Hustled to catch Star Trek: Nemesis before it leaves theaters, probably the middle of next week. For some reason, Paramount pretty much negelected to promote the film energetically until about three days before the mid-December opening date, and the result was that it opened with the lowest first-weekend revenues of all the Next Gen flicks, and the next weekend after that, The Two Towers opened; the film’s revenues dropped by over 40%.
Since The Two Towers is still selling out, I expect many theaters to replace Star Trek: Nemesis with the fantasy film.
Guess what? Paramount was off base not promoting this; it’s pretty good. As we’ve come to expect, it’s not up to the standards of the best episodes of the TV shows. It does have a decent A-B plot interplay and the prerequisite drawn-out big-screen effects set piece, which was OK, I guess.
Unfortunately, the overemphasis on action which has come at the expense of ideas since the end of DS9 across the entire franchise holds true here. It’s not so much that the ideas presented in the film are dopey or too far out, but that they are not explored sufficiently to be convincing, and instead, we get a car chase in the desert, at least two firefights, and the effects set-piece mentioned earlier.
Naturally, since we get to see Captain Picard make like Mad Max, the most important illlustrative element of the film’s premise is delivered via voice-over. Sigh. What is the deal with Hollywood’s action fixation? It’s chanted like a mantra among the studio people I interact wth at Cinescape; the phrase “darker, edgier” is uttered so frequently it’s like a prayer or a handshake or maybe both.
From my perspective, when I hear this phrase I’m inclined to imagine that it means the producer has issued an edict requiring more explosions and less talk. Films like Crouching Tiger, The Matrix, and Pulp Fiction demonstrated how it’s possible to do action movies that are both radically interesting for their originality of vision and smarts; unfortunately the easy way to guage if a movie has enough bang-bang is to squelch the talk.
This is probably a bad sign, coming from someone who works for a magazine devoted to covering action, horror, SF (in Hollywood, people actually cringe and correct you to “sci-fi” if you use the term I prefer), fantasy, and comic-book adaptations.
It should be noted in the silence following the set-piece a very young male voice loudly whispered “Cooooool” into the dark, so the film wasn’t completely failing to reach the kids.