If ever there was a film that was badly misunderstood it is Star Trek: Nemesis. The most common complaint I’ve heard is it was too much like an episode. Excuse me, but isn’t it supposed to be? Nemesis has everything a good Star Trek film should have. The character chemistry, space battles, a morality tale, and terrific f/x. If the film suffers at all it is from poor editing, as the collection of deleted scenes clearly shows (more on that in the special features section). As many politicians are fond of saying, “mistakes were made,” but this is a far better film than the critics or fans have given it credit for being. It deserves a second look and this 2 disc release is the perfect opportunity to revisit Star Trek: Nemesis.
Following the wedding of Riker (Frakes) and Troi (Sirtis), Picard (Stewart) and his crew encounter a positronic signal that could only come from another android. What they find is a carbon copy of Data (Spiner). Immediately summoned by StarFleet to meet the new Praetor of The Romulan Empire, Shinzon (Hardy), Picard is faced with a mirror image of his own youth and a plot for revenge that could mean the destruction of Earth itself.
The main audio selection for Nemesis is a superb Dolby Digital 5.1 track. As spaceships collide and explode, your system will be assaulted with a ferocious array of dynamic sounds. Lows are powerful and highs are wonderfully rich with stunning clarity. The score leaps from your speakers with a brilliance to match any amphitheatre performance. Dialogue is almost always well centered and very easy to comprehend. Subtle sounds abound, from the steady hum of the Enterprise’s engines to the clatter of metallic boots on the Reman vessel.
There is an audio commentary featuring director Stuart Baird. Baird is mostly known for action films and displays some impatience here with what he perceived to be a confined environment at times. I think this commentary will put off the diehard Trek fan. He doesn’t seem to have a tremendous respect for the history of the franchise. The commentary at times feels like “How I Saved Star Trek from Itself”.
Star Trek: Nemesis is presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. This is in fact an awesome transfer. The film utilizes a relatively dark palate of colors and shades. This transfer handles these demands admirably. There is a tremendous amount of green on this film and the color never seems to loose its brilliance or effect. There is no evidence of grain or other films specks. Artifacts are completely absent. All-important blacks carry detail and depth to rival any picture seen to date. Colors are always faithful to the cinematography. Flesh tones are outstanding, particularly on the Reman make-up, which utilizes an odd olive base with effective shading around the eyes.
There is quite an impressive collection of extras here. I was most looking forward to the deleted scenes. You will find about 20 minutes of footage, some of which is introduced by Stuart Baird or Patrick Stewart. Two scenes in particular should never have been cut and simply must be seen. One features Picard and Data having a wonderful heart-to-heart over a glass of wine. The second is an alternative ending which sends the repaired Enterprise out on her new mission and offers a glimpse of Picard’s new first officer.
Other features included on this disc are…
- “New Frontiers: Stuart Baird on directing Nemesis” If you’ve heard the commentary you won’t find anything new here. This guy has quite an ego.
- “A Bold Vision of the Final Frontier” is a companion piece to the first feature and quite honestly should have been one longer extra.
- “A Star Trek Family’s Final Journey” is probably the best of the features. It’s a close-up view of the camaraderie the actors have for each other and their feelings for this work that they do.
Rounding out this collection of extras is a generous supply of photos, production notes, and bio material. Sadly, the most significant omission here is the lack of any trailer. Instead there is promo material for the Vegas “Star Trek Experience” and other Paramount products.
The menus are first rate CG animations. I have mixed feelings about a new development I found on this disc. Before getting to the top menu you must select between the main disc and Paramount’s previews for other products.
If you saw this film in the theatre but did not like it, I encourage you to give it another shot. This DVD is worth at least a rental for the deleted scenes alone. Try and recall that in November you were far too excited about The Two Towers less than a week away to truly give this film a chance. Despite the failure at the box office it is unlikely that Star Trek will end here. I believe that DVD sales will finally vindicate this misunderstood film. “Make it so.”