TNG Movie Guest Reviews
Star Trek Generations
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
It probably makes sense at the time to bring Kirk and Picard on the big screen together right after the end of TNG. I'm sure TPTB have been regretting it since though. Still, this is a better than average Trek movie.
It is nice to see some of the old TOS crew back again. There were many memorable quotes, some of which are humorous, but I won't bother listing them since we already know them. I like how Kirk kept eyeing the captains chair, yet when he had the chance to sit in it, he decided that the captains place was on his bridge. However, there should have been many other more capable officers who could have gone down to deflector control. Why did old man Kirk, of all people, have to do it?
It is about time Worf got that promotion! Although I understand his promotion was delayed this long because of killing Duras. It is interesting how the story focuses on Picard and Data considering that these two characters will be the focus again in the rest of the TNG movies. I am actually rather annoyed at Data's emotion chip. I found his behavior more irritating than humorous. I kept longing for the old Data throughout the movie. Soran was an interesting character, but I don't really have much more to say about him.
The special effects are good for this time period, however I did not like the darker atmosphere of this ship. I realize the ship had a major overhaul between the end of TNG and this movie, but this still does not seem consistent to me.
- Nitpicking: So the energy ribbon appears about four light years from the current position of the Enterprise-B, which is still traveling at impulse in the Sol System. And then the communication officer says that there are no other ships available in the area when Harriman asks for another ship? So in other words, am I to understand that there are no other star ships available within at LEAST FOUR light years of Earth, the main hub of the Federation!? ARGHH!!!
- More nitpicking: When Picard coerces Kirk into going back in time with him to help stop Soran, why not go back further in time? Why go back to right before Soran is about to launch the missile? He should have gone back to when Soran was still on the Enterprise-D and lock him up in the Brig! And then Kirk could have lived too!
- Remarkable quote: "Oh, shit!" -Data
Rating: 7 (Chris)
Star Trek Generations
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
On hearing about Star Trek: Generations, I groaned - "The Undiscovered Country" ended the franchise on a high, but typically the powers that be wanted more, and not surprised but dismayed, they went ahead with another film - this time starring Picard and Co.
I had never thought much of the Next Gen lot; I grew up with Kirk and his posse and have always prefered them over Picard and his boring mob, but at the time there was not many if any sci fi films afloat so I was sort of intrigued - when I learnt that Kirk was going to pop his clogs in this - I was very curious; and concerned. Concerned because Kirk is a hero of mine and wondered how they were going to do this.
When I saw the film - oh dear...what a gastly disappointment.
Overall I agree with the critics - it does feel like a feature length episode of the Next Gen with special guest star William Shatner. It's clunky, unrefined, poorly edited, and quite flat. Part of it to me is that we are so use to the cinema bringing us WIll and co, that seeing "TV stars" per se doing this feels unimpressive. A fact I recall when I went to see this film, some of the audience were taking the urine out of it by loudly saying "it canne take any more captain" and stuff like that before an irate fan told them to "shut it!" emphasised with suggestions of violence...
It is a labour to watch because its rather inept, dull, and just there - like paint. Its pitiful in many ways; the comedy is irritable and embarrassing - Data being the prime cause with his ghastly emotional chip; the drama is poor, the plot is typical Star Trek; it's full of holes the size of conduits, daft ideas (the Ent-B with OVERSIZED impulse engines), physics bent for convenience (tiny rocket capable of killing stars), continuity blown to hell, the cast being the usual plebs (you know who), silly ideas brought in (the Nexus!!!!), and the panto villain installed as the whole reason for everything being this film.
Yet I would gladly make some time for it, and I think over the years maybe many others have. Why I hear you ask when you have just condemned it? Because despite its overall clunky boringness - there are a few things going for it - and all of them raise this film from just death.
The first is the Enterprise-B launch - where Kirk and Co are brought back to where they use to work, now cannot go. They are obsolete and seeing all that they know carrying on without them is painful. The most hurtful part was when he was introduced to Sulu's daughter, and shocked that Sulu had family - a further statement stabbed into him by Scotty that Sulu had time for a family whilst he did not - Kirk is the victim of his own success, and now has nothing to look forward too except growing old and alone. This is retirement and to many old people so dedicated to their careers, time has passed them by and seeing it here is raw to watch, Kirk the hero is becoming Kirk the Zero.
All that changes when the B encounters the Nexus and the two refugee ships. Kirk's experience comes in handy, and even has the chance to command the B but knows his place is no longer there and that leads to the heart wrenching but VERY heroic scene in the Navigation Deflector Room followed by the realisation of the hit by the Nexus Storm. Scotty's "iye" says it all.
The second is the battle of the D and the Bird of Prey. Again well executed, the BoP using info gathered from Geordi's Visor, and using that to fire through its shields. The sequence where the D's bridge is being shot up is good action, especially the scene when a crewmember is sent flying over the wishbone railing. When they do find a way to beat the Klingons, I agreed with Data - "YES!" then the D then suffers a warp core breach which results in the saucer section being jettisoned. However in one of those gem moments, the explosion knocks the saucer into the atmosphere and results in a very impressive crash. What I liked about this entire sequence was the feeling of "it's bad, just got worse, and then just when you think it cannot get any bleaker, wallop!"
The third albeit small is poignant - the scene where Picard is in the Nexus - its very heart wrenching because so many emotions of loss and need. its short but god its so painful to watch. The sense of loss, regret, and the lack of fulfilment is very strong here.
The final sequence has to be Kirk's death. It's pure herosim. There are two parts that make is soooooooo superb - the first bit where he is about to jump the bridge to get the control pad - he knows the odds are against him, he knows there is little chance of survival, he knows its very certain death, and that music where everything goes quiet as he thinks of where he is, what he has done, and maybe even " this is it" sets it up nicely. The second is hard to write because even thinking about it sends me into flood of tears, it's where Picard finds Kirk crushed under the bridge, and utters those lines - the score and the final "oh my" has me in tears everytime. Not since Roy Batty's death in Bladerunner, or the sacrifice of the soldiers in Glory, has a scene moves me soooooo much.
Why the tears?
Well, it's Captain Kirk - there are those who will like Sisko, Picard, Janeway, and even Archer, but none will ever match - even eclipse the Charisma of Captain Kirk - he is THE captain, he is the man - he is the emphasis of leadership of the Star Fleet - without him, what would there be?
Aside of an iconic character dying, to me this (and maybe many more fans, maybe of my era) is where Star Trek died. I don't care for the spin offs or the films that followed it, Captain Kirk is Star Trek. Some will say that Spock or McCoy are better characters, that Shatner was a third rate actor and his captain was lame, that Star Trek thrived on.
No, it died here, because Spock and Co interacted with Captain Kirk. If you want further proof, look to the reboot of 2009 - they did not go with Picard, Sisko, or Jinny - they went with Kirk. Think about it, Star Trek without Captain Kirk is like Star Wars without Han Solo - and look to the Star Wars prequels to see what I mean.
It should have been laid to rest and respect.
- Remarkable fact 1: The original death of Kirk was a shot in the back by Soran. However test audiences hated this event so much that the scene had to be reshot - to the bridge and following crash.
- Remarkable dialogue: "Did we do it? Did... we make a difference?" - "Oh yes, we made a difference. Thank you." - "Least I could do for the captain of the Enterprise. It was... fun. (beat) Oh, my." -Kirk and Picard, including Kirk's last words. Amen.
- Remarkable fact 2: Attempts were made to have the two crews and ships meet and work together - the snag was who would be the decisive crew? In the end the idea was abandoned for the plot of "generation" leaping.
Rating: 7 (Chris S)
Star Trek Generations
Stardate 2293/ 48650.1 - 2371: Synopsis in main Movie listing
There’s been alot of negativity towards this film in particular amongst the ‘Next Generation’ movies and I’ve seen some particularly harsh reviews. I don’t believe it to be the worse of the bunch and, much like the Enterprise-D, unsalvageable though ;)
We open the film at the christening of the Enterprise-B in 2293 where on its shakedown cruise it must respond to a distress call from two vessels trapped inside an anomaly and unable to break free. The Enterprise assists in the rescuing of some survivors from but one of the ships, at the cost of Kirk, who with Scotty and Chekov were present at the ceremony. Among the survivors is Soran, the chief antagonist of the film, played by Malcom ‘Alex DeLarge’ McDowell.
Fast forwarding 78 years, the Enterprise-D also responds to a distress call from an observatory in deep space attacked by Romulans. The only survivor happens to be Soran however. Data, who decided to have his emotion chip installed following a misunderstanding at Worf’s promotion ceremony where he pushed Crusher into water, and Geordi investigate the station. They discover a secret room with torpedoes inside. Soran appears and take Geordi captive as Data is paralysed with fear. Soran fires off a torpedo into the star of which the station is orbiting and is beamed away with Geordi by recurring Klingon villians Lursa and B’Etor.
Data and Picard discover Soran is destroying stars to alter the course of the energy ribbon (aka the Nexus, a magical fantasy land, bleh) which is nearby to bring it towards a planet, and the Enterprise and Klingon ship travel to the planet’s location. Geordi is returned to the Enterprise albeit with a camera implanted in his VISOR and Picard is transported to the surface alone, unarmed and without a communicator by the Klingons to deal with Soran. Thanks to the bugged VISOR, the Klingons discover Enterprise’s shield modulation and fire upon her, crippling the ship. Through some unlikely manoeuvre though the Enterprise manages to remote cloak the Bird of Prey and destroy it whilst the Klingons stand around stunned, not bothering to try evasive manoeuvres. Idiots. The saucer separation routine is played out again and rest of the ship crashes on Veridian IV.
Soran’s plan succeeds and the missile is fired into the sun. The ribbon takes Soran and Picard and the sun’s destruction in turn destroys Veridian IV.
Picard then finds himself in the Nexus, and through an ‘echo’ (?) of Guinan manages to escape his fantasy of happiness and tracks down Kirk who too was sucked into the Nexus following the incident on the Enterprise B. Through the realisation that it’s a fantasy and an impassioned plea from Picard, the pair leave the Nexus and return to Veridian III to do battle with Soran.
The pair prevail and Soran is killed after Picard tampers with the rocket. Kirk though dies, boo hoo. The Enterprise is deemed unsalvageable, making for a pretty unhappy ending on paper.
This movie is only, just below average, people have compared it (and Insurrection also) to an extended TV episode and you’d think it was given the quick pacing. The opening act seems like an eternity compared to the middle act given how quickly everything happens in 2371, and before you know it, the movies practically finished. Much like the other TNG films the cast are largely forgotten only for a few key scenes like Troi being present when Picard confesses his brother, sister in law and nephew have been killed in a fire on Earth, or Crusher explaining Soran’s background, or Geordi’s being taken prisoner by Soran. Riker and Worf don’t have much to do, and as played out on TNG and will happen again in the following 3 films, alot of time is devoted to Data as he deals with the ramifications of installing his emotion chip.
Patrick Stewart himself is, well, always solid in this, defining role of his, but I felt alot of what his character didn’t have enough to do. His mourning over his family was convincing, and telling Deanna how the family line will most likely die with him was moving. But there’s not else a great deal for him to do but lecture Data on how he has to deal with his newfound emotions when it’s revealed the emotion chip cannot be removed, and having to talk with Soran and Kirk, and, inevitably, do battle with the former.
Malcom McDowell was, I don’t want to say clichéd, but he was in a way. A very underdeveloped character not given a great deal to do but act sinister, which he does quite well.
The plot itself, no, it’s certainly wasn’t strong enough to build a film around. The most negative review I’ve seen of this movie points to the Nexus itself being used as a plot device as a means to get Kirk and Picard on screen together. That’s true I guess. This universe of Star Trek can offer up plenty of means for the pair to work together as they do, through time travel (which, is actually used to a degree here), or someone being trapped in time like Scotty in ‘Relics’, or maybe even someone being kept in stasis. But the Nexus itself is problematic and I think there could have been smarter ways to bridge the two Generations if you’ll pardon the pun.
I was going to place this in the nitpicking section but it would take up too much room so here’s my biggest problem with the Nexus in this film. Never mind Kirk and Picard leaving the Nexus so easily after Guinan warning how difficult it could be and how great it’s allure is, my problem is, how did the El-Aurians (like Guinan - and Soran?) leave the Nexus in the first place? Something Guinan said alluded to it being pulled away when the El-Aurian refugee ships were being destroyed. But even if that was the case (there lifesigns were fluctuating so were travelling in between real space and the Nexus?) what problem was there in flying a ship into the energy ribbon in an effort to get back? Soran was screaming to go back when beamed aboard the Enterprise-B so the destruction of the ships mustn't have bothered him. Data points out that any ship which has approached the Nexus been damaged or destroyed, but Kirk was sucked in wh! en a part of the ribbon heavily damaged the Enterprise-B.
I suppose the case could be that the people on the refugee ships were shifting between real space and the Nexus, were killed in real-space when NOT inside the Nexus and vice-versa. But no definitive statement was made regarding this, and did Soran not consider it? He said destroying the stars and bringing the ribbon onto a planet was the only way, was he right?
In the end it’s just a subpar film which could have easily translated to the smaller screen as a TNG episode. It would have been hard though to bring TNG to the big screen though without the familiar drawcard of Kirk, so I wont begrudge them for trying. First Contact will go on to show that Big Screen Trek doesn’t have to rely on Kirk though to succeed.
- Remarkable scenes: The opening credits following the christening of the Enterprise-B. Data’s first emotional experience with alcohol. Data’s ‘Lifeform’ Song.
- Nitpicking: I’ll say it also, a distress call 3 light years from the Sol system (thusly, Earth) and only 1 ship (the Enterprise-B) is in range to respond? Data’s emotion chip is not of the same configuration as last seen in "Descent". The Bird of Prey fires through the Enterprise’s shields and no-one thinks to remodulate them?
- Remarkably odd scene: Worf’s promotion. It never struck me that a traditional ‘at sea’ jaunt on the holodeck would be something Picard would favour for a promotional ceremony.
- Remarkable set: Stellar Cartography. Coincidentally, its projected platform, hung over the edge of a large, almost spherical room, is quite similar to the Cerebro device in the X-Men films, which Patrick Stewart starred in.
- Remarkable quote: "Oh shit!" –Data
- Remarkable dialogue: "Captain of the Enterprise?" - "That's right." - "Close to retirement?" - "Not planning on it." - "Let me tell you something. Don't. Don't let them transfer you. Don't let them promote you, don't let them do anything that takes you off the bridge of that ship, because while you're there, you can make a difference." -Kirk and Picard
Rating: 4 (Cameron)
Star Trek: First Contact
Stardate not given: The Borg travel back in time to 21st century Earth, and nearly screw up all of history. The Enterprise-E crew is on the case.
While next to "The Wrath of Khan" this is undeniably the best Star Trek film, I have one jibe: no one from DS9 (besides Worf) were involved in the movie. That really annoys me now, after seeing all of DS9. It's rather odd that only Worf, of all the ops crew, went on the Defiant to battle the Borg. Surely Sisko, Dax, or O'Brien would have gone with him. It would have been a perfect opportunity to integrate DS9 further into the TNG storyline, and it would have been FUN. Instead, the Defiant is seen for a few moments and Worf is miraculously part of the Enterprise crew again. (Admittedly, it would have been a bit weird if Sisko was there as well, as the two captains would have battled for screen time. but, it would have been interesting to see Sisko's reaction to Picard in another engagement with the Borg, eh?)
I must ask why Barclay is even on the ship? I got the impression from VOY: "Projections" that Barclay was on Jupiter Station AT LEAST right after TNG: "Genesis"; enough time to test the Doctor's interpersonal skills before he was installed within the next year. Then he's back on Jupiter Station three years later? Whatever! If they're going to ignore canon, they could have at least given him more screen time.
Despite that, this is a wonderful movie. It's one of the only times I've actually been intimidated or scared whilst watching anything to do with Star Trek (although admittedly, I hadn't seen much Star Trek at that time), and bringing the Borg to the big screen was well done. A little part of me wishes that the movie didn't do so well in the box office, because maybe Voyager wouldn't have used the Borg as often.
This movie perfectly blends scariness, action, humour, suspense and a history lesson all into one. The crew's seemingly nonchalant attitude towards polluting the timeline is a bit silly, though. Riker giving Cochrane quotes for the future? That's a little outrageous.
The move to split the crew into two was nicely executed. It allowed for even screen time for most of the characters, while also separating the humour from the action.
So, besides the lack of DS9 characters, this is a great movie.
I wouldn't be opposed to a movie about DS9 or Voyager. Or both. It would be interesting, to say the least. A mixing of the crews to battle a common foe?
Rating: 10 (Hon. David Kulessa)
Star Trek: First Contact
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
I doubt there are many Trek fans out there who would not consider this one of the best Trek installments, if not the very best. At this time I have seen about 75-80% of all Star Trek and this one is so far my very favorite. Almost everything about the movie is excellent. The sets, the camera angles, the sound, the special effects, the dialog, the story, everything! It is also amazing how dark and thrilling the movie is, yet it still holds the Star Trek spirit so well. Many people who don't even like Star Trek much can still appreciate this masterpiece.
I really enjoy how the relationship between Picard and Lily was handled. In too many movies, Trek and not, such a relationship would turn into a usual cookie-cutter love story. I see no problem with Cochrane being an older man than he was in TOS: "Metamorphosis" since in that episode he regressed in age from a very old man.
There are so many scenes throughout the movie that are memorable. The spacewalk outside the ship. Picard and Lily's argument in the observation lounge. The battle of Sector 001 was amazing!
The tie-ins with both Voyager and Deep Space 9 were also excellent. Both shows were touched on but not enough to confuse anyone who has not watched either show. The way Worf was brought into the story was well done. I only wish O'Brien was with him. It would make sense not just because O'Brien was originally a TNG character, but also because it seems rather odd that Worf happened to be the only senior officer from DS9 on the Defiant. The appearance of the EMH Doctor was also good. I find Dr. Crushers negative attitude toward him funny and very appropriate considering his character on Voyager.
I find the final scene of the movie to be very touching. Seeing the Vulcans land and make contact really pounds in that Trek spirit after so many great dark and thrilling scenes throughout the movie.
- Remarkable ship: The Enterprise-E. Holy smokes.
- Remarkable cameo: Ethan Phillips, the actor who plays Neelix on Voyager, appears as a holodeck character.
- Remarkable in-joke: The Millenium Falcon makes a small appearance as the Borg Cube explodes. The special effects were done by Industrial Lights and Magic, the company started by George Lucas when the original Star Wars was produced.
Rating: 10 (Chris)
Star Trek: First Contact
Stardate 50893.5: The Borg have invaded the Federation again and a fleet of starships are sent to dispose of the Borg threat. However, one ship not sent is the new Sovereign-class USS Enterprise-E, because Starfleet does not believe that putting Picard in danger of being assimilated again is a good idea. So the Enterprise is sent to the Neutral Zone to watch for the Romulans in case they want to take advantage of the Borg's incursion. After initial scans only turn up a comet and the Enterprise receives word that the fleet have engaged the Borg, Picard decides to disobey his orders and join the battle against the Borg. After the Enterprise swoops in and saves the heavily damaged Defiant, commanded by Lieutenant Commander Worf, Picard takes command of the fleet, who is without leadership since Admiral Hayes's ship is destroyed, and tells them to fire at a specific point on the Borg Cube. The fleet complies and the cube is destroyed, but not before the cube is able to eject a sphere which then creates a temporal disturbance and time travels into the past. The Enterprise follows them in but when they begin to enter they see Earth, now borgified. The Enterprise then emerges and destroys the sphere with four quantum torpedoes. The Borg's target was a missile complex in Montana. The date is April 2063, one day before first contact. The Borg wanted to stop first contact so they could easily assimilate Earth. Their plan, however, has been foiled, or has it? Meanwhile, Picard, Data, Crusher, and Troi beam down to assess the damage. The Phoenix, the first warp ship that will make first contact is slightly damaged, but easily fixed by the Enterprise crew. Zefram Cochrane, the pilot of the Phoenix, who history remembers as a genius, turns out to be a stumbling drunk. He requires some coaxing, but he agrees to go on the warp flight. Back aboard the Enterprise the Borg had managed to beam over to the Enterprise before their sphere was destroyed, so now they want to assimilate the Enterprise and then Earth. The Borg manage to take over much of the Enterprise. After much hand-to-hand and phaser fighting, the Borg manage to capture Data. The Borg Queen (who is located in Main Engineering), tries to get Data to turn on the Enterprise and stop first contact. The Borg then try to build a beacon to the Borg in the 21st century on the deflector dish, but Picard and Worf are able to destroy the beacon. Picard then decides to fight to the end to save the Enterprise, but then he changes his mind and decides that using the ships auto destruct is the best solution, so he orders all hands to abandon ship, but he stays behind to attempt to save Data. Meanwhile, Cochrane, Piker, and La Forge begin the warp flight. Back on the Enterprise, Picard goes to rescue Data. Then, Data terminates the auto destruct and fires a torpedo at the Phoenix. It appears that Data has betrayed Picard, but then, the torpedo misses the Phoenix and Data helps Picard kill the Borg Queen. The Phoenix's mission is successful and the timeline is restored.
"First Contact" is the best Trek movie, possibly the best movie ever made. The action is plentiful and heart-pounding, while the storyline is well written and easily followed. The acting was superb, and the special effects flawless. Rick Sternbach did a fantastic job designing the Enterprise-E. This movie is so awesome that I feel that every person on the face of the Earth (and the Federation as well) has to see it. Trust me, if you do, you won't be disappointed. On a scale of one to ten, I would give it a thirty! So watch it, please, for you own sake!
- Remarkable quotes:
- "Perhaps today IS a good day to die!" -Worf, "You still know how to fire phasers?" -Riker to Worf
- "I'm a doctor, not a doorstop." -EMH
- "Sounds Swedish." -Lily when told about the Borg
- "Assimilate this!" -Worf
- Remarkable starship: The Enterprise-E is one of the most beautiful starships I have ever seen. It's Awesome!
- Remarkable weapons: The phaser riffles are so cool, I wish I had one.
- Remarkable battle: The Battle of Sector 001 is one of the best battles in all of Star Trek, right up there with the Battle of Wolf 359. I think the Federation have learned a thing or two about the Borg since Wolf 359 since they disposed of the cube much more quickly and easily.
Rating: 10 (Nathaniel Scripa)
Star Trek: First Contact
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
Many I know and many I have encountered in one form or another regard "First Contact" as the BEST STAR TREK MOVIE EVER. I am not one of them - I regard now and forever that it’s "Star Trek Two: The Wrath of Khan" worthy of that title.
Before a whole load of people want to lynch me for saying that, let me point out a few things. "First Contact" is not a bad film, nor is it awful. It’s a good film, and has a lot in it that makes it rise above many of the Star Trek movies that have been made.
For a start it looks like a movie and not a 'two hour episode with special guest star'. It has great visuals, superb photography, and lashings of MODERN Special Effects. It has a lot of new stuff, a freshness that has been missing in ways, and it's direction is bold. As Bernd puts it - a Thriller.
There are a lot of plus points here that make the movie superb. The best of these is the Battle of Sector 001 where we see new starships as well as some golden oldies battle the Borg. Its joy, and well executed CGI delight. The explosions, the ships, and the overall fight is a SFX treat - the primary reason I went to see the film - and the climax of phasers and torpedoes barraging the Cube and obliterating it is spectacular. Then there is the Enterprise E - it was obvious how the next ship would go but she is almost perfect - had she had the detailing of Probert's Enterprise from "The Motion Picture", she would be the new Centrefold of starships. However she does not, but she is not bad.
The overall mood of the film is dark and that helps the acting and story move on - a brisk adventurous pace; technobabble is at a minimum, comedy relief is well regulated, and plot and character strong here. None more so that Picard and Lily's relationship - I have no idea where many think it’s a romance; it's more mutual respect. Nothing more emphasises than fact than the second best part of the film - the clash between Lily and Picard. It starts off when a crewman informs Picard that the Borg are basically winning, and Picard not pleased at this fact sends the crew to their doom - Worf intervenes and is literally humiliated by Picard. Lily notes no one stands up or protests because he is the Captain and they are the crew. A fact she draws on.
What follows next is excellent acting as Lily bursts into his ready room and points out - well force - the truth of what is going on; the fact that despite his "enlightenment" Picard is no different from the desperate humans below, and no matter how many times Picard tries to gain the upper hand with his authority, Lily fights back with fact. This reaches the climax where Picard smashes his cabinet of model ships at the reluctant reality that he is beaten, and it hurts. Lily relents but more out of discouragement than fear and says "Seeya around Ahab", to which Picard wakes himself up to the truth and what must be done.
Lily lives in the real world and Picard lives in the better one - and sometimes the Picards need a good slap of reality to wake up that they are just people, human, and flawed, despite their great achievements.
However the rest of the film is not that grand. The action mainly is poor and after the Battle of Sector 001, the intensity is gone. It is also reminiscent of "Aliens" but at a very slow pace, with rather poor phaser fights against a slow plodding enemy. Where "Aliens" was rapid, pacy, and threatening, in this the crew take pot-shots at the Borg like they are shooting clay pigeons. In addition, according to Picard, if you stand still they will not notice you. Some threat.
On the Borg, the introduction of a leader is great for cinema storytelling (something some exec suggested because the Borg came across as nothing more than zombies) but overall undermined the menace of the Borg - especially in future episodes of Voyager and Enterprise. Having her as a sexy Queen and attempting to woo Data reduced the Borg from great adversary to typical enemy of Star Fleet - and on that, destroyed their credibility. Zombies in movies have worked well, and they could have done it in this if they were creative enough - worked well in "The Best of Both Worlds". I found the scenes with Data and the Borg Queen queasy - she toying with him and tempting him to be human, tempts him with her 'sex'. It’s just crass and done for humour sake. Reminded me too much of Buck Rogers and that Princess Adala, or from Flash Gordon with Aura. Creating her made the Borg, human and pathetic.
On the subject of humans, is the backbone of the story: Zefram Cochrane. Once an Alpha Centaurian, he now not only an AMERICAN, not just the brains behind warp travel EVER, but also is a loser and a drunk! So how on earth did he get around to building the Phoenix? I know the writers wanted to make a flawed character but there is flawed and FLAWED. If you read how the people went about creating pioneering technology, none were dipsomaniacs, all were "weird"/eccentric and very creative - had Cochrane been more like say Edith Keeler from TOS "The City on the Edge of Forever", a visionary, or a person who had suffered but decided to stand up and make things better - then I would be forgiving. Doing him like a hobo is just cheap.
As for the Phoenix, how on earth did it get made? I know that blokes in sheds/garages are the prime source of innovative ideas but this is taking that point to an extreme! How and why did he assemble a team to build this thing and test it in the aftermath of World War Three? More to the point, who were the people helping him and why? Had it been a place like say NASA, ESA, or something along them lines it would be believable. Just a bunch of dregs making a former nuclear missile into a warp ship just sounds daft.
The overall plot of "First Contact" is dreadful - time travel again, with a plot point about the first warp flight by the Americans (as always). Considering that 660 million people are dead, I wonder if it’s the ultimate American dream? That all their enemies - basically Chinese, Arabs, Europeans that do not back the US, Indians, Southern Americans, and Africans have been conveniently wiped out to make way for a better world? It’s like the Rapture before the Apocalypse except in reverse - the US survives and all the evil nations of the Earth are purged. I mean we NEVER hear of a Russian, European, or Chinese or even Indian attempt! Just because the yanks landed on the moon, does not mean that they are the only ones capable of space travel. An ideology embossed a lot in various episodes of Enterprise.
As for the time travel angle, why do the Borg have to zap to Earth to travel back in time? Doing that meant they would have a fight on their hands. Why not travel back in time somewhere else out of sight THEN travel to Earth? This may sound very nitpicking, but all of history was changed in "Star Trek XI" and that was nowhere near the world!
The space battle featured the Defiant - but why only Worf? More to the point, it is never EVER mentioned in DS9? Why is this? Sisko, Dax, Kira, even O'Brien traverse that ship a lot, so why suddenly just Worf? If the Dominion were arriving, why send the Defiant away?
Talking of space flight, when the Vulcans appear, that descend in a ship in a scene that is reminiscent of "E.T."! That vessel makes no sense; the ending was schmaltzy and whimpered out.
Looking back, it’s "The Best of Both Worlds" on the big screen, but made complicated, messy, and nowhere as intelligent. Seeing flashbacks in this to that fine episode makes it harder to stomach this film. It’s a good film, but not the best ever.
- Remarkable error: When the Phoenix finishes its warp flight, err, how do the crew get back to Earth?
- Remarkable scene 1: The Battle of Sector 001 - only lasts four minutes but it's a brilliant four minutes of cinematic gold! Gets most of the points for that.
- Remarkable ships: Enterprise E, Akira, Sabre, and the Steamrunner class. The Norway class only makes one appearance here because its CGI programme got corrupt and no other attempts are made to restore that design. Points for them gems.
- Remarkable fact: The Defiant was to have been destroyed in the film but Ira Stephen Behr objected. Should have done it ;)
- Remarkable scene 2: Deanna finally having a character - and her getting a wee bit pissed! Brilliant! Points for that.
- Remarkable scene 3: Lily and Picard in his ready room - points for that!
Rating: 8 (Chris S)
Star Trek: First Contact
Stardate 50893.5/April 4-5 2063: Synopsis in main Movie listing
Now there are many who voiced praise for First Contact and those who still do, and, probably a very few dissenting voices against the style of storytelling behind this film. I’m of course of the former group. This was the perfect way to truly bring Star Trek to the masses when it did. At a time when fans of Trek were heavily derided, First Contact was the first film for a long time, since The Undiscovered Country (with its heavy handed contemporary references), since The Wrath of Khan, and since The Original Series itself which was a massive success for all audiences.
Critics of First Contact, and there’s only been a few, would point to the lack of a decent message in this movie, relying too much on typical, Hollywood action film stereotypes. And to a small degree, that is correct, this film DOES follow very standard procedures in terms of summer blockbuster action movies, but it counters them with a positive message through the B-plot and in the finale. Those Hollywood trademarks I can’t help but point out. First of all, there is of course, a lot of action prevalent through this film. The Battle for Sector 001 is a fantastic sight to behold and is up there with one of the best Sci-Fi special effects sequences, also a lot of explosions and shooting. These things can’t be helped though when you want to tell a truly exciting story, especially when you have such a relentless villain as the Borg as opposed to, say; Rogue Klingons numbering in dozens aboard a single ship, mad scientists, or other interstellar phenomena.
It is also a revenge story, much like The Wrath of Khan. Thankfully the audience can easily identify with Picard’s experience with the Borg through the chilling opening scene’s in which Picard relives his assimilation (and it’s only till NOW have I been able to watch that part without cringing at the ‘eye drilling’), so it’s not like people need to watch the many Borg episodes of TNG to understand. Patrick Stewart is, again, amazing to watch, and having this story impact so heavily on Picard is all for the better, instead of having an anonymous villain try to make things personal like I believe Soran did in "Generations".
And there are plenty of one-liners and comic relief moments to distract from the heavy handed nature of the scene’s set aboard the Enterprise. Again though, that is not to the movies hindrance as Star Trek has always managed to transcend many genres, not just sci-fi, but of course, action, comedy, and thrillers.
The plot is quite simple. The Borg travel back in time in an effort to assimilate Earth before the Federation can come into being. To be certain they attempt to destroy the launch of the Phoenix, Earth’s first warp capable ship constructed by Zefram Cochrane (James Cromwell). The Enterprise-E follows the Borg back and destroys their vessel only for a few drones to beam aboard the Enterprise and start taking over. Data is captured and is offered the chance to become more human through skin grafts from the Borg Queen (who I’ve had plenty to say about in episodes like "Dark Frontier" and "Endgame" and I’ll reiterate that all shortly).
Meanwhile on the surface, Riker, LaForge and Troi work with Cochrane to get the Phoenix ready for launch, despite Cochrane’s reservations about becoming this important historical figure.
I may as well jump into the problems I have regarding this film as they are few and for some reason I have an easier time criticising things than praising them. The notion of the Borg Queen is my biggest problem, but in the context of a feature film, she was necessary to bring a face to an otherwise faceless race. But the Borg having no leader initially, being one collective mind was what made them so terrifying in the first place. This was a race with a singular goal and objective, being able to work as one mind with no need for individuals. The Queen telling Data she IS the Borg, and brings order to chaos, is indeed a contradiction as Data says, and we even learn in Voyager that technology exists on Borg vessels to unifying the minds of drones to keep them under control (the Vinculum). Creating a figurehead takes away that uniqueness the Borg once had as a race who didn’t have or need anyone to speak for them, and in essence this reduces the drone’s, and the Collective at large to practically zombies (more so than they were already). Having the Queen as a leader was akin to having Gowron be the Klingon leader, or Dukat a face for the insidious Cardassians, or people like Weyoun and so on.
I digress though, and as I said, this film couldn’t have worked the same way without a primary antagonist and that’s what we got in the Queen. It is only a shame that the writing staff for Voyager would continue with this concept despite it’s flaws (such as all the Borg on the Enterprise dying when the Queen was destroyed, flawed plan much? That dependency on something so singular was not the sort of thing the Borg were about, right down to their decentralised vessels with no discernable bridges, engineering sections and so on). Alice Krige though is fantastic in the role, and yes, creepily seductive.
The action movie formula, which I come to again, is thankfully also offset by the message of hope and peace for the future, in this we find the character of Lily (played by Alfre Woodard). I didn’t like her at first due to her phaser pointing and refusal to listen to Picard when the two come together on the Enterprise after being separated. But she becomes a personality that keeps Picard grounded enough and is NOT just a person who exposition is divulged to. That becomes clear of course in the fantastic scene in which Lily goads Picard into admitting that his refusal to evacuate and destroy the ship in light of the Borg’s takeover is a decision made purely out of revenge. Picard though does see the light and agrees with her point of view. In the final moments of the film also, whilst she envies Picard for his travelling back to the 24th century, Picard is in fact envious of her for entering into a new age for humanity.
The idea of humanity becoming better is emphasised through the scenes on Earth in which it’s somewhat unnecessarily divulged over and over again to Cochrane that his achievement would usher in this new era for mankind. Cochrane of course becomes resistant to the notion of him becoming this person so looked up to and revered, but accepts that it’s what needs to be done, though I would liked to have seen a scene where he tells of why he does change his mind and go ahead with the warp flight after becoming more reluctant (and I don’t mean when he tells Riker he built the ship purely for profit).
The cast, as is the case often, aren’t used equally which we’ve come to expect, Picard and Data take the front seat much as Kirk and Spock did before them. Riker, Troi and LaForge spend most of their scene’s helping with the launch of the Phoenix (and there’s no more scene’s than necessary on that). Worf shoots a lot and Crusher doesn’t have much to contribute beyond the norm. That’s typical when transitioning these series’ to film and not everyone has the chance to take the spotlight, I’m not going to complain much though, considering there were enough episodes focused on lesser characters like Crusher and LaForge if you wanted to watch them in more than a supporting role.
It’s still a very strong film though, primarily an action movie which resonated very strongly with audience at the time of it’s release and still does now. Stewart is excellent and the rest of the cast are strong in their respective roles. The special effects were amazing at the time and still hold up strong today. And Jerry Goldsmith’s theme was wonderful.
- Remarkable ships:
- The Enterprise-E. The Akira class ‘Thunderchild’
- The Phoenix (complete with TOS-type warp nacelles)
- Remarkable scenes:
- The Battle of Sector 001
- The launch of the Phoenix (footage of which was later used in the introduction of ‘Enterprise’).
- Besides Worf, why were no more members of the Defiant crew from DS9 on board?
- No one detects the Borg beaming aboard the Enterprise, really?
- The Enterprise-E has a holosuite? Surely they meant holodeck.
- The Borg adjust environmental controls to be hot and humid, that’s not the sort of environment that computers would thrive in would they?
- And when they needed to get to the Deflector to disrupt the Borg’s plans on an interplexing beacon, why couldn’t a shuttle be reached? There is a shuttlebay about 2 decks below the bridge if I’m not mistaken.
- Remarkable dialogue:
"Tough little ship." - "Little?" -Riker and Worf
- Remarkable quotes:
- "Assimilate this!" -Worf
- "And you people, you're all ... astronauts ... on ... some kind of star trek." -Cochrane, to Riker, Troi, and La Forge
- "No! I will not sacrifice the Enterprise. We've made too many compromises already. Too many retreats. They invade our space and we fall back. They assimilate entire worlds and we fall back. Not again! The line must be drawn here... THIS far, NO further! And I will make them pay for what they've done." -Picard
- Cameos: Robert Picardo appears as the Enterprise's EMH. Fellow Voyager cast member Ethan Philips as a holographic maître’ d’.
Rating: 8 (Cameron)
Star Trek: Insurrection
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
When I left the cinema having watched "First Contact", despite all the praise and glee for said film, I felt cheated - I went because I saw the epic battle of Sector 001, and thought I was going to be in for a non-stop roller-coaster of a ride. Like I said in my previous review, it's not a bad film but its neither the greatest Trek film made - "The Wrath of Khan" is still that and STILL has its power near thirty years after it was made.
I decided then not to bother with Trek at the movies after that - it was the last time I was ever going to fall for a trailer and the hype. Needless to say when the next film was being touted, I steered clear. Despite its title, and promise of the crew "disobeying" orders and going against Starfleet, I knew it was going to be done with the edginess of a rubber knife. Seeing how Voyager and DS9 were progressing at the time, emphasised that point.
Reading through articles in various Sci-fi mags, I learned that Johnny Frakes was going to direct again, a bigger budget was attained, more gadgets thrown in, and a greater story involved.
The sketchy plot was never revealed but hints were implied; that, being along the lines of the Prisoner of Zenda, the Magnificent Seven, and its Asian original; that it was going to be a stirring tale of daring do and sacrifice. However it also involved romance, fun, and a more light hearted nature: in short, a swashbuckler.
The story was a closely guarded secret at the time - and in my experience of such closely guarded movie plots, that it tends to mean that the story is a stinker. If that sounds BS look to how they kept quiet over the Matrix Sequels, The Avengers, and all the plots of the Prequels to Star Wars. When the sci-fi mags then saw the film, they confirmed what I knew it would be: an intergalactic turd.
Though spared to see it at the cinema (and saving my cash in the process), I did view it on TV, and seeing it emphasised a lot of things going wrong with Star Trek on the whole at the time.
The moment the film opens with a pleasant village full of comely farmer types, with giggling playful kids, and the heroine striding into view with her flowing hair swishing IN SLOW MOTION, I knew it was going to be a massive hideous feeble, self-indulging, smug-fest of biblical proportions.
The background story is not a bad idea - and in a way, is very reminiscent of the "Most successful film of all time™" (so far), "Avatar"; and like with "Avatar", "Insurrection" deals with an invasion of a world where the natives are in the way of an exotic element that would benefit the invader and its species; and amongst the invaders are people who are willing to fight for the rights of the natives for moral (and romantic) reasons.
After that however, the idea is drowned with the typical, clichéd, banal narratives of Star Trek of that time.
For a start, the natives, the Ba’ku are not very alien - in fact they are humans; more than that - they are human farmer villager types. You know the kind; the hard working husband who provides for his family and is loyal but weak; the women are smart but strong willed, and the kids giggle on cue to make a sunny day. Oh, and they are all perfect - intelligence, wisdom, looks, the usual traits. They have also shunned technology thus making themselves ideal dipsticks in distress. In short: one clichéd array of Star Trek goody, goody aliens.
The invaders, as one expects, are the reverse. The Son’a are a wretched lot who faces appear to be made out of pita bread/stretched dough. Combine this with their terrible dress sense (they look like interstellar Chavs with the men in shiny tacky hoodies and the women in tight, very figure hugging spandex dresses - the kind that hookers wear), lump on top their insistence to send down armed parties and do violent things, SHOUT VERY LOUD when matters don’t go their way, and have a human former trait as their culture which has been eradicated from humanity by our "enlightenment" (the Klingons are brutal, the Ferengi are greedy, and in the case of the Son’a, they are vain) and voila, you have your pantomime Star Trek villainous cookie cutter species.
Then there is the plotline of the film - like I said its similar in principle to "Avatar", but unlike that movie, Insurrection have come up with what I can only describe as a kinder, duller, safer, PC version of an invasion and pilfering of natives’ resources.
It starts with Data (as always) who goes amok on an away mission similar to the TNG episode "Who Watches the Watchers", and starts to attack the Star Fleet and Son’a people involved. When the Enterprise arrives, they capture Data in on of the most ridiculous ways afloat, which involves singing The Pirates of Penzance. When they do sort him out, he leads them via an array of "hilarious" situations to a Federation holographic ship in a lake that simulates the Ba’ku’s village so they can sneak them off world and then plunder the meta-physic energies that orbit their planet, a result that would render the world uninhabitable. This may sound ghastly, but being Star Trek, they dilute it by pointing out there are not JUST 600 Ba’ku on the planet, but also its a colony because the Ba‘ku are not of that world, making it out that it's not that bad a deal. So in light of that, despite Picard’s resentment of this, it's just 600 people, a spec on a planet, and they are not even indigenous. Had it been billions of natives then it would be horrendous, and would make the entire film very dark, would make Star Fleet look really bad for being involved, but the cause far more noble. Copping out with the previous narrative, shows how gutless things have got.
On this is Star Fleet’s involvement - once again, its a rogue Admiral spearheading this "inhumane" practise, who has the authoritative clout of a feather against our heroes (think Pressman, Haftel, Leyton, Kennelly), who’s orders are "immoral" to the crews’ sensibilities and thus are disobeyed with ease; and said superior so easily manipulated for his ideal for the greater gain, it begs the question how much brain cells must one need to be an Admiral at Star Fleet Command.
Disgusted with the plans and seeing that Star Fleet (typically) has no idea, Picard plans to fight on behalf of the Ba’ku, removes his pips, plans to take his yacht out for a fight and arming himself to the teeth, only for his plans to be rumbled by his smug but willing to help friends. SO off they go on their merry chipper away mission to save the ever beautiful Ba’ku from the greedy, ugly Son’a. Picard and his friends go planetside whilst Riker takes the Enterprise and heads back home to warn Star Fleet of what is going on....
The net result is a dull, boring, uninteresting, vapid film, lacking danger and tension, heroism and adventure with nothing in it to amazes or tantalise, full of unimpressive things coated in niceness and glee, and drowning in self- righteous smugness. Many a time I feel that the film is giving me a wry smile but the kind akin to someone winning the lottery and rubbing my face in it.
Then there is the quality of the movie: It comes across not more like a TV episode but AS a TV episode, and a bad one to boot, think DS9: "Meridian" or "Let He Who Is Without Sin", or "Children of Time" as examples. A film is suppose to show things on a grand scale, to show what TV cannot do, to make one feel like its a movie with something amazing or captivating, or something you would not see on the small screen, to exploit the epic nature of cinema - think Mutara Nebula, the Saucer crash, and the battle of Sector 001 as examples. Insurrection offers NOTHING of the sort. Not even the shuttle chase at the beginning or the battle with the Son’a and the E are even close to a lowlight.
On the subject of the Enterprise-E, that mighty Borg killing machine is now reduced to another typical spacecraft on the verge of being beaten by a pair of Son’a ships, which are no remarkable pieces of engineering themselves; once again the fight is in a Nebula, and once again using a stupid tactic to outclass that pair of pitiful foes.
As for Picard and the crew rescuing the Ba’ku, its by the numbers seen countless times in many episodes of DS9, Voyager, Enterprise, and later parts of TNG; blasting Son’a tag drones like clay pigeons, having chummy chats, hiding in caves, getting captured, Picard spinning a spiel about cowardice and courage to an easily swaying foe, enemy easily overthrown and their ship thus captured, predictable climax, and a shocking revelation that is so unimpressive its forgotten by the time they have finished saying it - oh and that said revelation is that the Ba’ku and the Son’a are the same being and all this is revenge for something. Typically the perfect Ba’ku look human thanks to that meta-phasic radiation bollocks, thus emphasising the Star Trek belief that humanity is that perfect.
If you are a die-hard trekkie, this movie is a treat. Everything is so twee, so nice, all is well. The villains are not that bad just misunderstood and mislead - hell they don‘t kill anyone except for the leader who also conveniently dies. Everything works out to perfection and with such effortless ease. All is resolved with no hard work or sacrifice. Its all so lovely. The overall mood of the film is that its a big smiley piece of niceness. It does not disrupt the utopian optimistic dream world of the Great Bird of the Galaxy. In fact, its a massive gigantic love letter to itself sent first class to the franchise and the Star Trek faithful, with a slap on the back from a giant loving hand. It is the perfect Star Trek movie - not dark, not disturbing, not perverse or threatening. Everything is done by the numbers to a tee.
For those not into the Star Trek religion - Insurrection is a hell of a boring film. Nothing happens to be honest, the action is pitiful, the direction is by the numbers, the acting is there but unnoticeable, the dialogue is numb, inane and in parts stupid, the jokes are unfunny, the romances are nauseating, the characters descend into clichés, and the SFX are few, far-between, and very unimpressive. What is utterly shocking is that THIS film cost MORE to make than Star Trek: First Contact but delivers a lot LESS.
The final scene of all the good guys winning, smiling smugly and parading themselves like they have done us all a favour by gracing us with their presence is just too much. Considering that this film was set during the Dominion War, this is the best they could come up with?
This is the thing that was wrong with Star Trek overall at the time; that it feels that it does not have to work hard to earn an audience because its been around so long and is so "moral", that they can make rubbish up like this and dare call it entertainment. In its history, and on TV, it may have the advantage over other sci-fi products and TV shows, but out in the IMAX and big theatres where studios invest megabucks to make blockbusters, this is a lacking sorry event, and where people go to be entertained - they expect to be, and will not tolerate tedium and nonsense, like this.
Needless to say that this movie made money but tanked. "Star Trek: The Motion Picture" was only beaten by Kramer Vs Kramer when it came out in ‘79; Insurrection was beaten by over THIRTY films costing a fraction of its budget. In addition, it was denounced by many, it bored many more, and from it many questioned the future of this franchise.
However, unbelievably, it was suspected by TPTB that the reason for its failure was down to "too much Trek" about, what with Voyager, DS9, and the first runs of Enterprise, that people were tired of it - what they called "franchise fatigue". So rather look at the overall reason why Trek overall was losing popularity, TPTB assumed that the film side should take a break of four years and return with an ‘epic‘ and all would be right as rain again.
That epic was "Star Trek Nemesis".....and we all know what happened next.
1/10 for Geordi's reaction to the sunrise, and the joke about Troi's and Bev's bosoms....
- Remarkable ironic quote: "Can anyone remember when we used to be explorers?" -Picard
- Remarkable fact 1: Michael Piller on why Insurrection was to be lighter: "...The strength of Star Trek depends on making people feel good about the future. Over the last ten years, the American public has turned to darker and darker science-fiction. But I think the fans love the parameters that Gene Roddenberry set for us, the 'box' that he put us in. It's an intellectual challenge, but we have to stay in that box." He also said that "First Contact" was too dark hence. Yet out of the two, "First Contact" was the better film - FACT!
- Remarkable re-writes: The original story was called "Star Trek: Stardust" and was about Picard in pursuit of an old Acadamy buddy called Duffy who was attacking Romulan ships. As they enter a strange nebula, they started to get younger. The story was dropped because the idea was too political, and too fantastic with its "Fountain of Youth" idea. Also another idea was that Picard was pursuing Data, kills him, revives him in time to stop an unholy alliance with the Romulans. Not only was that script dropped but also Patrick Stewart wanted the captain to be deep involved again like in "First Contact" and romance too! It also included elements about Worf's puberty, Deanna's and Rikers re-romance, and Geordi's eyes coming back to normal, and the fountain of youth story was retained, found on a world full of children called the Ba'ku being persecuted by a race called the Son'a. Then it changed to the Ba'ku being adults(!) via Ira Stephen Behr, but retained all the other elements and included rebellion from Picard.
- Remarkable fact 2: Quark was to appear in this film - but the scene was deleted.
- Remarkable recycling.: The shuttles used sets from shuttles in Voyager and DS9. The Son'a bridge was later modified to be used by the Suliban in Enterprise.
- Ending never made: The lead villain, Ru'afo was to have escaped in a pod from the exploding collector and fall into the metaphasic rings and revert to a child then nothing. The ending was dropped because it was "too soft"!
Rating: 1 (Chris S)
Star Trek: Insurrection
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
It’s the most intergalactic patients of Dr 90210 vs the interstellar Amish with Picard caught in the crossfire! Essentially that’s what it boils down to but there’s more going on which is worth addressing in Insurrection.
The Federation are working with the Son’a to develop a veritable fountain of youth utilising the technobabble coming from a planet whose all too human occupants have an aversion to technology. Data, for some reason, is part of the initial survey team on the planet (why is never explained, his presence away from the Enterprise is never justified) but malfunctions, exposing the secret outpost from which Starfleet and Son’a officers were conducting the survey. Upon investigation by the Enterprise it’s discovered a plot has been put in place to relocate the Ba'ku from the planet and farm the magical technobabble.
Picard discovers this plot and objects to the ethics behind it, and decides to help the inhabitants on the planet to the objection of the corrupt Starfleet Admiral Dougherty who is working with the Son’a. There’s the revelation that the warring races were once the same species who have sought revenge on the Ba'ku, a pretty pointless revelation in itself, and in the end Picard, and villain Ru’afo have it out on the Son’a vessel used to farm the technobabble.
Concerning the ethics of the mission I would echo Picard’s sentiments and the sentiments shared on this website that it’s objectionable that Starfleet would authorise this mission unless it was top secret, covered up and concealed from the general public. Perhaps it was borne out of desperation to undertake this plan due to heavy losses inflicted by the Borg and Dominion and no one who needed to know was informed. This though leaves a bad taste and it’s a bad reflection. I initially took the opinion of Dougherty that the Ba'ku were never native to the planet, the Prime Directive is not applicable given they’re warp capable and not indigenous, and the welfare of 600 people is irrelevant to the greater good. But things aren’t black and white and this is a morally and ethically flawed plan. The future Roddenberry set out, as incredibly optimistic and highly naive as it was, was one where humanity would not undertake such measures. I do not though believe that humans in Trek canon would be incapable of doing anything less than good, but I think there could’ve been some small mention that this plot regarding the Ba'ku was done with very little knowledge on the part of Starfleet and the Federation, perhaps Dougherty should have been working alone, or on the part of Section 31? That would at least explain why Starfleet would be working with a race producing Ketracel White.
In further regards to the story, it does read a lot like a TNG/TOS episode with the following rehashed features: Corrupt Starfleet Admirals, a magical planet comparative to a specifically human concept (the fountain of youth) on which happen to live virtual human beings. Two warring factions which Picard is in the middle of, and a space battle incorporating a lot of technobabble to resolve. Oh, and a stupid child for Data to connect with.
Much like First Contact before it though it employs a lot of Hollywood hallmarks like comic relief and action aplenty. The characters are rotated in significance like always, Picard is at the fore of course, but the remainder of the cast vary in prominence. Data and his relationship with a 12 year old boy (well that would sound criminal in the wrong circumstances) serves only to reinforce what TNG viewers had been watching for 7 years and 2 feature films now of his quest to understand what it’s like to be more than an android. Enough already. Worf thankfully has a few good lines giving him more to do than fire a phaser. Crusher and Troi are more of less dispensable with the latter only flirting with Riker, who takes command of the Enterprise for a battle and thankfully it’s not destroyed again (thank you Generations). And LaForge has little to do but for a touching scene in which he’s able to view a sunrise with real eyes which have grown thanks to the healing properties of the planet. Again though, all crew have little to contribute and that’s to be expected of Trek in this format.
The villains are stock standard, ones beyond salvation and dies in the end (though, no one tried to save him), one chooses to go against orders and follows his conscience to help, and Dougherty pays the price for siding with an enemy he underestimated from the start.
The Ba'ku are slightly arrogant and pompous, I’ve never liked them and Anij is only ok due to her relationship with Picard and that voice which I could listen to for hours. I did find it hard to root for these people and was always more concerned with the Enterprise crew.
Coming from the amazing First Contact to this, it’s not surprising Insurrection gets a bad rap. I think of it as a pretty average film but much stronger than Generations. Stewart is a solid performer again but with the exception of the TNG crew we are familiar with, most other characters pale in significance and offer little to the story. It’s lighter than First Contact and as such easier to digest, it doesn’t have the weight of the Federation’s existence on it’s shoulders like First Contact, but it does carry a significant message about what’s right in this universe and how far people like Picard are willing to go in the face of corruption. The villains though are forgettable and the concept about Starfleet working with the Son’a is flawed.
- Nitpicking: THE SON'A. Their whole race is a giant nitpick, this was once a few dozen Ba'ku who set off decades prior to the events of the film and ended up being powerful enough to conquer two civilisations, develop powerful ships and technology that even Starfleet can’t reproduce? I DOUBT IT.
- Remarkable scenes: Picard, Worf and Data singing "A British Tar". The battles in the Briar Patch.
- Remarkable ships: Data's scoutship. The Son'a vessels. The captain's yacht.
- Remarkable dialogue: "Mister Worf, do you know Gilbert and Sullivan?" - "No, sir. I have not had a chance to meet all of the new crewmembers since I have been back." - "They're composers, Worf. From the nineteenth century." -Picard and Worf
- Remarkable quotes:
- "Saddle up. Lock and load." -Data
- "DEFINITELY FEELING AGGRESSIVE TENDENCIES SIR!!!!" -Worf
Rating: 6 (Cameron)
Star Trek Nemesis
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
Most people would say that "Nemesis" isn't a very good Trek movie, maybe even one of the worst, but I really liked it. It was definitely not as good as "First Contact", but it had an exciting plot, and lots of action and special effects. The Argo vehicle was fun to watch, although not very accurate for 24th century technology, and it was interesting that they introduced B-4 into the plot. I think that after "First Contact" and the Borg, Shinzon isn't a very good villain. Neither are the Remans, but the thalaron weapon was a good idea. Overall, I think this is one of the best Trek movies.
- Nitpicking: Why weren't the Remans ever mentioned before?
- Remarkable quote: "Why does the tall man have a furry face?" -B-4 referring to Riker
- Remarkable dialogue: "Romulan ale should be illegal." - "It is." -Worf and Geordi
Rating: 8 (Keegan Johnson)
Star Trek Nemesis
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
Firstly, I liked this movie. It had a brilliant battle scene, good acting and new ships! The start was nice to see, after 10 or so years the Riker and Troi have finally got married and the fact that basically all the original TNG regulars were there including Guinan and Wesley. Though having Wesley in a Starfleet uniform is a bit odd as he went off with the Traveler, and we learn that he's suddenly back in Starfleet assigned to the Titan. I don't think having the Romulans as the apparent "bad" guys before introducing the Remans was a good idea because it raises my question of what happened to the alliance in DS9?? Aside from that the timely arrival of the Romulans in the battle was nice to see, but only 2 ships were sent? I can only assume that Commander Donatra could only persuade another commander to join her, but that seems a little unlikely. Moving on to the battle. I think it was one of the best I've ever seen, it was amusing to see the Enterprise and Romulans firing aimlessly and I imagined them saying to each other "No, they're over there" "No there" etc. Seeing the Enterprise fire quantum torpedoes again was brilliant, as it seems they forgot about them in ST:I. Also seeing the Enterprise ram the Scimitar was painful, "What are you doing Picard stop damaging the best looking ship!" Finally the ending I think was even sadder than Spock's death. I was literally crying after Data said "Goodbye". This movie was a fitting end to the The Next Generation adventures. Oh and what happened to Starfleet hand phasers? They suddenly don't produce the orange beam that we know and love.
- Nitpicking: Deck 29?? How can you add 5 more decks?
- Remarkable quotes:
- "On screen." (Picard before he notices there is no screen)
- "Why does the tall man have a furry face?" (B-4, remarks about Riker)
- "Just when I thought this couldn't get any worse." (Riker announces the arrival of the Romulans)
- Remarkable dialogue: "Why do you have a shiny head?" - "This is not an appropriate time for a conversation" - "Why?" - "Because the Captain has to concentrate on piloting the vehicle" - "Why?" - "Because." - "Data!" - "Sorry Sir." - "Have I said something wrong?" -B-4, Data and Picard
- Remarkable scene: Data singing "Blue Skies".
- Remarkable ships: the Scimitar, the Argo, the new Romulan Warbirds and the slightly refitted kick-ass Enterprise E
- Remarkable fact: Captain Janeway has been made an Admiral. "Nemesis" has links to all the series of Star Trek: USS Archer = "ENT", Janeway appearing = "VOY", the whole of the TNG cast = "TNG" and I can't remember the ones for "DS9" or "TOS" :P
Rating: 9 (Robb)
Star Trek Nemesis
Stardate not given: Synopsis in main Movie listing
When "Star Trek: Insurrection" ended, many felt that the franchise was wearing out; "Insurrection" did not gross as many had hoped, had negative reviews, cheaper films beat it at the box office, and the TV ventures were not making it as popular as it once was.
In the bid to save the flagging mothership of all space operas, Berman and Braga promised that the next film would be a "Space battle sci fi epic". It was hinted that it would be darker and along the lines of "The Wrath of Khan", that it would involve Romulans this time around, and suggested that "a popular" character was to die.
In the process they hired John Logan; the script writer for "Gladiator" and "The Aviator", one of the "hottest" screen writers around at the time, and a die hard Trekkie. Rather than rehire Jonathan Frakes - who made the successful "First Contact", and the aforementioned film, Paramount selected Stuart Baird to direct, shoved in a huge budget for hopeful success, and left the powers that be to make their "sci fi battle epic".
The net result despite what many have hoped - was anything but - unless they meant epic to be put alongside the words tedious, boring, and predictable.
"Star Trek Nemesis" should have worked - the plot was not too absurd - in fact it was rather clever - but numerous things were to doom the project - most of it self inflicted.
For a start the plot broke a rule of sci fi storytelling - that is if the heroes/cast meet their clones/alternates as the enemy for a plot, you have ran out of steam. In a way this film emphasises the point. Despite the inventive idea of a younger Picard as an enemy and pondering the narrative of "if one took a different path in life", the innovation was lost in a quagmire of contradiction and predictability. In fact this difference between the two is annoyingly referred to alot in juxtaposition "you are better than him", "he is not you", "you are a different person" and so on when its obvious because Shinzon is out to be bad on whatever reason that sees fit.
The 'shock' of Data being the one to "die" was clearly hinted way too early by the sudden and unexplained discovery of B-4; identical but not firing on all cylinders yet with modifications he could be like Data - a clear mimic to the Katra ritual of "Star Trek III" effect; as a result such a shock exit was a predictable event.
When it did happen, it was done in a trivial, obvious, uninventive manner. It should have been an emotional unintentional catastrophe, or a noble way - like Spock's death, or Kirk's; the kind that you weep and feel the pain of loss. Data's was done with no feeling or care - the worse thing was that you know Data would come back because of B-4. You can almost here the producers say - "we can kill him off - but not really, he'll be back" with a reassuring wink and a smug grin.
Then there is the cast - again all the crew are cardboard cutouts except for Picard and Data. They all did the usual, said the same things we have heard all before, and do the same things we expect. The ones with no real worth - Dr Crusher, Troi, Riker, did nothing, Geordi and Worf did what Geordi and Worf always do, and Picard commands as Picard, with Data being the lynch pin. In short nothing innovative.
The villain by far has to be the most pantomime I have ever come across in modern sci fi. Everything is a joke with this character - from name to dress. His name - Shinzon - sounds more like a "sneeze". His attire looked like something whipped up from a cross between a glam metal get up and a kinky dance act; he has blockaboots!!; his malice is so over the top it reminded me of the Sheriff of Nottingham in "Prince of Thieves" but not done tongue in cheek, and his motives are so scattered you no longer cared. In addition, his entourage of "bat faced" Remans only emphasised how silly Mr Sneeze is.
As for his ship - it is the WORST starship I have EVER seen in Star Trek - another Bird of Prey type vessel - giant forewings, OTT sinister superweapon, no distinctive shape, and so overpowerful but you know that there is a glaring weakness somewhere that our heroes will always find. The interior was so ridiculous it was almost like a set out of Austin Powers at best - and looked like a Drum and Bass concert at worse. Even the name is predictable - The Scimitar. Wow. How originally scary :-|
As for epic - there was none - the battle AGAIN is in a nebula, AGAIN the villain had a better ship that somehow is incapable of destroying the Enterprise in a single volley but could do that to any other vessel, no Fed ship could come to their aid AGAIN, they were on their own AGAIN, they were crippled and losing power AGAIN, the warp drive was offline AGAIN, pointless "clever" tactics (Troi using her mind to track the envoy and locating the Scimitar was so uninspiring) AGAIN, any support that arrives gets beaten by the enemy AGAIN, a duel AGAIN...
Shinzon's dueling with Picard could have been clever and inventive - but it was soooooo dull because the tactics did not have any merit - when the Enterprise rose behind the Reliant - that was clever - here they just shoot and shoot and shoot and shoot. The ramming of the Enterprise was a special effects achievement but a pointless exercise.
The climax is boring and seen before AGAIN - superweapon capable of obliterating a planet AGAIN, unique substance of death and destruction AGAIN, only the Enterprise can save the Earth AGAIN, Earth is defenceless to one ship - AGAIN! Bitter enemy AGAIN! Someone has to board that ship kill the crew and destroy the weapon before all are killed - AGAIN!! Rehashing of technobabble and past plots AGAIN!!!
Reading this you can understand why so many people did not bother with this film.
Overall they played it safe, dipped their toes into the daring and shuddered away. They did not want to lose their fan base for want of not earning the wrath of core Trekkies who will love ANYTHING from Star Trek as long as it does what Star Trek does. The problem is that there are a lot of other people out there who like Trek for other reasons - thrills, plot, character, sci fi, - but if trek does not deliver, those people go elsewhere, and that is what happened here. Many Trekkies say they do not need such people - but Trek is like any other business - and it needs an income to survive.
To emphasise that point two factors came to pass that would lead to "Star Trek Nemesis" falling flat on its face - first the competition - "Nemesis" was released ahead of "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers", "Die Another Day", and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets" in an attempt to get to number one on the box office. However it was pipped at the post by something unexpected: the J-Lo flick "Maid in Manhattan" a film far cheaper than "Nemesis" - as a result it was the first time a Star Trek film has never made number one. The second nail in the coffin was that "Nemesis" fell to No 8 in the second week. With the offerings from "Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers", "Die Another Day", and "Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets", customers took their cash to these far more entertaining rides; "Nemesis" then crashed out of the top ten the week after.
Looking at the above, I can see why "Nemesis" failed - it is tired. Everything was done before but more boring; nothing new came to pass, and the net result is a very very DULL boring predictable poor quality film. The curse of Star Trek to me is that the humans are so professional, so perfect, so flawless they are boring. and as a result created a very dire film with no character, no diversity, or anything warranting interest.
In fairness, Nemesis if worked right could springboard new ideas - a different Data, a new Romulus, a better crew. If they had the guts and gumption they could have sprung new ideas to make better, but instead the tedium inflicted by said film made Paramount flogged off all the props, and decided to do the brutal reboot in 2009 that earned a greater audience but alienated the Trek core.
There will be may who may rant about this and so forth - but the facts speak for themselves - and this is why we have the new Star Trek. Despite its virtues it preaches - Star Trek is a business franchise - and businesses needs cash to survive - and that is always done at any cost.
- Remarkable fact 1: LeVar Burton/Geordi LaForge has said that the "film sucked" - it's also claimed that on set Stuart Baird kept on calling him "Laverne". OUCH!!
- Remarkable fact 2: Jonathan Frakes/Riker stated that he liked the film but said that the reason it failed because he did not direct it - Baird knew little about Star Trek hence the failure. Mr Frakes also went on to direct the sci fi turkey Thunderbirds....
- Remarkable fact 3: Brent Spiner/Data co-wrote the script - and some critics point out that this maybe the reason Data had so much to do in the film. It is alleged that some cast members were not happy about that arrangement either.
- Remarkable fact 4: According from a Radio 2 interview in the UK a year after the film's release, Patrick Stewart revealed that the cast and the team behind this film thought it was their best yet - when it bombed at the box office, apparently a lot of them were devastated. Some even burst into tears...
- Remarkable fact 5: The original battle of the Bassen Rift was to be between a fleet of ships - not just the Enterprise and the Scimitar. Had this come to pass this WOULD have been an epic fight and may have been the saving grace of the film - but instead the studios refused the idea due to the budget. Also a planned scene where the Enterprise is towed from the battle by the USS Hemmingway was also shelved due to expense. Ironically, Baird did direct a film called "Executive Decision"...
Rating: 2 (Chris S)
Star Trek Nemesis
Stardate 56844.9: Synopsis in main Movie listing
I'd say I don't know where to begin but I do. This movie was terrible. I have lots of notes but suffice to say I have no need to use the annotation's below for nitpicking because as far as I'm concerned this whole movie is nothing but a giant nitpick! So full of glaring errors and inconsistencies in regards to Trek canon, characters and so on. I will go off these notes and try to provide as best a review as I can and make it as coherent as possible, as I convey the events of the film and the NUMEROUS errors which go hand in hand with each scene and so forth.
We open on Romulus. Actually we don't, we open in space zooming in to the planet Remus, Romulus' twin sister planet of which we've heard nothing about up till this film, but that's ok because apparently everyone else was in on the secret, as Riker and even Admiral Janeway (I'll get to THAT in a moment) seem to drop them in conversation as if the existence of this planet and its inhabitants was common knowledge. Regardless we pass this planet and onto Romulus where the Senate is discussing the opportunity to ally Romulus with a person named Shinzon and with the Remans (resident scary monster race) and to consider what strength it would bring to the Empire despite the existing power of the empire. The Praetor overseeing this conversation shuts down this proposal from these Romulan generals who are excused. A Romulan nobody who has been toying with a pendant device at her hand for the meeting then excuses herself. No body of course takes note that she leaves this obviously ominous device on the table and continue conversing about boring matters only till they're distracted by the pretty light show that takes place when the device activates and showers the room in a green iridescent light. The senate is slow to react and when they do, just like Electric Light Orchestra, they Turn to Stone (zing).
Being on Romulus and of course, being a terrible film, I will point out that no mention is made of Sela, Spock (who we last saw on Romulus!) or the reunification movement. Go figure.
Next we find ourselves onboard the Enterprise for Will and Deanna's long overdue wedding. Picard has a cheesy speech about the issue of marriage and jokingly whines about being left without his first officer and counsellor, as both are going to the Titan. Of course, as this is a terrible movie, the motivation behind Will's decision to FINALLY take command of another starship despite turning down numerous command opportunities through his career is never revealed. Oh, and Wesley Crusher is also at the wedding in a Starfleet uniform with lieutenant jr grade insignia. Of course, as this is a terrible movie, he's not given any dialogue nor is any reason given for his being on the Enterprise in a Starfleet uniform with a rank despite last being seen leaving to explore the universe with the Traveller in "Journey's End".
We also see the crew and Brent Spiner in particular looking extremely old in comparison to his first appearance on TNG, suspension of disbelief is one thing, but some line about him altering his appearance to reflect his 'age' would have been wise. A hungover Worf drops some line about how Romulan Ale should be illegal. Ummm, if it was illegal then why the hell was it being served upon a Starfleet vessel? Oh, and speaking of Worf, why the fuck is he onboard the Enterprise? Shouldn't he be on Qo'noS as ambassador to the Klingon empire following the end of the Dominion War 4 years prior! He also bitches about Data singing Irving Berlin's "Blue Skies" for Riker and Troi, clearly he knows who the man is, yet didn't know who Gilbert and Sullivan were in "Insurrection"?
The Enterprise continues on its merry way to Betazed for Riker and Troi's honeymoon, because clearly, the Enterprise has nothing better to do than chaperone two individuals to their honeymoon destination as opposed to taking a shuttle for them and the wedding party. It detects though multiple positronic signals coming from a planet near the Neutral Zone (Betazed is near the Neutral Zone too now?), naturally, they investigate given Data is a positronic lifeform (and no one worries this could end up like Lore all over again).
Beaming the parts up is advised against due to some ion storm, so instead of risking beaming the parts up in case the storm 'come their way' (was it space or airborne? No one offers an answer), so through this flimsy pretext Picard takes to the planet the Argo. Which is an impressive looking ship till you realise the horror that he in fact is talking about a goddamn dune buggy which he drives around to collect the positronic parts. Watching Picard drive around in this SURELY antiquated piece of technology by 24th century standards, it makes one wonder what happened to the horse riding, opera enjoying, renaissance man from The Next Generation. Upon collection of the final piece of a disassembled androids body, it is practically identical to Data but for suffering a condition called 'dumbass' (as coined by Annorax, also known as Red Forman in another timeline). B4 as it is known, asks stupid questions as the away team is attacked by the inhabitants of this planet. Of course, as this is a terrible movie, we have to expect that the scanning equipment of Starfleet is so advanced as to detect positronic signals across light years, but the same sensors can't detect a few dozen lifeforms within so many hundred meters.
Pointlessly overdrawn chase scene ensues in which the away team violate the prime directive by opening fire on this pre-warp society, but as this is a movie, there's no time for things like diplomacy, so bang bang! Chase, chase! Till the away team leave the planet.
B4 is questioned on the Enterprise but doesn't know jack, Picard orders him pieced together. Data tells him they're brothers. I yawned.
We then turn to Picard in his ready room who is hailed by the unbelievably over-ranked Admiral Janeway. This is worth delving into. Janeway purposefully stranded her ship, interfered in a number of cultures, helped instigate conflicts and undoubtedly made a bad name for the Federation in the Delta Quadrant and it was only through the Temporal Prime Directive violating actions of her future self was she able to bring her crew home (albeit earlier than history originally recorded), and she was rewarded by being promoted to Admiral? If only it were that easy to advance in rank in our world. Though, as Star Trek XI will show us, promoting people in a ridiculous short amount of time to ranks they don't deserve wasn't an isolated event (Cadet then Captain Kirk in a matter of days!). The haha, ADMIRAL, informs Picard that a new leader has emerged on Romulus and wants to talk peace. The Enterprise has been sent to chat. She also goads him about receiving easy assignments, because getting assimilated and traumatised, going against corrupt Starfleet brass, and having to be sent into the lions den of Romulus unaccompanied is EASY. Janeway was lucky to have been wrapped in cotton wool for 7 years in the Delta Quadrant with barely enough of a broken nail to worry her conscience.
Enterprise warps off to Romulus (leaving behind it exhaust from the nacelles? WHAT?) and awaits contact for a prolonged period of time. The poor score of the film preceeds the appearance of the overpowered, oversized, and surely overcompensating-for-something Scimitar, which decloaks. Of course, as this is a terrible movie, we are lead to believe this behemoth of a vessel was developed in secret under slave labour.
Nameless scary monster Viceroy (played by Ron Perlman, who is otherwise wasted in this movie given the lack of lines and unrecognisability) informs Picard Shinzon will see them and they beam over to the Scimitar. Picard, Data, Riker, Troi and Worf all beam over, leaving umm, who exactly to command the Enterprise? Good thing Shinzon didn't decide to just capture the whole away team and Picard, otherwise his insane plan which I'll speak of later would've been executed flawlessly with no one to command the Enterprise and mount a serious challenge. As we see though, Shinzon (dressed like a gimp drowned in oil I'll add) is more fond of pointless games and talk rather than action, and he talks about suffering a childhood illness which Picard also apparently had (which the away team seemed to have known of as well given their reactions but hey, not like we'd know after watching these people for 7 years), lets the away team scan him and even provides a blood sample, given his human appearance, and more importantly, resemblance to Picard. He, for no good reason also lusts after Troi. Whatever. The away team leave and Crusher (hooray she's given stuff to do!) confirms Shinzon is a clone.
On Romulus, the Romulans who backed Shinzon complain about his time wasting antics with the Starfleet crew, he advises them to be patient and asks useless Romulan Commander Donatra to be mindful of traitors in his midst and if she kills anyone suspected of such collusion she would have proven her trust to him. This dialogue is meaningless and no pay off is given in the end. As she leaves Shinzon has the space crazies but monster Viceroy helps him.
We switch to B4 on the Enterprise who suddenly starts accessing the Enterprise computer.
Picard and Shinzon later pow-wow about Picard's past as Shinzon would like to know the Picard history. Picard notes that despite their explorer past his leaving the Solar System caused discomfort in the family, even though this is the same family whose legacy included settlers on Mars. Upon questioning of his motives then, Shinzon reveals he hopes to liberate the Remans who helped him out after he was disposed of in Dilithium mines on Romulus when the plan to have him infiltrate Starfleet in Picard's place was scrapped due to a change of Government. This plan was flawed anyway, and it was said that the accelerated ageing process he was to undertake had begun at the point of the movie, because we're suppose to believe that roughly 25 years prior the Romulans KNEW who Picard was and how important he'd be to use a clone of his to infiltrate Starfleet?! Picard hadn't even taken command of the Enterprise at the point of Shinzon's creation, how the hell could the Romulans have known how important he would be? An outrageous plan.
But Shinzon continues to monologue about the future of his people, and the Romulans, whilst Picard is sceptical about the peace Shinzon wants for everyone.
Back on the Enterprise it's discovered the Scimitar emits some kind of deadly poison, thalaron radiation (the same stuff from the start of the movie), and of course, we're suppose to take seriously the threat of a substance we've never heard of as it's discussed of in superweapon terms.
Back on Romulus, Monster Viceroy chides Shinzon for his time wasting (am I noticing a pattern here) and Shinzon rebukes him for telling him it's his time to waste and he was curious about Picard, as if he couldn't capture and interrogate him or just research his family history, how are the niceties of a bloody coup orchestra.
In his ready room Picard looks at a picture of himself from the Academy, the picture is NOT accurate though to the representations of Picard we've been given before (eg. "Tapestry") as the photo pictures a bald headed, Tom Hardy in a cadet uniform, and people complained about Enterprise forcing continuities hand. Crusher and he talk about 'those days'. Data interrupts to inform that they've discovered B4's access (though they don't know its B4 and didn't surmise that an unauthorised access and B4's apparent autonomy after being brought on board were NOT RELATED).
Troi is also mind-raped whilst doing Riker, only to serve a tiny snippet later on in the film, bleh. Afterwards Shinzon is crippled and is advised that the Doctors must be readied for the treatment he needs to overcome his ailments. The Remans then beam B4 over to the ship and download the information he has, including communications and stellar cartography information, Picard is then beamed aboard also and the Scimitar cloaks.
Picard is restrained and Shinzon start's waffling on about his 'poor ole me' garbage and that how if Picard lives he's nothing more than an echo. Boo hoo, there are allusions to how Picard would be the same in Shinzon's shoes and likewise, as if something just because there DNA is identical means they'd do the same thing in each other's shoes. I found all this dialogue to be stupid, pointless and flawed from both points of view. You can either be of the opinion that because they are the same that their actions would've played out the same due to their upbringing and circumstances. Shinzon would NOT have been the psychotic Shinzon had he been raised on Earth to enjoy the cushy Federation lifestyle. But on the flipside you cannot say Picard would have turned out like Shinzon had their roles been reversed because PICARD WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN PICARD. He would've been a cloned created to infiltrate Starfleet, disposed of, and forced to grow up in slave like conditions till he plotted revenge.
I found a lot of this talk to be trivial, and Shinzon's problems didn't end with Picard, as he ends up on a vendetta to destroy Earth like every other stock standard bad guy/group of villain before him with a problem with Earth (the Borg Queen, rogue Klingons, the Dominion), except in the case of those other villains they at least had a somewhat legitimate reason to attack Earth. Shinzon on the other hand was just having a tantrum and had to take his frustrations out on a people who weren't responsible for his upbringing. Turning this into another petty revenge story. Oh, and Shinzon needs Picard's blood to continue living.
Shinzon leaves after his bitching and B4 enters. B4 however is Data. But how did the Remans beam him over without realising who is who? By this point, I didn't care. Data tells Picard he has a prototype emergency transporter for Picard to use to escape the ship whilst Data stays behind. Picard doesn't appreciate the insinuation and say's they'll find another way to leave, together.
This is probably a point which has been covered many times before but I'll join the chorus on condemnation. We have seen that transporting two people using the one beam is not impossible. It happened on "The Voyage Home" using a (by this point in time) outdated Klingon Bird of Prey. So the Starfleet whiz kids are still about a 100 years behind Klingon transporter technology? Don't make me laugh. Obviously this is just a convenient plot device meant to purposefully foreshadow the pointless death that we'll see later on. Moving from that Data and Picard traverse the ship looking for means to escape. Shinzon discovers they've escaped and an alarm is activated, a firefight ensues and the pair happen upon a shuttlebay filled with the very Reman designation of 'Scorpion' class flyers (after the emotionless Data smiles at opening the shuttlebay entrance doors, what?). Picard and Data commandeer one and fly it out of the ship and it's beamed onto Enterprise.
The nameless Romulans on the planet contact Shinzon, and, again, chide him for his tactics. He berates them and cuts of communications. Donatra, in a change of heart so unforeseen she may as well have been a different character at this point, decides to betray Shinzon realising his plan is to eradicate all life on Earth. The Starfleet crew realise this in the briefing room, well, Picard does. Troi acts shocked and asks how Picard would know, to which he responds 'I know him'. So I'm sure all the dialogue about how Shinzon wanted to make the Federation pay wasn't a HINT at his plans, nor were the capabilities of his planet killing ship. Surely they are geniuses...
The Enterprise goes to warp to rendezvous with a Starfleet taskforce on the other side of a nebula, the Scimitar has been following it however and engages the Enterprise in the nebula, where the Scimitar's cloak makes it hardly a fair fight. Commander Donatra appears though with two impressive looking Romulan Warbirds and informs Picard they want to help. What follows is a pretty impressive battle in this nebula. One warbird is crippled and Donatra's is also. We also get plenty of shots of the Scimitar bridge, which is so poorly designed and quite unimaginative. Moving on. Troi's mind-rape scene is used to show a purpose, in which she finds the Viceroy on the Scimitar using her telepathic abilities, the Enterprise fires on it and does some damage. Shinzon is pissed and sends Viceroy and a puny team to board the Enterprise, Picard responds by sending Riker, Worf, and an equally tiny security detail (numbering in the single figures) to intercept them. A firefight ensues yet again, and Riker engages Monster face in a fight to the death through Jeffries tubes and onto a ramp atop a bottomless pit. Yes a bottomless pit for lack of a better word but at least a turbolift shaft would have work better.
The Enterprise and Scimitar face off, literally, as Shinzon decides to park his ship directly in front of the Enterprise to 'look Picard in the eye', oh boy. Picard though decides to do something totally unexpected for a ship which has had its weapons depleted and foe directly in front, by ordering full impulse and ramming the Scimitar (without warning people who are in those sections of the ship of course). The Reman morons at the helm are painfully slow to respond and both ships collide. The Scimitar pulls away and Picard....activates the self-destruct? Shinzon orders the thalaron weapon be used on the Enterprise then to set a course for Earth. So why the hell would Picard want to blow the ship up? The Scimitar was clearly still capable of flight and could have easily escaped, what was the point Picard??? Destroying the Enterprise would have served no purpose. So seeing the Thalaron doo-wacky has been activated Picard decides to head over to the ship and go mano a mano with Shinzon. The outrageously convoluted means of activating this weapon on the Scimitar, involving extending wings and laser beams with claws protruding, means there's 7 minutes till the weapon is activated. Picard beams over, ALONE (as all 4 security member of the Enterprise were busy with the puny Reman threat, apparently), and starts shooting the useless Reman guards (with the ease at which they are killed it's no wonder they were apparently used as cannon fodder in the Dominion war.
The only one to realise that Picard might need backup, Data decides to head over as well. Only he doesn't do the intelligent thing like a supposedly capable android, or even a less than capable Windows Vista operating system would do in taking a shuttlecraft over with some armed crewmen, but he decides to jump from the Enterprise where a bulkhead was removed during the crash and separation. The idiot jumps the gulf in space between the two ships, and amazingly doesn't miss the Scimitar (BAD LUCK IF HE DID!). Meanwhile, Picard is busy slaying helpless Reman "soldiers" and makes his way to the bridge, even using his phaser to beat one over the head (said rifle though breaks like a plastic toy after). Seeing the Thalaron matrix-whatever thing behind the bridge, he heads upstairs to try and deactivate it. Shinzon follows and attempts to kill him with knives (cause phasers are over-rated), Picard though bends down a metal pylon with superhuman strength as Shinzon lunges towards him, and impales his doppelganger. Shinzon hilariously pulls himself further along the bar and tells Picard he's glad they're together in death.
Data though shows up and plants the emergency transport with all the power of a potato on Picard, transporting the Captain back to the Enterprise. Data stays behind and fires his phaser on the thalaron matrix, destroying the ship.
Donatra hails Picard telling him he has made a friend in the Romulan Empire, upholding the optimistic spirit of Star Trek (even though Romulus will be destroyed in Star Trek XI).
Picard toasts to Data's death with the senior staff and the Enterprise heads back to Earth for repairs. Picard talks with B4 about Data and how Data aspired to grow beyond his programming and B4 should consider it also. B4 starts singing 'Blue Skies', hinting that Data may yet live on through him. At the end credits, you can see Brent Spiner was a co-writer, what self indulgence on his part then to have him play two roles, kill off one beloved character, than practically render that death meaningless by having B4 gain his memories and struggle to sing, much like Data struggled to whistle in "Encounter at Farpoint". It's ridiculous. You spend 7 years and 3 films developing this character, kill him off, and then look to start right back at square 1 through this loophole of a memory download in an identical body.
This film was just so laden with plotholes and errors it boggles the mind. Nothing worked here, the story hinged on this unlikely plan of the Romulans. Shinzon was nothing more than your average pissy villain who wanted to blow up Earth, and all other dialogue pointing to that was irrelevant. His side bad guy, being a big scary monster, was a walking cliché. He served little purpose either. The main TNG cast were all flat here. Picard was reactive rather than proactive, Patrick Stewart for the first time looked lethargic in this signature role of his and really didn't have a great deal to contribute besides telling Shinzon he 'can be better'. Frakes and Sirtis do nothing but share sweet nothings during the wedding scene, be victims to the mind-rapings of Viceroy Monster face, and exact revenge on their tormentors. Spiner get a great deal of screen time but I don't feel he did much all the same despite his dual role. His emotionless Data and inferior B4 don't ask much of him, so not like he was truly challenged. Aside from a knowing glance to Data, LaForge does nothing but read of an LCARS screen and chat about B4, and McFadden again is the most disposable cast member.
Thankfully we've seen that Tom Hardy has grown from his into a very capable actor, and while he does deliver a lot of uninspired, clichéd dialogue, he did ok. Everyone else was of no note (eg. Perlman).
Just a terrible film, it started weak and ended with a whimper. Nothing redeeming is present here, and it's a shame that this was the final journey for such a wonderful crew. Even asking this film to convey the Trek 'spirit', it really doesn't but for the final scene where B4 tries to sing to be more than the he is. The writing was awful and is so inconsistent with this Universe it may as well not be canon. I think I've said enough.
- Nitpicking: See above!
- Remarkable fact #1: Data was originally to have died firing on warp core relays on the Scimitar bridge. Rick Sternbach however objected given such a poor design choice to have warp relays on the bridge. Yet the sensitive mechanics of a highly dangerous weapon right behind the bridge was fine???
- Remarkable fact #2: The film contains references to all five live-action Star Trek television series. Riker employs an evasive maneuver named after James T. Kirk, the entire cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation appears, Riker discusses the Remans' participation in the war with the Dominion, Admiral Kathryn Janeway appears, and a USS Archer is listed among a Starfleet battle group.
- Remarkable fact #3: LeVar Burton is on record as having said that the film "sucked". Marina Sirtis backed him up by criticizing Stuart Baird for not watching a single episode of The Next Generation. According to Burton and several other members of the main cast, Baird kept referring to LeVar as "Laverne" throughout production and thought the character of Geordi was an alien.
- Remarkable scene: The Battle of the Bassen Rift. Enterprise in a repair dock over Earth.
Rating: 0 (Cameron)
Stardate not given: No synopsis is needed. But I note that I am really talking about a specific act within Nemesis, rather than the whole film. Star Trek: Nemesis (The Battle in the Bassen Rift).
The Battle in the Bassen Rift
This part of the film was probably best part. Actually, Star Trek Nemesis is actually rather impressive graphically. It represents a point in graphics development where you can almost get what you actually want out of the CGI on demand. In the modern era, this is much simpler. The growth in modern computing power in both CPU and GPU makes battle scenes more accessible than ever before.
Battle scenes in Star Trek have always been my nitpick, especially in TNG and DS9. The number of times that the Enterprise is "firing phasers", which in reality means firing a single, half-hearted shot, and then sitting there waiting for something to happen, is untrue (see also, DS9: "Sacrifice of Angels"). I suspect this has more to do with the frustrating graphics spending limitations during the 1980s than it is of poor tactical choices. In TNG, Picard often clearly comes under pressure to keep the CGI/SFX budget under control from Starfleet, as he more often than not lectures the "perpetrator of the day" on committing acts of moral turpitude, well into submission.
Nemesis presented an excellent opportunity to finally see some fantastic, fast-action scenes, with a... crap dialogue. The Enterprise E remains one of my favoured designs, with its oversized nacelles, sharp look, and purposeful interior sets. Though part of me misses the Miami Vice interior of the Enterprise D bridge, the Enterprise E is probably what got me started as a hobbyist 3D dabbler. Anyway, I digress. Here we have the last appearance of the Enterprise E crew, in their last half an hour of storytelling.
The first scene we observe is that the Scimitar is firing disruptors. About 12 shots are fired at the Enterprise at warp speed. At which point, Shinzon decides that they should "target weapons systems and shields". Right you are Shinzon, that's probably a good start. But what were you doing before? The Enterprise's shields are clearly lighting up like beacons anyway, why state the obvious? We then see the completely pointless field around the warp core drop out, with some pyrotechnics from the otherwise smooth surface of the dilithium chamber (for some reason).
The Scimitar drops out of warp sounding all squidgy. To give us something to look at, it is impressed that the deceleration causes some form of random fluctuation in the cloak (which is perfect by the way). Anyway, Picard then wanders onto the bridge, in no rush whatsoever. Riker says something unhelpful and obvious. Then La Forge comes out with the most spectacular lie: "He disabled our warp drive with his first shot". What?! This never happened. The Enterprise took at least 12-17 hits before giving up. Even then, there is seemingly no reason for this to happen. The dorsal shields seem fine. But for the sole purpose of trapping the Enterprise in nebula of the day for a showdown, the shields arbitrarily drop out on one of the nacelles, and near engineering.
Anyway, Picard then begins to assemble a series of instructions, which in the vastness of space, and the somewhat narrow phaser beams, works! Some rubbish about zero-elevation 360-degree phaser shooting. Oddly, there is a single blue icon for this on the LCARS interface. Useful. What happens next is indisputably cool. Firstly, this is one of the coolest shots ever made in the TNG era, so I will forgive Picard for giving such an absurd command. And FINALLY... FINALLY... someone has found a new phaser sound! The phaser effects are pretty wicked throughout this part of the film. Shinzon proclaims that Picard is too slow. Well, he could be, given that it wasn't Worf firing the torpedoes. Again, this is assuming that this process is not all part of the function hidden under the blue LCARS button.
Attack pattern Shinzon Theta. Why? He's clearly been bored at some point and selected some random points on the Enterprise to attack, on his poorly-rendered 3D model. Maybe B4 chose them. Who knows. Anyway, the targeting system on the Scimitar is crap. At least two shots miss their target. Oh, notice that the dorsal shields (including upper secondary hull, and nacelles), while low, are still very much operational.
At this point, the novelty of the Enterprise being able to fly upside down now it is CGI is too much not to take further advantage of. After a full axis rotation to port, and firing... hang on... is that the same sodding blue button as before?! What is the point of Worf? Whatever. Worf continues by firing single volleys of phasers at the Scimitar. For a Klingon, he's being rather conservative with the weapons. Anyone else would be firing them all at the same time (like the rapid 360-degree succession we just observed). Never mind. What is defensive pattern Kirk Epsilon?
At this point, Picard clearly senses that the ship is severely at risk of destruction. There is only one thing to do: "Counselor Troi, report to the bridge". Oh dear, it really is that bad.
After some nonsense that I find totally disinteresting, some Romulans appear to help. We are treated once again to a pretty cool shot of the two warbirds flying adjacent to the Enterprise. We see and hear the more modern phaser sounds again. Sleek! Anyway, it is worth noting that Worf has clearly put the phasers on 'shuffle', as they begin firing in nearly completely random directions. To alleviate the search, the Scimitar happily gives away its position.
Worf is commanded to triangu... awwww forget it. We don't see it, but he clearly presses the blue button on the LCARS interface at some point. Again, some pretty snappy shots of the Enterprise. It's quite nifty compared to its appearance in "First Contact", and "Insurrection". Having just been hit on the ventral side of the engineering section, the aft shields naturally respond by falling to 40%. Somehow, three photon torpedoes are fired at ~90 degrees to the direction of the Enterprise, just as it banks away. Data's face prior to firing is clearly mortified at the inconsistency that is about to take place. Riker has to give the command to do something with auxiliary power, as Picard is too busy vibrating for some reason or another. Maybe he ran out of tactical ideas.
What is the point of Shinzon's hand controls? Who is in control of the 52 disruptor banks? The wing falls off the flanking warbird, and hits the Enterprise's saucer section shields, followed by the shields on the port side nacelle (the same nacelle that got hit, dropping the Enterprise out of warp, because it clearly had no shields, because reasons). As the wing of the warbird hit the port of the saucer, the forward shields fall to 10% (duh!). Riker commands to bring the Enterprise about. Meanwhile the Romulan warbird continues, having clearly been the Worf school of firing weapons, shooting single disruptor volleys. At this point, it seems clear that although both the Romulans and Scimitar are apparently armed with photons, using them appears to be somewhat taboo. Do we ever see a single photon from either?
Shinzon does something completely nonsensical by dropping the cloak, and stopping. Then hits the underside of the rubbish warbird, causing it to die in the water. Amazing that the Romulans ever threaten the Federation with such shocking piloting skills and technology. Deanna is given a single line of "ah/owh/oh!", as the Enterprise is attacked. Some structural integrity comes under threat (standard). We get to see the most pointless diagram ever. What appears to be a gyroscopic circle-like thingy rotating around the Enterprise. From this, La Forge concludes that emergency force fields are holding. Seeing as the force fields are holding (presumably the Enterprise together), Riker requests La Forge to reroute their power, to the forward shield. I'm not even going to ask.
Deanna activates telepathic scanning mode, while Shinzon is preparing for a lateral run. Whatever that is. Deanna finds the Scimitar, floating in a 3D space, using a 2D searching mechanism. Good job she did that commander course in TNG so that she knew the elevation! Worf presses button 49658-556 to dial up the quantum torpedoes, and away they go!
It takes Picard some time to realise that they should be firing at will. So they waste some precious time flying towards the Scimitar instead, all the while the benefit of the quantum torpedo launchers will soon be lost.
Again, a pretty cool shot comes around of the Scimitar chasing an ascending Enterprise. Astonishingly, the underside of the Enterprise gets hit, and the ventral shielding on deck 29 falls. This isn't really a problem, as the Remans will be too busy beaming into outer space, just under the secondary hull anyway, if that's where they plan on boarding. You want to beam onto a non-existent deck? Fine. Be that way ¯_(ツ)_/¯. Picard asks Data to divert all power and compensate. This clearly happens, as the Enterprise stop firing, and Picard has a sit down for a bit.
Shortly after some on-board nonsense, everyone on the bridge is surprised that the Scimitar has come about and is on a run at the forward section (lateral runs are too boring for SFX purposes at this point?). Oh my God! A ship! And it's outside! Picard just sits and waits. Presumably, the opportunity to fire the quantum torpedoes, which we have no evidence for falling offline, is just too logical.
Anyway, the photon torpedoes have been used up, and the phasers are at 4%, whatever that means. Magically, the Scimitar's shields are still at 70%. Absolute nonsense. On his grand approach to look Picard in the eye, the Scimitar appears to suffer from space turbulence. Let's discard that.
After crashing the ship into the Scimitar, both ships appear to be somewhat neutralised. The disruptors on the Scimitar are offline. One can only assume that the torpedo launchers are too, given Shinzon resorts to the uber-weapon. Picard has given up and tries to destroy the Enterprise. But sadly, the computer says no.
At this point, I am wondering that the Enterprise has a massive advantage over the Scimitar. With both ships' weapons kaput, and the Scimitar Scorpion fighters destroyed, the Enterprise could simply use a shuttle to cause absolute chaos. We already have seen that Enterprise shuttles have phasers on them (this is canon). The entire film could be ended here by sending someone to sit outside the Scimitar and prod it with phasers, front on, while the Scimitar sits and does nothing. They could even send a shuttle and overload the warp core next to the Scimitar. Job done.
We get some close up shots at the truly dreadfully designed ubership that is the Scimitar. I mean, I like the idea of it. However, it is very badly executed. You can see that it appears to be simply a collection of shapes, with the Aztec pattern applied to give it some depth. It really is a hideous design. Fortunately, being the early 2000s now, it is appropriate to have a somewhat sombre mood and design throughout many films (note the design of the E bridge compared to the D bridge). So we don't get to see the Scimitar contrasted against a star, or a planet. Actually, on reflection, it is surprising how much of it we never get to see. Much of the time, it is little more than a silhouette. This is in large contrast to the newer (2009+) films, where the inclusion of 700 lens flares, or the requirement of a ship to be near something that glows, shows off the dynamics and amazing quality of the rendering software.
From this point onwards, it is mostly some shots of an expanding Scimitar, and some men rolling around, like various stages of a Japanese fighting game, to reach the final boss. However I thought in spirit that the battle scene was almost worth a review of its own. For the early 2000s, it really is a good section of the film. The quality of the CGI is merely hampered by the poor dialogue, and the idiotic things people say, just to make the Scimitar sound so uber it's untrue. But I would like to commend the new phaser effects, especially the more deep sound, as well as the cool 360-degree firing sequence towards the start of this section of the film. We should also give a mention to the flying-upside-down Enterprise at Romulus.
I wish we could see more scenes like this in the Star Trek films. Star Wars has the upper hand in terms of balanced 'fleet budgets'. Time and time again, we always get the boring scene where the Enterprise (or whatever) single-handedly solves the entire problem, without any support from Starfleet. Even at the early stage of 2002, the whole Wrath of Khan approach was growing old, and I feel that by not taking full advantage of the quality CGI in terms of a different approach to the story, newer audiences were not all that memorised.
- Nitpicking: La Forge: "He disabled our warp drive with his first shot". No, he really didn't!
- Remarkable scene: The 360-degree phaser firing. Literally a whole TNG season budget for firing phasers was used in a matter of seconds by the Enterprise E in "Nemesis". Looked great!
Rating: 7 (David B)