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Star Trek: Nemesis  rating

Review: written 2006

Better Second time around

Chances are, if you are looking to watch this movie, you have already formed an opinion on it by now. As the reviews at the time suggested, it is not an outright success story, but it has to be said that even though missing the mark on several things, it also gets a lot of things right.

In viewing again, long after the excitement of a new Trek movie has passed, and the disappointment of something less than was hoped for or hyped has faded, Nemesis turns out to be not such a bad movie after all. The plot revolves around the Romulan Empire, specifically its new leader who has taken power with the Remans, previously the dominated race. This new leader, Schinzon, turns out to be Picard’s clone, and when Schinzon summons Picard and the Enterprise, the question is - what are his motives. Well, predictably after a period of cautious circling and meaning infused dinners, the motives turn out to be domination and destruction, and our heroes have to save the day - however, along the way the writer (John Logan, also writer of Gladiator) infuses much subtext of families and the dilemma of facing the evil within yourself, and aspiring to become something better - very much the stuff of Trek.

For the movie, the writing is not bad, the effects fantastic, and sound quality top notch. However, as comfortable as the leads are in their roles, and Tom Hardy fills out his part well also, there is a nagging feeling of tiredness about it all. It's refreshing to see the characters move on - one of the excellent deleted scenes has Picard discuss with data the passage of time marked by occasions such as weddings and funerals, not just without but internally too. It's this sort of character growth that helped inject so much humanity into the classic trek characters - shame they cut that scene. However, the attempt to find a 'personal' villain for Picard does not hit the mark - we never do feel that passionately involved, as the character is so completely new to us. How much more resonant it might have been if the character was from Picard’s past, and featured in the TV series, such as Khan was for Kirk.

If you intend to watch this, I can heartily recommend the Special Edition DVD.. the second disc is heaving with extras on all subjects possible. The deleted scenes last almost 30 minutes, and almost all genuinely add something. One can understand the need to trim a movie down, but honestly it feels like this could have been a richer movie with some of these scenes intact. The production, the music, the director, all are featured with extensive interviews. There are two commentaries on the disc, plus one text commentary - if you think you can really watch the movie that often!

In short, for a Trek movie this would not be a first choice, but well worth buying to complete the Star Trek movie experience.

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