Science fiction and fantasy

Star Trek: Nemesis

directed by Stuart Baird

Star Trek: Nemesis poster  
The struggle between nature and nurture lies at the heart of this story of evil twins. A group of Romulan politicians are assassinated in spectacular fashion at the opening. Meanwhile the crew of the Enterprise are celebrating the marriage of Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis). This wedding marks the end of the team's work together as some of them prepare to set off for new horizons. But there's always time for one more adventure.

The crew respond to a signal and land on a planet where they find an android looking just like Data (Brent Spiner). Only B-4, as this version of Data is known, isn't an exact copy of the original. They look the same, but appearances can be deceptive. The same is true when the crew meet Praetor Shinzon (Tom Hardy), who leads a group of Remans. This bald young man vaguely resembles Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), and he turns out to have a strong link to the starship captain. But how alike are they really? Shinzon offers Picard the chance to play a part in arranging peace between the Romulan Empire and the Federation, but he's not being entirely open about his goals.

Shinzon, in his pointy-shouldered shiny black getup, is surrounded by a gang of troll-like Remans. These are a race subjugated by the Romulans, and Shinzon has spent many years enduring harsh conditions at their side down the Romulan mines, dreaming one day of meeting the famous starfleet captain. He's Picard's stunted counterpart, brought up in the worst conditions, badly treated and fuelled by bitterness. So the question is, can he overcome his upbringing and turn out all right, or is he doomed to plot a path of destruction in which he goes crazy and tries to destroy everything in a blaze of burning angst?

As the story continues Shinzon starts to look more and more freaky. His face goes grey and is lined with streaky blood vessels, as if his wickedness is coming to the surface. I quite like the way Star Trek uses style and liberal applications of make-up to distinguish its characters and races, often going overboard with it. It's a legacy from its origins in a time when special effects were much harder to achieve otherwise. But this approach does tend to give the game away somewhat when the bad guys always have a certain look.

However there are some good surprises in store as the film moves towards its showdown and the crew discover treachery on the Enterprise. The battles are explosive and intense, and the effects pass muster. Star Trek: Nemesis isn't the kind of movie that changes the series radically, but it does leave you with the satisfaction of a meaningful story told well, with lots of excitement and some entertaining exchanges between the regular crew members. Shinzon is a little too unsubtle for my tastes. He might have been more believable if he were toned down and there was a little more doubt about which way he would turn. But then again, if he wore a suit and wasn't surrounded by crazy troll-men, and in possession of a flash fighting vessel and an apparent death wish, what would be the fun in that?

Film Details

Year of release: 2002

Categories: Films
Science fiction

Classification: 12

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4 star rating

Review © Ros Jackson