Star Trek: Nemesis, the Strongest Argument for the JJ Abrams Reboot

It's so bad, even Shinzon can't stand to watch it.

It’s so bad, even Shinzon can’t stand to watch it.

Every now and then, I will click on a film that Netflix suggests because I need some noise in the background as I work on comics.  And so it was that last night, I clicked on the thumbnail for one Star Trek: Nemesis.  It turns out that the best way for me to stay awake from midnight until two is to nerd rage.

With Into Darkness on its way, I still hear rumblings from old school fans about how horribly sacrilegious the JJ Abrams version of Gene Roddenberry’s universe is.  To those people, go back and watch Nemesis and see if you like where the franchise was headed.

There will be tons of spoilers in this review because I don’t give a fuck.  And it’s been out for years so it’s already spoiled. Rotten to the core.


Rather than bother with a plot synopsis, I’ll just go through the things that I thought were stupid.

Portrayed by a young, fresh faced Tom Hardy, our main villain is Shinzon who also happens to be a clone of Picard.  This is actually a pretty interesting idea.  Shinzon was created as part of a Romulan plot to replace Picard and learn all the secrets of the Federation.  The plan was abandoned when a new government took over so Shinzon was discarded and sent to the Reman dilithium mines where he was meant to die.  That’s kind of cool.  Not only do we get an interesting commentary on government transitions, we get an entire new race that the Romulans have kept oppressed for years.

Within the first ten minutes of the film, Shinzon wipes out the entire Romulan Imperial Senate and becomes Praetor of Romulus.  I’d say that’s a pretty huge victory.  But like any stupid villain, it’s not enough.  He wants to destroy the Earth because plot.  I don’t really understand why Shinzon would give two shits about the Federation.  It was the Romulans who created him then abandoned him to die. I suppose if the Federation were gone, there’d be no Shinzon.  But the Remans would still be used as slave labor.  So other than plot, there’s no real reason for Shinzon to go after Earth.  He’s beaten the Romulans.  He has the power to bring Reman society out of the shadows now that he rules the Romulan Senate.  Surely that should be victory enough.

Mental rape.  Cause that hasn't happened to Troi ever.

Mental rape. Cause that hasn’t happened to Troi ever.

At some point, Shinzon mentally rapes Diana Troi while she’s having sex with Riker.  Apparently, Shinzon’s Viceroy has the ability to connect Shinzon’s mind to Troi so that he can get his rape on.  It’s a plot point that serves no purpose other than to give the Enterprise a method for finding Shinzon’s cloaked Scimitar later in the film.  No where else in the entire film does the Viceroy ever use his mental powers.  Which is fucking stupid.  If he can enter people’s minds, he can certainly enter Captain Picard’s and strip out all the intel they need to wipe out the Federation.  When rape is used to set up a deux ex machina save at the end of your flick, your movie is unforgivable.  It’s insulting and offensive and if tumblr was around when this came out, copies of the film print would have been burned.

"Hey, at least I don't sound like a wacky car salesman in this one."

“Hey, at least I don’t sound like a wacky car salesman in this one.”

At some point, we learn that Shinzon’s DNA was made to age rapidly so that he could catch up to Picard’s age quickly.  But since the plot was abandoned, Shinzon didn’t get the proper treatment.  So his cells are dying or aging or something I wasn’t paying attention to.  The only cure, a full blood transfusion from Picard.  There are at least five moments when Shinzon could have just pulled the trigger and gotten his blood on.  But instead, we’re treated to villainous plodding and speechafying allowing Picard to escape every fucking time.  I don’t understand how it takes him less than ten minutes to take over Romulus when he’s NOT EVEN IN THE FUCKING ROOM but he can’t just stick a straw in Picard throat and DRAIN HIS BLOOD.


There’s a terrible subplot featuring another one of Doctor Noonian Soong’s robots, B4, who was seemingly created before Lore and Data.  Because plot.

On their way to the Romulus to meet with the new Praetor, who turns out to be Shinzon, the Enterprise comes across a positronic signal emanating from some random planet.  This leads in to one of the most ponderous action sequences to feature in any Star Trek film ever.

A. Fucking. Car. Chase.

Because when I think of futuristic space operas, I think car chase!

Because when I think of futuristic space operas, I think car chase!

This might work in Firefly where they spend a lot of time on planets on the outer rim of the Verse where settlers go to seek their fortunes.  But this entire movie takes place in space aboard starships.  The only reason for this scene is to put in a fucking car chase and it’s a pretty lame excuse for a car chase at that.

Maybe it was intended to show Picard’s wild side, that he’s a risk taker, that he has a lead foot.  But it feels forced and out of place.  And Warf is entirely too large for that rickety looking dune buggy.  The stupid thing looks outdated compared to every other piece of Feddy tech that we see in the film.

B4, certainly the lowest point in Brent Spiner's career.

Even Brent Spiner can’t help but sneer at this terrible sequel-bait of a character.

You can almost feel Brent Spiner’s eyes roll every time he walks off camera as B4.  Though he looks exactly like Data and has a similar internal structure, B4’s positronic brain is not as sophisticated as Data.  B4 is an overgrown toddler.  And of course, he’s a trap.  Thank god the crew figures that shit out quickly.  But it’s still fucking stupid.

B4 makes no sense as a spy.  Because the Viceroy has mental powers, Shinzon could have easily taken Starfleet intel from Picard’s brain meats.  There’s no reason for B4 unless your Viceroy never uses his mental powers unless it’s for rape.  Oh, you only use your powers for rape?  Shit.  Then I guess we need B4.

The real reason B4 is there is to set up a sequel.  Data sacrifices himself by jumping through space (ugh) and blowing up the Scimitar. God, when I saw this in the theater, the entire place erupted in scornful laughter at this scene. By this time, Data has already downloaded all of his memories to B4.  So it’s this whole Wrath of Khan, Search For Spock thing.  Spock sacrifices himself in Khan only to be reborn as a child in Search.  Data sacrifices himself at the end of Nemesis, but somehow lives on locked away in the memories of B4.  The parallels are groan worthy.  Thankfully, we never had to suffer through the sequel where we’d spend hours waiting for B4 to unlock Data.

The Scimitar

Okay, this thing is fucking badass.

Okay, this thing is fucking badass.

I will say one thing in this movie’s favor.  Shinzon’s flagship, the Scimitar, is awesome.  It’s the most powerful Bird of Prey we’ve seen in the Trek universe.  Its cloak is perfect.  It can fire torpedos and phasers while cloaked.  It has a doomsday weapon that can destroy worlds.  It’s an agile Deathstar.  And the only way the Enterprise beats it is because mental rape because plot and FUCK THIS STUPID MOVIE.

But it raises a few questions.  For one, if the Remans could build such a perfect weapon, why have they been oppressed for so long?  The Scimitar alone could decimate the Romulan fleet.  Why wait until now to unleash it?  And why haven’t they built anymore?  I could understand them not being able to build too many Thalaron radiation weapons, but surely they could build similar Birds of Prey.  If they could build something as massive and destructive as the Scimitar in secret, they could have built another one.  Or a smaller one.  Or something else.  There should be a fleet of Reman vessels obliterating the Federation.

The space fights are pretty awesome, but the time you see them, your brain is already oozing out of your nose for subjecting yourself to such a dumb, fucking movie.


Besides Patrick Stewart and Tom Hardy, the cast looks so incredibly bored throughout Nemesis.  Though they’re given some terribly stupid things to say, Patrick Stewart and Tom Hardy are quite excellent together.  They deserved a better film.  I really felt bad for Brent Spiner who had to spend half of his time acting like a mindless prat.  He deserved better.  Thank the Profets we never had to suffer through the sequel to this mess.

This is all a long way of saying thank you to JJ Abrams for breathing life back in to Star Trek.  So if your friends decry new Trek and proclaim that the old stuff was superior in every way, remind them about Nemesis. Truly, it was the enemy of the entire franchise.

  • Jack_T_Robyn

    Nowadays lotta trekkies wanna bitch
    ‘Bout the Abrams reboot
    But nothin’ comes out
    When they post the text
    Just a buncha nerd rage
    The motherfuckers act
    Like they forgot about Nemesis

    • Jamie Noguchi


    • Ahzael

      Nemesis was far superior to JJ’s films. JJ’s nonsense is Shallow Trek for shallow people. Nuff said.

  • Cloudster47

    I actually missed that one (and I actually saw TOS when it originally aired), is it worse than Star Trek 5: The Barship Enterprise? I was at a party and the host showed the MST3K on ST5, he didn’t understand my calling it the Barship Enterprise, but afterwards he said ‘you’re right — they’re drinking throughout the movie!’

    JJ’s version? I don’t have a problem with it, it’s a version fork from TOS. It has good points and bad points, and as long as Rick Berman keeps away from it, I’m OK. (And Berman was producer for Nemesis, that could explain some of the horror)


    • Cloudster47

      Oh, and according to IMDB, Rick Berman has done NOTHING in the entertainment industry since he stopped working on Star Trek. And there was much rejoicing! I felt there was a significant drop in quality in Trek as he progressively took more control of the product.

    • DanielCopeland

      I’d dare say 5 was worse, but only slightly.

    • Jamie Noguchi

      Berman was the worst thing to happen to Trek.

  • DanielCopeland

    My mind broke following my viewing of Nemesis. I just couldn’t even form an opinion about it until weeks later. It was like my mind just refused to process it. Eventually, once my mind could accept that it was a real thing that actually happened…I came to the conclusion that it was pretty terrible, for exactly the reasons you stated.

    As much as I loved TNG, and the cast, they really should have stopped at First Contact. That one already stretched the mythos with the time traveling and the slinky, seductive Borg Queen (whose distinct individuality went strongly against the whole idea that it was entirely a collective with decisions made by a single hive mind), but it was entertaining enough and had a solid narrative. Though, in terms of the larger narrative, Generations would have been a perfect stopping point, with the destruction of the Enterprise providing the opportunity not to give them a new one but to introduce an even newer generation or simply to retire that one.

    Insurrection was mediocre. A cliched morality tale with bouts of mysticism, and some uncomfortably out of character moments for both Picard and Data. F. Murray Abraham didn’t chew the scenery so much as he took large bites out of it. It was an entry that could have been skipped entirely.

    But Nemesis…Nemesis was the one that looked at all that came before it, flipped a double-bird, and shouted a huge, “FUCK YOU” to the rest of the franchise.

    • Jamie Noguchi

      Totally agree with First Contact. I loved that one. That is the only TNG movie in my head cannon. Insurrection really felt like a stretched out single episode. It could have been done in a hour.

  • Buzzlefett

    If only they could have ignored the whole planet stop for the car chase and B4, I wouldn’t have minded the movie too much. It would have Shinzon as a megalomaniac antagonist (not really a far cry from a lot of Trek villains) and Data sacrificing himself to save Picard at the end (which in my mind completes his character arc of searching for what it means to be human). Some of the other things you bring up are valid points but there’s a lot of deus ex machina in Star Trek so I guess they don’t bother me so much.

  • Adil Kurji