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October 9, 2013 / Dale Melchin

Review of Star Trek Nemesis

Star Trek will always be one of my favorite series out there.  While Mr. Roddenberry would have us think that the spiritual or “unknown” is simply that which is scientifically unexplained, the entire series from Pike to Janeway and back to Pike and Kirk is still an epic of our life time.  The only series to rival that in my mind is Star Wars.  And, no this isn’t going to turn into a Star Wars versus Star Trek discussion this is a review of Star Trek: Nemesis.  Which was released in 2002… so I’m twelve years late.

Now as of today the show ranks 31% on Rotten Tomatoes and other reviews are mixed and average.  The movie was competing directly with several other blockbuster films at the time it was released, and there were some problems with the fact that Stuart Baird didn’t watch and of the films.  Jonathan Frakes even said that the film would’ve been better had he been able to direct the film as he had done in First Contact and Insurrection, which did much better than Nemesis.  I wonder why?

The movie starts off with a meeting of the Romulan Senate.  There the military commanders talk with the Senate about Unifying with the Remans in a bid to destroy the Federation.  Keep in mind this hair brained idea is coming off of the tails of the Dominion war from Deep Space Nine and the return of Captain, now Admiral Janeway from the Delta Quadrant.  The Praetor being in no mood for such non-sense dismisses the military commanders and resumes business as usual.

One of the Senators excuses herself and leaves a strange device at her seat in the Senate. The device goes off and kills everyone in the Senate.  This leaves a big question mark in everyones mind.  Then we cut to another scene.

The movie shifts to the wedding reception of Commander Riker and Deanna Troi.  After a very witty toast by Captain Picard the attendees begin dancing with each other.  Data offers the newlyweds a very humorously a conjugal gift.  He sings the song Blue Skies for them.  Everyone is impressed.  But for some reason Commander Worf hates it.  After the party the crew heads for Betazed where they will participate in a very naked Betazoid wedding ceremony.  Worf expresses his concern only to be rebuffed by Captain Picard saying that the strapping young lad has nothing of which to be ashamed.  Picard promptly leaves “Commander Troi” in charge and heads to the gym.

They are then diverted to the planet Kolarus III because the are picking up positronic readings. Picard and company go to the planet and discover one of Data’s “Brothers” B-4.  After an adventurous encounter with the Kolarans they return to the ship to investigate the new find.

When they return to the ship they are diverted to Romulus where the new government wishes to “Talk” (spoiler alert).  The whole thing turns into a huge cluster when they discover that Shinzon a clone of Picard has taken over the Romulan Empire.

Picard begins some peaceful negotiations with Shinzon and agrees to pursue things further after Shinzon has earned the Federation’s trust.  It all goes downhill from there

I’m going to conclude the review at this point.  Wikipedia has a very short review of the movie which I will direct you to for more details about the movie, or you can watch it yourself, I highly recommend it.  Let us now turn to the themes of the movie.

There is one major themes in this movie, Nature verses nurture.  This shown in Picard and Shinzon, as well as Data and B-4.

Picard and Shinzon

While both of them had the same DNA and were more or less indistinguishable from each other barring the nasty side effects of Shinzon’s cloning, they were never the less different individuals with differing values.

The reoccuring theme until the end of the movie was what happens when you take responsibility for becoming more than what you are, or what happens when you allow your conditioning to dictate your destiny.

Picard had become an accomplished starship captain, explorer, and even warrior for the good guys.  Shinzon on the other hand had become a malevolent revolutionary, intent on destroying the Federation and using the Romulan Star Empire in his quest for personal aggrandizement.

During one of the final debates between Picard and Shinzon, Picard told Shinzon that even now he can change and fight the evil that he has become, that there was a part of his humanity that wasn’t nurtured and could.  This would result in something even better for Shinzon.  Shinzon objected and said that he couldn’t fight it and that he would show Picard his “true nature” before too long.

Data and B-4

Externally, Data and B-4 were identical.  Much like Picard and Shinzon.  Time would tell often humorously that they were very different.  Data had spent years and years improving himself beyond being a mere android.  It was even said that he succeeded in his quest to become more human.

B-4 on the other hand appeared content to prattle about and be the pawn of Shinzon and let his circumstances dictate his destiny, or so it seems.  At the end of the movie, B-4 seems to be showing some signs of hope as he begins singing.

Key Takeaways

 

Here are the key takeaways from the movie.  We are presented with three choices in life.  Continual self-improvement and self-actualization for the good, the choice to bring about tremendous evil, or sit in the mediocre middle.

Often times we don’t choose either extreme.  Many of us choose to sit in the mediocre middle.  We are driving, but we are also being driven, making nothing happen than our day to day routines.  It truly is a sad waste to see that happen.  I’m sure that you’ve encountered so many potentially bright people, that they never do anything with themselves beyond the quest for pleasure and survival.  I often worry about myself if I’m not caught in this trap.  The result is very little in the world changes because the majority isn’t moving and shaking.

Think of what the world would be like if everyone who was capable of doing it optimized or even maximized their full potential?  It would put politicians on notice not to lie to their constituents.  It would put businesses on notice to treat their employees well and produce products of only the best quality.  Everyone would find their place in life.  We would be willing to help each other, and a Utopia would effectively come into being without government intervention.

The truth is though, it would take a very long time for all of us to learn the spiritual and psychological tools needed to attain to such self-actualization, mostly because we are imperfect and we don’t see our blind spots.

Think also what would happened if everyone maximized their abilities, but acted out of their conditioning.  The world would be plunged into darkness.  We would constantly be fighting each other.  And while it may not seem like it that is the state of the world now.  Many countries have developed highly sophisticated weapons systems.  Yet, we still haven’t learned to see that we are all the same, and we all at the core of our being want the same things.

The final take away is that we all have a choice, all of us do and it is my hope that we won’t choose the mediocre middle, or tremendous evil, but that we take the never ending path to enlightenment and self-actualization.

Question:  Have you seen Star Trek Nemesis?  What did you think of it?  Have other movies impacted you profoundly? Please leave your comment below.

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