DVD Review HTF REVIEW: Star Trek: Nemesis - Special Collector's Edition

Discussion in 'DVD' started by Scott Kimball, Sep 30, 2005.

  1. Scott Kimball

    Scott Kimball Screenwriter

    May 8, 2000
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    Star Trek: Nemesis - Special Collector's Edition

    Studio: Paramount

    Year: 2002

    Rated: PG-13

    Length: 116 minutes

    Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1, Anamorphically Enhanced

    Audio: DTS, Dolby Digital English 5.1

    English Subtitles

    Closed Captioned

    Special Features: Two Audio Commentaries, One Text Commentary, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes, Galleries, Trailers, etc.

    Suggested Retail Price: $19.99 USD

    Release Date: October 4, 2005

    Where does one begin an analysis of Star Trek: Nemesis? There are just so many things wrong with this film.

    One might start with the script, since it is the thing that is most wrong with this film - which is a surprise coming from a writer like John Logan - who is not only a talented screenwriter, but a Star Trek fan as well. It seems that John Logan, Rick Berman and Brent Spiner, who all share story credit on this one, misdirected this film at the wrong audience. Trek fans want Trek, not some hyped-up, modern Bond-ish version of Trek, but our Trek.

    I lost respect for the film early on. I forgave the gushy wedding scene... the TNG films have had a habit of starting off with some sappy scene or other. But afterward, when we see aging Jean-Luc Picard racing across an alien desert in an armed (but not armored - which would have been nice, since they end up being shot at...) SUV, wearing stupid looking sunglasses and an equally stupid grin (so against character)... I asked myself, “Is this Star Trek?”

    So Picard, Data and Worf have a perfectly good little spacecraft (this ain’t your father’s shuttlecraft), fully capable of flying the away team to the various locations needed to pick up scattered remains of an android (which, by the way, were picked up on sensors from how many light-years away??), but no... they gotta take out the RV.

    Back to the picking up android remains on sensors from far far away deal... if that’s so, how ever did the Enterprise ever hide behind a moon or in a nebula from any number of alien species in the past if Data’s posi-traction - er, positronic - brain could give their location away so easily?

    But I digress.

    The RV thing must have been slipped in for the young’ns in the audience... the ones who the studios fear can’t follow a plot, so they stick all the meaningless fast cars and stunts in to keep their attention focused.

    With these new Bond-like gadgets (new ship, new RV), all they need is a character called “Q” to.... err... never mind.

    So, after the team collects bits of android parts that look amazingly like Commander Data, the viewer, already knowing that this isn’t the “A-Story,” begins to piece together the forthcoming obvious plot device, which I won’t divulge in case you’re one of the three people back on planet Earth who didn’t see it coming...

    I don’t want to spoil it for you.

    That would be bad.

    There really is an “A” story. It could be the upheaval of the Romulan Empire, and how that will affect the Federation... Sadly, it isn’t. It’s about this guy, who isn’t really Romulan (or “Reman,” for that matter) and who looks a lot like Picard - he wants to kill Picard and crew. Oh, and maybe destroy Earth, too. The reasons are convoluted, at best - and further plot points will be spoiled if I try to explain further.

    Imagine The Wrath of Kahn, only take away any backstory that makes sense. That’s what the “A” story is.

    Most people have heard about the starship crash, so I don’t think I’m giving anything away. Even if you haven’t heard about it, other than being an excuse for cool visual and sound effects, it isn’t terribly interesting. It comes down to this... Picard, apparently still under the influence of the adrenaline rush from his earlier race across the desert in his RV, decides to play chicken with a very expensive piece of Starfleet hardware. We never see Admiral Janeway’s reaction to that (yes, the Janeway, from Voyager, has somehow been promoted to Admiral, after years away from traditional Starfleet service).

    Skipping past the script, director Stuart Baird was never able to find a rhythm with this film. Perhaps that can be blamed on the script, as well... I don’t know. The way the film is cut together seems too deliberate, allowing no real tension to develop. While Picard may have been on the edge of his seat when playing chicken with the Enterprise, I was falling asleep on the couch.

    I can’t forget the performances. Patrick Stewart can do wonders with inane dialog, but even this was a stretch for him. Brent Spiner plays his android character for laughs too often, presenting us with an oxymoron - a purely logical being who has to be reminded to focus on the task at hand, rather than converse with the disembodied head of his android twin. I half expected to hear the line, “Alas, poor Yorick...”, given Trek’s penchant for Shakespeare. While Data has learned a bit about emotion and humor in the films, he himself has become the joke. It’s a long slide from the character he was in the television series.

    And then there is Tom Hardy as Praetor Shinzon, Picard’s foil. He delivers every line with an eerily subdued urgency, whether the moment calls for it or not. He’s got one note, and he uses it well - but he has no song.

    Nemesis is the worst film of the Star Trek franchise, and it seems that it may be the final note in the long and storied verse of Star Trek. It’s too bad that final note is so far off-key.

    A Word About Packaging
    My screener came in the dreaded Scanavo 2-up package. Disc two was floating when the package arrived. It was scratched, but playable. Whatever cost savings might be seen by this packaging can’t be worth the floaters, scratched discs and end-user aggravation. This packaging style is a disgrace.

    Viewscreen On
    Nemesis is presented in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1, and is anamorphically enhanced.

    The image has good definition, being sharp and nicely detailed most of the time. Colors are well saturated and accurate, with the exception of a scene or two where there were stylized colors used for effect. I noticed no compression artifacts or oversharpening.

    The print is clean and free of distracting defects.

    I don’t have the original release to compare to, but I can say with some certainty that this release is more detailed than the Insurrection rerelease.

    Hailing Frequencies
    The audio is well presented on this release. There is a choice of DTS or Dolby Digital 5.1. Both tracks present an engaging soundfield with good definition and channel separation. Frequency response is very good, with excellent use of surrounds. Music sounds excellent.

    The DTS track gets a slight edge in LFE and channel separation, but both tracks are well done.

    Special Features

    The special features are not anamorphically enhanced - and unfortunately, much of the new interview footage looks disappointingly soft.

    Much of the material in the featurettes is superficial and repetitive, though there are a few gems.

    There are two audio commentaries included - one by director Stuart Baird, the other by producer Rick Berman.

    Baird talks about the film from the director’s perspective, obviously. He talks about editorial decisions, effects shots, the fact that he was not overly familiar with Trek, etc.

    Berman talks about budget saving devices, story construction, disagreements with Baird, effects shots, etc.

    Both commentaries offer something of interest, but both have stretches of silence as well. I think one combined commentary may have been more interesting.

    There is also the usual text commentary by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda, providing valuable little bits of trivia.

    Nemesis Revisited (25:44)

    or - “Reminiscences of a Reunion.”
    In this love-fest, the principle actors recall the reunion, friendships, their special bonds, etc. At one point, Marina Sirtis says, “The friendships are actually more important than the work, now.” John Logan talks about having started with rough ideas... he wanted to have a starship crash, for instance... and they wrote the story around the ideas. Personally, I think the ideas expressed in this featurette are some of the reasons the film was a failure.

    New Frontiers: Stuart Baird on Directing Nemesis (8:42)
    Stuart Baird prefaces this featurette by saying that, prior to taking the helm on Nemesis, he hadn’t seen the other Star Trek films, and that sci-fi wasn’t “his genre”. He talks about casting Shinzon and the main themes of the film.

    Storyboarding the Action (3:37)
    Conceptual Artist Tom Southwell talks about mapping out scenes in storyboards. There are some storyboard to scene comparisons.

    Red Alert! Shooting the Action of Nemesis (10:08)
    An exploration by cast and crew of the primary action scenes - the desert chase, the battle between Riker and the Viceroy, the ship crash, etc... not very deep in detail, but somewhat entertaining. We do see glimpses of raw model shots and CGI shots that went into the crash footage.

    Build and Rebuild (7:44)
    Herman Zimmerman, Cherie Baker and Penny Juday talk about set designs and art design. Nice. Unfortunately, Zimmerman’s contribution is limited to only a minute or so.

    Four-Wheeling in the Final Frontier (10:14)
    All about the real cars behind the desert chase scene.

    Shinzon Screen Test (6:29)
    Hardy’s screen test with Patrick Stewart - the dinner scene.

    The Star Trek Universe
    A Star Trek Family’s Final Journey (16:16)

    Much of the same territory is explored as in “Nemesis Revisited,” but there is also a more serious look at the construction of the story.

    A Bold Vision of the Final Frontier (10:17)
    Stuart Baird talks about set design, storyboarding, action shots, shaking the bridge, the Romulan Senate, the death scene, etc. Not bad, but I would rather this and other featurettes be less broad and more deep.

    The Enterprise E (11:36)
    Herman Zimmerman, John Eaves, Scott Herbertson and others talk about models and set design relating to the Enterprise E. This is the best featurette of the bunch for those who are into the nuts and bolts and tech.

    The Romulan Empire
    Romulan Lore (11:51)

    An exploration of the Romulans, from the original series to Nemesis and Enterprise.

    Shinzon and the Viceroy (10:00)
    Rick Berman introduces this featurette about the villains of Nemesis. Tom Hardy (Shinzon) and Ron Perlman (Viceroy) contribute their thoughts on their characters.

    Romulan Design (9:05)
    A discussion of the matte paintings, models and CGI that brought Romulus and the Romulan ships to life.

    The Romulan Senate (8:57)
    The design of the senate is discussed by Herman Zimmerman and others.

    The Scimitar (13:14)
    Herman Zimmerman and John Eaves talk about the design of the Scimitar, and starship design in general. Nice and detailed.

    Deleted Scenes
    Rick Berman Intro
    Wesley’s New Mission
    Chateau Picard, 2267
    The Time of Conquest
    Data and B-4
    Federation Protocols
    The Chance for Peace
    A Loss of Self
    Remember Him? (Extended)
    Turbolift Violation
    Sickbay Prepares for Battle
    Cleaning Out Data’s Quarters
    Crusher at Starfleet Medical
    Advice for the New First Officer

    These scenes are available with a “Play All” feature and have a total running time of 27:12, inclusive of a few scene introductions by cast or crew.

    The Archives section contains three stills galleries: Storyboards, Production and Props

    Teaser Trailer (1:36)
    Theatrical Trailer (2:06)
    Borg Invasion Trailer (:32)

    Final Thoughts

    This, likely the last installment of The Next Generation films, ends the series on a down note. The film gets a solid transfer and hours of extras which, while not terribly deep, should keep fans of this film entertained for a few hours. Those who are fans of this film will find much to like in this edition, I’m sure.
  2. Nelson Au

    Nelson Au Executive Producer

    Mar 16, 1999
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    Wow, very detailed review! And interesting point of view regarding how this film was misdirected to the wrong audience.

    When the first DVD release of this film came out, it was a "Widescreen Edition", with director commentary and deleted scenes, of course not all of them, and other materials. At that time, I was sure there would be no Special Edition DVD given the film's poor box office performance and fan reaction. Well, I was wrong and here it is!
  3. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

    Jan 22, 1999
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    Real Name:
    Aaron Silverman
    Does this edition include all of the features that were included in the original release?

    I actually liked this film -- it wasn't *great*, but I found it decent enough to continue the "even-numbered Trek films are the good ones" trend. Then again, I am really not a fan of The Next Generation material in general (I still believe that Generations is the worst Trek film by such a wide margin that it's not even worth discussing), which is probably why the deviations from those conventions didn't bother me so much.

    BTW, excellent review, even if my opinion of the film is different. [​IMG]
  4. Bill Williams

    Bill Williams Screenwriter

    May 28, 2003
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    Another excellently-written review, Scott!

    To answer your question, Aaron, virtually everything that was on the previous single-disc release is on this new version, the sole exceptions being the original set's photo gallery and the trailers for the STAR TREK Experience and THE OTHERS. Not to mention that wonderful CGI menu animation of the Enterprise versus the Scimitar. Y'know you gotta keep your previous disc just for those little goodies! [​IMG]
  5. Aaron Silverman

    Aaron Silverman Executive Producer

    Jan 22, 1999
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    Real Name:
    Aaron Silverman
    Actually, I never got around to picking it up (although I too figured there wouldn't be an eventual SE). [​IMG] Just curious.
  6. David_Blackwell

    David_Blackwell Screenwriter

    Jan 30, 2004
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    I did find an easter egg featurette (it's on director Bryan Singer's cameo in the movie).
  7. paul_austin

    paul_austin Second Unit

    Jun 16, 2002
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    I dont mind Nemesis that much ...it should have been much much better but I do love the battle scenes in it. But jesus one thing that boggles my mind everytime...is that retarded dune buggy sequence...i mean wtf were they thinking? People mock the campfire scene from STV but at least that is a good character moment...and noone acted completely out of character.
  8. RogerH

    RogerH Supporting Actor

    Oct 28, 2004
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    I'll be picking this one up next week.
  9. RickER

    RickER Producer

    Jan 4, 2003
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    Tulsa, Oklahoma
    Real Name:
    The Dune buggie thing made me wince as much as the joy stick from the floor, and song and shuttle dance number from Insurrection. Oh, and you gotta love the new dim witted Data character. Glad we didn't loose Data after all...not.
  10. paul_austin

    paul_austin Second Unit

    Jun 16, 2002
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    ok lets just sit down and examine the B-4 nonsense. Brent Spiner had been saying for a while that he didnt like the idea that he was aging and data didnt age....data should show no signs of aging...ok thats fine. But lets say Nemesis didnt completely tank and Spiner comes back as B-4, doesnt this put him in exactly the same situation? Hell I know he had something to do with this script so that means this crap was his idea. I guess him saying that data shouldn't age was all contract negotiation stuff. LOL it's like they just couldn't commit to anything.
    Stuart Baird's commentary on the original (which is retained) was awfull because he just didnt seem to know anything about Star Trek, now the director doesn't have to be a superfan or anything but wow, he should have a passing familularity with it. I just remember being very underwealmed by it. I will of course be picking this up this week. LOL
  11. Generally speaking, the more work an actor is getting outside the franchise, the more likely they are to ask for an exit. (Computer, Arch!)

    Since Spiner can be seen on TV and in movies on a semi-regular basis, you might wonder if he wasn't looking for a graceful exit from the franchise.

    Data's changing appearance could have easily been explained as deliberate cosmetic alterations to reflect his growing maturity.

    Producers, always looking to keep their options open, might have inserted the B-4 angle.

    The irony is, it doesn't look like it will matter one way or the other.
  12. Shane Dodson

    Shane Dodson Stunt Coordinator

    May 7, 1999
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    I'll definitely be picking this one up next week. This and FIRST CONTACT are my favorite TNG film outings.

    If memory serves, this one came out the same weekend that THE TWO TOWERS opened, which might explain the lackluster box office returns. That being said, this is quite a step up from INSURRECTION, with a story that actually engages the intellect, and action sequences that give the franchise a shot of adrenaline it sorely needed (I'm guessing that is perhaps the main reason why Stuart Baird was hired to helm this one).

    No, it's not a perfect ST film. The characterizations are pretty weak (aside from Picard and Data, but that's no surprise). The aforementioned "RV" sequence is a bit of a hiccup in the narrative. However, I enjoyed Tom Hardy's performance as the villain (the best ST villain since Khan, IMO)...and the whole 'Romulan/Reman' angle was interesting and fresh. NEMESIS also boasts the best space battle of any ST film (FIRST CONTACT had the opening 'Borg' free-for-all, but that was frustratingly short).

    I know my love for this film isn't shared by most, but that's fine. I thought the TNG crew went out on a high note with this one, and I'm happy to have it in my collection.


    - S.D.
  13. DougFND

    DougFND Second Unit

    Jan 13, 2004
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    I believe it opened the week before The Two Towers. Nemesis opened the same weekend as the J Lo flick "The Wedding Planner". Nemesis came in second and it was all downhill from there.
  14. Jay Pennington

    Jay Pennington Screenwriter

    Apr 18, 2003
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    They established just that sort of thing, (an "aging algorithym" or somesuch), late in the TV series.
  15. Bill Thomann

    Bill Thomann Supporting Actor

    Nov 2, 2003
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    Great review although I like the movie a lot more than you do. My copy shipped tonight from bestbuy.com (along with Cinderella & The Fog). I pray it isn't in one of those dreaded Scanavo cases. I'll have to try to find a 2 disc that matches up with the rest to transfer it into.
  16. Sebastien S

    Sebastien S Second Unit

    Jul 17, 2003
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    Me too. I never truly understood why so many hated this movie? It's my 4th favorite Trek movie after "First Contact", "Undiscovered Country" & "Wrath of Khan".

    Personnaly, the one I like the least is the first movie (The Motion Picture). It's just too long and drags on forever. Only at the very end can you say, "Oh, I get it... Big whoop!"

    I do agree with one thing though, the "Data" character get's used for jokes waaaaaaaay too much! However, that started back in "Generations"... Ever since they gave him that damn emotion chip, he became a bad stand up comic ("Mr. Tricorder" anybody?)!

    In the series, what was funny was that people would tell jokes and try as he might, he just didn't get it.

    Though I do like this movie, I agree that it's not a fitting end to TNG... They deserve a better send off and for some reason, I always thought they would make 6 TNG movies like they did with the original cast... I can think of a few ways that they could bring Data back.

    Anyway, I have already pre-ordered this title. I never picked up the original because I just knew they would eventually make all Trek movies into CE including this one.
  17. Jason Hughes

    Jason Hughes Supporting Actor

    Oct 17, 1998
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    Real Name:
    Jason Hughes

  18. I think the answer lies in a feeling among many fans that the movie was 'Fake Trek' instead of Star Trek.

    The emphasis on 'exciting' RV segments, Bond-like brawling, juvenile mass destruction, and cheap character deaths came at the cost of ST values and expected ST character moments.

    I believe some in the industry may have learned the wrong lesson from First Contact.

    That movie did have a fairly high action level, but it also paid homage to ST history (for the fans) and included the expected ST message (violence begets violence, revenge is a downward spiral).
  19. PeterTHX

    PeterTHX Cinematographer

    Dec 30, 2002
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    People bash it because it's "geek chic" to bash it. Anything Rick Berman produces HAS to be bad these days, right?

    Bombed at the boxoffice because of the Trekkers who DID NOT SEE IT FOR THEMSELVES yet said it stunk anyway.

    Worst Trek? Not by a long shot.

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