sfr3d.gif (19860 bytes)December 2002
© 2002 Ernest Lilley / SFRevu
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For Every Good in the Universe, There is an Evil
(Makes you kind of wonder what the point is, doesn't it?)

 
Star Trek: Nemesis
(Paramount)
Review by Tony Tellado
We were delighted to get a Star Trek review and some interview excerpts from the Star Trek: Nemesis junket in NYC from Tony Tellado, who's SciFiTalk site continues to be an excellent place to hear interviews with the top names in SF Media. review / cast comments

Offical Website: http://nemesis.startrek.com/
IMDB entry: http://us.imdb.com/Title?0253754

photoDirected by: Stuart Baird Screenwriter: John Logan
Cast:
Patrick Stewart .... Captain Jean-Luc Picard / Jonathan Frakes .... Commander William T. Riker / Brent Spiner .... Lt. Commander Data / LeVar Burton .... Lt. Commander Geordi La Forge / Michael Dorn .... Lt. Commander Worf / Gates McFadden .... Dr. Beverly Crusher / Marina Sirtis .... Counselor Deanna Troi / Tom Hardy (I) .... Praetor Shinzon / Ron Perlman .... Reman Viceroy / Dina Meyer .... Commander Donatra / Whoopi Goldberg .... Guinan / Nicholas Lanier .... Young Starfleet Ensign / Kate Mulgrew .... Admiral Kathryn Janeway

Star Trek Nemesis: Review – Tony Tellado

To call Nemesis a re-tread would be wrong, recycled perhaps. Although not original, this story has the right bounce thanks to newcomer, Tom Hardy as the villian of the piece. John Logan, who wrote the screenplay with Rick Berman and Brent Spiner also added a lot of depth to the project, as not only a longtime fan of the original series, but also a friend of Spiner.

Like Generations, the movie opens with a promise of transition for some members of the ensemble. This time it's Riker and Troi who are celebrating two overdue events, firstly their wedding, and secondly Riker's move to the big seat, though not on the big E. Before that can take place, The Enterprise E has to stop at Troi's home world of Betazed for the nude ceremony, after which Riker can finally takes command on the USS Titan. At least, that's the plan, but the best laid plans of mice and men are subject to the scriptwriters whim, and  a message from Admiral Janeway (cameo by Kate Mulgrew) informs Picard that the Romulans want to talk peace. Upon arriving at the planet, the crew find that there has been a coup with a new leader installed called Shinzon (Tom Hardy) who is all too human and familiar.

Shinzon is the discarded clone of Captain Picard who was exiled to the mines of Romulus sister planet, Remus after ouliving his usefulness to the Romulans. Taken under the wing of his Reman cellmate (Ron Perlman), Shinzon's life follows a much different path than Picard's did, training as a warrior and driven by much deeper demons than the Enterprise's captain. In the TNG episode "Inner Light", we saw what the less driven Picard might have been like if he's made safer choices in his youth, and much as Kirk discovered in the (Get Episode Name from Tony) it's the darkness that drives us to greatness. Like the TOS episode, Nemesis lets us see two versions of the same man in direct oppostition, which makes for a much better story than just, what might have been.

Director Stuart Baird moves the story along and adds a darker texture like First Contact. The action sequences are crisper. Picard even gets to drive a neat off road vehicle. Writer John Logan's (Gladiator) story shows his awareness of Trek's roots, and echoes elements of Star Trek II.  Jerry Goldsmith continues to provide the Star Trek Score which provides as much continuity to the series as any character or storyline. Will it be a winner at the box office? Odds are that it will, since it's an even numbered movie...Star Trek X to be exact.

This is a Franchise in transition and hopefully for the first time ever in the cinematic version of Trek, it will happen more smoothly than it did in Generations. Is this the last voyage of the Next Gen crew? Yes, perhaps as it was in the TV series, but the next Trek film will hopefully have a lot of familiar faces back and some much needed new ones.

Left to right: Marina Sirtis, Michael Dorn, Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Jonathan FrakesWhat the cast had to say about the movie:
Tony took his digital recorder to the NYC junket for Nemesis and got to talk to the cast first hand.

Patrick Stewart (Picard) : After Insurrection, I had a fairly firm feeling because that film didn't do too well -- that it might be the close anyway until the franchise that is Next Generation was given a tremendous boost and it cannot be over-estimated the addition of John Logan (Screenwriter) to this world. And subsequently Stuart (Baird, director) . The presence of two outsiders enthusiastic in their different ways has been very, very significant. And I think it has created in all of us optimism about the future of the series. But as you can see by the poster, the studio is teasing the world with the though that this might indeed be the end. But as a studio executive said to me last week, emphasis has to be put on the last word of that sentence. What is interesting is that Inner Light (Episode) reflects on Nemesis because that concerned the whole issue of If you change a person's environment and circumstances, how much will that individual change? We saw those changes happen to Picard because his surroundings and personal relationships changed. He became a different person. In Nemesis, the extent to which an individual always has choice over what he becomes.

Brent Spiner (Data) : It was a wonderful opportunity for me. It happened that John Logan (Screenwriter) and I are friends. How lucky do you get that this excellent writer is also a huge Star Trek fan and wants to write Star Trek?

I introduced him to Rick (Berman) Rick thought that it was a good idea that John write the story and said,” Why don't the three of us sit down and write a story? I looked around and it seemed like I was the third person, so we sat and wrote a story. I really enjoyed that. The makeup process hasn't changed. It was an hour and fifteen minutes when we started fifteen years ago and it's still an hour and fifteen minutes. The worst part of the make-up has always been the contact lenses. Always. The make-up adds to that difficulty because it gets in my eyes and smears over the lenses. By the middle of the day, I can't see anything anymore. 

Tom Hardy (Shinzon) : “The character was like the Prince And The Pauper or more Like Greystoke to me. He essentially has not had the same circumstances and experiences. Picard doesn't have the same baggage that Shinzon carries.

So that was more freeing. He is essentially an orphan and an abused child, who becomes an emperor. There were moves that I had to play with, that did not have anything to do with Picard. The whole film is about why they are not similar. So the relationship had a ground or basis to work from. I don't know any clones. So you have to use your imagination. This is a human being that you're playing. I know its set in science fiction and in the future and we don't know as yet that there are races like the Remans. You have to hang a human not or theme, essentially a character that is a human being as realistic as possible. You can use techniques for dramatic effects.

You can ham things up or you can slap the thigh and give it all the saber rattling moments as when need be. But you have to have something to hang the character on or it becomes mimicry, which is mockery in a way.

Marina Sirtis (Counselor Troi): ”I actually helped design my wedding dress. And for my sins, I was an idiot. As most brides know, you want to be as skinny as you can be on your wedding day. So they built this dress onto a corset. It's fine  to be strapped into something for half an hour but wearing it for two days...my ribs actually hurt to touch after the first day. With the shoes, I was saying make them high, make them higher since Jonathan (Frakes) is six foot four and I'm five foot three and a half. So I wanted to make up some of the difference.

So by the time we actually got to do the dancing at the wedding, I was in agony, much like my own wedding, in fact. It was fun. It was nice to start the movie with a party and we did start shooting that first.

This was great for me. I actually felt very very gratified when I read the script. I sort of had an inkling that I was going to have a good part in this movie because John Logan was such a big fan of the character. So I knew that he would do her some justice.

Rick Berman (Producer) : One of the things that John Logan knew that I certainly didn't know was that there was a sister planet to Romulus called Remus, him being a huge fan of the original series, me being a semi-fan of it. When we decided to make this a story about the Remans, we came up with the idea that they lived on a planet where one side was always light and one side was always dark. These were people who lived on the dark side and were somewhat put off by bright light in a vampirish kind of way. We decided to go for the Nosferatu look. Michael Westmore who has done all of our make-up for many years and who is a remarkable Oscar winning make-up artist had marching orders to come up with something Nosferatu-ish.

Stuart Baird (Director): You're walking into a family, so there's a little bit of an adjustment. I talked with Rick Berman before I got the job on what I was going to do and what I felt about the story. But really the film director's job is to tell a story. That's what I was trying to, not look behind my shoulder at what the other people had done with Star Trek. I had Rick Berman and John Logan who are extreme aficionados, so if I was going to heavily tread on some Star Trek toes, then they I would I don't think we can quite do that; Half the unit had done the previous picture, the whole enterprise end of it, the costumes had been designed, and the graphics.

I lit it with my mate, Jeff Kimball (Director Of Photography). We lit it a bit differently, a little moodier, a little darker. Then we had the Scimitar (Shinzon's ship) world. That was new. That was the fun part. And of course finding the guy that was to play what is the essence of the picture, the Nemesis.

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