UK Reviewers Unimpressed With 'Nemesis'

By Antony
January 3, 2003 - 5:30 PM

After initial positive responses from British and Irish critics (story), UK reviewers this week joined their American colleagues in panning 'Star Trek: Nemesis.'

With most responses being apathetic towards the film, and with some being outright brutal, the overall opinion isn't very positive. However, it does at least afford the opportunity for the reviewers to pull out the cliches, with many paraphrasing Star Trek's own catchphrases in their reviews.

  • Neil Smith at the BBC was unimpressed with "this slack and workmanlike instalment" which he rates two out of five stars. "It's taken four years for 'Nemesis' to emerge, and though it will no doubt be welcomed by Trekkies, it evokes a distinct feeling of dj vu," he wrote. "Director Stuart Baird handles the sci-fi action well enough, but he seems unable to replicate the charm and sly wit of the original TV series. Nowhere is this more apparent than in the scene where a cornered Picard deliberately rams the Enterprise into his opponent's vessel."

  • Writing for Empire, Adam Smith rated the movie three out of five stars. "Screenwriter John Logan provides little in the way of innovation, bolting the television series' familiar characters on to a couple of plot devices that might have been found in the bottom of Gene Roddenberry's wastepaper basket sometime during the late '60s." His final summing up is cautiously positive. "It doesn't deliver anything new to the series, and even fans might find parts distinctly slow, but it finally hits most of the right buttons."

  • At Tiscali they've awarded the movie four out of ten stars. "'Star Trek: Nemesis' tries in vain to strike a balance between pleasing the hardcore fans and entertaining the multiplex masses unfamiliar with the franchise. Unfortunately, the film doesn't really satisfy either audience, stuttering awkwardly through a flimsy plot (that feels suspiciously like a cast-off from the TV series)."

  • Tim Carson at Freeserve gave the film three out of five stars, in his mixed review. There are "some of the best Star Trek action sequences and special effects laden set-pieces for ages," according to Carson. "That said there is also a fair bit to hate about it. Some of the humour is lame, it;s also a bit too twee and a bit slow in places."

  • 'Nemesis' "will test fan loyalty to destruction" according to Peter Bradshaw at the Guardian, who rated the movie two out of five stars. "This could be the last time - or could it?" he wrote. "You've got me. On the evidence of this, the 10th Star Trek movie, the series could very possibly lumber onwards for half a dozen more episodes with just about enough support from the Trekker fan base to be viable. Or it could die a painless death now."

  • Barbara Ellen at The Times offers a typical media review of a Star Trek production. She gave the movie two out of five stars, but then named the movie 'film of the week' (although she also named the film 'Spider' as film of the week too). "Some people enjoy all this 'far-off galaxies' stuff while others will happily accept it as entertainment if there's nothing else on offer," she wrote. "Being in the latter category I could easily contain my excitement at the release of 'Star Trek: Nemesis'. It's not bad, really. It is also the tenth Star Trek movie, which means an awful lot of celluloid featuring grown men wearing children's stretchy pyjamas and standing behind plasterboard consoles looking purposeful."

  • At the Independent, Anthony Quinn finds it "difficult to fathom how anyone can still be interested in this milky liberal-humanist sci-fi slop". He wrote: "One gets the impression that screenwriter John Logan thinks he has caught the contemporary mood by touching on the moral issue of cloning; I hate to disappoint him, but Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey was dealing with the problem of evil clones as long ago as 1991, and they were a damn sight funnier, too."

  • Christopher Tookey of the Daily Mail rips into the film. "This sad old clone feebly goes where far too many Star Treks have gone before," he wrote. "It contains mind-boggling quantities of indecipherable technical jargon, and page after page of woolly philosophising about nature versus nurture." Even lead actor doesn't make a good impression on the reviewer. "Patrick Stewart's Jean-Luc Picard has turned from a reassuringly authoritative presence into a long-winded old git." Tookey's final view isn't good: "This is for die-hard Trekkers only - and even they may need strong coffee to keep them awake."

  • This "lumbering space beast" needs to "go boldly away" according to a damn review by Alexander Walker at the Evening Standard. "Trekkies may be able to squeeze yet one more trip out of this tired old formula. But, God, for the rest of us, it looks as if it's had it. 'To boldly go', once a pleasurable option, appeals to me no longer. Going, going, gone: that's perhaps the hopeful sentiment this heap of obsolete hardware promotes." You can read further extracts at femail.co.uk.

  • The Wolf at iofilm, like most of the reviewers, gave the film two out of five stars. "The acting has marginally improved, thanks to Patrick Stewart, who took over from William "The Oak" Shatner ... but the pomposity remains. When they speak to each other, you feel they are standing on invisible podiums, still dressed in Toy Town uniforms. The girls are as sexy as toast racks and the guys have a tendency to stare into the middle distance, even in a spaceship, where there is no middle distance. The baddies are proud to be freaks, which makes them more human."

  • "The whole premise has a familiar ring to it, echoing as it does 'The Wrath Of Khan' and before that 'Balance Of Terror', an episode from the original 1966 TV series," Peter Simmonds wrote for Teletext. "But if we were going to get fussy about Star Trek repeating itself then the whole franchise would have imploded decades ago. This tenth cinematic Star Trek instalment should please Trekkies and offer the rest of us solid, if not very original, entertainment."

  • "For die hard Trekkies it will be a must, what Star Trek movie isn't?, but for non Star Trek buffs the movie is lacking both a certain science fiction sophistication and knockout action sequences," wrote Sara Dixon at the Waltham Forest Guardian.

  • "It's a dark tale with some punchy action sequences," wrote Dave Freak for IC Conventry, rating the movie two out of five stars. "But it does seem that those behind the franchise are trying too hard and the result is an uneven film which is prepared to take only calculated risks" (thanks to the Great Link).

  • And finally, a "competent but uninspired retread," is how Neil Smith at Heat magazine saw the film. "Perhaps it's time to beam them up, Scotty" (via Ananova).

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