Star Trek: Nemesis

“Star Trek: Nemesis” should be the final nail in the coffin of this franchise. It boldly breaks the trend of even-numbered films in the series being good, daring to fill its running time with unexciting peril and forced homages to previous entries.

I speak to you as someone who is not a “Star Trek” geek; the “Star Trek” geeks who viewed the film with me disliked it even more than I did. And considering “Star Trek” geeks are the ONLY ones in the country interested in seeing it — seriously, does anyone else even know it’s being released? — such an assessment doesn’t bode well.

As a regular film (which is all a non-aficionado like myself can judge it as), it is mediocre and pale. The central conflict deals with Shinzon (Tom Hardy), a member of the Reman slave race who has managed to take control of the government of the slavers, the Romulans.

The trouble with Shinzon is that he is a clone of Capt. Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), and needs Picard’s blood to stay alive. As a result, he is constantly pestering the Enterprise and its crew of freaks and humanoids, which is especially vexing at this juncture, when Commander Riker (Jonathan Frakes) and Counselor Deanna Troi (Marina Sirtis) have just gotten married. If you have always wanted to see those two having sex, then you’re in for a treat, my friend.

Shinzon also wants to destroy the Earth and the Federation, though I don’t remember why. The movie probably told us, but I was still in a state of shock after the aforementioned menage a Troi.

Though the stakes are allegedly high — oh, no, he’s going to destroy the Earth, and so on — the film never convinces us that there’s any serious danger. Instead, the script (by John Logan, from a story by Logan, Rick Berman and Brent Spiner) wastes time fulfilling geek fantasies: What if we used the Enterprise as a battering ram and smashed it into another ship? What if Picard got to drive a car and get into a high-speed chase? What if Data sang at a wedding reception? What if Wesley Crusher were in a movie, but only in one scene, and with no lines?

And yet, apparently, even the geeks aren’t impressed with the pandering the film does to them. My opinion is that the movie has occasional bursts of coolness but is generally rather dull and unimpressive. The geeks are even harsher, declaring it not as bad as “Generations,” but still bad. Whichever camp you’re in, there’s little reason to bother with this one, unless you’ve always had a thing for Riker.

D+ (1 hr., 56 min.; PG-13, mild profanity, brief mild sexuality, a lot of non-graphic action-related violence.)