Having watched it again, I find it holds up a lot more strongly than legend would have it, even without the excellent deleted scenes.
The quality of the TNG films, and this one, are so high, that the hate piled on them continues to make no sense to me. Schinzon and his homies make for a very gripping, creepy bunch of enemies, I think more intense than Nero and his similarly gothic gang in STXI.
Here are some moments I'm remembering:
- the glance between Picard and Data after landing the moon-buggy on the shuttlecraft: priceless
- Worf's "Very astute" just before the chase
- the long starship battle into the finale was truly awesome - in particular the tactical elements displayed make you want to bust out Bridge Commander
- the confrence room, the bridge, main engineering with the 2-storey warp core
- Troi getting to use her psychic powers offensively
- Riker hanging by one arm after kicking off the Viceroy = awesome
- the female Romulan commander = hell yeah
- the smooth chain of command represented - Riker and Worf go to defend the ship, Data hops into the XO chair
- Picard and Data's escape from the Scimitar = awesome
- soundtrack, FX - crewmembers blown from the bridge = kicks ass
I could go on further. I understand the criticisms, but overall, ST:NEM kicks some ass, and has powerful thought-provoking questions along with archetypal drama taking place. STXI kicks some ass also, but honestly, NEM was not a bad sendoff for the TNG crew - it was a very well made, highly awesome finale with the punch of a major character's sacrifice, told in a hugely spectacular way.
The mental-sexual-assault element was really pretty creepy, Schinzon later darkly saying "I was lonely". One thing I don't see explained is why the Remans follow him almost like Jem Hadar.
Oh, and one other recollection: you could totally see Guinan vibing out Geordi at the wedding. Like she maybe wanted some Chief Engineer up in her quarters ~
I wish Wesley had been cut in, that would have made it feel like a more complete finale. And I have no doubt that a sequel to NEM would have been amazing, with two main starships, B4 probably gaining some functionality, a few new characters - excellent opportunity to add DS9/VOY crew to either ship. But as it stands, it was a strong finale for TNG. Stands well beside STVI, or any of the films really, though I think IV is probably the masterpiece of the bunch.