Star Trek: Nemesis (4K UHD Review)

  • Reviewed by: Bill Hunt
  • Review Date: Mar 31, 2023
  • Format: Blu-ray Disc
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Star Trek: Nemesis (4K UHD Review)


Stuart Baird

Release Date(s)

2002 (April 4, 2023)


Paramount Pictures (Paramount Home Entertainment)
  • Film/Program Grade: C+
  • Video Grade: A-
  • Audio Grade: A
  • Extras Grade: A-

Star Trek: Nemesis (4K Ultra HD)




[Editor’s Note: This title is also included in Paramount’s Star Trek: The Next Generation 4-Movie Collection box set.]

You’d think that if the Star Trek future was truly bright, it wouldn’t always be in so much jeopardy. This time, the trouble is a mysterious usurper named Shinzon (Tom Hardy, Dunkirk, Mad Max: Fury Road). Supported by his Reman brethren, Shinzon has staged a coup, wiped out the Romulan Senate, and taken control of the Empire. Upon naming himself the new Praetor, Shinzon’s first order of business is to talk peace with the Federation. And what better envoy to send than Jean-Luc Picard? After all, if only Nixon could go to China, only Picard can go to Romulus.

But funny thing… Enterprise just happens to be the closest ship, otherwise another captain might have gone instead. And again, funny thing... it turns out that Shinzon isn’t Romulan or Reman at all, but Human, not to mention a clone of Picard himself. Of course, these aren’t merely coincidences—Shinzon has orchestrated all of it. You see, he’s got a plan to extend his power well beyond the borders of the Neutral Zone, and he needs Picard to make it happen. As you can probably guess, the galaxy just isn’t going to be big enough for the both of them.

Like Insurrection before it, Star Trek: Nemesis is a decidedly mixed bag. On one hand, this film has a lot going for it. Forcing an aging Picard to confront an aggressive younger version of himself presents interesting questions about the choices we make in life and how we might have turned out under different circumstances. Hardy’s Shinzon is the best Trek antagonist since Khan, who this character was clearly modeled after. The film’s visual effects are solid, we finally get a good look at the heart of the Roman-inspired Romulan Empire, and producer Rick Berman made a genuine effort to bring in new creative blood in the form of scriptwriter John Logan (Gladiator, Skyfall) and director Stuart Baird (US Marshals, who’s also edited over thirty films including Superman: The Movie).

Unfortunately, apart from enhancing the film’s pacing, Baird adds little to its visual style or creative vision. And Logan’s script wastes too much time reminding Trek fans why they should still care about these characters. So Picard makes a noble speech about his career, that—ha-ha—is actually the best man speech at Riker and Troi’s wedding reception. We see Data “gifting” the newlyweds an Irving Berlin song performance, as well as Worf once again being a party pooper, and it quickly begins to feel as if these characters are actually caricatures. Nemesis also features some rather odd plot diversions, including a futuristic dune buggy chase to find the positronic parts of B-4 (an earlier android version of Data), that seem to exist solely to add a bit of action early on and to tee up the film’s rather obvious climax.

Star Trek: Nemesis was shot by cinematographer Jeffrey L. Kimball (Top Gun, True Romance) on 35 mm photochemical film using Panavision Panaflex Platinum and Millennium cameras, with Panavision Primo, C- and E-Series anamorphic lenses. Visual effects were completed by Digital Domain using mostly CG models this time around, and the film was finished photochemically at the 2.39:1 “scope” ratio for theaters. For its debut on Ultra HD, Paramount has completed a new 4K scan of the original camera negative and master interpositive elements to produce a new 4K Digital Intermediate, complete with color grading for High Dynamic Range (both HDR10 and Dolby Vision options are available). The resulting image offers a significant image upgrade over the 2009 Blu-ray release, which suffered from excessive digital processing and grain reduction. There’s a major uptick in resolution in live actions shots, with greater refinement in texturing as well. Contrast is excellent, with deep shadows and bold highlights, both of which retain detail nicely. Colors are richly vibrant, far more nuanced and accurate than they appeared in HD on Blu-ray. (Note that the exterior scenes on the surface of Kolarus III are bleached and harsh looking by design.) The first appearance of Shinzon is particularly striking, a dark scene that’s nonetheless well graded—you can just see his face hidden in the shadows until he finally reveals himself to Picard and company. Also noteworthy is the nebulous Bassen Rift that serves as the backdrop for the battle between Enterprise-E and Scimitar. Photochemical grain is light but natural all times, though the digital-produced VFX shots are softer looking, as one might expect. Overall, the remastered 4K image here is lovely and much improved, roughly on par with the new Ultra HD of Insurrection (reviewed here).

Primary audio on both Paramount’s 4K Ultra HD and remastered Blu-ray is included in English 7.1 surround in lossless Dolby TrueHD format, essentially the same track found on the 2009 Blu-ray (though with subtle adjustments, as the BDs were 5.1 only). While not a new Atmos mix, the TrueHD provides a terrific surround sound experience. The stage is medium-wide and highly immersive, with lively use of the rear channels for music and environmental effects. The dynamic range is pleasing, as are the dialogue clarity, tonal quality, and muscular bass. The Kolarus III excursion and the entire extended space battle in the second half of the film are showpieces of aggressive panning and movement. What’s more, Jerry Goldsmith’s score is presented in fine fidelity. Additional audio options include English Audio Description, German 5.1 Dolby TrueHD (German 5.1 Dolby Digital on the Blu-ray) and Spanish, French, and Japanese 5.1 Dolby Digital. Subtitles on both the Blu-ray and 4K are available in English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Danish, German, Spanish, French, Japanese, Dutch, Norwegian, Finnish, and Swedish. There are also subtitles for the commentary tracks (including the text commentary) in English, German, Spanish, French, and Japanese.

Paramount’s new 4K UHD release is a 2-disc set (UHD and Blu-ray). Each disc offers a simple menu interface featuring the theatrical poster artwork for the film. The 4K disc includes the following special features:

  • Audio Commentary by Stuart Baird
  • Audio Commentary by Rick Berman
  • Audio Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda
  • Text Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda

The audio commentary with Baird is fascinating in that it reveals just how little he understood about Star Trek. The second commentary with producer Rick Berman is equally fascinating for the way it reveals just how little he understood (at the time) about how and why the franchise was going off the rails. Thankfully, the third commentary with OG Trek-sperts Michael and Denise Okuda is a great experience, and this time you actually get to hear them talking. And if that’s not enough for you, the Okudas’ text commentary from the 2005 DVD is here too.

Nemesis is offered in remastered 1080p HD on a Blu-ray in this package as well (and this disc is also available separately). It includes the following additional special features:

  • Audio Commentary by Stuart Baird
  • Audio Commentary by Rick Berman
  • Audio Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda
  • Text Commentary by Michael and Denise Okuda
  • Library Computer Viewing Mode (HD)
  • Production
    • Nemesis Revisited (SD – 25:45)
    • New Frontiers: Stuart Baird on Directing Nemesis (SD – 8:42)
    • Storyboarding the Action (SD – 3:37)
    • Red Alert! Shooting the Action of Nemesis (SD – 10:08)
    • Build and Rebuild (SD – 7:44)
    • Four-Wheeling in the Final Frontier (SD – 10:14)
    • Screen Test: Shinzon (SD – 6:29)
  • The Star Trek Universe
    • A Star Trek Family’s Final Journey (SD – 16:17)
    • A Bold Vision of The Final Frontier (SD – 10:17)
    • The Enterprise-E (SD – 11:37)
    • Reunion with the Rikers (HD – 10:47)
    • Today’s Tech Tomorrow’s Data (HD – 4:23)
    • Robot Hall of Fame (HD – 4:34)
    • Brent Spiner: Data and Beyond – Part Four (HD – 9:18)
    • Trek Roundtable: Nemesis (HD – 10:26)
    • Starfleet Academy SCISEC Brief 010: Thalaron Radiation (HD – 2:27)
  • The Romulan Empire
    • Romulan Lore (SD – 11:51)
    • Shinzon & the Viceroy (SD – 10:00)
    • Romulan Design (SD – 9:05)
    • The Romulan Senate (SD – 8:57)
    • The Scimitar (SD – 13:14)
  • Deleted Scenes
    • Rick Berman Intro (SD – :46)
    • Wesley’s New Mission (SD – :55)
    • Chateau Picard, 2267 (SD – 5:47)
    • The Time of Conquest (SD – 4:22)
    • Data and B-4 (SD – 1:52)
    • Federation Protocols (SD – :52)
    • The Chance for Peace (SD – :31)
    • A Loss of Self (SD – :49)
    • Remember Him? (Extended) (SD – 1:41)
    • Turbolift Violation (SD – 2:25)
    • Sickbay Prepares for Battle (SD – :59)
    • Cleaning out Data’s Quarters (SD – 1:45)
    • Crusher at Starfleet Medical (SD – :38)
    • Advice for the New First Officer (SD – 3:44)
  • Archives
    • Storyboards: Scorpion Escape (HD)
    • Storyboards: The Jefferies Tube (HD)
    • Storyboards: Collision (HD)
    • Storyboards: Data’s Jump (HD)
    • Galleries: Production (HD)
    • Galleries: Props (HD)
    • Easter Egg: Bryan Singer (SD – 3:00)
    • Easter Egg: Riker and the Beast (SD – 5:30)
    • Easter Egg: Terry Frazee (SD – 4:28)
  • Trailers
    • Teaser Trailer (HD – 1:38)
    • Theatrical Trailer (HD – 2:08)
    • Borg Invasion Trailer (SD – :32)

As was the case with the previous Next Generation films in 4K, these are the exact special features found on the 2005 Collector’s Edition DVD and the Star Trek: The Next Generation Movie Collection Blu-ray box set from 2009. And while nothing new has been added, everything that was on those previous discs carries over here, right down to the DVD Easter eggs. There’s actually quite a bit more material here than was created for the previous films, including a great set of deleted scenes. You get featurettes with the cast looking back at the film, the director at work, the production artwork and storyboards, the conception and filming of the off-road rally scene, and even screen test footage of Tom Hardy. There’s a piece on how the Enterprise-E design evolved between Insurrection and Nemesis, a fun segment with Jonathan Frakes and Marina Sirtis, and a great dive into the history of the Romulan Empire that includes Star Trek: Enterprise writers Manny Coto and Garfield and Judith Reeves-Stevens. An assortment of galleries, trailers, and the usual Digital Copy code (on a paper insert) rounds out the supplements.

One thing worth noting: Neither the 4K/Blu-ray singles or the new 4-Movie Collection include the Evolutions bonus disc found in the 2009 Next Generation Movie Collection, so you may wish to hang onto that disc if you have it. For the record, it featured:

  • The Evolution of the Enterprise (HD – 14:23)
  • Villains of Star Trek (HD – 14:04)
  • I Love the Star Trek Movies (HD – 4:34)
  • Farewell to Star Trek: The Experience (HD – 28:06)
  • Klingon Encounter (HD – 3:29)
  • Borg Invasion 4D* (HD – 5:12)
  • Charting the Final Frontier (HD ≈ 10:00)

*This feature is different than the Borg Invasion Trailer included on the remastered First Contact, Insurrection, and Nemesis Blu-rays.

The 3-part The Captains’ Summit roundtable discussion (with William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, Patrick Stewart, and Jonathan Frakes, hosted by Whoopi Goldberg) from the 2009 Star Trek: Original Motion Picture Collection Blu-ray bonus disc is also not included in any of these new 4K or remastered Blu-ray releases.

Important though they are, great character moments should happen in the course of the narrative, rather than being served up like an appetizer before the main course. Star Trek: Nemesis isn’t as sleepy as the previous outing, and it improves a great deal once its action revs up. But it effectively ended the Next Generation era, until—eighteen years later—a new producer with energy, enthusiasm, and a deep understanding of this franchise (Terry Matalas, who began his career working on Voyager and Enterprise) finally reunited its crew, returning them to their television roots with a genuinely big-screen story. Suffice it to say that Star Trek: Picard – Season Three should definitely be given the 4K Ultra HD release it so richly deserves. In the meantime, Paramount’s new 4K remaster of Star Trek: Nemesis delivers the film in best-ever image quality and is a worthy upgrade for fans.

- Bill Hunt

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