Star Trek: Nemesis

Going by the numbers, Star Trek: Nemesis should have been a good Trek movie: the rule is that even-numbered Trek movies are good, odd bad. This was number 10. It was so-so at best.

I’ve always enjoyed Star Trek in its various forms, but sometimes it calls for more suspension of intelligence than others. This movie called for a fair amount. Early in the movie, there’s a coup on Romulus, the heretofore unmentioned Remans are now in charge, and they say they want to make nice with the Federation. The Enterprise just happens to be near the Neutral Zone, so Admiral Janeway (!) dispatches Picard & crew as ambassadors. Right off the bat, we should be raising our eyebrows at the Federation’s hasty enthusiasm.

Picard wants to believe, but is too smart to. Good thing. His clone, Shinzan (created as part of a discarded plot to plant an agent in the Federation, and then relegated to slavery on Remus, who somehow (how? dunno) rose to a position of prominence among the Remans, built a kick-ass starship with a baroque doomsday weapon, and instigated the coup on Romulus) has a bundle of ill-defined Issues with Picard and his human heritage in general, and the only way he can see to overcome these issues is to kill everyone on Earth with his death-ray. Although he kind of wants Picard alive, because Shinzan’s DNA was altered, and he might need a transfusion from Picard. Picard, predictably, tries to appeal to Shinzan’s better nature to rise above his baser instincts. He fails, and so a big shootout in space ensues. The crew of the Enterprise triumphs, partly because the death-ray takes so freaking long to deploy, and even then, not without paying a price (one that could plausibly be rebated through some obvious plot devices if there were a followup to this movie).

So the movie insults our intelligence in a few ways. It also absentmindedly invites snarky ridicule from geeks who watch way too much Star Trek for the line where Picard says to Shinzan “your blood is the same as my blood, your heart is the same as my heart” or words to that effect — Picard has an artificial heart, as a couple episodes of the show discussed.

Oh well. I don’t resent the time and (matinee) money I spent on the movie, but they could have done a better job. Instead of staging a coup on Romulus, Shinzan could have been a rebel, leading the Federation to gamble that “the enemy of my enemy is my friend” — more plausible story. They could have fleshed out Shinzan a lot more — a potentially interesting character that wound up being very flat and villainous just because that’s his job.