Sunday, May 19, 2013

The Annotated Cinematic Batman: BATMAN (1966, Leslie H. Martinson)

Writer: Lorenzo Semple, Jr.
Producer: William Dozier
Director: Leslie H. Martinson
Batman: Adam West

Time indexes refer to the 2008 Special Edition NTSC Region 1 DVD of the film.

00:00:00 -- So, any talk of this film is impossible without a brief discussion of the television series it spawned from. The story starts in 1965, when the 1943 BATMAN serial was re-released. Hugh Hefner started showing the serial at the Playboy Mansion for laughs, where the cheap production values, over-serious narrator and ludicrous cliffhangers got big laughs. Inspired, an ABC executive at one of the parties thought that a campy Batman series in the style of the old serials might just work as television, perhaps recapturing the success of the 1952-58 ADVENTURES OF SUPERMAN series on the same network. Producer William Dozier was hired to create the series, but there was one problem: Dozier hated comics. Given a stack of current Batman issues from the "New Look" Batman team of artist Carmine Infantino and editor Julie Schwartz, Dozier decided they were ridiculous and silly and that the only way to do Batman was as a campy parody. The show was designed to work on two levels: comedy for adults and action adventure for children. Originally the plan was for the movie to be produced first, introducing audiences to the characters and allowing the production studio to write off the large expense of creating the sets, props, costumes, etc. to the movie. However, ABC's 1965 season was in a lot of trouble, and so Batman was rushed into production to debut as a "mid-season replacement" on January 12, 1966. The show aired twice a week, Wednesdays and Thursdays, two half-hour segments featuring a ludicrous cliffhanger to cap off night one. The first episode was an adaptation of Batman #171 (May, 1965) and the first season ended up adapting many Silver Age Batman comics of the day. The show was a monster smash, a top ten ratings hit, and a culture sensation, making Batman (whose books had been on the verge on cancellation in 1963), DC's premiere character once more. Batmania had begun. The planned movie was soon greenlit to be shot and premiere during the break between season one and two, to take maximum advantage of the craze.

00:00:05 -- The movie and series were produced by 20th Century Fox. The series aired on ABC, which is now owned by Disney which also owns Marvel Comics. The Batman character is owned by DC Entertainment which is owned by Warner Bros. This tangled mess is why only the movie has so far seen a DVD release, although with DC finally gaining the rights to produce merchandise based on the old show again, perhaps a settlement isn't far

00:00:48 -- To all Batman fans who take themselves too seriously: this movie is a comedy. And it's funny. Unclench and enjoy yourself.

00:00:55 -- I still think these opening credits are awesome. Bizarrely moody for the light-hearted daytime romp about to follow, but still awesome.

00:01:04 -- The BATMAN series turned Adam West (real name William Anderson) into a star overnight, although he was never able to shake the role, experiencing a fate similar to William Shatner on STAR TREK. West had to fight Lyle Waggoner for the part and it was his dry delivery and sense of comic timing that won him the role. Waggoner would go on to play love interest Steve Trevor in the 1970s WONDER WOMAN television series. West has returned to the world of Batman several times since. In addition to voicing the character on the 1977 cartoon THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN, he played a thinly veiled version of himself in an excellent episode of the 1992 BATMAN animated series, voiced the Mayor of Gotham City in the 2004 cartoon THE BATMAN, and voiced Batman's father Thomas Wayne on 2008's BATMAN: THE BRAVE AND THE BOLD.

00:01:14 -- Burt Ward was an absolute nobody before he was cast -- heck, he wasn't even Burt Ward! Berton Gervis Jr. won the role after Dozier auditioned thousands of young actors, and after he was cast he changed his name to Burt Ward (appropriate given his role as Dick Grayson, Bruce Wayne's youthful ward). The rocket to superstardom was a tough ride for Ward, who reportedly let it go to his head and became a bit of an ass on set. This attitude was responded to by constant pranks on Ward by the crew.

00:01:21 -- On the series Catwoman was played by Julie Newmar, in a deliciously sexy turn. Newmar decided to wear the belt designed for her costume around her hips rather than her waist, inadvertantly inventing a whole new style. When the series began the character of Catwoman hadn't been seen in the comics since 1954, when concerns that she made crime seem "glamourous" led to her being written out of the series after pressure on DC from congressional inquiries into juvenile delinquency. However the television show wasn't bound by such restrictions and brought her in to inject some sex appeal into the Rogues Gallery. She was so popular on the show, that she was back in the comics by late 1966, her costume redesigned to match the television look (albeit in an ugly green instead of a sexy black). Newmar unfortunately couldn't appear in the movie due to a back injury, and so she was replaced by the equally sexy Lee Meriwether.

00:01:26 -- Cesar Romero claims that he never knew or understood why he was cast as The Joker. Known until that point as a "Latin lover" character actor, Romero relished the part but refused to shave off his trademark moustache. So the make-up guys just smeared white facepaint over it until they figured you couldn't see it anymore.

00:01:31 -- Burgess Meredith brought a certain sarcastic, cynical attitude to the Penguin which has persisted in the character to this day, as well as a trademark laugh which Meredith said came from the cough he developed from smoking the Penguin's cigarettes, as he himself was a non-smoker.

00:01:35 -- Before Batman #171, the issue that inspired the pilot episode, the Riddler had not appeared in the comics since 1948. However comedian and impressionist Frank Gorshin's brilliantly manic performance was so popular that it not only made the Riddler one of the show's most popular villains, but shot the character into a permanent spot in the top tier of Batman's rogues gallery, with many comic book appearances during this period.

00:01:51 -- The famous Batman theme was composed by Neil Hefti, however the actual music for the series, including all the specific leitmotifs for the villains, was composed by Nelson Riddle, who also did the music for the movie. This is why these opening credits don't feature any "Nananananananana Batman!"

00:02:27 -- Lorenzo Semple, Jr. wrote the pilot episode of the series as well as many of the series' first season episodes. He understood better than many of the writers the exact mix of camp comedy vs. adventure thrills that needed to go in each story. As the series went on this balance was lost and the show became more and more outright comedy, which eventually killed it.
Bob Kane, credited here, made tons and tons of dough from the Batman series, thanks to the excellent deal he had made with DC when he created the character back in 1939. This meant he could finally "retire" from working on the comic -- in reality while DC had been paying and crediting Bob with every second issue of Batman since 1964 (and every single issue before that), Kane had been contracting out the work to ghost artists since 1948 or so.

00:02:38 -- Leslie H. Martinson had directed an episode of Batman's first season featuring The Penguin. He wasn't the show's most prolific or talented director by far, so I suppose Dozier picked him probably because his schedule was open.

00:02:43 -- The voice of Batman's narrator, credited as Desmond Doomsday, is actually the voice of producer William Dozier himself! Dozier is doing his best impersonation of the narrator from the 1943 serial, Knox Manning.

00:02:53 -- The house portraying Wayne Manor in the film, and series, is located at 280 South San Rafael Avenue in Pasadena, California. The exterior has been redone, so it doesn't look much the same anymore.

00:02:57 -- Alan Napier was the first actor cast for the series, in the role of Alfred the butler. Alfred first appeared in comics in Batman #16 (April/May 1943), but had been killed off in Detective Comics #328 (June 1964) by Bill Finger and Sheldon Moldoff. This had been done to facillitate the introduction of a new character, Dick Grayson's Aunt Harriet Cooper, who then came to stay with Bruce and Dick (although if Dick had a living aunt this whole time why was custody given to Bruce Wayne after the death of his parents?). Aunt Harriet had been introduced in order to dismiss notions of Bruce and Dick being engaged in a pedophilac homosexual relationship, a criticism which had been levelled at the Batman comics since the early 1950s. However, when the 1966 TV series began, they used both Aunt Harriet (played by Madge Blake) and Alfred as well, because Alfred as played by William Austen had been a big part of the comedy in the 1943 serial. The popularity of Alfred on the show lead to the character being revived in the comics in Detective Comics #356 (October, 1966) -- the method of his resurrection being a long, complicated story. Aunt Harriet, unlike Alfred, did not know Bruce and Dick were really Batman and Robin, and thus there was always the danger of her finding out. So essentially she was an Aunt May rip-off for Batman comics.

00:03:15 -- The Bat-cave entrance via Bat-poles activated by a bust of William Shakespeare is an invention of the series. In the comics of the day, the Bat-cave was accessed by an automatic elevator concealed by a secret wall panel.

00:03:24 -- On the highly formulaic series, each episode would begin with a teaser of a crime being committed, the police calling in the Dynamic Duo, Bruce and Dick going down the Bat-poles, the opening credits, and then them hopping into the Batmobile to race off to police headquarters. How they changed into their costumes from one end of the Bat-poles to the other was a mystery... until now!

00:03:50 -- The footage of Batman and Robin running over to the car, hopping in, exchanging dialogue, blasting out of the cave, and heading onto the highway was shot ONCE for the pilot episode and reused for every subsequent episode AND even this movie! Depending on an episode's pacing needs shots could be added or subtracted from the sequence as needed.

00:03:54 -- The famous Batmobile. The version created for this series may still be the most popular iteration of Batman's ride. The Batmobile itself first appeared in Batman #5 (Spring 1941), while the modern design Batmobile that the series based its version on debuted in Batman #164 (June 1964). The car used on the series was designed and built by George Barris. It's a 1955 Lincoln Futura concept car, repainted and refurbished with all kinds of extra details to make it THE Batmobile. There were three Batmobiles built by Barris -- a hero car for close-ups and detail shots, a stunt car, and a touring car for promotional purposes.

00:03:56 -- The red phone Robin's using here is of course the famous Bat-phone, also known as the hotline. The hotline between Batman and Commissioner Gordon first appeared in Batman #164 as part of a campaign of modernizing the ailing Bat-comics called "The New Look". It was adapted for the series, serving as the primary method of contact between Batman and the police. The idea was of course based on the Moscow-Washinton hotline that had been implemented following the Cuban Missile Crisis.

00:04:20 -- The Bat-copter first appeared in Detective Comics #257 (July, 1958), where it was called the Whirly-Bat because Batman comics from 1954-64 are goddawful. The helicopter seen in the film is a Bell 47 provided by the National Helicopter Service for use in the film. The decorative wings on the sides actually reduced the vehicle's lift power by 50%. The Bat-copter is the first of three new vehicles built for the movie, the added expense paying off when they could be utilized by the television series afterwards.

00:02:41 -- As goofy as they look, the costumes worn by Batman and Robin in this film are pretty damn accurate translations of how the characters appeared in the contemporary comics as drawn by Carmine Infantino and Sheldon Moldoff. The yellow oval around the bat on Batman's chest was added in 1964 when the "New Look" Batman comics were launched, because it made the symbol unique enough to be copyrighted.

00:04:52 -- Writer and Batman co-creator Bill Finger based Gotham City on the seedier side of New York, and comics writers often treat Gotham as a New York analogue, even today. In the Silver Age it was popular to give Gotham several direct New York parallels, like Gotham Village as the trendy hippie area instead of Greenwich Village. This trend continued on the show, which had characters like Mayor Lindseed and often parodied New York through Gotham. But in these Bat-copter sequences Gotham transforms from a bustling New York style metropolis to what is quite clearly Hollywood, Los Angeles.

00:05:01 -- The man waving is contemporary health and fitness superstar Jack LaLanne. The series was a popular place for celebrities to guest star or cameo on, and for it's entire run on the air it was considered quite a feat to get on Batman.

00:05:08 -- In the comics of the time from which the series took its inspiration, Batman and Robin had been declared duly deputized agents of the law by Commissioner Gordon, honourary policemen as it were. This despite the fact that they still wore masks and kept their identities secret. Gordon essentially had legalized vigilantism to get things done in Gotham. By the 1960s this had resulted in a Batman who was more like Sherlock Holmes in a cape and cowl than the dark avenging Shadow knock-off he had started as. Adventures in the daytime had become common in the comic and pretty much rote on the TV series.

00:06:15 -- Everything, absolutely everything, on this show is labelled. It's hilariously awesome.

00:08:09 -- Batman has a long and proud history of fighting sharks that does not begin or end with this movie. It started in Batman #4 (Winter 1941) and continues awesomely to this day.

00:08:26 -- Victory is in the preparation folks. Notice that Batman's got a whole line of Oceanic Repellent Bat Sprays, just in case. Getting Batman out of trouble with some ridiculously specific Bat-gadget was, of course, a hallmark of the show.

00:10:31 -- Police Commissioner Gordon was played by Neil Hamilton, characterized on the show as a well meaning if somewhat ineffective official with great enthusiasm for Batman. His right-hand man, Police Chief O'Hara, was created for the television series and is played by Stafford Repp as a bumbling foolish Irish stereotype.

00:12:13 -- Gordon's secretary Bonnie was one of those "often mentioned, never seen" type of characters.

00:12:27 -- The voice of the police computer is also William Dozier. For some reason the file photos of the "super-criminals" are taken with them in full costume standing in Miss Kitka's appartment (a location we'll see in the film later on) And since Lee Meriwether was late joining the cast, her photo is taken in Wayne Manor's living room!

00:13:43 -- Apophenia - noun. The tendency to see meaningful patterns or connections in random or meaningless data.

00:14:43 -- Of course Catwoman's "real name" is Selina Kyle, as established by writer Bill Finger in Batman #62 (December, 1950), but this series played fast and loose with such things.

00:14:50 -- The "United Underwold" group is pretty much the first villain super-group in DC Comics history, predating the Injustice Gang (1974), Secret Society of Supervillains (1976), Legion of Doom (1978) and Injustice League (1989).

00:15:55 -- Frank Gorshin hated wearing the skintight Riddler costume, which was based on the character's comic book look, so he designed himself this stylin' three-piece suit as an alternate look and it was quickly adopted by the comics themselves because it is awesome.

00:15:15 -- The show was famous for shooting scenes in the villain's lair on an extremely canted, or Dutch, angle to represent the villain's twisted view of the world.

00:15:18 -- Catwoman's cat is named Isis in other media, but here it's Hecate. Isis is the Egyptian mother goddess, whereas Hecate is the Greek goddess of witchcraft.

00:15:35 -- See, New York analogue. Instead of the United Nations Headquarters on the East River we get the United World Headquarters on the Gotham East River.

00:16:38 -- See, they've kidnappped Scmidlapp. Clever writers, or lazy writers? You be the judge.

00:20:30 -- The Batboat is our second new vehicle in the movie. While the Batplane had been given the ability to land on water and convert to a speedboat in Batman #4 (Winter 1941), the first official Batboat appeared in Detective Comics #110 (April 1946) provided to the Dynamic Duo by Scotland Yard to help them catch Professor Moriarty because... comics! The boat used here is a refurbished Glastron V-174, and again was built so it could be reused on the television show. Personally, I wonder how the Dynamic Duo keeps it safe, given that they just leave it moored at this random Gotham City dock...

00:18:41 -- The best thing in this movie: The Penguin's personal custom submarine.

00:24:01 -- Batman's Bat-Magnifying Glass has little bat ears.

00:25:29 -- Wouldn't you just take the belts off?

00:26:05 -- If you're a long-time geek of many interests, you find out quickly that the solution to all tech problems in all franchises is always to reverse the polarity. I have no idea if doing so has ever solved any kind of electrical engineering problem in real life.

00:28:09 -- "The nobility of the almost-human porpoise", the cliffhangers in BATMAN were designed as parodies of those in the 1943 serial. Occasionally Batman gets them out with some ludicrous gadget from his belt, but equally as often the escape is some element of silly blind luck or random chance.

00:29:46 -- BATMAN was designed to be a "hip" TV show, meant to play off the pop art movement of Andy Warhol and especially Roy Lichtenstein. The joke of course is that Batman is so square he doesn't realize how silly it all is, while the villains are more or less who you're supposed to cheer for, as they represent the counter-culture. Still, Batman's the hero and even he's not as square and lame as the ultimate target of any hip member of the flower power generation: the military industrial complex.

00:32:10 -- Didn't we already figure out that the four super-criminals were working together? Why are we figuring it out again?

00:34:24 -- The idea that Bruce Wayne heads any kind of corporate entity actually hadn't been introduced into the comics yet. After the death of Alfred, Bruce founded the Alfred Memorial Foundation for charitable purposes and began to be portrayed in his civilian life as a great philanthropist. As the TV show used a living Alfred they adapted this into the charitable Wayne Foundation, and once Alfred was resurrected in the comics it became the Thomas Wayne Memorial Foundation.

00:37:40 -- "The only possible meaning." Holy Bat-apophenia again!

00:38:56 -- Bruce Wayne drinking milk in a brandy snifter, like a boss.

00:40:42 -- A running gag on the series was that putting a bandit mask, like what Robin wears, on anyone renders them completely unrecognizable. Here we see Alan Napier's Alfred wearing one, and wearing his glasses overtop it!!

00:41:24 -- Gotham City has a Benedict Arnold monument!

00:42:23 -- The Bat-Signal had been introduced in the comics in Detective Comics #60 (February, 1942) by Jack Schiff and Bob Kane, and even after the hotline was introduced it continued to be used alongside it due to it's iconic and dramatic appeal. It appeared very infrequently on the TV show, however, which favoured the hotline. One assumes this might be for cost, but every time it appeared it utilized the same two shots of the cops on the roof with the light, and then the signal itself in a foggy night sky. Hilariously, the bat painted on the light and the bat in the sky are completely different in design. Despite it's spartan use on the show, the Signal was present in a different capacity, as it featured in the end credits sequence of every episode.

00:45:34 -- Some people ask of science "where's my jetpack?" I ask "where is my jetpack umbrella?"

00:45:48 -- The Riddler (who doesn't even get his own umbrella and has to ride shotgun!) has a pair of binoculars with a question mark on them. Of course.

00:46:33 -- Of COURSE Bruce Wayne is an Edgar Allen Poe fan.

00:47:15 -- This has bothered me since I was a kid, but why the hell does Joker wear a bandit mask in this movie? Penguin too! They're known felons with no other identity! It's kind've ridiclous.

00:47:25 -- You may wonder why the show's stylistic tradmark of onomatopeia overlays is missing from this fight, but it was a specific style of the series that they only appeared when Batman and Robin fought in costume.

00:49:41 -- That's right, Adam West's Bruce Wayne is way more hardcore than Christian Bale's. One rule? Screw that!

00:50:34 -- Note that Bruce and "Kitka's" feet are never on the bed at the same time, one person always has at least part of their anatomy hanging off it. The Motion Picture Production Code, or "Hays Code" of 1934-1968 forbid an unmarried couple to share a bed onscreen. Television of the time was even more severe, with even married couples often depicted as sleeing in seperate beds.

00:53:49 -- The sound effect for the spring you just heard may also be familiar to you as the sound of the photon torpedoes from the original STAR TREK series, although it's first use was actually as the sound of one of the Martian weapons in the 1953 film version of WAR OF THE WORLDS.

00:57:30 -- I must point out that the plot of this movie involves the villains stealing a water dehydrating/evaporating device off a boat to use in their evil plot and that this is essentially the same plot as in BATMAN BEGINS with the theft of the microwave emitter.

00:59:49 -- The Bat-walk was a very popular traditional element of the series, often accompanied with a cameo from a celebrity sticking their head out a window and talking to the Dynamic Duo. It was of course easily accomplished by simply placing the camera on it's side and then shooting the actors walking across the stage to give the illusion of them walking vertically.

01:03:06 -- This "running" (aha) gag with the bomb is the film's longest and perhaps best known bit. I couldn't help but think of it during the finale of THE DARK KNIGHT RISES.

01:09:19 -- Speaking of Adam West's hardcore-ness, he and Robin totally killed those henchmen.

01:11:32 -- The Batcycle is our third new vehicle. It makes its first appearance here, having never been featured in the comics before. It's a heavily altered 1965 Harley Davidson with side car for Robin. Another Batcycle would be created in season three for Batgirl, and eventually the vehicle would find its way into the comics, movies and animated series on a regular basis.

01:12:52 -- The idea that Riddler is compelled to give his clues, that he can't NOT leave riddles for Batman to solve, was first explored in Batman #179 (March 1966), beginning a trend of psychologically analyzing Batman's villains which has culminated in the Caped Crusader's rogues gallery often dealing with themes of mental sanity in stories such as ARKHAM ASYLUM.

01:16:05 -- Now is as good a time as any to point out that the henchmen Mr. Bluebeard has a literally blue beard.

01:19:26 -- The Japanese delegate here is played by Teru Shimada, best known to Western audiences as Mr. Osato in the James Bond film YOU ONLY LIVE TWICE.

01:31:29 -- Here are those famous onomatopeia captions. Designed, of course, to emulate the similar letterings in comic book fight scenes, the effect became synonymous with the series and therefore with comic books in general. To this day, almost every mainstream news story about comics incorporates them, much to the chagrin of fans, and I'm pretty sure newspapers have run the same "BAM! POW! ZAP! Comics aren't just for kids anymore" story since the mid-80s. In the first season of the show and in the movie the captions were graphic overlays on the action, an expensive process that was abandoned in the second season in favour of cheaper fullscreen title cards.

01:34:23 -- Julie Newmar would return to the role of Catwoman with the start of the second season. However, Lee Meriwether got a consolation prize with a role as recurring Bruce Wayne love interest Lisa Carson, who once famously invited Bruce up to her apartment for an evening of "milk and cookies".

01:36:41 -- I love that they are wearing latex science gloves OVER their costume's gloves. Also Batman wearing his utility belt over top of his apron.

01:44:24 -- Okay, so we've got two "The End" jokes here. "The living end" was an idiom meaning the utmost in any situation, something really extraordinary. The ellipsis followed by the question mark is an old hokey B-movie ending trick suggesting an open ending with the possibilty for a sequel. There was no theatrical sequel to this film of course, and it only grossed $1.7 million box office on it's $1.5 million budget. But the series returned for a second season, utilizing the new toys from the movie. However, the novelty had worn off. The second season failed to crack the Top Thirty in the ratings. The third season moved to one half-hour episode per week, and introduced the new Batgirl character in an attempt to keep up interest, but ratings continued to drop and BATMAN was canceled at the end of its third season, the final episode airing March 14, 1968. A Filmation produced animated series THE ADVENTURES OF BATMAN continued on CBS Saturday mornings until April 1, 1969. West and Ward would return to the roles in the second Filmation animated series THE NEW ADVENTURES OF BATMAN from in 1977. The series would also gain a spiritual follow-up in the Linda Carter WONDER WOMAN series of 1975-79, which initially also aired on ABC before switching to CBS. The show's campy, lighthearted tone would inform popular mainstream opinions on comic books in general and Batman in particular for years, until Frank Miller's THE DARK KNIGHT RETURNS and finally Tim Burton's BATMAN feature cemented the idea of a dark, tortured, angsty Batman in the public imagination. In the comics themselves, the cancellation of the TV show lead to the end of Batmania, and the camp craze was over as quickly as it started. With Bob Kane finally gone and the looming 1970s seeing comics by rival Marvel getting more serious, the Batman comics once again fell into dangerously low sales. They were saved by the coming of writer Denny O'Neil and artist Neal Adams, who replaced the square-jawed, daytime, golly-gee adventures of the Silver Age Batman with a darker take inspired by the original Bat-comics of the 30s. Their interpretation became the definitive Batman for many, inspiring comics writers, the Batman movies including those of Christopher Nolan, and the successful 1992 animated series. However, for many in the baby boom generation the one true Batman is still... Adam West.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Star Trek: Nemesis Review

Star Trek: Nemesis 

"So, you're a Romulan-aligned villain with a giant black spaceship and a superweapon designed to destroy Earth?"

"And at the end of the story your emotionless friend will sacrifice himself to save you from my superweapon, which will explode and destroy me." 

"So... was Star Trek XI ripping off us, or Wrath of Khan? Or are we ripping off Wrath of Khan? I'm confused."

"Oh man, that's not even the half of it..."

"Star Trek XII will be the third TWOK rip off in a row, only Kirk dies instead of Spock!" 


"Kay man, if you're not going to take this seriously, I'm out." 

"Ass. I wonder what being a Batman villain is like."

So, I had a shocking moment watching this. I realized that it's not as bad as I remembered. I think there's a good script in here somewhere. I think that with some re-editing to put some of the deleted scenes back in, restore it more to John Logan's version instead of Stuart Baird's version. But even then, Logan and Baird, as much as they made mistakes, look like freaking geniuses comared to AOKL. And Jerry Goldsmith really pulls his weight with the score. And for the most part the cast really do well with what they have.

There are some nitpicky continuity problems that are really bullshit. Small things that don't destroy the movie but it's like "really guys? Why wasn't anyone paying attention?" Like the Bald Cadet Picard thing, or Beverly saying she knew him at the Academy/His First Command. They're tiny things that are easy fixes -- like explaining Worf and Wesley being there. Easy fixes -- you could say Worf showed up for the wedding in uniform (like ex-military guys do) and then since the whole adventure took place on a detour to going to the other ceremony on Betazed, Worf simply felt obligated to help out. Etc.

And if the deleted scenes had been back in, a lot of stuff would flow better. Like near the end of the movie Worf remarks that the Romulans "fought with honour" which seems really out of character since Worf hates Romulans to an insane degree. But in a deleted scene near the start of the film, Worf warns Picard about dealing with Romulans since they are "without honour", so if that was still in there, all of a sudden you have a character arc instead of a continuity error.

All that aside, at least this movie is trying. Unlike STINO, it has themes that I can identify. I can see what they were going for. And unlike INSURRECTION, the events actually feel significant in the lives of the characters, instead of just a big budget TV episode. Ultimately the film suffers because it can't decide whether it's the last TNG movie or saving things for a sequel, but with the deleted scenes in mind we really get the sense of everyone moving on. Although the Dead Data/B-4 TWOK/TSFS rip off is really on the nose.

But as I said, it's trying. There are real sci-fi themes here, real character stuff, and the space battles feel energetic and dynamic in a way that's exciting after seven years of VOYAGER.The other action scenes aren't as good, I'll admit. That car chase? Ugh. The gun battles in hallways that feel no more exciting than the opening of A NEW HOPE. And the fact that the climax is Picard and Shinzon struggling over a knife? You can feel the execs insisting on more action.

So yeah, NEMESIS isn't perfect, but after the last few years it looks a lot better.