Star Trek Continues: Episode 2 "Lolani"...

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by Warped9, Feb 8, 2014.

  1. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, I recognized it right off. They gussied it up a bit too much unnecessarily but it is originally a Matt Jefferies design.

    I'll have to watch it again before comment, but no question it has that ClassicTrek element of being topical.


    Agreed.

    I get the sense sometimes the cast is trying just a bit too hard and need to relax. Sometimes they just nail it and other times it feels just a bit off or self-concious. There are moments Mignogna is spot on and there are others when he doesn't have Shatner's nuance and subtle swagger. He needs to loosen up just a bit more.

    I think that's true of the other cast members as well. I think Haberkorn really needs to study Nimoy's body language and posture more. Nimoy was a master at standing still and moving with a sense of economy that still looked so natural.

    The Counselor needs to chill some in context of the character. She seemed to get awfully familar with Kirk in a way that no one but Spock and McCoy ever would.

    We'd seen it on TOS before, but again I thought security procedures were terribly lax. :lol:
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  2. DCR

    DCR Commander Red Shirt

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    Also, to add one more good point. Kirk seemed more like Kirk in this episode, the first one felt more like a TNG script, with Kirk being a little too much like Picard. This was more a TOS story.
     
  3. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    What struck me about this story, even if feeling it seemed a touch heavy handed, is that it felt like it could have been a TOS story. In 2014 it's definitely topical. In 1969 it might have been rather a hot potato to lob into prime time television. In 1969 it might have been done with more nuance. Of course, that said we also have "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield," but the heavy handedness of that was mostly visual.

    The first STC episode could also have been a TOS story (if the idea had occurred to them), but it wouldn't have had some of the newer elements (space walk on the hull, the proto-holodeck and the Counselor). TOS had already done a followup story for a character with Harry Mudd yet that was comedy. In TOS' third season they returned to a more dramatic bent and so a "Pilgrim Of Eternity" type story could have been done. The only thing is it likely wouldn't have been done because the ending of "Who Mourns For Adonis?" suggests Apollo is no more, not that he's been teleported somewhere else. STC used that somewhat vague ending as a loophole to tell the story they wanted to tell.

    What gets me, though, is how easily I can envision the original cast doing these two stories in their prime. :techman:
     
  4. RCAM

    RCAM Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I'll leave it to our professional contingent on here to parse out any technical issues and to point out any continuity errors or "plot holes" that weren't immediately apparent to me, but...

    I really enjoyed this episode. The performances were shaky early on but grew to be quite good as the episode progressed. Lolani's first scene in sick bay, for instance, seemed overly hammy (and the editing didn't help), but by the end I was truly engaged in her plight.

    I quite liked the performance by the actor portraying Kenway and thought the character added a lot to the episode. I was reminded a bit of the dynamic between the female crewman and Khan in "Space Seed."

    Vic Magnona is very good here. I think that's a key strength STC has over Phase II's first eight episodes: Vic's nuance, range of emotions, and mannerisms in the role of Kirk. The episode's strongest scene may be the immediate aftermath of the ship exploding. The static shot where we watch his reaction is phenomenal.

    Ordinarily, I'd complain about using Dr. McKenna in a role McCoy could have filled, but given the gender issues at play here, you really couldn't use McCoy. However, there may have been a way to feature Uhura as the voice of gender equality instead. I don't dislike McKenna, but I hope she won't be consistently featured this way in every episode.

    Chris Doohan's Scotty was light on screen time but had some good lines. "... so....... Lolani tells us you're a brutal monster."

    When Lou Ferrigno first began speaking, I cringed slightly and grew concerned that the inflection of his voice would be impossible to take seriously. But I was pleasantly surprised by how effective he was. His politeness and the respect he showed the crew made his brutal treatment of Lolani seem that much more vile.

    Todd Haberkorn is still finding his footing as Spock. I thought he grew a lot from the first episode to this one, but he's still discovering the role. And it would help his cause if the writers put more meat on the bone.

    Larry Nemecek also improved a great deal, though again, I wish he'd had more to do. I'll be interested to see who takes his place in subsequent episodes. Chuck Huber would seem like an obvious choice, since he only lost the role due to a scheduling conflict.

    All in all, I loved "Lolani" and rank it as one of the best fan film episodes I've ever seen. It was a huge improvement over "Pilgrim of Eternity," and I'm looking forward to future installments.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  5. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I think part of the challenge for this cast is one of getting into a familiar groove.

    The original TOS cast were consummate professionals with already years of experience in their craft. That with doing a series day after day for months on end helped them settle into their roles quickly and getting into their groove so to speak. The cast here have diversions and other lives besides full time acting. That might account for some awkwardness in their performances.

    I agree that Uhura could have fulfilled the McKennah role in TOS. And considering the subject matter it would have been additionally poignant for Uhura (as a black women in the 1960s) to act as the go-between with Lolani.
     
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    For once, it's a fanfilm ABOUT something. Bravo to that.

    Waaay better than the previous installment in just about every way. In fact, it was the only fanfilm I've been able to watch without getting bored at some point (I did roll my eyes in a few places, tho). In fact, because it's a solid drama about characters, for me it tops anything NV/Phase II has done. I'll rate it against TTI when it's finally finished. ;)

    Not totally in love with the script but I admire the message it's trying to send, even if it's heavy handed in its approach.

    Kirk being farsighted already...needless continuity porn. Stop it,

    VFX glitch when the Enterprise first approaches the crippled ship. Watch the starfield around the ship "pop" up in brightness.

    The script needed some pruning. Too wordy in places it didn't need to be. The VO as Kirk walks down the hall was unnecessary. We know what he's conflicted about, and its as if Vic didn't trust his own performance to sell the moment wordlessly. Likewise, his speech to the crew where he admits he's about to violate orders. Just do it. Stop rationalizing it, be the damned captain.

    I liked how Kirk dressed down Kenway. He needs to do that with McKennah. She's insubordinate.

    Stop. Calling. Home. It's one thing fanfilms do way too much. The argument over the diplomatic concerns should have been a Kirk/Spock/Bones conflict. Nice to see Erin Gray but it'd have been better drama to keep the conflicts aboard the ship.

    For once, someone stops a shuttlecraft from escaping. About Vulcan time!

    That said, fanfilms: stop writing redshirts as idiots.

    I thought they missed an opportunity to show how even Spock's attempt to be helpful via mind meld could be seen as just one more violation by Liani. First they abuse her body and then someone gets into her mind. She acquiesced far too readily.

    Bones should be spanked for not volunteering that he could inoculate the crew. Way to blow it, Doc.

    One thing I fault the script for is not having the guts to make Kenway act out of a sense or morality and for simply caring about Lolani's plight without having to be in love with her. Since the pheromones were acting on him before Bones finally got around to vaccinating against it, it makes his "love" still feel a little too convenient and perhaps unreal.

    Kirk was being weak in one way TOS Kirk would never have been: "Not on my ship, mister," is what he should have said in response to Zaminhon was attacking Lolani.

    Zaminhon's line was a little too close to Krudge's "Because you wish it!" It jarred me out of the moment.

    Great twist at the climax.

    Nice that they chose to use some Jefferies designs. Sad that they felt the need to over-greeble them.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  7. AvBaur

    AvBaur Captain Captain

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    That was pretty excellent! The first episode was impressive mostly as a remarkably accurate visual recreation of TOS, but this one added a great story to the mix - one with actual themes and messages, no less! Even the acting and dialogue are way better here than in almost all other fan films. I would go so far as to say "Lolani" is better than many actual TOS episodes! (and certainly better than STID)

    The only thing that still bothers me a bit is Dr. McKenna. It's not even that I don't like the character as written or the addition of another woman to the main cast, but the fact that the actress looks like an extra from a Star Trek porn parody is incredibly distracting to me. Maybe her push-up bra, awful wig, and pornstar make-up could be toned down a bit for the next installment?
    Lou Ferrigno's voice and accent(?) were a little strange, too, but I got used to it after a while and thought he was actually quite good.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  8. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    His "accent" is, I think, due to his hearing loss. He speaks like many people I've met with who grew up with poor hearing. I can't speak with authority on that.
     
  9. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Agreed on pretty much every point.

    I made one similar point in a letter to the STC production: stop trying to connect the dots. I made a point of saying, alright you've included a couple of TNG elements now leave it at that and do things the TOS way as if the other productions never happened.
     
  10. M

    M Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I couldn't agree more! I'm completely wowed by this. Finally a fan film that actually feels like a genuine TOS episode. And finally a fan film that attempts to have a message and to be about something. Bravo to all involved! I loved this!
     
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    STC's FaceBook page is overflowing with gushing praise. I can't blame fans hungry for genuine feeling Star Trek.

    I, myself, loved this on so many levels. That said there a number of critiques and observations I could make, but they all would be out of love for TOS and the respect for what these folks are trying to do.

    I can't in all good conscience rate it a 10, but I can give it an 8.

    A big plus for this is the kind of stories they're trying to do. In the greater scheme of things the events in these stories are small scale, but that doesn't make them unimportant or any less poignant. They get that many of TOS' best moments were character drama as opposed to big space battles. I reiterate that I could easily see the original cast doing these stories.
     
  12. STC-WebMaster

    STC-WebMaster Cadet Newbie

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    Keep writing us. We appreciate getting word back from those who watch. Remember, we are fans just like you doing this out of passion for the show. Thank you for the kind words - and the critical ones.
     
  13. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I'll reiterate that I loved it on so many levels, and the oberservations I have are out of a love for TOS and a great respect for what you folks are doing. And you are doing far more right than the few critiques I could make.


    In fairness McCoy had also been exposed to Lolani's pheramones so he mightn't have been thinking too clearly himself.

    I didn't much care for Kirk kneeling to make nice with Lolani. I thought that was out of character. And the more I think of it, with all due respect to the McKennah character, Uhura as the go-between with Lolani would have been more dramtically effective. In the '60s Uhura was a huge symbol of how far things could change for blacks. Seeing her reaching out to Lolani representing another race being exploited and abused would have been really poignant.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  14. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    ***SPOILERS***

    Warning

    ***SPOILERS***



    Alright, so the main problem I have is with the climax.

    I found it completely implausible that Lolani alone could have blown up the Lief Ericson. Like the space Romans on 892-IV, the Orions have been handling slaves for a long time, and given that she had killed everyone aboard the Tellarite ship, Zaminon would have little motive to drop his guard.

    If the episode is a whodunit, then the more plausible explanation is in fact that Kenway did it. He had motive, means, and opportunity (he left his post, remember?). Of course, getting Lolani off the Enterprise unseen might be a problem down the line, but if anyone could pull it off, a transporter chief could. The fact that Kirk never more openly considers the possibility that Kenway beamed Lolani off and blew up the ship himself, or admits complicity, even just man to man with Kenway, is, in my opinion, a missed opportunity. In contrast, the use of the word "stowaway" in the opening act 1 log entry was smirk-worthy, because she wasn't really a stowaway at that point.

    Vic's performance of Kirk is to be praised, and this has quite possibly the best instance of Kirk's signature flying kick yet seen.

    I enjoyed seeing the female guard and commodore, and I love Commodore Gray's uniform (what we saw of it). The irony in females oppressing females was apropos.

    I give the episode high enough marks to rank among the TOS episodes.

    Thank you. :techman:
     
  15. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    There is that look between Kenway and Lolani at the end that suggests something. And then Kenway excuses himself after the beam out. From that point on different scenarios are suggested.

    - Did Kenway already arrange a way for the ship to blow up and with Lolani's sanction knowing she would die also? (I think this is the most likely scenario)
    - Did Kenway beam Lolani somewhere else and sent Ferrigno back to his ship? Problem with that is Ferrigno would have immediately began demanding Lolani's return.
    - Even if Kenway got her hidden away somewhere he now has a problem of getting her off ship later.
    - It's hard to imagine Lolani managed to blow up the ship herself given how she would have been watched and likely secured. Unless, perhaps, Kenway engineered a way for her to get loose.
     
  16. Danlav05

    Danlav05 Captain Captain

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    I just finished and enjoyed the ep a lot more than the first one - I guess a main difference to Phase II (which I love) is this literally feels like a lost episode from the 60s.

    There are TOS traits, just little things, I haven't seen in a while. Even filtering of the final footage. The story was good - a morality tale - and the acting was great, particularly Vic as Kirk and Doohan's spot on portrayal of his father' character. I'm surprised McCoy didn't get a bigger role, Larry Nemecek is good in the part.

    Overall a fantastic episode and it gives me high hopes for their future episodes :) It would be cool to see a full-blown crossover with sister show Starship Farragut - it would be almost silly not to!
     
  17. SeerSGB

    SeerSGB Admiral Admiral

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    I thought for a moment it was a suicide pact--of sorts. The whole bit about making them vanish (can't remember the exact line) and the look Kenway and Lolani shareda look, the whole set up, made me think the "reveal" would be that he left her and the slave master scattered as energy. A merciful death over a hellish life.
     
  18. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Oooo, I hadn't thought of that. That also means Kenway would have had to engineer some way for the slaver's ship to get underway on automatic and then explode.
     
  19. USS Mariner

    USS Mariner Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I don't care how this sounds, but frankly, Lou's speech impediment ended up enhanced his already excellent performance in the role.

    His presence and demeanor already sold the idea that he was the space-equivalent to a ninteenth-century Southern slave trader; sophisticated and indulgent in conversation and feasting, yet brutal, and callously intelligent when it came to his business.

    Credit also goes to the on-set direction, as Lou ends up sounding as someone who didn't grow up speaking our language, yet who's words reveal a stereotype we understand very well. Alien, and not so alien.

    That is acting, and that's something that not many people without speech or hearing problems can pull off (which I can attest from the theatrical experience I have.)

    Good casting and acting all around. Also, bald Hulk is good Hulk.


    Having said that, I have to echo Maurice's critique of the VO on Kirk in the hallway. I actually criticized Exeter for doing this during one of Garrovick's scenes, but here it's both narratively unnecessary and stylistically baffling (TOS never did that, and I can't remember any other shows at the time doing that either.)

    Plus, the voice effects added to Lou (which I understand the need for just in terms of normalizing audio) actually made it difficult to understand him in spots unless the camera focused on him (which is okay, since he's excellent at facial expressions). That's a difficult thing to judge objectively, but it's something I noticed.
     
    Last edited: Feb 9, 2014
  20. GSchnitzer

    GSchnitzer Co-Executive Producer Moderator

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    Without commenting on the dramatic appropriateness of Kirk's VoiceOver, Star Trek actually did it a couple of times that I can come up with off the top of my head. "Kirok" did it, and Spock did it when reflecting on Droxine, Vanna, and Stratos.

    "These last few weeks, my love for Miramanee grows stronger with each passing day. However, the dreams return every night. Fragments of memories. I can almost get hold of them, and then...."

    "This troubled planet is a place of the most violent contrasts. Those who receive the rewards are totally separated from those who shoulder the burdens. It is not a wise leadership. Here on Stratos, everything is incomparably beautiful and pleasant. The High Advisor's charming daughter Droxine, particularly so. The name Droxine seems appropriate for her. I wonder, can she retain such purity and sweetness of mind and be aware of the life of the people on the surface of the planet? There, the harsh life in the mines is instilling the people with a bitter hatred. The young girl who led the attack against us when we beamed down was filled with the violence of desperation. If the lovely Droxine knew of the young miner's misery, I wonder how the knowledge would affect her."
     

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