Yahoo movies reports on a significant fan-supported “interim” release, if you will, of a new Star Trek parallel film, Star Trek: Axanar. Star Trek: Axana is the brainchild of writer/producer/star/fanboy Alec Peters. The 90-minute, crowdfunded production (due out in 2015) will at long last, reveal the full story behind the pivotal Battle of Axanar, an event initially referenced in a season 3 episode of the original series, “Whom Gods Destroy.” I would love to rave about this attempt, but the first twenty minutes – which must blow people away to truly succeed, comes off as a stiff, uneven, badly scripted use of key Star Trek words “Klingon,” “the Federation,” “Starfleet,” “Andoria,” and the reliance on those words to pique interest during the monotonous back and forth discussion. So obvious and kind of insulting. Imagine this “sci-fi epic” without any reference to Star Trek and you have just another attempt at filmmaking without any cohesion, with no reason to tune in. “There will always be detractors who will think you’re taking the initiative too soon, that you’re rushing the offensive” says one actor in this mountainous collection of paragraphs which could have been taped at any access TV station in America. And he has a point! The fans who made this are actually stating the obvious, but not the way they intended it. With too heavy a use of narration to tell the story and some nice, slick CGI (hey, in this day and age a teenager can generate better visuals than found on the original Last Starfighter,) the color-by-numbers prelude to this “epic battle” only confirms the nerd-aspect of sci-fi fandom, and that’s a shame with science fiction now the predominant film genre in the world.
As of this writing, there are 19 films that have made over one billion dollars worldwide, according to BoxOfficeMojo.com #1 being Avatar with The Avengers at #3, Harry Potter/Deathly Hallows 2 #4, Transformers: Dark of the Moon #7, The Lord of the Rings: Return of the King #8, James Bond Skyfall #9 and Batman’S The Dark Knight Rises at #10. The audience wants film perfection, at least in the presentation. The Top 20 all-time moneymakers are hardly perfect films. Avatar’s script took a back seat to the special effects and the theme, but it was so ground-breaking, full of wonder and captivating that who cares if the acting was over the top and the lines delivered were far from memorable. It’s a terrific film despite its flaws and, perhaps I’m missing something but, that James Cameron was able to fascinate the entire planet earth with his out of this world film experience – islands floating in the air (simply superb) and the indigenous people flying on reptiles, says to me that Cameron knows how to market to people of all different cultures.
Filmmakers are going to have to address “virtual reality” sooner than later, and that will mean solid scripts with few holes and lots of reason to stay tuned. At some point the comic book spree has to evolve into something even bigger and even better. As violent as a series like The Godfather is, there is no denying that the script, the acting, the texture of the film and Francis Ford Coppola’s direction make for one of the most beautifully made, if totally vulgar, movies in history. Martin Scorsese’s Casino also has staying power, yet it is more vulgar and more violent than the Godfather. Mafia movies hold interest, and certainly reach a wider audience than slasher films, but gratuitous violence has its mainstream appeal while something less offensive, but still a hot-button topic: pornography is pushed into the closet. Go figure.
Pornography is much like fan-based Star Trek movies. Rather than craft a great script with some real-life passion and drama the multi-billion dollar porno industry is content to grind out drab product so out of touch and lacking in chemistry that a well-known homosexual actor appears in multiple heterosexual flicks. A handsome man does not always a great actor make and porn stars combining without chemistry is about as exciting as doing your Sunday laundry. I think I’ve stumbled upon a number of Star Trek attempts on YouTube many years ago, fan-based escapades You can find Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols and Alan Ruck in Star Trek: Of Gods and Men
and a batch of them on this YouTube site like Star Trek Exeter:The Tressaurian Intersection
My idea is to take the budgets from the porno movies and integrate the porn industry with the Star Trek fan industry. It certainly can’t be any worse than what the two separate genres do on their own.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com, Gatehouse Media, Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, and a variety of other media outlets. Joe also produces and hosts Visual Radio, a seventeen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed Jodie Foster, director/screenwriter David Koepp, Michael Moore, John Cena, comics/actors Margaret Cho, Gilbert Gottfried, Gallagher, musicians Mark Farner and Don Brewer of Grand Funk Railroad, Ian Hunter of Mott The Hoople, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere of The Rascals, political commentator Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.