Treking Across the Universe
Well, this doesn't really belong here, seeing as how this is supposed to be an anime blog, but no one's using this for anything else and Trek has been a big source for both american and japanese culture, so what the heck, I'll give my impressions on Nemesis.
First of all, there's the obligatory joke: Staaarrrrsssssfleeeeeet (If you don't get it, go play the Resident Evil game of the same subtitle).
More seriously though, the movie did some things right and some things wrong. It's good to see Riker finally getting out from under Picard's umbrella. It's bad to see that some of the Trek cast have aged rather ungracefully. It's especially bad to see that Data seems to have reverted to uber-scientist mode, spewing huge words and techno-jargon that's completely unnecessary. What happened to all the progress he made in humanity? He's NEVER talked this stereotypically during any movie or TV show. On the good side for him, he finally managed to pull a Spock, completing the parallel between the two (I won't say what kind of Spock he pulled out of spoiler reasons, but if you've seen this movie, let's just say you know what the next movie's gonna be called).
Also on the good side is the parallel between Picard and Data and both of their nemesis... nemesii... nemesises... what's the plural of nemesis? (that reminds me, if you haven't seen Mystery Men, do so now, it's a great super-hero parody that doesn't get enough credit) Anyway, whatever it is, it's good. Picard takes the relationship with his nemesis a bit too seriously, but that's excusable since without that there wouldn't be a movie.
Now for some bad. The bad science is in full force (even worse than Voyager usually is... do the movies always have to have even worse science than the shows?). That wouldn't be so bad alone, but it violates VERY important Trek lore about cloaking devices: namely, that you can't use both a cloaking device and shields and weapons at the same time (well, to be honest, ocasionally they'll figure out how to use weapons and a cloak at the same time, but only in prototype ships and they sure can't get shields to work too). This is IMPORTANT! Without that restriction, the Romulans would have trashed the Federation centuries ago! Not to mention the fact that it invalidates dozens of episodes and several previous movies where that most important of restrictions is a key point.
Oh, and let's not forget the fighting. Besides several obviously tacked-on fight scenes (several of which were rather boring)... why has the Enterprise lost the ability to quarantine enemies in internal force fields? I don't get it. And why was Picard's strategy of ramming the Enterprise into the enemy a surprise? Oh, sorry, I spoiled it for you... get over it! He's used that thing as a battering ram in half his movies and tries to do it at least once every season of the show. I mean, really, when his ship gets beaten down and he's out of options, EVERY captain uses ramming speed. It's a sci-fi tradition, and I can't think of a single captain who hasn't done it several times.
I won't bother talking about the silliness of the Romulan politics. Bad politics is kind of a given, right along with bad science.
In conclusion, Nemesis is a pretty good sci-fi movie with great effects that's a bit over-fond of using them. It steers clear of the most obvious cliches but fails to do anything really incredible. The plot and moral conflict is good and interesting, but not interesting enough to carry the movie. In short, the plot is a great hook, but when you leave the theatre you'll be talking about how cool that ship looked and how great the space battle was, not how interesting the story was.
I once said that the reason I was so critical of Star Trek is that it is supposed to be the pinnacle of science fiction, and I expect it to live up to that standard. The response was that Star Trek IS the pinnacle of science fiction. Upon consideration, I've realized that it's true. Now I just wish that pinnacle was higher: I feel like we've been flying sci-fi at half mast for the past eight years (more or less when Voyager premiered).
Posted by David at December 14, 2002 10:52 PM