Star Trek Nemesis Review

Director: Stuart Baird
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis and Tom Hardy.
116 mins, Cert 12A

It’s widely known by many who have followed the Star Trek franchise on the silver screen that the even numbered sequels tend to much better than the odd numbered ones. Star Trek: Nemesis, the tenth big screen outing for the starship Enterprise, bucks that trends by stinking just as much as Star Trek V: The Search for a Plot.

The plot, such as it is, surrounds the creation of a clone of Jean Luc Picard. The Enterprise is diverted on the way to Riker And Troi’s honeymoon (yes it’s just as nauseating as it sounds) to visit a section of the Neutral Zone, where it picks up a prototype twin of android Data. From here they are sent to Romulas where Picard is captured by Shinzon, Picard’s clone. Thus begins a battle of wills between the two slap-heads that leads to conflict and the threat of Earth’s destruction.

Sound exciting? Well it isn’t. The script and direction cheats the audience at every turn. There are so many moments that tease the audience yet fail to deliver. At one point we learn that a number of Starfleet vessels are awaiting the Enterprise to aid in its defence. Great, we think, that should result in an epic battle with plenty of eye-candy on offer. Do we get it? Nope. Again and again the lousy script and direction hint at great things to come, then dash those hopes. This is a film all about waste.

A great actress like Dina Meyer is wasted in a minor role and is buried under some low quality makeup. Ron Perlman, surely Hollywood’s finest makeup actors is terribly underused in a role they may as well have given to a puppet. Several of the regular Star Trek cast hardly make an appearance, Jordy and Worf may as well have stayed at home. Yet the audience is given plenty of Counsellor Troi, despite Marina Sirtis’ acting being only slightly less wooden than the badly-lit sets used to make this movie. Her performance is so bad it makes Commander Riker seem like a veritable feast of emotions and animation. And there just isn’t enough of the lovely Dr Beverly Crusher, but that’s a personal digression.

Regular Star Trek viewers will know that rather than think their way out of a tricky situation, the series’ script writers often just invent some improbably psuedo-science to solve a problem. Star Trek: Nemesis sees this occurring again and again with gaps in the plot so wide you could fly a Romulan bird of prey through. Perhaps the biggest problem with the plot is that Picard clone, Shinzon, doesn’t look like he could knock the skin of a rice pudding. At any point during their numerous meetings, Picard could have just punched this weakling’s lights out and spared us the sight of Counsellor Troi trying to be sexy or the final unexciting man-vs-weakling scrap.

Star Trek: Nemesis is a real con. Some excellent special effects can’t make up for a tired script, terrible acting and some very poor sets. The cinema I watched it in had more atmosphere and sense of scale than the Romulan senate set. Nemesis is a film that lacks ambition yet fails even to live up to it’s own small aspirations. No wonder Patrick Stewart sleepwalks through the movie with a pained, what the hell am I doing this for, expression on his face. It’s a shame, characters such as Picard, Worf and Data made for engaging television at times, yet this film ignores the TV series’ strengths and instead provides a movie that is frankly boring and pointless.