Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemesis?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by slappy, Nov 11, 2012.

  1. slappy

    slappy Commodore Commodore

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    John Logan's credentials were called into question by many before Nemesis was released. He was nominated for an Oscar for Gladiator, but people argued that it wasn't all him or that it was a fluke. Well he's since gone on to pen great films like the Aviator, Sweeney Todd, Rango, Hugo and the amazing Skyfall.

    So what the hell went wrong with Nemesis? Too many cooks in the kitchen? Not enough cooks in the kitchen? At what point did he think he was writing something good?
     
  2. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    Well, you had two stars with tremendous control of the script. Then you had a patchwork quilt of a plot, attempting to recreate great scenes from the other movies.

    But this has all been said before.
     
  3. Admiral_Sisko

    Admiral_Sisko Lieutenant Commander

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    • Too much emphasis on Picard and Data, with only minor involvement of the rest of the main characters
    • Too many out-of-character moments for prominent characters (Picard's "unsafe velocities," for example)
    • Poorly developed plot with too much focus on recreating scenes and scenarios used in previous films
    • Poor continuity with The Next Generation television series (no mention of Lore, for example)
    • Deletion of several character-building scenes (Data and Picard's discussion in the latter's quarters) in order to include more action in the film
    • Use of an alien race (Remans) never before featured on Star Trek
    • Lack of believable reasons for various plot events (Shinzon's existence, the construction of the Scimitar, the thalaron weapon, etc.)
     
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    Too much control for Stewart and Spiner.
     
  5. Christopher

    Christopher Writer Admiral

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    I actually think there's a lot to like about Nemesis. Shinzon is an intriguing adversary who has a stronger relationship with the protagonist than any other Trek movie villain (despite nominally being a clone, he's more of a surrogate son for Picard from a dramatic standpoint), and whose story allows for some classic Trekkish exploration of philosophical questions: How much of our identity is destined by our birth and how much is shaped by our choices and experiences? Are good and evil intrinsic or learned? I also think there's some nice political nuance with the Romulans and Remans, multilayered intrigue and betrayal that feels rather Roman and unsurprising from the writer of Gladiator. If nothing else, I was pleased to see the Romulan Star Empire actually depicted as an empire, i.e. a state that had subject races, which was a refreshing departure from the monoracial "empires" Trek usually gives us.

    I think its weaknesses have more to do with the intrinsic conventions of Hollywood feature films that undermine good storytelling, like the emphasis on gratuitous action in SF films and the demand for relentless pacing. The biggest flaw of the film is that a vital dialogue scene between Picard and Data, one that sets up character and thematic arcs that are fundamental to the story, was cut out altogether because it was "too slow," whereas the completely pointless and problematical dune-buggy chase was left in to meet a quota for action. And those decisions fall on the director, editor, and producer, not on Logan.

    The problem with the way feature films are done in Hollywood is that the writers have essentially no power, unless they're also producing or directing. The credited screenwriter for a film may have very little actual input into the final version of the script, or may be just one of numerous contributors. Writers are generally seen as just hired contractors brought in to assemble the story the director or producer wants to tell. So having a given writer's name on a screenplay is no guarantee that its quality will be at all consistent with other films credited to the same screenwriter.

    Which is hard for most people to understand, for good reason. In most media, the writer is who you look to. In books, the writer's almost 100 percent responsible for the content, with guidance and mediation by the editor. In comics, it's usually a collaboration of writer and artist, though sometimes the artist contributes more to the story than you might think. In TV, the writers are the producers, the showrunners, the final decision-makers. So Hollywood features are the odd medium out -- the one where the writers have the least importance to the final product.

    Although I'm hoping maybe that could start to change, since it seems some writers are becoming more influential in the game. Joss Whedon can now write his own ticket in Hollywood. TV writer-producers like Whedon, J.J. Abrams, Damon Lindelof, Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Zack Stentz, and Ashley Miller are becoming feature producers or directors. DC and Marvel have big multimedia divisions that are under the creative control of writers like Geoff Johns; 20th Century Fox has hired Mark Millar to be the creative head of their Marvel movie strategy. Hopefully in time the rest of the industry will come around and give screenwriters more influence.
     
  6. Cyke101

    Cyke101 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    Before the movie was released, I was always confuzzled as to why the ads never said, "From the writer of the Oscar-winning film Gladiator."

    Of course, for all I know, it might be odd for films to be marketed that way, but still, that's a pretty big selling point. And obviously that didn't translate well for Nemesis, though I blame the usual suspects rather than Logan.
     
  7. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    They should have gotten a writer that actually UNDERSTOOD Trek. Insurrection might have been a bit boring at times, but it always felt like a TNG movie.

    They also should have gotten Jonathan Frakes to be director again. He has been with TNG from the start as an actor and already directed multiple TNG episodes and two TNG movies. I think most of the character driven deleted scenes would have stayed in had he been behind the camera, and the movie wouldn't feel like a generic action movie that happened to feature TNG characters.
     
  8. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    Nah. Nick Meyer directed one of the most popular Star Trek movies to date, the other one still being well received, and he knew next to nothing about Star Trek. So it had less to do with knowing Star Trek, and more to do with knowing how to make a well designed movie.
     
  9. Romulan_spy

    Romulan_spy Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    Great analysis! I feel like Nemesis was designed as a Hollywood action movie first and a Star Trek movie second rather than a Star Trek movie first.
     
  10. Data Holmes

    Data Holmes Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    Rick Berman.
     
  11. Saul

    Saul Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    Rick Berman and Brent Spiner who co-wrote the script.
     
  12. Balrog

    Balrog Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    It looks like a 1990 sci-fi movie done on the cheap, even though it's suppose to be a 2002 Paramount franchise cash cow. And the plot was a weak retread.
     
  13. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    Gladiator's credited writers were David Franzoni (screenplay/story), John Logan (screenplay) and William Nicholson (screenplay). Had Logan been the sole writer on both projects, perhaps they would have.

    Would knowing a writer won an Academy Award make you run to watch all their other movies, even though one was a period action/adventure and one was science fiction based on a TV show?

    While I have many quibbles with the storyline, I found it to be the directing and editing choices that were lacking. I think J. Frakes would have gotten good/better performances, and he would have requested changes in the script, based on his previous Trek credentials. But "Insurrection" had not set the world afire, so the gig went to Stuart Baird to fulfill a contractual obligation.

    Data was my favourite character. His death scene barely raised a tear. I sobbed when Spock died. And Lal, and Jadzia, and Sisko, and Trip. That Data's demise could not affect me tells me that the director missed some opportunities.
     
  14. starburst

    starburst Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    I thought about Nemesis when I saw the name come up during Skyfall but I shrugged it off and didn't give it a second thought until I saw this thread.

    Nemesis isn't a bad movie, its just not a good movie, but it does have the right elements that it could have been a great movie…the problems are definitely with the story choices and especially with the background of the antagonists and his plan.

    While I don't see a problem with the Remans cobbling together a ship of their own and even developing a super secret weapon I do find the overall concept of the Scimitar just a little OTT and fan boy is. Massive ship which not only has the mentioned killer radiation feature but can also fire while cloaked and remain shielded but also dwarf anything Starfleet or the Romulans can throw at it (without hitting it with an entire fleet).

    Picard should not have been shown as a Cadet with a bald head, having Tom Hardy with hair would not have been a "who's this guy" in the photo.

    As for Shinzon himself it could have been more believable if they had mentioned that he had been engineered to grow quickly with outside influence, when the plan was scrapped he aged at a more normal human rate but not without some problems, prematurely loosing his hair being an early outward sign.

    Then we get to B4, Shinzon places a Soong type android on a planet near the Romulan border to lure the Enterprise in, bit of a gamble seeming any ship could have detected the reading and investigated. It would have been better for the mysterious new Praetor to have specifically requested the Enterprise to attend talks of peace considering its legacy and the exploits of its current crew. B4 could then have been noticed on the way there by planting the spy, of course Picard would have been able to divert for only a short time on such a crucial meeting.

    The dumb dune buggy chasing to track down an android who's origin is never explained just to put the Enterprise close to the neutral zone is a bit of a stretch, even if it does allow Data to sneak aboard the Scimitar to save Picard as well as download his memories to complete the comparisons to TWOK just wasn't needed and after it becomes a fairly decent scifi action movie with a passable plot.
     
  15. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    I liked Nemesis. No complaints here:cool:
     
  16. Tiberius

    Tiberius Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    I gotta disagree with you there, Christopher. Shinzon came out of nowhere with a lame excuse of a backstory in a cheesy attempt to make it personal. It's never personal unless there's a history between the characters. That was completely lacking in this case. Shinzon could have been anyone, and nothing would have been different.

    Issues that were not really explored in the movie.

    Shinzon could have been anyone and this issue could have been explored as a result of him being a slave. Is he evil because of how he was treated as a slave? It would have worked if he'd been anyone.

    True, but I think that the issue is let down by the fact the Remans had never been established before and also that horrendous make up.

    Agreed. The quality or lack thereof of a movie is not the fault of one person.

    Yeah. It seems crazy that Hollywood takes the power of the story away from the people who understand storytelling the best.
     
  17. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    Shinzon and Picard's clone storyline was mundane.:klingon:
     
  18. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    I can't speak for his other films, but Skyfall (which, it's worth noting he also shares the writing credit with two other- more established Bond- writers) has just as many deeply silly plot holes as Nemesis. It's advantage is it's a much, much better made film. A perfect example of Big Dumb Action Film making.

    The same applies to First Contact, it's an extremely silly plot hole ridden film, but stands up much better than Nemesis because of how its made.

    So whilst that doesn't excuse it being a mess, I do think the same script being directed by someone who could do it with more OMMMPH would have gone down much better. Hell, a director with a bit more pace to his work would have likely left enough room for the aforementioned Picard and Data deleted scene whilst still hitting the same running time.
     
  19. jayrath

    jayrath Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    This will be my last post on this topic in any thread. It has all been discussed so often.

    Filmmaking is a highly collaborative medium. It is arguably the most collaborative medium of all. When there is a success, there are many who are responsible. The same is true when there are (perceived) failures.

    Even TNG cast members have gone on record as saying that this installment "sucked." And I am loathe to argue with them.

    It's also true that it's hard to tell, when you're an individual working on a film, just how the completed result will look. Your own part is so small -- even if you're a featured actor. You have to trust that someone else has a vision of the greater, finished whole. Usually this is the director. In the past, when Hollywood had a very strong studio system, it was the producer.

    Whether you love or hate "Nemesis," there is fault and credit all around. Every last technician made it what it was and what it was not.

    I did not enjoy the film myself. I was astonished that I felt perfectly free to go back out into the lobby halfway through to refill my popcorn. Others love it. Good for them.

    I refuse to judge the audience. Surely there is a lot in the thing to like. Perhaps art direction?

    But please let us stop looking for just a few villains or, alternately, heroes, who are responsible for any Trek movie or even episode. That's just simplistic. It's like blaming a moth for the run in a silk stocking. Many, many are responsible.

    Perhaps they should have spoken up at the time. Perhaps they spoke up too much in approving the screenplay. Perhaps they did not offer their own suggestions. Perhaps they trusted the director too much. Perhaps they did not trust him enough.
     
  20. Balrog

    Balrog Commodore Commodore

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    Re: Now That John Logan Has Proven Himself, What Went Wrong With Nemes

    I blame Gates McFadden.