Monday, May 04, 2009

Star Trek: Nemesis

I think that this movie is the darkest of all the Star Trek movies that we've seen to date. It deals with ruthless and grim circumstances even more so than Insurrection did. Also, in Insurrection's favour, it offered a counterbalance to the darkness of the film. Nemesis has very little light to offset the grim circumstances.

I liked that this film was more overtly symbolic than some of the previous ones were. We see lots of examples of mirror images throughout the movie. Though the mirror image is always distorted in some way. We can see it on a very grand scale of entire species and civilizations, looking at the Romulans and the Remans, right down to the individual comparison of Picard and Shinzon as well as Data and B-4. Mirror images is something that Star Trek has always liked to play with in all the alternate reality episodes that they did. Though that wasn't used so much in the Next Generation, it was in the Original Series and in Deep Space Nine too.

As usual, some of the best commentary about the nature of humanity surrounds Data. Though in this film he somehow seems to finally understand some of the nature of humanity even more than Picard does. I felt the discussion between these two actors about these issues could have been explored more fully than it was.

I love the fact that this movie gets back to the Romulan culture. Throughout Star Trek the Romulans have been shrouded in mystery. The Next Generation began some cultural exploration during the series and it felt good to get back to some of their idiosyncracies, politics, and history. I also thought that Dina Meyer did a fantastic job playing the Romulan Commander (though her skill commanding a war bird left something to be desired.) I love how all the portrayals of Romulan women show that they are highly intelligent, brave, and just as capable as their male counterparts in leadership roles.

There were a few discrepancies in the film that made me cringe a bit. Like, why aren't all tactical officers Betazoids? I thought that Picard had hair in his youth when they mentioned it during the series. And, why didn't they make any effort whatsoever to blend in when they went down to the planet on their new dune buggy? But the casual fan probably wouldn't notice most of these little details.

They did stick to what seems to have become the formula for The Next Generation movies:

  • Shinzon is a pretty damn good villain. He even gets more scary-looking as the move progresses. Also, he's a villain with the potential to unnerve Picard. Though, I gotta say, when they are on screen together, Patrick Stewart's acting presence is much stronger than Tom Hardy's.
  • The Earth is facing a very grave threat. It's the heart of the Federation and home to most of the crew (not to mention the audience) so it makes the crisis very personal.
  • The Enterprise gets seriously beat up, if not destroyed.
Now, on to the Cool Science/Tech! (The tech-geek side of me really loved the movie for all the nifty new shiny stuff!)

  • A modern dune buggy - The Argo! I know a lot of people found it rather gimicky, but after seeing Firefly I think it actually does make sense that they have a vehicle capable of land travel on board a space ship.
  • We finally get to see another Android that is similar to, but not quite the same as Data.
  • The Reman warship - highly armed and capable of cloaking. Very cool ship design (though we'll ignore how it was built in secret by what was essentially a race of slaves) that reflects the war that they had just been through.
  • Successful cloning.
  • Holographic communication device. I believe it first arrives in Deep Space Nine, but it still deserves a mention here.
Fun Stuff:
  • A cameo appearance by Kate Mulgrew as Admiral Janeway. She's a Star Trek Captain who actually seems to have been happy to accept a promotion. Now she outranks Picard, which is also kind of cool.
  • Geordie's implants are back. Too bad that the effects of the last movie weren't lasting!
Next week I'm going to do a post reflecting back on the Star Trek movies that I've watched and give some general observations about the differences between original Trek and The Next Generation. I'm also going to rank the movies in order of how much I like them, and see how that compares to the original ranking I did way back at the beginning of the Countdown to Trek. I won't be seeing the new movie next weekend when it comes out because my schedule is just too full. However, I should be seeing it the week after that, and I'll try to put together one final Trek Tuesday post about that too (I'll really try to keep it spoiler free!)


Anonymous said...

Hmmm, interesting commentary on mirror imagery. You're right about what a strong presence it has in the Star Trek universe in general. Now that I think about it, that was one underdeveloped theme in The Next Generation. I really enjoyed this movie :-)

Shannon the Movie Moxie said...

I noticed the mirroring too! The intro of the film when Nemesis comes up kinda plays with that.

I'm glad to hear you like the Argo! I was getting a few flashbacks of the Jurassic Park with Patrick Stewart in it, hehe.

Totally agree about the descrepencies, and the TNG Ep when they mention Picard as younger he totally had hair.

Looking forward to hearing how the films compare between crews and which ones you like now!