Here we are at the FINAL film in the initial run, the 10th entry in the series, the last one before the franchise reboot, and the last barrier keeping my wife from seeing Chris Pine on screen.
23 years down the road from Star Trek: The Motion Picture we have arrived at Star Trek: Nemsis, which asks the celestial question, “Will the series go out with a bang or a whimper?”
Hint: They stopped making these films until the reboot, so what do you think?
This is the one Star Trek film I am sure I never saw before, even in clips, which is also not a good sign. At least they managed for forebear making Data and his desire to be human the complete B plot of the script though, as with Insurrection, they do threaten to go there.
Also, Worf is just there this time. We’re not even making some sort of excuse for him being away from Deep Space 9 anymore.
Once we get past the opening fluff… Riker and Troi are getting married, but I think the costume department just wanted to get another scene out of the dinner dress uniforms they rolled out at the start of Insurrection… we’re off to go see the Romulans, which makes for a nice change. I mean, I am all about the Klingons, but I am also all about pizza, yet I still like to have something else to eat now and then.
On the way the ship passes yet another Mad Max world where they find a copy of Data… or a prototype of Data… strewn all over like the straw man in the Wizard of Oz after the flying monkey attack. Of course they pick him up, put him back together, and get him up and running.
Over at Romulus… you know, it is one thing to have the Klingons claiming Shakespeare, but what is it with the Romulans grabbing the entire origin story of Rome and making it their own… somebody has murdered the entire senate or Rome… or Romulus… and take over, inviting the Federation in general, and Picard in particular to a parley or some such.
We learn that their new leader is a human clone and that he has sided with the down trodden Uruk-hai working class from Remus… because I wasn’t kidding when I said they stole the whole Roman origin story… and say they want peace with Federation.
Also, he has a giant ass ship that scans report is bristling with a ridiculous amount of weaponry, including things the Federation has banned even doing research into, he talks to himself a lot, looks pretty sketchy, and is the leader of basically the orcs, so we in the audience will clearly be lulled into a false sense of security believing he actually wants peace and isn’t involved in some over complicated scheme and deception.
Yeah, I’m not buying it, you’re not buying it, Picard ain’t buying it, and even the orcs think it is BS, but the script dictates, so we’re not surprised when Picard is kidnapped using the fake Data who was an obvious plant. But you can’t keep Picard down, and he soon escapes, revealing he expected this the whole time, then steals a shuttle craft and… the hangar doors locked against him… flies the damn thing through the giant ass, weapons laden ship because they made the corridors in it so large that it will fit a shuttle craft easily… so easily we can mock Picard for scraping the walls on his way out… to the conference room with the big space window which he flies through and back to the Enterprise.
And now the jig is up and only a personal sacrifice can save the Enterprise, and so the sacrifice is made, Shinzon… did I mention the bad guy was named Shinzon before… if not, it hardly matters… dies, his whole scheme is thwarted, and the status quo is restored to the galaxy or something. Rome is restored and the Uruk-hai are banished back to the mines of Remus.
Or something. I don’t know. It was pretty bad.
The problem was mostly that the script was too cute and too convoluted by half. You can only suspend your disbelief for so long before your brain rebels and calls bullshit. The tragedy is that there was probably a decent story in there somewhere, but somebody felt the need to dial the crazy up to 11 and then telegraphed every plot complication about 5 minutes ahead of when it happened, such that there was no surprise to be had.
So here we are, the last of the TNG films, so I had better rank them I guess. So I will call the order:
- Star Trek: First Contact
- Star Trek: Generations
- Star Trek: Insurrection
- Star Trek: Nemesis
While I have ranked them, I will also say that the whole series makes me think there is a serious discussion to be had about whether something that works as an episodic series should necessarily be made into a film. I know the rallying cry of Community was “six seasons and a movie” but maybe a movie is asking too much. Ask me after I watch the Bob’s Burgers movie I guess.
That means we are onto the final three movies, the reboots. Will they stand up to the films so far? Will they enhance the franchise or bring it crashing down?