Nemesis: 10 Years Later

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JME2
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Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by JME2 »

So it's 10 years to the day since the release of Star Trek: Nemesis.

Ah, Nemesis. The last film of the TNG era, the last chronological entry of the Prime Reality, and the film that broke the movie curse and nearly sunk the franchise.

I borrowed a copy from the library last weekend; I haven't seen it in years and wanted to see how a decade had altered my perspective. There are some things I like, but this still remains my least favorite of the TNG films (GEN is in a very close second).

It was especially also odd seeing Shinzon given Hardy's rebound since 2010 -- especially the post-Bane Hardy. I can better appreciate what he was trying to do and how much was lost in the editing and Baird's direction.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by DaveJB »

Nemesis was probably a little unlucky to be as big of a flop as it was, since it was released in perhaps the busiest holiday season of the modern era, alongside the major likes of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, The Two Towers and Die Another Day, plus surprise hits like Chicago, Maid in Manhattan and The Santa Clause 2. Having said that, if it had been released at a quieter time of the year and broke even, that would have just masked how much doo-doo the franchise was in at the time, so things probably worked out the best for all concerned... except Rick Berman, obviously. :lol:

In my view, the film's biggest problem is that it takes a potentially interesting concept and treats it in the dumbest, most superficial manner possible. Picard had a good upbringing (despite issues with his father and brother, not that the film bothers to acknowledge that), therefore he's a good person. Shinzon had a harsh upbringing, therefore he's a bad person. The Data/B-4 thing was even more stupid, since B-4 wasn't even directly responsible for his actions; he was reprogrammed by Shinzon, and just too dumb to know he was doing the wrong thing, assuming he even remembered it.

It's funny to think that in the last month we've seen huge box office success from another film on which John Logan and Stuart Baird were major participants. It just goes to show that they may be two talented guys, but Baird was clearly not cut out to be a director, and that while Logan is probably a better screenwriter now than he was in 2001/02 (his other works from the same period include Bats and the remake of The Time Machine, for perspective), he probably didn't get the guidance he needed on Nemesis.

The shooting script's here, for anyone who wants to read it. While there are a few ideas in that script which are simply bizarre (such as the Scimitar having its warp core on the bridge; Rick Sternbach of all people was apparently the one who got that changed), there are a few nuances not present in the final product, such as Shinzon being treated as somewhat more of a tragic figure, and Suran being implied to have been the real mastermind behind Shinzon's coup, and had either of those actually been developed it could potentially have been quite a good story. Unfortunately it seems that in the process of making the actual film, they went in the opposite direction and turned it into a completely brainless action movie.

As for the finished product, I'd say it's just barely better than Insurrection, which is my least favourite of the series.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by Stofsk »

DaveJB wrote:(such as the Scimitar having its warp core on the bridge; Rick Sternbach of all people was apparently the one who got that changed)
Not surprised. Sternbach was one of the guys most responsible for the look of Star Trek during the TNG period. He along with Mike Okuda were the art designers and tech consultants. If anyone would raise an objection to clear idiocy insofar as consistency of the technology was concerned, it would be him.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by Srelex »

Nemesis is still a pretty dumb flick, but I still put it above Insurrection and probably Generations if only because it feels like an actual movie instead of an overlong TNG episode. If you can get past the TWOK-cribbing, there is at least interesting potential in there.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by JME2 »

DaveJB wrote:...there are a few nuances not present in the final product, such as Shinzon being treated as somewhat more of a tragic figure, and Suran being implied to have been the real mastermind behind Shinzon's coup, and had either of those actually been developed it could potentially have been quite a good story.
This is why I liked David Mack's short story "Twilight's Wrath" from the Tales of the Dominion War anthology. It expands on Data's exposition from the briefing room scene, showing one of the engagements Shinzon fought during the War.

It actually showed Shinzon as a competent commander (plus we get Remans vs. Jem'Hadar) and supplied much needed back-story for Nemesis. But more importantly, you can see Shinzon taking the first steps towards Reman liberation -- as well as the first steps towards insanity. Mack embraced the tragic aspect of his villainy.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by Skylon »

Could B-4 have worked better if he was Lore? We actually had in Lore a "nemesis" for Data to Picard's Shinzon. I know he was disassembled, but you could easily hand-wave Shinzon stealing Lore from Starfleet and reassembling him.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by Sidewinder »

Skylon wrote:Could B-4 have worked better if he was Lore? We actually had in Lore a "nemesis" for Data to Picard's Shinzon. I know he was disassembled, but you could easily hand-wave Shinzon stealing Lore from Starfleet and reassembling him.
A better idea: eliminate B-4 altogether, and have Lore assume the role of Shinzon's viceroy, attempting to rule the Romulans from behind the throne.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by JME2 »

Do away with Lore, period (though it was always odd how no one brought him up in this film; you'd think they'd have learned their lesson as Chuck's pointed out).

One other thing that always bugged me was that the film had an opportunity to resolve the Romulan arc from the series -- specifically the fate of Sela and the Uunificaiton movement. It would have been fitting given the Romulans are more associated with TNG than TOS.

The use of Sela would have drawn further TWOK parallels, but it could have explained how the Tal Shiar dropped the ball on the coup -- they were being opposed by someone who knew their methods.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by Batman »

I don't see how anybody can rate Nemesis over Insurrection or Generations. Yes, the first was essentially a big budget TNG two-parter, but it was a well done TNG two-parter. Generations was fun until the actual TNG part started. Nemesis? Um-no? We're talking ENT-level suckage here.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by Stark »

I don't understand why anyone would ever rewatch it. It was terrible, just forget about it. It's the last turd of a continuity that doesn't even matter anymore.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

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Stark wrote:I don't understand why anyone would ever rewatch it. It was terrible, just forget about it. It's the last turd of a continuity that doesn't even matter anymore.
Just for the 10th anniversary and my own masochism; like I said, I don't think I've watched it since high school.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by Skylon »

I felt the role of Dontara (http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Donatra) could have been filled by Sela.

I guess the ultimate question is, what of the "plot" is salvageable? The farthest I can go is "it involves the Romulans." The concept of a Picard clone was dumb (and bad timing since that year "Star Wars Episode II - Attack of the CLONES" just came out). B-4 was stupid (let's put this Data-like robot back together, because that worked out so well last time). The Remans came out of nowhere. What the heck worked?

The Final Frontier, Generations and Insurrection were poor Star Trek films, but I think there are ways to salvage the overall plots and preserve the themes and premise of the films - I have no clue how Nemesis could have been salvaged short of burning the script and starting over.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by Channel72 »

I would have liked Nemesis to be something more like Undiscovered Country, with the Romulans replacing the Klingons as the long-term enemy who finally makes peace with the Federation. It would have been a fitting close to TNG. But somewhere around First Contact, the powers that be decided that Star Trek should be an action franchise.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by JME2 »

DaveJB wrote:...and that while Logan is probably a better screenwriter now than he was in 2001/02 (his other works from the same period include Bats and the remake of The Time Machine, for perspective), he probably didn't get the guidance he needed on Nemesis.
As I understand it, the failure of Nemesis almost killed Logan's career and that it was only saved by the success of The Aviator 2 years later.

Logan's participation as screenwriter has served as example, for me at least, about what happens when a fanboy is promoted and doesn't maintain objectivity (the focus on Picard/Data, Picard as a Marty Stu, etc.). Baird's direction and editing only made it worse.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by FedRebel »

Skylon wrote:I felt the role of Dontara (http://en.memory-alpha.org/wiki/Donatra) could have been filled by Sela.
Sela could've filled in for Shinzon alternatively. As a result of the failed invasion of Vulcan in Unification, Sela was stripped of rank and exiled to Remus where she developed and even deeper hatred for Picard and Data, exploiting the Remans and seizing the opportunities the Dominion War provides she rebuilds her reputation within the Admiralty and gains enough support for a coup.

Replace the "I am a mirror" bull with a Nimoy cameo and change the target to Vulcan (eliminates the cliche "save the earth...Enterprise with 1 second left") and can be portrayed as just the opening move of a larger war (save Vulcan and the Quadrant is spared another bloody war that the Federation just isn't prepared to fight.)
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by JME2 »

According to Logan, they considered using Spock and Sela, but ultimately abandoned it.

As I said, it was unfortunate that neither turned up given TNG's Romulan arc was never finished. Nemesis had the potential to tie up those loose ends and, as you pointed out, could have been a stronger film.

I can't help wondering if Logan was hellbent on creating his own addition to the Romulan pantheon or if Berman wielded pressure to veto it.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by DaveJB »

Generations took a lot of flack over the Duras Sisters appearing without their backstory being adequately explained, so Berman may have had that in mind. Of course, Sela by her very nature would have been more suited to the storyline of Nemesis than the Durases were to Generations, so it could have potentially worked, though there's the risk they would have gotten bogged down in Sela's backstory.

Looking back, I think another of the film's various missteps was making Shinzon both the primary antagonist and the head of the Romulan empire. It would probably have been more believable if Shinzon had helped to engineer the coup, and the new Praetor and ultimate bad guy was someone else (Sela if it could be made workable, Suran if not) who Shinzon was a close ally of. Then the storyline would become the Enterprise crew trying to take down the new Praetor and Shinzon attempting to stop them, with both Picard and Shinzon being faced with the challenge of truly understanding how each other think.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

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DaveJB wrote:Looking back, I think another of the film's various missteps was making Shinzon both the primary antagonist and the head of the Romulan empire. It would probably have been more believable if Shinzon had helped to engineer the coup, and the new Praetor and ultimate bad guy was someone else (Sela if it could be made workable, Suran if not) who Shinzon was a close ally of.
I agree; Shinzon would be more threatening as the one who rules from BEHIND the throne- the kingmaker, not the king.
Then the storyline would become the Enterprise crew trying to take down the new Praetor and Shinzon attempting to stop them, with both Picard and Shinzon being faced with the challenge of truly understanding how each other think.
This idea reminds me of Star Trek: Armada, in which Picard has to fight a Locutus clone the Borg cooked up in a captured Dominion facility.
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Those gun nuts do not understand the meaning of "overkill," and will simply use weapon after weapon of mass destruction (WMD) until the monster is dead, or until they run out of weapons.

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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by aussiemuscle308 »

FedRebel wrote:Sela could've filled in for Shinzon alternatively. As a result of the failed invasion of Vulcan in Unification, Sela was stripped of rank and exiled to Remus where she developed and even deeper hatred for Picard and Data,
it would have been better motivation for killing picard. shinzon had no real reason to hate the federation, if not picard.
skylon wrote:I guess the ultimate question is, what of the "plot" is salvageable?
i'd keep the enterprise crashing into the romulan ship...not that it's plot so much as eye-candy, but it's the first time trek had a decent capital ship collision.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by JME2 »

aussiemuscle308 wrote:it would have been better motivation for killing picard. shinzon had no real reason to hate the federation, if not picard.
As I understand it, a more detailed look at Shinzon's motivation was part of the 50 minutes of footage left on the cutting room.

Nemesis is on my list of films including Daredevil and Green Lantern which I use as examples of what happens when you cut out character/plot point scenes in order to jump straight into the action.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by Havok »

Man, the Remans were awful.

B4 was gawdawful.

That it really had nothing to do with the Romulans was just crapawfuler.

I actually liked the idea of Shinzon.
You have the Romulans get a hold of the Wolf359 files and that fiasco and attempt to make a Picard clone so they can do to starfleet what the Borg did, but it was a fringe program and once some Picard Memory McGuffin to implant in the clone brain wasn't recovered, or was found to be a WGC, Sela is booted from the Tal'Shiar and she takes her baby Picard and raises him, gawd, I guess on Remus if you have to have them in there. Then look, he has an actual reason to hate Picard (horrible upbringing and super pissed and jadded mom, who should probably be dead in all honestly) not just some silly cooked up jealously.
Work Lore into it and an actual story (so there is an actual reason to focus on Picard and Data) that has to due with them attempting a simultaneous coup and assassination on Picard, *TWIST* by putting Picard in a position where he is killed by the Romulans for XYZ, but he and the crew figure it all out and save Picard with help from *SURPRISE* Spock and they finally begin to open up peace talks with the Romulans. (This would also serve to explain why Spock could be asked to save Romulus from the galaxy threatening supernova :lol:)

Is it trite? Cliched? Robbed? Hell yeah, but it would have been a satisfying end to all the storylines that TNG created that were left unanswered. Throw me in some Tomolok and you got yourself a date.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by Bob the Gunslinger »

Wasn't Andreas Katsulas (Tomolok) dead by then?
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by Stofsk »

Uh, no. He died in 2006.
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by Havok »

Even still, someone could have filled in the role. Didn't he play "Genesis Forbidden!" guy in TSFS?
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Re: Nemesis: 10 Years Later

Post by Stofsk »

Not according to Memory Alpha. His only appearances were in TNG and in an episode of ENT as a completely different character.
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