Monday, November 24, 2003

Saturday morning I watched Star Trek "Nemesis" on video. I saw it at the theater not long after it came out, and thought the time was right for a rewatch.

From what I've read on the net, lots of Trek fans think it is one of the worst of the films in the series. I don't agree. I don't think it was one of the best, either.

On first viewing, there were a number of things which lept out at me as being problematic, mostly because I thought not enough was said. I thought, for example, that the Riker/Troi wedding was poorly handled. I understand that Wesley Crusher/Will Wheaton had some lines that got left on the cutting room floor (are they in the extended version?), but that didn't bug me so much. What really bugged me, as a loyal viewer, was that Worf didn't seem to have any problems with the wedding. The series ended with a hint that there was some sort of potential romance between him and Troi, and though that never panned out, I would have liked to have seen a bit of a reference. Not to mention the fact that his own wife, Jadzia Dax, was dead and none of his former crewmates came to the wedding or the funeral.

Which brings me to a problem that this film shares with "Insurrection" (its predecessor): WHAT IS WORF'S STATUS? He went to Deep Space Nine before "First Contact" (and he was in that movie because he was in command of the Defiant) and apparently left DS9 (at the end of the series) to become some sort of diplomat. Why he was in "Insurrection" was never stated (one sentence would have done it), and in this one not only is he at the wedding (fair enough) but he joins the crew of the Enterprise again! He's in a Starfleet uniform, which is also not explained (he shouldn't be, should he?).

Then there's the trip from Earth to Betazed (for the nekkid ceremony). Star Trek has always been a little fudgy on where everything is, but why should the trip take them close enough to the Turtlepeople planet (which is close to the Romulan border) for them to detect a faint positronic signature?

Then there's the Turtlepeople planet. Picard, Worf, and Data go down there KNOWING that a prewarp civilization might notice them, and yet they take no precautions. No one even fucking MENTIONS the Prime Directive. And then, on the planet, they don't have their scanners on the lookout for the possible approach of Turtlepeople. Whut?

So they find a Soong-type android. And immediately turn him on! And then put him together! And then download all of Data's knowledge into him! And then give him the run of the ship! All of this without even a passing mention of what happened the last time they did that (Lore). To give Geordi his props: he did at least express concern, but he should have jumped up and down and shouted LORE!

Then they get the call to go to Romulus. I liked the whole Romulan/Reman thing. Well, three problems, but I'll get back to them.

Turns out the badguy was using B4 (the android) for his sinister plan. Fine. How did Data and Picard figure it out? We are never told.

Later, in the big space battle, the Enterprise rams the Scimitar. Cool. But then the Scimitar backs up and pulls away from the Enterprise. Having never been in space, I can't be certain, but that seems impossible unless BOTH ships are backing up.

Also, Picard behaved rather oddly in general. He was very much the man of action. This could have been explained with him doing a log entry about how he felt different after the events in "Insurrection" and wanted to live his life differently. No explanation, however. Just him in a dune buggy. Ugh.

Now for the R/Rs. How did the Remans manage to build a HUGE and super high-tech starship in secret without the Tal Shi'ar noticing? Where was the Romulan Tasha Yar? She would have been good for explaining things. Why did they make a clone of Picard way back when he was captain of the Stargazer? How did they know he would become important?

I said 3 problems, but there is a fourth (maybe a fifth): young Picard had reddish blond hair. He wasn't bald. Would that have been so hard to get right? Also: at one point Picard says they had the same heart, but Picard got an artificial heart after he got stuck in a bar fight as a cadet. Again with the continuity.

Now for the good. When I first saw the movie, I was troubled by two things which no longer trouble me. 1) Why did the badguy want to destroy Earth? At first I thought this was silly, but I noticed Saturday that he figured that Earth was the key to the Federation. That's good enough for me. 2) Why did Riker (and not someone tougher, like Worf) duke it out with the viceroy? When I saw it in the theaters I thought it was just another lame excuse to make Riker out as the rebirth of Kirk, but now I understand that it was because the viceroy had mentally raped Troi. Fair enough.

I hope this really is the last NextGen movie. I could stand seeing some of the cast again in a different situation (say, for example, Capt. Riker and the Titan help out in something, or Admiral Picard orders something done).

There was at least one Star Trek movie I liked less than this one. That was #5 (where they go after God). So I guess I do, sortof, agree that "Nemesis" is among the worst after all. Oh well.


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