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Star Trek Nemesis has a reputation for being a bad movie, and I won't dispute that, but it's important in terms of setup because this is the last time we saw Picard and his crewmates. So let's take another look at this movie and see what we make of it. Join me as I count down the 10 episodes and movies you should watch before Star Trek Picard.
Welcome to Nerd Heaven. I’m Adam David Collings. The author of Jewel of the Stars. And I am a nerd.
This is episode 9 of the podcast and the second last instalment of the 10 episodes and movies that you should watch before star trek Picard
Today, we’re looking at Star Trek Nemesis. A lot of people don’t like Nemesis. Let’s be honest, it’s the bottom of the barrel. I’ve joked in recent episodes that it’s “the movie everyone hates,” but I will freely acknowledge that there may be people who like this movie, and good on ‘em. There are some movies that many people hate, which I love, such as Batman V Superman, and I don’t like it when people comment that everybody hates that movie, because it’s just not true. So, if you Like Nemesis, I think that’s awesome.
I’m not going to do an in-depth rundown of every little thing I think is wrong with this movie. Others have done that. If you’re interested in that kind of analysis, check out the video Star Trek Nemesis Lamentation by the youTuber Lorerunner. He does a much better job of it than I could.
I will point out some issues along the way, but I’ll also try to point out some positives.
So if this isn’t a well-loved movie, why am I talking about it? Well, it’s actually very important for Star Trek Picard. This movie is where we last saw the TNG characters, Picard in particular. This movie wraps up their stories. We already know from the trailer that Picard is acknowledging the things that happened in Nemesis. It’s picking up on these characters and showing us what has become of them since this movie ended.
The IMDB description for this movie reads
The Enterprise is diverted to the Romulan homeworld Romulus, supposedly because they want to negotiate a peace treaty. Captain Picard and his crew discover a serious threat to the Federation once Praetor Shinzon plans to attack Earth.
And this movie first appeared in cinemas on the 13th of December 2002
Jerry Goldsmith wrote the music for this movie. He creates some extremely memorable themes in First contact and Insurrection. But nothing in the music stands out to me in Nemesis. The new big-screen version of the Romulan city, which we’ve seen previously as a painting, looks fantastic. This movie is the first mention we get of the planet Remus since the TOS episode Balance of Terror, which introduced the Romulans. This movie established that the planet Remus was home to another sentient species, the remans. That’s interesting, although funny they’ve never been mentioned, but then Starfleet doesn’t know a lot about the inner works of the Romulan star episode. I imagine that when the proto-Vulcans first arrived in this part of space, they subjugated the remans, who became the first subjects of the Romulan empire
The face-melting scene as all the senators die was reasonably well done. Suitable creep and gross.
Then we get the wedding scene. I really liked this. Riker and Troi are finally married. About time. Picard’s best man speech is suitable amusing, as well as emotional. It’s a nice character moment. And we get little cameo appearances from Guinan and Wesley. It was very nice to see Guinan again for the first time since Generations. Amusing that she’s been married 23 times.
The Wesley thing is jarring by the lack of explanation. They cut most of his scenes When last we saw him, he left Starfleet to journey with the traveller. Now he’s back and in uniform. But, I’ve seen those cut scenes, and honestly, it was pretty weak. Apparently, he was off to be a junior engineer on a second rate ship. Probably best they cut it. Guinan mentions that Romulan ale is illegal. That bothers me because the trade sanction was lifted during the dominion war. I suppose it’s possible they re-instated it, but that’s the problem. This movie fails to acknowledge the changed relationship between the federation and the Romulans that happened as they were forced to work as allies against the dominion. And that annoys the heck out of me.
Also, why is Worf on the enterprise? When last we saw HIM he had also left Starfleet to become federation ambassador to the Klingon empire. Now he’s back, in uniform and apparently serving on the enterprise. The explanation for his presence in First contact was great. The explanation in Insurrection was a total cop-out (Picard asks what the hell are you doing here) and we don’t hear his answer. In this movie, they don’t even acknowledge it. This irks me.
Worf doesn’t want to be naked at the official wedding ceremony on Betazed (all guests are naked at traditional Betazoid weddings). Picard seems to think the reason someone would not want to be naked is because of their physique, that they may not have enough muscles. If I had to be naked in public, it’s not my physique I’d be worried about exposing. I REALLY feel to Worf here. He’s essentially ordered to ignore his feelings of modesty. And that sucks. In fact, Worf has only been used for un-funny comic relief so far in this movie.
There’s nothing inherently bad about the B4 plot in this movie, except that it’s been done before. B4 just feels like an inferior copy of Lore.
The stuff on the planet isn’t bad. The new shuttle looks pretty cool. And the dune buggy is kinda cool. Patrick Stewart looks like he’s having a ball.
The over-exposed film is supposed to make the planet look alien. It doesn’t quite work for me. Funny how we first meet B5 in pieces. That’s exactly how we see him in the trailer for Star Trek Picard. Then the aliens show up. They look pretty cool. Especially considering we only see them very briefly. Nice effort. So much for the prime directive. Worf is shooting at them. Too bad if one of them died in the crash. I really enjoy the little appearance by Admiral Janeway. It makes good sense to me that she would be admiral now. After 7 years in the Delta Quadrant, she would probably welcome a desk job. Picard, on the other hand, ahs always wanted to remain on the bridge of his ship. (although we know he’ll eventually accept a promotion to Admiral as well.)
Geordi asks Data how he feels about giving B4 all his memories. Data replies “I feel nothing.” Seriously? Is this season 1 Data? In my opinion, it was a mistake to ignore the emotion chip. Michael Piller wasn’t a fan and wrote that Data “left it behind” in Insurrection. In this movie, well, it’s like the chip never existed. All that character development undone.
Shinzon’s ship, the scimitar looks pretty cool. Very mean.
This is where the movie starts to drag. They beam onto the Scimitar and meet Shinzon, who surprisingly is not Reman, but human. A clone of Picard. The reveal is long and drawn out. Especially so given that the reveal falls completely flat because Tom Hardy doesn’t look like Patrick Stewart.
Shinzon’s backstory is moderately interesting. I like how the plan to replace Picard was abandoned due to a change of government. Very believable.
So he’s promising peace, but Picard doesn’t trust him. And He has a very dangerous weapon on board, based on Thalaron radiation. Shinzon’s viceroy tells him he’s wasting time. And I tend to agree. Get on with the story, guys.
Ugh. and then we get the rape scene. First Shinzon wastes time having dinner with Picard, trying to convince him he wants peace. Then he decides to telepathically rape Deanna. WHAT? Are you telling me that if Picard had suffered a harsher upbringing, he’d be a rapist? This is creepy, and not in a good way. So B4 is Shinzon’s spy. Ok.
Beverly’s new medical tricorder looks really good. Finally, it has a full-sized screen. About time. A tricorder is, after all, a scanning device, so it should have a decent-sized screen.
One hour into the movie, things finally begin to happen. Picard is kidnapped, beamed aboard the scimitar. And Shinzon proceeds to detail his entire plan.
It was a nice little moment when B4 comes in to see Picard and it turns out to be Data, here to rescue him.
There’s a fun little action scene where they fly an attack shuttle through the corridors of the scimitar. A little silly, but fun.
So, Picard was abducted, told all about Shinzon’s plan, and then rescue. And I’m left wondering, what was the point of it all? This story still hasn’t really done anything.
It amuses me that Shinzon’s Romulan supporters keep criticising him for delaying. I find myself agreeing with them.
Beverly finally explains what’s going on. Shinzon is dying because of a defect in his DNA. He needs a complete transfusion from Picard, the only one with compatible DNA. The plot of this movie isn’t just slow and uninteresting, it’s very convoluted.
So, Shinzon asks the federation to send a ship. Then he has this big speech about wanting peace. All of this just so he can use Picard to heal himself. Luck the enterprise happened to be the closest ship. But when got his hands on Picard, after wasting time with dinner and drinks, he doesn’t take Picard’s blood. No, instead, he reveals his plan to attack the federation and then walks out of the room. And why does he want to attack the federation anyway? He has zero motivation for that.
The Thaleron weapon is actually quite interesting. With their cloak, they can fly past every federation ship and kill the entire crew. They’ll never even know what hit them. That’s terrifying.
I’m going to backpedal a bit on what I said about the music. Sure, there’s nothing in it as memorable as First contact or insurrection, but there’s still some reasonably good music.
There’s a little thematic stuff between Data and Picard, comparing Shinzon with B4. It’s not a lot, but it’s something.
I don’t mind the new design for the Romulan warbirds.
And I like the green nebula in the background during the space battle. It’s clever how they use Troi’s empathic abilities to find the scimitar. Kind of gives her a little revenge for the mind rape.
The Romulans join the fight against Shinzon and the Remans board the Enterprise. Worf comments to Riker that “The Romulans fought with honour.” That’s a big deal coming from Worf. He has always viewed the Romulans as being without honour. So nice touch there.
I like the scene when the bride gets hit and the whole front window gets blown away. Bye-bye viewscreen. That was nicely done.
Picard beats Shinzon by being unpredictable Picard actually knows Shinzon much better than Shinzon known Picard. Because Picard has his whole life to look back on, whereas, Shinzon has never been the person Picard is. He hasn’t gotten there yet. And I like that.
Ramming the enterprise into the scimitar seems a pretty extreme thing to do. I sure hope they had time to evacuate the forward sections of the saucer. The crash itself looks pretty cool. Not as cool as the Enterprise D crashing on Veridian III, but still cool. And you probably noticed that Troi was at the helm when it happened. We’ve seen her at the helm of the Enterprise twice. The first time, she crashed the enterprise. The second, she rams it into another ship. Now, you could argue that neither was her fault, and in fact, the second time was a deliberate act, but still. It’s not a good flight record.
But what does the ramming accomplish? It doesn’t stop Shinzon. Shinzon says “some ideas are worth dying for, aren’t they Jean-Luc.” In Picard’s case, yes, he’s willing to sacrifice his life and his crew to prevent Shinzon from destroying the federation. What is Shinzon sacrificing his life for? Killing the Enterprise crew, who were going to self-destruct themselves anyway, to destroy the scimitar. He won’t be around to kill anyone else after that. Maybe he thinks he’ll survive his sickness long enough to fix his ship and use his weapon on earth. I dunno. So I’m not getting a sense of his motivations. It doesn’t make any sense.
So anyway, data uses the mobile transporter thing, which was foreshadowed earlier in the episode, to beam Picard to safety, and sacrifices himself to save everyone else.
This is an emotional moment. Data’s wake is a good scene. I like how it calls all the way back to Encounter at Farpoint. Brent Spiner has explained that he felt he was getting too old to play Data and thought that a death scene would be a fitting way to farewell the character. Interesting that now, in the age of digital de-ageing, he’s going to reprise the role again.
I also like when we see the shot of The Enterprise is spacedock, Goldsmith calls back to his slower arrangement of the motion picture/next generation theme, just like he used in that first movie. Fortunately, this panning shot of the ship doesn’t go for 15 minutes.
Nice little moment between Riker and Picard as they part ways. Riker off to captain his own ship.
The closing scene with B4 is ambiguous. He clearly doesn’t understand what Picard is trying to teach him, but then he starts singing blue skies. It seems something of Data may have survived in B4.
So that’s where we leave our friends. Riker and Troi have left for their own ship, Data is dead, and the rest are presumably remaining with Picard on the Enterprise, which needs a major refit.
Oh, and B4 has been re-activated, at least temporarily, by Picard. But from what we understand from Brent Spiner’s comments about the trailer, B4 has been disassembled again and placed in storage. I’m keen to know the story there.
So that was Star Trek Nemesis. I’m sorry I didn’t find more positive things to say about it. Even though I wasn’t really keen on this movie, I’m glad that the new Picard show is picking up on elements from the movie. You see, this movie wasn’t the great send-off for TNG that we’d hoped for, not like Star Trek 6 was for TOS. So I’m very glad that the new show is going to give us a new (and surely better) send-off for at least some of these beloved characters.
I’m really looking forward to finding out what happens next. It’s gonna be a wild ride.
Well, we’ve only got one more movie left to watch before Picard. It’s JJ Abram’s Star Trek 2009, which is actually 10 years old now. Can you believe that? While most of the movie takes place in an alternate timeline, it establishes a very significant event that will have huge ramifications for the prime timeline, especially Picard.
See you next. Live long and prosper. Make it so