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-   -   Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed? (http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=93819)

CaptainJon May 21 2009 11:05 PM

Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
Let me start off by asking everyone to please try to approach this with as little emotion and as much rational thought as possible. I'm not looking for the usual Nemesis bashing, I'm looking for everyone to try to approach the topic at hand rationally. Please be thoughtful in response. I'd like some civilized debate, if at all possible. That's all I ask.

Nemesis is not a bad movie, it's only a decent movie. There I said it. Despite it being one of the most hated film by all of fandom (in some circles of fandom, the most), it's biggest faults probably lie in it being the wrong Star Trek movie at the wrong time, which probably is why it is so hated. Enterprise was on the air and sinking in the ratings in a way even worse then Voyager did, and that series was poorly received as well, and the previous Trek film (Insurrection) was met with lukewarm reception.

Nemesis has plenty of good ideas and has the right goals, but it lacks the heart and soul needed to make it a big success. The plot is filled with holes, but even a plot that is thin or filled with holes can be forgiven if it's got plenty of heart and soul. Look at The Voyage Home; thin on plot, but filled with heart, and one of Trek's best. It also suffers from a story that borrows too many elements from previous Trek entries.

From the beginning, writer John Logan and producer Rick Berman said their example for making Nemesis was The Wrath of Khan. Reasonable, considering The Wrath of Khan is widely considered the definitive Star Trek movie. Unfortunately, instead of using it as an example of how to make Trek movie, Logan and Berman used it as their template. Borrowing peace elements from The Undiscovered Country, an evil twin from TNG itself, a super weapon right out of The Wrath of Khan, a big space battle and the death of a beloved character at the end are all elements that have been used in previous Star Trek entries. Unfortunately, they were done better. Nemesis feels too derivative.

The great thing about the Genesis device in The Wrath of Khan was that it was a means to a better future that could easily be manipulated into a deadly weapon. That's not so in Nemesis. A deadly weapon is used as a deadly weapon. For The Wrath of Khan, producer Harve Bennett wanted something that stayed true to the principals of Star Trek, hence the Genesis device's terraforming properties. In Nemesis, thaleron radiation is a made-up biological weapon that does not try to improve anything, only destroy.

The big battle at the end may be impressive in terms of technical and visual wizardry, but in terms of suspense it doesn't match the duke-out at the end of The Wrath of Khan. Khan's brilliance was in that it was two ships that were blinded trying to battle on another and the outcome was determined by strategy. In Nemesis, there is no strategy; merely whoever scores the most hits wins. It's neither compelling nor inventive, and while it is impressive, it's lacking in creativity and enthusiasm. We've seen plenty of battles in Star Trek, and many have been done better then this.

Some of the lack of heart is a result of very little characterization for the cast of The Next Generation. This is meant to be their final voyage, with several key members of the crew heading off for new careers. It takes risks in its marriage of Riker and Troi, and Riker's promotion and reassignment to captain of another starship. Unfortunately, the attempt at giving a family theme fails because most of the characterization is rumored to have been left on the cutting room floor. Nemesis' first cut was rumored at being 160 minutes, with the theatrical release clocking in at 116 minutes. That's a lot of material that is cut out, and most of it is rumored to be character moments. It's greatly missed. Whether it would've improved the quality of the movie depends on whether it was solid material, but one can only wonder. As it is, Nemesis lacks the heart that should be present for TNG's swan song.

Unfortunately, while it is meant to be TNG's final journey, including the death of Data, there are elements that are present to suggest that they were ready for another film. It almost cheats the audience, especially when concerning the death of Data. It makes Data's death almost meaningless, when really it should be as meaningful and significant as Spock's death in The Wrath of Khan.

The villain is found in Shinzon, a clone of Picard depicted by Tom Hardy. Shinzon is a mixed bag as a character. Hardy delivers a strong performance, but the writing for Shinzon is all over the map. His motives are never really clear, nor is his reasoning to destroy Earth. It's just not clear why he has this obsession with destroying Earth. This makes it all the more frustrating when Earth never really seems in danger. It's mentioned, but we never actually do see Earth in jeopardy. The threat isn't very real to us.

The supporting cast of Ron Pearlman and Dina Meyer are wasted in their respective roles. Pearlman's only purpose seems to give Riker something to do during the big battle at the end, while Meyer could easily have been left out entirely.

The pace is very slow. There's never a sense of urgency, and the first hour drags on. The car chase in the beginning is pointless and could have been left out in favor of character development. Even the climactic battle at the end, which goes on for almost half an hour, moves slowly and never really feels suspenseful. It seems more like an exercise in pyrotechnic and space battle effects then anything else. The ideas for something great are there, but they're never given the chance they needed to reach their potential.

Stuart Baird's direction is very bland, adding to the problems in pace. His lack of knowledge with Star Trek adds to the lack of heart. Someone more familiar with the franchise at the helm could possibly have resulted in a better film.

Performances are mixed. While Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner are strong, with Spiner doubling as the B4 android, the rest of the TNG cast is only going through the motions. Perhaps they've grown a little too comfortable in these roles that they are just coasting through them because of a lack of material.

The special effects are some of the best seen in a Star Trek movie. The production values are top notch, but the material that it's used for just doesn't match. Jeffrey L. Kimball's cinematography covers the sets with shadows, giving Nemesis the look and feel of Star Trek's darkest film outing.

Jerry Goldsmith's score is also rather mixed. His material during the second half with all the action is strong, if uninspired, but it's very weak during the first half. A lack of a standout theme adds to it. It's unfortunately Goldsmith's weakest Trek entry.

This isn't to say Nemesis is entirely bad. There is some good stuff in here, and the attempts to draw parallels between the Picard/Shinzon and Data/B4 plotlines is intriguing, as is the exploration of what makes us who we are. This very inner exploration is what is at the heart of Star Trek. The attempt to move the characters forward with their lives is a bold risk, departing what has been done previously. These characters are given a new direction, and it's definitely more then previous entires attempted, which were too happy in keeping everyone where they were at, just like a weekly episode. It's too bad not enough time was spent on the family and characterizations, because this could've greatly improved Nemesis. The ideas are present, but they're not given the time they need to develop. Nemesis could've used another rewrite or two to favor the characterization instead of the action.

Nemesis had plenty of potential and plenty of good ideas, but it's held back by weak execution and a sense that we've been here before, and have been there better. The results are a film that came at a time when Star Trek needed a big success, but got something weak, almost bringing down the franchise. The worst part about it is that this is the final film for the crew of The Next Generation. Not only is it a disappointing movie, it's an even big disappointment as a swan song. for the beloved crew of TNG. Their final journey should have been much, much more. Just Is it bad? No, not really. It's just not great. It's watchable, but it's lack of heart prevents it from being more, and sees The Next Generation crew retire with a whimper.

So my question for everyone, was Nemesis really so bad? Or is a lot of the anger a result of it being the wrong movie at the wrong time. Was it anger at Rick Berman that sank it? Or was it that it was so derivative of previous Trek entries (the been there, done that and better mentality)? Was it that there was no real desire for more Trek, especially since it had been fifteen years of Trek with six movies and four TV series? Or was it really that bad?

Xerxes1979 May 22 2009 12:00 AM

Re: Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
You haven't addressed the timing issue. When was the right time? Was TNG a 20th century phenom out of water post 9/11?

cardinal biggles May 22 2009 12:10 AM

Re: Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
No, it really was that bad. Its poor timing (in terms of being released five days before Lord of the Rings) merely spared us from a higher box office that might have deluded us into thinking it was better than it was.

sithlord May 22 2009 12:20 AM

Re: Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
I would disagree that Nemesis is a decent movie. It is indeed a terrible film for all the reasons you've listed above. Its primary fault is that it is too derivative of previous Trek films and TV shows. It is a mashup of Trek 2, 6, Mirror Mirror, Datalore. It is a movie that tries to service the fans and service new viewers, yet fails in that it contradicts elements of the established series (a Soong prototype nobody knew about,) and glosses over characterization that new audiences would need to have any emotional investment.

But, allowing emotion to enter into the conversation, Nemesis' sin is that it has no heart, no soul whatsoever. Data sacrifices himself and, as an audience member, I do not care. It's just so arbitrary and unnecessary.

If it hadn't been released so close to Two Towers, it probably would've made more money, but not enough to make it successful. The audience was never there for TNG movies to begin with.

Penhall99 May 22 2009 01:37 AM

Re: Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
I really dont understand all the hate for Nemesis. It was a flawed film...VERY flawed, but the worst Trek movie ever? Not by a longshot.

Many people complain about the plot holes, but EVERY Trek movie has plot holes. Hell, the new movie (which I loved, BTW), has plot holes big enough to drive a dozen starships through.

I think Nemesis had the potential to be the best of the TNG movies. A better director and a rewrite of the script would have helped, but you've gotta judge a movie based on what it was, not what it could have been.

iguana_tonante May 22 2009 01:54 AM

Re: Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
I agree with all of your point. It lacked heart, it lacked soul, it lacked character. There some intriguing ideas (the Picard clone, the internal struggles of the Romulan Empire, people taking different directions), but they are never developed into full form. The script really needed a rewrite or two, ditch some stuff (B4, the Nosferatus), and get more character moments. The visuals are amazing, but it's the icying without the cake: you just get nauseous.

So I agree with all of your arguments, but not with the conclusion: it was really that bad. If could have been good, but they should have needed to rework it from scratch, giving to us what was almost another movie, with a similar plot but very different results.

Captain Mike May 22 2009 02:14 AM

Re: Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
Quote:

sithlord wrote: (Post 2991771)
I would disagree that Nemesis is a decent movie. It is indeed a terrible film for all the reasons you've listed above. Its primary fault is that it is too derivative of previous Trek films and TV shows. It is a mashup of Trek 2, 6, Mirror Mirror, Datalore. It is a movie that tries to service the fans and service new viewers, yet fails in that it contradicts elements of the established series (a Soong prototype nobody knew about,) and glosses over characterization that new audiences would need to have any emotional investment.

But, allowing emotion to enter into the conversation, Nemesis' sin is that it has no heart, no soul whatsoever. Data sacrifices himself and, as an audience member, I do not care. It's just so arbitrary and unnecessary.

Quote:

Penhall99 wrote: (Post 2992031)
I really dont understand all the hate for Nemesis. It was a flawed film...VERY flawed, but the worst Trek movie ever? Not by a longshot.

Many people complain about the plot holes.
I think Nemesis had the potential to be the best of the TNG movies. A better director and a rewrite of the script would have helped, but you've gotta judge a movie based on what it was, not what it could have been.

Quote:

iguana_tonante wrote: (Post 2992071)
I agree with all of your point. It lacked heart, it lacked soul, it lacked character. There some intriguing ideas (the Picard clone, the internal struggles of the Romulan Empire, people taking different directions), but they are never developed into full form. The script really needed a rewrite or two, ditch some stuff (B4, the Nosferatus), and get more character moments. The visuals are amazing, but it's the icying without the cake: you just get nauseous.

So I agree with all of your arguments, but not with the conclusion: it was really that bad. If could have been good, but they should have needed to rework it from scratch, giving to us what was almost another movie, with a similar plot but very different results.

I agree with these posts but saying it was bad is just irrational thinking IMO. It was not a bad film. Was it a BAD Star Trek film? NO, again. It suffered from almost assnine direction from an assnine script that THREE people should not have been involved with. The lacking of heart I do believe was having a pisspoor director that knew shit about the franchise. It is one of the Treks I leastly watch but it wasn't BAD.

spaceballone May 22 2009 02:28 AM

Re: Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
I think that it is not nearly as bad as many people make it out to be. I agree with many of the critisisms in the above posts but many people on this board are so over dramatic and talk as if it is the worst travesty ever put to the screen in over 100 years of cinema history. I was very dissapointed in the movie but I enjoyed parts of it and despite all the flaws I can still watch it once in a while and get some enjoyment out of it. Getting released a week before Lord of the Rings didn't help it at the Box office either. Not that that would have made a huge difference but it could have added another 5 or 10 million if it had another week or so before Lord of the Rings.

NCC-1701-B May 22 2009 02:30 AM

Re: Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
I actually really liked this film. Why do people let plot holes and canon violation ruin a perfectly good film? People hate things for stupid reasons, meh. But Data did NOT need to die :(

RoJoHen May 22 2009 02:32 AM

Re: Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
Considering I can't even watch it all the the way through without rolling my eyes and getting annoyed, I would say that, yes, it was really that bad.

In fact, since it came out on DVD, I have only watched it once all the way. I've tried to watch it a couple other times, but I always end up turning it off after about 15 minutes because I can't believe how much it sucks.

How anyone can think there is a worse Trek movie is beyond me.

NCC-1701-B May 22 2009 02:36 AM

Re: Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
Why is it bad? because it has a car at the beginning? I dont get why it is a bad film.

dave_R_treker May 22 2009 02:44 AM

Re: Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
I don't think Nemesis was a great Trek movie. But then again, it definitly not a bad one as well. In my opinion it still beats out TMP, TSFS, TFF, GEN, and INS.

CaptainJon May 22 2009 03:17 AM

Re: Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
Here's a question; Would Nemesis have had the same impact on the franchise and been as poorly received at the box office had it opened in 1996 instead of 2002?

BTW; thank you everyone for following the spirit that I intended! This is the type of debate and discussion that I love to take part in on these boards!

RoJoHen May 22 2009 03:33 AM

Re: Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
Quote:

NCC-1701-B wrote: (Post 2992220)
Why is it bad? because it has a car at the beginning? I dont get why it is a bad film.

Shinzon is an absurd villain with motivations that make absolutely no sense. "The Romulans were mean to me, so I need to destroy Earth!" :wtf:

B4 was a dumb idea. If you really want to bring back another Soong-type android, why not bring back Lore? The only purpose B4 served was to give the writers the option to bring back Data if they wanted to. I don't really care if you want to kill Data off, but do so in a way that, I don't know, makes me feel something. Introducing B4 made Data's death meaningless.

Aside from those two things (which you have to admit are pretty major in terms of this movie), I just thought most of the movie was really awkward. The dialogue was terrible. The direction was worse.

And dammit, how hard is it to give Dr. Crusher something to do?!

cardinal biggles May 22 2009 03:38 AM

Re: Was Nemesis Really That Bad or Just Poorly Timed?
 
Very hard, considering her almost non-involvement in two of the four films.


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