Star Trek Nemesis: Not Bad For a Star Trek Movie

Movie PictureAt heart I am a Star Wars fan. Ever since I was little all I wanted to do was go to that galaxy far far away. And like the typical Star wars fan the Star Trek franchise was just not my cup o tea. That changed a bit though after the first season of The Next Generation. For the first time I actually enjoyed the Star Trek universe and the adventures of the Enterprise. Recently I had the chance to read the script for the latest, and reportedly last, adventure of the Next Generation crew for the big screen. Unfortunately the best thing I can say is that it's not bad for a Star Trek movie.

Penned by Gladiator scribe John Logan Star Trek Nemesis tells the tale of the final voyage for Jean Luc Picard and his motley crew on the Enterprise. The story gets started with the wedding of Deanna Troi and Will Riker. There is a bit before this happy occasion in the script but it's hard to describe. I will say this; it involves a human boy and the Romulan council. The wedding goes off without a hitch and the Enterprise is speeding on its way to Deanna Troi's home planet of Betazoid to drop the lovebirds off on their honeymoon when sensors pick up a "strange anomaly" near Romulan space. And as we all know in the Star Trek world a "strange anomaly" means the shit is about to hit the fan, and the real plot is set to begin. And so it is with Nemesis, that is how our journey begins.

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Overall the story is a decent one. This is particularly good news after the quite disappointing Insurrection four years ago. I think the production team made the right choice by bringing in John Logan to pen the tenth Star Trek film. The story he paints is one of both broad strokes and smaller more personal tones. As so often with the movies in this franchise he seeks to get inside the characters and explore their humanity, or their lack of humanity. And in doing so he looks for an answer to the greater question of what is it the makes one human. Sometimes he is successful and then other times less so. It often feels as if he fell back too much and rested on the established Star Trek tradition and style. You can feel as you are reading Nemesis that it had the potential for greatness, but just doesn't quite reach that level. Perhaps if John Logan had stretched the boundaries a bit more and taken some real chances the script would have made the leap from good too great. I mean if J.J. Abrams can make Krypton not explode and Lex Luther Superman's cousin then John Logan probably could have gotten away with a few things too.

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John Logan is a very good writer, and I only have two complaints about the man's work with Nemesis. The first is that it seems at times (particularly when we are seeing the decline of the "bad guy" in the story) that Mr. Logan might have just popped in Gladiator and gotten a bit to close to Joaquin Phoenix's dialogue as the emperor. Now I don't really think this was the case, however much of the dialogue has the same ring to it and that can be distracting at times. The other complaint about the writing that I have doesn't, I suspect, really lie with the writer himself but instead with the assignment. There are many instances in the script of hokey clichéd dialogue that in any other script would not be accepted. Trust me I know this from experience. But it seems that this passes for what Star Trek should be, and always has been, so who am I to complain.

I haven't' said much about characters yet and there is a reason. The reason is that all the characters are the same as they have always been. All the old favorites, and not so favorites, are there. Logan does a good job of writing for the characters and in fact even manages to bring out some new dimensions in the well-worn members of the enterprise crew. The one exception is the newest bad guy added to the Trek universe. His name is Shinzon and he is a bad mother. He also shares a very special relationship with Captain Picard, and just in case you are one of the three people in the world who doesn't know what that is I won't ruin it here. When Nemesis was first being discussed the producers promised us a bad guy to rival even the great Khan. Well, he's not quite up to that level, but he is the best villain this franchise has seen in a long long time.

Overall I think this is a good script. John Logan did an excellent job for having to play by someone else's rules in a stranger's universe. He managed to pack in a few surprises, no I won't tell you what they are, and still managed to stay true to the nature of Star Trek. For Trekkies I think this is the most well scripted Trek film since Wrath of Khan and should end up being a much better movie than we have seen out of the franchise in years. So I give this script 3 stars out of 5, but it still wasn't quite good enough to make me put down my Lightsaber and leave my galaxy far far away.

Until next time...~Bobby

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Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.