Archive for the 'Star Trek' Category

Whether your favorite captain is William Shatner or Chris Pine, a Shakespeare-quoting Frenchman or a lady with a bun of steel, Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek is sci-fi at its best — and sometimes its worst. All check out our Star Trek: Discovery podcast, Transporter Lock!

How It Should Have Ended

02-May-10 12:37 PM by
Filed under Humor, Star Trek; 1 comment.

Film directors must work with an intrinsic limitation: whatever story they've set out to tell, they have only two hours in which to tell it from beginning to end. Wrapping everything up in time sometimes requires either a deus ex machina or a dramatic climax that strains readers' suspension of disbelief. Given that we checked such logic at the door, it's rarely a problem to continue accepting the movie's reality up until the end credits — but does that mean it couldn't have been done even better?

How It Should Have Ended is a series of animated re-imaginings of popular film endings. Having assumed you've seen the original film, the shorts present their own interpretations of key points of the stories, resulting in dramatically different endings. The series was started as a fun side project that non-viability threatened with extinction; fortunately, Starz media network provided HISHE's creators with the incentive to keep going.

With Iron Man 2 due out in a few days, it seems timely to review its predecessor's conclusion. That last battle always did strike me as a bit forced. Here's how Iron Man should have ended:

The confab with Superman, Batman and Spider-Man is a running gag that alludes back to earlier videos.

Not all HISHE shorts are consistent within their films' universe; sometimes, their non sequiturs apply a sort of meta-awareness of Hollywood. A good example is how Star Trek should have ended:

I imagine hardcore fans might not cotton to their favorite films being parodied in such a manner — the Lord of the Rings spoof is especially threatening to such fanboyism — but we're here to enjoy ourselves, and anything that uses film to get us to laugh at ourselves as well is a means to that end. Check out HISHE's full library of over two dozen reinterpretations. What film ending would you like to see added to their collection?

An April Fool's Tribble Treat

01-Apr-10 9:18 PM by
Filed under Humor, Star Trek; 1 comment.

I hope everyone had fun this April Fool's Day. The creativity that webmasters pour into their public images this day is always a treat — whether you rely on YouTube for ASCII art, ThinkGeek for a reason to buy an Apple iPad, or Google Topeka to find all this and more.

Tribbles n BitsSci-fan fans found a treasure trove of licensed products today at ThinkGeek. The most delicious of them all: Tribbles 'n' Bits cereal. Fresh from the replicator, it's the the perfect wake-up for any Star Trek fan. Don't worry — the breakfast treat is entirely vegetarian, being composed of wheat, rice, rye, and quadrotriticale. If you'd like some company in the mess hall, and the enclosed Captain Pike action figure is too binary a conversationalist (which is still one state more than the monolith action figure can offer), there's one cool tribble who might accept such an invitation. Don't set the date just yet; though this cereal may be a product of the 23rd century, it could prove popular enough to warrant warping into our reality, as previously happened with their tauntaun sleeping bag.

Gorn QuarterlyRegardless of the cereal's fate, kudos to ThinkGeek for such a clever array of surprises today. They're almost on par with the more literary jests of StarTrek.com, which a half-decade ago offered such insider jokes as "Your Mirror Universe Twin and You FAQ", "Several New Star Trek Pilots Rejected", and more. Even three years later, the closure of StarTrek.com as we knew it is one I still lament. Thank you, ThinkGeek, for filling that gap.

Kirk vs. Gorn vs. Science

21-Dec-09 11:18 AM by
Filed under Star Trek, Television; Comments Off on Kirk vs. Gorn vs. Science

Star Trek has long been known for its technobabble — a quantum fissure ruptures space-time and is sealed by reversing the polarity and emitting a tachyon pulse from the deflector dish — but occasionally, its cast is concerned by dilemmas as low-tech as the equipment used to make the show. This was especially true of TOS, which once pitted Captain James T. Kirk against a slow-moving lizardman:

A cannon fashioned from bamboo, charcoal, sulfur, and diamonds? That's simply not feasible… or is it? The Discovery Channel's cult favorite, Mythbusters, tackles this classic scenario next Monday, December 28, at 9 PM. Here's a preview:

Poor Gorn. The lizardman had only the best of intentions:

william shatner

For more of Captain Kirk's ham-fisted battle strategies, check out the independent film, The Kirkie.

(Hat tips to Dayton Ward, SCI FI Wire, and SciFi Diner Podcast)

Star Trek Warps to DVD

17-Nov-09 10:38 AM by
Filed under Star Trek; 1 comment.

Star Trek, JJ Abrams' successful relaunch of Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future, hits DVD today. Here's the trailer:

The movie is available in three physical editions: one-disc standard definition, two-disc standard definition, and three-disc high-definition. With wise shopping (and the previous sentence's links), you can find these formats for $10, $20, and $20, respectively. The standard def one-disc format has just the movie and gag reel, whereas the two-disc edition includes nine deleted scenes (with Klingons!), several featurettes, and a digital copy of the film you can put on your computer or mobile device. Many more features are exclusive to Blu-ray — which, despite being a higher-capacity format, needs three discs to hold it all. (Apparently the higher resolution of Blu-ray requires the digital edition to have its own dedicated disc!)

You can also download the film from iTunes for $15 standard definition and $20 HD. iTunes' online rental option won't be available until December 16, though Amazon has it now for $4.

No matter what format you get, this film is sure to be the perfect stocking stuffer this holiday season — or, if you can't wait for Santa, then share it with the family next week on American Thanksgiving. Though if you don't think you'd like the film at any time of year, then RiffTrax's audio commentary will be available this Thursday.

I've been to the movies 389 times in the last 15 years. Of all those films, a few were worth seeing twice, but Star Trek is the only movie I've seen three times in theaters. I can't wait until home video lets me add even more repeat showings to my record!

Beantown Is Geektown

02-Nov-09 2:22 PM by
Filed under Potpourri, Star Trek, Star Wars; 4 comments.

The passing of Halloween means the holidays are nearly upon us — but if you're a geek in Boston, then there are far more significant festivities headed your way. The biggest and best celebrities of science fiction will be coming to Massachusetts for three different events this month:

• On Saturday, November 14th, the touring "Star Wars In Concert" comes to the TD Garden for both a 3:00 PM matinee and an 8:00 PM performance. The concert is described as "John Williams' breathtaking score from the epic Star Wars saga … performed by a live symphony orchestra and chorus, accompanied by a stunning video montage on an enormous LED screen." Anthony Daniels (C-3PO) has been narrating this concert, though it's unclear if that's only at specific venues. Us Bostonians are no stranger to hearing Mr. Williams' soundtracks performed live, as the composer is also the director emeritus of the renowned Boston Pops Orchestra and often serves as guest conductor, but a dedicated concert to this particular score is a rare treat. Tickets are $32.50, $52.50, or $72.50, plus applicable taxes and fees.

• That same weekend is the New England Fan Experience (NEFX) sci-fi convention. Star Trek headliners include Bostonian Leonard Nimoy (Spock Prime) as well as John de Lancie (Q), though the former will be available only on Saturday, competing with the aforementioned Star Wars concert. Online tickets (via a Web site that is remarkably reminiscent of a GeoCities page) are available through November 6th for $45 each, or for $50 at the door.

• NEFX 2009 is held a week earlier than in 2008, avoiding the conflict that occurred last year with the annual Super Megafest, traditionally held the weekend before Thanksgiving. That means this year, you can attend NEFX one week and Super Megafest the next! The latter is held in Framingham, less than a half-hour west of Boston. The expo — which features an unusual amalgam of sci-fi actors, comic book artists, TV show stars, and pro wrestlers — will this year present Brent Spiner (Star Trek's Data), Ray Park (Star Wars' Darth Maul and, more recently, G.I. Joe's Snake Eyes), and James Marsters (Buffy's Spike). In addition to signings, each star also has a half-hour Q&A session, though the schedule is unknowable prior to the event: an email from its coordinator informed me, "No, panels will not be posted on the site. Most celebs will do Q&A sessions both days. However sat is probably the better day to see more Q&A sessions." Last year I happened to show up just in time to see Jonathan Frakes; otherwise I would've been out of luck. The actual show floor is quite small but packs a lot into it. Tickets for the entire November 21-22 weekend are only $20.

Though the two conventions offer cheaper admittance than the orchestral concert, they also have the most potential to drain your allowance, based on how many celebrity autographs you want to go home with; typical fees range from $20 to $50 or more per signing. This will be my third Super Megafest, and I usually budget $100 for at least three autographs.

If you'll be attending either the Star Wars matinee or the Super Megafest, be sure to say hello to Showbits!

Enterprise Rising

30-Sep-09 7:49 PM by
Filed under Star Trek; 1 comment.

Remember the scene in Star Trek XI when the Enterprise hides within the atmosphere Saturn's largest moon, only to majestically emerge out of its cloudy skies like a breaching submarine?

Okay, so some artistic license was taken with those visuals, as astronomer Phil Plait (a self-professed Trekkie) describes — but it was still immensely cool. Now, Diamond Sky Productions, a "small company devoted … to the scientific, as well as artful, use of planetary imagery and computer graphics", has made available for download some extremely high-resolution images depicting that scene:


Star Trek XI: Enterprise Rising

To boldly rise out of implausible starscapes ...


These pictures, originally courtesy Cinefex magazine, are just a few of the gorgeous intergalactic images to arise from Gene Roddenberry's universe. For others, check out the "Ships of the Line" 2010 wall calendar, or even the latest Star Trek trade paperbacks, like Open Secrets.

To Boldly Go Where No Mac Has Gone Before

17-Sep-09 4:48 PM by
Filed under Celebrities, Star Trek; Comments Off on To Boldly Go Where No Mac Has Gone Before

Every now and then, something will pop up in an auction that sets geeks drooling. Whether it's an undiscovered Macintosh prototype or a famous movie prop, the chance to own a piece of history can drive us to extremes. But the combined fanaticism of Apple devotees and sci-fi fans will likely have more destructive potential than the Genesis device when this relic shows up on sensors: an early Macintosh Plus, given by Apple Computer Inc. to Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry.

Read the rest of this entry at Computerworld.com »

Star Trek: The Motion Comic

05-Sep-09 1:00 PM by
Filed under Star Trek; 1 comment.

Three years ago, I reported that a new Star Trek animated series was in the works. No news on the project has since crossed my radar, leading me to assume that JJ Abrams' reboot of the series led to a reprioritization of studio projects. Novelist Dayton Ward recently confirmed the cartoon's status and provided links not only to more details, but also to a sample script and an author's commentary podcast.

Though I wasn't eager to have the series leapfrog 150 years, I'm not sure I like the path the known Star Trek universe is taking, either. What I was looking forward to was a new animated series. I think the successes of Pixar and DreamWorks have done much to diminish the perception of animation as an immature medium, and I'd like to see how the changes in technology and culture in the thirty years since Trek's last animated outing would affect the series.

Once again, Dayton Ward to the rescue. A few years ago, I hired artist Tom Vilot to turn a photograph into a painting; I was very pleased with the results. Another artist has now taken the similar approach of starting with a live-action still and drawing over it to produce this fan creation — Star Trek: The Motion Comic:

Converting a popular franchise from live action to still life was also the unique approach that gave us Bored of the Rings, and crossovers such as implied by the above video's end are also nothing new: Predator, Batman, Robocop, and others have all crossed paths at one time or another. But sometimes, it's the original application of an existing idea that leads to success. Star Trek: The Motion Comic is a dramatic (if occasionally stilted) work that reminds me a bit of digital comic books that were available for PCs, back when the shiny CD-ROM was still new andswa attracting publishers with its multimedia potential. I'm almost hesitant to see the promised continuation to this crossover coalesce, as horror doesn't seem like a good fit for this crew or genre. Still, I hope the inspired artist does create more episodes — though given the four months he says it took him to create this eight-minute clip, I wouldn't blame him if he doesn't.

In what other crossovers or media would you like to see Star Trek appear?