Star Trek Continues "Pilgrim of Eternity"

Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by GSchnitzer, May 25, 2013.

  1. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Nope. IMDB lists him on 24 episodes out of 225, so about 1 in 10.


    On to the STC episode...

    A very solid effort. One of the best fan films...but still obviously a fan film with all that implies. For example, too much attention paid to connecting the dots (holodeck, counselor, etc.), and stunt casting.

    I know lots of people don't like Vic, but despite his obvious Shatner impersonation I found him the least cringe-worthy fanfilm Captain yet. I don't usually comment on the acting in fan-films because mostly the performers are not trained actors, but in this production there's a real clear divide between the cans and cannots which makes the latter stand out in sharper relief. Michael Forest was the best actor in the thing by far, but that's not surprising.

    The episode has the best camera work I've seen in one of these, and the quality of the photography is a bit better than Phase II on the whole, but still suffers from underlighting. Engineering, turn on some lamps!

    There are some of the usual mismatched eyeline problems, e.g. in the corridor Dr. McKennah looks screen right at Apollo. Apollo look screen right to her. Oops.

    And, as with almost all fanfilms the Captain doesn't motivate the action of make hard decisions. Here he's acquiescing and seeking consensus; this is inherently anti-dramatic.

    Jamie Bamber = Apollo. haha

    While I have issues galore with the opening scene, if you gotta stick subtle homage in, having the cowboy be Paladin from Have Gun Will Travel is a damned good & sneaky choice.

    The shot of Kirk being dangled in the air is terrific.

    I see some people have given away plot points, but I'm going to Spoiler Code my detailed critique points so as not to ruin any surprises.

    The opening holodeck scene was utterly unnecessary and made the teaser too long. If it had set up a theme it would be acceptable (much as the Shakespeare scene at the top of TNG's The Defector sets up a theme there), but as is it's a throwaway and little more than a reason to give Doug Drexler a cameo. And, while (as above) I liked the gag of the cowboy being Paladin, Doug's no Richard Boone.

    The galaxy's slowest photon torpedo. It takes over 20 seconds to reach the alien doohickus, but when we next see the Enterprise, the doohickus debris is right next to the ship.

    Apollo's galpal Athena is dying and Bones just stands there while these prolonged speeches happen and she croaks. Yes, Kirk stops him, but it's totally out of character for him to not argue or tell Jim to get lost.

    There's a VFX glitch at about 9:13 where the chunks of debris right below the Enterprise saucer change from green to gray right at the end of the shot. It's like the green glow overlay doesn't render over the final frames.

    Sulu: "By setting phasers to the TNG technobabble nonsense blah blah". Ugh.

    How does Sulu know his spacesuited compatriot Simone is dead? Why is no rescue immediately attempted? How does the body go from flipping (pitch) to flat spinning (yaw)?

    When they beam Sulu in, watch Bones because you'll see him hypo Sulu twice in one second, with sound effects accompanying both.

    The lip sync on Uhura's song was so awful I could sense the cuts were made to hide the fact that it didn't work (and as someone who's made a number of music vidoes I admit this is hard to make look right).

    Apollo swats the redshirts' phasers away and the jerks just stand there, leaving the counselor to pick one up and shoot Apollo. Those guards should be spanked. Spock should be spanked. Strike that; the writers should be spanked.

    Uhura tries out for the role of Lot's wife here. Scotty warns them to step away from their consoles, and she does, then reaches back in for no good reason. Dumb da dumb dumb.

    Note that Apollo's restraints are conveniently missing when he goes to save Uhura.

    Dumping Apollo on Planet Middle Ages: apparently if we've miscalculated we've just let Apollo contaminate some culture. Plot convenience 1, prime directive 0.

     
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
  2. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    Kirk stops McCoy from helping athena bacause of the non interference directive. Now if apollo asked him to help her, it would have been a different story. The counselor probably asked the security guard to use the phaser knowing that her shooting him would have a different effect than them and he wouldn't expect it and wouldn't harm her as he wanted to. How do you know uhura didn't have a good reason to reach back to her console to do something important forgoing Scotty's warning? They probably removed Apollo's restraints because of good behavior or he broke them or made them disappear. Apollo wasn't dumped on some planet. That is an assumption on your part with no basis. He had the power to go wherever he wanted to go. There's no reason to assume that he didn't want to go there. That's five things. One more and you get a cupie doll. (and spanked)
     
  3. feek61

    feek61 Captain Captain

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  4. MarsWeeps

    MarsWeeps Captain Premium Member

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    Because she reached back to pick up Athena's brooch which was lying on the console.
     
  5. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    That's a fair observation, but I think the story is interesting enough that it didn't especially bother me.

    Well boo. Guess the rest of us should just quit now then. :(

    Overall, I thought the acting was fine.

    That's completely nonsensical, and not supported by what we see on screen.
     
    Last edited: May 26, 2013
  6. CaptainMurdock

    CaptainMurdock Commander Red Shirt

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    I just pretend Fan-Films that continue on the TOS Enterprise take place in an alternate universe on there own. There was an episode of X-Files where Mulder met a Mulder from a different universe and was played by Gary Shandling who doesn't look anything like David Duchovny. So that's how I get around the issue.
     
  7. feek61

    feek61 Captain Captain

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    No, the bridge set was already established before I came onboard the project. I did provide the correct pattern maps for the displays flashing lights (in the proper sequence, etc.) but there was a problem programming them before filming started and in the end we simply ran out of time so it was dropped. The Ajax set uses LCD monitors so it's a lot easier to get them correct as opposed to physical lighting that is at the Farragut/STC studio. I did some of the set dressing (corridor conduits, food processors, etc.) but that's about it since I came in on this project pretty late. We will be filming another episode later this year so we will continue to improve the sets (which is pretty surreal to walk through, lol).
     
  8. Ryan Thomas Riddle

    Ryan Thomas Riddle Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Watched this yesterday and as far as fan films go, a really solid effort. As some have said, one of the better fan episodes in recent time and I enjoyed watching it. That's not to say it isn't without its problems.

    The quick review: the story was a muddled mess, typical of fan productions, but it was better filmed and acted than most.

    The Story

    The story was dull and lacked any dramatic tension, save for Scotty's understandable objections. This made the story plod at impulse and only really picked up briefly when Apollo hurled Kirk across the corridor. The script could've used another pass to tighten up the bits of plot that didn't connect well with one another, such as the goop on the ship's hall.

    The goop served no real dramatic purpose other than to provide us with a redshirt death and place Uhura in jeopardy. I'd even forgot about it after the Simone incident until it was mentioned again in the last (television) act. And, at first, I thought it'd be tied to Apollo's powers in some fashion. It didn't even put the ship in dire straits. Overall it felt more like a Maurice Hurley-type plot device — one that's there, but isn't there and really doesn't mean much of anything.

    The greatest sin of the story is the lack of decisive action on Kirk's part in the endgame. The episode starts out strong with Kirk not hesitating to destroy the arc to save the Enterprise. But then he becomes Captain Picard holding not one but three senior staff meetings in the episode to get consensus. Except for the situation in "Return to Tomorrow", Kirk hardly sought his staff's approval before making a decision. While I like Scotty being the contrarian in the group, I wanted more debate between Spock and McCoy. Those two characters, like on PHASE: II, are underutilized as the outward expression of Kirk's internal debate on a situation. The arguments Spock and McCoy have usually express the extremes of a situation, which Kirk must then find the middle ground and take action. Not here. It seems that it's Kirk, Spock and McCoy against Scotty.

    I said it in another thread. STAR TREK is, ultimately, about the captain whoever that may be and the decisions that person must make. Fan films often absolve the captain of any difficult decision by having scripts that jump through hoops to have plots resolve themselves (looking at you "Enemy: Starfleet" and "Blood and Fire"). This script suffers from the same hoops.

    The episode also failed to get me to care about Apollo and his plight. He was neither sinister nor sympathetic. He was just there. He should've been dangerous or tragic, but he was neither. His relationship to Uhura wasn't really developed so his final act didn't feel earned. He spent far too much time with the new ship's counselor when it should've been more with Uhura so you could better understand why Apollo makes that dramatic turn.

    What I think happened here, as with many fan films, is that they carry the baggage of televised STAR TREK. And they end up writing scripts that are more TNG than TOS. I know that many of those toiling on these productions are fans, but would urge them to really dissect the original, understand the beats and how their stories were constructed. It's not unlike a musician tearing down a song to understand how it works. Or a novelist studying other novelist to understand the mechanics of plot, diction and syntax.

    Also, and I've said this before, study other shows of the 60s — expand the vocabulary instead of constraining themselves to only STAR TREK.

    The Acting

    Yes there are those who don't like Vic, even I'm not a big fan, but his performance as Kirk was far more enjoyable than in other productions. He did his best Shatner, but I'd urge him to make the role more and more his own. Give us his take on Kirk rather than imitate.

    Todd Haberkorn's Spock was by far the best fan film Spock since Jeff Quinn. He wasn't robotic or Data-by-any-other-name. Although, he was a bit softer spoken than the rest of the cast.

    The rest of the performances varied but weren't half bad. Yet imitation was, unfortunately, persistent across the board. Michael Forrest was the best by far, as Maurice said.

    Oh and cameos by Jamie Bamber (Apollo!) and Marina Sirtis were well done. I liked that both didn't really call attention to themselves unlike in other productions.

    The Dot Connecting

    Completely unnecessary. Don't care about the first holodeck or the first ship's counselor. Why couldn't Dr. McKennia just be the psychiatrist on the medical staff like Dr. Helen Noel? More than that she served no real role in the episode other than to have a few lines with Apollo and "flirt" with the captain. There was also a lack of tension in her interactions with Kirk. The flirting wasn't as dynamic or interesting as Kirk with Dr. Noel.

    The Style

    This episode was well shot. The cinematography was top notch. It looked and felt like a third season episode. As Maurice pointed out, Kirk hanging in the air was nicely done. There were a lot of varied camera angles, some very dynamic. Whereas my big gripe on PHASE:II is the lack of other camera angles beyond the close-up, mid-shot (or two-shot) and wide shot. The use of different camera angles here made this show interesting to watch even though the story was flat.

    That being said, the episode had a bit of a split personality. Stylistically throughout it was shot as if it were a third season episode. However, the opening credits were stylistically out of place with that and looked more like the TNG or VOY version of the TOS opening with the tracking through steller dust and the high-gloss typeface for the titles. Also the new phasers — similar to the old ones but looked too modern and out of place with the Transistor Punk (someone used that term on the boards and I like it) of TOS.

    This series offered us the fourth season of TOS had it been made, same with PHASE:II but neither of those shows have committed to that conceit. Hence we get holodecks, ship's counselors, Yeoman Rand as a Tasha Yar substitute in these productions.

    The Final Frontier

    Despite my critique and direct feedback, really enjoyed this production. Look forward to more. Was even tempted to submit to their story contest, but my work as a Lead Editor consumes most of my time and the last thing after a hard week that I want to do is more writing and editing.

    That being said, a good effort to start right out of the gate. Look forward to more down the road and hope they continue to tweak their scripts and performances. They've got great potential and hope that they make the most of it.
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
  9. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Clearly that was poor word choice on my part, but to be honest, most of the casts of these shows are amateurs and not trained actors so almost invariably there are moments that don't ring true in the performances. That's really what I was getting at. But this illustrates why I don't like to comment on the acting in these things.
     
  10. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    I'm really just teasing here. I'm not so naive as to think most of us can stand up that well against the pros.
     
  11. E-DUB

    E-DUB Captain Captain

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    I enjoyed it immensely but was not watching with a "critical eye". I wish the folks at STC and PH2 could work out their differences.

    As an aside can anybody think of a longer time gap of "same actor playing same character"?
     
  12. northstar

    northstar Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    It´s a solid episode. I liked the sets (although they do not seem to be very stable :) )and the cinematography. Acting was ok - especially Chris Doohans performance.

    Aside of that, I fully agree with the weak points that Maurice pointed out. Lots of room for improvement. The holodeck scene served no purpose, the new counselor had not much more to do other than flirt with the captain - and the captain didn´t do much. Three discussions in the meeting room? That´s even too much for Picard. Apollos wig was pretty distracting - it was on then off and on again. I get what they wanted to achieve, but it didn´t work very well for me. The Bamber-scene also did not work so well - why didn´t he just pointed the phaser away from the ship? I found the vfx also lacking in that sequence, while the other vfx were ok.

    Is this still to be considered a "fan" film? Guess all involved are fans - but they are also almost all professionals in the movie industry.

    Anyway, it´s a promising start.
     
  13. Barbreader

    Barbreader Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Captain Hunter is and will always be my favorite fan film captain!
     
  14. Phantassm

    Phantassm Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I didn't have a problem with the holodeck scenes because many people fail to realize that the holodeck actually appeared in the animated star trek years earlier than TNG.
     
  15. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    Yeah that's pretty much the only reason it didn't really bother me, since I presumed this was an attempt to reconcile that.

    Having a Counselor aboard, I was less keen on. But yeah, the holodeck thing didn't bother me overly.
     
  16. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^I object to it because it adds nothing to the episode other than time.
     
  17. USS Intrepid

    USS Intrepid Commodore Commodore

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    Thanks, Barb, always nice to hear. ;)

    I don't disagree. I'm just saying why it didn't bother me overly. :)
     
    Last edited: May 27, 2013
  18. CaptainSerek

    CaptainSerek Commander Red Shirt

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    I watched this yesterday. I enjoyed it for what it was. It was a nice fan film with a good start for a first episode. It is not perfect by any means but still fun and watchable.
     
  19. MikeH92467

    MikeH92467 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Script revision is one of the "under the hood" issues for fan films that is always going to be difficult to solve. Coming up with a coherent story and turning it into a viable (for the medium) script are both extremely difficult. But "coherent" is not the same thing as "professional quality". I really think that the most important part of GR's role as showrunner for TOS (along with Gene Coon and DC Fontana) was in making sure there was an overall continuity to the way the characters behaved. I think the most valid complaint about this script (which I think is quite good in many ways) is that the constant references by Kirk to "consensus" does go "clunk" for those used to Kirk's ability to make decisions and willingness to take the heat for them. Command style is one thing that should be no matter who writes the story. I don't know if there's ever going to be any way to really solve that issue with a fan production, where someone can point out the flaws, false notes and inconsistencies for one last re-write that takes a show from the realm of serviceable entertainment (which I think is a remarkable achievement) into a high level.
     
  20. The Transformed Man

    The Transformed Man Commander Red Shirt

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    The first two conference room scenes were completely consistent with TOS and how Kirk would sometimes bring in staff to discuss an issue. A simple rewrite eliminating the final conference room scene and incorporating some of the dialog into the sick bay scene following Apollo's sacrifice would have tightened the story and made it more in line with how TOS flowed storywise.

    But honestly it's a pretty small nit, and I feel "Pilgrim of Eternity" is the one fan film which really captures the story structure and morality play feel of TOS better than most others. Heck my only real beef was the final scene of the story ONLY because TOS probably would not have shown Apollo committing an act of kindness and would have instead left it up in the air as to his fate.


    Yancy
     

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