Have you noticed that when you eat a piece of cake that is so good you have to have a second piece, that the second piece does not taste as good as the first? "Star Trek: Nemesis" is the about the fourth piece from this cake, and it is not as tasty as the other ones.
The premise of the movie is that somehow Picard's DNA has wound up in the hands of the Romulan Empire. They have cloned Picard with the intention to place that clone on the bridge of the Enterprise.
Changes in government cause the clone to be placed on the sister planet of Remus. This is a slave planet whose inhabitants are forced to the work the dilithium mines. Being raised under the harsh conditions of slave labor, Shinzon, the clone, grows in hatred and power. He is taken in by a native of the planet and is groomed as a dictator.
Shinzon rises to power in a coup. It seems that he has a goal of eliminating the Federation, but his greater desire is to kill Picard. Because of the lack of control of his growth, Shinzon needs Picard's blood to survive.
There is the usual cloaked war bird, Data finding a replica of himself, and the stuff that those who follow the series want to see. And that is the problem: The movie plays to rabid Trekkies and does little to involve the causal fan or the person who has not followed the series.
The book of Ecclesiastes speaks of this movie: There is nothing new under the sun. It is nothing more than a rehash of much of the philosophical musings of Gene Roddenberry. It is '60s thinking set in the 25th century and presented in the 21st. It only brings in elements that we have seen in the other movies.
One of the major problems with the movie, and also the series, is that such importance is placed on the person who commands the Enterprise. It seems that person is the linchpin of all of history. Picard is so important to the universe that having him taken off the bridge of the Enterprise would give a planet an advantage over the mighty Federation.
There is also the problem with the post-history of the series that gives the movie no real suspense. If you watched the series, you know how all of these people turn out at the end of their lives and careers. When peril emerges within the story, you know that there is going to be a resolution that favors the character's survival. All of us found that no one stays dead in the first set of movies featuring the original cast. Resurrection is always real and possible.
In terms of this movie, there is an opportunity for Picard to grow out of his idealism, but when faced with the chance to move forward, he just stays where he is. The lack of growth in the characters is a real downside to these movies. They are static and you go to the movies out of familiarity.
In the end, "Star Trek: Nemesis" is like an old T-shirt: You know it needs to be retired to the ragbag, but you keep wearing it because it reminds you of old times and old fun.
"Star Trek" needs to remain in reruns.
Mike Parnell is pastor of Burgaw Baptist Church in Burgaw, N.C.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and peril and a scene of sexual content
Director: Stuart Baird
Writers: Gene Roddenberry, John Logan, Rick Berman and Brent Spiner
Cast: Capt. Picard: Patrick Stewart; Commander Riker: Jonathan Frakes; Data: Brent Spiner; Geordi La Forge: LeVar Burton; Worf: Michael Dorn; Dr.Crusher: Gates McFadden; Reman Viceroy: Ron Perlman; Shinzon: Tom Hardy.