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Star Trek : Nemesis

The Enterprise crew is called to an alien planet to initiate peace with the Romulans--longtime enemies of the Federation.


As Star Trek: Nemesis begins its journey, the U.S.S. Starship Enterprise is enjoying Officer William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Counselor Deanna Troi's (Marina Sirtis) wedding reception. But the celebrations come to halt when Engineer La Forge (Levar Burton) detects some sort of electromagnetic signal coming from the nearby planet Kolaris III. A crew from the Enterprise heads to the planet to investigate and finds scattered body parts of what looks like an android prototype of Lt. Commander Data (Brent Spiner). Before they can put the android back together again, Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) receives a message from Admiral Janeway (Kate Mulgrew) that the Romulans have undergone a revolution and their new Praetor (leader) wants to discuss peace with the Federation. But when a hesitant Picard and his crew arrive on the planet, they discover that the Praetor, Shinzon (Tom Hardy), is not actually a Romulan, but a human from Romulus' sister planet Remus. And not only is he human--he's a younger clone of Picard. Shinzon is hell-bent on revenge and wants to destroy everything in his path including the Enterprise, the Federation and Earth, but first he has a score to settle with Picard. Meanwhile, Data struggles with what to make of his own double, B-4.


Stewart's Picard faces his most personal enemy here in Shinzon and must grapple with heavy moral issues. Although Shinzon is maniacal and antagonistic, Picard cannot help but wonder if he would have turned out the same way had his life been like Shinzon's. Stewart delivers a great performance as his character finds his judgement clouded by Shinzon. Shinzon, as played by Hardy (Black Hawk Down), with a shaved head and a sculpted latex nose and chin, is believable as Picard's doppelganger (although I hate to say that with the pale skin and scarred lip, he looks an awful lot like Mike Myers's Dr. Evil). While Picard and Shinzon are dealing with their own issues, Spiner's Data is going through his own personal turmoil. His prototype recovered on Kolaris III, B-4, is not as advanced as he is, prompting Data to turn him into a better android. Not since the Star Trek TNG episode ''The Measure of Man'' has Data's character been explored so in depth. Cast members Frakes, Sirtis, Burton and Michael Dorn (Worf) take a back seat in Nemesis, allowing the film to focus on the main story line involving Picard, Shinzon and Data.


Nemesis was directed by Star Trek newcomer Stuart Baird, who stays true to the franchise's tradition by delivering a film that encapsulates a good story with great dialogue without going overboard on the special effects. As the film opens, for example, the crew has been forced to land on Kolaris III the old-fashioned way since an ion storm has disrupted transporting capabilities. Baird provides some great footage of the planet's surface, which is bathed in sepia-toned light, complete with the some great shots of the crew riding around in the Argo, a sort of high-tech dune buggy. Scribe John Logan (Time Machine) introduces an interesting new race, the Remans, and a personal foe with Shinzon, who, although not as menacing as the Borg or as complex as Kahn, is just as warped. The most compelling aspect of the film, however, has to do with Data and his desire to be the best ''person'' he can be. Nemesis encompasses the kind of dramatic storytelling that made the series created by Gene Roddenberry more than 25 years ago so intriguing. It is also a reminder of what the series was all about: ''To explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilization...''

Bottom Line

Nemesis, the 10th installment in the Star Trek franchise, is a gripping intergalactic tale that explores the humanistic values of androids and alien civilizations while focusing on storytelling rather than flashy special effects.