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Star Trek: Nemesis (**)
by John Logan
from a story by John Logan, Rick Berman, and Brent Spiner
Principal Cast
Patrick Stewart -- Captain Jean-Luc Picard
Jonathan Frakes -- Commander William T. Riker
Brent Spiner -- Lt. Commander Data
LeVar Burton -- Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge
Michael Dorn -- Lt. Commander Worf
Gates McFadden -- Dr. Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis -- Counselor Deanna Troi
Tom Hardy -- Praetor Shinzon
Ron Perlman -- Reman Viceroy
Dina Meyer -- Commander Donatra
Steven Culp -- Commander Martin Madden
Alan Dale -- Praetor Hyren
Whoopi Goldberg -- Guinan
Nicholas Lanier -- Young Starfleet Ensign
Diana Muldaur -- Dr. Katherine Pulaski
Kate Mulgrew -- Admiral Kathryn Janeway
Bryan Singer -- Starfleet Bridge Officer
Ratings are based on Rick's four star system.
One star - the commercials are more entertaining than the viewing.
Two stars - watch if you have nothing better to do.
Three stars - good solid entertainment.
Four stars - you never dreamed viewing could be this good.
Past Feature Reviews
A review by Rick Norwood

Star Trek: Nemesis "Nemesis" -- a generic title for a generic Trek.

I'm a Trekie from way back, so I enjoyed the movie. All they have to do is play the music from the original Trek and I'm hooked. But if you are neither a Trekie or a Trekker, but one of the vast untrekked, then all the movie has to offer you is a pretty good space battle at the end. Among current films, it is not as bad as My Big Fat Greek Wedding, not as good as 8 Mile. It's an amalgam recasting successful moments from earlier films -- shallow and unconvincing. As an avowed Trekie I can say it -- this really should be the last Star Trek film. (As for the TV show Enterprise, if I could somehow cancel Enterprise to save Firefly, I wouldn't hesitate.)

The idea of bringing in a writer and director who had never been associated with Star Trek seemed like a good one, but it didn't work. How anyone thought bringing in the director of U.S. Marshals and the writer of The Time Machine was a good idea -- well, yes, I know John Logan won an Oscar for Gladiator but don't get me started on all the things I haven't liked about the last four or five Oscars. How could they not give Brad Pitt Best Supporting Actor for Snatch... well, like I said... don't get me started. Rick Berman was reportedly able to land the Oscar-winning writer for Star Trek because Logan is a buddy of Brent Spiner. He should have watched The Time Machine first.

Someone, probably Rick Berman, has put in a reasonable number of Trek references, to the Dominion war for example, but the big action sequence on a desert planet violates everything Trek stands for. You don't make first contact with machine guns. I'm tempted to draw parallels with current politics, but I won't go there. The film isn't deep enough to be political. The battle on the Sand Planet is entirely gratuitous.

There are a few cameos -- Wesley Crusher is on the far left in the wedding banquet. Blink and you'll miss him. I guess his journeys with The Traveler are over. Guinan appears in an unbilled cameo, but they didn't let Whoopi Goldberg write her own dialogue -- bad mistake. It would have added something to the film if she had toasted the bride and groom by saying, "I give the marriage seven years." Janeway appears, but she could have been replaced by any one of the Federation's many female admirals without changing a thing. From the previews I had hoped Lore would appear, but he does not.

Except for Patrick Stewart and, to a lesser extent, Brent Spiner, the actors could have been replaced by action figures, for all the acting they do.

The action sequence in the middle is one of those Trek standards where people run down corridors, ducking behind stanchions (which never appear in corridors unless they are going to be ducked behind). Somehow, in the Star Trek universe, you can completely expose yourself to enemy fire while you squeeze off a few shots, and if you then duck behind a stanchion, you are invulnerable.

That leaves the final battle, which is, as I said, pretty good, and uses up the entire special effects budget.

If there is another Star Trek film, they should let Whoopi Goldberg star and also write (in collaboration with Ronald D. Moore). Jonathan Frakes should direct. Guinan should lead Scottie, Spock, Reg Barclay, Miles O'Brian, and Garak on a mission to overthrow the Federation, and establish a more interesting form of government.

Copyright © 2003 Rick Norwood

Rick Norwood is a mathematician and writer whose small press publishing house, Manuscript Press, has published books by Hal Clement, R.A. Lafferty, and Hal Foster. He is also the editor of Comics Revue Monthly, which publishes such classic comic strips as Flash Gordon, Sky Masters, Modesty Blaise, Tarzan, Odd Bodkins, Casey Ruggles, The Phantom, Gasoline Alley, Krazy Kat, Alley Oop, Little Orphan Annie, Barnaby, Buz Sawyer, and Steve Canyon.

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