anyone familiar with the Star Trek universe, there's a foreign
feel to this 10th film, like the keepers of the Roddenberry
flame handed the reins to outsiders. It simply doesn't have
the sharp inventiveness and insight we usually associate with
the franchise, and it continues a slide begun in the last
episode, Insurrection. The premise itself is rather good though....
Something is afoot on Romulus. After Riker and Troi's (Frakes
and Sirtis) happy wedding ceremony on Earth, the Enterprise
crew are heading for a second all-nude ceremony on Betazed
(that, we'd like to see!) when they're distracted by a strange
signal that eventually leads them into an encounter with the
Romulans, where Captain Picard (Stewart) will confront his
nemesis, the new leader Shinzon (Hardy), who has a rather
freaky connection to our hero. Deadly weapons and seething
revenge are the name of the game, and all of Earth is in jeopardy.
Sounds great, right? And when the film centres on the crew
and its teamwork it is indeed very effective--the cast is
excellent, and the offhanded humour is right on the money.
Alas, the film is constructed like a standard Hollywood sci-fi
thriller, complete with requisite action scenes every now
and then that don't have any logic at all. The opening four-wheel
drive chase around a desert planet, for example, makes no
sense beyond the cool stunts; we never know who's chasing
them or why, and when we learn more later it's even more inexplicable.
Worse yet: A key sequence involves a dodgy bolt breaking apart
... on the Enterprise? Please! Screenwriter Logan (Gladiator)
just doesn't have enough confidence in the universe, creating
gibberish to explain something, which is then punctuated with
an intrusive chord of music as if it's terribly important.
As the film continues you just get the feeling that there's
nothing to it--flimsy script, goofy costumes, cheap effects,
cheesy music and, sadly, an aging cast that still has the
ability to grip us anyway. An average episode of The Next
Generation has more intelligence and meaning. Find one on
cable and watch it instead.eÿ