Star Trek: Nemesis
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Stuart Baird|
|Produced by||Rick Berman|
|Screenplay by||John Logan|
|Based on||Star Trek
by Gene Roddenberry
|Music by||Jerry Goldsmith|
|Cinematography||Jeffrey L. Kimball|
|Edited by||Dallas Puett|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
Star Trek: Nemesis is a 2002 American science fiction film released by Paramount Pictures. It is the tenth feature film in the Star Trek film franchise and is the fourth and last film of the The Next Generation series to star the main cast of the television program Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was directed by Stuart Baird and written by John Logan (from a story developed by Logan, Brent Spiner, and producer Rick Berman). The crew of the USS Enterprise-E are forced to deal with a threat to the United Federation of Planets from a Reman clone of Captain Picard named Shinzon who has taken control of the Romulan Star Empire in a coup d'état.
Principal photography took place from November 2001 to March 2002. Jerry Goldsmith composed the film's score. The film was released in North America on December 13, 2002. The film received generally mixed reviews, with publications criticizing the film for being the least successful in the Star Trek franchise. The film went on to earn $67,312,826 worldwide, making it a box office disappointment. Following the failure of the film and the cancellation of Star Trek: Enterprise, Berman and Erik Jendresen began development on the unproduced Star Trek: The Beginning. Three years later, Viacom split from CBS Corporation and Paramount eventually rebooted the film series in 2009 with Star Trek by J. J. Abrams.
During a session of the Romulan Imperial Senate, the military offers the plans to join forces with the Reman military and invade the Federation, but the Praetor refuses. One senator excuses herself for a meeting, leaving behind a device that releases a cascade of green radiation, killing the entire remaining Senate. Meanwhile, the crew of the USS Enterprise-E prepares to bid farewell to longtime first officer Commander William Riker and Counselor Deanna Troi, who are being married on Betazed. En route, they discover a positronic energy reading on a planet in the Kolaran system near the Romulan Neutral Zone. Captain Jean-Luc Picard, Lieutenant Commander Worf, and Lieutenant Commander Data land on Kolarus III and discover the remnants of an android resembling Data. When the android is reassembled it reveals its name is B-4, and the crew deduce it to be a less-advanced, earlier version of Data.
Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway orders the crew to conduct a diplomatic mission to Romulus. Janeway informs Picard that the Romulan government has undergone a military coup and is now controlled by a Reman named Shinzon, saying he wants peace with the Federation and to bring freedom to Remus. This is a surprising development as the Romulans had regarded Remans as an undesirable caste used principally as slave labor and shock troops during the Dominion War, due to their long history of prejudice.
Upon their arrival on Romulus, the crew learns that Shinzon is actually a clone of Picard, following a secret experiment conducted by the Romulans to take Picard's place in Starfleet as a spy; however, he and the project were abandoned after a political change in the Romulan government left him cast away to Remus as a slave. It is there that he meets his Reman brethren and effects his rise to power. It was also on Remus where Shinzon constructed his flagship, a heavily armed warship named Scimitar, with a completely undetectable cloaking device, an arsenal of weapons, and virtually impregnable shields.
Though the diplomatic mission seems to go smoothly, the crew discovers that the Scimitar is emitting low levels of extremely dangerous thalaron radiation (the same radiation used to assassinate the Romulan senate), several unauthorized computer accesses take place aboard the Enterprise, and Troi is mentally attacked by Shinzon while she is having sexual intercourse with Riker. Shinzon captures Picard after Beverly has informed him that Shinzon is slowly dying of accelerated aging as a result of his being cloned; the only thing which will restore him is a full transfusion of Picard's blood. Shinzon also transports B-4 aboard the Scimitar, revealing Shinzon was behind the placing of B-4 on Kolarus III to lure Picard to Romulus. However, B-4 reveals himself to actually be Data — he rescues Picard and they make their escape back to their ship. Realizing that the Scimitar is a weaponized thalaron emitter with enough power to destroy all life forms in a fleet of ships as well as an entire planet, Data deduces that Shinzon is using the warship to conquer the Federation and destroy Earth.
The Enterprise races back towards Federation space in accordance with orders from Starfleet to rendezvous with other starships, but is soon ambushed in the Bassen Rift (a region which disrupts subspace communications) by the Scimitar, disabling the Enterprise's warp drive in the process. In the ensuing assault, the Enterprise is outmatched and unable to call for help. Two Romulan warbirds arrive and assist the Enterprise in the battle (the Romulan military having realized they will be held as complicit in Shinzon's genocidal plans), but Shinzon destroys one warbird (a piece of whose starboard wing hits the Enterprise) and disables the other. Refocusing his attention on Picard, Shinzon further damages the Enterprise.
Refusing to surrender, Picard uses his heavily damaged ship to ram the Scimitar, causing moderate damage including disabling the Scimitar's disrupter banks and destroying the Scimitar's shuttlebay. Shinzon then initializes the Scimitar's thalaron weapon in a desperate attempt to take the Enterprise down with him. Picard boards the vessel alone and faces Shinzon. Unable to prevent the weapon's activation, Picard kills Shinzon by impaling him through the abdomen with part of a metallic support strut. Data arrives with a single-use personal transporter, using it to quickly beam the Captain back to the Enterprise before firing his phaser at the thalaron generator and destroying the ship at the cost of his life.
While the severely damaged Enterprise is under repair in a space dock in Earth orbit, Picard bids farewell to newly promoted Captain Riker, who is off to command the USS Titan, to begin a possible peace-negotiation mission with the Romulans. Picard then meets with android B-4, whereupon he discovers that Data had succeeded in copying the engrams of his neural net into B-4's positronic matrix not long before his death. Picard then walks down the Enterprise corridor, smiling with knowledge that one day Data will return.
- Patrick Stewart as Captain Jean-Luc Picard
- Jonathan Frakes as Commander/Captain William T. Riker
- Brent Spiner as Lieutenant Commander Data / B-4
- LeVar Burton as Lieutenant Commander Geordi La Forge
- Michael Dorn as Lieutenant Commander Worf
- Gates McFadden as Doctor Beverly Crusher
Marina Sirtis portrays Counselor Deanna Troi-Riker. According to Sirtis, she was "ecstatic" about the role Troi plays in the movie. She was pleased with the wedding scene, saying that the dress she wore for Nemesis was nicer than the one she wore at her actual wedding. She was happy to work once again with Wil Wheaton and Whoopi Goldberg, but felt that the film would be the last one with the entire cast of The Next Generation, but remained certain that it would not be the last Star Trek film to be made as she thought that Paramount would want to make a film involving a variety of people from the different Star Trek series.
Tom Hardy made his only appearance in the Star Trek franchise as Praetor Shinzon, the leader of the Romulan people. Baird and Berman had been looking for someone who resembled Patrick Stewart but aged about 25 years younger; at one point they had considered Jude Law. Baird specifically wanted an unknown actor, and Hardy auditioned by tape after Stewart asked Hardy's agent if they thought any of their clients were suitable for the role. Hardy was filming Simon: An English Legionnaire in Morocco at the time, and decided against using the requested piece for the audition. Instead, he came into the possession of a full script for Nemesis and used a different part of the script, and filmed it partly nude. He was flown to Los Angeles to do a screen test with Stewart, and Hardy later described his performance there as "appalling". Fortunately, he had recorded himself performing the same piece in a hotel room the night before, and gave that tape to Baird, resulting in his casting as Shinzon a few days later.
Ron Perlman was cast as the Reman Viceroy. He and Hardy became friends on the set, with Perlman saying in an interview eight years after the release of the film, "I loved him when I first met him. I loved working with him. I found him to be really smart, really a great kid."
- Dina Meyer as Romulan Commander Donatra
- John Berg as Romulan Senator
- Kate Mulgrew as Admiral Kathryn Janeway
- Shannon Cochran as Senator Tal'aura
- Jude Ciccolella as Commander Suran
- Alan Dale as Praetor Hiren
- Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher
- Majel Barrett voices the Enterprise's computer
- Stuart Baird voices the Scimitar's computer
- Bryan Singer as Kelly
- Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan (uncredited)
The film was cut by about a third from a much longer running time. Many of the deleted scenes in the movie were "character moments", which served to further the characters' relationships with one another and the reason why they were cut was to put more emphasis on the battle between the Enterprise-E and the Scimitar. Rick Berman has stated that about 50 minutes worth of scenes were filmed, but cut (though not necessarily all of them were usable in a final form). Around seven deleted scenes were included on the DVD when it was first released in 2003, but then when the Special Collector's Edition was released in 2005, around 14 deleted scenes were included.
Nemesis was to have been the first Star Trek film to feature the character of Wesley Crusher (played by Wil Wheaton). His scenes were almost entirely cut from the film, leaving only a brief, silent cameo during the wedding (which itself is only visible in cinemascope presentations, as he sits at the far end of the table). A deleted scene on the collector's-edition DVD features a brief conversation between Wesley and Picard: Wesley, now a lieutenant in operations-division gold, has returned to Starfleet and is a member of Captain Riker's engineering crew on the USS Titan.
Three "extended ending" clips were included on the two-disc edition. The first was Picard talking to Dr. Crusher about her return to Starfleet Medical and Crusher remarking how she works with a bunch of young doctors who are ready to cure the entire quadrant. The second was Geordi and Worf packing Data's possessions in his quarters. As they are cleaning up, Data's cat Spot jumps into Worf's hands and Worf states he is not a cat person. Geordi sees how Spot has taken to Worf and replies, "Looks like you are now." Immediately following this scene is the introduction of the new first officer, Commander Madden, which is included in the deleted scenes of the DVD. The third, titled "The Captain's Chair" features the goodbye scene between Riker and Picard, as well as the introduction of the new Enterprise first officer (Madden). The Captain's chair is newly installed with the special feature of automatic restraint straps that trigger when the ship goes to alert, to which Picard responds with a smile "It's about time!"
In promotional interviews for the film, Patrick Stewart stated that room for a sequel was left as B-4 begins singing "Blue Skies".
Star Trek: First Contact and Insurrection director Jonathan Frakes was not asked to direct the film; he has said that if he had been asked, he would have accepted and he also went on record to say that if he had been offered, the film would have made more money.
Direction and writing
Stuart Baird was brought in to film Nemesis by executive producer Rick Berman. It was the director's third film following US Marshals and Executive Decision, although he had also directed a variety of second units previously. Baird didn't have a background in Star Trek; he was aware of the films and television series but didn't consider himself to be an expert on the subject. Berman explained that Baird should bring "fresh blood" to the film and that he enjoyed "the sense of fun and action that existed in Executive Decision." Baird said in a promotional interview that this resulted in a non-typical Baird film, saying that it was "perhaps a little different from the dynamics of the previous films." He wanted to add energy to the actions scenes and added some scenes, such as the car chase. He called that scene a "signature piece" for the film which turns dark after the crew is put in danger by the inhabitants of the planet.
He also found that the cast would discuss any issues they had with the direction he gave to their characters. Despite Frakes being on the cast, and having directed the previous two Star Trek films, Baird decided not to seek his opinion on the direction of the film. He said that there was resentment on set, as Frakes was completing work on directing the film Clockstoppers as production on Nemesis began. Baird had hoped that Nemesis would be enough of a success that he could consider whether or not to take the lead on a future eleventh Star Trek film.
The make-up team sought to make Hardy look more similar to Stewart by creating latex prosthetics created from moulds of the latter's face. These included numerous versions of noses and chins, and in order to reduce the visible size of Hardy's lips a fake scar was added.
The music to Star Trek: Nemesis was composed and conducted by Jerry Goldsmith, who composed such previous entrees to the franchise as the Academy Award nominated score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Star Trek: First Contact and Star Trek: Insurrection as well as the themes to the television series Star Trek: The Next Generation (arranged by Dennis McCarthy) and Star Trek: Voyager. One of his final works written before his death in 2004, Goldsmith had also previously collaborated with director Stuart Baird in Executive Decision and U.S. Marshalls.
The score opens with airy synthesizers under a trumpet performing an augmented triad before preceding into Alexander Courage's Star Trek: The Original Series fanfare. The score then quickly transitions into a much darker theme to accompany the conflict between the Reman and Romulan empires. Goldsmith also composed a new 5-note theme to accompany the character Shinzon and the Scimitar, which is manipulated throughout the score to reflect the multiple dimensions of the character. The score is book-ended with Goldsmith's theme from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, following a brief excerpt from the song "Blue Skies" by Irving Berlin and the original Star Trek fanfare.
The premiere of Star Trek: Nemesis took place at Mann's Chinese Theatre (best known as Grauman's Chinese Theatre) on Hollywood Boulevard. It was attended by the cast and crew, with the exception of Jonathan Frakes who was away directing the film Thunderbirds. The after party was held in the Kodak Theater complex.
Nemesis was released on December 13, 2002, in direct competition with Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (released November 15, 2002), the 20th James Bond film Die Another Day (released November 22, 2002), and The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (released December 18, 2002). Rick Berman (executive producer of the film) has suggested that Nemesis 's performance may have been negatively affected by "the competition of other films". This poor performance was predicted by reviewers, due to the short period in the film's release before The Two Towers was released.
The film's gross domestic income was the lowest of the franchise at $43,254,409 as of September 2008. It opened at #2 in the US box office ($200,000 behind Maid in Manhattan) and was the first Trek film not to debut as the highest-grossing film of the week. It earned a total of $67,312,826 worldwide, against a production budget of $60 million. Internationally Nemesis, as most previous Star Trek movies, was most financially successful in Germany.
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a rating of 37 percent, based on 157 reviews. This was the second lowest rating behind Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, with an average rating of 5.2/10 with the site's consensus: "Nemesis has an interesting premise and some good action scenes, but the whole affair feels a bit tired." The film has earned a Metacritic score of 50% from 29 reviews, indicating "mixed or average" reviews.
Roger Ebert of the Chicago Sun-Times had mixed feelings about the film, stating, "I'm smiling like a good sport and trying to get with the dialogue ... and gradually it occurs to me that 'Star Trek' is over for me. I've been looking at these stories for half a lifetime, and, let's face it, they're out of gas." Ebert gave the film two out of four stars. Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle said that the film is a "rather hairbrained story that's relieved to a degree only by some striking visual effects and by Patrick Stewart's outstanding presence as Picard". LaSalle complained that Stewart gave Picard "integrity and wry stoicism to Nemesis, but the movie is unworthy of him".
Owen Gleiberman of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a positive review, commenting that the crew "indulge[s] the force of humanity over hardware in a way that George Lucas had forgotten." Gleiberman gave the film a "B-". Stephen Holden of The New York Times said that the film is a "klutzy affair whose warm, fuzzy heart emits intermittent bleats from the sleeve of its gleaming spacesuit". Holden praised the scenes where the Enterprise and the Scimitar ram into each other during the final battle.
Actors LeVar Burton (Geordi La Forge) and Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi) have spoken critically of director Stuart Baird, criticizing him for not watching any of the episodes of The Next Generation. Sirtis has bluntly called Baird "an idiot." Jonathan Frakes voiced similar criticisms of Baird, believing the film would have been much better if he himself had directed (as he had done with the previous two Trek films).
Accolades and nominations
On May 20, 2003, Nemesis was released on DVD in both anamorphic widescreen and full screen editions in Region 1, and it was also released on full screen VHS. This initial release contained an audio commentary by director Stuart Baird, four featurettes on the film's production, seven deleted scenes, a photo gallery, and a preview for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on DVD at Amazon.com. Also on October 4, 2005, Star Trek: Nemesis was released on UMD in widescreen for Region 1 only; it is the only Star Trek ever released on UMD.
The initial release was followed up with a "Special Collector's Edition" in Region 1 on October 4, 2005. Although this two-disc set contained several additional features, it also duplicated some of the features found in the initial release.
The film was released on Blu-ray on September 22, 2009 as part of the Star Trek: The Next Generation Motion Picture Collection in the United States. It was subsequently released individually in Japan and the United Kingdom. The Blu-ray edition contains high definition bonus features not seen on previous DVD releases.
During production of Nemesis, a script developed by John Logan and Brent Spiner was in the works for a fifth and final film featuring the TNG cast that would have wrapped up the adventures of the Enterprise-E crew, with tie-ins to historical aspects of the Star Trek franchise. However, the poor performance of Nemesis at the box office convinced Paramount that the franchise was suffering from 'franchise fatigue', and the script was abandoned.
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