Prayer Focus
Movie Review

Star Trek: Nemesis

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for sci-fi action violence and peril and a scene of sexual content

Reviewed by: Douglas M. Downs

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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
10 to Adult
1 hr. 56 min.
USA Release:
Copyright, Paramount Pictures click photos to ENLARGE
Relevant Issues
Scene from Star Trek: Nemesis

Are we alone, or is there life elsewhere in the universe?

Did a “Martian” meteorite prove the existence of ET?

Scene from Star Trek: Nemesis

What does the Bible say about intelligent life on other planets?

Were the nephilim (sons of God) of Genesis 6:4 extraterrestrials?

Does Scripture refer to life in space?

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1. As scientists are on the verge of cloning a human being, our Star Trek writers explores some of the possible dynamics of such a reality. How will the clone relate to the original person of whom they were cloned? Do you believe there will be competition or cooperation. If the reason for the clone, as some are saying now, is to provide “eternal life” for the original person, what will that do to the spiritual life of both clone and original donor?

2. If the desire of biological life is not to create offspring but rather to create continuity of an exact genetic code, what will that do to the future of humanity? Who will be cloned and by what decision process? Will the cloned person be superior or inferior to the new person created by the biological union of a father and mother?

3.If a cloned person should choose to kill the person who gave them life would that be murder? Would it be murder if the original person killed the clone in order to harvest needed organs for his or her own biological continuation? 4.Do you believe a cloned person will have a separate soul from that of the original person? Why or why not?

—Denny and Hal,

Starring: Patrick Stewart, Jonathan Frakes, Brent Spiner, LeVar Burton, Majel Barrett | Directed by: Stuart Baird | Produced by: Rick Berman | Written by: John Logan | Distributor: Paramount Pictures

Nemesis\n\1. the Greek goddess of fate and punisher of extravagant pride. 2. one that inflicts retribution or vengeance. 3. a formidable and usually victorious rival or opponent.
Webster’s Dictionary

The first question that my youngest son, age 11, had has we made plans to see the latest “Star Trek” film was “what does the word “nemesis” mean?” This 10th “Star Trek” movie lives up to its name and the definition. I would call this Sci-Fi outing “Star Trek’s Greatest Hits” or a “Best of” Trek.

If you’re a Trekkor (aka Trekkie)--then you know the characters and their roles. If you have watched the episodes and the movies, then you know how the plots work. “Nemesis” is an excellent blend of everything that we have grown to enjoy about Gene Roddenberry’s series. You already know that this film features once again the “Next Generation” crew.

Personally, Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) is my favorite captain. Stuart Baird, director, also blends into “Nemesis” some of the best 007-like daring escapes and aliens who must be close cousins to some of the scary “Lord of the Rings” baddies. John Logan writes a story that should delight most fans and moviegoers.

Let’s get down to business, or should I say “engage”!? “Nemesis” is a dark spin on your typical “ego vs. alter-ego” story. Captain Jean-Luc must battle with a clone of himself. Tom Hardy turns in an outstanding performance as Shinzon, who was created by the Romulans and then banished to the planet Remus. Data (Brent Spiner) also meets a former version of himself. The story opens with the engagement of Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Ship’s Counselor Troi (Marina Sirtis). We have the typical tongue-in-cheek humor that includes Data singing his version of “Blue Skies.”

The crew is assembled for a routine space assignment and picks up some strange positron readings (the same components that make up the android Data). What they find on this planet are pieces of an android that, when assembled, is Data’s prototype called B-4. The away team no sooner returns to the ship when they are invited into the Neutral Zone. There has been a change in power and the Romulans (known for their great cloaking abilities) want to have a diplomatic meeting with the Federation. Can you guess which Star Ship is the closest?

This mission enters the crew into the familiar Trekken philosophical traditions. What does it mean to be human? Are our actions predetermined or can we choose our destinies? What are the qualities of a great leader? The rest of the story moves along like an excellent game of Chess.

Captain Picard is quite taken by meeting a version of himself. These two leaders now move back and forth between “check” and “check mate.” I won’t spoil it for you, but you will enjoy the special effects, the match of wits, the battle scenes, and the cloaked Romulan agenda.

Yes, I do recommend this film. There is very little that is objectionable. The one brief bedroom scene actually adds to the suspense instead being simply sexual. I am surprised that Star Wars: Episode 2 has a “PG” rating and “Nemesis” has a “PG-13” rating. (I will never figure out the MPAA.) “Nemesis” is definitely basic “PG” Sci-Fi stuff. Ages 10 and over should enjoy this one.

Will there be more “Star Trek” films? If this is the last one, it is definitely the best. I think that success may produce about 2 more films. Paramount Pictures knows that after Star Wars: Episode 3 there will be a lot more room in space.

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See also our reviews of: Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home / Star Trek V: The Final Frontier / Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country / Star Trek: Generations / Star Trek: First Contact / Star Trek: Insurrection
Viewer Comments
Comments below:
Positive—While not the best film in the Star Trek series, (a title that still belongs to The Wrath of Khan by a longshot,) this could quite easily be as good, if not slightly better than First Contact. Unlike the soulless, meandering drivel that was Insurrection, Nemesis moves along and a good pace, and actually treats the viewer like he or she has some glimmer of intelligence. Shinzon’s backstory might be a little far-fetched, but this IS star Trek after all, and they do manage to make him into a very interesting character in the time the have to work with.

All the old Next Generation characters are back, with a few fun cameos to boot. I would heartily recommend this movie to anyone who likes science fiction, or to anyone who just wants to see an entertaining movie.
My Ratings: [Good / 4½]
—Joseph J. Fusco, age 32
Positive—While not quite as good as First Contact, I still thought Nemesis was an exceptionally great movie, far better than Insurrection (I don’t think there is anyone who would dispute that!). I really think that this movie was just awesome! Some of the humor in the beginning was great, and unexpected. I plan on seeing this movie again, and buying it.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Kevin, age 18
Positive—Although not the “best” Trek movie in the series, it is definitely better than the last Trek movie. Needs a little more originality at some points but a fairly decent movie. I give it two thumbs up.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
—John T, age 37
Positive—I found the entire plot of having to face your moral decisions based on being brought up in different circumstances a wonderful way to make all the viewers (non christian alike) take a look at their own conscience! I’ve always been a Star Trek fan, and was pleased with this movie.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Candy, age 28
Positive—Star Trek fans should be pleased with this newest installment and Christians should at least take heart that a few Biblical principles are included in the story line. The sci-fi action, CG and make-up are all first rate and the sub-plots work together to form an enjoyable couple of hours, but the movie is really about the heart of man and its need for love and moral standards. Captain Picard uses the mirror analogy from I Corinthians 13 as a teaching tool and the concept of sin appears to be alive and well on Planet Romulan. There is very little profanity but much intense sci-fi violence. The bedroom scene shows no nudity. My wife and I saw this movie together and would recommend it to those that like action adventure flicks. However, the PG-13 rating should be observed for children as the images are quite intense.
My Ratings: [Average / 3½]
—Larry Nunnally, age 54
Positive—…The question to ask is, what makes Star Trek good? For me, Star Trek is at its best when it has something to fresh and challenging to say. Unlike many modern Science Fiction yarns, Star Trek at its best always has a down-to-earth moral at its core. In this respect, Nemesis is a hit, in my opinion. Nemesis is about what makes us who we are. Why are we what we are, and why do we do what we do? To whom is credit due, if we “turn out” well? From a Christian perspective (and I find it best to view everything that way), Nemesis says, and challenges the viewer to realize, “there but for the grace of God go I”…

For those who count curse words and such, I don’t recall hearing the Lord’s name taken in vain—certainly not Jesus’ name. There were a sprinkling of “damns” and “hells”, and one near sex scene (between a married couple, if it’s any consolation) which, though nothing was shown, might be too much for the younger audience. If these things bother you, stay away. All in all however, I thought this a “clean” film. In this sense it was nothing more or less graphic than might be seen on an episode of the Television show. more »
My Ratings: [Average / 4]
—Timothy Blaisdell, age 39
Positive—A generation’s final journey. Is it? Maybe. If so, they certainly went out with a bang! The tenth installment of the series, “Star Trek Nemesis” delivers on all counts. Great story. Grand effects and pulse-pounding action! The cast is in fine form as always, and we’re also given a superb performance by newcomer Tom Hardy as the villainous Shinzon. “Nemesis” is a must for any Trekker.
My Ratings: [Good / 5]
—Christopher, age 20
Negative—In a word—LAME! My wife, 14 yr old son, and myself all came away from this movie feeling we had wasted the our time in the theater. The story line was predictable. Nemesis wouldn’t even rate as one of the better TV episodes if it had been a two parter. My advice; wait for the DVD release and rent it along with others.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 1½]
—C. Reifle, age 47
Positive—I am a big Star Trek fan and I rushed out to see Nemesis. While there were many inconsistencies with the plot and several lame attempts at humor, I was still entertained by the movie. When I was about to sink in my seat with embarrassment over the early, awkward Romulan and wedding scenes, the movie then starts to focus on the plot and actually gets better as it goes along. The space battles are the best since Star Trek II and the story, while flat at times, does hold your interest.

As far as I could tell, there wasn’t a single word of profanity and despite a scene early in the film, the graphic violence is kept to a minimum as well. There is once bedroom scene between a married couple that turns horrific but it is soon over.

On a whole, the movie (as in all of the Next Generation films) seems just like a long episode of the series. I would like to see them go back to epic productions and story lines. If you like Star Trek, you should like this film. All others need to stay away.
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Brian Wolters, age 32
Positive—…As the story unfolds, we see ideas that don’t necessarily follow along general Christian ideals—the villain is a newly-discovered, younger clone of Captain Jean-Luc Picard, for instance—but one constant of both the Star Trek universe and the Bible remains. That is, that humankind should should not be concerned with monetary items or the acquisition of power, but rather the betterment of oneself and the idea of bringing all of humankind to a higher level. In the Bible, Jesus teaches us to aspire to live like him in all ways—that would be to be as caring, righteous, and good as we possibly can be.

The ideals of Star Trek, though following the futuristic Sci-Fi storylines and natural action-adventure scenes, are essentially the same. This adventure of Star Trek does better than any of the previous Next Generation films in bringing human emotion into the mix. There is the natural struggle between doing what is right and what is wrong, that as always with Star Trek (and how it should be in our Christian lives) ends up doing what is right.

Because of the violence in the film, and the brief sexual conduct (including a “mind-rape” by the villain Shinzon), this film is probably not suitable for really young viewers. But the fowl language is definitely kept to a minimum, and the positive message rings true at the end.
My Ratings: [Average / 4½]
—Paul Little, age 21
Positive—This movie is in following with the Star Trek (and Biblical!) belief that all life is precious and must be given the chance to make good decisions. I am a Trek fan so I loved the movie. Don’t go unless you’re a true fan.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Withheld, age 29
Positive—Nemesis was the best Next Generation film to date. It was full of action, suspense and some interesting philosophical points. The humor was its usual average, but it’s relatively sparse. The acting was great, particularly Tom Hardy as the alter ego to Patrick Stewart’s Jean Luc Picard. I also found it less graphic than the exciting, yet less family friendly First Contact, but more exciting than the last film Insurrection. I hope the team keeps hiring some new blood with some fresh ideas and a love for these characters. A good film for teens and adults! Long may the trek continue!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4]
Neutral—As a Christian counselor, I thought they could have done a lot more interesting things with the internal struggle of Picard as he was faced with the questions posed and presented by Shinzon. I likewise thought they could go deeper into the whole Data/B-4 conversation.

Finally, I would have liked to see them do a little more with the whole mind-control thing with Deanna. Part of my reasoning, of course, is because of my interest in how we deal with psychological/spiritual issues. The other is because I’ve always enjoyed the way Star Trek balances the character studies/moral issue raising with the action—I thought this one was lacking on dealing with the issues it tried to raise.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3½]
—Lorie, age 32
Neutral—Nemesis is a movie made for Star trek fans. Anyone watching the movie who is unfamiliar with The Next Generation will feel unconnected to the characters and lose out on much of the significance to the story. Actually, the movie thrives on the feeling of connectedness with the characters.

For example, Riker and Troy are finally married together at the beginning of the movie (we come in at the reception after the ceremony). Also, having the wedding party traveling on the Enterprise between Earth and Troy’s home planet, Betazed, is the excuse for having Worf in the mix again (ST fans will remember he was stationed elsewhere). From a parental standpoint, offensive scenes are in the violence (in particular, the mass assassination scene in the beginning of the film is graphically gross), a passionate sex-scene between the newly married couple that turns very creepy, and the references to the Betazed wedding ceremony tradition requiring everyone to show-up, shall we say, “au natural.” more »
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Deanna Marquart, age 32
Negative—I am a big Star Trek fan, of both the old and new stuff. Let me say first that there were three things about this movie that I liked. Riker and Troi get married. The Romoulans mentioned talking peace with the Federation, which is way over due, and the one scene with a Rover that Picard was driving, which had some very cool photography. However, I was very disappointed in the lack of good story writing simply because they can’t seem to come up with a script that doesn’t completely (or almost, anyway) destroy the Enterprise. It also bothered me that it was pretty much the same as Wrath of Khan.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 1½]
—Tim, age 30
Negative—Being quite a Srar Trek fan I must admit my disappointment at the latest theatrical offering. Although I found nothing to be offensive I left the theatre feeling I had just viewed a so-so episode of the television series. I feel as if I had gotten to know the Enterprise crew a bit through the years and expected to see them all in this outing. Worf was my favorite character and to see him reduced to not much more than an extra was sad to see. There was nothing compelling about this movie that makes nothing more than a good rental when its theatrical life has ended. Maybe next time… if there is one.
My Ratings: [Good / 3]
—Allan Adams, age 48
Comments from young people
Positive—I think this movie was awesome. It was not offensive at all and it was really clean. I think it should have been PG. It had great effects and by far one of the best story lines in a Star Trek movie. I recommend it for anyone who enjoys Star Trek and other sci-fi stuff.
My Ratings: [Excellent! / 5]
—Jacob Unruh, age 16
Positive—This was a very good movie. My mother, my sister and I all went to see this movie and liked it a lot. I totally agree with the reviewer on this one! If your child scares easily wait until they are older and rent it. But if they don’t, my advice is see it on the big screen.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Kara, age 12