I admit it. I used to love Star Trek.
I think we all did, at one time. We longed to surf the stars from comfortable arm chairs, on board a ship using technology so advanced it doesn't require any technical knowledge to operate it (ship! Fly me to Alpha Centauri!). Who didn't daydream it, exploring distant, exotic civilizations and finding they're filled with English-speaking, air-breathing Caucasians with exotic alien clothes and exotic alien foreheads. We would walk among them in our snug uniforms, revelling in their exotic customs, like shaking hands in a slightly different way than we humans do and tasting all their alien, exotic ways of preparing chicken.
But then we grew up, didn't we? Critical thinking crashed in on us like a high stack of turd crates in life's poo warehouse. We saw that the Enterprise's console was just painted plywood. We cringed as we really noticed Shatner's acting for the first time. We found out the whole Star Trek concept was a slapdash bit of naive communist propaganda by Gene Roddenberry (who donated all proceeds from the show's syndication to buy arms for the Chinese Red Army).
Kirk: Scotty! How in the world did you get the warp drive working? It took a direct phaser blast!
Scotty: Sir, I used communism!
In the years since we opened the trade magazines and read about William Shatner's alcoholism and womanizing and DeForest Kelley's ritualistic serial killings. We read the stories of Patrick Stewart's ties to Neo-Nazi groups and heard his sickening plans for a perfect Aryan world on his Christmas album, I'm Dreaming of a White Nation. We heard rumors of Brent Spiner's cannibalism, found out LeVar Burton actually lost his eyesight when a homemade acid bomb went off in his face (found near him were detailed blueprints of a nearby orphanage).
By now we've all realized that space travel is more a part of our past than our future, the whole idea an expensive, pointless 60's fad fueled by our hatred of the Russians and our desire to build gigantic penis-shaped objects that spat fire. Our once-fanciful ideas about space have been crushed under the unspeakable reality that we are alone in a frozen, black expanse of dust and barren rock, the planets coated with unbreathable air and acidic vapor, their surfaces either encrusted with arctic ice or charred by heat a thousand times that of any human's worse conception of Hell.
If there are any lifeforms out there, we could no more make peace with them than we could befriend a jellyfish. Their communication would be through a series of intricately-shaped clouds of flesh-burning enzymes, their idea of a "hug" would reduce a human body to a spray of wet hamburger. Not that we would ever get that far; their mere appearance would be so horrific to us that we would immediately be driven into the primal, murderous dementia that is the foundation of all human personality.
Speaking of which, the creation of a machine such as the humanoid robot Data, self-aware and conscious, would destroy all human ideas of God and the soul and of any uniqueness of the human mind. Such a being would possess all human desires but none of the abilities to fulfill them, spending every microsecond of its silicon hell longing the most for the one thing he can truly never have: death.
Which brings me to Star Trek: Nemesis.
There is a thing with the Star Trek films; the odd-numbered ones tend to suck. The even-numbered ones, like The Wrath of Khan and this one, also tend to suck.
This film also happens to be the end of the run for the Next Generation crew (named that because their series is set approximately three generations after the original Star Trek). Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard) asked out of his three-film contract three films ago, but was forced to gut out the role he loathes one more time. It shows.
Data: Captain, there is a ship coming into sensor range.
Picard: Yes. Of course. Man, we sure are in space. Hey, let's all go on board the holodeck so that it can almost kill us again.
(Picard takes a drag off a poorly-concealed cigarette)
Data: The ship, sir...
Picard: Ram it!
Worf: Perhaps we should bring it up on the view screen...
Picard: Ah, yes. Whoa, look. There it is. Let's all look at the green screen. Man, it sure is shippy. Worf, hand me my light saber.
Worf: ...uh, Captain...
(Picard stands, appears unbalanced, maybe intoxicated)
Picard: I'm going on board that ship! I'll dick-slap every last one of them!
(He runs at the view screen with a howl, then bounces violently off it.)
The other problem I have with it is the cursing, especially by Patrick Stewart's character. Not crude language; actual cursing. Early in the film he actually turns to the camera and shouts, "a curse on all your houses! May the sword and bloodshed never depart from your family, may tumors never depart from your groins!"
There is a plot of some kind, involving aliens and/or other dimensions or time travel. At the end, everyone dies. If you like Star Trek, you'll probably like this movie. If you like crap, you will also like this movie. I give it one star.
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