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Star Trek Nemesis, the tenth and allegedly final movie in this franchise, was released towards the tail end of last year in the States (a month later here in the UK). The release coincided with a certain Peter Jackson movie called “The Two Towers”, and to some extent going head to head with the hobbits contributed to the movie’s tepid box office takings. However, this was also largely because of the lukewarm reviews that the movie received upon its release. Costing an estimated $70 million to make, the film only just about recouped its budget during the theatrical release. Now with the DVD release, Paramount are hoping for a better performance from one of their prize assets.

Star Trek: Nemesis
Picking up the reins once again in movie number ten is Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), who is still the proud captain of the Enterprise. The movie starts off at a ferocious tempo, where we are transported into the middle of a senate meeting which turns ugly, and everyone is killed by a bomb. The pace then slows down as the story moves onto the wedding ceremony of Deanna Troi and William Riker, who seem to be having a good day in the company of all their friends. However, their celebrations have to be put on hold when Picard is interrupted by the Federation Starfleet, who would like the crew of the Enterprise to act on their behalf and travel to a sector near the Romulan Empire. The aim of the journey is to act as a peace making party, and to see if the Romulans really do want to make peace.

Upon their arrival Jean-Luc comes face to face with the Romulan Empire leader, Shinzon (Tom Hardy), an intimidating human who bares a striking resemblance to a younger version of Picard. Picard is understandably wary of the new leader and he is absolutely right to be apprehensive! Shinzon is using his new found title as a decoy, and is in fact planning to launch an attack on Earth. As Picard gets closer to the truth, he learns that he has far more in common with Shinzon than he could possibly have imagined.

I wouldn't consider myself a Star Trek fan, so this review is written from the point of view of someone watching the movie as a casual sci-fi viewer. Therefore it won’t contain references to how accurately the movie is portrayed compared to previous efforts, (i.e. characters’ mannerisms). That said, I still consider The Wrath of Khan to be one of the best sci-fi movies ever made, which in my opinion is largely due to its sinister baddie, riveting storyline and decent action scenes. It’s a shame that Nemesis is lacking in all three of these areas! These days it appears that the Star Trek franchise is built heavily around box office takings, and for that reason the creators seem keen to add as many action scenes as possible, with the sole aim of drawing in the casual cinema-goer. That’s exactly what has happened with Nemesis. There are more action scenes than ever before, meaning that the storyline suffers immensely. Some of the action is skillfully brought to the screen, but there are also some dreary set pieces which serve no purpose, and don’t actually look that impressive. What makes this even more disappointing is the fact that action supremo Stuart Baird was given the director’s chair because of his reputation for creating awesome sequences, he must have been having an off-day with this movie!

Star Trek: Nemesis
The performances are as you would expect really, the cast are so used to playing their roles that they could probably do it in their sleep. However, Patrick Stewart once again manages to stand head and shoulders above the rest in a role which is made for him. The only disappointment is that of Tom Hardy’s character, Shinzon, which in my opinion is the weakest Star Trek baddie so far. To what degree the blame for this is attached to Hardy’s performance is hard to measure, but even so the character of Shinzon just wasn’t imposing or fearsome enough. Star Trek Nemesis will probably sell well on DVD, but that doesn’t make it a good film. If there is ever to be an eleventh outing (and presumably there will be?) then the creators must surely go back to basics, and stick to the formula which served the movies so well in the early eighties.  

Paramount have built up a glowing reputation for bringing new releases to DVD and this disc is no different. Nemesis is presented in its original 2.35:1 theatrical aspect ratio, which is also anamorphically enhanced. I'm not going to mince words here, this transfer is outstanding and I would even go as far as saying it is reference quality. The image is sharp, clear and in pristine condition, with every little detail expressed effortlessly. Colour levels are accurate and vibrant, but at the same time black levels are solid, which is essential considering the nature of this movie. Grain is also kept to a minimum, edge enhancements are low-key, while compression artifacts are nowhere to be found. Paramount have done a great job in producing a transfer which has quality written all over it!

This DVD is packaged together with two separate Dolby Digital 5.1 soundtracks, English and German. A DTS track would have been a welcome addition, however the tracks that are provided are of a high standard. With action scenes taking a higher profile than in previous Star Trek movies, it was essential that Paramount produced the goods with these soundtracks. Thankfully that is exactly what they have done! The rears are used to great effects during most of the action scenes, and dialogue is also clearly audible through the fronts, even during some of the noisier scenes. However, this soundtrack is not just about pure unadulterated noise, it has some nice ambience sounds which are portrayed effectively during quieter moments.

Also worth mentioning are the menus, which are nicely animated and show various parts of the Enterprise. Subtitles are provided in seven languages as well, so hopefully most region two countries should be accounted for.  

Star Trek: Nemesis
The first extra on this disc is the Commentary with the Director Stuart Baird. A nice addition to this feature is the use of subtitles which are in German or English. This is an average, run of the mill commentary, however the commentator has a little more enthusiasm than most! Even though the director considers himself not to be a fan of the franchise, it is fair to say that he definitely put a lot of effort into creating the movie. Throughout the commentary there is plenty of in-depth information, ranging from why certain scenes were included through to why various cast members were used. There are several references from the director about how he had to keep fans in mind while shooting the movie because he realised how important Star Trek was to them. Fans of Star Trek will love this commentary because it contains loads of information about the franchise they love, and anyone else looking for a detailed discussion will also not be disappointed.

This release is packed with featurettes, and the first one I found was called  New Frontiers : Stuart Baird on Directing 'Nemesis'. This featurette starts off with the usual backslapping, with various members of the cast complimenting the director. Various action shots then follow until we finally get to hear from the man himself, who confesses that he would not call himself a Trekky! There are lots of interesting discussions in this featurette, but most of it focuses on the role of Shinzon and other characters in the movie. Even so, there is enough content here to have fans transfixed for the eight minutes that it runs for.

Next up is A Bold Vision Of The Final Frontier. This featurette starts with a detailed look at the sets for the movie and how they were created. Another interesting part of this featurette focuses on storyboards and how they are an important feature in movies these days. Overall, this is quite a cheesy featurette, which heavily concentrates on the action scenes from the film. There is a lot of input from the director, but I am not sure how interesting a lot of the information will be to fans, especially as there is a dedicated action featurette on this disc. This extra lasts for just over ten minutes.

The next featurette on this disc is titled A Star Trek Family's Final Journey and begins with the cast talking about how the movie brought the Star Trek family together, and they also compliment the script that they had to work with. This featurette concentrates mainly on the opening wedding scene. The focus then moves onto the script, which prompts a detailed discussion. What is apparent from this featurette is the fact that the cast seemed to really have confidence in the script and thought that it was a fitting way to close the franchise. As with most featurettes, this one gives away a lot of the storyline, so be warned! It runs for just over fifteen minutes.

The final featurette is the aforementioned Red Alert! Shooting The Action of 'Nemesis'. This starts off with the cast talking about how they consider action to be a important of Star Trek movies, and then moves onto showing some of the action set-pieces from the movie. There is lots of behind the scenes footage, which is packaged together with interview clips. An example of this is where Patrick Stewart talks about the fun he had shooting the driving scenes at the beginning of the movie. As well as focusing on the driving scene we also get to see some of the fight scenes, which looked fun to make. Considering that Star Trek largely relies on special effects, there is very little focus on that area in this featurette.

Star Trek: Nemesis
If Deleted Scenes are your thing you will be glad to find seven on this disc, which can be played separately or together. If you choose to play all, you get to listen to an introduction from the director, who mentions that forty-five minutes were cut from the original movie. Most of the deleted scenes are accompanied by a discussion from cast and crew. The overall running time for the deleted scenes and accompaniments is just under twenty minutes. The final extra on this disc is the Photo Gallery, which starts off by showing sketches from the movie, and then moves onto to displaying  photographs. The photographs can be navigated through by pressing the left and right keys on your remote.

Star Trek Nemesis didn’t perform particularly well at the box office, and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to see why! In my opinion it is easily one of the weakest of the franchise, and not even the focus on action is enough to lift it above mediocre. For that reason Paramount must be praised for the effort they have put into producing a disc of the highest quality. The transfer is probably one of the best of the year so far, while the audio tracks are not far behind. There are also some worthwhile extras which should interest Star Trek fans. If you have already seen the movie and want to add it to your collection, then don't hesitate to purchase this disc, however if you are looking for an impulse buy I would probably recommend other releases.