Star Trek: Nemesis is the fourth and final film of the saga with the crew of The Next Generation led by Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart). It came out in 2002, four years after Star Trek: Insurrection, this time with Stuart Baird directing and John Logan writing, and in a way it represents an equal and opposite effort, as per Newton’s third law. It’s equal in the sense that the end result is equally bad. It’s opposite in the sense that the tone moves as far away as possible from the light-hearted one of the previous film and got back to that of First Contact (and went further than that).
But let me explain why I think the end result is bad. First of all, as mentioned, the tone is very dark and sad for no plausible reason. After fighting against Michael Piller to prevent him from using the Romulans in a good way in Insurrection, here Romulans are back and appear as fools easily manipulated by a mad Picard clone (Tom Hardy) leading a race of slaves never heard before, the Remans.
Second: for the umpteenth time (and last, fortunately), the only noteworthy officers in the film are Picard and Data (Brent Spiner). The rest of the crew is barely there. There are even two Picards (the real one and his malfunctioning clone) and two Datas (the real one and its malfunctioning clone – by the way, who made it? It’s not explained in the movie), so there are many scenes with Stewart interacting with Hardy and Spiner interact with Spiner. None of this allows for particularly illuminating or interesting reflections, if you’re wondering about that. It’s nonsensical for Picard to wonder about his real nature by comparing himself to his abused clone on the planet Remus.
Third: the plot doesn’t make any sense. The Romulans have always been presented as smart and very informed about everything thanks to their highly efficient secret service, the Tal Shiar, and here they let Shinzon and a handful of slaves get their hands on the empire with little effort. And how did they manage to build the most powerful spaceship ever seen in the Alpha Quadrant without anyone noticing?
Fourth, but it’s better if I stop counting, Picard is once again an action hero (Stewart was 62 years old at the time) and looks nothing like the Picard we knew from The Next Generation. This Picard doesn’t enjoy archeology, he prefers driving dune buggies at high speed in the dunes of a desert!
And then RedLetterMedia (see the link below) has already perfectly explained how the story is a remake of Star Trek II, practically scene by scene (but with the ending of Insurrection). Of course, the quality is far from that of that 1982 gem! But we still have a villain who comes from an inhospitable planet who wants revenge on the captain of the Enterprise and seeks it with a ship and and a loyal crew, only to die during a final duel in a nebula.
In short, if Insurrection had some redeeming qualities, here it’s a total fail. Without a doubt, this is the film of the saga that I have watched the least. The direction is bland, the cast is totally off, perhaps they already knew it would have been the last film in the saga, the tone is sad and the story has nothing to say. What a bad way to say goodbye to TNG, it would’ve been better if that had ended with the series itself, come to think of it… ciao!