The biggest problem - Missed Opportunities in Narrative


New Member
Dec 23, 2002
First of all - SPOILERS -

I'm a former Paramount producer, and screenwriter and a looooonnng time Trek fan of all series. I thought I'd stop reading everybody else's posts and do my own as to what I thought went wrong with Nemesis - from a production perspective.

I did not hate Nemesis, but place it about in line with Generations. It has it's great moments and it's not so great moments, but is not a "dog". I actually enjoyed the film until just after Picard and Data escaped the Scimitar in the fighter. I know there were some inconsistencies and plot holes, but I do not think they are worth nitpicking over - at least not when the real problems are much more important. The biggest problem I saw with the last 45 minutes was not in the concept but with the execution. Alot of things were set up and left unrealized - and everything from the climax to the overall pacing of the film sufferred because of it.

We learned that there was a Federation fleet amassing to stop the Scimitar - that the Scimitar herself carried a weapon of enormous destructive capacity, a Thelaron radiation WMD - we learned of a possible break in allegiance in the Romulan military with Commander Donatra - and we know that the Scimitar is loaded for bear with weapons. All these things are known before the Enterprise enters the "rift". I think the end seemed flat and lifeless becuase TPTB did not take advantage of the plot points they themselves entered into the story. I'm not a big "I could do it better" guy, but I do have a theory as to how the ending of the film could have played out much better, without drastically changing the script or budget (with one possible exception on budget). TPTB simply violated too many of the conventional script writing rules, and I am annoyed because I have a feeling it was done for no other reason then to save an extra 2 million dollars and because they were a bit lazy and uninvested in the final product. So here's what I think they should have done with the existing plot points...all based on the beautiful set up they gave us.

The Enterprise with the Scimitar cloaked and following is warping to the fleet and is attacked by the Scimitar as it enters the rift just as in the current film. The Enterprise's warp drive is disabled temporarily and she takes a pounding. Things look bad, there is the brief exchange between Picard and Shinzon, but then suddenly (not as in the actual version which destroys the pacing and reduces possible exciting action to dull viewscreen exchange) Donatra and another warbird swoop in and take on the Scimitar. Donatra hails Picard and tells him she is there to help and will hold off Shinzon while Picard reaches the fleet. The enterprise pushes it's way through the weapons exchange and clears the rift, going to warp as one of the warbirds is destroyed. The Enterprise makes it to the fleet and quickly relays the danger involved, when a hail is recieved from Donatra - "We've been crippled, Picard - we couldn't stop him, he's no doubt headed to your posi--" The Scimitar suddenly appears and opens up with a concentrated disruptor burst and cuts through the saucer of a Nebula class ship with a violent explosion. The fleet, somewhat surprised, slowly scatters into more defensive positions, but the Scimitar is raining down weapons fire and ships are dissapearing one by one. A desperate battle is held - The Enterprise loses all power after a nearby exploding starship breaches the hull and bridge with fragments. The fleet is decimated. The exchange between the Viceroy and Shinzon occurs where Shinzon decides to finish "the mission" and take out Earth, wasting no more time on Picard. The Scimitar, bruised but hardly beaten warps out for Earth. The Enterprise struggles to get power back and when they do they pick up the urgent plea of Starfleet command calling all availble ships back to Earth and activating the planetary defense system. The Enterprise, with restored warp drive, but without photon torpedoes and only 4% shield power moves out of the starship graveyard and into warp - racing to Earth. The Scimitar reaches Earth and makes short work of the few starships that are there to meet him, perhaps even throwing a volley of fire into the Spacedock, setting it a drift. The Scimitar begins to power up it's Thelaron weapon - and then the Enterprise arrives. She fires what phaser energy she can, doing little damage to the Scimitar. The Scimitar, stationary and counting down to the Thelaron blast, returns fire with photons and disruptors which completely take out the warp drive, and the hull is breached again. A Reman boarding party is sent to the Enterprise to bring back Picard (insert complete Riker / Viceroy scene here). Shinzon calls Picard to his ready room, they have the same conversation as in the film and Picard desides to ram the Scimitar. Everything from this point forward ends exactly the way the film did.

By simply playing on the plot points that were set up - making the appearance of the Romulan warbirds more of a crowd cheering surprise - showing the fleet and the incredible almost unstoppable power of the Scimitar in defeating so many ships - and making the threat to Earth more real and urgent - all would have made not only the climax incredibly more exciting and invested, but would have made Data's sacrifice more meaningful, as he truly would have saved an entire world from a very desperate situation.

Bottom line: I just think TPTB missed the boat with the opportunites they themselves set up. I am not a B&B basher, and in fact think that both of them have done very good work in the past (regardless of who wrote it, First Contact was great IMHO, and TNG the series exists in a large part becuase of B&B's involvement), however, I am beginning to believe with the recent collapse of creative plotting in both Voyager and Enterprise and now Nemesis that perhaps B&B are getting bored. It happens. If that's the case, I respect their past achievements but they should step aside and help guide new blood into the franchise instead of guiding the franchise itself. Nemesis sufferred because of a lack of investment in the characters and the story as evidenced by the set up of plot points and then leaving them unfulfilled. I hope B&B and TPTB realize the errors they themselves are making before we lose the franchise entirely. I don't think Trek is dead, but it is surely wasting away to a slow and eventual death if it doesn't see some sunshine soon. Nobody (and I'd include B&B) wants that to happen.

ray gower

Well-Known Member
Jun 5, 2001
I've not seen Nemesis as it isn't released over in the UK yet, so I may be speaking out of my cocked hat.

Star Trek has always been full of missed and wasted opportunities, either through device, plot or character. It is probably why it is such rich hunting ground for fan fiction writers and perversely contributes to why it has continued to be so popular for so long.

What it has never been is a blood and ghore show and whilst there have been space battles, they have never formed the focal point. Attempting to apply more inventive and thought out solutions when the whizz bangs aren't enough (admittedly not always suceeding in terms of story).

I wonder if your scenario might not push it over the edge?


Red Pixie Boot Wearer
Mar 12, 2001
i saw Nemis recently and certaily flt i had lost out... Not what i expected


Non Bio
Staff member
Jan 5, 2001
Way on Down South, London Town
I certainly think the tension would have been heightened if the Theloran (Thaloran) (sp?) weapon had been pointed at it's original target of Earth than at the Enterprise-E.

The was something missing to make it one of the best 'Trek' films, and a few very slow parts, but it certainly wasn't the worst.

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