Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)

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Released 12-Nov-2003

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Star Trek Main Menu Audio & Animation
Audio Commentary-With optional subtitles,Stuart Baird (Director)
Featurette-New Frontiers: Stuart Baird on directing "Nemesis"
Featurette-A Bold Vision of the Final Frontier
Featurette-A Star Trek Family's Final Journey
Featurette-Red Alert! Shooting The Action of "Nemesis"
Deleted Scenes-8
Gallery-Photo
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 2002
Running Time 111:39
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (44:42) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Stuart Baird
Studio
Distributor

Paramount Home Entertainment
Starring Patrick Stewart
Brent Spiner
Jonathan Frakes
Levar Burton
Michael Dorn
Marina Sirtis
Gates McFadden
Tom Hardy
Ron Perlman
Case Amaray-Transparent-Secure Clip
RPI $35.95 Music Jerry Goldsmith


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0 (192Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles German
English
Hungarian
Dutch
Polish
Turkish
English for the Hearing Impaired
English Audio Commentary
German Titling
German Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    A generation's final journey...begins! So says the tagline for Star Trek: Nemesis, the tenth, and possibly (at least, if the rumours are to be believed) final film in the Star Trek series. Will it come to that? Will this really be the last ever Star Trek film? Probably not - the franchise still holds plenty of potential, it just needs an adjustment to re-discover its audience appeal. On the other hand, Nemesis will almost certainly be the last Next Generation big-screen adventure, and a fitting finale it is.

    While this may have been the most poorly received Star Trek film in terms of box-office take (not even making it to the US $50 million mark in the US), it is by no means the worst film in the series. In fact, it is one of the better films, standing below only the Trek aces of Wrath Of Khan and First Contact. The reasons for the poor financial performance of this film, despite generally good reviews, were a combination of bad timing, an aging cast, and the possible influence of studio politics. Opening with a good enough weekend take of US $18.5 million, Nemesis plummeted a whopping 76% to under US $4.5 million in its second weekend. One reason stands out more than any other for this fall - in a move that seemed almost suicidal even before the film's release, Nemesis hit US cinemas only one week before Lord Of The Rings: The Two Towers. Most "event" films are spaced so that they fall at least two to three weeks apart, but with Two Towers, Nemesis faced its own title. Compounding the problem is the fact that the core audience of Star Trek, the literate "nerd" or "geek", is also at the nucleus of the Lord Of The Rings fan-base. Forced to choose between the two, audiences overwhelmingly went with the fantasy epic, leaving the crew of the Enterprise stranded. The size of this problem is no more obvious than when looking at the Australian performance of Nemesis, where it was released in the first week of February. Up against Gangs Of New York in its second week, Nemesis fell only 57% - a far better result (although still not spectacular). Rumours abound that the release date for the film was set by a faction in Paramount that wanted to end Next Generation for good - true or not, it looks as if that will be the result.

    Unfortunately, timing was not Nemesis' only problem. The more difficult issue facing the franchise is the rapidly aging crew. A crew that were in their late 30s with a captain in his late 40s when the TV series Star Trek: The Next Generation started fifteen years ago are now in their mid 50s and 60s - hardly the action heroes to draw in the adrenaline junkies and boost the box office. It is an unfortunate reality in modern cinema, but a film needs a young cast to be successful. The only way to address the aging issue is to move on from the Next Generation crew - but to where? Deep Space Nine, while a fan favourite, was never really an "adventure" series, and has not been in production for over four years. Voyager, while more recently finished, receives a far more divided reaction from fans, and would itself run into the aging crew problem in short order. That leaves only Enterprise, a show that is stumbling into its third season with a marked lack of direction, but that does feature by far the youngest Trek crew to adventure on the small screen. The future is far from clear. Rumours abound that the next movie crew will be a combination of characters from all three series (which would require a time-travelling story line as the Enterprise crew would be long dead before the time periods in which the other two series are set). Star Trek is a franchise in deep trouble. All the more reason to savour this offering.

    Borrowing heavily from Wrath Of Khan, Nemesis is about two men (or rather two times two men) travelling across galaxies to face off against each other. Star Trek films are usually thoughtful affairs, and this is no different. It tackles the grandest of themes - what it means to be human - with a good amount of success. A coup has taken place on Romulus, and a new preator, Shinzon, is in power. There are two things unusual about this preator. Firstly, he is Reman, a noted sub-class within the Romulan empire, and secondly, he has requested the presence of a Federation star-ship on a diplomatic mission. He wants to talk peace. The closest Federation ship is, naturally, the Enterprise, and so Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) and his crew head off in the hopes of ending hostilities with the longest standing enemies of the Federation. What they find is far more than they bargained for. Both Jean-Luc and Data (Brent Spiner) must quite literally face their own personal demons, while once again saving Earth from destruction.

    This is a strong story of personal conflict reflected on a grand scale. The influence of Gladiator scribe, and co-writer, John Logan is readily apparent, and it is good to see the franchise expanding their creative talent pool, which has at times seemed quite stagnant. As a finale, the film works very well, from the wedding of Will Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis), and the news of their promotion (and subsequent departure) that opens the film, to the understated, sad and yet hopeful ending, this film is a fitting tribute to a seventeen year relationship with fans. First time Trek director Stuart Baird brings a new perspective on the franchise, and thankfully avoids virtually all the problems that were apparent with Insurrection. He has given the film a darker, more stylish look, in comparison to the previous films in the series. The performances are as good as you would expect from actors who have had so many years of experience in their roles, allowing the emotional side of the story to really hit its mark. The action elements are also very good, equalling anything in First Contact.

    Despite all the positives, the film is far from perfect - the melding of action and drama is a little awkward. The feel is mostly a slow, thoughtful, character drama, but then huge action set-pieces pop up, and just tend to feel a little out of place. The aims of the drama are also a little too lofty at times, lending the feel that the film is overstepping its bounds on those occasions. It is also quite uneven in the coverage it gives the characters - Picard and Data have the vast majority of the screen time, while others such as Geordi La Forge (LeVar Burton), Worf (Michael Dorn), and Dr Crusher (Gates McFadden) are little more than extended cameos. The problems do not serve to sink the film, but simply lower its effectiveness slightly.

    Any who have an interest in the Trek franchise owe it to themselves to see this film, and not because it may be the last, but because it is a good film. For that reason, non-Trek fans should not be turned away from it by the stigma the series carries, as this is a good, thoughtful, and fun sci-fi action/adventure film with a grand scale and some interesting ideas. Well worth a night in. Finally, for the trivia heads out there, try to spot the cameo by X-Men and Usual Suspects director Bryan Singer without listening to the director's commentary (Singer is apparently a huge Star Trek fan) - blink and you'll miss it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    The video transfer presented for Star Trek: Nemesis is exceptionally good, and is a real pleasure to watch.

    Presented at the original theatrical aspect ratio of 2.35:1, this transfer is 16x9 enhanced.

    The image is extremely sharp, containing a wealth of fine detail, and allowing for exceptional clarity. There is virtually no grain to speak of, although edge enhancement does become a problem from time to time. The most obvious of these is during the wedding that starts the movie proper, where most of the guests appear to be walking halos, even on a "normal" direct-view TV. Fortunately, it seems to decrease in use as the movie progresses (not coincidentally, the latter portions of the movie are not anywhere near as bright as the wedding). Shadow detail is also excellent, which is a real bonus with many scenes being very dimly lit, and looking fantastic. There is no low-level noise present.

    Colour is excellent, from the more reserved colour scheme of the Enterprise and the Starfleet uniforms, to the bright flashes of weapons fire, and even the subtle green-blacks of Shinzon's clothes, all colours are rendered with ease.

    There are no compression or film artefacts in this transfer at all. The only artefact to appear is a relatively small amount of aliasing, although when present it can be very obvious, such as on the Romulan Senate building from 1:27 to 1:32, or the steps from 30:25 to 30:31. As the movie progresses, the instances of aliasing become more scattered.

    The sub-titles are quite accurate, only abbreviating where it would have been difficult to read the dialogue the way it was spoken (such as rephrasing many of Data's lines). They are rendered in an attractive font and well paced.

    This is an RSDL formatted disc with the layer change taking place at 44:41 during Chapter 10. The change does not, at least, break any dialogue, but easily could have been better placed.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    An excellent audio transfer has been delivered to match the video. This soundtrack is enveloping and engaging, and is equal to the best produced for the Star Trek series of movies.

    There are three soundtracks present on this disc. The first two are the original English dialogue and a German dub both in Dolby Digital 5.1 (at 448 Kbps), while the third is the English audio commentary track in Dolby Digital 2.0 surround (at 192 Kbps).

    Dialogue is clear and easy to understand at all times. Whether it be during battle, or in otherwise complete silence, there are never any problems. The audio sync is spot on throughout the transfer, and is never an issue.

    The score is by the man director Stuart Baird describes as the John Williams of Star Trek - Jerry Goldsmith. Having composed the scores to five of the ten films, and with those five being head and shoulders above the rest, he certainly has a larger claim on that title than the other four composers used in the series. As usual, Goldsmith's work is brilliant - there are few composers who even come close to his ability to adapt a score to the material that is being presented on screen, and this is no exception. With some great themes that are set up and then repeated, this is how a film soundtrack should sound.

    The surround channels are extensively used by this soundtrack, for both ambient noise on the starships, and for directional effects during action scenes. This soundtrack is right up there with First Contact for activity, and is extremely good at drawing the listener in without really making a point of itself.

    The subwoofer gets a chance to do its worst with this soundtrack, producing many a thundering roar during the numerous action sequences. The rumbles produced will give your foundations a good test.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

    Taking into account that this is not a special edition DVD, the extras package presented is very good indeed - just bear in mind that a new 2-disc version of this movie may well appear (although at the current rate the Trek special editions are coming out, a 2-disc edition of Nemesis would not arrive until 2006).

Menu

    The menus are animated, 16x9 enhanced, themed around the movie, and feature Linear PCM 2.0 stereo audio.

Audio Commentary - Stuart Baird (Director)

    This is one of those commentaries that will really come down to personal preference. What director Stuart Baird has to say is interesting, but his delivery is not. He speaks in a slow, controlled, English accent that really makes it feel as if every word he says is steeped in wisdom. There are frequent, large, gaps in the commentary, but this makes what he does say seem all the more important. Worth a listen, but if you cannot stand the style of the first 10-15 minutes, then stop there, as it continues in that vein for the duration of the commentary.

Featurette - New Frontiers: Stuart Baird on Directing Nemesis (8:43)

    This is a series of interviews with the actors and producers about Stuart Baird more than it is about his ideas and theories. Interesting, with some very good behind the scenes footage. Presented at 1.33:1 (although a lot of the footage is 1.85:1, or even 2.35:1), not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 surround audio.

Featurette - A Bold Vision of the Final Frontier (10:17)

    This featurette is more like the previous one's title. This is essentially Stuart Baird discussing his vision for the film, and the reasons behind a few key sequences. Again, an interesting watch. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 surround audio.

Featurette - A Star Trek Family's Final Journey (16:17)

    As with all the other featurettes on the disc, this is a series of short interview snippets on the one topic - in this case, the idea that this is going to be the final Star Trek film featuring the Next Generation crew. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 surround audio.

Featurette - Red Alert! Shooting the Action of "Nemesis" (10:09)

    As the title suggests, this featurette covers the action sequences of the film. It presents a good, if somewhat short, insight into the work that goes into action movies. Presented at 1.33:1, not 16x9 enhanced, and featuring Dolby Digital 2.0 surround audio.

Deleted Scenes (19:57)

    This section contains 7 deleted scenes as follows:     Many of the scenes include an introduction from director or cast members, discussing their removal. This method of presenting deleted scenes is preferable to the director's commentary style. It should be noted that there is reportedly over an hour of footage that was dropped from Nemesis, so this is only part of what was deleted. Will we ever see the rest? Maybe if there is a 2-disc special edition. All deleted scenes are presented at 2.35:1, are not 16x9 enhanced, and feature Dolby Digital 2.0 surround audio.

Photo Gallery (40)

    Less a "photo gallery" than a "production gallery", this is a collection of conceptual drawings, blueprints, and on set photographs. Great for those who enjoy photo galleries.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 4 version of this disc misses out on;     The Region 1 version of this disc misses out on;     Unless you are really intrigued by that tourism commercial, it is fair to say these discs are equally specified.

Summary

    Star Trek: Nemesis is a very good entry in the Star Trek series, only slightly below the leading contenders First Contact and Wrath Of Khan. In the great Trek tradition, it explores grand themes, while throwing in plenty of action. Highly recommended to all Trek fans, and even for those who just like a good action flick that will make them think a little.

    The video quality is first rate. The clarity and detail in the transfer is excellent, clearly displaying the moodier atmosphere of this film.

    The audio is on par with the video, delivering an extremely active surround soundtrack that also manages to be quite subtle. An excellent soundtrack, and a real pleasure to listen to.

    The extras are above average for a "standard-edition" DVD, although not as good as the 2-disc Trek special editions. Whether we see this movie in its own 2-disc addition remains to be seen, but certainly if we do, it won't be for some time to come.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Nick Jardine (My bio, it's short - read it anyway)
Tuesday, September 02, 2003
Review Equipment
DVDPioneer DV-555K, using Component output
DisplayLoewe Xelos 5381ZW. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationOnkyo TX-DS787, THX Select
SpeakersRochester Audio Animato Series (2xSAF-02, SAC-02, 3xSAB-01) + 12" Sub (150WRMS)

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Comments (Add)
Nemesis R1 vs R4 - Stimpy (da, what's a bio Ren?)
Don't forget the Undisovered Country (Part 6). - Bradavon REPLY POSTED
The US rating is PG-13 so families be warned. - REPLY POSTED
Spelling Mistakes on the back cover -