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Critics Pan Nemesis 1058

CgiJobs writes "The critics aren't much impressed with the new Star trek: "The 10th entry in the Star Trek movie franchise ... is the dullest and drabbest of the lot"; "this ship-bound and lackluster entry tells a rather harebrained story"; "suffers from a nasty case of the cutes"; More at Google News. Of course, I'll still be going to see it." Calling this movie the worst of the series is a pretty harsh criticism...

Reader NCC1701E submitted a short write-up on the movie:

"First, the executive summary: wait for the video. Now, the Gory Details, in all their splendor. I somehow received an email invitation to an advance screening to the Paramount Theater in Times Square, here in NYC. I had to wait in line for 30 minutes, and there was some confusion in swapping my email print out for a pass. But they didn't even check names against a list; it was basically first-come, first served among those who had been inveigled there through various means. In the end, there were even some empty seats. The movie itself? Basically disappointing. IMHO, the weakest entry yet in the series. Production values and special effects were excellent. And it was great to see the movie in a big theater with Dolby sound. But NEMESIS is little more than a Western type "shoot out" movie. The bad guys attack. The good guys fight back, Then, there's more attacking and more fighting back. Then it happens again. And again. You get the idea. I'm a sucker for the hokey humanism that was the hallmark of Star Trek at its best. There was very little of that on display here. In fact, there was very little in the way of a plot. Just some mildly amusing cutesy scenes, plus some murky musings about the nature vs. nuture debate re: a Picard clone. So I didn't much care for the movie. And judging by the subdued response in the theater, neither did the audience. BTW, NY audiences can be cruel. This one snickered at corny lines that weren't supposed to be funny. The phrase "derisive laughter" leaps to mind. I predict NEMESIS will be a huge box office hit. But long-time fans may be as disappointed as I was."

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Critics Pan Nemesis

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  • I'm going to pretend I didnt read this and go see the movie tomorrow anyways. I was getting really jazzed about seeing it, and reading that its not all that good was... Disappointing to say the least!
  • by LostCluster ( 625375 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @12:49PM (#4881342)
    There's a rather clear and definable moment where Star Trek's quality suffered a containment breach. The moment Gene Roddenberry died.

    The original series was a classic, and he led TNG well. However, after his death Deep Space Nine spun out of control, Voyager was an ugly stepchild from the start, and now Enterprise can't keep its story consistant with the events of the Kirk era that happen 100 years later.
  • by Nevermore-Spoon ( 610798 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @12:54PM (#4881391)
    Let me start with something that seems trollish....Reviewers (in general) are full of CRAP. Reviewers hardly ever seem to review a movie in a way that reflects public opinion.
    They have thier reputation at stake, and that reputation is among a snobbie group of follow-the-common-review-sentiment. I will not allow a reviewers opinion affect my enjoyment of the movie.
    May I also liken a "Movie Critic's" review of a startrek movie to a M$ employee's review of the latest linux kernel. I'm a techie and a trekie and those outside those worlds don't often understand me.
  • Hmmm... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by GeckoX ( 259575 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @12:55PM (#4881415)
    He doesn't like action and shootouts in star trek and pines for the sappy crap that is apparently missing here.

    Well that settles it for me, this one might even be better than Wrath according to his description!

    Bet he's seen search for spock like 50 times.
  • by Rayonic ( 462789 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @12:57PM (#4881431) Homepage Journal
    ...to the even-odd Star Trek movie rule. Here is a revised summary:
    • Even numbered Trek movies are good.
    • Odd numbered Trek movies are bad.
    • The last movie of a "generation" is always bad.

    There -- now us geeks can go on with our lives.
  • Re:Still, (Score:2, Insightful)

    by bboypicknick ( 596730 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:01PM (#4881465)
    I'd put a quote, but the previous post pretty much is just a quote. Anyway, this is the way I look at Star Wars. You almost have to. When I was a little kid, I loved the (Star Wars) movies because the blasters were pretty and the characters were funny. I'd hate to start a Jarjar-bashing festival, especially because this is a bit off-subject in the first place.

    I just want everyone to quit taking their entertainment so seriously.

  • by evilpenguin ( 18720 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:04PM (#4881497)
    Aw, baloney. Gene Roddenberry was the author all that was hokum in Star Trek. He was the force that winnowed the soul out several stories. He was the gloryhog who constantly took credit for the work of others. He had no control over any of the movies except for the dismal first one. I would say that the quality of TNG leapt forward upon his death. That it is spirialing down now is more a measure of idea exhaustion than the lack of the "Great Bird of the Galaxy."

    Gene loved being benevolent head of a benign cult and would tell lie upon lie to maintain that position. See Harlan Ellison's book version of his script "The City on the Edge of Forever" for an unvarnished look at Trek Trough.

    Believe what you will, but tell the truth you know.
  • Don't Complain (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:05PM (#4881506)
    Hey, if the movie stinks, it's largely the fault of people who say "oh well, I know the plot stinks, but I'll go and see it anyway." The only thing Hollyweird really comprehends is money... if people keep flocking to the theaters to watch computer generated explosions, well, by golly, Hollywood will keep delivering more of the same.

    If you want the quality of stories to improve, tell it to Hollywood in the language they understand. If the writing stinks, and you KNOW in advance that it stinks, don't bother with the theater, DVD, or merchandise.

    And in the end... it... it... well, it won't make a bit of a difference. Sadly, the bulk of the population is quite happy with Things Blowing Up.

    Moron movies are for a moron populace. Find a better use for your time.
  • by bravehamster ( 44836 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:06PM (#4881510) Homepage Journal
    Maybe Star Trek doesn't hold the same place in people's hearts.

    And it's about time. Fans have become disillusioned with both Star Wars and Star Trek in recent years. Former strongholds of geekdom, they identified us to the general public, they labelled us. I hate being labelled. And there is so much better Science Fiction out there (most of it in written format), and now some people may discover that. I always hated hearing someone call themselves a Star Wars or Star Trek geek and then I ask them "Have you read Asimov, Heinlein, Bear, Benford, Brin, Adams, Niven, Pournelle?" And the answer was invariably "Huh?". Sad. So much more out there.

  • Re:BAH (in denial) (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gosand ( 234100 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:06PM (#4881514)
    I feel there are some inherent problems with movie criticism. The problem is that most people who review things are the very people who seem to have the most hang ups about that thing. This makes their reviews worthless to the rest of us who simply enjoy watching movies or reading books. So Mr. Moviereviewerman, you think Nemesis had a "derivative, punch-the-keyboard plot." You think it was "crude, but occasionally laugh-out-loud funny, merely for its sheer ridiculousness." You think that a movie like Nemesis is just too far below your standards. Well I bet you twenty bucks you have a painting in your house that you bought because it matched your couch, how pedestrian.

    Wow, are you in denial! You sound like one of those "fans" who think just because something has been branded with a franchise name, it can do no wrong.

    You probably still defend Star Wars Episode I and II as "pretty good movies" when they were simply AWFUL. The most recent Austin Powers movie was sad and simply un-funny, although I am sure die-hard fans will say they liked it.

    I don't get the devotion to things like this. I guess if people live through lives and events that are not their own, they get offended and embarassed when those things turn out to be disappointing.

    Yes, they are only movies - but why can't everyone see that? Why cling to the illusion that something is better than it really was, simply because you hope and wish it to be so? Jeez, if you don't care what a reviewer says, and are going to go see a movie anyway, then why take so much stock in the reviewer? In my opinion, reviewers are sometimes nicer than they should be, instead of what you suggest. Every review of AoTC gave some praise to it, but I just didn't see it. I would put it up there with some of the most overhyped movies of all time (including Episode I). Stop clinging to your illusions and come back to reality. Why the hostility towards a reviewer when you haven't even seen the movie yet yourself? All you have on your side of the argument is that the person must have a hang up about Star Trek? Physician, heal thyself.

  • Characters (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Helpadingoatemybaby ( 629248 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:08PM (#4881525)
    Here's an experiment you can try at home with your friends:

    I always liked the first Star Trek, you know, the REAL Star Trek. With distinct, individual characters who had distinct, individual personalities. Bones screaming at Spock that he wasn't a doctor, he was an ocean sponge and Spock death gripping him to the floor.

    Now here's the experiment: take any of the scripts from any of the subsequent rip... err... sequels and pick a line. Now read the sentence to your friend and see if they can guess which character said it. They won't be able to figure it out which character it is 90% of the time. Why? All the lines are the same between the characters, there is no significant distinctions, personalities, or flavors to the characters.

    If you do that with an ORIGINAL Star Trek script, you can't help but pick out "Dammit Captain I'm a doctor not a floor wax!" goes with Bones!

    Forget "it's good science fiction" -- without good characters you have nothing. Before you get mad at my post, try the experiment yourself during your next drinking party. If you pick the wrong character, you take a drink...

  • by Triv ( 181010 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:10PM (#4881548) Journal
    The last movie of a "generation" is always bad.

    I dunno dude, I thought ST:VI was one of the tightest in the franchise - Kirk's immense hatred of the Klingons for killing his son played out really well in that flick, the special effects were good and the zero-g scene was pretty flippin' awsome. ('Course, ST:II holds the special place in my heart.)

    All I'm sayin' is you can't really generalize from the one particular. I'll wait and see what happens when I hit the theater tonight.

  • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by compupc1 ( 138208 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:10PM (#4881549)
    It's too bad that someone had to pick out the two worst reviews out there to post on Slashdot. Most people that have seen it agree that while it probably isn't the best movie of the bunch, it's near the top. Don't judge something until you've experianced it for yourself. In this situation, Slashdot was presented with a minority opinion. I can't believe how many people took it as fact. Skeptecism, always!
  • by GuyMannDude ( 574364 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:10PM (#4881551) Journal

    I think that the general public is kind of tired of Star Trek. Some of the reviews I saw sounded like the same negative comments made about the "First Gen" cast...Maybe Star Trek doesn't hold the same place in people's hearts.

    Hmmm. Interesting comments but I beg to differ. I think people would like to see a good Trek film or series (my opinion is that everything after TNG has been crap) but they're tired of being let down. And now they're getting pissed. Remember how much all of us were looking forward to Star Wars Episode 1 a few years ago? Now a lot of us are really sick of the franchise -- but that's only because our hopes have been dashed and we've lost faith in the creative individual behind the story. I believe the same thing is happening with Trek. In a way, we're like the die-hard fans of a sports team who root and root for our team yet scream obscenities whenever one of our players screws up. We feel betrayed and express this in the form of personal attacks on the players. It's not that we hate our favorite team or the players or Trek or the actors. We're just tired of being let down by expecting the level of quality we're used to seeing.

    As for the effect of B5, Farscape, etc.,I can't comment on that because I honestly haven't seen those shows. But they all occupy a much smaller niche in popular culture then Trek does. I think any effect the success of those shows has had on Trek would be minimal.

    Feel free to disagree but my feeling is that most people are not tired of Star Trek per se. They're tired of half-assed sci-fi crap that's being sold to us under the Trek label.


  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:17PM (#4881621)
    they labelled us. I hate being labelled.

    I always hated hearing someone call themselves a Star Wars or Star Trek geek and then I ask them "Have you read Asimov, Heinlein, Bear, Benford, Brin, Adams, Niven, Pournelle?" And the answer was invariably "Huh?"

    You hate being labeled but you hate someone passing themselves off as a Star Wars geek when they haven't read serious sci-fi. So, while you hate labels, you knock people for being less a sci-fi geek than you are? Something about that just doesn't jive.

    And nevermind that just being a sci-fi geek and a Star Wars geek are compeletely separate things. I can be a Dune geek without being a sci-fi geek. I can be an D. Adams geek withougt being a sci-fi geek. Face it, you're a geek. If you don't like the label, then don't get into dick size contests with Trekkies over who knows more about sci-fi.
  • by codefool ( 189025 ) <ghester@codefool . o rg> on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:18PM (#4881629) Homepage Journal
    ... now Enterprise can't keep its story consistant with the events of the Kirk era that happen 100 years later

    Woah - hold on there Captain. Let's see. The Original Star Trek (OST) was written in 1965 and spoon-fed to NBC as a "wagon train to the stars", which means NBC viewed it as a futuristic western; and westerns dominated that era's television programming (hence the incredible number of bare-knuckled fist fights). OST was episodic and disjunct, with many writers doing as they pleased with the characters within a very gray scope (see Whitfield and Roddenberry, The Making of Star Trek, Bantam Books). In fact, they were making it all up as they went along, especially when it came to matters of science.

    Then the Star Trek franchise happens quite by accident, so that all subsequent efforts are placed very carefully under the control of the Great Overseer of the Grand Story Line. In fact, all of Star Trek goes through a single office, including books, movies, and television shows to keep the product, well, pure. Now, trying to take what was in the OST and blend it into what is makes for no easy task. In fact, there of those of us who would be happy if OST were basically ignored, except for a few basic concepts and events.

    I could go on, but I've already revealed the extent of my Star Trek Geekdom.

  • by LordYUK ( 552359 ) <jeffwright821.gmail@com> on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:19PM (#4881635)
    I mean, come on, its Star Trek. Its SUPPOSED to be above the average idiot reviewers head. If it got a GOOD review I'd be surprised! But isnt that what we love about it?? I mean, have you all ever watched some of the episodes (early TNG, like, pre Yar dieing), they are horrible (the acting, special effects) when compared to the later episodes, but by god every time TNN does a marathon I'm right there watching them because for all the campiness and whatnot, the show is DAMN GOOD and the pinnacle of GEEKINESS. I've spent more than one rainy day watching my columbia house ST:TNG VHS collection. I love Star Trek. I love the Next Gen cast. I wouldnt replace any of them. But I dont expect it to have a story line to rival LOTR or something, nor do I expect the actors to be given praise for their performances. Its a campy sci-fi flick, with over used plot devices and over used character templates. And I wouldnt have it any other way.
  • by Otter ( 3800 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:21PM (#4881665) Journal
    Two thoughts:

    1) If you hate being labelled, who is this "us" and why are so concerned about what products it should consume?

    2) My impression is that obsessive Star Wars or Star Trek fanboyism fills a niche that has nothing to do with that fulfilled by reading Lucifer's Hammer or Foundation. Star Wars, especially. It's about familiarity and shared experience.
  • by Anonvmous Coward ( 589068 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:23PM (#4881682)
    "....Deep Space Nine spun out of control..."

    Careful. DS9 was probably the best series of all of them. It had a direction to go, it did so, and the fans were satisfied. Unfortunately, the people who didn't/couldn't keep up with it were the ones that were burned. So I can see why you say that about DS9.

    "...and now Enterprise can't keep its story consistant with the events of the Kirk era that happen 100 years later."

    Have you paid any attention? I mean, you'd think that the fact that the NX-01 wasn't hanging on the wall in the Enterprise's ready room next to the space shuttle and aircraft carrier would be a big clue as to what's going on: The time line has been tampered with. One need not look any further than First Contact to see what happened. Cochrane named the NX-01 after the Enterprise, which he got a chance to see thanks to LaForge and a telescope.

    Sadly, that revealed more of my geekiness than I'd typically allow on Slashdot. However, it bothers the shit out of me that I can see this, but the people I know that know which deck the only bathroom on the Enterprise is don't.

    Let's get to the real crux of the consistency matter, though: Nobody could follow the timeline that TOS had laid out and then make it interesting to watch. The whole point of the TV show is to be new and interesting, it's no fun if it's all spoiled because Spock made an unimportant reference to meeting the Romulans.

    Where's the fun in seeing things in the past if you can't see how familiar things have changed?

  • Galaxy Quest... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by RichardtheSmith ( 157470 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:23PM (#4881687)
    I think one of the things people are reacting to here is, given how
    funny and clever Galaxy Quest was (and how positively audiences
    reacted to it), people were sort of expecting the Trek powers that be
    to get a clue, and they obviously didn't.

  • by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:25PM (#4881698) Homepage
    Why should they bother making good movies, if everyone still rushes to see the bad ones?
  • Why TNG Worked (Score:5, Insightful)

    by GS11_Pus ( 578643 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:27PM (#4881724)

    I have never been a fan of the original series or Voyager/DS9/Enterprise. I could hardly be called a Trekker or Trekkie or whatever. But I do love The Next Generations seasons 3 through 7, and in my opinion, that show ranks as one of the top ten of the past 20 years.

    What worked so well with TNG was a blend of an ensemble cast and fantastic writing. The viewer cared about the relationships between the characters -- Geordi and Data forging a friendship despite the latter's inability to love, Jean-Luc's unwielding stoicism in the face of his crew's attempts to humanize him. Furthermore, the scripts were just great -- they came up with interesting ideas and stuck to a space trek, rather than try to create some sort of epic battle of good vs. evil and sprinkle in one-liners. Who didn't cringe in Insurrection when Data said, "Saddle up. Lock and load?" He didn't say those sorts of things in the TV series because each episode was (as much as can be expected) consistent and well planned. Data's role was that of artificial life desperately trying to grow in a manner impossible. That, in itself, is epic.

    These movies continually attempt to appeal to a broader audience and insist on childish humour instead of intellectual wit. The result is a frustrating mix of my favorite cast and crew with a pedantic, immature script.

    Finally, the TV series worked well because it was only an hour long and there were 20-25 episodes a season. With that format, you can devote an entire episode to Worf hurting his back or Geordi turning invisible (twice). Each character could be featured for an entire episode, such that at the end of seven years we had a closeness with each. These movies clear emphasize Data and Picard, and the rest are sadly shoved to the background.

    I already have my ticket for Nemesis which I'll be watching in about six hours and I'm excited. I suspect there will be plenty to be disappointed about, but I still care about these characters and will watch them until they stop making movies. But in retrospect, it would have been so much better to have a few more years of the TV series than these movies. And as for critics -- well, they assured me that Attack of the Clones was good. And I have died a little each day since wasting that eight bucks.

  • Re:Not a chance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by saskboy ( 600063 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:28PM (#4881732) Homepage Journal
    Well you are clearly laying out flamebait, because anyone who's watched the Voyage Home IV knows it was a very good movie. "Vhich vay to the nuclear wessels?"
    And you must have missed where Spock pinched the punk with the boom box?

    Seriously man, if you are going to dis the best trek movie of the TOS crew, you should watch it.
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:30PM (#4881754) Journal
    If the last two are box-office bombs, then we can probably kiss Trek movies goodbye. Before, the good ones made up for the bad ones (sales-wise). But after two back-to-back money-losers, it is less likely that investers will gamble on a 3rd.

    I would just like to see Klingons versus the Borg or Klingons versus Volcans (sp?) in a war/skirmish before they pull the plug. Klingons are a real hoot, especially the females with their teeth and boobs. A Klingon bedroom scene is ideal for the big screen.
  • by cellocgw ( 617879 ) <cellocgw@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Friday December 13, 2002 @01:40PM (#4881825) Journal
    >Humour in sci-fi = bad.

    Wait a minute. How about GalaxieQuest?
    And some folks even liked SpaceBalls.
    Or Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxie. How could you not love Marvin the Paranoid Android?
    Or Buckaroo Banzai beyond the 5th Dimension?
  • Re:Critics (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Neuracnu Coyote ( 11764 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @02:00PM (#4881989) Homepage Journal
    Have a look at the top critic out there, Mr Ebert:

    Star Trek IV [suntimes.com] 3.5 of 4 stars
    Star Trek V [suntimes.com] 2 of 4 stars
    Star Trek VI (no review)
    Star Trek VII [suntimes.com], 2 of 4 stars
    Star Trek VIII [suntimes.com], 3.5 of 4 stars
    Star Trek IX [suntimes.com], 2 of 4 stars
    Star Trek X [suntimes.com], 2 of 4 stars

    3 and a half stars is pretty damn good, too. That's better than As Good As It Gets [suntimes.com], Austin Powers [suntimes.com] or A.I. [suntimes.com].
  • by thorrbjorn ( 321412 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @02:03PM (#4882023)
    More than once I've seen a movie get clobbered by the critics, and when I went to see it in spite of the criticism, I've found a movie I really enjoy. Its especially funny to watch a critic blast a movie early in the year, see it do really well at the box office, and find the critic quietly adding the movie to his top ten list at the end of the year.

    Years ago, I learned that its better to form your own opinion than to simply borrow someone else's second-hand.
  • by Tablizer ( 95088 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @02:06PM (#4882046) Journal
    Fearsome death rays strike the Enterprise, and what happens? Sparks fly out from the ceiling and the crew gets bounced around in their seats like passengers on the No. 36 bus. This far in the future they wouldn't have sparks because they wouldn't have electricity,

    Whoever said only electricity causes sparks?

    [from the link] life is too short to sit through 10 movies in which the power is shifted around on these shields.

    Would he rather watch ships crash into fruit-stands? Everything is a cliche these days. I don't see him complaining that love scenes always involve kissing and humping.

    stages an uprising, or something, against being made to work as slaves in the mines. Surely slavery is not an efficient economic system in a world of hyperdrives,

    And the crew will probably be robots then also, but that would make a shitty movie. Perhaps slaves are a status symbol, like SUV's where practicality be damned. He is trying to hard to be logical and is not good at it.

    I think it is time for "Star Trek" to make a mighty leap forward another 1,000 years into the future....when aliens do not look like humans with funny foreheads

    I am not sure Jar Jar or Shrek-in-Space will compliment Trek.

    He also complains about the "outdated" look of the ship and controls. A trully futuristic ship would probably be a cloaked sphere and would not need control panels because the ship would have a tie directly to the crew's heads and be controlled by thoughts or neuro interfaces. Not very visual in my book. I wonder what he has in mind? It seems he wants to totally gut Trek, but is vague about what he really wants.

    Beam Ebert outta here, and his thumbs too.
  • EVEN! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by DragonMagic ( 170846 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @02:13PM (#4882101) Homepage
    Anyone who says this is the worst forgot the even rule.

    Star Treks I, III, V, VII and IX were all awful. They were odd numbered.

    Star Treks II, IV, VI and VIII were good. Some not great, but worth watching.

    X is even, so it follows the second line. And we all know statistics don't lie!
  • Listen..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Chanc_Gorkon ( 94133 ) <gorkonNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday December 13, 2002 @02:15PM (#4882114)
    You can't make a Star Trek movie that you guys will like. Nothing will ever live up to the stuff you saw as a kid. I bet if Star Trek II: TWOK would come out today you guys would pan it. First, most of us have not seen the movie yet. Most of the "real" reviews have not come out yet. It has not even had the chance to speak for itself and you guys are panning it and that's not being very fair. Personally, I rather believe/hope that this will be another rock em sock em trek movie like First Contact was. I rather liked that one. Insurrection was bad also. Also, saying that one is not a true Sci-Fi fan because they have not read Asimov, Heinlein, Bear, Benford, Brin, Adams, Niven, Pournelle and others is not fair either. I am also tired of seeing Sci Fi be over ridden by the fantasy stuff. Fantasy may have come from Sci-Fi or Sci-Fi from Fantasy but Fantasy type books are different, to me, to not be Sci-Fi. I like seing shows that take place on starships and I like Star Wars. Just because it does not stand up to the image you have built up from Star War over the years does not mean that other folks with better expectations won't like it. It's just like the Linux zealots who don't care about making their programs easy to use for others because they think that their way is better. If they made a trek movie that sounded like it was wrote by these supposed better writers, noone else would go see it!
  • by garyok ( 218493 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @02:23PM (#4882190)
    I'd like to nominate Olaf Stapledon for "Star Maker" (which wasn't even meant to be scifi when he wrote it) for it's depth and vision, John Brunner for "Stand on Zanzibar" (cyberpunk in the 1950s - eat your heart out William Gibson), and James Blish for "Cities in Flight" (weak ending but the anti-humanist tone throughout is chillingly plausible).

    Plus: Doyle? Good writing? He was a total hack. Entertaining, and inspiring, possibly. But good? No. Not a lot of human truth in Sherlock Holmes. If you want classical period detectives, try Agatha Christie's Miss Marple. Top notch scary old bag.

    Pity this post is totally off-topic. But don't mod it down 'cos I'm paying for yesterday's refusal to endorse the herd view that St. DVD-Jon should be given the keys to the city of Hollywood.
  • Re:Not a chance (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Jahf ( 21968 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @02:29PM (#4882240) Journal
    You want hard SF, or at least serious SF, look to

    A book.

  • by kalidasa ( 577403 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @02:33PM (#4882277) Journal

    Say go read Beowulf in the original prose? Read Voltaire in the original French?

    Beowulf is verse, not prose. And actually, yeah, I'd recommend the original to anyone who's smart enough to learn the dialect. And you can't diss my boy Geoffrey.
    Whan that April with his showres sote,
    the drought of Marche hath perced to the rote

    While I do agree that one should broaden thier horizens, some of your choices are a bit lacking.

    Absolutely fscking brilliant, man! Alluding to Pope's Essay on Criticism by saying that first rate literature is a bit lacking while imitating the bad spellings of a guy who's never read anything longer than a restaurant menu! Brilliant!

    Oh...you thought "horizons" was spelled with an e? Sorry.

    That and I would categorize Poe and Shell[e]y as being Science Fiction, or at least some of thier more famous stories are.

    Which Shelley? Mrs. Shelley's most famous story, Frankenstein, or, A Modern Prometheus, most certainly was. But Mr. Shelley did not write SF.

    While some of Shakespeare is brilliant, some is just twaddle.

    Really? What? I've read all the plays, and all the poetry (including the obscure stuff like Pericles and Titus Andronicus), and though not all of it is at the same quality level, certainly none of it is deserving the label "twaddle" relative to a discussion about Star Trek, FGS.

    I know I shouldn't feed the troles (that's a pun on trolls and proles, for those of you that don't read twaddle), but this is too much.

  • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ttfkam ( 37064 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @03:06PM (#4882566) Homepage Journal
    Star Trek: First Contact (8)!?!

    You're kidding right? This was noticeably better than Star Trek 4? It wasn't even good!

    What about the Borg scared the crap out of us when we first saw them? The hive mind. The collective. The lack of individual thought. The elimination of self...utterly. It was worse than servitude or slavery. It was the complete annihilation of everything you are, were, and ever would be. You are a number.

    Then they introduce a "queen." The Borg isn't a hive mind anymore; It's an extension of the queen. Well then, just kill the queen (like in Voyager...ugh). I can't believe anyone is forgiving the script writers for things like Picard "forgot" about the queen and her wanting someone at her "side." Yeah, because with the chorus in her head, she's lonely. Yeah, after millions of worlds, now she could use some help. Yeah, after millions of worlds, she needs *Picard's* help.

    The Borg became too...human. What would the Borg of the series have done when in contact with Data? Ohh! Neat technology. *sucking sound*

    But no! In First Contact, the Borg sprouts a queen, she gets her nipples hard over Data, and allows her emotions (!!!) to mislead her. She was actually bitter because she lost Picard! She apparently is responsible for the cultural vacuuming of trillions of beings, but somehow Picard and Data were "special."

    This is the Borg!! Why would they need love, companionship, reproduction, or sex? If they wanted to feel good, they can just flip a switch and have a collective orgasm.

    But yeah, some dialog about Moby Dick and Troi getting drunk definitely made up for it. Puhleese!

    Didn't anyone else notice that the movie neutered Star Trek's best adversary? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!
  • The Wrong Gene. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RatBastard ( 949 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @03:54PM (#4882918) Homepage
    Right concept. Wrong man. Gene L. Coon was what made the original Star Trek shine.

    The Roddenbury years of Next Gen are utter garbage.
  • Re:Too bad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by grumpygrodyguy ( 603716 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @03:59PM (#4882967)
    Don't judge something until you've experianced it for yourself.

    Haven't we "experienced" this enough times to say enough is enough?

    No, I think the review is probably right on. Trek is another of dozens of films that this has happened to. It's the current hollywood formula for sequels.

    When goods movies like "The Mummy" or "Blade" come from out of nowhere and get lots of pay-per-support...Hollywood rehashes a crappy sequel as follows:

    btw, this is the "..." in the 1)? 2)... 3) Profit!

    1) Get cast from original movie.
    2) Get makeup/costume people from MTV to work on people from step 1.
    3) Get out the script to aliens.
    4) Mix in the blender for 30 seconds.
    5) Release movie.

    This kind of recipe is easy for Hollywood execs to remember. They just keep thier production plan in the same drawer w/ the bourbon.
  • by wrenkin ( 71468 ) <alex DOT cooke AT utoronto DOT ca> on Friday December 13, 2002 @03:59PM (#4882973) Homepage
    The thing about DS9 was that you had to watch it, as it had its own arc... you had to follow it. I'll admit that I didn't watch it as much at first, but it holds up much better on reruns because as it's 1 episode a day, you can easily follow the underlying story. Give it time (but feel free to change the channel whenever Ezri shows up).

    I think at that point, with TNG winding down they really needed a new ingredient in the formula, and DS9 was at least a step in the right direction, what with its sustained focus on the Bajorins and Cardassians... (thankfully b5 provided some impetus for the change). It still had all the elements that made it Star Trek, but had a few new directions.

    It's funny to here all the hype about Enterprise now, about how it's "going back to basics" when that's exactly the same thing we heard about Voyager when it was first coming on the air, and look how that turned out... not that Enterprise isn't many times better... Its just that with all this emphasis on updating the original series, what with all the cast members constantly harping on about how they're only familiar with Kirk and Spock and Bones, they seem to have given up on some of the underlying strengths of the other shows. Its turned out well so far, but I wonder if it can handle 6 more years.

    As much as I like TNG, I still have to give props to DS9 for at least having an identity of its own.
  • We have a winner! (Score:3, Insightful)

    by RatBastard ( 949 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @04:09PM (#4883066) Homepage
    Yep. I've seen five movies in the theatres in the last two years. I'll bee seeing only one more this year: The Two Towers. I won't be seeing Nemesis as I do not feel the need to throw my money away to see third-rate bilge.

    Most movies these days are garbage because, as you said, people don;t seem to want good movies. All critisisms of movies are refuted with a "Dude, get a life! It's just a movie!". These people who put up with the constant flow of "XXX", "Charie's Angels", "Batman And Robin", etc... are the ones responcible for the total lack of worthwhile movies out there.
  • by InfoVore ( 98438 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @04:09PM (#4883076) Homepage
    Have you paid any attention? I mean, you'd think that the fact that the NX-01 wasn't hanging on the wall in the Enterprise's ready room next to the space shuttle and aircraft carrier would be a big clue as to what's going on: The time line has been tampered with.

    Since the premier episode of Enterprise ("Broken Bow"?), it has struck me that their is one really elegant way that they could explain the continuity differences between the original Star Trek and Enterprise:

    Let the series run its x number of years, occasionally building and developing the Suliban/Temporal Cold War story arc. At the end, have Cpt. Sam Becket, er Archer face the decision to wipe out the current time-line, including the development of his Enterprise, in favor of a timeline without the Suliban and the Temporal Cold War. If he doesn't, then the Suliban win and everyone suffers. Archer chooses to sacrifice his own existence and the existence of everyone he loves to safeguard humanity. His actions set up the Federation timeline which eventually spits out the Enterprise NC1701 captained by our favorite over-actor and his crew on a five year mission to "seek out new life and new civilizations...".

    It resolves all the "hey they are messing up the timeline" griping using Star Trek's favorite plot device: mucking around with the time continum. It also lets Archer and company make the ultimate heroic sacrifice - to be completely eliminated from existence so that the essence of what they love will survive.

    Do that and title the two part series closer "For the Greater Good" and you have a good ending to an average series.


  • Re:Too bad (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Enzondio ( 110173 ) <jelmore@nOspAM.lexile.com> on Friday December 13, 2002 @04:30PM (#4883218) Homepage
    I could not agree with you more on this. I especially love it when the Queen actually uses hand gestures to communicate with some of the Borg drones. One collective mind! HELLLO!

    I think the problem originated from the use of the word hive to describe the Borg collective. People automatically think hive ---> bee hive ---> queen bee. Without bother to consider how poor a metaphor it is.

    It's really a shame because I enjoyed the movie other than that. Cromwell rocked.

    Although I will say even in the series I found it a bit of a stretch that the Borg bothered abducting Picard to act as a figure head to communicate with the humans. Why would they bother? But it made for a good season finale/premeire so I can look the other way on that one, but First Contact went way too far.
  • Even odd good bad: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Black Copter Control ( 464012 ) <samuel-local@@@bcgreen...com> on Friday December 13, 2002 @04:33PM (#4883237) Homepage Journal
    How about:

    Good is good, bad is bad
    Nunbers don't count (people do);

    My working comspiracy is: Wednesday releases good, Friday releases bad.
    It works like this:

    If they figure that a movie is gonna get rave reviews they release it on a Wednesday so that the word of mouth can build and give good first-weekend results.

    If they figure that the ads are better than the movie, they'll give it all the PR they can and release it on a Friday. That way, people won't find out just how bad it is until Monday. This way, they get the best possible first weekend numbers.

    Since nemesis was released on a Friday, I suggested that my friends wait for the reviews before going to see it.

  • Re:Listen..... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cant_get_a_good_nick ( 172131 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @04:51PM (#4883333)
    Nothing will ever live up to the stuff you saw as a kid.

    I agree with this. I saw Star Wars (err, now Star Wars: New Hope) when I was 6 or so when it first came out in the theater. I used to think it was the best movie ever, saw it again when I was 13 or so. Still good. Now I'm on the + side of 30, decided to show it to my gf - she's a foreigner, never saw the original - and it sucked. I almost turned it off. All the stuff about we say now regarding Attack of the Clones and Lucas not being able to tell a story was present in the first film as well, it was just too new and cutting edge for us to care. Now that we have better examples of movies that weave together science fiction and storyline (the original Terminator comes to mind) it seems kind of feeble in comparison.
  • Re:Too bad (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gamgee5273 ( 410326 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @05:00PM (#4883392) Homepage Journal
    Man...you're not looking for anything other than brain candy, are you (looking at the words "dumb fun" I'm assuming not)? I've never trusted Trek, especially the TOS crew, for great storytelling. With TOS, you can always count on that the crew will live on to the next flick, and, of course, the other folks are either: a) dead; b) bad guys; or c) not coming back in the next movie.

    TNG took the drama/storytelling that one step further by killing Tasha Yar (and proving that the crew is not immortal), allowing Picard to be assimilated (in TOS that would have been Spock, I bet) and being willing to deal with overreaching themes (like the conspiracy plotlines, etc.). The other series have failed to continue making the universe credible. Babylon 5 did an excellent job of picking up where TNG left off: you see a functioning crew - people get promoted, people die, people take other assignments, new people come in.

    TNG had started to show that SF can be dynamic, but its successors (and the movies) have only proven to be static.

  • by evilpenguin ( 18720 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @05:27PM (#4883542)
    Chaucer isn't old English. It is what some folks call Middle English. It's post-Norman. It has modern grammar (non-inflected). The vocabulary is pretty old and the spelling is totally "pre-standard." Old English is very much harder to read than Middle English. (It really must be learned like a foreign language, but Middle English you can fight through.)

    I don't think "easy to read" in any way correlates with quality. By analogy, McDonald's would be gourmet food because it easy to eat.

    I also do not feel a compulsive need to categorize literature into a single specific genre. For example, I think Heinlien's "Double Star" can be put in both the "SF" genre and the "adventure" genre along with its literary cousin, "The Prisoner of Zenda" by Anthony Hope.

    I don't recall seeing a manual that dictated what constitutes each genre. A novel like "Frankenstein" crosses many genres. Its also a damned good book.

    Another writer I love who is, I think, underappreciated is Kipling. He's the "Mark Twain" of British Imperialism.

    Someone took me to task for mentioning Doyle. Read some Doyle besides Sherlock and The Lost World. Read Micah Clarke or even the Gerard books. No, they are not great literature, but they are great fiction. I'd put most of the good SF out there in the same category. There are only a few SF novels that I would call "great" in the "Huckleberry Finn/Cannery Row/The Sea Wolf/Heart of Darkness" kind of great. (Feel free to disagree with me, like I need to give you folks permission, but I would put "Dune," "Stranger in a Strange Land," and the original "Foundation" trilogy in that category -- Asimov can't write real human beings, but neither could Dickens and I still think he's great).

    For those moderators who think this is offtopic, the subject of whether Star Trek: Nemesis is good or bad opens up the whole topic of what "good" versus "bad" means. This is all very much on-topic. So nyah! Digression is the soul of wit.
  • For that matter, why did Data have to get that stupid emotion chip? I never thought his whole quest to become human thing was all that interesting.

    While the way it was handled in the end days was dreadful, Data's fascination with and envy of humanity was the most interesting thing about him. Without that aspect of his character, he's literally just a robot.

    I think that's why Picard is such a good Captain, for that matter - that slightly inhuman quality he has, the almost limitless self control and focus.

    Oh, balls. Some of the very best episodes-- "Darmok," "The Inner Light," "Family," "The Perfect Mate," "Sarek"-- were the ones where Picard let down his guard. In those episodes we saw friendship, love, grief, rage, the whole gamut that flesh is heir to. The fact that he's stoic doesn't mean he's emotionless. Quite the contrary, in fact.

    Also, time travel violates causality. It shouldn't be allowed. Period.

    Never lose sight of the fact that Star Trek is meant to be entertaining. That's all, that's where it starts and ends. If a time-travel story is entertaining, tell it. Hell, "The City on the Edge of Forever" was arguably the very best episode of the original series, and up there with some of the best science fiction ever. What shouldn't be allowed is stories that fail to entertain, for whatever reason. If time travel is entertaining, go with it. If it's not, don't. That's the rule.
  • Re:Too bad (Score:3, Insightful)

    by barawn ( 25691 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @06:43PM (#4883992) Homepage
    While it's true that occasionally there were hand gestures, in general, you actually saw the drones do what the queen wished without her actually doing anything (except her eyes looked in that direction).

    I'm not sure that it really was that poor a representation of the Borg. The fact is that this was a unique situation - the Borg were building a collective, rather than part of one already, so there had to be a way to transfer the previous cube collective to a smaller group, and the best way to do that is to have a queen carry the collective along.

    Think of it this way. The Borg don't use a queen when dealing with ships with a Cube ship, right? That's because there're thousands of beings on the ship, and they can sustain the "group mind" on their own. However, when the Cube ship is destroyed, and the small sphere escapes, there are only a few Borg - say 4 or 5 - and in those small numbers, the individuality of each Borg becomes a real problem, so the Queen acts as a unifying mind until there are enough Borg again.

    As per why the Borg abducted Picard: think about it. Do the Borg know about Q? Probably not - Q probably wouldn't bother with them. They're very single minded (heh). All they saw was the Enterprise arrive out of nowhere, rushed over to see what the hell it was, then poof, disappear away from them. What were the Borg probably thinking? "Holy S***... this race is probably significantly above us." so they planned to kidnap one individual to understand the capabilities better. Once they did, it was a whole new ball game, so even if they did realize that humans weren't that powerful, things had changed.

    Consider I Borg: what did Hugh do by himself? Nothing. He fell back on "search for access port" routines, then "search for food" routines, then - nothing. Individual - or few - Borg simply don't have the capability to have the abilities of the full collective, so to function as well as one, you need something else - a queen.
  • Re:Not a chance (Score:3, Insightful)

    by susano_otter ( 123650 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @06:59PM (#4884105) Homepage
    Whatever. There's more shitty SciFi published in book form every year than in film form. Sure, there's also more good SciFi published every year in book than movie form, but it's still like looking for a needle in a haystack. With movies, there's less needles, but the haystack is a lot smaller.
  • by raehl ( 609729 ) <raehl311@NoSPam.yahoo.com> on Friday December 13, 2002 @07:34PM (#4884324) Homepage
    I never really looked at Trek as being science fiction. It's an opportunity to comment on big-system politics and other social institutions, in a world sufficiently removed from this one that you don't have to worry about anyone protesting your network or studio.

    Kirk could get away with kissing Uhura because it's just damned difficult to take something like that seriously when there's a Russian at the helm and guy with pointy ears in the near vicinity. It never would have happened on a sitcom first.

    The politics thing is especially true in later seasons of DS9, when things changed from "The enemy is evil" to "The enemy is just like you, only you just don't realize that yet."

    Or that episode where Bashir (how embarassed am I that I remember these character names of a show I havn't seen in years) has to deal with Dax getting a new symbiot? (Or was Dax the symbiot? Whatever, new body, different gender.) There's a like the person/like the body + like the person/like the gender + homosexual issues metaphor all rolled up into one.

    There are plenty of people out there exposed to messages like that through Star Trek who would never get them any other way.
  • Indeed. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Grendel Drago ( 41496 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @07:40PM (#4884354) Homepage
    Absolutely. I've tried to explain this to actual Trek fans who loved the movie, and failed miserably. "But... but they don't have a queen!" Heck, Q himself said it best in TNG 2x16, "Q Who":

    You can't outrun them. You can't destroy them. If you damage them the essence of what they are still remains. They regenerate and keep coming. Eventually you will weaken, your reserves will be gone. They are relentless.

    And while I'm at it, from the same episode, same character, maybe the best quote of the whole series:

    If you can't take a little bloody nose, maybe you ought to go home and crawl under you bed. It's not safe out here. It's wondrous. With treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid.

    In my little world, the story of the Borg ended with "Descent". Nope, nothing after that. "First Contact" never bloody happened.

    --grendel drago
  • by susano_otter ( 123650 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @08:53PM (#4884728) Homepage
    No one has mentioned ST II: Wrath of Khan...

    That's because no one needs to. While we may disagree on the worst of the movies, and the relative merits of the movies, we all agree that this, at least, goes without saying: II was the best, by far.

    The first movie has always been my second choice, though, which makes me pretty unique in these parts.

  • by Go Aptran ( 634129 ) on Friday December 13, 2002 @09:01PM (#4884761)
    The problems that "Enterprise" has are due more to bad pacing and underwritten characters than anything elsle.

    Scott Bakula has an impressive squint and a firm Alpha Male jaw... but that's about it the extent of his character. The Vulcan hottie pouts and periodically undresses. Jolene Blalock is lovely... but her character comes off as angry and bored! They all come off as dull-witted and you wonder how on earth they've managed to get such an important position.

    Almost every episode has these odd stretches of empty space when the actors look like they are stuggling to remember their (mediocre) lines and nothing much happens... only to rush the ending! It feels like someone is stretching a 1/2 hours worth of story to an hour... or 40 minutes when you subtract the commercials and the completely inappropriate opening theme song. What happend to sub-plots? I realize that the goal is to tone down the techie aspects of the show in order to appeal to a wider demographic... but why alienate your core audience in the process by offering a substandard series?

    Enterprise, ufortunately is Star Trek for Dummies. Season two is a little better than season was... or maybe I've just lowered my expectations.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 13, 2002 @10:39PM (#4885103)
    If there was a serious point to the movie, it was that if we don't change our ways, species like whales will become extinct, and the Earth will be a poorer place for it. That point is on target.

    The alien probe threatening to destroy the Earth was just standard space opera (like the probe in Star Trek: The Movie that went on a similar sort of rampage because it wanted to become one with its creator (or some such)).
  • by cybermage ( 112274 ) on Saturday December 14, 2002 @01:49AM (#4885646) Homepage Journal
    I do agree with you that overall STV wasn't as corny as IX, let alone IV (notwithstanding the rocketboots)

    Just remember, you asked for it:

    Row, row, row, your boat
    Gently down the stream
    Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
    Life is but a dream

    STV is, by far, as bad as it ever got.

Solutions are obvious if one only has the optical power to observe them over the horizon. -- K.A. Arsdall