Star Trek has a language and following all its own. For those who are not devotees of the series, the way the characters speak often needs to be decoded, causing the viewer to spend more time trying to figure out what the characters are saying rather then why. After a while, if the story doesn’t make itself clear somehow, the viewer loses interest.
This is important to remember during the latest installment of the ever going “Star Trek” franchise, “Star Trek: Nemesis.” The story follows the “Next Generation” crew and their captain, Jean-Luc Picard (the always wonderful Patrick Stewart). A clone of Picard’s younger self, Shinzon, has somehow overtaken the Romulan senate and wants to make peace. Picard and his crew don’t trust this sneaky “clone,” and are suspicious of his origins and what they portend. Of course, treachery is afoot and the crew must stop the Romulans before they destroy or conquer, well, pretty much everything.
The series has had its up and down moments, ranging from excellent, (“The Wrath of Kahn”), to overly silly (“Star Trek V”). It has also had its share of “we’re running low on new ideas,” and “Nemesis” skirts the edges of that territory.
The film does have a few good action sequences, and some solid acting from Stewart, Brett Spiner as the android Data, and Tom Hardy as Shinzon. Hardy’s performance carries the movie in many of its otherwise sub-par scenes, and he and Stewart give the dialogue a lot of help. But the film is too muddled in “Trek talk” and way too overdramatic at times. Its conclusion is not just easy to predict, but laughable. “Star Trek: Nemesis” is not a bad film, but one that will most likely only leave the ever-devoted “Trekkers” as the only completely-satisfied customers.
Parents should know the film contains some violence, most of it sci-fi oriented. Lots of laser beam shooting occurs, almost all of it bloodless. The villain cuts his hand at one point and gives the bloody knife to Data. The beginning contains a rather intense and scary sequence in which a Romulan places a disk in the senate which lets out “spores” that land on the Romulans. These “spores” make the aliens begin to wither away, and then turn them to stone. One then crashes on the floor. There is also a quite surprising and graphic love scene in which two senior officers who have recently married begin to sleep together. During the scene, Commander Troy begins to see Shinzon instead of her husband, and struggles to get him away from her.
Families who see this film should discuss the many positive messages in the film. “Star Trek” has always been about gaining peace, and unlike many movies now, one gets the sense the crew does try to use the least amount of violence necessary to accomplish this mission. Parents may want to discuss why this is, and point out Picard’s constant reluctance to fight. Parents also should discuss the idea of forgiveness preached in the film. Why does it bother Picard so that this clone reminds him of his former self? Another discussion topic may be how we deal with loss, since a major character does meet his end in this film. Why do Picard and his crew toast their fallen comrade and hide their grief?
Families who enjoyed this movie will also like “Star Trek: First Contact,” “The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Minority Report.”