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Laramie Movie Scope:
Star Trek: Nemesis

Enterprise crew keeps on trekking

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by Robert Roten, Film Critic
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December 15, 2002 -- "Star Trek: Nemesis," is the latest movie in one of the longest running franchises in Science Fiction entertainment. The original show featuring the adventures of the crew of the Starship Enterprise aired in 1966 on NBC and was cancelled after three seasons. It became much more popular in syndication and spawned a number of spinoff series, which continue to this day (the latest is a retro series about the first Starship Enterprise). It also spawned a series of movies starring characters from the various TV series. Nemesis is the 10th film in that series which began in 1979. Nemesis is about average in quality for films in this series, better than some, worse than others. The best films in the seres are Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home; Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock and Star Trek: First Contact (the fourth, second, third and eighth films in the series, respectively). The worst are Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek: Generations (the fifth, first and seventh in the series, respectively).

Nemesis finds the crew of the Enterprise celebrating the marriage of crew members (from the Star Trek: The Next Generation TV series) William Riker and Deanna Troi (played by Jonathan Frakes, who has directed two of the movies in this series, and Marina Sirtis). We learn that Riker is soon to move to a new Federation starship where he will be captain. This, and the film's catch phrase, "A generation's final journey begins," hints at future changes in the franchise. Could this be the last film in the series? I doubt it. Instead of going to Betazed (Troi's home planet) for the wedding, the Enterprise is diverted to Romulus for a high level diplomatic mission. A deadly coup has resulted in a new government composed of elements of the war-like Romulans and the even more war-like Remans, led by a mysterious human, Praetor Shinzon (played by Tom Hardy of "Black Hawk Down"), who bears a resemblance to Jean-Luc Pecard, captain of the Enterprise.

Of course, the rest of the Next Generation Enterprise crew is also present for this film, including Data (Brent Spiner), Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), Worf, (Michael Dorn), and Beverly Crusher (Gates McFadden). The crew finds itself in trouble when the Enterprise is attacked in an area of space called the rift by a deadly Romulan-Remus vessel which is armed with a new weapon capable of killing all life on a planetary scale. There is no defense against the new weapon. The enterprise must stop the ship before it destroys Earth and starts a war between the Federation and the Romulan empire.

The action sequences in the film work well enough, but the film drags for about half an hour in the first half with an overlong expository interlude. Nothing much happens during this interlude, but a lot of stuff is explained in a fairly non-dramatic way. Tighter writing and direction would have helped to speed the pace of the film. One young fellow at the screening I attended (at Steamboat Springs) got pretty bored and was wondering around the theatre during the movie (his main goal in going to this film seemed to be to annoy and inconvenience others, and he succeeded pretty well). This is not a movie for kids. It is not paced fast enough for them. There is also a rather major problem near the end of the film from a logical and military strategy standpoint, but it does make for a dramatic finish. For trivia buffs, Dina Meyer, who plays Romulan Commander Donatra, was in the sci-fi dud "Starship Troopers," and Ron Perlman, who plays the Reman Viceroy, starred in the TV series "Beauty and the Beast," and has appeared in several sci-fi and horror movies, including "Alien: Resurrection" and "Blade II." There is a cameo appearance by Kate Mulgrew who reprises her role as Kathryn Janeway from the "Star Trek: Voyager" TV series.

As you would expect, the special effects, production design and art direction are all quite good. One of the payoffs is a rip-roaring space battle involving several heavily-armed starships. As far as the story goes, it isn't very involving because there is little character development. If you are a Star Trek fan, you already know the backgrounds of the main characters, and that helps. However, despite its psychological overtones, this is not a character-driven story. Rather, it is a simple action adventure yarn. On that level, it works well enough. This film rates a C+.

For more information on this film, including trailer, desktops, synopsis, interviews, premiere, Enterprise (production data, ship details, crew files, image database, about the story, about the production, cast and crew bios, cast interview clips, downloads), Romulus (Romulan history, Romulan weaponry, Senate Ipix, Warbird Ipix), Remus (Reman history and culture, Reman weaponry, enter the Reman mines, image database), the Rift (desktop communicator download, Kolaran black market trading cards, battle for the neutral zone game, rift e-card generator, the Rift Challenge game), click on this link to the official home page of Star Trek: Nemesis.

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Copyright © 2002 Robert Roten. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Robert Roten can be reached via e-mail at my last name at lariat dot org. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)