Star Trek: Nemesis. I can see why they put the brakes on the movies for a while. This one might be too blockbuster for it’s own good. It lost some Trekkiness. A very safe film. Definitely better than Insurrection, though, and I think the better production values are a big part of it. As you might suspect from the title, there’s some identity issues explored here. The Picard/Shinzon relationship feels a bit portentous (although one of the saving graces is that young Tom Hardy shows he’s had that incredible screen presence all along, even though his villain is one we’ve seen before: smart, pale, bald, leather.); it’s the relationship between Data and B4 that’s really cool. It’s sort of a Ship of Theseus problem–if you give a physically identical android the same memories, is it the same android? Brent Spiner is a life-saver for all the TNG movies, which seem like they give their supporting cast a lot more screen time. I admit that I enjoyed the dune buggies.
And that’s that. I’ve seen every Star Trek film. Here’s how I rank them:
- Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
- Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
- Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
- Star Trek: The Motion Picture
- Star Trek: First Contact
- Star Trek
- Star Trek: Nemesis
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
- Star Trek III: The Search for Spock
- Star Trek: Generations
- Star Trek: Insurrection
Star Trek: Insurrection. There are a couple of main themes here that I really like. One, aging and youth. And two, the forced relocation/Lebensraum/irredentist refugee thing, with the Federation getting involved in some less obviously noble politics. But these themes come up in a pretty ho-hum story that never breaks the TV feel like First Contact does. Even the opening titles are kind of cheap. Add in some truly stupid moments (the beaded headdress; the Gilbert & Sullivan; the life raft), and some good drama that starts and ends too abruptly (Geordi and the sunrise; the slow-time moments). Missed opportunity. Riker kicks ass on the bridge, though. One more to go!
Star Trek: First Contact. I hear this is the best of the TNG cast, and it is good, but doesn’t measure up to the best of the original cast. Definitely darker. Some of that innocence and optimism is gone (which makes some of the humor and goofiness just… awkward), though thankfully the special effects are finally worthy of the setting. Highlights? I loved the editing and cuts between the scenes on Earth and the various ship scenes–so fluid. Patrick Stewart breaks out of Shatner’s shadow at last. The scenes with Data and the Borg are really good. The spacewalk scene is one of the most typically movie-theater-type fun set pieces in the whole series. There’s also a thematically appropriate opera reference in the solid soundtrack. I liked it.