A little while ago I finished the epic journey that is re-watching the main run of the Star Trek TV series from the original through to Voyager, and one bit of the ‘New Generation’ era remained, the final movie, Star Trek: Nemesis.
Rather like it’s predecessor, Insurrection, it’s one I hadn’t seen since it was in cinemas back in 2002 and, while I didn’t actively remember it being as bad as its forerunner, it hadn’t stuck in my mind in any positive way either.
It’s starts out with promise as we are dropped onto the rarely seen world of Romulus, home of the Romulans, perennial also ran villains next to the far more famous Klingons, where a coup takes place deposing the planet’s government.
So far, so Star Trek.
From there the crew of the Enterprise, as always conveniently located closer than anyone else to trouble, are sent in to see what’s going on and encounter the new leader of Romulus who turns out to be a clone of Captain Picard for reasons never entirely explained.
This sets up a lot of promising things, particularly as the clone of Patrick Stewart’s Picard is played by then largely unknown Tom Hardy and in a few all too brief scenes the pair get into a bit of an act off.
Whether the younger Hardy could hang with Stewart as he clearly could now I’m not sure, but it feels like he’s never really given the chance to properly try as things get rushed along into a second and third act that fall back into big starship battle tropes.
The main battle, clearly trying and largely failing to be as inventive as the climax to Wrath of Kahn, falls somewhat flat, while a couple of sub-plots really do nothing for the film but confuse things and have no purpose but to provide a reason for Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) to get into a fist fight with the second in command alien, even though he’s clearly getting a bit too old for that by this point.
All of this leaves the film feeling like it may have started life as a very good episode of the TV show that the producers have converted into a script that feels not quite enough for a movie.
While it begins with a suitably grand scale this is pulled back and there is some very odd pacing and no real sense of danger for any of our heroes so even when one dies its strangely undercut by one of the awkwardly handled subplots.
This makes it feel like something of a wasted opportunity but given Trek was in clear decline by this point it shouldn’t have been surprising that it took what was essentially a complete reboot (albeit with some interesting links to this) to revive the franchise.