Mixed Reception For 'Nemesis'By Caillan
December 12, 2002 - 3:51 PM
The critical reception for 'Star Trek Nemesis' has been decidedly mixed as more reviews have appeared over the past few days, with most critics rating it average - both as a film and a Trek outing.
A roundup of eleven analyses recently posted online can be found below:
- Miami Herald reviewer Michael Snyder said although the film is better than 'Insurrection,' "Nemesis has plot holes the size of photon-torpedo hull breaches." However, the movie does have its good points. "Flaws aside, there are enough notable character moments and warp-speed action scenes to endorse this voyage of the Starship Enterprise." Read more here.
- SplicedWire's Rob Blackwelder thought the Shinzon/Picard storyline was "engrossing" and praised the performances of both actors. "Hardy gives a cunning, zealous performance, skillfully combining some of Stewart's physical traits with an intelligent malevolence and a contradictory, childlike desire to learn more about the man he was meant to be." However, Blackwelder was less enthusiastic about the action sequences, especially the ending, which he felt dragged the film down. "But when 'Nemesis' reaches its ship-wrecking showdown between the Enterprise and Shinzon's enormous, spider-like, cloaking-capable battle cruiser, more holes are blown in the plot than in the hulls of the two ships combined." In the full analysis, 'Nemesis' is given 2 out of a possible 4 stars.
- Roxann Blanford at Slant Magazine was more positive, praising the way the film explored serious themes. "Unlike previous Star Trek films where not a whole lot made sense, 'Nemesis' is genuinely intriguing and its plot points have been nicely woven together in a compelling fashion. [...] What with its concern for such issues as cloning and rape victims lashing back at their victimizers, this latest Star Trek film seems to show more respect for the intelligence of its audience than others in the series." The movie scored 3 out of 4 in the complete review, found here.
- Over at AZReporter.com, Harvey S. Karten was at a loss to make of the film, although he did give it an average rating of 2.5 out of 4. Here's an excerpt from the review:
Surprisingly, an "Antwone Fisher" theme turns up, as Shinzon, inspired by Picard to become a better person than he now is, insists that he cannot: that his soul has been destroyed by his Dickensian upbringing in a mine. Nonetheless, Picard, as though a teacher trying to motivate an apathetic high-school class, insists that the purpose of human beings is to find meaning in their lives which they can if they perpetually seek to better themselves. In fact, Picard becomes so didactic that the film could have been called Star Trek: Better. Far be it from me to project my overly ripened taste on what is obviously a picture made for an intended audience of trekkies.
Read more at this page.
- Sitting squarely in the negative camp was Film Critic's Christopher Null. "Star Trek: Nemesis, the tenth (and God help us, the last) movie in the unstoppable Trek series, offers the thinnest story since Star Trek V took the previous crew to the center of the galaxy in search of God. But at least this one isn't saddled by metaphysical nonsense. All of that's out the shuttle bay doors in favor of good, old-fashioned idiocy, ripped from yesterday's headlines." In the complete analysis, 'Nemesis' was awarded 1.5 out of a possible 4 stars.
- "Nemesis doesn't make up in visual grandeur what it lacks in narrative thrust," wrote Frank Swietek at One Guy's Opinion. "The model work is mediocre, and interiors appear to have been fashioned on the television template, without a recognition that what might pass on a small screen looks awfully chintzy when blown up to auditorium size. Perhaps to compensate, Jeffrey L. Kimball's cinematography keeps everything shadowy and dark (one strand of the plot, involving the peculiar environmental circumstances of Romulus' twin planet, Remus--the Roman allusions are among the few clever elements of the script--is designed to justify the decision). Even the score by old pro Jerry Goldsmith seems recycled and half-hearted." The film notched up a C minus grade in the original article.
- It would be a significant understatement to say Harry Knowles at Ain't It Cool News was disappointed with 'Nemesis.' "For brief moments we have cool space stuff, and woo hoo, COOL SPACE STUFF, but god damn it, let’s have some decent character work," he wrote. "A compelling story. Direction from something other than a blind nanny with zero sense of decent style. This film is ugly, bland, non-textured and just boring." The complete review is available here.
- Bill Warren at Audio Revolution summed up his thoughts in one simple sentence - "'Star Trek: Nemesis' is a good Trek but not a great Trek." Here's an excerpt from the review:
The story is by Rick Berman, John Logan and Brent Spiner, Data himself, with the script by John Logan, who wrote the misbegotten remake of "The Time Machine," released earlier this year. "Nemesis" is certainly better than that, but not quite up to the level of the other Trek movies; it's crowded with cast (gotta get all the fan faves in -- even Wil Wheaton and Whoopi Goldberg appear briefly), but relative low on major Trek spectacle and action, though there's a stunning scene near the end, in which the Enterprise.... No, shouldn't give that one away.
'Nemesis' scored 3 stars in the full article.
- Ben Nuckols from the Associated Press called 'Nemesis' "the dullest and drabbest" of all the Trek films, criticising Stuart Baird's direction in particular. "His work is lumbering. And the film's murky look -- the Remans, we're told, prefer darkness -- violates a principle that has informed the best space operas: Keep it sharp and crisp. The audience needs to believe it's seeing a future world brimming with technology, and that's not possible if it looks like nobody's invented the 60-watt bulb. Baird relies on textureless close-ups and frames his shots as if for television. Worse -- particularly considering Baird apprenticed as an editor -- the cross-cutting limps and sags." In the complete analysis, 'Nemesis' only managed 1.5 out of 4 stars.
- Over at The Trades, Jim Pappas gave the movie a "solid" B grade. "The character study aspect of the film is represented by the interaction between Shinzon and Captain Picard," he wrote. "Unfortunately, where Tom Hardy plays his role with passion, Patrick Stewart just seems tired, and somewhat giddy. However, the interplay between the two does possess it’s own relevance and adds depth and texture to the proceedings." In the full review, Pappas also gave Stuart Baird's action sequences the thumbs-up.
- The acting of both the regular cast and the guest actors was criticised by James Berardinelli at ReelViews.
The returning regulars are a solid lot, even if they are largely sleepwalking through their parts. 15 years of familiarity (the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation premiered in 1987) have allowed Stewart, Frakes, Spiner, and the rest to slip into and out of character with relative ease. Their alter-egos are like old, comfortable clothes that can be donned at any time. They may be frayed with age, but they still fit. The newcomers are less promising. Tom Hardy's Shinzon is a Khan wannabe, but Hardy lacks the machismo and charisma of Ricardo Montalban. The result is a hum-drum villain. Dina Meyer is wooden as the Romulan Commander, Donatra. The only one who shows any energy is Ron Perlman, as the Reman viceroy.
Read more here, where the film was awarded 2.5 out of 4.
Thanks to 'Cap', Jeremy Gibbins, Stewart H., 'sxottlan', 'Flake' and Rotten Tomatoes for these!