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Steve Likes to Curse
Writing, comics and random thoughts from really a rather vulgar man
Since when is George Takei fucking Takashi Shimura? ... That didn't come out right ... 
Sunday, August 26th, 2007 | 01:46 pm [review, star trek]
So there’s this series of Star Trek fan films called Star Trek: New Voyages, originated by Elvis impersonator James Cawley (who plays Captain Kirk and provides the costumes). They’ve completed and released four episodes in the last few years, with an amateur cast portraying the classic Trek characters as though it were the fourth season of the original show. Last year they made “To Serve All My Days,” which raised a minor fuss among Trekkies for featuring Walter Koenig reprising his role as Chekov. Considering it was made with a cast of amateurs and one experienced (bad) actor, for next to zero money, with homemade CGI special effects, I thought it was pretty good. Last week, the New Voyages crew released their latest episode, “World Enough and Time,” starring George Takei as Sulu.

Not too shabby, I have to say. Technically speaking it was their best work so far, with the production values more or less equal to one of the original Star Trek shows, and the special effects looking as good as what you might have seen on a first season episode of Babylon 5 or something like that. Most of the acting is bad, which is expected from a cast of untrained actors, but not as bad as it could’ve been. As Kirk, Cawley has none of the presence of Shatner, and Jeff Quinn, the dude who plays Spock, looks about 12 years old, but both of them have improved their performances throughout the four episodes they’ve produced, so now they’re to the point of being mediocre but not embarrassing. I like them. More than that, after watching four episodes of this series, I’m used to them in the roles, for better or worse. When the preview for the fifth episode, “Blood and Fire,” was shown at the end of “World Enough and Time,” and I saw that Jeff Quinn wasn’t playing Spock in it (he couldn’t get off work to make principal photography), I was actually disappointed. They got me, those fuckers.

Takei was the shit, though. Watching it, I caught myself thinking “Goddamn, since when is George Takei such a great fucking actor?” Because he looks really good in this episode. He’s got a great screen presence, he’s emotionally invested in the character, he just acts his balls off. Objectively, I don’t think he is that great of an actor. He’s not bad, certainly. He’s a good actor. But being the only professional, experienced actor in a cast of amateurs makes him seem like the master of the fucking universe. Like how a slightly off-color t-shirt looks gleaming white next to a really dirty one. He also benefited from the best script that the show’s had so far. It’s the most ambitious story they’ve attempted so far, spanning the Star Trek era up to the movies, showing Sulu as Captain of the Excelsior in the opening and closing segments. If “World Enough and Time” had been an actual episode with a cast of proper actors, it would’ve been one of the best shows any Star Trek series ever made.

Anyway, they don’t have the episode linked for download yet at the series homepage, but I found a good QuickTime file of it via BitTorrent here. Check it out if you’re as big a loser as me and want to see Sulu suddenly become the center of the Star Trek universe.
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