I have always considered myself a fan of Star Trek, over the years I have bought the dvds, computer games and have also been guilty of taking breaks for several years. It was during one of these gap years that Nemesis came to us on the big screen, I did not go and see it at the time. This was not due to reviews or lack of interest in the film (I saw the trailers, it looked great), I simply just didn’t have the time. I was at university and Star Trek wasn’t playing a major part of my life, I was studying, attending 9am lectures and generally partying alot.
It was on the DVD release that I saw it for the first time. Now I am going to say something controversial here, but I enjoyed it. In fact most people I knew who had seen it, had enjoyed it. The fact that it was considered a crap film (in fact a terrible film as most die hard Trek fans state) had never even entered my mind, so just where does this vitriolic hatred for the film come from?
I have seen all of the Star Trek films made and frankly Nemesis is in my opinion by no means the worst. Let’s take a brief moment to look at some of what I consider ‘the lesser’ films. Star Trek V has been struck from canon, Star Trek The Motion Picture is as about interesting as a lump of stale cheese and spends the majority of the film showing glory shots of the Enterprise, Star Trek IV is a certainly watchable film and whilst not being horrific has some god awful cringe worthy moments in it and is essentially a story of about whales. Now ok, I have compared the film to the TOS films however if we are going to compare it to one of the Next Gen films and its predecessor Insurrection, it certainly packs more of a punch.
But back to Nemesis, why don’t people like it? Well are some reasons I have come up with (I do not agree with all of these, I am trying to give a broader perspective):
Well lets start with the dune buggy scene, this is where I will totally agree it was a fairly pointless scene. The entire section could have been achieved in the shuttlecraft, however I feel it was a genuine attempt by the filmmakers to have a bit of lighthearted fun with the movie.
The film itself deals with duality, we have Shinzon the clone of Picard, B4 an earlier Soong android. This theme was heavily criticised, mainly due to the lack of character development given to Shinzon. Ok we could have had more of a backstory and a better origins tale. But you only have so much screentime in two hours to cram things in. I didn’t feel that Shinzon’s character was lacking from depth . His reasons & motives were explored several times throughout the film, the cut scenes also delve further into this. His cat and mouse game with Picard was an obsession that overshadowed his desire to destroy Earth. Also use your imagination and fill it the gaps for yourself if it bothers you that much, if you need the filmmaker to spell everything out for you, stop watching films.
Let’s move onto the picture of Picard as a cadet with a bald head, ok yeah that was retarded. We don’t need that much of a hand holding in a film.
Another point of contention that is mentioned time and again is the films parallels with Star Trek II – The Wrath of Kahn. Many feel the film borrows many elements from this film such as:
- Both were directed by non Trek directors or science fiction fans.
- Both have the antagonists have a personal stake in the central character
- Both have weapons of mass destruction in them
- Both have the death of a central / beloved character
Ok so there are some similar elements between them, big deal. I would rather a film borrowed from some something that works than the car crash that was Star Trek V. Also why is Data’s death and ultimate sacrifice less poignant than Spocks? Both died believing what they were doing was right and for the greater good. The TNG saga was at its end, this film goes out of its way to emphasise that time and again. The death of Data is just another example of the franchise moving on.
And if you really are hung up over Data, he was copied into B4’s neural net and the film ends on B4 singing a song that Data had sung at the wedding strongly adding credence to the argument that Data will be reincarnated into B4.
Whilst I know many people will disagree with my opinions, just give it another chance. You can fault any film if you look hard enough and people have looked at this pretty hard. Just forget your prejudices and watch the film again. Don’t over analyse. The film has some pretty cool scenes in it, great battles and fucking Romulans!!!!
Also please note this is by no means comprehensive, just a few observations.