Star Trek: Nemesis (12A)

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The ViewLondon Review

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Review byMatthew Turner06/01/2003

Three out of Five stars
Running time: 116 mins

Some movie franchises never die – James Bond being the most obvious example – but the Star Trek series has always seemed in perpetual danger of petering out.

For every successful entry (The Wrath Of Khan, The Voyage Home), there has been a duff one (The Search For Spock, The Final Frontier). And though the producers could always count on Trekkies’ fanatical devotion, they were powerless to prevent William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy and the rest of the original Enterprise crew from growing too ancient for space work.

The film series got a new lease of life when the Next Generation team, led by Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and Commander Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes), took over from the old one.

The End Is Nigh

However, the belated release of Star Trek Nemesis, four years after the last instalment Insurrection, suggests the end may finally be nigh, and that its gloomy poster tagline – “A Generation’s Final Journey Begins” – may for once be uncomfortably accurate.

The problem is that the Star Trek universe has evolved during those four years – from established spin-offs like Deep Space Nine and Voyager to the most recent addition to the Trek stable, Enterprise.

Not surprising, then, that the Next Gen crew seem slightly dated and fusty. Moreover, they are suffering from the same receding hairlines and expanding waistlines as their predecessors.

Old Favourites

No doubt aware of the characters’ encroaching obsolescence, screenwriter Josh Logan gently rings the changes by beginning the film with the long-awaited marriage of Will Riker and Counsellor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) – thereby resolving at a stroke much of the sexual tension that ran through the Next Generation TV show.

He also adds new shadings to the popular character of Data (Brent Spiner), an android whose ongoing quest to become human is set against the discovery of an earlier robot prototype (also played by Spiner) who has yet to acquire Data’s human qualities.

However, such subtleties are swiftly forgotten once the action proper begins – a fight to the finish between Captain Picard and his evil clone, Shinzon (Tom Hardy). Shinzon, the mysterious new leader of Romulus, is intent on destroying the Federation and has devised a deadly weapon that could mean extinction for Earth itself.

Seen It All Before

Die-hard Trekkies will no doubt feel a sense of déjà vu here. Didn’t Captain Kirk face a similar adversary in The Wrath Of Khan? And didn’t Khan also acquire a doomsday device that could ravage entire planets? And the similarities don’t end there. Just as Khan ended with the tragic demise of Mr Spock, so Nemesis concludes with the noble sacrifice of another much-loved regular.

There are compensations – some lively space battles, more aliens than you can shake a phaser at and a frenetic buggy chase on the surface of a hostile desert planet. But otherwise this is predictable stuff, lacking wit, tension and even decent effects – surely the barest minimum one should expect from this kind of caper.

Perhaps it really is time for the Next Gen team to retire gracefully and let the Voyager or Deep Space Nine crews inherit their mantle. Either way, don’t hold your breath for Star Trek 11.

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Star Trek: Nemesis (12A)
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Content updated: 21/10/2017 02:01

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