Shinzon's motives

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by The Overlord, Sep 15, 2013.

  1. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

    Nov 26, 2010
    Do you think Nemesis would have been better if Shinzon had better motives? Shinzon was supposed to be Picard's Khan, but Khan was an established villain who had a personal reason to hate Kirk, Shinzon was some evil clone that came out of the blue and hated Picard for existing, even though he would not exist without Picard and Picard had nothing to do with his misfortunes.

    Khan's motives are far more compelling then Shinzon's, to the point that I think Shinzon's motives should have been reworked for the film. Shinzon being an cunning Romulan commander who wants to defeat the Federation, a Romulan counter part to Picard or keep Shinzon the same, but make him threaten Romulus rather then Earth.

    Plus Shinzon seems to change characterization through out the film, at some points he is supposed to sympathetic, at other times he is presented as a genocidal mind rapist monster. More consistent characterization would have made him better.
  2. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 13, 2007
    in a figment of a mediocre mind's imagination

    I agree with your points. Shinzon seems to hold an irrational resentment/jealousy toward Picard, who didn't even know of his existence. Someone reviewing the script should have said "fix this. Why does Shinzon want revenge on Picard or Earth?"
  3. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 6, 2011
    I think there's more subtext here than we care to admit. People tend to dismiss the movie as "bad" without really understanding it.

    Shinzon goes after Earth because it was promised as a prize to the Romulan fleet that helped his rise to power. As Riker states, "The Preator's power has always been the Romulan Fleet." That is why there is constant prodding from the Romulans for him to attack the Federation. That said, there is a deleted scene they needed that would've made that clearer.

    There is a purpose to Shinzon's "loose characterization." The man is conflicted. He doesn't hate Picard. He wants to be better than Picard, prove he is worthy of being alive. Shinzon has had no contact with humans. Picard is almost a father figure through most of this movie. Shinzon is contemplating whether or not he should destroy Earth and Picard, or be peaceful and embrace his human heritage. He's acting more like a badass than he really is.

    The "Reman brothers" that "showed him the only kindness he has ever known," help him rape Deanna Troi. It's more about showing what he will be choosing if he embraces the Remans. "We are a race bred for war...and conquest." He's simply misguided and conflicted throughout the movie. He's not a usual villain.

    Up until his final moments, Shinzon is competing with Picard to show him who is going to be better in history books, and who has the power and the resolve, even after Picard has gone through him with a spear, and defeated him. He destroys himself because his circumstances never allowed him to feel love or empathy or compassion. The world taught this Picard that he must become a warrior to survive, and to hate the Romulans, use them as pawns.

    The effect of Shinzon's presence on Picard is that he sees what he could become, what he thought, because it's the 24th Century, he couldn't possibly do. Remember--war, poverty, disease, hatred, suffering--it's all gone. The Borg and the Dominion have brought it back, and Shinzon rises to be a great military leader (important to the Romulan fleet) because of his engagements in the Dominion War. "The raw material is the same." Shinzon makes Picard hesistate because he truly believes that Shinzon is a mirror for Picard. Given the right circumstances, Jean-Luc Picard could become the next Hitler. His greatness lies in his circumstances. And, indeed, Picard is facing the fact that he could commit genocide with the Borg. "It's not a person, Damnit, it's a Borg!," "I will make them pay for what they've done!," etc. That is the dark side of Jean-Luc Picard. It's consistent with his character.

    The moral of the story is two-fold: "Violence breeds violence, Oppression breeds retaliation." -- Robert Kennedy. The second is that we have the ability to do wonderful and terrible things to each other. We are capable of killing en masse, or being peaceful and benevolent. Shinzon is more successful than Picard. He is the leader of a planet. But he chooses genocide over peace.

    In the end, Picard is left asking Data about his humanity, an interesting turn-of-fate. Data has come full-circle. He used to challenge Picard to talk about humanity and his uniqueness. Now, Picard turns to him and says "I need to know if I could really do this." And Data responds. "I aspire, sir, to be more than I am. B-4 does not. Nor does Shinzon." But ultimately, we have to make the conscious choice to overcome circumstances. And that requires nurturing thought, foresight, and morality early in childhood, as well as the genetic components that allow us to have morality and higher thought.

    The movie is better than you think. I rank it between Insurrection and Generations as my 2nd favorite TNG film. It's too much action for me to make it the best. It took me awhile, and more experience, to fully understand the film. But that is my take on it. Others, I'm sure, have different opinions.
  4. Isolinear

    Isolinear Commander Red Shirt

    Sep 13, 2013
    Wow HaventGotALife, if that essay is required reading to truly understand the movie, I'd rather watch a David Lynch movie.

    My opinion: The writers f*ck*d it up. :rommie:
  5. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jan 5, 2005
    Eh, Shinzon is still too wonky for me. He may indeed have multiple motives and varied goals, but his actions within the scope of the film are confounding.

    His most immediate motive should be to save his own ass--the bit about needing the blood transfusion from Picard or else Shinzon will succumb within days or hours.

    With his very life in immediate danger, you'd think Shinzon's main goal (at least in terms of the movie's timespan) would be to secure Picard to get his blood.

    Instead, he delays and distracts, with android scavenger hunts and otherwise jeopardizing Picard's (and his own) life needlessly.

    Then Shinzon talks about liberating the Remans, he calls it "the single thought behind everything [he has] done". So that's his stated motive.

    I suppose part of that includes killing off Romulans, because he takes quite a bit of time executing that plan.

    Except he also has the personal grudge against Picard, where Picard must die so Shinzon's existence can have meaning. That becomes Shinzon's obsession.

    But before Shinzon tackles these matters, he's got time (with his life counting down to hours remaining) for some mind-rape antics.

    Evidently all this is not enough on his plate, so Shinzon throws in the destruction of the Enterprise and everyone aboard, and then continuing on to also destroy Earth, too.

    It's just way too muddled and needlessly complex for one script. If they wanted the personal obsession/vendetta against Picard, that would have been fine. Or the Reman revolt for freedom. Or the plot to destroy Earth. Or revenge against Romulus. Or the quest to save his own hide with the blood transfusion.

    But all of it, in a jumble? Maybe they were trying for a complex villain or a multi-dimensional character, but it seemed to be a mess to me.
  6. Isolinear

    Isolinear Commander Red Shirt

    Sep 13, 2013
    Couldn't have said it better myself SchwEnt. A jumble. A mess. That's what Nemesis is.

    Shinzon was a one-dimensional character created for one purpose only: the movie needed a Villain. And Villains always want to destroy Earth right? No further analyzing required.
  7. publiusr

    publiusr Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Mar 22, 2010
    And young folks like to play combat games, like FASA, SFB, chess, etc.

    Shinzon just had a bigger scale. When you go from an enclosed space to the wide open universe and have nothing but pain: "Yeah, I'll dessicate a whole planet--big deal."

    Rather like bomber pilots who never see what rains down on ground level--as in that MASH episode.
  8. Makarov

    Makarov Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 9, 2013
    There's motives which could be interesting as HaventGotALife said, but I think unfortunately they are given a shallow presentation.

    The movie might have gone in a more interesting direction if Shinzon actually did stop acting like a two-dimensional villain and attempted to ally with Picard. The most interesting parts of the movie are when it seems like this might be possible.

    As it is, it feels very much like he's shoehorned into acting like a cookiecutter villain. All of that might not have been so bad if he actually acted at all like Picard. He neither looks, nor acts like Picard, his only relation is that the movie tells us he's a clone. It really lets down the "mirror" aspect of the story.

    So yeah I very much agree Nemesis would have been better if Shinzon was better. It's not as godawful as sometime said but I'd say it's tied with Generations for worst TNG movie.
  9. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    You should read HaventGotALife's post. It was fulfilling. And it made a reference to a belief of my own, that while the writing wasn't great as the premise was flawed to being with, scenes dropped throughout the film would have made many points clearer. In other words, the editing of the film was far worse than the writing. They could have kept in all the scenes that explained things and removed the telepathic rape subplot from the movie entirely. What purpose did it serve, besides making Deanna Troi seem like a telepathic tactical console expert. Yikes.

    I still haven't heard an explaination that makes sense of why the telepathic rape stuff was so important to Shinzon... but I will say this: the battle at the end between the Enterprise E , the two warbirds and the Schimitar will always be worth the price of admission. Star Trek is so light on starship combat (save DS9 and ENT) so when it rises above the rest it is noticeable. And the final showdown is quite exciting.
  10. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

    Nov 26, 2010
    Why would Shinzon care though, the Romulans are the ones who mistreated him in the first place, so why would he bow to their wishes, rather then having try to pretend to do so, but have his ultimate end game be the destruction of Romulus? That would make more sense.

    I think they could have made his conflicted nature more developed in the film, rather him seeming to change his mind every 5 minutes. Again if his goal was to destory to Romulus because his need for revenge on him and his basic human nature, that would more compelling then him wanting to blow up Earth for extremely flimsy reason. The conflict should be between the good aspects of human nature and a desire for revenge against those who wronged him, blowing up Earth doesn't fit with that at all.
    This would be more compelling, if the Remans were presented as anything besides generic always chaotic evil bad guys through out the film.

    The Remans need a reason for going after Earth rather then "they are bred for war" because otherwise I see no reason why the Remans would even care about Earth, when the people who tormented them for centuries are still alive.

    Again, Shinzon can get into the history books by blowing up Romulus and again that just makes more sense. I also think the Enterprise fighting to save the home world of their one of greatest enemies would be more interesting, then another movie where they have to save earth again.

    So if Picard grew up a space mine, oppressed by Romulans, he would want to blow up Earth for no good reason, yeah I don't buy that. If Picard was evil, I think there would have been more of a method to his maddness, rather then just random hatred for no good reason. Heck Shinzon comes across as Picard's emo teenage son, rather then his dark reflection.

    Heck Shinzon would make more sense if he was just an insane nihilist who liked blowing up planets for fun, at least there his character would be less convoluted and would make more sense. For a villain you have to pick a direction, a villain can be sympathetic or monstrously evil, but you shouldn't go back and forth with those two portrayals for the course of a movie.
  11. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

    Sep 13, 2011
    Shinzon's motives are stated repeatedly in NEM. Destroy Earth and cripple the Federation. Earth is the capital for the UFP and HQ for Starfleet. The Romulans at the beginning of NEM were appealing for a war before the senate and Preator. However as the Romulan Praetor stated "the senate has considered Shinzon's proposal and rejected it". Later Commander Suran says that he and the other collaborators of this coup supported Shinzon because he promised action. Shinzon just took his time on actually carrying out the plan.

    I suggest rewatching the scene where Shinzon has Picard prisoner onboard the Scimitar. Shinzon appears to have changed his mind from being curious about Picard to now despising him. Saying that "my life is meaningless while you're still alive". There are some other good quotes from that scene and later in Picard's ready room with holo-projector Shinzon. It became a grudge match between two men. Shinzon's plan to destroy Earth was initally to instigate a war between the UFP and the RSE. It later becomes a way to wipe out the life and legacy of Jean-Luc Picard and cement Shinzon of Remus in the history books as the man who destroyed Earth.

    Does the plan make complete sense? Not really. But hey what Star Trek film doesn't have it's bonehead plans by villains who we are supposed to believe are intelligent. Looking at you Khan from TWOK, Borg from FC, Ru'afo from INS, Nero from ST09 and John Harrison from STID.
  12. The Overlord

    The Overlord Captain Captain

    Nov 26, 2010
    But again why didn't Shinzon plan on destroying Romulus instead of Earth, if the Romulans were the ones responsible for his misfortune? He has far more reason to the Romulan Empire then he does the Federation.

    And why was Shinzon taking his time, when he was dying and needed Picard's blood right away?

    I think Shinzon would make it into the history books if he destroyed Romulus, so why doesn't he try to do that instead?

    I think Khan and the Borg have far less convoluted plans and motives then Shinzon does.
  13. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

    Sep 13, 2011
    I used to think the same as you. I felt Romulus was a better target for Shinzon since he obviously hated the Romulans. However i don't think he dwells on that. His focus is on his own personal legacy. That legacy begins with the man he is cloned after. Destroying Earth would nullify everything Picard ever did. In a galaxy where the RSE has conquered the UFP worlds. Whoever Jean-Luc Picard was would be immaterial. No one would remember a man who captained a little ship from a planet (Earth) and an organization (UFP) that doesn't exist anymore. But everyone would remember Praetor Shinzon who made the destruction of Earth and set the dominos in motion for the fall of the UFP happen.

    There's no point in debating what should've been because it comes down to the viewer's personal preference over what the writer actually imagined. Trying to tell John Logan (Gladiator, Aviator, The Last Samurai, Skyfall) he's wrong to give Shinzon the motivations he did would prove futile.

    Because he's a villain and he's moves at the speed of plot.

    Destroying Romulus wouldn't serve his personal vendetta against Picard. Remember Shinzon said Picard wouldn't "...survive to witness the victory of the echo over the voice". Shinzon said he felt his life was meaningless as long as Picard lived. Besides Shinzon was the official Praetor of the RSE. A human sitting on the throne of the empire. I think his hatred for the Romulans took a backseat after achieving that title.

    Khan could've beamed up Kirk when he beamed up the Genesis torpedo. Khan wanted to kill Kirk and wasn't picky on how it was done. Such as ordering Capt. Terrell and Checov to kill Kirk with phase pistols. Khan could've done it himself.

    The Borg could've used there time travel method in the Delta Quadrant and then progessed to Earth if they REALLY wanted to assimilate it. When see in FC it was successful when they executed it. However by a random happenstance the Ent-E happened to be shielded from the history altering effects of the Borg's meddling.
  14. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

    Jun 9, 2013
    The Captain's Table
    How exactly would the destruction of Earth mean that Romulus has conquered the Federation? Earth's loss would be a devastating blow, but the Federation was composed of more than one hundred worlds. They would find a way to recover. It's not as though the entirety of Starfleet would vanish the moment Earth's population was wiped out.

    And what have I told you about your predilection for using sentence fragments?

    Once again, you've no basis for saying that the Federation would automatically fall with the loss of Earth's population. The idea that Starfleet would immediately give up because Shinzon destroyed their capital is ludicrous. If anything, they'd be more determined to take him down.

    This is an absolutely laughable statement. So because John Logan has directed successful films, he's not above reproach or criticism for presiding over a mediocre film? And if there'sn no point in debating this issue, why post in the thread dedicated to discussing it? You really are something else, you know that?

    As does every other character in a film. That doesn't explain the in-universe rationale for what he was doing.

    Why? Did his ascension to the throne wipe away the pain and misery he endured at the hands of the Romulans? Did the Romulans who pledged their loyalty to him remain so because he was the head of their government?

    Which is exactly what he should have done if he wanted to be sure that Kirk was dead. And it's Chekov. Good grief!

    That wasn't random at all. The Enterprise was within the aperture when the alterations to history took place, effectively shielding the vessel from being erased itself.

  15. M.A.C.O.

    M.A.C.O. Commodore Commodore

    Sep 13, 2011
    What proof do you have that the Starfleet and the other Federation worlds could repel an attack from the RSE?

    English is not my first language. I know I have bad grammar and I struggle to improve. I don't care what you have told me in the past.

    Please produce evidence to the contrary then.

    Actually John Logan was the writer of NEM and those other films. Stuart Baird was the director of Nemesis. Check IMDB to confirm.

    I am nothing compared to yourself.

    Write to John Logan, Rick Berman and or Brent Spiner and ask them why. I did not write or cowrite the screenplay for the film. I don't have the answers you seek.
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2013
  16. DWF

    DWF Admiral Admiral

    May 19, 2001
    Columbus, Ohio
    Shinzon is a doppelganger and he's dying, he sees himself asa second rate copy of Picard and I think there's some regret about the direction of his life. Destroying Picard, earth and Federation somehow would give his life some validation.
  17. billcosby

    billcosby Commodore Commodore

    Shinzon's motives as executed through his timing could also be the subject of discussion. How much time elapses during the events of Nemesis? One week, tops? Probably a few days.
    Dear Shinzon: Do you think your master plan might have worked better if you'd had a bit longer than a few days to stay alive long enough to see it through? Come on, dude. Or did he not know about his condition during the Dominion War?

    Jesus. I can imagine Picard and crew laughing and in hysterics after this final mission together, that their final combatant was so incompetent... all together busting a gut on the bridge or in ten forward. But, no they decided to end it with senseless death and leave it a bummer of an ender.

    I like the way you phrased that. And I agree. Although maybe third or fouth rate.
  18. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Apr 19, 2013
    I think Shinzon should have been Picard's son.

    Then this movie would have been a validation of what Picard did and said in GEN and a reason for Picard to try to save him. By making it his son its no less a reflection on Picard. But he has more motive to save a son than an evil clone.

    I would have cut Shinzon's creepiness. I just don't think he needed to be totally evil. He could have just captured Picard to take non-death threatening blood transfusions from him. Maybe it would have been better for him to try to destroy Romulus and maybe Picard would seem nobler if he was trying to save the billions on a planet he doesn't really like. Maybe he would sacrifice his only son (and Data to do it).
  19. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

    Jun 9, 2013
    The Captain's Table
    They wouldn't need to repel the attack. They'd need only to survive. And what proof do you have that destroying Earth would mean the end of the Federation? You're the one who made the original assertion. The burden of proof is yours. Not mine.

    Well, I'm going to keep calling you out every time you butcher the English language. Get used to it.

    Where is your evidence that this would happen in the first place? I'll provide my evidence as soon as you can produce your own. As I said above, you're the one who made the original assertion. It's on you to prove your point first. Not that I'd expect you to understand that.

    You're correct. Logan was the writer of Nemesis. But my original point stands: how does his having written other successful films mean he's above criticism for writing a poor film?

    A completely idiotic statement. You claimed that Shinzon's hatred of Romulans took a back seat to his feelings about Picard after he became Praetor without providing any proof of this. That's why I asked those questions. If you aren't prepared to respond to questions regarding your points, you shouldn't make statements like that.

  20. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

    Jul 6, 2011
    I disagree. I think it works as a clone. Picard has a bit of hubris in this movie--that Jean-Luc Picard would never do the things Shinzon of Remus has done. And, because he's a good man at heart, Picard can appeal to his higher sense of self to turn him into a good man. That is interesting for Picard's motivations as well as Shinzon's. It's more personal than when he tries to save other life forms. This is about proving that Jean-Luc Picard is a good man.

    Making him a son makes it less important because he hasn't been in the child's life. It means that his hand-wringing at the beginning of the movie about how everyone is leaving him and he made decisions that left him without a family, are destroyed. He's inherently a bad father, and therefore, directly responsible for Shinzon's actions. That's a completely different movie that paints Picard in a very bad light.

    Besides, how would you get DNA from Picard? Did a Romulan, um...well, you see my point. Did he know about this son? Why would the Romulans throw that son away when we've had Tasha Yar's daughter rise through the ranks? What is the motivation of the Romulans to get a son of Picard?

    I agree with some of the points about the portrayal of Shinzon. Could he have just as easily turned the Scimitar on Romulus? Absolutely. That is a thought that I have had a million times.

    However, he wouldn't be Praetor too long without the support of the Romulan fleet, as he eventually finds out when the Romulans abandon him. I think, like with most Star Trek movies, there is room for improvement. I think it would be a better movie if the Scimitar went up against 3 or 4 squadrons of Romulan ships instead of 1 The thing is the freaking Death Star. It could handle multiple attackers and still survive.

    It's not perfect, but I see what they are doing. I wish people would stop looking for things that are wrong with it, and put their biases aside, and try and see what the movie is trying to do. The dialogue is b-rate and blunt, the acting performances are over-the-top, especially Patrick Stewart, (with too many catch-phrases) and it's needlessly plotting in terms of pace. But those don't speak to the question that was originally asked. "Could Shinzon's motives been clearer and would that make a better movie?"

    I think it would've tied the movie nicely together if they had a flashback to Picard's weakest moment, most like Shinzon, with Tom Hardy playing Picard, so when the audience sees Shinzon, they know who they are seeing.