PG-13 for mind rape. You know, if you have to use an adjective to justify getting it into the movie, you might just consider it "rape." It's really uncomfortable. This is some really uncomfortable ground that they're walking on, especially considering that this is a Star Trek movie. All of Nemesis feels like it is trying to be edgy. There's violence. A cast member kind of / sort of dies. It's all kind of a mess. Regardless, PG-13.
DIRECTOR: Stuart Baird
There's one silver lining to watching Star Trek: Nemesis. I've always kind of hated this movie. I think it might be the worst Star Trek film. I don't really know anyone who really likes it. I just watched a Cracked video from back when Cracked made videos and didn't fire most of their staff about how Tom Hardy got back into crack because this movie was so bad. But the positive side is that I've only seen this movie once or twice. In both cases, that was a while ago. I remembered so little about this movie that it was actually like watching a new Star Trek movie set in the original universe. Sure, it was a pretty bad one, but it was kind of watchable. Until the rape stuff. Geez, whoever decided that needs a hard slap.
There are so many bad choices in Nemesis that it is hard to pin exactly where everything goes wrong. There are moments that go right. As a whole, I've seen way worse movies. I didn't hate my evening for watching this movie. It's just one of those things. If you really want to get under my skin, make a movie so bad that I could fix it. I'm not talking about Monday morning quarterbacking. I'm talking about glaring errors that someone should have piped up about. A lot of the problems are the turn around times with these movies. They make so many Star Trek movies that there are going to be quality issues somewhere down the road. The irony of that statement is that I would kill for another classic universe Star Trek movie. I would watch the trailer all day and night. Heck, I'd get excited for another Kelvinverse film because I somewhat like those movies. But I want to get into all the mistakes this movie made and try to find ways to discuss making it better.
From the opening credits, you can tell that the tone was meant to be edgy. I find myself getting really mad at the films of the early 2000s. This was probably filming pre-9/11. We were working so hard to be rebellious then. Everything had to be extreme. Everything had to be a little metal. Geez, when the opening title appeared with Nine Inch Nails style lettering, I already rolled my eyes back. Star Trek is not metal. It can have metal elements to it. But in Insurrection, Picard reminds us that they used to be explorers. The movie even kind of starts off with its kitchy goodness. The people who made this movie knows what Star Trek is supposed to be. I want to say that this is part of the inconsistency in tone. That's what my knee-jerk reaction was at first. I thought that the movie tried doing everything. That's where I made a mistake. The hokey opening, the one I happen to enjoy, is not a misdirection in tone. It is on purpose. For a final film, there's an element to "All bets are off" that the producers were probably shooting for. JUST TO COVER MY BASES, I WILL BE DISCUSSING SOME SPOILERS THROUGHOUT THIS. Troi and Riker's wedding is something that is teased in Insurrection. They don't do this very often in Star Trek. Continuity is often kept pretty light in the films to welcome new audiences. But considering that this is the close to the Star Trek franchise as we knew it for a long time, it was nice to have these characters have a real send-off. But this happiness is meant to show how high the characters are and how far they will fall from their happiness. That's what the rape scene is about. Troi and Riker, albeit running in the background of much of the show, have had history. But there's the payoff of the two of them getting married. To sully that shows that the producers consider nothing sacred. They're willing to destroy what the fans love to get a response. But, it's not good. It's also minimizing the effect of rape. Since I'm talking about the rape of Deanna Troi, I also want to talk about Captain Picard's response to her. You can tell this entire thing was written by dudes. Picard is so dismissive of her request for leave it's scary. Part of that is that the response was built into Picard's character. In Star Trek: Generations, Data makes the same request. But sexual assault is completely different from Data having a really stressful day. I get the idea behind asking Deanna to keep her post during a crisis, but dismissing her? Come on. We can do better than that in the 24th Century.
The last movie in the franchise is named Star Trek: Nemesis. The book is closing on this one. Whatever threads left open have to be addressed here. I would like to make this very clear: Shinzon is not Captain Picard's nemesis. The majority of Star Trek: The Next Generation did not deal with Picard's self-loathing and implacability. I'm going to get to this in a second, but we know Picard at the Academy. The episode "Tapestry" actually shows what Picard was like at the Academy. It's clear the metaphor that Shinzon represents. Picard is at war with himself. It's a Picard with a different background and we're all supposed to question our senses of selves. Are we who we are because of strong moral fortitude or because of the circumstances of our upbringing? There is something there to explore. Star Trek should be more than A-to-B storytelling. There should be a strong sense of theme. But this theme is terribly explored. Shinzon is a poor attempt to mirror Picard. There is this moment where Shinzon's face is revealed. The film pauses for us to gasp. We're supposed to feel like Picard is looking in a mirror to the past. But not once in the film do I get any connection that Jean-Luc Picard is really meeting his double. Tom Hardy...isn't great in this. I think I had this epiphany in another review. Tom Hardy might not be the great actor that lots of people think that he is because he completely fails as a compelling villain / double for Jean-Luc Picard. We have seen Picard in the show cross the likes of villains that really have gotten under his skin. What about the Cardassian who made him say that there were five lights? That guy really messed with him. That's a nemesis. I love Q and I'd hate to see him as a nemesis. But an insane Q who has lost his sense of playfulness and is unravelling the universe has a sense of coming full circle. There are just so many characters that would make more sense than Shinzon as a final villain and representing the nemesis in the title. On top of that, Shinzon's plan is just...weak. There's almost nothing sympathetic about his plan. He could be sympathetic. His character's origin is tragic. But his origin really doesn't have a direct tie to his plan. Most of the movie is him just teasing Picard. That teasing doesn't really play into his plan for the end. He's trying to save himself, but he just plays with his food the entire time. Why would he assume that Picard is weak? HE IS PICARD! The guy is megalomaniacal and still can't process that his double would be amazing at stuff? It's bad.
Also, that ship? Come on. It's Starkiller One or whatever it was called. It has all of the weapons. It can fire when cloaked. Remember when that was already done in a Star Trek movie and that the show really pushed that it was impossible to do again. There were four Next Gen Star Trek movies. Three of them had the Enterprise-E. This ship was built as a warship to fight the Borg and serve as the Federation flagship. Yet, in each movie, this absolute tank of a ship takes a greater beating than the Enterprise-D ever did. There was an entire episode about the Enterprise-D just breaking and still the Enterprise-E gets wrecked in all of these movies. I kind of wanted to see it hold its own. The ramming scene is just depressing. We never really got to appreciate that ship. I know. I'm talking about a ship. But I think we fell in love with the Kirk's Enterprise and Picard's Enterprise-D. We want to see it let loose and just dominate...and it never really does. Why? Because the Romulans have a ship that could single-handedly win any war because the writers say its cool. That literally happens. It could pass within ten meters of any ship and they still couldn't see it. It also has a weapon that could kill anything. That's so boring. It's so lazy. I don't mind outclassing the Enterprise. I just don't think that making it impossible to destroy using conventional methods is at all within the world of Star Trek. It's...blah.
Is the movie really trying to ignore that we've seen stuff before? I talked about "Tapestry" and what Jean-Luc Picard was like in the Academy. A) He didn't look like Shinzon. But B), using B-4 as a get-out-of-jail-free card is just the worst. Data's story has been told. By giving him the emotion chip in Generations, that put a cap on any kind of character growth that he could have gotten. (Also, does he still have that emotion chip? He doesn't really have any emotion in this movie.) The movie namedrops Dr. Soong. Great, the show did a lot with that plotline. But Data acts like he was alone until this point. Why did the movie go so out of its way to avoid Lore. Also, Lore is all up on the android...lore. (Oh, I get it.) Shouldn't B-4 have been mentioned before this moment? (I did it again.) Also, Shinzon just got his hands on an extremely rare android and used him for bait? That seems like it doesn't make any sense. But the last movie, it decided to kill of the most beloved character on the show. I don't know how Geordi allowed that to happen. It seemed like he knew that Data was flying to his death. I read something that asked why Data didn't pack two transporter tags. That's an excellent question, but I'm going to allow my mind to filter that out. Data's death means nothing if you backed him up into another version of the character. Picard actually leaves this bummer of a movie smiling. He has Data back. Riker and Troi are acting like everything is honkey-dorey. Data died! You have Landfill 2 just appearing in the movie. But that's just sad that the movie had to head in that direction. Honestly, watch the funeral scene in Beerfest. A comedy made the joke that a character can be replaced by his twin brother and Star Trek: Nemesis actually tried that avenue, It's really bad guys.
Yeah, I'm glad that Riker and Troi got married. I'm glad that Riker is now the captain of the Titan. But the rest of this movie is just kind of dumb. It's watchable dumb. You really have to pretend like Tom Hardy is a twin to Patrick Stewart. But it's bad. I don't know how this project wasn't shut down way earlier. The thing is, I wanted to see more adventures on the Enterprise-E. But the Enterprise-E only got one good film. It's so bizarre that it's the end of Star Trek for a really long time because I feel like there was something there that could have been explored. Regardless, the old universe went out on a real stinker. It's a shame, but at least we have Star Trek: Picard to look forward to.
Film is great. It can challenge us. It can entertain us. It can puzzle us. It can awaken us.
Mr. H has watched an upsetting amount of movies. They bring him a level of joy that few things have achieved.