Monday, January 28, 2008

I Believe! (Why Nemesis Bombed)

by Gillian Weisgram is hosting a video from G4 that states that Nemesis bombed because we're done with the Next Generation crew.

Is that really what people think?

Nemeis bombed because it was an obvious crappy remake. If you need proof, look no further! Tell me what movie this is: the Captain of the Enterprise is mysteriously summoned to a specific region of space where he encounters a villain to whom he has close personal ties, and who has a specific need to see that Captain dead. The Captain ends up having a huge space battle with the villain in the middle of a giant dust cloud, until the villain, recognizing defeat, launches his superweapon. Only the sacrifice of the Captain's closest friend – and First Officer – can save the ship. But there is a slight hope that maybe he didn't die at all...

Now tell me which movie that was.

That's not all that's wrong with Nemesis, though. If it had just been the fact that the entire plot was poached from what may be the most-loved Trek movie ever, that might be forgiveable. But with the dune buggy, B4, Shinzon, and the Viceroy running around, it was hard to make audiences take it seriously. The dune buggy can be pinned squarely on the director, since the writer has no say whatsoever. B4 is a great piece of continuity (look up TNG: Inheritance, if you're having trouble there) that could have been fleshed out in more detail. Shinzon was a great idea that didn't need that much screen time. And the Viceroy was just totally unnecessary to the plot.

The parts that really ticked me off, and ruined the whole thing for me, were the omissions. What they put in the movie was excusable. What they left out was criminal. I waited fifteen years to see Will and Deanna tie the knot, and they didn't show the wedding. Wil Wheaton was in the movie, and even though his scene was 30 seconds long (which could not possibly annoy the Wesley bashers that much) and would have won over the Wesley-loving crowd, they cut him out. As a side note, Wil is still an actor, people.

The worst part is that those things were in the script. For whatever reason, they were either never filmed or cut from the final version of the movie. You can see Wil's scene on the DVD, in the section marked “deleted scenes”. Nice.
Then there was the stuff that was actually good, the stuff that got drowned out by the dune buggy and it's friends. Like the point where the death of Data, who is beloved by pretty much everyone I know, is sinking in and Will Riker makes his little speech.

Now I'm not going to pin this anywhere, because it's so complex. First of all, the timing sucked. It needed to be either after a funeral – now there's a good idea! Or after enough time had gone by that the audience had time to grieve. If it was in at all, which it didn't have to be. I'll chalk it up to writer/director error and just say that every fan worth his salt knows what song Data was whistling when Riker found him on the holodeck.

So when Data's good and dead, made human, if you will, by his self-sacrifice, no one notices that he's been made human at all, because Will Riker's standing there going, "When I first met Data, he was trying to whistle. Funniest thing you ever heard. What was the song? I can't remember the song!" and seventeen people (me included) yelled "Pop Goes the Weasel!" and added a "you dumb shit!" silently in our heads. And the mood was ruined. Forgive us. Data had just died.

It was a long time – hours – before I came up with the self-sacrifice thing.
And it took two months before I realized that there's some really good stuff about Nemesis. The continuity is amazing, especially with regard to how Data sees and defines himself. Worf's presence is unexplained, but he has several wonderful moments. Riker and Troi have major devolepment in the form of getting married. Beverly gets promoted – even though that, too, got edited out – and Wesley returns to Starfleet. Only he's on the Titan, so you'll never see him, so just chill out, you Wesley bashers. There's some kind of moment for everyone. Well, except Geordi. Poor Geordi. He gets great screen time with Data though. And I can't really find it in my heart to argue too much with a movie that finally, after fifteen years, found a use for Deanna Troi.

Maybe Nemesis is crap. I don't know anymore. In fact, there's not much I do know. But what I believe, and you can disagree with me if you want, is that Nemesis had good equal to its bad, and if Ice Princess can turn a profit, Nemesis deserved to too. As terrified as Nemesis makes me for the future of this show – for the future of my life – I believe in Star Trek. I've come too far as a Trekkie not to believe.

I believe this new movie CAN WORK. I believe in Leonard Nimoy, who likes the script and has always been right about the relative success or failure of every movie. I believe in Zachary Quinto with his identical-to-Nimoy nose. I believe in the selling power of Jim Kirk, even if he is Chris Pine now. I believe in the fan-ness of John Logan, who may never be invited to a Star Trek convention, but who I will always want to meet. I believe in the good intentions of Rick Berman and Brannon Braga (at least in the beginning) and the creative genius of Michael Piller. I believe that J.J. Abrams knows what he's doing. I believe in the favouritism of Kathryn Janeway and the emotionalisim of Jim Kirk. I believe in the long-windedness of First Season Picard and the faith of Seventh Season Sisko. I believe that Jonathan Archer was an idiot and but Trip and T'Pol (not their romance) totally made up for it.

And I believe that the future will give me more opportunities to believe.