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Mon December 16, 2002
Star Trek: Nemesis
..."Nemesis" turns on the idea that mankind must continue to look to the stars to carry on its mission of hope and love.
By John DeSando, WCBE's "It's Movie Time"
The titular bad guy of "Star Trek: Nemesis," a DNA copy of Captain Jean Luc Picard called Shinzon, wants to destroy humanity through Picard. This franchise has long mined the alter-ego, alternate-universe motifs to create havoc with its steely captains, so this one is no different.
What is different about "Nemesis," however, is the unabashed affection for what it means to be human, so much so that the glamorous special effects inspire not awe but a feeling of well being that promises all is as it should be in space even thousand of years from now-we will always be chasing our humanity through the universe. Data's earlier mechanical version comes on board but proves deficient in the experience Data has gained, making Data a greater machine on the cyber evolutionary scale because he is closer to human.
Layered on to this perennial humanity motif is a relative newcomer: "Be more than you are," a variant of the 20th century American army's "Be all that you can be." Shinzon has no desire to be better than he is, while Picard, from cadet days, always aspired-the distinction between the copy and the real thing is crucial for putting the humans one up on the cyborg types. Data's "brother" is additionally deficient because he lacks Data's yearning to know everything about humans. To aspire is to survive in this absorbing sci-fi staple.
It is tough to beat the special effects, but Patrick Stewart is so good as Captain Picard that I'd vote for him for president if the Democrats were savvy enough to nominate him. As Picard, he also fulfills J.B. Yeats's description that the real leader "serves truth, not people." As an actor whose recent one-man "Christmas Carol" on Broadway was universally acclaimed, he moves an eyebrow with grace before anyone can guess he's acting.
In the end "Nemesis" turns on the idea that mankind must continue to look to the stars to carry on its mission of hope and love. A truly successful series negates thoughts that any installment should be the last. I don't want "Star Trek" ever to end. This film, after all, is "Nemesis," and she is a lame goddess who eventually catches up with everyone. I hope she is very slow with this franchise, which deserves to live long and prosper.
John DeSando vice-chairs the board of The Film Council of Greater Columbus and co-hosts WCBE's "It's Movie Time," which can be heard streaming at www.wcbe.org on Thursdays at 8:01 pm and Fridays at 3:01 pm.