"So that is Nemesis’s legacy – it destroyed a TV network, almost drove one of the actors to kill himself, and damaged the reputation of a multi-billion dollar franchise so completely that it resulted in one of the most controversial reboots of a film franchise ever. Not even The Final Frontier managed to be this destructive. Shatner, you are hereby absolved for your… Shatnerness. There’s a grand irony, though – in trying to rip off my favorite and the best Trek film, it managed to become the worst Trek film, and I feel confident in calling it my all-time least favorite film. Don’t get me wrong – there are objectively worse movies out there (I’ve heard some bad things about The Emoji Movie, and hey, they made an emoji movie). However, in my personal opinion, I have never seen any film quite as depressing, as disgusting, as incompetent, and as goddamn soulless as this movie was. If I never see it again, it will be too soon. The Wrath of Khan was a Shakespearian tale of loss, revenge, aging, rage, arrogance, and the tragic effects they could have on us. Star Trek: Nemesis is a tale full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."— The Review Nebula
Star Trek: Nemesis
"What's impressive about Star Trek 10 is that it lacks the serious creative mis-steps of The Final Frontier and Generations. Both those films had problems that were only compounded by the serious thematic and/or atmospheric mistakes that lead to their places near the bottom of the list. But Nemesis had somehow side-stepped all that, and reached the bottom of the list simply by being incredibly bad."— SF Debris
Star Trek: Nemesis (or stylized as Star Trek X: Nemesis) is the tenth film in the Star Trek film series, and the fourth and final film to feature the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was the final film to take place in the original Star Trek continuity, with the next film, 2009's Star Trek, being a continuity reboot.
A mysterious person named Shinzon assassinates the Romulan senate, takes control of their empire, and asks that Starfleet send the USS Enterprise-E on a diplomatic mission. When the Enterprise arrives, the crew are shocked to find that Shinzon is not only human, but in fact a clone of Captain Picard. After making a pretence at diplomacy, Shinzon abducts Picard, whose blood he needs to cure a fatal illness, while intending to use a weapon capable of destroying all life on Earth.
- The film blatantly copies some of the plot of the second film. However, Shinzon is a character who's never been seen or mentioned in any prior Star Trek film or episode (unlike Khan), so his need for revenge on the Federation doesn't resonate with the audience.
- Though the film tries to explore the impact one's upbringing has on what a person becomes, it ends up falling flat because the film doesn't take it any further than Picard being a good person because he grew up in a good environment, and Shinzon being a bad person because he grew up in a bad environment.
- The Reman costumes look like generic vampires and feature absurd giant monster fingernails. In several shots it's extremely obvious that these nails make tasks like pressing buttons very difficult.
- Early on we're shown a picture of Picard as a young man: obviously, this is actually a photograph of Tom Hardy to establish that Shinzon looks like young Picard. Unfortunately, we've already seen young Picard several times in Star Trek: The Next Generation, and he had hair.
- There are several other continuity errors of similar type related to the filmmakers forgetting things from the series. One that stands out particularly is that it's stated that various parts of Picard and Shinzon are the same, including their hearts. But Picard has an artificial heart as a result of a near-fatal stabbing in his youth.
- Shinzon's motives are completely nonsensical. He was created by the Romulans, who then consigned him to working in mines and abused him and his Reman friends, but then decides that he not only wants to take over their empire, but help them destroy the Federation and conquer the galaxy. This is at least partly the result of Shinzon's original introductory scene being cut from the finished film; there it was made clear that he didn't really like the Romulans either, but realized that helping them out was the only way he was going to get the Remans treated better.
- Early in the film, the crew discover a simple-minded prototype of Data named B-4. Despite the fact that they'd already encountered an evil version of Data named Lore back in the TV series, they don't find B-4's existence remotely suspicious, and even download all of Data's memories, presumably including classified Starfleet knowledge, into B-4.
- Completely gratuitous car chase sequence when the Enterprise crew go down to the planet where B-4's parts are scattered. It's fairly well-known that Patrick Stewart likes dune buggies, and seemingly the dune buggy scene was some kind of tradeoff to get him in. It is completely out of character for both Picard and Starfleet.
- B-4 adds very little to the plot; he gets caught trying to steal classified information from the Enterprise computers, is shut down, and then doesn't appear again until the very last scene.
- Shinzon keeps making idiotic mistakes throughout the storyline, making him impossible to take seriously as a villain. In particular, he insists on wasting time having dinner with Picard after they first meet, despite only having a week (if that) to live, and then fails to notice that the Enterprise crew have swapped Data for B-4, allowing him to rescue Picard. His plans are also needlessly convoluted: it is, for example, totally unclear why he would put B-4 on a planet full of Mad Max monster-people who shoot guns at anything they see, given this might get Picard killed and remove Shinzon's only hope of survival.
- Then again, Shinzon probably wasn't banking on Picard being stupid enough to insist on leading an away team up against armed hostiles, a task that would be more suited to Riker or Worf - either of whom would usually object to the captain needlessly putting his life at risk like this.
- And when he uses the telepathic abilities of his right-hand man to telepathically rape Counsellor Troi, he gains absolutely nothing by doing this.
- Geordi, Worf, and Dr. Crusher are all badly under-used in what was intended to be their final appearance in the franchise. Crusher, in particular, doesn't even get a single line of dialogue after the final battle begins.
- For some reason, Data goes back to being the completely emotionless android that he was in the TV series, ignoring the fact that he picked up a chip that gave him emotions in Generations and had it in both films prior to this one. There's not even any implication that he ever had the emotion chip.
- Shinzon's ship only takes 7 minutes to charge up enough to kill 1,000 people. If it's assumed this scales linearly, this would have the minor problem that the ship would take about 80 years to charge up enough to kill the population of Earth. The alternative, namely that whoever designed the planet-killing weapon didn't think it might be useful to have a low power setting for when they want to attack something smaller, isn't much better. The system apparently also has to deploy "targeting wings" (which look like some kind of mixmaster attachment) to hit a stationary ship directly in front of it.
- After the Enterprise is crippled while taking out the weapons on Shinzon's ship, Picard insists on beaming over alone to stop him, even though the consequences if he fails will at the very least be the death of everyone on the Enterprise, and possible everyone on Earth too. So that this can happen, the writers forget about the shuttles, the transporters in the shuttles, the transporters in the cargo bays, and the Captain's yacht. It then ends up looking ridiculous as the elderly Picard single-handedly mows down the entire crew of Shinzon's ship, only stopping short of killing himself because he clumsily breaks his rifle during the fight.
- Some of the deaths are very anticlimactic:
- Shinzon's death is very anticlimactic, when he runs into a sharp metal pole that Picard's holding. When he then pulls himself along the pole before dying, it is a bit too similar to The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
- Data gets an even more anticlimactic death than Shinzon, when he jumps through space to get to his ship (which just looks ridiculous), then finds Picard and slaps a one-man transporter device on him to beam him to safety, and destroys Shinzon's ship by shooting the planet-killing weapon. It's so poorly handled, that even one-off characters in the various TV shows have had more effective death scenes.
- The film cops out of Data's death almost immediately, by showing that his memories are starting to surface in B-4 during the final scene.
- This film nearly killed the Star Trek franchise; not helping was the fact that Star Trek: Enterprise was unpopular among fans.
- Stuart Baird's direction isn't that great.
- Some strong scenes between Patrick Stewart as Picard and Tom Hardy as Shinzon.
- Decent action sequences in the climax.
- The special effects are a lot better than they were in the previous film.
- Riker and Troi finally get married, and Riker, after repeatedly passing the chance up in the series, finally takes command of his own ship.
- Good make-up effects on Shinzon's Reman allies.
- Great soundtrack from the late Jerry Goldsmith.
- In fact, this film and Looney Tunes: Back in Action would be the final films he composed before he died in 2004.
- The idea of a nature vs nurture plotline is pretty interesting, despite the lackluster execution.
- The cast still give fantastic performances in their respective roles, and Tom Hardy's performance as Shinzon is at least passable.
- It brings back the Romulans to the film franchise just eleven years after their last appearance in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.
- The scene where Riker comments on how he first saw Data on the holodeck trying to whistle was a nice callback to the TV series' first two episodes, Encounter at Farpoint.
- Decent cinematography.
- The poster looks cool.
Star Trek: Nemesis was released on December 13, 2002, and received mixed reviews from critics, audiences, and fans of the The Next Generation TV series. It became the least successful film in the Star Trek franchise, with criticism aimed at Shinzon being a weak villain and the film's storyline feeling tired. The film currently holds a Metacritic score of 51/100 based on 29 reviews, indicating "mixed or average" reviews, and a 38% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, based on 162 reviews, making it the second-lowest rated film in the franchise, behind Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, with an average rating of 5.2/10; the site's consensus: "Nemesis has an interesting premise and some good action scenes, but the whole affair feels a bit tired."
More significantly, however, the film was a massive box-office failure, failing to even top the charts at its opening weekend (opening in second place behind the Jennifer Lopez comedy Maid in Manhattan), and then experiencing a massive (and at the time, record-breaking) drop in its second weekend in the face of competition from The Wild Thornberrys Movie (another film distributed by Paramount), The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and, to a lesser extent, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and Die Another Day.
Like the previous film, many of the cast have spoken out against the film, and especially director Stuart Baird's work. Tom Hardy, who played Shinzon, was also driven into depression by the film's critical and commercial failure, and to this day refuses to discuss the film in interviews.
In the following years after the film's release, and especially since the release of the more controversial Star Trek Into Darkness and the recent maligned TV shows, consisting of Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard and Star Trek: Lower Decks, many fans have started looking back at the movie more fondly. However, it is still considered to be one of the weaker films in the franchise, if not the weakest.
- Prior to the film's release, producer Rick Berman and writer John Logan were working on a script for an eleventh film, which would have included the casts of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. Following the box-office failure of the film, however, Berman instead started working on an interquel film set prior to the original series, but Paramount rejected this script and replaced Berman with J.J. Abrams, ultimately leading to the 2009 Star Trek reboot film.