Star Trek: Nemesis--A Positive Review

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Damian, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    I thought about posting something in an old thread but I decided I wanted to focus on a wholly positive review of Nemesis. It's a film that has perplexed me for years. Not because of the film itself but because of the hatred it engenders. I've never understood it. Honestly. Now it's not a blockbuster like TWOK, First Contact or Star Trek (2009). I never thought that. But I came out of the theater and thought it was a pretty decent Star Trek film, my 2nd favorite TNG film and around the middle of the pack overall. Frankly it seems Nemesis is hated more than even Insurrection, which I thought was a much more mediocre film (I still liked it for the most part, but it ranks near the bottom of Trek films IMO).

    I actually find each time I watch it, I actually like it a bit more. I watched it again last night and thought I'd post what I thought were the positives of the film (I have brought up areas where it has fallen short IMHO in the past, but I just want to focus on positives for now).

    First the obvious. The music. I loved Goldsmith's score, his new themes for the Romulans, and some reuses of his prior music. At the end when the Enterprise is in spacedock I liked the re-use of the Enterprise fly by music from TMP. Very appropriate for the scene. Also the music used in the battle scenes and the scene when Picard is dining with Schinzon, all good. The other is the battle scene between the Enterprise and the Scimitar in the rift. I had read they had wanted to include more ships but had to cut back due to budget cuts. I actually thought that ended up being a good thing. It helped keep the focus of the battle on the two ships involved, the Enterprise and the Scimitar. Briefly the battle was joined by two Romulan battleships, but it didn't take anything away from the main battle and was just enough to give more dimension to the sequence. The battle scene was everything I always wanted in a space battle in the Star Trek universe, and more. The ramming scene was epic. Including when they showed the two ships joined together just before Schinzon ordered the Scimitar to back away. The special effects I thought were well done as well. For a non-ILM film, the company that did the effects was almost at ILM quality.

    Other things, things I liked about the plot (leaving out things I thought could have been better in keeping with the theme of the thread). I liked the allegory I guess you'd call it of the reflection between Picard and Schinzon, and the parallel with Data and B-4. Schinzon tells Picard he'd do exactly what he'd be doing if he were in his shoes. And Data reminds Picard later that is not true. He is not Schinzon. It's a question of how much does the environment affect who we are vs. our genes. Could Picard do the evil things Schinzon does if he grew up as Schinzon did? We can easily see why that haunts Picard. Schinzon has done horrible things, and wants to commit genocide. That has to cause him almost a terrible guilt.

    I liked the scene when Picard is dining with Schinzon. Patrick Stewart gives his usual standout performance there when he stands in the Senate hall and tells him one of the greatest values of the Federation is the belief that we are all equal. That as a Starfleet officer nothing would make him prouder than to reach his hand in friendship toward Schinzon (and for the Federation and the Romulan Empire to become 'friends' as well). With Goldsmith's usual excellent music always appropriate to the scene I actually found that a very touching scene.

    I liked the Remans. I know some have complained of them being like space vampires, I thought their appearance matched their environment. Sensitive to light, creatures that are obviously accustomed to the dark. I didn't have a problem with the Remans.

    Another complaint I sometimes see is how Riker eventually dispatched the Romulan viceroy, esp. going after him personally. I don't get that. His wife was raped. Maybe not physically, but mentally. She was assaulted. Riker may be a Starfleet officer, but he is also a human being. I hope it doesn't sound chauvinistic, but I think a lot of husbands out there would react the same way. His wife was brutalized, and he wanted to take out the creature that was responsible for that personally. His wife is a part of him and by attacking her, the Reman was essentially attacking him. Ask any husband who loves his wife that suffers such an attack what they would do and I think most would say the same thing. They'd want to strangle the life out of that person. Is it civilized? Perhaps not. Human, absolutely.

    I also liked the scene where Troi is helping Worf locate the Scimitar using the Viceroy's own method of assault against him. I also liked the subtlety of having her left hand be the guide for Worf, the hand that her wedding ring is on. It's not in your face but I think it was that hand for a good reason. Schinzon and the Viceroy tried to cause a break in her new marriage (even if unintentionally) and it was a bit of a sign that their marriage is stronger than that.

    Also, when Troi is visibly upset by the death of Data. I have to admit that almost brought a tear to my eye as well. Being an empathy, she'd obviously be affected by the feelings of the crew toward his loss. And she is also by nature and her job as a counselor an emotional being. It felt very natural to me. And when Riker is reminiscing about meeting Data, I actually liked that he couldn't remember the song Data was whistling. We all have those memories where we can't remember the finer details. That also felt very natural. I was glad they actually didn't name the song.

    Those are some of my thoughts for now. I'll add more as I think of them. But overall, I find more positives in Nemesis than negatives. I just wanted to do a post where all I talked was the highlights, the things I liked about the film.
     
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
  2. Khan 2.0

    Khan 2.0 Commodore Commodore

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    Picard / Shinzon in the ready room is a great scene too "I know you..there was a time when you looked to the stars..and dreamed of what might be..'
     
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  3. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    The music always struck me as an homage to the first season's score. The opening of the film was enthralling in the theater, and the Prague Philharmonic version of "A New Ending" is on my playlist of Star Trek favorites.

    The Romulans have terrific scenes written for them, outside of "that black Rock they came from (politicians would be more subtle with their racism, the caste of the Empire will be explained later, nothing is perfect, I think the scene was good, not great)." The acting, however, is too consistent with the Romulans in TNG, something DS9 addressed in later seasons. It's just not subtle enough, to my taste.

    The "Best Man" speech is beautifully shot, a close-up of Picard that communicates where the crew is, in terms of exposition, and that Picard, in humor, is still feeling an empty nest. It communicates his peace at the "family" question, how he came to a resolution. It communicates his love for Troi and Riker, and who they are to Picard, something done for Data, in death. Worf is tradition on the bridge. This felt like a swan song of joys until B-4 is discovered. Again, the movie treats this like the first time Data has discovered an Android (Lore, his mother, Lal) and this is to tell the audience unaccostomed to Teknobabble, what is transpiring. Data should be excited, but not shocked or contemplative. The I still appreciate little moments like Geordi asking him about a long-lost relative. That said, this portion of the story feels lost in 1992, not 2002 when Data has emotions, has seen a few things in this movie franchise.

    The Conference room scene provides needed exposition. I always want to play Pink Floyd's "Dark side of the moon" every time I see it. It provides context for who Shinzon is, who the Remans are, and Shinzon's conflict with the Romulan fleet Commanders, who turn on him anyway, as a consolidation of power. This, in turn, feeds Shinzon's personal consolidation, of sorts, to be completely Reman, and reject his human genetics, his dreams of the stars, and his link to Picard. He hand-wrings, and I wish he did it more, over whether to be human, or not.

    This is from Shinzon's perspective. Picard is forced to admit Shinzon has a point about who Picard is in relationship to his Borg damage. He turns Lily and Guinan on Shinzon, and is rejected, which makes Picard feel even more troubled.

    Star Trek postulates humanity will evolve past war and disease, destruction. This is putting Star Trek on trial as much as Picard. It's good leadership; nurture that causes humanity to eradicate these societal ailments.

    I love that Data evolves enough to see Picard is emotionally compromised, evaluate emotions, that is graduation of the character to full-blown human, and his death. In saving Picard and the Enterprise, we see him evolve as Riker brings up his first scene. He can't just whistle, the man sang, as a present, for Troi and Riker, at their wedding!

    The battles were miles from where they were in Insurrection, and even First Contact. You have to return to Khan to see space battles like this. It's not my favorite aspect of the movie, but it doesn't interfere in the storytelling like in Insurrection, or bore me, and seem dated, like in First Contact and Generations.

    It's a beautiful send-off, if not dark, for the series that did the most exploring in the 24th century, and made the clearest argument for why humanity would survive annihilation.

    I love this film. Good thread!
     
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  4. Geetha Stachowiak

    Geetha Stachowiak Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Tom Hardy was an excellent villain.
     
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  5. Vger23

    Vger23 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I liked Nemesis too. No, it didn't stick the landing in every aspect, but I agree with virtually every point you made about it. I thought it was a great, cinematic action/adventure Trek with a perfect balance of TNG philosophy rolled in. The other thing I always appreciated about it was the depiction of the crew moving on. TNG always felt very static to me, and I liked NEM trying to show that change is inevitable and often welcome/necessary.

    I enjoyed it upon first viewing (opening night) and remember being pretty shocked at all the outright hatred for the film from fans and critics. My wife (girlfriend at the time- her first Trek movie) and I went with another couple, and we all enjoyed the film pretty uniformly.

    To this day, I still think it's a much better film than INS and it beats GEN by a fair degree as well. Honestly, I often have it on par with the "beloved" First Contact.

    But hey, I also like TFF, TOS Season 3 and DSC...so what the hell do I know about Star Trek?
    ;)
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
  6. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Yes, I agree. Now maybe some of the complaints about him being Picard's clone maybe have some validity to an extent, but it takes nothing away from Hardy's portrayal. I also loved his disgusted "If you EVER touch me again..." line to Donatra. Just the perfect amount of disgust ;).

    Yeah, of the 4 TNG films it's 2nd on my list. It goes FC, Nemesis, Generations then Insurrection. Now I personally don't quite have it on the level of FC, I loved almost everything about that film, but it's comfortably ahead of Generations in my book. And it's probably in the middle of the pack overall for the 13 films for me.

    But this film gets trashed so much I decided it was time to post a positive thread about Nemesis. To focus on many of the things I liked about it.

    The first time I really found out how much this movie was hated by so many Trekkies was when I first started going on trekmovie.com. I started reading comments on the articles there about vilifying Nemesis. I was like WTF? I hadn't realized just how hated it was in Trek world before that.

    And I still say Paramount did Nemesis no favors by releasing it at the same time as a Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and a James Bond film. All those films pull from a similar segment of moviegoers and there are only so many movies people will see at one time. When they all draw from a similar pool of fans, someone is going to suffer. And while I liked Nemesis, I don't have any illusions that it's on the level of Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter in popularity. I really think had it been released a few months later, with less competition, it would have made number 1 for the week of release and at least pulled a respectable showing at the box office (nothing like Star Trek [2009] but at least enough to make a profit).
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
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  7. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    I liked that as well. In Nemesis, Picard is more like the familiar captain from TNG. He can fight, yes, but Generations, FC and Insurrection focused a bit too much on Picard fighting people. In Nemesis, outside a few scenes on the Scimitar, he's more the diplomatic, introspective type. Trying to convince Schinzon to see a different way. Trying to use his gift of persuasion to turn Schinzon. And for a moment it almost worked. You could see the battle in Schinzon in the ready room scene (another great performance by Hardy, BTW, you could see the conflict in his eyes, almost wanting Picard to rescue him from his own hatred until the hatred takes over).

    Yeah. It was nice to have some meaningful briefing room scenes like they used to on the Enterprise-D. They didn't draw them out needlessly, or make them needlessly wordy. It was just an opportunity to provide information to the audience in a way that makes sense. I liked that the Dominion War got a nod in the film as well and wasn't forgotten.

    That reminds me of 2 other things I liked. One I've mentioned before. First Contact and Nemesis are the two TNG films that actually felt like theatrical productions, and not expanded episodes of TNG TV series. Generations and Insurrection I can almost see as two part episodes of TNG. But First Contact and Nemesis both had a theatrical feel to them. I honestly can't see them as episodes. The other is some of the other characters actually seem to have a bit more to do here. Particularly Troi and Geordi. They have a greater role in this film. They're still part of the 'also starring' cast, but they seem to have more exposure in Nemesis. Dr Crusher is the only one that still seems not to have a whole lot to do (though she does have a moment with Picard when they are discussing Schinzon that reminded me of their friendship in the TV series).

    Some of the editing work was well done as well. Stuart Baird is a pretty highly regarded editor so maybe that shouldn't be a surprise. The cut away from Data singing at Riker's wedding to the Enterprise in space (with Goldsmith's typically excellent music accompaniment) is one that comes to mind. It seems to happen at just the right moment. Another is when the Scimitar is 'stalking' the Enterprise just before it enters the rift. That actually gave me a bit of a chill up my spine. From the perspective of the Enterprise it's like "I feel someone is watching me". And I liked the Scimitar. It was a well designed ship from the outside IMO. It looked like, well, a 'predator'.

    I kind of liked doing this post in fact. It's nice to focus solely on the positive for a change.

    Maybe next time I watch Insurrection I'll do something similar. That will be harder as it ranks 12/13 of the Star Trek films for me, but it might be worth trying to find the positives I see in that film, since I don't 'hate' it, just that I don't like it as much as the others.
     
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2019
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  8. Grant

    Grant Commodore Commodore

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    I love the movie and I'm hoping that the Picard series will prompt Paramount to release all four of them in UHD format.
    Also I would love to see an Extended Cut with all the deleted scenes or as many as they could squeeze in.
     
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  9. Geetha Stachowiak

    Geetha Stachowiak Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    So glad you're showing Nemesis some love! It was dissed so much and it really didn't deserve it. You're right about Paramount screwing up the time of release. However that's done on a tight schedule, I think. Once a film is in a slot, it's tough to move it around. Or I think you can move it around only so much. I can't wait to work in a studio so I learn more about this sort of thing and hopefully pull all the strings myself :)

    But I'm off topic. Hardy actually knew nothing of Star Trek when he took it on. When you consider that, it only underscores what an excellent actor he is. This is actually where I first noticed him. He's done so well since then. I've heard he's actually nice to work with too, which is even more awesome.
     
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  10. Geetha Stachowiak

    Geetha Stachowiak Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Baird is a fairly good director (pretty sure he directed Nemesis - I think I watched the interviews too. Sorry - I haven't watched it recently! But I so loved it when I did find it). You're right about it not feeling like just another ST series episode. It felt like a real film. Hardy stole the spotlight, I think. He was just such a complete evil a*hole in that story, and so damned desperate... and then with that illness, it was just the perfect storm. That last scene with him dying on the sword, his weakening hands around Picard's neck, and the way he muttered, "I'm glad we could be together at the end..." Lovely!
     
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  11. Geetha Stachowiak

    Geetha Stachowiak Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Insurrection was a complete bore. Nemesis was the only TNG flick I liked. I cannot remember any others - they didn't leave any impression on me. TNG's overall problem I thought was the lack of real danger. A lot of the episodes lack that tension and feeling of danger. Voyager had it in spades. Like in eps with the Videans - I was actually worried for the crew. No fun getting your organs beamed out no matter who they were saving - and when Voyager was under attack I was worried for Janeway and the rest. Nemesis did make me feel the tension, though. Shinzon was so nicely unhinged, it was fun to watch him come apart, and you knew he was determined to kill every living thing - Hardy had that crazy look perfected.
     
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  12. Damian

    Damian Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah, he directed Nemesis. He's much more well known as an editor. I love James Bond movies and he edited at least 2 of those. I think he only directed 2 or 3 films. I know some of the cast and many fans trashed him as a director. Frankly I'm not sure why. I thought from a direction standpoint the movie was fine. Now maybe there are some valid criticisms of the script at points, but that's more on the writers.

    Baird wasn't very familiar with Star Trek. Not sure why that is a black mark either though. Neither was Nicholas Meyer and I think most would agree TWOK and TUC was a pretty good movie. Baird was no Hitchcock or Kubrick, or even Meyer. But I thought he was a competent enough director.

    A little trivia ;) (I love sharing useless knowledge). I love horror movies and Baird and Jerry Goldsmith did work on another film together, The Omen. Baird was the editor and Goldsmith of course the composer.
     
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  13. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, I watched Nemesis last night and Baird's direction is phenomenal, outside of small elements, like streamers in the battles, but the production value is top-notch, for it's time. Like editing the death of the Romulan and Picard's close-up from one shot to another. He does this again in "He'll come for me" and showing B-4 deactivated. Death is indicated in both scenes, edited together. And, eventually, death visits both Data and Picard. While this is editing, Baird had to shoot this, and being an editor, probably shot it thinking of the edit. He has to linger on all four faces for the effect. The makeup involved in both scenes. You have to think ahead.

    I think Baird did a masterful job in shooting the introduction of Shinzon, even if I disagree with the scene in the movie. By the time we arrive at "I want to know what it means to be human!" The audience has no reason to trust Shinzon's motives. Because the audience isn't in the dark, they never feel the conflict within him. It's too subtle for the audience to "get it."

    Shinzon is saying "my time! And I should spend it how I choose!" We don't see the turn from contemplating his humanity, a longer shot of Shinzon before The Viceroy approaches. We don't focus on his reaction, and then see the Viceroy, out of focus, in the foreground, approach Shinzon, see him turn to anger "My time!" Being his defense of his power, but the undertone should be the Reman pulling him back to the fold. One example of where I think the movie needed to be blunt, or accessible, to the audience.

    We just see him petulant, then cave. We don't see him contemplating peace with humanity, and his own acceptance of who he is--a human.

    I think Baird was just too smart for this film. Much of this is in subtext, so the audience is confused, more than hating the film. That's my evaluation
     
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  14. Khan 2.0

    Khan 2.0 Commodore Commodore

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    he directed Executive Decision and US Marshalls - both pretty solid 90s actions flicks
     
  15. Geetha Stachowiak

    Geetha Stachowiak Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    'The Undiscovered Country' is one of my all-time faves. Great (allegoric) title too (kind of like when Ridley Scott wanted to call the latest Alien sequel 'Paradise' and then changed it to 'Covenant' which I thought quite pedestrian)! The score is so totally unmatched - I wonder what inspired Eidelman, because I cannot remember any other score that powerful other than the Star Wars theme. But other than that, brilliant script, great acting, and - amazing direction, obviously. Meyer is a great director. I guess Baird must've started out as an editor. He seems fairly competent - he certainly got a great performance out of Hardy. Then again, Hardy seems like one of those actors who does a great job regardless. I heard he and Charlize hated each other's guts on that Mad Max revival thunder road or whatever (I found it a total snoozefest), but his acting is top notch even there.
     
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  16. Geetha Stachowiak

    Geetha Stachowiak Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Oh yeah! The "if you ever touch me again..." scene was awesome. Dina Meyer did a great job too as the commander.
     
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  17. Geetha Stachowiak

    Geetha Stachowiak Lieutenant Junior Grade Red Shirt

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    Agree - that introduction of Shinzon is masterfully done. And I didn't even think of the Remans as zombies until I read this :) The part about subtext is very true. It does take patience and discernment to notice things like that.
     
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  18. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I also really like that. It feels spontaneous, and very natural, that way it's played, yes meeting Data for the first time is memorable but not being so pin sharp as to recall the song is a powerful, human moment. 15 years is a long time to hold onto every single little memory, and I kind of hate it when fictional characters in movies or TV shows are able to have immediate recall like that, or talk in scripted ways. It feels like such a genuine moment, a human moment. Wonderfully, perfectly played by Frakes, also. It hits just the note it needs to. Perfect.
     
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  19. Ssosmcin

    Ssosmcin Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Which were also scored by Jerry Goldsmith. They had a good working relationship.
     
  20. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

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    This final scene of Nemesis left me wanting another NG cast movie.
     
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