Thursday, 10 January 2013

Apps, Rings, Posters and Blu-Rays

It's been a good and bad week in Trekdom with quite a wide range of new additions announced.

On the positive side we have the brilliant and perhaps for some, including myself, unexpected news that Star Trek Into Darkness will be receiving it's very own app launching during the Superbowl.  Awesome.  Can't wait to see it and it does look like Paramount/Bad Robot/JJ Abrams have really pulled together one hell of an advertising campaign for a film that really stands a chance of being this year's summer smash.  

Big shame that the competition promoted by startrek.com as part of this hype is once again only open to US and Canada.  When are you going to learn that you have fans across the pond?!  What have we done wrong?  Can you not give us something to enter other than a forum debate on what was wrong with Riker's haircut in "Future Imperfect" or getting kudos for working out that it's Weyoun behind a pixellated image?  Just once?  Please?! Thank you.

Announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas by Paramount and Qualcomm it will allow users to be part of "real-life" missions using geographic, audio and image recognition technology which all sounds a tad exciting...as long as you're in the USA (you can see where I'm going with this...). The audio function means that the phone will reward users for watching Star Trek Into Darkness content while the geographic and image recognition features will mean that smartphone owners (for smartphone read iPhone) will be able to interact with STID in the real world - I would suspect this will be QR Tags and the like on billboards, shop signs etc.

Of course there will also be the usual plethora of images, wallpapers available to users as well as special offers and some untold extras that will kick in when the full TV trailer campaign juggernaut ignites during the Superbowl in February. Those lucky US and Canadian citizens who register will also be entered into the chance to win tickets to a VIP trip to the US premiere. Lucky, lucky, lucky.  Looks like I'll have to make do with the local Odeon or Vue. No chance of there being something for UK fans in May?  Or maybe opening up this app to Android users on both sides of the Atlantic? Here's hoping.

The beginning of each month is something I look forward to in many ways - payday, a step nearer Christmas, white rabbits and also the time when we get to see another four retro TOS posters.  January has been no exception to this with another superbly imaginative selection.  Why so happy?  Well this time we have "The Tholian Web" among the offerings.  If you've read Life of Trek previously you'll know it's my favourite TOS episode hands down. Great poster,  classy and space serial styled apparently around 1920's and 1930's Russian film posters.  Might just have to buy the t- shirt for a full indulgence in this one!

Two of the remaining three as just as good; "Mirror, Mirror" recreates the iconic mirror universe Spock with his Prime universe alternative in the style of a boxing match flyer; "Miri" recalls the controversial banning of its original broadcast in the UK with a teaser line included by artist Juan Ortiz. This is unusual for the posters created thus far and was brought about due to research into the show for this collection. As part of this 60's style design, the ship represents a tear and the black/white hair effect is supposed to represent water which was the way in which the pubescent virus was transmitted.


Finally we have "The Savage Curtain",  one of the final original series episodes and probably my least favourite of the January selection. While I don't mind the episode,  a red faced Lincoln isn't my cup of Earl Grey on the worst of days.  Bit of a misfire I think although I can see where the artist is coming from in using part of the extremely memorable image of the president appearing on the Enterprise viewscreen. The credits as a vapour trail is a nice effect but it doesn't save this from being a bit of a disappointment.

Talking of disappointment, what is THIS all about and I would love to know what kind of fan buys this stuff? It is of course the QMx Starfleet Academy Class ring (2009). Made using (and I quote from startrek.com) "a high strength, scratch-resistantmetal alloy that simulates the brilliance and sheen of polished sterling silver" it goes on sale later this year and faithfully recreates the prop used in the first reboot movie. Wonderful as this may sound, the only reason I can see to buy this would be to use it as a VERY faithful cosplay or to sit in a prime position on my Trek-themed mantelpiece.  Sorry all, but I think this is a bit excessive and I'm not going to go back and rewatch Star Trek to even find a frame where we see this. Totally pointless and a massive cash-in on a teeny tiny prop that got very little screen time. Now, if they made a replica of the Genesis Device control console....hmmmm....


Let's move on before I engage in a session of 1980's nostalgia here and talk Blu-ray. In their amazing wisdom, Paramount Home Media/CBS Home Entertainment will be releasing the four seasons of Star Trek: Enterprise next. As part of their idea for the sets, they invited fans to choose the cover design; the ship, the insignia or the captain - and then decided to go for something completely different based on fan comments because, apparently, there was no clear winner from the three concepts.

So what can we expect in regards to the release which is set for March 26th?
  • 25 episodes of Season One over six discs
  • New audio commentaries from Rick Berman, Brannon Braga, Connor Trinneer, Dominic Keating and more
  • To Boldly Go: Launching Enterprise
    • Part One: Countdown (creating the prequel)
    • Part Two: Boarding the NX-01 (casting and production of the pilot)
    • Part Three: First Flight (production and post-production of Season One
  • Outtakes
  • Deleted Scenes
  • Archival Mission Logs
Seems like a decent set of features in my opinion but will it be enough to draw back any fans that the prequel series lost over the course of four years?  TNG garnered an even better set of features for its re-release on Blu-ray including extra episode promos, origin documentaries and archive launch footage amongst other things. Why Deep Space Nine failed to get a 20th Anniversary re-master is questionnable but we can only hope this is due to Paramount and CBS wanting to wait until all seven seasons of TNG are released when Star Trek: Enterprise would only need a transfer onto Blu-ray and an addition of some features to make it worthwhile. Time will tell in this case but it'll be good to see what the set looks like when it does arrive on shelves in just over two months time (US date) and currently there's no announcement on when it will reach the UK shores. At the moment I also haven't seen any news on how much they will cost to purchase but making them significantly higher in price than TNG might just backfire against drawing in some new fans or just those wanting to take a second look at their own pace.