thing that irritated me about the Next Generation series was their incessant need to dwell on how good the past of Earth was. Never mind that there were thousands of other planets/species and cultures working within the Federation, the Earth’s past history was always the nostalgia used in the series and it’s crept into the films just as irritatingly. Can we do without Data doing his lounge lizard routine at all? I was very surprised that they didn’t have Riker get up on stage playing his stupid trombone as he did so many other times. Although I have to say how pleased I was that there were a) No Holodeck scenes, b) No Deanna Troi’s mother and c) Hardly any Guinan at all.

The story follows up a long lost reference from the original series about the sister planets Romulus and Remus and their ages-old war to overcome one another. Romulus’ senate gets taken over by a Reman, who turns out to be a clone of Capt. Picard, created for the purpose of eventually taking over the Federation in some elaborate Bond-esque doppleganger plan. The clone, played by Tom Hardy, looks strikingly like Picard as a young man and the emotions are stirred as Picard ponders how he would have reacted in the circumstances of his clone’s upbringing. The battles in space were very slick, as were the set designs of the Romulan planet. Interesting to see the Romulans wearing the same uniforms as in the 60’s, on the original series. Dina Meyer is great as a Romulan Commander and Ron Perlman (Blade 2) was virtually unrecognizable as the Viceroy henchman for the clone, Shinzon.

As for actors in the film, it was nice to see that Capt. Janeway made it home and became an admiral for the fleet (I never finished the last two seasons of Voyager ’cause it got boring, so I didn’t know they made it). In the end, as with all things, you begin to realize that there must be a final battle, complete with tragedies, and the bad guy always gets his. That’s the way it is. However, as far as I was concerned, this dragged on and just didn’t hold my attention. It might be the last Star Trek film I’ll see in the theatres and perhaps even the last made, but it’s time to move on.