Many issues plagued Star Trek: Nemesis but boring Romulans shouldn’t have been one of them considering the film was written by the Academy Award-nominated writer of Gladiator. The final Star Trek: The Next Generation film, Star Trek: Nemesis was based around Shinzon (Tom Hardy), a clone of Captain Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart), trying to destroy the United Federation of Planets. Star Trek: Nemesis also introduced the Remans and brought the Romulans to the forefront as major villains in a Star Trek movie, but neither race came off as menacing as intended.
John Logan, a good friend of Brent Spiner, was hired as the writer of Star Trek: Nemesis, but he failed his own Romulan characters. Logan is a lifelong Star Trek fan and since he was fresh of an Oscar nomination for writing Gladiator, which won multiple awards including the Best Picture Oscar, so he seemed ideal to mastermind the new Star Trek movie. Logan’s knowledge of the lore should also have offset Paramount’s choice to hire Stuart Baird, who knew nothing about Star Trek, to direct Nemesis. Yet Star Trek: Nemesis blunders immediately in its opening scenes of the Romulan Senate. Before Shinzon wipes out the Praetor and the Senators, the audience is subjected to bland, uninteresting debate between the Romulans to set up the film’s plot. Matters don’t improve as Star Trek: Nemesis continues because the Romulan and Reman characters are so wearisome.
John Logan Didn’t Make Nemesis’ Senate As Good As Gladiator
Gladiator is best remembered for its thrilling action directed by Ridley Scott accompanied by Hans Zimmer’s stirring musical score, but the characters shine throughout the film. Along with the heroic Maximus (Russell Crowe) and the seethingly evil Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix), Gladiator is elevated by compelling, philosophical dialogue from Marcus Aurelius (Richard Harris). The Romans and the slaves in Gladiator all have interesting things to say, strong worldviews, and they each propel Maximus toward his inevitable destiny.
The same cannot be said for the Romulans and Remans in Star Trek: Nemesis, and John Logan didn’t create any memorable characters except for Shinzon. Even then, Shinzon is carried more by Tom Hardy’s snarling performance than any dialogue the villain utters. Meanwhile, the Romulans all speak in dry monotones and show little personality or character, so the audience has no interest in whether any of them live or die. This sadly includes Commander Donatra, which was a waste of the talents of actress Dina Meyer.
Star Trek: Nemesis Failed The Romulans And Remans
Romulans have proven to be some of the most fascinating villains in Star Trek. Who can forget the Romulan commanders played by Mark Lenard and Joanne Linville in Star Trek: The Original Series? Star Trek: The Next Generation delivered interesting Romulan villains as well, including Sela (Denise Crosby), and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine also featured memorable Romulans like Senator Vreenak (Stephen McHattie), who uttered possibly the most famous line ever by a Romulan: “It’s a faaaaake!” Star Trek: Picard season 1 explored the Romulans even more deeply, thanks to the villainous Commodore Oh (Tamlyn Tomita), Narek (Harry Treadaway), and Narissa (Peyton List).
None of the Romulans are worth remembering in Star Trek: Nemesis, and the Remans fare even worse. Considering they debuted in Nemesis and were given a striking Nosferatu-like design, the Remans are straw men in the film who say and do nothing riveting. Star Trek: Nemesis even unforgivably wasted Ron Perlman’s talents as the Viceroy, Shinzon’s mentor who wasn’t even given a proper name. Star Trek: Nemesis‘ failure killed the Star Trek: The Next Generation movie franchise, and it’s all the more shocking that the writer of Gladiator didn’t make the Romulans or Remans anywhere near as compelling as the Romans in Maximus’ story.