VIDEO: Star Trek Nemesis (2002)

On the eve of the Star Trek franchise heading into darkness, Dr. O’Boogie looks back at the TNG cast’s final outing Star Trek Nemesis, which somehow became the most reviled entry in the series despite there being a few other Star Trek movies that are at least as dumb. But it’s a shameless ripoff of Wrath of Khan starring an up and coming British actor, and who would possibly want to see that?

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TV Show: Star Trek

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  • I must admit that I missed the parallels between Nemesis and The Wrath of Khan until you mentioned it.

    • Thomas Stockel

      Those were pretty good. I also liked his comparisons between Nemesis and ‘Trek IX. They’re pretty obvious once someone like The Doctor points them out to the less observant…um…like me…

      • There’s also a well known YouTube video that points out all the similarities between Trek XI and the original Star Wars. It’s not exactly a film that tried to break new ground, story-wise.

  • Muthsarah

    You are hating on the new Star Trek. I love you.

    Now you are saying Insurrection is the worst of the theatrical releases. I feel that this is one of the less-terrible Next Gen films, and subjectively, the second-best overall (but not behind the one you are probably thinking of). You suck.

    But Nemesis IS the worst. Of the Next Gen films. It is still a photo-finish with V for worst of all time. The latter is objectively worse, given all the side-nothings, but X hurts more to think about, given the emotional ties to the Next Gen franchise. It is the more embarrassing theatrical production of the two. Also, X at the very least has pretty green lighting effects to look at. Everything matters (especially because green is especially pretty).

    I have heard the cast speak favorably of the script to this movie, and blame the failure (on all levels) on the crazy director, who evidence does suggest was indeed crazy. This is understood, but it is still felt that the script is terrible. I have read it. Before I saw the movie. It really does not make any sense at all. I must therefore conclude that the writer thinks the audience, Trekkie and normy alike, are complete idiots. And therefore, by Newton’s Third Law, I hate him as he clearly hates us. For relevance’s sake, I will state that the franchise ended with What You Leave Behind. At which point, either I grew up, or the franchise grew so terrible that it was no longer worth considering without the benefit of nostalgia goggles and/or Netflix.

    Now you are hating on the new Star Trek again. Love restored.

    Now I disagree with your take on Spock’s death. I feel that it was organic to that movie, that it was unexpected, was hinted at beforehand in an unobtrusive manner, and that it resolved a classic dramatic arc. It is granted that I was not alive when this movie was released, and that I had heard many things about this movie prior to the first viewing such that I knew what to expect upon first viewer, but that I nevertheless, forewarned, bespoiled, felt that the scene was believable, and not forced. Nevertheless, it is understandable in this case that your opinion may differ. Though on the matter of the death of Data in X, yes, it was clearly forced, not telegraphed, and entirely unnecessary. One might infer that the death was unnecessary (as well as ham-fistedly telegraphed with the otherwise superfluous inclusion of B4), as, if one assumes the movie was successful enough to warrant a fifth Next Gen movie, B4’s interchangeability with Data would render the (climactic) plot point moot, so why would one bother?

    Now you are criticizing the Next Gen films as being unsuitable vehicles for action movies. I Concur wholeheartedly. In fact, I am astonished at the thought that anyone with any connection with the franchise could feel otherwise.

    Now you declare that X is superior to the new Star Trek. Love confirmed forevermore. I humbly inquire if firstly you have a personality cult, and secondly, if you are hiring.

  • Alexa

    I have to admit while I am not in any sense a Star Trek fan (not that its bad at all its just not my cup of tea) and I actually liked Star Trek 09, but even I was scratching my head at the part in that movie of Kirk’s reasoning for Spock not being captain. With the argument being that his emotions getting the better of him or something and him not being fit to be captain. Yeah like Kirk didn’t have any emotions that could cloud his judgement, yeah nothing except his petty pent up anger of losing his father which fuels him in his lashing out that we see ten minutes after meeting him. Yeah nothing to cloud his judgement at all…Okay admittedly its been a while since I saw it, but from what I could remember even I wasn’t buying Kirk’s reasoning, and still don’t. But I still liked it as a beautifully made action film, with some really good performances. I mean the film has Karl Urban, and he’s always awesome. So while its not the perfect Star Trek movie, at least it was a good action movie in many respects, that’s all I can say about it.

    • Cristiona

      Karl Urban up and stole every damn scene he was in. Then again, he’s pretty good at that.

  • Cristiona

    Data jumping through space seems like it could have been kind of neat.

    The mind rape thing is just… ugh. Terrible. It’s bad enough when writers are so lazy that the only way they can give a female character a tragic past is to have them be raped, but this? This is like taking an extra step into creepy town. Having a main character being used as a prop for a rape, not to give -her- depth, but to make the bad guy even badder. Lazy AND offensive. Good job!

    • Muthsarah

      Troi was never a main character. She could have been had they actually bothered to develop her, but she was always there for the most unnecessary exposition, either stating the obvious or predicting that something’s going to happen literally three seconds before it happens, far too late to actually do anything about it. If you remove all her pointless lines, she’d barely have a presence on the show at all. She had maybe ten episodes built around her, tops, only two of which are any good. The movies just further ignored her as she always had been ignored. Given how the movies were for marketing reasons even more clearly based around Picard and Data (who from the start were intended to be the main characters), it probably would have been better had she, Riker, Beverly, and Geordi be left out altogether. What little they had to do was never worth doing, and it robbed precious seconds of screentime that could have been put to better use making the movies seem like they actually had functioning plots.

      Over four movies, her highlights were: listening to Picard emotionally breaking down (a fantastic scene…for him), destroying the Enterprise, getting drunk for comic effect, nothing, then getting mind-raped. Over seven seasons, her highlights were: getting kidnapped (one instance of which provided her best episode by far), losing her telepathic abilities and freaking out like a child, getting into bad relationships, getting mind-raped, and fighting with her mother about not getting married and settling down. The character was broken from the start.

      • Cristiona

        She was still a core character, and a regular presence on the bridge. It’s not like she was Yoeman Rand or something.

        Furthermore, the lack of development of her character is hardly a mitigating factor for using her as a prop to show what a badass the villain is.

  • Ebalosus

    I wish they’d stop trying to remake Wrath of Khan. We already have one, and don’t need another.

    Why not try something new with the movie franchise?

  • Garferty

    Thank you for writing the Star Trek ’09 review I’ve been longing to read. Well, a short version of it. Any chance of a full review? 😛

  • Jason Withrow

    5 years since you’ve reviewed a canon Star Trek film, and the whole site named after it and all! Feels like a comfortable return to home.

    I’m one of the ones that prefers First Contact out of the TNG films, for all its egregious faults, and I can’t help but wonder if it works as far as I’m concerned because action-horror is a slower kind of action plot, better suited for actors and characters that were never meant for action to begin with?

    • You mean, five years since I’ve personally reviewed a Star Trek film? Because I think this is the first Star Trek film I reviewed. Unless you mean “you” in the sense of the site, but even then, Ed reviewed Star Trek VI back in October.

      • Jason Withrow

        I shouldn’t have said “film”, you’re right. I was referring to the A Night in Sick Bay review, and trying to differentiate from the Porn Parody.

        • Okay, I see what you mean.. but I wrote the script for Mendo and Sofie’s Mirror Mirror review and Ryan’s TAS Lorelei Signal review, so it really hasn’t been that long since I wrote about Star Trek.

          • Thomas Stockel

            You wrote The Lorlelei Signal script? That was pretty darn good.

          • Yep, that was my script, and thanks!

    • Granger

      First Contact is one of the only Trek films I actually like.

  • freddy

    I just can’t agree with your dislike of Star Trek ’09. It’s far from the deepest Trek, but it has a sense of fun and adventure that the Trek movies had been missing for a while. Plus, Simon Pegg as Scotty? Yes, please.

    Sure, the plot was kind of dumb (Space parachuting? Sure, whatever.), but at the very least I’d argue that Kirk going from cadet to officer makes at least a little sense: For one thing, it’s pretty clear that a several years are supposed to have passed since Kirk went to the Academy. For one thing, McCoy was joining up at the same time as Kirk and he’s already an officer when the Enterprise ships out to Vulcan. It’s always been part of Kirk’s story that he was a prodigy at the Academy, so it is at least plausible that he’d make it through command school that quickly. Does it make sense that he’s given command of such a large ship that quickly? No, but then again, did we really want to watch a movie about Kirk rising through the ranks on a bunch of no-name ships?

    • Star Trek ’09 definitely has the edge in the action scenes. But the rest of it is just dumb, dumb. If it was absolutely necessary for Kirk to be captain of the Enterprise by the end of the first movie, why start the plot with him being a cadet and not farther along in his career? It seems like the only reason they kept him a cadet was to have that stupid scene where the Kobiyashi Maru is played for laughs and Kirk is eating an apple for no reason.

      • Bouncy X

        the apple is likely just an homage to Star Trek 2 when Kirk is eating one when talking about the test.

        • Wow, that… almost makes it even dumber. Was Kirk’s apple eating in TWOK so memorable that we were supposed to instantly make the connection there? Or was it like eating apples was supposed to be Kirk’s key character trait?

      • Ricardo Cantoral

        Exactly. The whole “origin” story thing was a joke. Star Trek was just about getting young actors into old roles. Everyone is in their respective ranks by the end of the film without reason.

      • Star Fleet Command also looked like it was at a personnel shortage. Remember, most of their ships were blown up by the mining vessel (oh, yeah, and Vulcan, which I believe is one-third of Star Fleet). Maybe Kirk wasn’t the only Cadet to be step-promoted to Captain, as SF Command NEEDED asses to fill the command chairs.

        But, that’s just the impression that I got.

        Also, no action figure skit? That makes me a sad puppy.

        • Muthsarah

          Cadet (which means hasn’t even officially graduated from Starfleet Academy) –> Ensign –> Lieutenant, Junior Grade –> Lieutenant –> Lieutenant Commander –> Commander –> Captain

          BIT of a leap there, no? In the series themselves, it was established that to be a captain by 35 (as in, you do EVERYTHING right and get all the breaks because you’re awesome) is exceptional. But to be an acne-ridden academy-dropout captain at, what….24 or something? That’s just dumb. And this isn’t mere Trek geek rage. You don’t enter, for example, the US Naval Academy at 21 or so and IMMEDIATELY get a (permanent) battlefield promotion to captain because a few people “ahead of you” died. EVERYONE would have to have died for them to even consider it, and even then, I suspect they’d pick a few people from some other branch to appoint, some people who have years of command experience before they’d get around to you.

          I know why they did what they did, because they wanted A) the main characters to be college kids in the start and B) to have them “fully-grown” and developed by the end. Get all that prequel-series garbage out of the way ASAP, no matter how rushed it feels, so the new franchise will be right where they were at the start of the TV show, and we can move on to the new business of tackling all-new adventures with all-new alien races and all-new villains and stop borrowing everything from the older works. So the sequel will be 100% its own work, and all that re-booting will be over with at the start. Or maybe the exact opposite.

          This should be insulting, not just to the hardcores, but to anyone who thinks the audience’s intelligence should be treated with even the bare minimum level of respect. They think you’d buy all this happening so quickly because they think you’re idiots. As the good doctor says, it would have been fine had they simply promoted Kirk for saving the universe, and implied that, several years down the line, he became the youngest captain ever, and then pick up the sequel then, implying that there was an actual passage of time between the first and second movies. Fine, that absolutely would work. Someone’s gotta be the youngest captain ever, why not the soon-to-be-legendary James Kirk?

          But no, this is Extreme Trek Babies, and we’re marketing to the always-elusive 12-23 year old demographic. Everyone’s a captain at 25, and everyone’s an admiral at 28. Because 30 is like death, and no one wants to see that.

        • I really thought about doing an action figure skit, but ultimately I just ran out of time. There will be many more opportunities in the future to use those action figures, so don’t worry.

  • The_Stig

    I consider Star Trek V the absolute rock bottom of the franchise. If anything it’s the fourth worst. But whatevuh. How Tom Hardy managed to salvage his then-blossoming career is a miracle. So I’ll just chalk it up to it being because he’s so awesome not even this film could ruin him….and actually? He was quite good trying to turn these chicken turds into chicken salad.

    I remember a HUGE deal was made out of the fact that John Logan was writing the screenplay.

    • I’ll say Star Trek V is slightly better than Insurrection, because at least it had a few moments of unintentional comedy. And also, it had a plot that you could actually follow, whereas I’m still not completely sure what Insurrection was about.

      • The_Stig

        Ironically, my favorite moment in the Trek films (not what I necessarily think is the BEST, but the moment I like the most) is from Star Trek V. The campfire scene. For that brief moment, we were watching Kirk, Spock and Bones as they were in the original series. Bantering the way we remember (except for the fart joke).

      • edharris1178

        I actually like the fifth movie a hell of a lot more than Insurrection. If nothing else, it’s not boring like the ninth film. It probably helps that I didn’t write a 12,000 word article on it.

    • Jason Withrow

      “I remember a HUGE deal was made out of the fact that John Logan was writing the screenplay.”

      You know, it must have been, because you saying that rings a bell at once.

      I still haven’t made up my mind on V vs Insurrection, after all these years. Yikes. What an uninspiring death match.

      • Yeah, it was a huge deal at the time that Logan wrote the script. An Oscar nominated writer was supposed to be a big step up from the TV writers like Braga, Moore, Piller, etc. who worked on the previous entries.

        I assume Logan was kept on a pretty short leash here, so I don’t blame him for Nemesis’s shortcomings. A lot of Trekkies made a big deal about how he had never seen an episode of TNG, but that really doesn’t matter. Nicholas Meyer never saw an episode of Star Trek before he started working on Wrath of Khan.

        Logan was just hired to write the script for the next James Bond movie, so it’ll be interesting to see how that turns out.

        • Muthsarah

          …Why do you assume Logan was kept on a short leash? I’ve heard plenty of stories of dysfunction in Voyager’s writers’ room (and everywhere else), so I can understand why any Trek writer COULD phone it in, and I don’t have anything nice to say about Berman at this precise moment, but the screenplay is just wretched from beginning to end. Any wonder nearly every scene in the movie can be easily ripped apart as featuring either inexplicable use of characters, dull dialogue, or bored actors? I’ve read the script on its own, and it doesn’t read much better than the film itself; it is still a better experience overall, but I’ll attribute that to the literary medium’s inability to be as offensive as the gesamtkunstclusterfuck of the movie.

          I suppose its possible that the script was taken away from him, but as I haven’t heard him say anything about that, I won’t conclude that’s what happened. The premise, of course, was flawed from the start (obvious WoK ripoff means Data’s death was forced and hollow, nothing with Shinzon makes a lick of sense), but the littler moments could have at least worked on their own. Start with the structure of a vengeance-seeking Romulan, have an early wedding scene, kill Data at the end…are we to believe everything else was Berman’s fault?

          I would also place the fault for the film’s….for the film ultimately on the shoulders of the producers, the higher-up the better. No reasonable human being would cast a writer and a director both who know nothing of the franchise. But, assuming Logan didn’t already have to sense to stay away from such a dying quail as Millenial Trek, it’s astonishing how little character any of the characters have here, and how incredibly un-Trek it all felt.

  • Lilgreenman

    I’ve been a Trekkie for years, and I’m not ashamed to say I both didn’t like Nemesis one bit, and loved both new movies. In my opinion, the new ones work in spite of themselves: The writing is hackneyed and the plot is derivative, but the acting, effects, referential humor and action make up for it.

    I don’t think it’s possible to make a movie in the vein of the best of TNG or DS9, because those were TV shows, and movies require that the plot stick more to convention at all times – you can’t have your main character be taken over and become a villain, or get strung up and tortured by Cardassians, or go back in time and examine his rebellious past self, because you need to have all the main characters working together on the Enterprise against an obvious threat.

  • nejiblue

    “the greatest sin it comments is being boring”

    That’s actually pretty bad for me. For example, Star trek V is worse than nemesis, but I still enjoy watching it more. Why? Campy, “so bad it’s good” bad. I’ll take that any day of the week over mediocre, flat, boring bad from start to finish, which is nemesis.

    To be far, I agree with some of your points. Tom hardy is the best part of the film, and it say’s a lot about him as a actor. However, on trek 09, I don’t. Having seen into darkness, I basically feel the same way about both of them. The script’s for both have a very unbalanced aspect to them, where the scenes tend to go from really, really good to really, really bad on a pretty rapid basis. Their bottom line issue is that they don’t hold up as a whole as well as they should, but I still enjoyed parts of both of them, and the cast was good. Overall, there basically average for me, with into darkness being a bit better(the script is a mess, but ripping off wraith of khan is NOT it’s central issue.) Not the worst in the franchise, not the best.

    Trek 09 is better than nemesis, despite all the fanboy hate, because it might be uneven as hell, and no not very original, but it at least it can be somewhat entertaining. Nemesis’s main issue isn’t even really that it’s a direct clone of wraith of khan. It’s boring bad, from start to finish. There’s nothing to make fun of in a MST3K way like V, there’s no truly smart writing or originality like II, and there’s no entertaining action sequences like trek 09. It is what trek as a franchise had become, what all 7 fucking years of voyager were:soulless and boring. Made by hacks like rick berman to sell a “brand” to deranged fanboys who would eat up whatever they were given. I’m not saying that abrams is any better(or that trek is no longer a franchise), but at least they but some effort into that movie.

    And yes, I would agree that nemesis is the best of the TNG movies. But that’s damning with faint praise. Yes, they put more effort into nemesis than they did insurrection, but much like the last seasons of enterprise, it was make it or break it time and, well, too little too late. Insurrection and generations are not just the two worst trek movies, they’re probably two of the worst movies ever made period. Insurrection is a great poster child for everything that was wrong with the franchise at that point. And first contact, well, it ruined the borg. That alone would do it, but throw in the picard character destruction and there you go. Oh, and yeah, you really let nemesis off the hook for that. May be nowhere near as bad as in first contact, but they really butchered the characters in all of the tng movies. And I would consider that “insulting my intelligence” quite a bit worst than anything trek 09 did. And no, the characters in trek 09 do have the same names, but they are not meant to be the same characters from TOS. Which makes it impossible to “butcher the characters” from the TOS series or movies. Expect old spock, but I never cared for how he was handled in either of the abrams movies.

    But yeah, wraith of khan is still my all time favorite trek movie, and one of the best movies ever made period. Nearly perfect really. Hell, if nemesis had actually been more interesting, I would have been fine with it shameless ripping off wraith of khan. But it’s so fucking boring. Any of the other positives are minor at best(the effects are better than the made for TV movie that is insurrection, but subpar compared to real movies frankly), and the whole thing just doesn’t generate any reaction from me at all when I try to watch it. I take that back, when tom hardy’s at screen, things pick up, then he leaves, and the whole movie goes down the shitter again so fast it makes your head spin. Sorry, out of the only two next gen cast members the movie cares about, patrick stewart’s a great actor, but like first contact, he can’t overcome the destruction of his character as established in the tv show, and brent spinner… the less said the better tbh. Like I said, while I think trek 09 is better, it’s only somewhat better. The new trek movies could have been a lot better, maybe future sequels will be better(who know), but for what they are, they are GOOD. Expecting anything to live up to wraith of kahn is unrealistic. You can’t predicate that kind of greatness, nor can you produce it. Movies that good are very, VERY rare. I have my doubts the franchise would ever reach that level again, but that doesn’t mean they should not try. And nemesis sure as hell wasn’t trying to be anything.

  • Sgt. Salas

    ive been a long time trekkie or trekker whatever and i loved nemesis i found i seem to be a small minority in the star trek community i seem to enjoy all the movies and shows the majority of trekkies dont like, i love DS9! hate TOS, hate the new JJ-TREK movies,(but for the record i do like TOS kirk,spock ETC..just dont like the TOS show) but while yes this movie wasnt perfect ive re watched it recently and even with its failings it still has that essential star trek feel and quality that those JJ-trek movies cant seem to capture

    I like all the TNG movies except First contact generations is ok i like insurrection,and nemesis im re watching Star trek enterprise right now and god this show is horrible its not star trek and it just shits all over the already established lore and canon i dont get why everyone is afraid of making a continuation of the series after voyager set after the dominion war in the year 2400s star trek is about the future and progress going forward yet all these people wanna do is keep going backwards to stupid TOS era and try to make it work when its not gonna work you can still make a new series with all the established lore set after the dominion war in the 2400s and have unknown races and all that yet have all that wealthy of lore with endless story possibilities instead all they wanna do is come up with bullshit ideas (prequels,Alternate canon universe) so they can ignore all the establishes lore and canon and make up there own thinking that i dont know that it will somehow be just has good or better and it never works that way.

    Especially with this new series coming out in jan 2017 i believe with rumours of it being set in TOS era AGIAN!!!!! with some supposed starfleet academy show like its star trek 90210 i just dont understand STOP TRYING TO RE-INVENT THE WHEEL! let star trek be star trek use what it has already if you wanna make up new stories and event make a brand new series, cause all im seeing lately is some unoriginal tired concept dressed in star trek shallow and mindless