Star Trek Nemesis

Stars:   Patrick Stewart, Tom Hardy, Jonathan Frakes, LeVar Burton, Brent Spiner, Michael Dorn, Ron Perlman, Gates McFadden, Marina Sirtis
Director:   Stuart Baird
Screenwriter:    John Logan

Star Trek Nemesis is intense and satisfying in both the sci-fi genre and the Star Trek franchise in particular. It’s so intense, in fact, that there’s very little room for the usual frivolous banter among shipmates. Except for the final big dramatic moment of the battle denouement which stalled horribly because of its staged effect involving Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) and android Data (Brent Spiner), there was nothing I didn’t like about Trek’s tenth installment.

The story begins with a happy moment, the long hoped for wedding of Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and ship’s counselor Deanna Troi (Martina Sirtis), before the familiar crew of the starship Enterprise is whisked away on a mission that brings them to the outcast Romulan home world where peace and friendship are suddenly being dangled like cosmic carrots before the United Nations-like Federation.

And doing the dangling on behalf of the Romulans is new leader Praetor Shinzon (British actor Tom Hardy) who in actuality is a clone of Captain Picard, albeit a very angry one, and is more allied to the lower caste Remans, a vampirish and warlike race from Romulus’ sister planet. It is soon revealed that the offer of peace is not what it seems. Not only is the captain’s life in danger but Shinzon has plans to destroy the Federation and Earth by deploying a banned and dangerous energy source via his newly constructed ship, an impenetrably well cloaked Warbird.

Hardy makes for an excellent dramatic match opposite Patrick Stewart; he looks and sounds about right for being a clone too. And watching the two actors eyeball each other is rather fun for neither blinks … just as you’d expect of your hero staring down his stalwart nemesis. The rest of the cast proceeds in workmanlike fashion. Michael Dorn as Worf has the least to do this time around. The action sequences are exciting. There’s a James Bond styled vehicle chase (with matching styled music) in the opening that’s well executed, particularly when it moves from ground to flight. As stated earlier, though, I was stunned by what I felt was a scripting misstep in the final battle. One big bone deduction for that. Otherwise …

Lotta says good show. And if this is indeed the end of the Star Trek franchise, it has lived long and prospered. Except for James Bond, no other can make that claim.

Reviewed: Dec. 13, 2002