Efficiency, sarcasm, and natty fur!

This monkey and this robot once had a system: three blogs for three subjects. But it was complicated and vague and usually ended in feces throwing. So we have combined all three into a melange of media reviews and links and excessive blather, so as to reduce the burden on your short attention span.

In the right column, Monkey + Robot have compiled for you a compendium of sassy, savvy and in the know media reviews and tidbits, for your time-wasting pleasure. And lest you poke at us with sticks or cut off our power supply, the reviews are now selectable through those perky drop-down menus. Monkey + Robot Film and TV reviews, Wrongrobot's Comic Stash, and more.

Grab a chunk of melon and some Demoral, because in the left column, we have accumulated for you every snappy link we found amusing, entertaining, provocatively witty, or frankly, just colorful, with easy to understand small words so monkeybites can follow along. Such is Robotic Root!

Entertainment Media Ratings System:

Wrongrobot's Robot Rating: 1-10 Clicks, more indicating a happier robot!

Monkeybites' Monkey Rating: 1-10 Ooks! More indicating a mouthful of rotting simian teeth and lips curled in monkey pleasure!

IronLung's Robot Rating: 1-10 Clanks! More indicating a red-eyed, slack-jawed, blissed-out, ride-pimped dizzy droid! [this is good]

Vicbot's Robot Rating: 1-10 Whirrs! More indicating data that computes well with others.

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WWW http://monkey-plus-robot-reviews.blogspot.com
Wrongrobot's Fantasy Film Casting:
Casting Batman: Year One
Casting The Losers
Casting Richard Zach's Pirate Hunter

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Film Reviews [M+R Review Rating, out of 10 Possible Clicks, or Clanks, or Ooks]

Adventures of Baron Munchausen: 8 Clicks
Aliens Vs. Predator: 1 Clank
Bad Santa: 9 Clicks
Ballistic: Ecks vs. Sever: 2 Clicks
Bend it Like Beckham: 8 Clicks
Bourne Supremacy: 10 Clicks
Bowling for Columbine: 8 Clicks
Bubba Ho-Tep: 8 Clanks
Cirque du Soleil- Allegria [stage]: 10 Clicks
Cold Mountain: 7 Clicks
Cutthroat Island: 2 Clicks
Elf: 8 Clicks
Equilibrium: 6 Clicks
Escape From Alcatraz: 7 Clicks
Finding Nemo: 10 Clicks
Girl With a Pearl Earring: 7 Clicks
The Graduate [stage]: 7 Clicks
Hero: 7 Clanks
House of 1000 Corpses: 5 Clanks
How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days: 5 Clicks
Hudson Hawk: 6 Clanks
The Hulk: 7 Clicks
Identity: 3 Clicks
Igby Goes Down: 5 Clicks
Intolerable Cruelty: 6 Clicks
I, Robot [trailer commentary][IronLung]
I, Robot [trailer commentary][Wrongrobot]
Kill Bill Vol.1: 10 Clicks
Kill Bill Vol.2 [IronLung]: 9 Clanks
Kill Bill Vol.2 [Wrongrobot]: 10 Clicks
The Last Samurai: 8 Clicks
LotR: Return of the King: 7 Clicks
My Architect: 9 Clicks
Original Kings of Comedy: 7 Clicks
The Phantom: 1 Click
Pirates of the Caribbean: 9 Clicks
The Punisher: 5 Clanks
Secretary: 9 Clicks
Shanghai Knights: 4 Clicks
Spellbound: 7 Clicks
Spider-Man 2: 8 Clanks/ 8 Clicks
Starsky & Hutch: 8 Clicks
Star Trek- Nemesis: 6.5 Clicks
Terminator 3: 5 Clicks, 2 Ooks
The Thin Red Line: 7 Clicks
To Live and Die in LA: 10 Clicks
Troy: n/a
Van Helsing: 4 Clicks, 0 Clanks!
Whale Rider: 8 Clicks

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Comic Film Adaptations News [Film and TV]:

Appleseed OAV 2004 6/18/04
Aeon Flux: 2/27/04
9/1/04
9/10/04
Akira Live-Action Film 9/29/04
Animated Batman 2004 9/2/04
Batman Begins: 2/12/04 2/19/04 2/24/04 3/02/04 3/03/04 3/04/04 3/08/04 3/9/04 3/17/04 3/19/04 3/31/04 TRDL Concept Illustration 4/3/04 4/5/04 4/12/04 TRDL Concept Illustration Part 2 4/12/04 4/21/04 4/22/04 4/23/04 4/23/04 4/29/04 5/4/04 Costume Critique 5/4/04 Script Excerpts 5/7/04 6/01/04 6/04/04 6/09/04 6/10/04 6/15/04 6/16/04 7/6/04 7/13/04 7/20/04 7/26/04 7/28/04 Trailer 7/29/04 7/31/04 8/2/04 8/3/04 8/4/04 8/5/04 8/8/04 8/10/04 8/12/04 8/17/04 8/20/04 8/24/04 8/30/04 10/19/04
Battle Angel Alita: 9/10/04
Black Widow 4/29/04
Blade 3: Trinity: 5/4/04 6/11/04
Catwoman: 2/18/04 5/21/04 Game Concept Art 5/21/04 6/11/04 Suckage! 7/29/04
Comic Adaptations 10/13/03
Constantine: 3/08/04 5/14/04
Dazzler?!? 7/7/04
Elektra: 2/19/04 3/29/04 4/23/04 5/14/04 4/29/04 5/4/04 6/10/04 6/18/04 7/1/04 7/2/04 7/6/04 7/29/04 9/20/04 10/13/04
Fantastic Four: 6/16/04 7/8/04 7/14/04 7/15/04 8/3/04 9/20/04
Ghost in the Shell 2: 9/18/04
Global Frequency: 6/15/04 7/16/04 8/17/04
Good Time For Comic Films! 5/14/04
Green Lantern?!?: 7/24/04 Koboshed 8/8/04
Hawaiian Dick: 4/21/04 Interview 4/22/04
He-Man: 10/11/04
Hellboy: 2/12/04 Interview: Del Toro 2/20/04
3/03/04 3/9/04 3/17/04 Personality Test 3/17/04 Figures Released 3/29/04 Toys Addendum 3/30/04 Choose the Next Figures! 4/21/04 Hellboy: An Introduction 3/30/04 Interview: Selma Blair 3/30/04
Interview: Spectral Motion 4/5/04 Caught On Film in '62! 4/21/04 Interview: Selma Blair, CafeFX 4/28/04 Hellboy Collaborator Medical Fund Auction! 5/4/04 DVDs 7/7/04 7/28/04 8/3/04 8/5/04 8/25/04 8/31/04 Hellboy 2: 3/29/04 4/8/04 6/03/04 8/27/04 9/1/04
9/14/04
Hulk 2? 5/4/04 9/7/04

Hulk Op-Ed 7/14/04
Iron Man: 3/03/04 4/23/04 6/10/04 6/28/04 9/14/04
8/2/04 8/10/04
Nick Fury: Agent of SHIELD 9/8/04
Preacher FX 4/29/04
Sin City: 3/19/04 4/04/21 4/04/29 4/05/19 5/21/04 6/01/04 6/11/04 7/1/04 7/26/04 7/28/04 7/20/04 8/11/04 9/15/04
Spider-Man 2: 2/18/04 3/29/04
Spider-Man 3: 5/4/04 5/14/04 6/10/04 7/13/04 Spider-Man 2 Game Screenshots 6/8/04 Spider-Man 2 [trailer commentary]
Superman: 5/21/04 6/03/04 6/09/04 6/10/04 6/28/04 7/1/04 7/13/04 7/14/04 7/20/04 8/5/04 8/10/04 8/27/04 8/31/04 9/10/04 9/15/04 10/19/04 [2] 10/19/04
Transformers: 9/10/04
Wanted 3/03/04
Watchmen: 4/4/23 4/7/24 7/24/24 8/12/04 9/10/04
Wolverine: 10/13/04
X-Men 3: 7/20/04 5/4/04 6/18/04 7/7/04 7/8/04 7/14/04 7/15/04 7/20/04 8/27/04 Aborted Sentinel? 9/2/04 9/7/04 9/15/04

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Film News, General:

A Scanner Darkly Film Adaptation
Akira: Kaneda's Bike in Production? 8/28/04
Aliens Vs. Predator: 6/2/04 Chess Set 5/26/04 6/8/04 Trailor 6/11/04 6/28/04 7/8/04 [trailer commentary] 8/5/04 8/8/04 7/15/04 8/12/04
Anchorman 7/13/04
Big Lebowski Day! 5/5/04
Bloodrayne 8/10/04
Bond? Who Bond? 8/3/04
Bourne Supremacy: 1/6/04 Trailer: 5/4/04 7/8/04
Cage Deserves Happiness 7/31/04
Clooney/ Tarantino in the News 10/15/03
Dodgeball 6/01/04
Domino 8/3/04
HEAT vs. R:HD: Dialog Analysis 10/22/03
Heat/ GTA III: Lawsuits Imitate Life 10/23/03
Incredibles 8/23/04
Jim White Documentary 3/23/04
Kill Bill 2 Poster 2/18/04
Kill Bill Interview: Uma Thurman 4/8/04
Kill Bill Vol. 3?! 4/12/04
The Life Aquatic 1/15/04
Matrix Explained? 8/31/04
National Treasure 8/4/04
Nowhere Man 7/26/04
Pierce is Bond No More 7/27/04
Sky Captain 7/15/04
Sky High 8/17/04
Soderberg Joins Che 4/5/04
Speed Racer: Vince Vaughn 6/25/04
Stealth 7/8/04
Summer 04 Films to Watch 4/22/04
Team America Puppet Porn 8/25/04
Transporter 2 6/16/04
Van Helsing: Van Helsing WHO? 3/16/04 Interview: ILM 5/5/04 Penny Arcade 5/18/04
Underworld 2 9/7/04
WB Kills ESC F/X 8/18/04
Will Smith Lexicon 5/18/04
Zatoichi: Blind Swordsman 6/25/04
No Mas James Bond
Miami Vice on the Big Screen

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TV Reviews, and the M+R Review Rating, out of 10 Possible Clicks, or Clanks, or Ooks

24 Season 3: 10/29/03: 8 Whirrs 11/5/03: 6 Whirrs 2/08/04: 7 Whirrs 2/12/04: 8 Whirrs 2/18/04: 8 Whirrs 2/24/04: 9 Whirrs 4/06/04: 7 Whirrs 4/26/04: 6 Whirrs 5/03/04: 3 Whirrs 5/11/04: 9 Whirrs 5/18/04: 8 Whirrs Finale 7/8/04: 3 Whirrs
Apprentice: Robin and Carolyn 4/16/04
ATHF and Space Ghost Links 2/25/04
ATHF: Revenge of the Trees 10/13/03: 8 Clicks The Shaving 10/27/03: 7 Clicks Super Trivia 9/22/03: 8 Clicks Battlestar Galactica 1/13/04: 3 Clicks
Carnivale: 9/22/03: 10 Clicks 9/30/03: 9 Clicks
Christopher Columbus: Secrets From the Grave: 3 Clicks
CSI: 8/11/03: 1 Ook 9/26/03: 5 Clicks CSI: Miami: 7/30/03: 1 Ook 7/31/03: 6 Clicks 9/26/03: 7 Clicks
Deadwood 3/24/04: 8 Clicks
Dinner for Five: 9/26/03: 7 Clicks 9/30/03: 7 Clicks
Ed: 9/26/03: 3 Clicks Series Finale 2/12/04: 7 Clicks
Emmy Nominations 04 7/15/04: 7 Clicks
Enterprise 10/13/03: 6 Clicks
Everybody Loves Raymond 9/26/03: 6 Clicks
Friends 9/26/03: 7 Clicks
Grammys: Outkast's Andre 3000 2/9/04: 10 Clicks
Law and Order Family: 9/30/03: 8 Clicks
Law and Order: 10/13/03
Law and Order: CI: 1/12/04: 8 Clicks
Marvel Comics Guide to NYC: 10 Clicks
Method and Red: 9 Clicks
MI-5 10/28/03: 10 Clicks
Mix It Up 1/12/04: 8 Clicks
Mr. Show: What to Think 9/10/03: 10 Clicks
Penn & Teller's Bullshit: 9 Clanks
Reno 911!: 9 Clicks 9/7/03
Space Ghost C2C: Baffler Meal: 11 Clicks! Flipmode 2/25/04:20 Clicks Survivor 7 9/19/03: 8 Clicks
Survivor All-Stars: 2/12/04: 8 Clicks 2/13/04: 7 Clicks Tour de France 2003 8/4/03: 8 Clicks
Will & Grace 9/26/03: 7 Clicks

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TV News

24/Law and Order/CSI "That Guy" Character Actor Tracker
24: Comic Adaption 3/25/04 Season 4 Casting 8/9/04
Amazing Screw-On Head Cartoon 4/8/04
Cigarette Smoking Man Action Figure 5/26/04
CSI: CSI in Comedy Culture 6/24/04 CSI's Peterson 2/18/04 Sick outs Everywhere 7/27/04
CSI: Miami Drinking Game 2/27/04 No Mas Rory Cochrane 8/9/04
CSI:NY: 3/8/04 3/16/04 Drawn Together 8/20/04
HDTV ScreenCap Archive 8/25/04
Jessica Simpson 10/21/03
Mastershake Speaks 9/7/04
Nike's Lance Commercial: Magnet 8/18/04
Law and Order: Trial by Jury Casting 6/04/04
NBC Hijacks TiVo 1/15/04
Simpsons' Shearer Balks 8/12/04
Survivor All-Stars Cast 1/12/04
Survivor 9 8/18/04
Robbery: Homicide Division Music 9/30/03

French Connection Made for TV


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Wrongrobot's Comics Stash- Comics and Sequential Art Reviews

Comic Reviews, and the M+R Review Rating, out of 10 Possible Clicks, or Clanks, or Ooks

Comics Reviews Intro
100 Bullets: 48: 7 Clicks
52, 53: 8 Clicks
9-11, Artists Respond Collections
Alias: 24-25: 10 Clicks 26-27: 10 Clicks 28: 9 Clicks
Astonishing X-Men: 2: 8 Clicks 3,4: 9,10 Clicks
Avengers: 500: 8 Clicks 502: 7 Clicks
Batgirl Year One TPB: 10 Clicks
Batman: 620: 5 Clicks 621: 7 Clicks
Batman: Long Halloween: 7 Clanks
Bloodstream 1: 1 Click
BPRD One Shots: 9/7 Clicks
Cla$$War: 4: 8 Clicks 5: 10 Clicks
Daredevil: 50-52: 9/3/5 Clicks 54: 4 Clicks 56: 9 Clicks 57: 7 Clicks
65: 6 Clicks
Domino:Perfect Weapon: 8 Clicks
Exiles: 30-33: 6/4/4 Clicks 36-37: 3/6 Clicks
Ex Machina: 2, 3: 7 Clicks
Global Frequency 11: 10 Clicks
Gotham Central: 10-11: 9 Clicks 13: 9 Clicks 16-18: 9 Clicks
Hellhounds 1-3: 7 Clicks
Human Target: 4: 9 Clicks 5-6: 8 Clicks 7: 8 Clicks
12, 13: 9 Clicks
Iron Man: 73-75: 8 Clicks 76: 2 Clicks 77: 5 Clicks 86: 9 Clicks
JSA: 51-52: 7/8 Clicks 53: 8 Clicks 54: 4 Clicks 56-57: 7 Clicks 58: 3 Clicks
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 2: 3 Clanks, 8 Clicks
The Losers: Ante Up TPB: 9 Clanks 6: 10 Clicks 10-11: 8/10 Clicks
16: 10 Clicks
New Invaders 0: 3 Clicks
New X-Men: 144-146: 5 Clicks 149: 3 Clicks 151-152: 2 Clicks 153: 3 Clicks
[Renamed X-Men] 159-162: 4 Clicks
Paradise X: A: 9 Clicks
Planetary: TPBs (1-12): 8 Clicks 16: 5 Clicks : 8 Clicks 18: 9 Clicks
Powers: 33: 8 Clicks 36: 9 Clicks 37: 10 Clicks V2, 1: 10 Clicks
2-4: 10 Clicks
Pulse: 5: 7 Clicks
Queen and Country: 20: 10 Clicks 21: 10 Clicks 25: 8 Clicks
The Ride 1: 9 Clicks
Secret War 1: 8 Clicks
Sleeper: 8: 10 Clicks 11: 10 Clicks 12: 10 Clicks Sleeper Season Two: 1: 10 Clicks
Supreme Power: 1-2: 10 Clicks 4: 10 Clicks 7: 10 Clicks 8: 9 Clicks 11: 8 Clicks
Tokyo Storm Warning TPB: 5 Clicks
Ultimates: 12: 10 Clicks 13: 10 Clicks
Ultimate Fantastic Four 1-2: 7 Clicks 3: 8 Clicks
Ultimate Nightmare: 1: 10 Clicks
2: 8 Clicks
Ultimate Six: 1: 10 Clicks 4: 10 Clicks 6: 9 Clicks Ultimate X-Men: 36-37: 2 Clicks
Ultra: 2: 9 Clicks
Uncanny X-Men: 429-431: 4 Clicks 433: 2 Clicks 437-441: 1 Click 444-445: 5 Clicks 446: 6 Clicks
Wanted 2: 10 Clicks
We3: 1: 10 Clicks
Wildcats 3.0: 13: 7 Clicks 16: 7 Clicks 18: 7 Clicks
X-Statix : 2: 4 Clicks 13-15: 6 Clicks 18: 4 Clicks 19: 3 Clicks

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Friends of Robot: Artists:

FoR: 36Oh.net FofR: Enrico Casarosa
FoR: Terra Major's Horns of Hattin
FoR: Losstarot
FoR: Prometheus
FoR: Studio Kosen

Comic News:

Check the Film News section for updates on comic-related film adaptations! 100 Bullets FPS Game 4/2/04
Ale Garza on Batgirl 8/5/04
Amazing Screw-On Head Cartoon 4/8/04
Apparat Line: Warren Ellis 8/25/04
The Atomic Revolution Comic 3/23/04
Authority: Nguyen Interview 5/14/04
Authority OGN 7/20/04
Avengers 500 Preview 7/1/04
Brent Anderson on Pulse, Astro City 3/25/04
Batman Begins Costume Illustration [Wrongrobot]4/3/04
Batman: War on Crime 8/31/04
Bullseye Origin Series 6/28/04
Comics For Intellectuals 9/1/04
Decompression and Pacing 9/23/03
Dillon on Bullseye 9/7/04
Doc Frankenstein by Burlyman 9/2/04
Doc Ock Year One 6/16/04
Earth's Mightiest Mini 9/3/04
Ellis and Granov on Iron Man 5/25/04
Ellis Stream-a-Blog: Iron Man 7/31/04
Ellis Stream-a-Blog: Explodo 8/2/04
Ellis Stream-a-Blog: Bad Kids 8/27/04
Fox Sued over LoEG Script 9/26/03
Hawaiian Dick Bk 2 8/23/04
Hack/Slash book 2 6/18/04
Hal Jordon and Copyrights 8/20/04
Hellboy: An Introduction 3/30/04
IDW's 24 Comic 3/25/04
Iron Man Facelift 9/12/03
Iron Man 87 Outtakes 8/27/04
Joss Whedon Interview: Astonishing X-Men 8/10/04
JSA vs. JSA 8/12/04
League of Extraordinary Gentlemen 3 6/1/04
Marvel Vs. DC 8/31/04
Masamune Shirow 10/15/03
Micro-Heros Animated GIFs 4/6/04
Morrison on JLA: Hyperclan and Superman 6/1/04
Morrison's WE3 9/1/04
New Avengers 8/18/04
Nguyen Confirmed on Authority Vol.3 5/14/04
Nouvelle Manga Manifesto 6/11/03
Ocean 8/9/04
Orson Welles as Batman? 9/26/03
Phoenix Mini-Series 8/20/04
Poorly Drawn Animals 8/2/04
Remains: Niles/Dwyer Interview 3/12/04
Scurvy Dog: Yount Interview 1/15/04
SD Comicon Visual Oddities 7/31/04
Space Ghost 7/31/04
Spandex vs Leather 4/6/04
Steven Grant on 'Literature of Ethics'
The Losers: Diggle/Jock Interview 3/11/04
The Picture of Everything 1/15/04
The Question: Rick Veitch 9/1/04
The Question: Tommy Lee Edwards 9/2/04
Teddy Roosevelt From Mars 8/20/04
Tom Coker: Batman in Monolith 8/30/04
Tony Harris Pages from new Iron Man Arc
Ultimates: Bryan Hitch Interview 9/12/03
Ultra 8/18/04
Watchmen Remembered 8/12/04
WizardWorld LA Promo Art 3/22/04
WonderCon 2004 Buzz 8/13/04
WonderCon 2004 Buzz 2 8/17/04
WonderCon 2004 Dance-Off 8/18/04
Worlds Finest Film 7/26/04
World's Finest Interview 8/4/04
Young Avengers 8/20/04
Identity Crisis Covers
Honey Moon, The Ride, Rex Steele, Shirow, Megacity909
Comic Preview: Intimates, Iron Man
TSR Illustrator Terminally ill
Twinkie Comics, Avengers Dissembled Toy-style
Interview: Mark Millar of Ultimates
Interview: Cliff Chiang of Human Target
Star Trek Manga Anthology from Tokyopop
Pop Mahn to TokyoPop
Granov Iron Man Preview Pages
Image Comics Moves to Berkeley

Film Review: Star trek- Nemesis
6/07/2004



Star trek- Nemesis: It took me a long time to actually sit down and watch this film. I was originally looking forward to it, as it had the buzz of being the last ST:TNG film, and I therefore assumed there would be some actual continuity-changing events to be seen (unlike most Star trek stuff where no variables of plot ever change the equilibrium of the cast and premise.) Then, as the bad reviews began creeping in, and it became clear that no one was going to watch it with me, I was resigned to wait for the DVD. Now, two years later, I've finally had a chance to sit through it, and the good news is that it isn't as bad as I had heard. The bad news, of course, is that it fails to live up to the potential of it's interesting premise.

The Enterprise-D is lurking around, the original crew largely restored (with the exception of Whil Wheaton's Wesley Crusher, who was asked to return, but was ultimately cut out of all of his speaking scenes) in order to witness the marriage of Commander William "Bearded back" Riker and Counselor Troi. These scenes were reasonably pleasant, and the typical Star Trek knowingly sentimental crap was more or less minimized here, which surprised me. That's the sort of thing that ruined those last few decaying Shatner and Nimoy films- that incessant old timey nostalgia. Here, hankies are out of sight, the marriage goes off without a hitch, and there's some references to the Enterprise delivering Riker to some honeymooning planet of lewd debauchery reminiscent of seventeen hundred of the original TV episodes, before he takes command of his own ship, the Titan. Meanwhile, the Romulan Senate is assassinated, and a Reman takes Praetorship and invites the Federation to send Picard as an ambassador to Romulus in order to discuss the future of relations between the Romulans and the Federation. Before Worf can issue the understatement deleted from the film that I wanted to hear ("Captain, I recommend exercising extreme caution!") Picard meets Shinzon, the unfortunately named apparent younger clone of himself, who claims to want piece yet wears bad ass batlike leathery garments, hides in shadows, and has built a warship that looks like it was stolen from Babylon 5. After some vaguely eerie dialog exchange between the two...Picards...the Enterprise crew determine that Shinzon's ship is designed to be a giant dirty bomb, able to release copious amounts of world-shattering ultra mega super radiation, and so it becomes clear that peace is not on the menu after all. At this point, the plot falls apart, and what was set up to be an interesting study of two men of same genetic origin making different choices in life, quickly becomes simple A to B revenge fetish.

Set Design: I was fairly impressed by this outing, after such lackluster film adaptations of the franchise in recent years. This was the longest break between films, the last, Insurrection, which i can't even remember anyway, was released in 1998. Those first to ST:TNG films were depressingly mundane in terms of set design, costuming, etc. They literally looked like they were still using the TV production sets, which looked block-rockin' back in the day when it was first launched and competing against, say, Punky Brewster, but not up to snuff with modern sci-fi film production. And another thing: these film versions of TV shows are all about bigger, better, more intense, right? Say what you will about the strange, existential lovefest that was Star Trek The Motion Picture, but it was like someone had done a Pimp My Ride on the old Star Trek TV series. It looked GREAT, and only some of the costuming looks dated today (and I actually liked those weird Moebius-type jumpers they were wearing.) But after Star Trek II, things slid downhill, which did no favors for the franchise, being as badly written and just cheesy as hell in the first place. Star Trek II gave us slightly-embarrassed Trek fans something to chew on. I used to claim that i wasn't a Trekkie, but a "Techie" because I was pretty much just interested in the continuity of the technology: what ships had what specs and how they compared with each other, how many ships in a fleet, the political and geographical construct of the contemporary Roddenberry universe, etc. but this just served to piss me off to no end once the ST:TNG aired and suddenly they were reconstituting ship models from the films and using them in the new series, drastically out of physical scale against the USS Enterprise Galaxy class, with continually revised and retconned technology running rampant on that show like some sort of Trekkie techno-babble fugue state. It used to rankle me to no end...until I realized it was a lost cause, grasping for continuity that wasn't going to be a priority to the producers anyway, so I let it drop, and have been a much happier robot since...and much less interested in the franchise, coincidentally.

Anyway, the ship and it's interior sets looked well-executed. Different lighting this time, more ominous, more functional. Less of the touchy-feely UV lamping everywhere. Just a hair more military in detail. The bridge design was interesting as well. They added a second chair for the Number One role on the bridge, lower and to the left, while the counselor's chair is still beside the captain's chair. I can't explain why they did this, but it looks better. Throughout the film, crewman shift seats, and roles, as needed, and it has an organic flow. Setting aside the idea that they all can perform all tasks equally well, I found it pretty cool that thy introduced at least a fraction of procedural detail in bridge command functions.



The Romulan warship that Shinzon tools around in, however, struck me as too far out of Star Trek design language. It really does look like a Babylon 5 reject. And in it's fully-expanded 'transformed' state, it looks awkwardly like a parody of the true-life inspiration for its design, the lionfish (which was the fish in Picard's tank on the series, by the way.) The interiors looked fine, the Reman style being typically baroque and mean and dark and sharp and also oddly sparse. Nothing to report there.

The Romulan homeworld looked good- the CGI was passable, but not great, but the costuming was consistent, both as a reference to the Romulan getups of the shows, and with a contemporary military lean as well.



It's hard to swallow how simply idiotic the concept of the Romulans and their Rome-ish premise (Romulus and Remus, Romulan Senate, Praetor, etc) is in terms of design. However, the Romulans were always my favorite of the ST races, and it was a welcome sight to see those Romulan Warbirds uncloak in a pivotal scene in the film.



Another detail I liked is the introduction of the Reman race, sort of the Irish to the Romulan's British, I guess. If that seems like an inensitive analogy, then it probably works, because these people are described as an enslaved, miserably treated worker class looked down on by the Romulan cultural elite. Anyway, since they live entirely underground in massive mining colonies beneath the Reman surface, the designers had a chance to make the Remans look physically different than the Romulans, presumably adaptations over many generations: they are pale, wide-eared, yellow-eyed, fanged, etc. which I first thought were simply references to cavebats...until it struck me that the designers stole the look from Nosferatu, the silent vampire film of the 20s. Still pretty good stuff.



Early on in the film, there's an entirely unnecessary sequence where the Away Team of Picard, Worf and Data are screwing around on a primitive industrial planet's surface looking for robot parts, in a suped-up offroad SUV called the Argo, which they make such a big deal of in the script, but in execution looks like a Hummer2 as styled by Pontiac. It's ludicrous. And why they would design and use a retro, unarmored ground vehicle instead of a clean vector-thrust vehicle like the damn shuttle craft in the first place is beyond me. Oh wait, I know, so they can stage a James Bond-esque attack from numerous assailants on THEIR OWN ATVS... and looking and sounding like Star Wars Sandpeople as well?!?



It was a low point in the film, though the final scene of the Argo being driven off a cliff into the ass of the shuttle craft was a nice touch, reminding me of those old Battle of the Planets (G-Force) anime cartoons where Jason would drive his Formula 1 racer (off-road, don't start with me) off cliffs into the ass of the Phoenix...OK back to the present. Those are about all the set, costume, and industrial design comments I can think of, since the film's action took place almost exclusively on the bridges of those two ships.

FX: I was rather impressed by the FX in the film.



Ship to ship combat can get tedious in the Star Trek universe, even back in the day when continuity and relative scale power levels were rationally defined (ie. shields take damage in proportion to the ordinance reflected, unlike later when shields were either infinitely powerful, or devastated by terrible new weapons, at the whim of plot necessity) as shot after shot just resulted in glowing blurps ont he ship's surface from the shield strikes, and that was that...until shields were down, and we got to see the best carnage that the FX crews could come up with. This means that we basically sit through the back and forth and wait for the payoff, which absolutely must involve lots of ships getting screwed up in wicked ways. One of the last two ST:TNG films saw the Enterprise, or the saucer section, crash on a planet, and while it was a good idea in concept, the scale problems made much of the impact seem modeled, with diorama trees flying everywhere (though as the ship is hurtling just above the treeline, THAT rocked!) But we like to see venting, holes punched in decks and crewman flying out into space, that sort of thing.



There was a scene which I've been dying to see done, and it worked well: a weapon hit at the bridge that blew through the helm and the main screen monitor, venting bridge crew into space before a shield could be restored (though why they wouldn't evacuate and regroup at the ship's base module secondary bridge, I dunno.) But, I'm happy to report that Picard does something reasonably satisfying with the Enterprise this time around, and though it doesn't end in the sort of deck-rupturing carnage I prefer, there's some really neat detail there.


SPOILER:




He rams the opposing ship at impulse speed, right throughout he shields, scissoring the bow of the Romulan craft in halves like a hot butter knife, and as it's happening, and you see the surprisingly realistic structural buckling on both ships, a storm of shrapnel and wreckage and people are fanning out of the impact like sawdust in this really delightful sequence.



I read that they filmed it using large-scale models, upside-down, and that all the junk flying off were actually miniature fragments designed to break away from the models, so it was neat to learn it was not just a CGI orgasm happening... I was actually bitterly disappointed they did not choose to show us Riker's USS Titan at the end of the film- one of the scenes cut out of approximately 70 minutes of footage when the film was trimmed down to a manageable level. I say, leave all that crap in, go out with a bang, but whatever.

Continuity: Lots of weirdness here: Captain Janeway from Voyager is on-screen handing out assignments to Picard, which I thought was confusing from a continuity standpoint, as in the premise of Voyager I thought she was referring to the great Picard as an inspirational figure, as if he had either retured, moved to administrative leadership, or had died.



And though I admit I stopped watching Voyager before they were rescued from the Delta Quadrant or whatever the hell it was, was she integrated back into the Federation fold and given a senior leadership position? This was not clear. What was also not clear was the presence of various crewmwmbers. Worf is an ambassador now, right? They established that earlier, in the series or in the films, I can't recall. So why is he now firing weapons and growling with not much to do and not much respect as due an ambassador (let alone why isn't he mentioned in this supposed ambassadorship mission to Romulus that Picard is being sent on, when it would apparently by default be a Federation / Klingon ambassadorship at that point?) Wesley Crusher was there, filmed scenes, had them all cut, and then ended up briefly appearing as an extra in the wedding scene. WTF? He like, resigned, right? And Whoopie Goldberg is messing around again as Guinan, though I thought she became interstellar goo in some previous outing. I don't know. Maybe that's wishful projection.



Regarding the discontinuity within the plot, the biggest issues seemed to me to be script-based- they played fast and loose with the psychic abilities of Shinzons First Officer, and his psychic rape of Troi, which, in the extended footage, was apparently a huge unpleasant chunk of the original film, with multiple instances and lots of scary, violating rapey sexual overtones, which in the cut version just seems disjointed: Troi declares "I feel his presence!" as she has seventeen other times in the series, then later declares "It was a VIOLATION!!!" all disheveled and looking like a Law and Order victim...it made no sense without knowing what was removed from those scenes.

Performance: They were all over the place. Patrick Stewart as Picard played most of his scenes with a wet-eyed emotional train-wreck appalled horror thing going on, which served the character, and the script well.



Here was a character that has made a lifetime career out of being an upright and decent guy, aspiring, as the script heavy-handedly repeats "to be greater than [he] is" and suddenly, much like the Locutus/Picard Borg dealie from back in the day, the underbelly of his own personality and tenaciousness, the driven, aggressive younger Picard, now might be the undoing of human civilization. This was a play on both the character's perception of himself and his ego, but our perception of Picard as the baddest-ass, coolest Captain in the series. The moral implication of wondering if he would make the same decisions, if in those circumstances, obviously weighs heavy for Picard, and Stewart nails it. The rest of the cast is pretty much as hmmy and stiff as they always were, with a few exceptions.



Levarr Burton as Giordi LaForge was always a much better actor than the material allowed, and his calm and weariness in this film seems to indicate maturity and experience for the character.



Shinzon, the Picard clone, was clearly cast based on physical resemblance to a "younger" Picard (though in the series, Picard was shown numerous times with a full head of hair in Starfleet Academy, but ehhh) and when he played it straight and wistful, mysterious in intention and motivation, he was pretty cool and intriguing. As soon as he slipped into dying spiteful bitch, he lost my interest immediately. I do recall him (Tom Hardy) from Black Hawk Down, so I know he had more potential than the marching around and glaring and acting pompous and vaguely British as he was here (though the arms behind him goosestep routine did lend a military-fervor feel to the Praetor.)



You may recognize the overall head-shape of future Hellboy Ron perlman as Viceroy, Shinzon's Nosferatu-looking Number One. He did a great job with subtle mannerisms and behavior, which is all the acting one CAN do in makeup that detailed, and he did it well. Two other familiar faces here: Dina Meyer plays Commander Donatra, a Romulan military leader than backs Shinzon's coup, tries to seduce him, gets rejected and threatened, sees the gamble was a bad risk for the Romulan military, and suddenly is on Picard's side when it sort of counts.



She was OK here, but I was startled to recognize her as Oracle in the short-lived but interesting Birds of Prey TV series that gave us a much more memorable Huntress (Ashley Scott.) Alan Dale plays the soon-to-be-executed Praetor Hiren, and he does a great job in his 90 seconds of screen time. Astute robots will recognize him as the evil Vice President Prescott in 24.



Also from 24, and most noticeable as the actor-ill-advised-to-play-an-alien-in-star-trek-John-Tesh-award-candidate: Jude Cicolella as the angry Romulan General, who we all knew and loved as the Chief of Staff for two eventful seasons of 24.
Recall that 24 has showcased several Star Trek alumni, including Harris Yulin as NSA's Roger Stanton (as a memorable Cardassian torturer, ) Michelle Forbes as Lynn Kreske (and a memorable Bajoran Ensign,) and Stephen Culp (as the White House torture-trained CIA guy (and Majoy Haynes on Enterprise.)

Script: Lazy lazy lazy! This film feels pieced together around specific scenes and concepts, with a gooey web of thin plotline filaments holding them together. That's not uncommon, but there was room for more potential. The series Enterprise, though uneven, has done a great job at integrating the political, military, and personal connection with a pre-Starfleet Earth government and the various deep-space threats that the Enterprise might encounter, with invasive attacks on Earth being waged a few times with deadly realism. Here was a chance, prior to Enterprise ever airing, for a real threat to Earth to be shown. Not giant whale-talking dildoes, not mean old satellites with crystals on their asses, not screens full of angry 70s TV actors shaking their fists with prosthetic chests on them (their chests, not their fists, and yes, that was a prosthetic on Ricardo Montalban!) but real, gnarly CGI threats with a direct Romulan attack on the Federation homeworld. Granted, the concept of a cloaked dirty bomb is creepier, but still. Also, what's with the sexist weirdness in the script? Troi's getting ravaged all over town, and Picard asks her to "endure it!" while earlier, he referred to "Mr. Troi" in front of the bridge crew, with chuckles all around. Creeped me OUT.



And what was with the scary sex scene with Riker and Troi, just before she gets mindraped by Shinzon's guy? Did you know that Jonathan Frakes refused to have his back shaved for the scene, so they spend budget on having his back carpet digitally removed that could have gone to ship carnage FX?!? That wasn't even a script criticism, I guess, but still. Come on. Anyway, what seemed to be a promising premise: Picard facing a young clone of himself, hardened by a bitter, painful childhood, out to destroy Earth to prove a twisted psychological point, and the questions about environment vs nature in formed personalities, etc. were eventually dropped in favor of a typical revenge movie. And there were several references to a 'procedure' that Shinzon must have, presumably a blood transfusion or possibly a bloodwork overhaul, which seemed to be connected to his desire not to have Picard killed, but rather captured...which suddenly dropped on his priority list as his stupid lionfish ship was preparing to vent radiation everywhere. I don't know, the third act, if you want to call it that, fell apart in a big way. Lastly, when all is said and done, we see a slightly subtle, well-done scene with Picard watching the data prototype ("B-4" ughh) expressing the same curiosity and whimsy that led to Data's own evolution. This, along with a few other personal scenes, were actually understated without being overly sentimental, in a way the original cast never pulled off in those nostalgic and terrible early Trek movies. However, we understand that Riker is off to his new ship, and Picard will require a new Number One...yet we never see the ship, or the new officer, and both of these omitted details are exactly the kinds of tidbits we grown-up Trek fans would have liked most (aside from ship venting, bridge rupturing, body hurtling CARNAGE as I mentioned previously.)

All in all, I would rate this film below ST II: The Wrath of Khan, and below ST VI: The Undiscovered Country (not that that film was great, but because the Praxis/Klingon Empire collapse = Chernobyl/USSR collapse analogy was spot-on) but above the other films, so that's saying something for it's place in the Star Trek pantheon, I suppose!

6.5/10 Clicks

So says...Wrongrobot!

As always, I love reviews from "family values cops" who rate films based on their wickedness, and this one is no exception: : Kid-in-Mind review of Nemesis which offers the following as "discussion points" which means everything I personally discuss ona regualr basis: Space exploration, family, friendship, marriage, rape, hallucinations, androids, unity, peace, power, cloning, radiation, assassination, allegiance, starvation, freedom, vanity, destiny, slavery, ideals, honor.

And here's a fun counterpoint review to my own: An amusing review of Star Trek- Nemesis by a Player Hater

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