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STAR TREK: NEMESIS

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Brent Spiner, Tom Hardy
Director: Stuart Baird
Rated: PG

It beats me why an entire industry has developed around the Star Trek brand, but Star Trek: Nemesis is the latest fix for those who can’t get enough of it.

Word comes at Riker’s (Jonathan Frakes) and Troi’s (Marina Sirtis) wedding that the entire Senate on Romulous has been assassinated. The new Praetor, Shinzon (Tom Hardy) sues for peace with the Federation and asks for Captain Picard’s (Patrick Stewart) Starship Enterprise to come and negotiate the terms of the settlement.

On arrival Jean-Luc Picard discovers that Shinzon is his clone, that Shinzon needs Picard’s genetic material to stop an accelerated aging disease and that Shinzon does not want peace but intends to invade Earth. To save the day the Enterprise must face down Shinzon’s Warbird, which is a more powerful and deadly starship than the now dated Enterprise.

Even though this film cost $120 million to make, it remains a poor person’s Star Wars. It has lots of great miniatures, excellent make-up, exquisitely detailed costumes and well-deployed special effects. So why does it limp along?

Maybe it’s because we know the end before it starts. Maybe, despite the exploration of the contemporary cloning issue, the story is now too formulaic and some of the dialogue is embarrassingly clumsy. And maybe it’s that Patrick Stewart is the only actor in the cast who seems to be able to bring some depth to his or her role.

Nemesis is filled with dire warnings about cloning, which is all well and good, except most of the science in the film is science fantasy as well, which ends up only clouding the good points the writers might be trying to make.

Star Trek: Nemesis is a long-play version of the television show, minus the comfort breaks, so at a shade under two hours it’s only for the ‘trekker’ aficionados.

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