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While STAR TREK: NEMESIS ($30) is somewhat derivative of previous Trek adventures, THE WRATH OF KHAN in particular, the movie really doesn’t deserve the unfavorable reputation it acquired. I went to see STAR TREK: NEMESIS in the theaters, and although the film didn’t blow me away, it proved to be an entertaining and dramatic swan song for THE NEXT GENERATION cast. In the film's favor, STAR TREK: NEMESIS does take certain long running story arcs to their inevitable conclusion, as well as paving the way for another reinvention of the Trek franchise, one that could conceivably feature the adventures of Captain William Riker and the crew of the USS Titan. Another thing STAR TREK: NEMESIS has going for it is the fact that it is the slickest of all the Trek movies in terms of visual effects, making it a perfect piece of science fiction eye candy.

STAR TREK: NEMESIS opens with a coup d'état that radically alters the political makeup of the Romulan Empire, then the movie segues to the wedding reception of Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis). This wedding also marks the impending departure of the bride and groom from the Enterprise crew, because Riker has finally accepted promotion to captain and will be taking command of the USS Titan. During the crew’s final mission together, the Enterprise picks up a signal that leads them close to neutral zone bordering the Romulan Empire, where they discover a prototype android that appears to be an earlier version of Commander Data (Brent Spiner).

Because of the Enterprise’s proximity to Romulan space, Captain Picard (Patrick Stewart) receives new orders from Starfleet Command that entail a diplomatic mission to the Romulan home world to meet with Praetor Shinzon (Tom Hardy), whose Reman faction has just seized control of the empire. Upon the their initial meeting, the crew of the Enterprise discover that Shinzon is neither a Romulan nor a Reman, but instead a human clone of Captain Picard. This leaves both Picard and Data faced to face with doppelgangers, and in the midst of a diplomatic situation that could be a prelude to war between the federation and the new Romulan government. The cast of STAR TREK: NEMESIS also features LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Gates McFadden, Ron Perlman, Dina Meyer, Kate Mulgrew, Wil Wheaton and an uncredited Whoopi Goldberg.

Paramount Home Entertainment has made STAR TREK: NEMESIS available on DVD in an utterly superb 2.35:1 wide screen presentation that has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. The image is virtually flawless and whatever minor print flaws are present, are so inconsequential, that the go by completely unnoticed. The image is incredibly crisp and beautifully defined, so much so, that even the more artful section of cinematography come across with the utmost clarity. Color reproduction is outstanding, with all of the most vibrant hues coming across without a trace of noise or smearing. Blacks appear completely pure, whites are clean and the contrast is generally smooth, except in the one sequence in which it is intended to appear otherwise. Shadow detail is all that anyone could hope for and the image produces a nice dimensional quality. Digital compression artifacts are well camouflaged on this dual layer DVD.

STAR TREK: NEMESIS features a Dolby Digital 5.1 channel soundtrack that I would rate as one of the best to ever grace any Trek movie, and something that is certain to blast the viewer into outer space. The sound designers pulled out all the stops to produce a highly aggressive and dynamic sound mix that draws the viewer into the middle of the film’s big action set pieces, as well as enveloping them in an acoustical cocoon during the smaller moments. Surround junkies will get a kick out of how well the rear channels are deployed for split sound effects and how well the meld to form a cohesive soundstage. Dialogue reproduction is excellent; everything is completely intelligible (techno-babble notwithstanding) and the actors’ voices resonate with a natural and sometimes authoritative timbre. The bass channel is decidedly thunderous, while Jerry Goldsmith’s score is rendered with complete musical fidelity. English and French Dolby Surround soundtracks are also encoded into the DVD, as are English subtitles.

Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD’s interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to the standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the DVD’s supplemental section. Director Stuart Baird is on hand for a running audio commentary, and while it isn’t the most chocked full of details track in the history of DVD, fans of the movie should find it interesting. There are four featurettes provided on the DVD, although the ten-minute New Frontiers: Stuart Baird On Directing Nemesis and eight-minute A Bold Vision Of The Final Frontier play as two halves of the same interview intensive program. Red Alert! Shooting the Action of Nemesis is a ten-minute program that focuses on the film’s action sequences. A Star Trek Family's Final Journey is a sixteen-minute featurette that gives the cast members to reflect back on the their characters and the final time that they will be appearing together as the crew of the USS Enterprise. Twenty minutes of deleted scenes have been included on the DVD, and while the material is interesting, another twenty-five minutes of excised material is supposed to exist and it would have been nice if it could have been included as well. A photo gallery and some Trek promos are also included on the DVD, but alas the trailer for STAR TREK: NEMESIS is strangely absent.

I have to admit I really liked STAR TREK: NEMESIS; it may not be the greatest Trek adventure of all time, but it certainly doesn’t deserve the unfavorable reputation that it quickly acquired. In fact, I actually liked it more the second time I saw it, so it might be that this is the kind of film that grows on you. As for the DVD, kudos to the folks at Paramount for producing a superb looking and sounding disc that boldly goes into the realm of demo quality material.


DVD reviews are Copyright © 2003 THE CINEMA LASER and may not be copied or reprinted without the written consent of the publisher.
THE CINEMA LASER is written, edited and published by Derek M. Germano.



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