Judge Eric Profancik could do without this Enterprise.
Comedy's Final Frontier
I am a Trekkie, of that I'm sure you know. I can find something to love in just about every incarnation of my beloved franchise. As a clear (and some would say sad) example of my passion for all things Trek, I went to Las Vegas four times primarily to visit the now closed Star Trek: The Experience. To further bolster my Trek-geek cred, I do own a uniform and have gone to conventions in said clothing. I just wanted to make sure you know this before we go any further.
Facts of the Case
James Pirk (Samuli Torssonen), Commander Dwarf (Timo Vuorensola), and Info are marooned on 21st century Earth, far away from their beloved P Fleet. Pirk is positively bored and is ready to break the First Directive to get back to his time. He unexpectedly finds that the discovery on antimaterial that was to occur didn't happen, and he sees this as an opportunity to create the P Fleet hundreds of years earlier than history dictates. With Dwarf and Info, Pirk recruits the Russian government to help create a new ship, the Kickstart. Pirk will use this ship to take over Earth and crown himself Emperor. And it works. He then uses his power to create an entire new P Fleet, ready to conquer new worlds. But the fleet comes across a spatial anomaly, the maggot hole, and it leads to another dimension. Once they cross over they discover a huge space station called Babel 13. Seeing an opportunity for easy growth and victory, Pirk launches an attack on the station. But Captain John Sherrypie of Babel 13 has a fleet to support him. A quick victory for Pirk isn't as easy as he thought it would be. Who will win this epic battle?
"I guess it's a passable day to die."
Star Wreck is not a professionally made, big budget movie from any studio. It's a fan-made film that took seven years to create. Wow. As it turns out, this isn't their first foray into films; it's the second movie they've released. But in terms of the team's chronology of product, this is their sixth product. So Star Wreck is truly called Star Wreck VI: In the Pirkinning. I did not know this until I hit the bonus material, and it then helped me put this picture in its historical context.
Being the full-blooded Trekkie, I am sorting through my mental encyclopedia of all the different Trek things I've done in my many years. I've enjoyed just about all of them from going to Vegas, going to conventions, working convention security for James Doohan, and just simply watching all the shows and movies. Off the top of my head only one Trek thing comes to mind of things I do not like: Star Trek: The Animated Series. I dislike that series for many a reason (see my review at The Verdict); but even in the midst of general distaste, I still can find, in general, a few things to be partial to. So it is with great dismay that I must say that I hate Star Wreck…yet even then there are a few things I like.
Star Wreck could not be more aptly named. It is a wreck, a disaster of galactic proportions. I am truly perplexed to think how such huge fans of the franchise could put together such a horrible product. But let's back up a step before I get any more vitriolic. As this movie is the sixth item in their series, I have no idea of how their fan-made endeavor began and how we arrived at In the Pirkinning. I don't know the evolution of the characters in their comedic universe, so maybe it makes more sense when you've seen them from the beginning. But I haven't and I have a big problem with these characters.
Purported as "comedy's final frontier," I did not laugh, chuckle, chortle, grin, smile, or even feel one iota of mirth for the entirety of the presentation. Star Wreck is not funny at all. I don't say that from an overly protective Trekkie viewpoint, as I like Trek humor. The Voyage Home has funny moments that made me laugh and smile. Shatner's speech on Saturday Night Live: brilliant. Galaxy Quest: the best Trek parody ever. I can laugh at Trek when someone is making a funny joke or doing a quality parody. That does not happen with Star Wreck. The problem is that the character parodies are so perfectly awful, turning just about everyone into incompetent idiots. How can you invest in someone you despise? You don't like Pirk; he's a temper tantrum throwing child. Worse, why is he crowning himself Emperor, taking over Earth, and invading alternate universes? How is any of that funny? But even if we could ignore the horrible caricatures, look at what else poses as humor in Star Wreck: toilet paper stuck on a shoe; vomiting, partying, homosexual sex (implied in the quick editing…not that there's anything wrong with that), and food stuck on someone's face. It's honestly extremely juvenile and insulting to Trek. In the notes I took while I watched, I was so repelled that I wrote, "this movie is an abomination to Trek."
At this point, I'd like to remind you that there are some things I liked about this movie. How can I like something I find abominable? While the characters and the plot are hideous, horrible, and horrendous, the special effects are astonishingly good. Here's a quote from either Samuli or Timo in the bonus feature:
"My only goal for Star Wreck 6 was to have a smashing space battle."
In that goal, he and his movie are successful. But in that goal is also why it's an unholy mess of a movie.
In the seven years it took to make this movie, a large chunk of that was spent on the special effects. Nearly all the CGI was created on home computers and it just took a really long time to render. While it clearly looks like CGI, it's actually pretty darn good. The ships, the battles, the explosions, and all the various background effects are nicely rendered. It all looks good; honestly far better than a fan film should. So it pains me to see such great EFX work tacked on to such a bad story. Such an ambitious effort deserves a better script. Why put so much time and effort into such a wasted screenplay?
This DVD comes with the trappings of an amateur production. Video is a non-anamorphic (been a while since I've seen one of those) 1.85:1 that has a few problems. On the good side, colors are accurate if subdued; on the bad side, blacks are ill-defined, often muddy and grey. The overall picture looks a bit fuzzy, which goes back to the EFX rendering and how much detail could be included. (The few shots sans EFX look crisp and sharp.) Finally, the print shows a rather substantial amount of aliasing—again due to the EFX rendering. On the audio front you can select from either a Dolby 5.1 or 2.0 mix. Oh, did I mention they're both in Finnish? The 2.0 track is a very weak offering, lacking any power but still giving you clear dialogue (if you understand Finnish). Faring far better is a solid 5.1 surround mix that offers crisp dialogue and surprising immersive use of the surrounds. Bass, though utilized, doesn't offer a lot of extra oomph.
For the fan of Star Wreck the disc includes a good selection of bonus material. Even I found these features good and informative, filling in many a blank about the history of the series and this movie itself. First up is the audio commentary with Timo Vuorensola (director and plays Dwarf) and Samuli Torssonen (producer, plays Pirk, and created most of the CGI effects). Though not particularly interested in what they had to say, I will admit the two (speaking in English) made me pay attention and I learned a lot about them and the movie. I'm still not a fan, but it's a good commentary. Next up are some bloopers (8:02) that weren't funny. Moving on to better things is a documentary feature "Definitive Inside Out" (1:10:11) that thoroughly details the making of Star Wreck. Again, despite my latent hostility, I enjoyed it and applaud its detail. Last up is "Toward the Iron Sun" (29:53), a featurette on their next movie about Nazis on the moon. I was absolutely lost during this and had to Google "Iron Sun" to figure out what they were talking about. They never set the foundation for what they were discussing.
The Rebuttal Witnesses
Did I mention I liked the special effects?
Star Wreck is the purest example of fanboy enthusiasm gone amuck. Taking the germ of an idea and expanding it far beyond any logical limitation, the movie fails in that style prevails over substance. Creating a movie around the crux of a "smashing space battle" is doomed to failure when the focus is on the special effects instead of the characters. Further, the characters and the story are the antithesis of our beloved Trek universe, so much so that I hear Gene Roddenberry spinning in his grave. It's supposed to be a comedy but not once did I find anything funny. Perhaps it's a cultural divide, but I prefer to believe that Star Wreck is just a wreck. I cannot and will not recommend this disc to anyone. The story is such an insult to my beloved Trek that no one should buy this disc to encourage Timo and Samuli to do any more fan films. To paraphrase Kirk in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country, let it die.
Star Wreck VI: In the Pirkinning is hereby found guilty of assault,
battery, libel, and spitting on Gene Roddenberry's grave.
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