Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Directors of popular spin-off sequels will often say that their film is intended to both please fans of the original, and also function as a stand-alone story that the general public will be able to enjoy too.

You know the sort of paraphrase - Even if you've never even heard of this series, you'll still be able to understand what's going on!

And it doesn't appear to be that hard an equation to make fly. If it's a good stand-alone story, then it'll probably only need a little bit of tweaking to avoid contradicting a pre-existing one.

It's been done – see Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle, Mission: Impossible II... good stand-alone sequels all.

Star Trek X has a lot going for it too. It features some nice action sequences, particularly Picard and Data's scraping escape-flight down the corridors of Praetor Shinzon's ship, which has something of the air of Red Dwarf about it.

The strategic stand-off in space between the two main protagonists' huge vessels is well-executed too. Part of the credit for this absorbing battle of wits must go to the tremendously well-cast Tom Hardy. You can really see his character in his eyes, and even the scriptwriter knows it.

Best of all, this is an even-numbered Star Trek film. Having dutifully sat-through Star Trek IX a couple of years earlier, when I subsequently went to the cinema in 2003 to see this tenth one, I'm afraid that I allowed my Trek superstition to get the better of me.

Alas, from the very opening, for me at any rate, Star Trek: Nemesis didn't cut it as either a stand-alone story, or an entry into the Star Trek canon.

Problems as a stand-alone story:

- In the opening scene, when security has clearly been breached, it takes everyone present almost half a minute to think of calling for help. They all just sit there and watch the special effect doing its thing unchallenged. A little surprising from a director who's such an experienced movie-editor.

- Soon after Data has met his double, Picard also meets his double. Although this is a fairly big coincidence, no-one in the film makes the connection.

- When the Enterprise's main computer is accessed, no-one suspects that it just might be newcomer B4.

- The possibility of just recloning Picard, or Shinzon, or even just either of their blood, is neither discounted nor considered.

- B4 is seen to have returned to the Enterprise without explanation.

- No-one sees Data floating across space from the Enterprise to Shinzon's ship, although they are facing each other.

Problems as a piece of Star Trek:

- The actor Wil Wheaton, who played Wesley Crusher for several seasons of the TV series, returns for Riker and Deanna's pre-wedding-reception (I'm not really not sure what it was), but gets not a single word to say.

- No-one appears to remember Worf's long relationship with the bride.

- Although when we last saw him in the final episode of Deep Space Nine he became Ambassador to the Klingon homeworld, in this film Worf's back just working on the Enterprise again, without explanation.

- Midway through watching this film today, my mum asked "Where's Spock?" Good question. Although the film is all about the Planet Romulus, the Federation's Ambassador to that planet is never even mentioned. He really should have been the one briefing Picard with the mission, instead of Janeway. Better yet, he ought to have gone along to lead it. Slacker.

- Upon discovering Data's 'brother' B4, no-one remembers similarly discovering Data's other 'brother' Lore, who was a recurring villain in several TV episodes.

- Although the logically-thinking Data returns to Shinzon's ship with a plan, it hasn't extended to bringing some form of 24th-century timed-detonator (eg. a grenade) with which to give himself a moment to escape. Or replicating the Emergency Transport Unit. Or having Picard send it back for him to re-use. Or using another Transporter such as the ones on the Enterprise's shuttlecrafts.

It really only takes a few throwaway lines of dialogue to tidy up the above.

Perhaps they should have given the movie to a director who knew both storytelling and Star Trek, such as previous Trek movie directors Nicholas Meyer, Leonard Nimoy, or Jonathan Frakes.

They might still have had a successful and popular series on their hands. Instead, this film's legacy sadly appears to be that it is considered to have caused the death of the original Star Trek canon.

As it is, I'm afraid I found this to be an oddly-numbered movie in disguise.

But then, I really liked Star Trek XI...


Labels: ,

0 comment(s):

Post a Comment

<< Back to Steve's home page

** Click here for preceding post(s) **

** Click here for following post(s) **