I ranked my favorite Star Trek movies but realized I hadn’t watched a lot of them for a long time. I am watching them again in chronological order and sharing some of my thoughts after a fresh viewing. Maybe some of the movies will have a chance to move up my list after watching them again.
Last week I watched Star Trek: Insurrection. This week I watched Star Trek: Nemesis.
The only time I saw Star Trek: Nemesis was almost 11 years ago in the theater. At the time I remember liking it but not loving it. In the decade since my good feelings about the movie had waned, giving into the general consensus that Nemesis isn’t that good.
After watching it again, though, I think my original feelings were closer to the truth. Nostalgia may have gotten the better of me, but it was great to see the Next Generation crew together again. The Next Generation is my favorite Star Trek series. More than any of their other movies, Nemesis gives Picard and crew the opportunity to really explore their relationships.
The strength of the original crew’s movies was the relationships. The relationships didn’t really take center stage for the Next Generation crew until Nemesis. As they near the end of their journey, we really see that it was their relationships that made the journey so enjoyable.
Here are some other thoughts I had while watching Star Trek: Nemesis.
Tom Hardy has turned into a brilliant actor and flashes of that brilliance can be seen in his portrayal of Shinzon. As Picard’s clone, Shinzon has the same genetic material but his circumstances have led him down a different path. Shinzon is driven to commit mass murder and Picard wonders if he would be capable of such actions had he endured the same upbringing. Picard is really wrestling with the age-old question of nurture versus nature. Our nature plays some role in our development but, from my experience working with youth and families, our nurture plays an even greater role. Our families of origin have so much influence over our lives and the choices we make. If we choose to create loving and safe environments for our families then we’ll be more likely to produce Picards than Shinzons.
During his best man’s speech, Picard said that Riker had been his first officer for 15 years. Picard and the majority of his senior officers had been together for 15 years. 15 years of working together. 15 years of investing in each other. 15 years of developing committed relationships. I have a lot of friends that I’ve known for over 15 years and I love spending time with them. After that amount of time it’s easy to hang out, hear about each other’s lives and laugh about past experiences. God created us for those kinds of committed, life-giving relationships. Whether we find those among friends or family, we need to find them. We all need a Riker even if he gets into chairs funny.
Data is awesome. Brent Spiner brought to life one of science fiction’s most endearing characters. He could have been just a cold, heartless robot, but Data truly wanted to become more than he was. I have spent some time thinking about Data and why he is such a captivating character. Picard actually summed up my feelings when he said, “In [Data’s] quest to be more like us, he helped us to see what it means to be human.” Data didn’t aspire to be the worst kind of human; he wanted to be the best kind of human. In his aspirations Data showed us the type of behavior and character that we should strive for. In that way Data is a little like Jesus. Jesus showed us what we should aspire to through his perfect life. Data showed us what we should aspire to because his desire to better himself wasn’t plagued by ego or selfishness.
I liked Star Trek: Nemesis a lot more than I thought I would. Shinzon was a great central villain and the movie maximized 15 years’ worth of relationships. I originally ranked Nemesis as my ninth favorite Star Trek movie and it definitely has a chance to move up the list.
What are your thoughts about Star Trek: Nemesis?