Perhaps I should have read this script myself… but for once, I’m trying to keep my nose OUT of the Star Trek Nemesis script to avoid spoiling it before I even watch. However, crappertay has graciously handed in a spoiler free review of the script for Star Trek: Nemesis. The copy he read is the official shooting script, and as he points out, much may change from what he has read to what you’ll actually see on screen. You have been warned!
Star Trek X: Nemesis Script Review by crappertay
It has been a long standing and well known phenomenon in the critique of Star Trek movies that the even numbered sequels are held in higher regard than their odd numbered counterparts. Insurrection, the previous instalment and ninth entry in the franchise had been an inoffensive but quite dull adventure that attempted to explore the Enterprise’s characters while forsaking any real action. This lead to much criticism as it felt, to this humble reviewer anyway, and indeed others, more like a feature length series episode rather than a cinematic feature. John Logan, scribe for this latest mission for the TNG crew, appears to have addressed these criticisms with mixed results. Let us explore the strange New World of this, the latest even numbered, and rumoured to be the final, Star Trek outing; Nemesis.
As the movie opens Commander Riker and Councillor Troi are preparing for marriage and many of the Enterprise crew are about to be reassigned to new positions within Starfleet. Dr Crusher is now head of Starfleet Medical, Riker has just obtained his own command of the USS Titan and Worf has become a diplomat. However, all is not well in the universe. Over on Romulus, a human named Shinzon, who for years was enslaved alongside alien race the Remans by the tyrannical Romulans, has successfully overthrown the previous government to become the new Praetor (Which basically translates as the Romulan Head Honcho). Shinzon, who holds a shocking revelation of his own, intends crush the Federation under the guise of negotiating a peace agreement, utilising a terrifying new weapon in the process. While en route to the impending wedding, the Enterprise picks up a bizarre signal from a remote planet and makes an even more bizarre discovery. It is while investigating this find, that they are ordered by rather familiar Admiral, to head to Romulus and lead the highly suspect peace negotiations, much to the chagrin of the newlyweds-to-be, but as ever duty calls...
The theme of passage of time within the Enterprise, which Insurrection dealt with, is further explored in this new movie. Picard is suffering turmoil, he is growing old, the Enterprise crew are starting to move off in their own directions and he begins questioning the choices he has made in his life, where they have left him and what they have left him with. A fact he is lead to deal with in a whole new way when he encounters the mysterious Shinzon. The movie also attempts to explore individuality and self with both Picard and Data having to face different aspects of the question: “What maketh the man?” This would be all well and good but Nemesis, while it toys with these ideas, never really feels like it’s exploring them fully. While promising to continue the themes first explored in Insurrection it never really follows through, especially with regards to the Picard/Shinzon plotline. The discovery of Shinzon’s secret is dealt with in a rather pedestrian manner... almost as if it comes as no real shock. The attitudes and dialog between the two protagonists never really ring true under the circumstances presented (which for spoiler reasons I’ll avoid discussing here).
I would like to see the plot expanded, especially with regard to the Romulan/Reman relationship, as many elements of the script are not really explained satisfactorily. For example, just how does a human thrown in with a race enslaved by the Romulans manage to successfully create a coup capable of overthrowing a government? The script only seems to hint at the Romulans’ discontent at suddenly being ruled by someone who to them was previously no more than a mistreated workhorse.
The scope of the film’s action is limited by the fact that, aside from a handful of rather brief on-planet scenes, almost the entire movie takes place aboard the Enterprise or Shinzon’s ship. This gives the movie an almost claustrophobic feel and makes me think that it will translate onscreen as another extended series episode rather than an epic cinematic outing like those from days of old.
One of the script’s biggest problems is that the story felt brisk, to the point of being rushed, with this version quite possibly not clocking on at much more than 90 minutes on screen. It also suffers from being far too linear, with no real twists, surprises or complexity and everything being resolved far too easily. This is disappointing, as there is so much room for exploring themes and expanding the action more satisfactorily that an extra 6 or 7 pages at least would be welcomed. However, the version of the script I read was the shooting script so there is still room for certain elements to be tweaked which could improve the elements lacking in the film’s final product. The most noticeable difference between this and what is known of the current production, is the inclusion of Wesley Crusher, who is wholly absent from this draft, so perhaps a lot of work has been done since this was submitted.
On the positive side, Logan has compensated for the criticism of previous films by delivering 3 specific action set pieces. One of which, the biggest, being a thrilling climactic space battle which promises to blow First Contact’s Borg battle out the water and harkens back to the good old fashioned shoot-em-ups the Enterprise had with Birds of Prey back in the days of Kirk & co.
But the overall feeling I’m left with after reading Nemesis’ script is that although this has the potential to become a flawed but entertaining romp, the Star Trek franchise is showing its age. It may just be that there aren’t that many places left for the Enterprise to boldly go. To this end and to its credit, Nemesis seems to try and bring some form of closure to the series while still leaving the cargo bays ever so slightly ajar...