Blockbuster Movie Month: "Star Trek: Nemesis" Review

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

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Rating: PG
Length: 116 minutes
Release Date: December 13, 2002
Directed by: Scott Baird
Genre: Action / Adventure / Sci-Fi

The cast of the popular television series "Star Trek: The Next Generation" wraps up its series of big screen adventures with the rousing finale "Star Trek: Nemesis." This dark and thought-provoking film will surpass the expectations of both long-time fans of the classic science-fiction franchise and those who just want to experience an exciting action film that tells an intriguing story.

The film starts off with a joyous event that is sure to please fans of "Star Trek: The Next Generation." Commander Ryker and Deaana Troi, who have been an on-again, off-again couple for many years, finally become man and wife. The Federation Starship Enterprise, commanded by Captain Picard, embarks on a mission to take the newlyweds to Troi's home planet of Betazed. On the way to their destination, however, the crew picks up a strange signal from a desert-like planet and stops to find the source.

Meanwhile, on the planet Romulus, a mysterious individual named Shinzon has managed to grab power. The United Federation of Planets, which in the Star Trek universe is a peaceful organization that seeks to mitigate conflicts between different civilizations, is concerned. The Federation's leaders are not certain about Shinzon's intentions and wonder if he is a threat.

Science fiction stories are sometimes difficult for audiences to understand, but director Scott Baird blends the two separate narratives seamlessly during the early part of the film, making the entire story line easy to follow. The script, written by John Logan, also spells thing out clearly to ensure that spectators can keep up with all of the key points in the story.

When Picard and his crew investigate the unusual signal that caught their attention, they make a strange discovery. The signal came from an android who is a double for Commander Data, the android member of the Enterprise crew. The crew theorizes that the scientist who created Data must have made another android as a prototype. The crew names the new android, or artificial life form, "B-4."

Shortly after the Enterprise finds the android, the Federation orders the ship to rendezvous with a ship commanded by Shinzon. The Federation officials want Captain Picard to determine the Romulan leader's intentions. When Picard meets with Shinzon, he makes an astonishing discovery. Shinzon is a clone of the Enterprise captain. At one point in the past, Romulan officials decided to make a clone of Picard in order to replace him and infiltrate the Federation's military leadership. This plan was later abandoned, however, and now, the Romulan society is controlled by a being who is almost a physical double of Picard. At this meeting, Shinzon expresses his peaceful intentions toward the Federation, but Picard is skeptical.

One of the most powerful elements of the film is the way that the photography matches the darkness of the narrative. The use of dark colors and muted lighting accentuates the sinister parts of the story with expert precision. Director Baird lights the actors from below in many of these scenes, creating an eerie effect.  The starkness of the set design is another film element that accents the somber mood in certain scenes of the movie.

Although Shinzon assured his peaceful intent, Captain Picard soon discovers that he actually plans to attack the Federation and take control of Earth. Picard and the Enterprise crew, including B-4, must defeat Shinzon's ship, The Scimitar, to prevent it from reaching Earth and causing havoc. The Enterprise is the last and best hope for saving the Federation and keeping the various worlds of the twenty-fourth century from losing the organization that has maintained peace for so many years.

The action-packed final scenes of "Star Trek: Nemesis" are brilliantly handled by director Scott Baird. The action comes at the audience quickly and furiously, and it hardly leaves them time to catch their breath. The special effects team makes these sequences seem as real as possible. Like most great science fiction films, this movie surprises viewers with thrilling moments they will not soon forget.

All "Star Trek" movies and television shows gives audiences food for thought. This is perhaps the trademark of the entire franchise. "Star Trek: Nemeses" is no exception, and the movie also contains enough high-energy sequences to satisfy any film fans who want to see more action in their science fiction stories. So, if you consider yourself to be a "Trekkie," check out this superb conclusion to the "Star Trek: The Next Generation" film series. You are virtually certain to find this movie entertaining and very compelling.