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. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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

    Most people, even genocidal war criminals, have motivations that are discernable, even if their actions are irrational.

    Shinzon's motivations are dramatically arbitrary; he does not target Earth because the Federation has ever done anything to him. He targets Earth because the plot demands it, irrelevant of whether or not it's consistent with the rest of his depicted motivations.
     
  2. Dream

    Dream Admiral Admiral

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

    Yeah, that would have worked too. :lol:

    It really does make no sense.

    I think it would have been better if Shinzon's plan was actually to destory Romulus. The story could have been the crew defending an enemy and ending with the starting of a friendship between the two cultures. It certainly would have been more interesting than defending the space hippies in Insurrection.

    I just can't get over how much the clone and B4 plotlines sucked.
     
  3. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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


    just because his motivations don't satisfy your concerns of rationality doesn't make them arbitrary. He was going after Earth to prove that he could defeat the Romulans' greatest enemy and to get revenge on Picard. His motivations may not be the best for a villain in the series, but they're no worse than Nero's.
     
  4. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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

    ^Think about the two villains who have the most in common with Shinzon. Khan Noonien Singh and Nero.

    Khan wanted the Genesis torpedo for unspecified reasons. We the audience were told what Genesis was capable of and we were shown Khan is definitely a villain. Letting Khan have Genesis is like giving an arsonist matches. We have to keep them away from him at all costs. While you could argue since Khan's intentions for the Genesis were never stated the movie is lacking. I think the quest and battle for it is what save TWOK from that trap.

    Nero lost his planet and went on a tirade against the Federation in an alternate timeline set 125 years in the past of the one he came from. Vulcan and Earth had nothing to do with Romulus blowing up in the Prime future but he attacks them anyway for his own narrow minded reasons. Logically Nero should've went to Romulus in this alternate timeline to warn his people. Instead he waited for 25 years to get revenge on Spock. This is dialogue straight from the movie, and until JJ confirms on screen Nero and the Rommies were at Rura Penthe, the canon is Nero waiting out in space for Spock to show up. Nero attacking the Federation planets in this past timeline makes no sense because it does nothing to stop the supernova that will hit Romulus in 125 years time.

    Shinzon was the legitimate Praetor of the Romulan Star Empire. You could argue he was merely a figure head and his Romulan collaborators intended to betray him but that's only speculation. Shinzon states his goal is conquest. As a military leader with dozen of battle victories over the Dominion. The logical course of action for any Romulan victory in the Alpha Quadrant is the destruction of Earth. It's the head of Starfleet and focal point of the Federation. Picard, Riker and Shinzon all state and thereby confirm this is Shinzon's motive for attacking Earth.

    Comparing Shinzon to Nero in this regard. Shinzon has a degree of class and sense to his actions. Destroying Earth is a tactical move in his future campaign against the Federation and the Klingon Empire. Nero is a blunt object attacking those he thinks deserve to die. The Narada has transwarp drive. Confirmed by the special features of the DVD. Why Nero didn't just make a quick hop home to Romulus and share his future tech and warn the council of the impending danger is beyond me.

    I guess when you're just a "simple miner" comprehending the balance of power on a galactic scale is too much for you. Shinzon was trained by the League of Shadows, took down Batman, and Gotham. He's the man with the plan. Haha
     
  5. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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


    I agree. Shinzon's motivations have more sense to them than Nero's. Not exactly tough competition, but still...
     
  6. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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

    Khan wanted the Genesis Device because he knew it would make him immensely powerful. But his primary motivation, the thing that really mattered to him, was revenge against Kirk. That's why he kept chasing the Enterprise after acquiring the Device instead of hightailing it out of Dodge.

    And while his reasoning is irrational, his motivations at least make sense: He believes that Spock and the Federation could have stopped the Hobus supernova sooner and therefore blames them for a "sin of omission" by allowing Romulus to burn.

    I agree that this is a dramatic failing of ST09. But to be fair, there's nothing in ST09 to indicate that he didn't dispatch some sort of warning to the Romulan government, either.

    The "legitimate" Praetor? DSN's "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" established that Praetors of the Romulan Star Empire assume office only after being confirmed by the Romulan Senate's Continuing Committee. Shinzon, on the other hand, assassinated the entire Senate and then appointed himself Praetor. He led a coup d'etat, not an election campaign. He was about as "legitimate" as Augusto Pinochet or Idi Amin.

    No, it's not speculation. The scene towards the end of the film where the Romulan Imperial Fleet admirals are talking to him make it very clear that they supported him because he promised to take a more aggressive stance against the Federation but that he actually had no interest in appeasing them. They were threatening to depose him if he didn't placate them.

    And that's the issue -- he supposedly doesn't actually support the Romulan admirals' agenda, and he's supposedly obsessed with Picard, but we never get the sense of why he's obsessed with taking down Earth. Picard, that sort of makes sense -- resenting that someone with identical genes had so much privilege when he did not. And the need to harvest Picard's blood or whatever.

    But the idea that Shinzon, who openly displays contempt for Romulans constantly throughout the film, who goes to the trouble of leading a Reman nationalist movement against Romulan control, would turn genocidal against anyone other than the Romulans? It's just dramatically arbitrary. It's the equivalent of doing a story where Spartacus decides he'd rather destroy Carthage.
     
  7. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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


    you don't think the idea of Shinzon accomplishing the defeat of the Federation, something the Romulans couldn't on their own appealed to him?

    His thought process could have been "I, a discarded clone sent to die accomplished something that actual Romulans never could."


    Again, it's the reasoning of a psychopath, but it's not arbitrary.
     
  8. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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

    I can buy the idea that he'd want to take on the Federation at some point, if only to increase his relative power. What I don't buy is that he'd direct a genocidal impulse towards the Federation. That's what's arbitrary -- not that he'd want to defeat the Federation, but that he would want to exterminate Earth before Romulus. This is a guy who feels nothing but contempt for the brutal oppressors who enslaved him and everyone he loves; it's completely inconsistent with his characterization and his established motives that he'd decide to go after Earth instead of Romulus.
     
  9. 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

    He had a genocidal impulse toward Picard. His world, his perfect life. He wanted to take it all away. "My life means nothing while you're still alive." he told Picard. He also wanted to show Picard that what "he" was capable of, show him that underneath all the nobility and Federation ideals, was a man capable of unspeakable evil. "Look in the mirror, see yourself!"

    As for the Romulans, he had no need to kill them, since he'd already conquered them. A lowly human slave had risen to rule those who mistreated him so badly.

    The guy was nucking futs. Mentally ill. In his worldview it made sense.
     
  10. Sci

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

    Again, the hatred of Picard specifically makes a certain level of sense. But the idea that his hatred of Picard would extend to wanting to exterminate all life on Earth before wanting to exterminate all life on Romulus? It flatly contradicts everything else we learn about his beliefs and motivations as a former slave and Reman nationalist. The idea that he hates Picard just doesn't go far enough to explain this hatred of Humans; it's dramatically arbitrary because it is inconsistent with the level of anti-Romulan hatred previously ascribed to him, and with the level of curiosity and lack of hostile feelings previously established towards other Humans.

    Not really. Worf said it himself -- a Praetor's power depends on the consent of the Romulan military, and coups are not uncommon on Romulus. If Shinzon wanted to hold on to his position as Praetor, that made him subject to the need to placate the Romulan admiralty, same as any political leader who needs the support of other elites.

    So, again, the idea that he would suddenly decide to exterminate Earth just doesn't make sense given what we'd seen of his personality. He was curious about, and not hostile to, other Humans when he first met them; he was openly contemptuous of, and physically disgusted by the thought of intimacy with, Romulans; he'd been enslaved and oppressed by Romulans for decades; he was a Reman nationalist whose goal was the liberation of the Reman people from their Romulan oppressors; he was planning on moving against the Romulan admiralty; and he is a brilliant and cunning strategist who has used his talents to rise to power within the Star Empire in spite of his lowly status.

    That he would endanger his project to liberate the Remans by suddenly developing a fixation on exterminating Earth is inconsistent with all of that. It contradicts the idea that he's a brilliant and cunning strategist, because the entire plan is bloody stupid; it means he goes and endangers his plans to save the Remans for whom he has fought so long and hard; it flies in the face of the idea that he's truly disgusted by the Romulans and hates them more than any other race; and it contradicts the interest and lack of hostility he felt towards other Humans earlier in the episode.

    It flatly contradicts everything we learned about him earlier in the film, and it does so for no particular reason. He suddenly decides he hates Humans because he hates Picard for having privileges he didn't, and this change of mind occurs for no discernible reason. He just abandons everything that had defined him, for no reason, purely because the plot requires that Earth Must Be In Danger.

    And Shinzon's own lack of connection to Earth robs the final act of the film of any dramatic weight. Shinzon has no real stake in Earth's fate, and therefore his hatred feels arbitrary and unmotivated. The action sequences therefore feel empty, instead of carrying any emotional weight; this is action for the sake of action rather than action taking place because of the full dramatic force of the antagonist driving the story.

    1. I'm not convinced Shinzon was truly insane. 2. Even mentally ill characters need to have motivations that make sense. Shinzon's hatred of Earth files in the face of everything learned about him earlier in the film, and it saps the drama from the movie. It's dramatically arbitrary.

    The film would have been much stronger had Shinzon wanted to exterminate Romulus.
     
  11. DarKush

    DarKush Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    Couldn't Shinzon just as easily eclipsed Picard by destroying Romulus? The Federation's greatest enemy, wouldn't that have made his life more consequential, in his eyes?

    I can get the whole one upping Picard thing that Shinzon says he wants to do, but it just felt a bit too overdone, hackneyed, convoluted or something. It felt like they had to take extra steps that they really didn't need to, to make Shiznon hate the Federation. It made more sense to me that Shinzon would hate the Romulans and want to eradicate them.

    If that had been the case, we could've had Picard and company willing to sacrifice all to save Romulus, a reversal of what Donatra did, and that could've been a major moment in Federation-Romulan relations, on par with the events in Star Trek 6. Instead we got another tired Earth is in peril story.

    I also disagree with what Christopher said early on about Shinzon and Picard's strong relationship. I think Khan and Kirk worked far better as adversaries because of their history. Picard and Shinzon had no history, so we could never get a great moment like when Khan first appears on the Enterprise viewscreen in Star Trek 2.
     
  12. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

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


    The line between paying homage and ripping off would be to blatant if they ended the TNG saga the same way they ended the TOS saga.

    The biggest difference between Shinzon and his clone Nero is that Shinzon's motives are the result of conditioning and desire. Sure wiping out Romulus would also make him a legend but for what? He doesn't believe in the Federation or it's values. Hell Picard, Sisko and Janeway throw the Fed's values out the window every so often. Having Shinzon become some sort of tool good guy would've been lame. As lame as Darth Vader becoming a good guy in the eleventh hour of ROTJ. Shinzon has all the potential to be a great man like Picard, and Picard tells him that. But Shinzon can't change the man he's become. The Romulans willingly and unwillingly created a Picard in their own image where unlimited expansion is his primary goal. The Dominion campaigns sharpened him in to a fierce warrior and life in the Reman mines hardened his soul.

    Compare to Nero who had a shitty day when his planet was blown up. Despite it being pretty much telegraphed that Romulus was in danger Nero did nothing to save his loved ones. Then he went on an indiscriminate killing spree against people who couldn't defend themselves. Using technology from 125-150 years in the future is what i'm referring too. Thing about it is when Nero is talking to Pike he equates destroying the Federation worlds will secure Romulus' future. How? Destroying the sun or warning the Romulans of that era would've secured Romulus' future.

    With Kirk and Khan, idk I feel the dynamic could've been stronger. A face to face confrontation would've been nice. Constant rewatches of TWOK have me equating their conversation and subsequent battles as "Epic Penis Showing Contests in Space via Skype Video Chat". The battle and conversations between Chang and Kirk in ST VI i feel is way better because they both got to meet and size eachother up under the pretense of peace. When we the audience knows at that point in the film neither one of them would object to a full scale war between the Federation and the Klingon Empire. But by the end of the movie that's changed. Kirk is fighting for peace and Chang is fighting for war. Two warriors, two ships one destiny.
     
  13. Frontier

    Frontier Vice Admiral Admiral

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

    I, like most of the TNG actors, lay the blame at the feet of Stuart Baird. The director is a big part of a films success or failure.
     
  14. M'rk son of Mogh

    M'rk son of Mogh Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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

    What's he have to do before you're convinced, eat his enemies alive?

    Not true. Not everything is spelled out Nolan-style and tied in a nice little bow. People do things that don't make sense, and sometimes it's not even an external influence we can see and make out, but it's chemicals and biology (hey, if it's that way for humans, an imperfect clone surely could be worse off!)

    In fact, the psychopathy displayed by Shinzon seems to fit the characterizations to a T. You know, following the set of rules they created for themselves, appearing even charming at times, etc, etc.
     
  15. Surak of Vulcan

    Surak of Vulcan Ensign Red Shirt

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

    I'll have to agree with this to an extent. Baird's directing, or lack thereof, played a part in the failure that was Star Trek: Nemesis.

    However, there's also the fact that by the time Nemesis came around (2002, I believe) Star Trek had been running continuously since 1987. In that time, six films had been made, three series had run with seven seasons, and another (Enterprise) was airing. Frankly, I think everyone was just about tired of Star Trek. The way I saw it, Star Trek really lost it's steam around Voyager. Sure, there were a few gems with Voyager like Year of Hell, and then there was Enterprise, which is really a mixed bag for me, but the fact is Star Trek was over-saturated.

    And the fact that it was a blatant Wrath of Khan rip-off. From the damaged Enterprise to Data's 'heroic' sacrifice, the few gems that were in that film were blotted out by sheer repetitiveness, or down-right awful scenes.

    Also, they sang.
     
  16. flandry84

    flandry84 Captain Captain

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

    Actually the singing epitomises the problem with the movie.It was flabby and self-indulgent and given to the same awkward slapstick comedy moments that big-screen Trek is prone to (the hospital trolley chase of STIV comes to mind).
    Too many loose ends (has B4's presence ever been explained?) and some great chances to nod to the fans were wasted(The inclusion of,for example,Tomalek or Sela.Things that would have sailed over the heads of the casual audience but would have meant a great deal to Trekkers.)

    And I distinctly remember whoops of laughter at the photograph of Hardy in his cadet uniform.
     
  17. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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

    The definition of insanity:

    There is no indication that Shinzon cannot distinguish fantasy from reality, cannot conduct his affairs due to psychosis, or that he is subject to uncontrollable impulsive behavior. Indeed, his behavior is often premeditated and displays a keen intelligence who suffers no delusional episodes.

    Shinzon is no more "insane" than was Adolf Hitler, Mao Zedong, Joseph Stalin, Pol Pot, Augusto Pinochet, or Jorge Rafael Videla.

    If you don't understand their underlying premises, sure. But just saying, "Well, he's crazy" is not an actual understanding of the mentally ill.

    Psychopaths are not impossible to understand; they display a set of thoroughly comprehensible motivations. This is a well-understood mental illness, and those who suffer from it are not raving lunatics whose behavior is consistently arbitrary.

    Further, Shinzon does not fit the definition of a psychopath. He does not display poor impulse control -- indeed, his political acumen suggests extreme personal discipline over many years. He also displays the capacity to forge lasting interpersonal relationships that are both stable and intense -- he is clearly still very close to his Viceroy (named Vkruk in the novels), who has been his best friend since childhood. Nor does he fit the most important trait of psychopathy, a lack of empathy; Shinzon feels extreme empathy for the Reman people.

    And besides -- psychopathy is not the same thing as insanity.

    Shinzon is not a psychopath. He's not a raving lunatic. Nor are most political leaders who achieve his level of power -- not even those who wish to murder millions. Most of them are not insane; they are just evil.

    Shinzon, on the other hand, is just a poorly-written character who makes choices in the third act of the film that completely defy the set of motivations he is established to possess in the first two acts. This isn't psychopathy or insanity; it's just bad writing.
     
  18. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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


    ok, you may not like the direction they took Shinzon's character in. But in what way did the choices he made in the third act "defy the set of motivations" he was established to possess?

    Sure, he became more desperate and unbalanced as his time was running out and his plan began to go awry, but I don't think anything he did later in the film was wildly inconsistent with his character.
     
  19. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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

    How many more times do I have to repeat myself?

    Shinzon's motivations are all about Reman nationalism: He wants to liberate the Remans and is against the Romulans. His primary motivation relates to the Reman/Romulan relationship, to his desire to shatter the Romulan system of control.

    Targeting Earth for extermination rather than Romulus defies everything we learned about his political views and personal motivations. It's done for the sake of having "Earth In Danger" inserted into the script rather than allowing the character to behave as he would logically given his established motivations.
     
  20. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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


    um, no that's not "defying his motivations." Defying previously established motivations would be if he were shown previously that his goal was PEACE with Earth, and then he turns around and tries to attack it. No move he makes against Earth or against the Ent-E contradicts anything previously established about his character.

    We already saw at the beginning that he was a ruthless mass murderer with a grudge against the Romulans. But he already MOVED against them, he assassinated their senators and took over their government. He won.


    So... now he's moving on a new target and in doing so he's getting revenge on Picard in his own mind. Again, just because you don't like the direction they took his character, just because you wanted a different movie where Shinzon goes after Romulus, doesn't mean that his motivations are arbitrary.