Saturday, November 16, 2013
Star Trek: Nemesis (review with spoilers)
The film begins when a Romulan council is meeting to decide if they should join forces with Reman fighters to destroy the Federation. The lead council, also called a Praetor, rejects the idea and a traitorous senator excuses herself from the meeting and a weapon is released that gives off deadly radiation and the council dies gruesome deaths.
Then we are witness to the wedding celebration between Troi and Riker with Captain Picard acting as best man. Also appearing at the festival are Wil Wheaton (Wesley) and Whoopi Goldberg (Guinan).
Back aboard the Enterprise, the crew detects positronic waves emitting from a nearby planet near the neutral zone and an away team lead by Picard, with Data and Worf, go down to the planet to investigate and find several android parts scattered throughout. They get fired upon by others in land rovers and escape to the transport shuttle.
The android is reassembled and identifies himself as B4. In the meantime, a priority message from Starfleet command from Admiral Janeway (guest star Kate Milgrew) asks Picard if he'd like a trip to Romulus to investigate a shakeup of leadership with a new Praetor named Shinzon, who is believed to be a Reman. The Reman's are considered a lower, worker-bee class by the Romulans. The mostly work in the mines on Romulus and manufacture weapons for them.
The away team, consisting of Picard, Data, Troi, and Worf, board Shinzon's vessel. Shizon tells them he wants peace with the Federation and reveals something else; he knows Picard's medical history and cuts himself with a blade and gives it to Data. The blood is analyzed by Dr. Crusher. Shinzon is a clone of Picard! Over dinner later that evening, Shinzon tells Picard that the Romulans had acquired some of Picard's DNA and planned to replace him with the clone. But before the plan was carried out, Romulus had undergone new governance and the plan was aborted. The clone was sent to work in their mines with the Reman. Shinzon developed an alliance with the Reman, including his protector whom he now calls his viceroy. In his friendship with the Reman's, he was able to assemble an army, acquire weapons and build secret bases and a war ship. His motive for this was freedom for the Remans. Through force and sabotage, he was able to become Praetor of Romulus.
Picard says he will trust Shinzon when that trust has been earned. He boards the ship to learn that the ships computers have been rerouted through subspace bans. They pick up thalaron radiation particles which are highly toxic and dangerous to living tissue. Data and Geordi learn the source of the unauthorized access and tell Picard they have a way to stop it with a tactical advantage.
The captain gets beamed aboard Shinzon's ship without permission. Shinzon tells Picard that with B4's help, he now has access to the ships communications protocol and has all information about the goings on of Starfleet. His "destiny," is to not bow before anyone, not the Romulans or the Federation, but to control them. He tells picard to "look in the mirror and see yourself."
B4 enters and disarms one of the guards and it's revealed to be Data. Shinzon was given incorrect information about Starfleet, fed to him on purpose when the unauthorized access was discovered. They escape and board the Enterprise.
We learn the reasons for Shinzon's spasms of pain, Dr. Crusher discovers his RNA sequences has been programmed to accelerate the aging process at a certain age, most likely to be able to take over as Captain Picard in the due time. A blood transfusion from Picard could save his life and Picard realizes Shinzon may come back for him.
A battle ensues between Shinzon's ship, the Enterprise, and Romulan warbirds with Romulans who are tired of Shinzon's shit. The Enterprise breaks through Shinzon's ship's cloaking when Troi gets into the Viceroy's mind (it's payback for the mindrape, bitch!)
Shinzon breaks down shields on the Enterprise deck 29 and his boarding party lands on the ship. Outgunned, Captain Picard decides to give them a battle Shinzon can't refuse; crash the Enterprise into his ship. Shinzon puts the ship in full reverse and sets the thelaron radiation weapon to target the Enterprise. While the weapon is getting ready to deploy, Picard does a site to site transport aboard Shinzon's ship and does battle with him.
In the meantime, Data runs through a cargo bay door and floats across space to the other ship after the transporters go offline. Picard gets the upper hand against Shinzon and impales him with a metal beam. Data beams Picard back aboard the enterprise using a portable transporter device and destroys the weapon, and himself, before it deploys.
In the aftermath, the crew goes their separate ways. Riker gets promoted to captain and the Federation is on its way to forming relations with the Romulans.
The films ends with B4 slowly getting his neural pathways aligned to that of Data's as he sings a song that Data had tried to whistle in the holodeck on the ship's Farpoint mission many years before.
Some of the action sequences were impressive. When Shinzon's ship breaks down the Enterprise's shields and crashes into it's bridge, it causes a compression that's stunning to watch, but has tragic results for minor members of the crew. The collision between the two ships is also very impressive on a technical standpoint.
The best part of the film was Tom Hardy as the villain, AKA Nemesis. His expressions, line deliveries, and all around scheming presence make the film enjoyable---mostly on that alone.
Data's death was a spectacular send off, unlike the underwhelming death of Captain Kirk in "Generations."
THE NOT SO GOOD
Can you say plot holes? The ones in this film are GIGANTIC! 1) How or when did Shinzon have time to build an army, build that enormous ship, and garner weapons of such magnitude after having spent the first part of his life in the dungeon mines of Romulus? 2) Why did the Romulans allow Shinzon to live instead of destroying their creation and avoiding conflict if he was of no more use to them? 3) Why did his viceroy take orders from Shinzon when it was the Reman protector that aided and protected Shinzon in the mines to begin with? You'd think their roles would have been reversed after their escape from the mines. 4) Where did B4 come from? The only explanation offered was that Shinzon and his army found the android and tinkered with his circuitry and then used it as bait. 5) How did Shinzon know that it would be the Enterprise to find it? 6) Why leave the android in parts scattered when a trap for the landing party could have been accomplished easier with the android left intact?
WTF is it with Picard's bald head in his youth? In episodes of TNG, we see in photos and flashbacks Picard in his youth with a full head of hair. Here, he's seen in early photos looking like his bald nemesis! Come on, Trekkers don't appreciate bullshit tricks like this!
The film would have been better with Hardy playing the same character but without the backstory of being a clone of Picard and a former slave laborer of the Romulans.
The storyline was also like a dusted off first draft of The Wrath of Khan---the obsessive quest for revenge by the antagonist and the death of a major player.
And we could have done without the mind rape scene with Shinzon and his viceroy attempting to (for lack of a better word) penetrate Deanne Troi as she makes love to her new husband Commander Riker.
Finally, the film lacked the spark, humor, and personal interplay between the characters that were evident in the previous TNG films. The cast seemed tired throughout. Brent Spiner was obviously getting too old to play the ageless android, so his ending was both heroic and necessary.
My score 2 1/2 stars out of 5