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
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.
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?)
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
for the ages
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.
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.
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
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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