Commander Will Ryker: Just when I thought it couldn't get any worse....
Star Trek Nemesis is the tenth movie in the Star Trek film series, released in 2002.This movie is the big-screen Grand Finale for the Next Generation crew.After a coup, the new leader of the ever-secretive Romulan government makes an offer of peace to The Federation. Our heroes find out that this new leader, Shinzon, is a younger clone of Picard, the by-product of a botched Romulan plot. At first Shinzon's intentions seem honest, but they quickly turn malicious for convoluted medical reasons. There's also a subplot about a prototype of Data, B4, which serves as a counterpoint to Picard's identity struggles.See here for a more detailed recap.Insurrection's poor reception indicated a downward-spiral for the franchise and Nemesis was supposed to be a good sendoff for the TNG crew, much like how The Undiscovered Country was to the TOS cast. Unfortunately, it turned out to be the lowest grossing Trek film to date becoming the temporaryFranchise Killer. It also broke the Star Trek Movie Curse, being the first even-numbered film to be considered "bad" among fans.Nemesis is also the last Star Trek film set in the prime universe.
Tropes seen in Nemesis include:
Alas, Poor Villain: Yes, his motives were unclear, his tactical expertise was debatable (see Informed Ability below), and he wanted to kill everyone on Earth, but there's no denying that Shinzon's life sucked. He was created sorely to be a tool of war, and through no fault of his own, he was eventually condemned to a lifetime of back-breaking labor in a hellish mine. And even though he managed to overthrow his captors and the entire Romulan leadership, his engineered lifespan ensured that he had a very short time to live. In short, he lived a short, violent, brutal life, and never really had any chance to know love or happiness.
Backported Development: Even though Picard was supposed to have lost his hair with age, his clone is also completely bald. Shinzon's baldness can perhaps be explained away as being a result of his screwed up DNA and the resultant premature aging, but a photograph showing Picard as a bald cadet, not so easily. Especially since on TNG, younger versions of Picard were shown twice; "Tapestry", fresh out of the Academy with a full head of hair, and "Violations", ten years before the start of the series, with the hairline starting to recede. Though maybe he just shaved his head at one point in the Academy.
Beam Spam: The Enterprise uses this when attempting to locate the cloaked Scimitar during the battle in the Bassen Rift before the other Romulans arrive.
Big Damn Heroes: Commander Donatra arrives with two warbirds to assist the Enterprise and after realizing Shinzon was genocidal.
Bittersweet Ending: Data is dead, and the crew of the Enterprise is going their separate ways after so many years together. But thanks to their efforts, the Romulan empire is finally willing to talk with the Federation, which may lead to peace between the two, and Picard, along with all those who remain on the Enterprise, will continue their mission to go where no one has gone before.
And both get undone. Data resurrects himself in B4, and Romulus is destroyed in a supernova and the rest of the Romulan Empire blames the Federation for screwing up the project to stop it.
Board to Death: Romulan senate not cooperating? Kill 'em all with an experimental thalaron radiation bomb!
Body Horror: The effects of thalaron radiation: it turns you into powder from the inside-out. Quite painfully, it must be added.
Body Snatcher: Data imprints his neural net on his mentally handicapped brother's brain. He plays it off as "helping his brother grow" or somesuch, but the Star Trek tie-in comic confirms that in the future Data has completely taken over B-4's body.
Bottomless Pit: Riker kicks the Viceroy into one of these; the Enterprise apparently has one starting at deck 29 (the bottom of the ship) and going down far enough to be fatal.
Wil Wheaton as Wesley Crusher had a cameo that was mostly left on the cutting-room floor; you can see him on the far left with his mother at the wedding reception if you've got the widescreen version, but his speaking lines are gone.
The most subtle nod happens with Worf. While moving to intercept the boarding party Worf mentions that "The Romulans fought with honor." In a prior Next Generation episode Worf went so far as to refuse to help save a dying Romulan's life while Dr. Crusher and Picard could not convince him otherwise (his family was killed in a Romulan surprise attack). The fact that the people he despised so much managed to impress him says a lot.
Another subtle reference is the planet Remus itself, which was first mentioned all the way back in the Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Balance of Terror" (and never mentioned again until now).
Riker recalls Data's failed attempt to whistle way back in the TNG pilot, though he can't remember the song.
For the record, it was "Pop Goes the Weasel."
Picard mentions Riker's refusal to let him lead away missions, also first mentioned in the TNG pilot.
A technological nod occurs when Geordi notes that the Scimitar's cloak is perfect and doesn't leave any tachyon emissions or residual antiprotons. T
Cool Old Guy: Picard is 74 years old in the film, but you wouldn't know it judging by how active he is, including how he single-handily takes out not only everyone on the Scimitar's bridge, but also manages to defeat Shinzon in hand-to-hand combat.
The Scimitar is a decidedly evil-looking vessel, with forward-swept wings, dark gray hull, and an overall design that just oozes menace. It can also use its weapons and its shields while cloaked, something that, except for the Klingon Bird-of-Prey in The Undiscovered Country (the weapons at least, it still couldn't use its shields), is normally impossible.
The Coup: At the start of the film, a disgruntled Romulan senator and a group of Romulan military officers assassinate the rest of the Senate so they can install Shinzon as Praetor. They eventually turn on him (though to little effect) after realizing he's a genocidal maniac.
Demoted to Extra: Pretty much everyone except Picard and Data, but particularly egregious for Geordi, Dr. Crusher and Worf. All three do get additional scenes in the novelization, though.
Deleted Scene: About a third of the movie, only a bare handful of which were included on the DVD release.
Driving Into A Truck: The Argo Jeep and a cargo shuttlecraft play this role. Picard even drives the Argo over a ledge in order to park it in the shuttle. (They also drove out of the shuttle at the beginning of the scene.)
End of an Age: Production-wise, Nemesis is the end of an age on multiple fronts:
The final TNG story and the last hurrah for the 24th Century era.
For the Evulz: Shinzon, in an unfortunate result of the amount of footage that was cut out. Initially he made his motives pretty clear near the start of the film, but at some point in editing the filmmakers decided it'd be better if the audience found out who Shinzon was at the same time as Picard. The end result of this was that Shinzon's backstory and motives were cut to the point where they were virtually non-existent.
Five Second Foreshadowing: The Enterprise is being stalked by Shinzon's cloaked ship, so it's hoping to rendezvous with the fleet for protection. On the way, they enter an area of space where long-range communications don't work. Data and Picard realize that this would be a perfect place for Shinzon to attack them. Guess what happens next?
Generic Doomsday Villain: Shinzon. His reasoning seems to consist of "Well, I'm the villain of this movie, so I guess I better mentally rape Troi and destroy Earth." The extreme actions that actually relate to his supposedly well-intentioned goals occur entirely in the opening minutes of the movie: as he was raised by the Remans, he understandably doesn't like their status as the Warrior-Slave Race of the Romulan Empire. But when he assassinates the entire Romulan Senate and installs himself as the new dictator...he's already solved all the Remans' problems. At that point his only real explanation for wanting to destroy Earth is to prove the Remans' superiority over the Romulans and show the galaxy that their Romulan empire is not to be messed with which is somewhat unclear. For a poorly explained reason (to prove to everyone that the Remans are to be taken seriously), he has a super battleship way more advanced than every ship it comes up against. He also got a planet-destroying superweapon from... somewhere.
Giant Space Flea from Nowhere: The Scimitar. It breaks suspension of disbelief that the Remans could build, almost literally under the Romulans' noses, a starship custom-designed for their kind (it's noted that the controls are in Reman) and with the equivalent firepower of what has to be at least a few dozen top-of-the-line warships, not to mention its perfect cloak and primary weapon system.
Though one scene does note that Shinzon has a long, long list of accomplishments in the war with the Dominion. It seems possible the Scimitar is something the Romulans have been fielding for awhile, but had staffed with Remans so they wouldn't risk their best and brightest in the depths of the most dangerous combat with the Jem'hadar and other Dominion forces. Knowing the Romulans, there was probably a self-destruct switch in case the Remans tried to use it against them... a switch that became superfluous when Shinzon wiped out the Senate.
Hypocrite: Picard will give long speeches about the sanctity of the Prime Directive and their non-interference with Pre-Warp civilisations... only to casually break it when given the chance to do some off-roading with a dune-buggy. Any hand-wave of these people having been exposed to warp civilisations before is avoided for Rule of Cool.
Right because leaving an advanced android behind on a primitive planet couldn't possibly interfere with the people's development.
Because there was no other way to get him out of there than riding around in a primitive dune buggy in the middle of the day.
So to be clear: the series has established that quite a few members of the Enterprise are geniuses, and they know, by this point, that Shinzon is literally out for Captain Picard's blood. And yet, it doesn't occur to any of them that flying the ship into a gas cloud which prevents them from calling for help is a really, really bad idea.
The last time they found a disassembled Soong-designed android, he turned out to be Data's Evil Twin and went on to nearly kill the crew on two separate occasions. Why not ONE of the senior staff, all of whom were present for both events, brings up even the vaguest mention of this...
When the Remans board the Enterprise, no one on the ship thinks to dial up the ambient lighting to impede their extremely light-sensitive adversaries. For that matter, the Remans never think to bring protective gear to counter this strategy.
So, Shinzon and the Remans discover B-4 somewhere, add programming to turn him into their spy, and plant his remains in the desert for the Enterprise to find. The goal here is to acquire the position of the Federation fleet, the same fleet the Scimitar can trivially bypass thanks to its perfect cloak. The whole thing failed anyway, but it's not made clear why he ever needed the data in the first place, given his plan never involved the fleet in the first place. Presumably this would have tied in to the deleted subplot where Shinzon intended to launch a full-scale assault on the Federation, and the information would have been for the benefit of the rest of the Romulan fleet, which would have otherwise been vulnerable to the Federation's normal methods of rooting out cloaked ships.
In the original script, Doctor Crusher and several others ask B4 how he'd ended up on the desert planet after turning him on. He then launched into his autobiography, explaining every moment of his life since he was first turned on by Pak'Leds ("they are fat.") Most of the tale would repeat several times over because he would also include instances of others asking him where he came from, at which point he tells the story about telling those people the story. On a second watch, the viewer would realize that at some point in there, B4 had actually spilled everything about Shinzon's plan, but Doctor Crusher had long since fallen asleep.
Informed Ability: Shinzon is stated to be a tactical genius and a successful commander. However:
He waits for two days to talk to Picard personally.
He leaves the Enterprise in orbit of Romulus after kidnapping Picard.
He orders the Scimitar to move to port when he sees the Enterprise proceeding to ram it, rather than moving full reverse. Even if the Enterprise had inertia on its side, moving back would have softened the blow considerably.
Informed Flaw: Picard tells Shinzon that the years of torment left him without the potential to improve himself, even though in the span of just under ten years, Shinzon went from weakest slave in the dilithium mines to successful commander in the Dominion War to leader of the Romulan Empire ready to deliver a mortal blow to their greatest enemy.
Who said anything about Shinzon's ability to seize power? There's better things to be than a genocidal maniac.
It's Personal: The only explanation for Shinzon's attitude towards both the Romulan establishment and Picard.
Jerkass: According to LeVar Burton at least, this was the apparently the source of friction between himself and director Stuart Baird, who he claims repeatedly called him Laverne throughout production, even after being corrected on multiple occasions.
Data is revealed to have been rebuilt in Star Trek: Countdown, the canon prequel to the reboot Star Trek film, though.
King Arthur: Arthurian legend is referenced especially in the last scene between Picard and Shinzon. Shinzon pulling himself down the beam to make his final verbal attack all the more poignant is a parallel to Mordred hauling himself down the spear to aim a final attack at his father Arthur.
Meaningful Name: Shinzon is a Chinese name meaning "heart". It's also a Japanese name meaning "new existence".
Mind Rape: Troi, though she turns it back on them.
Misplaced Retribution: Shinzon directs his hatred of the Romulans towards Earth for reasons which only make sense to the screenwriter.
Moral Dissonance: The infamous Dune-Buggy Scene. Despite being the Trope Namer for the Patrick Stewart Speech, Picard apparently decides to screw decades of adherence to the Prime Directive and perform Car Fu on a pre-warp planet, despite being willing to condemn entire species to death before.
More Dakka: The Scimitar is more loaded for bear with more disruptors and torpedoes than almost any other Trek ship, not to mention its Wave Motion Gun.
During the battle, when Troi gives Worf a solid point to aim at, he starts firing the Enterprise's quantum torpedoes. These are a lot more powerful than the standard photon torpedoes, and at this point the barrage succeeds in bringing down the Scimitar's cloak, but it's still not enough to break through the shields and do any meaningful damage.
Motive Decay: Shinzon wanted to free the Remans, but he managed to do that before the movie started. Then he wanted to be the new Praetor on Romulus, but he didn't seem to like that job very much. So then he went to some really elaborate measures to bring in for Picard a blood transfusion, but that didn't work out so well (largely because he kept blowing it off until after Picard had left), so he finally settled on trying to kill everyone on Earth.
No Name Given: The Viceroy. The novelization says his true name is Vkruk.
No Seatbelts: A deleted bit from the ending would show that the Enterprise was finally being equipped with them, to which Picard even says "About time!"
Not So Different: Picard and Shinzon, explored at some length. Shinzon claims that he is what Picard would have been under different circumstances, then brushes off Picard's attempt to turn the "mirror" metaphor around on him. Data later points out a key difference by comparing him to B4: Neither makes any attempt to better themselves. Subtly lampshaded when Shinzon tells his ship's replicator to give him a hot tea.
Novelization: The film's novelization stays mostly true to the finished film, with several small scenes deleted from the film, but notably expands on Shinzon's motivations: Having bonded so much with the Remans after his years of slavery, he honestly wants the best for them, and intends to lead a galactic war to make them the dominant species in the universe, and it's made clear that with the Scimitar, and the Thalaron radiation, he could have pulled it off. The book also expands Worf's role during the final battle, and actually gives Beverly something to do: Worf battles a few more Remans, and chases one into a cargo bay that's been converted into a makeshift hospital, only to be near-fatally wounded. Beverly stuns said Reman soldier, and with the help of Romulan doctor, manages to save Worf's life.
Oh Crap: when they realize that the region of space they have just entered would be the perfect place for an ambush. The actual attack comes...
Punny Name: B4, Data's prototype. The name was planned to be B9 but got changed.
Ramming Always Works: Subverted. While it did seemingly succeed in disabling the Scimitar's primary weapons (hence why the Enterprise wasn't reduced to space dust for its failure), it also disabled the Enterprise completely while the Scimitar still had impulse and warp capability. In the long run, howere, the Scimitar also had a damaged cloak, which would have rendered it a lot more vulnerable to the Federation fleet.
Recycled Set: Averted. First Contact and Insurrection had used modified sets from Star Trek: Voyager. But VOY ended its run a year before the film was released and the sets had been scrapped. Aside from stored sets like the Bridge and Main Engineering, new sets had to be built from scratch for the Enterprise-E (ex. Sickbay).
Remember the New Guy: The entire Reman species which, given its back story, should have shown up at least once or twice on the various series — especially given they fought during the Dominion War. Everyone just acts like they've always existed. The film does try to justify it by saying the Romulans consider Remans less than real people, and thus keep them locked away on Remus toiling in slavery, but it is a bit difficult to swallow.
The Remans from the sister planet of Romulus as the thuggish foot soldiers of the Romulan Empire has never been mentioned before. However, the sister planet itself actually does exist, as seen in a freeze-frame in 'Balance of Terror'.
Also, Picard, who has consistently been depicted as being willing to lay down his life before violating the Prime Directive, happily takes part in a car chase on a pre-industrial world. He's also violated it just about as much as Kirk did, but not never so whimsically and randomly.
The script goes out of its way to have Data say that he doesn't feel emotion; he gained the emotion chip three movies ago, and is shown having a wide range of feelings like any other character in the previous film. There isn't so much as a throwaway line to handwave this, let alone a real explanation.
Shout-Out: All five television series in the franchise are referenced at some point. Screenwriter John Logan, an avowed Trekkie, says he explicitly tried to combine all the best parts of the franchise as a whole into a movie.
Is B4 hacking into the Enterprise computer or The Matrix?
The Jackal knife in the film was a prop used in TV before. Who else wielded that weapon? Faith.
Space Is an Ocean: Averted. The majority of the final battle takes place in mostly a flat plane but there is still plenty of swooping over and under each other. As well a major part of the combat involves the Enterprise rotating damaged sections away from the Scimitar's line of sight, which includes turning (relative to us) upside down.
Status Quo Is God: Despite leaving Starfleet in the finale of Deep Space Nine, Worf is back in his old position of tactical/security officer on the Enterprise without so much as a line of dialogue to explain it.
Stealth in Space: The Scimitar can fire while cloaked and its cloaking ability was capable of countering previously established means of detecting cloaked ships. The Enterprise does manage to land a fair number of hits on it, though, suggesting that the Scimitar's constant firing gave away its position. Not a big deal, however, since unlike most ships in Star Trek, the Scimitar also retains its shields while cloaked too.
Stupid Sacrifice: Several (attempted) times in fact. First Data tries to do this when saving Picard, but Picard tells him no. Then Picard attempts to do this when the Enterprise is disabled. Then Data comes to save Picard again, before following through on his initial plan to kill himself in a semi-heroic fashion. The latter two are because no member of the crew seems to realize that the Enterprise has functioning shuttles with functioning transporters, something stardestroyer.net parodied.
DATA: The transporters conveniently failed after sending Picard, so I'm going to leap across space to get to Shinzon's ship.
GEORDI: What about the transporters in the shuttles?
DATA: Shut up.
GEORDI: What about the Captain's Yacht?
DATA: Shut up.
GEORDI: Why didn't we just send a bomb instead of Picard?
DATA: Shut up.
GEORDI: What about the transporters in the cargo bays? They're independent units, remember?
DATA: What part of "shut the fuck up" do you not understand? This is my big heroic exit, asshole. Don't fuck it up.
Transsexual: Data makes a brief reference to "invited transgendered species" early on in the movie, the franchise's first reference to transexuality.
Too Dumb to Live: Shinzon. The Viceroy repeatedly seems to speaks for the entire audience, who are seriously wondering what the hell is taking him so long to do the procedure, since he's visibly dying of clone degeneration by this point.
Viewers Are Morons: The shooting script actually did specify that Shinzon was supposed to have hair, as did the younger Picard seen in a photograph. However, Rick Berman and Stuart Baird decided that the viewers would not accept Shinzon as being like a young version of Picard unless he was also bald.note Despite it being shown multiple times in the series that Picard had hair when he was younger.