|One of the these guys is a crazy, egocentric buffoon, bent on the destruction of everyone around him. The other is TV actor Steve Ihnat (left).|
And so I cued up the video, cleared my mind, and hit "play". Here are my thoughts:
The thing really looked high-end, for the most part. The CGI was a bit uneven ranging from the burning cities – that looked a bit fake to me – to the space and ship scenes – some of which looked VERY good. Overall, not up to true feature film standards, but better than any fan film I'd ever seen. The one flaw to me was the overall design of things. Instead of establishing something retro-unique to their early Trek universe, they simply copied the aesthetic of "NuTrek", ie, the JJ Abrams films. Of all the visual touchstones to use, that's the least interesting to me, personally. And since Peters himself has panned those films, I'm shocked he'd use them as a design basis. It definitely shows a lack of creativity, however, and that shocks me not at all.
I admit to being as big a Trek nerd as anyone, so that having Tony Todd, Gary Graham and J.G Hertzler all in one place, well, that's nerd heaven. But more to the point, they all delivered excellent performances. Kate Vernon was unknown to me (I had forgotten she was Ellen Tigh on BSG) but she also delivered a solid, engaging performance. To my surprise, I was less taken with Richard Hatch's performance. Not Klingon enough, perhaps? It's not that he was bad, just not very interesting. And then there's Alec Peters, the creator/actor/writer/"This isn't a vanity project"/visionary himself. I wish I could tell you he sucked, but he didn't. He put in a perfectly serviceable performance for an amateur. But when compared to the rest of the cast, he was obviously the weakest link. No one but he would have ever cast him as a lead role. There's no "there", there. Vanity, thy name is Alec.
And now to the heart of the matter. Because no matter how well done the CGI might be, or how good the acting might be, the heart of any production is the story.
Spoiler alert: this story was simply stupid.
At the heart of this short film is the notion that one man – Garth of Izar – comes up with a battle plan against the Klingons that is so innovative, so brilliant and of such genius, that it turns the tide of the war and establishes Garth as one of the greatest heroes of the Federation for all time.
What is the nature of his genius? Apparently, (drumroll, please) he can see... the obvious!.
We're told that Axanar is in "the heart of Federation space" and that Starfleet's next heavy cruiser – one USS Enterprise, by name – is being built there. Garth knows that Axanar is a target that the Klingons cannot ignore since this new ship could match the Klingon firepower.
What was Garth's brilliant plan? As Admiral Ramirez tells us: "to battle the Klingons at Axanar". Ramirez' first thought was "how far he'd come" (Garth, that is). Huh?
Garth's flash of brilliance was to recognize that the Klingons would come to the most obvious military target in the Federation and that Starfleet should fight them there?
We're not told why such an obvious event is genius, we're simply told that it is. But, as a certain engineer once said, "if my grandmother had wheels, she'd be a wagon". Saying something is genius does not make it so.
So this legendary figure's reputation is based solely on the fact that he was Captain Obvious? Apparently Ramirez and friends were complete and utter morons if THIS was brilliance! Garth is a genius because he doesn't drool on himself! My hero.
Bottom line: I don't get it
Now that I've seen "Prelude", I am utterly baffled by all the comments I've read that say how wonderful this is and how Axanar is real Star Trek, not like that awful Abrams stuff.
Except that the Abrams stuff is awful because it's poorly written pieces of shit. And so is Axanar. Because if the heart of your story is stupid – "Garth sees the obvious" – then everything else falls down like a house of cards. A pitiful, uninspired, house of cards.
THIS is what has so much rabid support? SERIOUSLY? I was expecting something akin to "Wrath of Khan" or at least "The Best of Both Worlds". Something more than this vapid, silly story that wouldn't impress a twelve-year-old.
As usual, William Shatner said it best: "Get a life!"