I really don't think they were that far away from having a great movie on their hands with Nemesis. Hardy does as serviceable job as Shinzon, just needed to think through his actual motivations a bit more.
I tend to agree with this. The movie isn't bad
bad. To my estimation it isn't on the same level as Insurrection or The Final Frontier. In a lot of important ways it's really only a shade or two away from greatness, and indeed, to get back to being on topic, John Logan's actual script
is terrific, laced with loads of genuine TNG moments. It certainly isn't his fault that director Stuart Baird completely eviscerated the movie in the editing room, literally ripping the heart out of the film in favor of ridiculous, popcorn-friendly set pieces.
Whereas I think a lot of criticisms of Insurrection are fully justified (it's a very sloppy script), I actually think most of what people say about Nemesis is nothing but a beat-up. If it had been more financially successful at the box office, I think it'd be far better appreciated today than it actually is.
Insurrection was actually a decent movie considering the budget they had to do it. My biggest problem with it is the complete assholery of the Ba'ku. They did not prove for even a second that they were worth the trouble Picard and crew were going to to save their sorry asses.
Nemesis was just horribly depressing, and the death of Data just completely kills it dead.