'Star Trek: The Next Generation' may not be quite as influential or as ground-breaking as the original 'Star Trek' series (though it certainly has those elements), but quality-wise it is every bit as good with a few improvements.
Of the four films based off 'The Next Generation', the only outstanding one is 'First Contact', which was also one of the best 'Star Trek' films, along with 'The Wrath of Khan', 'The Voyage Home' and 'The Undiscovered Country' (of the previous films) and a great film in general. 'Nemesis' is a long way from a terrible film, none of the 'Star Trek' films are even the often panned 'The Motion Picture' and 'The Final Frontier', but to me it is one of the weaker 'Star Trek' films overall along with 'The Final Frontier' and 'Insurrection', 'The Motion Picture' and 'Generations' are also frustratingly uneven efforts.
There are certainly strengths here. Despite the sets being somewhat more basic compared to the other 'Next Generation' films and 'The Next Generation' series, though they don't look cheap just not as detailed or as elaborate, the cinematography is intimate, colourful, brooding and immersive in equal measure and the striking special effects will leave one in awe.
Having Jerry Goldsmith on board for composer always promises much, seeing as Goldsmith was a personal favourite film composer of mine and some of the best 'Star Trek' music was penned by him, and the man doesn't disappoint, with a lot of rousing, foreboding and melancholic themes, varied textures and clever use of instrumentation. The action sequences are well choreographed and shot and among the more exciting of the 'Next Generation' films, especially the thrilling final battle.
Most of the cast are good. Patrick Stewart has the lion's share of the material, and he is effortlessly commanding and brings much dignified gravitas, integrity, wry stoicism, a sense of fun, heart and a conflicted edge. Brent Spiner enjoys himself with neither his acting or material overdone as with the disastrous emotion-chip subplot in 'Generations', though some of his material doesn't add much at all and felt a little on the self indulgent side. Ron Perlman is suitably menacing, while Tom Hardy throws himself into his role of Shinzon and clearly did a lot to prepare himself for it.
On the other, 'Nemesis' is badly let down by the script and story not being up to par. The script is one of the most stilted of all the 'Star Trek' films put together, and not only is it far too talky with some confusing gobbledegook techno-babble but it is rather poorly balanced and not particularly well focused, with some clumsy humour that often jarred.
'Nemesis's' story very rarely compels outside of the action. Pacing is often pedestrian, especially in the first half which also had a very corny opening, and the whole film feels very tired and like, like 'Insurrection', a padded out two-parter of the series. There is nothing new or surprising, and there are parts that are pointless, could have gone into more detail or convoluted. The direction is uninspired.
While the rest of the supporting do their best, their screen time is limited and uninteresting. In the previous two 'Next Generations' films it was understandable in the case of Jonathan Frakes as he was also director for those films, but here there was no excuse and it's the same for the rest of the cast. There definitely could have been more of the rest of the regular 'Next Generation' crew and the film could have been less villain-centric, Jonathan Frakes apparently thought this and am in complete agreement with him.
In conclusion, not awful but 'The Next Generation' at its most flawed. 5/10 Bethany Cox