Massive 'Nemesis' Review Roundup

By Caillan
December 14, 2002 - 2:52 PM

Critical reaction to 'Star Trek Nemesis' has ranged from some reviewers calling for the end of the franchise to others naming the film the best TNG feature outing yet, but most critics seem to think the tenth Trek to the silver screen was mediocre - at best.

Descriptions of ten spotlighted reviews from publications such as TV Guide, Cinescape, and the New York Times can be found below:

  • "It's dead, Jim," was the proclamation of TV Guide's Frank Lovece, who criticised almost every aspect of the movie from Shinzon's characterisation ("laughable") to the "heavy-close-up hackwork" of director Stuart Baird. "Spectacle and special effects have saved equally bad movies in the past, but never one so hackneyed there's virtually no surprise or suspense." In the full review 'Nemesis' scored 2 out of 5 stars.

  • Stephen Holden at the New York Times seemed rather taken with 'Nemesis,' which he called "an amiably klutzy affair whose warm, fuzzy heart emits intermittent bleats from the sleeve of its gleaming spacesuit." Here's an excerpt from the review:

    If the screenplay by John Logan (a writer for "Gladiator") - from a story by Mr. Logan, Mr. Spiner and the series's longtime producer and writer Rick Berman - is riddled with holes to spare, it is true to the spirit of the "Star Trek" ethos. And in paralleling the similarities between Data and the severed head of his prototype (which Shinzon used as bait to bring the Enterprise into his sphere) with those between Picard and his clone, it buttresses the movie's philosophy that a sustained personal commitment to self-improvement can humanize androids and even turn bad seeds into good ones.

    Read Holden's complete take on the film at this page.

  • "Irreversible moldiness hasn't hurt Die Another Day at the box office, but at least the latest James Bond movie has Halle Barry coming out of the ocean," wrote Mike Clark at USA Today. "As spent screen series go, Star Trek: Nemesis is even more suggestive of a 65th class reunion mixer where only eight surviving members show up - and there's nothing to drink." The less than complimentary review is available here.

  • Cinescape's Michael Tunison hoped 'Nemesis' isn't the end of the line for the Next Generation crew. "In many ways, 'Nemesis' is the movie that should have been made back when Picard took the baton from Kirk back in the mid-í90s - a true saga in which characters live, grow and move in new directions, not just work the same comfortable shticks in films that feel like expensively made two-hour TV episodes. In this sense, it would be a shame to end the Next Gen movie arc at this point, just when it really was starting to go where it had not gone before." In the complete analysis, the flick scored a B grade.

  • "I've been looking at these [Star Trek] stories for half a halftime, and, let's face it, they're out of gas," wrote Roger Ebert at the Chicago Sun-Times, who said even Patrick Stewart (Jean-Luc Picard) couldn't save the movie. "Patrick Stewart, as Capt. Picard, is a wonderful actor. I know because I have seen him elsewhere. It is always said of Stewart that his strength as an actor is his ability to deliver bad dialogue with utter conviction. I say it is time to stop encouraging him. Here's an idea: Instead of giving him bad dialogue, why not give him good dialogue, and see what he can do with that? Here is a man who has played Shakespeare." The was given 2 out of 4 stars at this page.

  • The LA Times review highlighted the movie's Reman baddies ("a spanking new group of outer space outlaws") and their leader, Shinzon, whom critic Kenneth Turan called "the most insinuating villain since Alice Krige's Queen of the Borg stopped hearts across the galaxy." Turan didn't think 'Nemesis' was an exceptional movie, but he did seem to enjoy it.

    It's true that the "Star Trek" movies, and "Nemesis" is only partially an exception, have an air of pokey earnestness about them. No one is going to say they have the narrative propulsion of a runaway train, no matter who writes and directs them. And, with Stewart and in this case Hardy very much the exceptions, no one is going to say they are memorably acted. Familiarity and continuity are what the success of this series has always been about. We've been here before, and we like the neighborhood.

    The original review is available here.

  • "Nemesis does everything a Star Trek movie should, but hasnít done in a long time, mixing large-scale action/adventure with stimulating character drama in a package you just canít get on the small screen," wrote Steve Krutzler at TrekWeb, drawing particular attention to the work of writer John Logan, whose screenplay "still manages to weave a more intricate tapestry than any of the TNG films to date." The film was awarded 4 out of 5 stars in the complete analysis.

  • Wesley Morris at the Boston Globe said the Trek feature franchise is "still off-track after the ideologically unsound, sparsely entertaining 'Insurrection'." Here's an excerpt from the review:

    Word has it that 'Nemesis' has been written by a real fan ('Gladiator' co-scribe John Logan), but while his script holds what might be considered a major surprise toward the end, it has little else in the way of enlightening palaver or galvanizing action. Directed by film editor Stuart Baird, 'Nemesis' fails to match the philosophical and acting bounties of 1996's 'First Contact.' Baird has seen to it that the Enterprise's being under fire still amounts to the crew rocking back and forth, gripping the railings as the ship's phasers are down to 4 percent.

    Read more at this page, where the film was given a score of 2.5 out of 4.

  • The Montreal Gazette's John Griffin was quick and to the point: "Quite simply, if you like Star Trek, you'll like Star Trek: Nemesis." Griffin seemed positive about the film, giving it a mark of 3 out of 4. "If it does astonishing work at the box office this weekend they'll be brushing the dust off another script Monday morning," he said. The original review is available here.

  • Far less positive was Stephen Hunter at the Washington Post, who was one of many reviewers comparing Tom Hardy's Shinzon to Dr. Evil's Mini-Me from 'Austin Powers'. "Alas Verne Troyer of 'Austin Powers' wasn't available to take the role, so they hired someone named Tom Hardy, last seen toting an M-60 through Mogadishu as a confused soldier in 'Black Hawk Down.' Yes, Troyer is small and, yes, Hardy is big: Such are great comedy opportunities squandered." Although he praised Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner (Data), Hunter called 'Nemesis' "slower than molasses" and "tacky." Read the full analysis at this page.

Reviews of 'Nemesis' can be found online at the following locations:

Thanks to Greg Stamper, 'oIce_BreakeRo' and 'Admiral Waugh' for some of these!

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