Film (2002). Paramount. Directed by Stuart Baird. Written by John Logan; story Rick Berman & Spiner & Logan. Cast includes LeVar Burton, Michael Dorn, Jonathan Frakes, Tom Hardy, Gates McFadden, Dina Meyer, Ron Perlman, Marina Sirtis, Brent Spiner and Patrick Stewart. 116 minutes. Colour.
A youthful but physically and morally damaged clone (Hardy) of Enterprise commander Picard establishes himself as a warlord on Romulan sibling-world Remus, from where he seizes control of Romulus and launches a genocidal campaign of vengeance against Earth, which is thwarted by the heroism of Picard and the sacrifice of Data.
The franchise had performed a shark-jump with the profoundly underwhelming Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), and this attempt to return to the darker glories of Star Trek: First Contact (1996) proved unable to repair the brand for market, despite the striking conceit of rising star Hardy as a young, tragically warped version of Stewart's Picard. The opportunity to bring Gene Roddenberry's universe into the age of terror is undone by the interplanetary terrorist's crudely-written old-school Villainy, and the televisual action tropes of corridor chases and chairbound spaceship shootouts were by this stage looking very tired. Baird, a film editor of great and continuing distinction, does what he can with a problematic script, but was unable to freshen the franchise sufficiently to ensure its continuation with this cast; he would not direct again. [NL]
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