SECTION FIVE
MOVIE REVIEW

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COLUMN EIGHTY-FOUR, FEBRUARY 1, 2003
(Copyright 2003 The Blacklisted Journalist)


STAR TREK: NEMESIS
(Copyright - 2002 Joe Viglione)

For fans of the original Jeffrey Hunter/William Shatner-spawned Star Trek, there is something unsettling about The Next Generation, and fifteen years after bringing a bit of Star Trek back to television, the forced acting of Patrick Stewart, Marinia Sirtis and Jonathan Frakes, the three major stars, becomes tedious. The stiff Kate Mulgrew with her even stiffer stiff upper lip comes across more human and is a welcome sight (though she was so out of place on Voyager) which means that if the plot and the effects are decent, we Trekkies (we original Star Trek fans will ALWAYS be Trekkies, NOT Trekkers) will put up with it.

Let's start with what is good about this film.  It is a wonderful parody of 1950's black & white science fiction films, and that is its strength.  Beauty & The Beast's Ron Perlman as Viceroy is lost in the makeup, though---you only know it is Linda Hamilton's buddy when you see the credits.  ANYONE could have played Viceroy, so why waste a valuable performer inside a Halloween costume?  The sets are marvelous, but we expect that, and the contrast of the bad make-up vs. the stunning visuals is the real dilemma.

Gene Rodenberry can't be happy about his visionary series of Gospel-like lessons on life copping the riffs of boring incidentals like Babylon 5.  Star Trek was supposed to go where no man has gone before, but Deep Space Nine was less than Martin Landau meeting Leonard Nimoy on a Science Fiction version of TJ Hooker, and the name of Scott Bakula's new show escapes me, let alone the time it is on (is it still on?)

Tom Hardy's villain, Shinzon, is more Clockwork Orange Roddy McDowell in the Nexus than Star Wars: Attack Of The Clones, while a clone of Picard as well as a pre-sprout model of Data---Brent Spiner's dual role with the B-4 character,  could have been written and put together so much better.  What can you expect when we have the editor of Superman and Superman II directing this, so Hollywood once again graduates its own rather than finding people with fresh ideas to put some life into the series.

When a studio implies that Nemesis will be the last feature film with The Next Generation, one has to wonder how much faith they had in this installment to begin with?  It is a watered down version of their best epic, the battle with the queen of the Borg, and in the years to come, fans may find themselves replaying the earlier classic rather than watching this.

Star Trek Fans can come up with glorious ideas that would make Rodenberry proud, but the people currently in charge are more content to ride the name into the ground and let the cash cow keep the milk flowing. They are killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

Sure this is ten times the film John Travolta's travesty that was L. Ron Hubbard's attempt at Sci-Fi was, but that's not what Star Trek or its own clone, Star Wars, is supposed to be about---cold clocking the competition but not able to move further into its own immortality.

Dina Meyer is excellent as Romulan Commander Donatra while Majel Barrett is hard to find, and was that little Will sitting next to Gates McFadden at the boring, tired ceremony for Riker and Troi? LeVar Burton is better with his ray-gun glasses on " la The X Men, and the disintegration of the Romulan council reminds us of the old Batman movie with Adam West where Cat Woman, Joker, Riddler and Penguin would change the human form into dust!  Whoopi Goldberg adds so much to any film, why limit her here?

The bottom line is, we love Star Trek so much we allow for the insipid interaction between The Next Generation family.  Shatner/Nimoy/Kelley were tough to take when they were sappy, but


This is
nothing
for the ages


forcing their sequels to be as cutesy is just insulting to the long-time fans. Yes, it is good two-hour Science Fiction entertainment, better than Bakula's Enterprise (OK, I had to look up the title on the All Movie Guide), and Babylon 5 and Deep Space Nine, but it is hardly THE X MEN, and Patrick Stewart is the PERFECT Professor X.

The perfect Professor X is hardly Captain Kirk or Christopher Pike, and even Scott Bakula would have been more fun had they integrated Quantum Leap into the Star Trek series.  We fans are not asking for imagination, for it is clear Hollywood has none; we are asking for a mind-meld of what we love from the past, the best elements of Star Trek, Quantum Leap, Star Wars, and The Thing From Another World.

Unfortunately, all we have is two hours of entertainment and nothing for the ages.  It sure beats John Travolta looking like an escapee from Planet Of The Apes (oh, the dune buggy scene is somewhat like the new 007 Die Another Day battle-of-the-bulge beginning, and the film textures with Picard, Whorf and Data driving over the desert sands is actually quite fun and reminiscent of Planet Of The Apes) but Gene Rodenberry must be about as pleased with this as Jesus is with Boston's Cardinal Law, which is to say Rodenberry must be CRINGING.  Didn't Melanie sing "Look what they've done to my song, ma?"  Gene Rodenberry is wondering, "Look what they've done to my franchise, Majel."

Fun Science Fiction but not Star Trek at its best. Then again, the first Star Trek film with Shatner & Company lacked something too, didn't it?  It's time to return to Talos IV.  This writer has an idea to script the best actors from Next Generation and the original series (those still living) for a big screen epic RETURN TO TALOS IV. But alas, Rick Berman and company wouldn't know what the hell to do with it.  Guess I'll get to work on it for the purists.  Going back to the roots is what this series needs, and some new blood. Many of the individuals involved with Star Trek need to be shown the door before it can continue.  Unlike The Catholic Church, Star Trek still has a chance.  ##

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