Star Trek: Nemesis
Star Trek: Nemesis is a 2002 American science-fiction film directed by Stuart Baird. It is the tenth film in the Star Trek film series, as well as the fourth and final film to star the cast of Star Trek: The Next Generation. It was written by John Logan from a story developed by Logan, Brent Spiner, and producer Rick Berman. In the film, which is set in the 24th century, the crew of the USS Enterprise-E are forced to deal with a threat to the United Federation of Planets from a clone of Captain Picard named Shinzon, who has taken control of the Romulan Star Empire in a coup d'état.
|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|
|Box office||$67.3 million|
Principal photography for the film took place from November 2001 to March 2002. The film was released in North America on December 13, 2002 by Paramount Pictures, and received generally mixed reviews, with publications criticizing it for being the least successful in the franchise. The film went on to earn $67 million worldwide, making it a box office flop.
On Romulus, members of the Romulan Imperial Senate debate whether to accept the terms of peace and alliance with the Reman rebel leader Shinzon. The Remans are a slave race of the Romulan Empire, used as miners and as cannon fodder. A faction of the military is in support of Shinzon, but the Praetor and Senate are opposed to an alliance. After rejecting the motion, the Praetor and remaining senators are disintegrated by a device left in the room by a military-aligned senator.
Meanwhile, the crew of the USS Enterprise prepare to bid farewell to 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 introduces itself as B-4. The crew deduce it to be a less advanced, early version of Data.
Vice Admiral Kathryn Janeway contacts Picard and orders the Enterprise on a diplomatic mission to nearby Romulus. Janeway explains that the Romulan Empire has been taken over in a military coup by Shinzon, who says he wants peace with the Federation and to bring freedom to Remus. On arrival, they learn Shinzon is a clone of Picard, secretly created by the Romulans to plant a high-ranking spy into the Federation. The project was abandoned when Shinzon was still a child and he was left on Remus to die as a slave. After many years, Shinzon became a leader of the Remans, and constructed his heavily armed flagship, the Scimitar. Initially, diplomatic efforts go well, but the Enterprise crew discover that the Scimitar is producing low levels of thalaron radiation, which is what had been used to kill the Imperial Senate and is deadly to nearly all life forms. There are also unexpected attempts to communicate with the Enterprise computers, and Shinzon himself violates Troi's mind through the telepathy of his Reman viceroy.
Dr. Crusher discovers that Shinzon is aging rapidly because of the process used to clone him, and the only possible means to stop it is a transfusion of Picard's blood. Shinzon kidnaps Picard from the Enterprise, as well as B-4, having planted the android on the nearby planet to lure Picard to the Border. However, Data reveals he has swapped places with B-4, rescues Picard, and returns with Picard to the Enterprise. They have now seen enough of the Scimitar to know that Shinzon plans to use the warship to invade the Federation using its thalaron-radiation generator as a weapon, with the eradication of all life on Earth being his priority.
The Enterprise races back to Federation space but is ambushed by the Scimitar in the Bassen Rift, a region that prevents any subspace communications. Two Romulan Warbirds come to the aid of the Enterprise, not wanting to be complicit in Shinzon's plans, but Shinzon destroys one and disables the other. Recognizing the need to stop the Scimitar at all costs, Picard orders the Enterprise to ram it. The collision leaves both ships heavily damaged and destroys most of the Scimitar's primary weapons. Shinzon orders the Scimitar to back away, then activates the thalaron weapon. Picard boards the Scimitar to face Shinzon alone, and eventually kills him by impaling him on a metal strut. With the Enterprise transporters damaged, Data jumps the distance between the two ships with a personal transporter to get Picard back to the Enterprise and then sacrifices himself when he fires his phaser at the thalaron generator, destroying the Scimitar. The crew mourn Data, and the surviving Romulan commander offers them her gratitude for saving the Empire.
On the Enterprise, now back at Earth drydock for extensive repairs, Picard bids farewell to the newly promoted Captain Riker, who is leaving to command the USS Titan and begin a possible peace negotiation mission with the Romulans. Picard meets with B-4, and discovers that Data had downloaded the engrams of his neural net into B-4's positronic matrix before he boarded the Scimitar. Picard leaves B4's quarters walking down a corridor smiling, knowing 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 as 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. She remained certain that it would not be the last Star Trek film to be made however, as she thought that Paramount would want to make a film involving a variety of people from the different Star Trek series.
- Tom Hardy as Praetor Shinzon, the leader of the Reman 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 he thought any of his 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". However, he had recorded himself performing the same piece in a hotel room the night before, and gave that tape to Baird, resulting in his being cast as Shinzon a few days later.
- Ron Perlman as the Reman Viceroy.
- Perlman 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 (non-speaking role, apart from a deleted scene)
- Majel Barrett voices the Enterprise's computer
- Stuart Baird voices the Scimitar's computer
- Bryan Singer as Kelly (uncredited)
- Whoopi Goldberg as Guinan (uncredited)
Development and filmingEdit
Principal photography began in December 2001 in Southern California. 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; 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; 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 visible only 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 featured 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 one showed 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".
Direction and writingEdit
Stuart Baird was brought in to direct Nemesis by executive producer Rick Berman. It was Baird's third film following US Marshals and Executive Decision, although he had directed a variety of second units previously. Baird did not have a background in Star Trek; he was aware of the films and television series but did not consider himself an expert on the subject. Berman explained that Baird would bring "fresh blood" to the film and that Berman had 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 action scenes and added some set pieces, 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 in 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 no resentment on set, noting that Frakes was completing work on directing Clockstoppers at the time and so likely could not have taken on directing Nemesis even if Baird had not been given the job. Baird had hoped that Nemesis would be enough of a success that he could consider whether 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 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 previous entries in the franchise, such 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 the final works written before his death in 2004, Goldsmith had also previously collaborated with Baird on Executive Decision and U.S. Marshals.
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.
—Roger Ebert, writing for the Chicago Sun-Times
Review aggregation website Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a critic rating of 38%, based on 162 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 51 out of 100 based on 29 critics, 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 harebrained 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 "integrity and wry stoicism to Nemesis, but the movie [was] 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.
In 2019, Screen Rant ranked a character introduced in this film, Donatra, as the 2nd most important Romulan of the Star Trek franchise. They note that Donatra, while overall a high ranking Romulan and participant in the antagonists plot, ultimately did not approve of eradication of Earth life and in the end helped the Enterprise.
Actors LeVar Burton and Marina Sirtis have spoken unflatteringly of Baird, criticizing him for not watching any of the episodes of The Next Generation. Sirtis has bluntly called Baird "an idiot." Jonathan Frakes, while praising both the character of Shinzon and actor Tom Hardy, said that if he himself had directed, as he had done with the previous two Trek films, he would have made the film less villain-centric and given more screen time to the regular Next Generation cast.
The premiere of Star Trek: Nemesis took place at 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.
On May 20, 2003, Nemesis was released on DVD in both anamorphic widescreen and full screen editions in Region 1, and was also released on VHS. The initial DVD 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.
Cancelled sequel and upcoming television seriesEdit
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.
On August 4, 2018, Star Trek: Picard, featuring Patrick Stewart as Jean-Luc Picard was announced. The series, which will be set twenty years after the events of Nemesis, is being developed for CBS All Access. This will be the first canon Star Trek property to take place following the events of Nemesis.
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