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Digesting the lowest rung of pop culture so you don't have to!
After the collective “meh” of Star Trek: Insurrection, Paramount really needed a film to get people excited about Star Trek movies again. Instead, they gave audiences Star Trek Nemesis. Now, I will admit that I will defend this movie, but I cannot deny that it has its issues and just did not connect with audiences on any level.
The biggest problem is that it seems Paramount did not care about the movie at all – as if they pushed it out because they felt like they needed to. Of all people, they get Stuart Baird to direct it. A fine editor, but a lackluster director. Rumor has it that he only took on the film in order to fulfill a directorial contract he had with Paramount. His heart just was not in this movie, and it shows.
The things I like about Nemesis largely lies in the story. In it, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) encounters a clone (Tom Hardy) of himself leading a rebellion on Romulus (home to one of Starfleet’s main adversaries). While the clone, Shinzon, seems to have the best intentions, it soon becomes clear he plans to destroy Earth.
I really like the nature vs. nurture aspect the film plays with. It is very Star Trek. And, I think Hardy does a fine job. In fact, the first half of the movie is actually pretty solid as an action adventure with a bit of mystery thrown in. It is the second half where the wheels fall off. Nothing makes any narrative sense. Why does Shinzon want to attack Earth? Why did he delay in any of his actions if he knew he was dying? Nitpicking? Maybe, but these are fundamental flaws with the narrative that harm the overall product.
Also hurting Nemesis is that the filmmakers really tried to action the movie up, but in all the wrong ways. I am sorry, but it is tough to buy into Patrick Stewart double barreling it as if he is Bruce Willis while having a quasi-intellectual conversation.
Unlike Star Trek V, this movie was not beyond repair, but it was clear nobody involved cared about it enough to make improvement. Star Trek Nemesis bombed at the box office, and I am sure there were a number of reasons why beyond the quality of the film. Whatever the reason, it was enough for Paramount to put the Trek franchise on ice for the then-foreseeable future.