STAR TREK: CAPTAIN'S LOG FAN...
Reviewed by: Dave Murray
What's it about
Covering all five Star Trek television series', this boxset contains an episode chosen by each of the five Starfleet Captains as their favourite, as well as two fan favourite episodes featuring the adventures of each Captain.
Is it good movie?
Having watched over 1000 hours of Star Trek over the years, and seeing a heap of fan favourite collections, it was nice to see the Captains get to show their picks. Arguably the stars of the different incarnations of the show, each Captain brought something new to the table in terms of charaacterization, portrayal and talent. Whether it's the over-the top melodramatics of Shatner's Captain Kirk, to the dry and reserved dignity of Stewart's Captain Picard, the quiet rage and caged animal nature of Brooks' Captain Sisko, the determination and tenaciousness of Mulgrew's Captain Janeway, or Bakula's playful with a serious purpose Captain Archer, each lead character was unique and certainly a driving force behind the success of the long running show.
Each series is represented by a three or four episode disc, which include the Captain's pick and the fan favourites (which in some cases are double episodes). The highlight of the first disc, from the original Star Trek series, is City On The Edge Of Forever, an award winning time travel episode featuring screen legend Joan Collins. While this is one of the best of the classic Star Trek episodes, it's also Shatner's finest moment as an actor. The production values are gorgeous for the time it was shot (1969), and this shows just how good the original series can look on DVD. On the second disc, which showcases episodes from The Next Generation series, the Captain's pic is the episode In Theory, directed by Stewart and featuring Brent Spiner's Data in a romantic relationship. While it's still one of my favourite episodes all these years later, the fan pick Chain Of Command is a far superior piece, with enough room and exploration of human suffering for Stewart to stratch his highly impressive acting legs in.
The third disc is quite possibly my favourite of the bunch, because while the others don't necessarily contain the best that Star Trek had to offer, the Deep Space Nine episodes are some of the most intense and topical of what became my favourite Star Trek series. The highly political "time travel" episode Far Beyond The Stars not only shows Avery Brooks' acting talent, but his directing chops as well. It's also a great trip to see all of the DS9 crew out of alien makeup but playing the same types of characters. However, it's the two part epic series finale What You Leave Behind that kicks serious ass with everything that I loved about DS9. Enormous and tense space battles (with the mighty little USS Defiant busting heads all over the place), political and religious intrigue, a vague and loaded ending and some of the best performances put in by any Star Trek cast. The third and final episode here, In The Pale Moonlight is a great character piece for Brooks, with a chilling monologue and some intircate plotting in the middle of the Dominion War story arc.
While I was never really a fan of the last two series', Voyager and the prequel to the original series, Enterprise, the episodes contained on the last two discs are entertaining and they both feature great emsemble casts. But for me, they seemed more of a footnote to the greatness that had come before them. I never really got into the shows while they were on tv, like I did with The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine, but on DVD they are starting to grow on me. Mulgrew's Voyager pick Counterpoint is a taut little tale of romance and betrayal, and is a highlight of an otherwise forgettable season of the show. As for Enterprise, I found myself enjoying all three episodes, whether it was the Archer on trial by the Klingons in Judgement, the possible decomissioning of the first Enterprise in These are the Voyages, or an even further glimpse into Star Trek past with First Flight, where Archer races to break the Warp 2 barrier.
Here's hoping that Enterprise and the flick Nemesis aren't the last from these great performers and characters. While the idea of a "reboot" of the original series with younger actors playing Kirk and Spock is cool in a lame remake sort of way, I for one would love to see more of the folks in this set up on the big screen. But oh well, I'll always have DVD.
Video / Audio
Video: Full Screen - 1.33:1, except Disc 5 - Widescreen anamorphic - 1.66:1.
Audio: English (Doldy 5.1 Surround, Dolby 2.0 Surround). Spanish, Portuguese, and subtitles in English, Spanish and Portuguese.
Each disc features a number of Interviews and intros by the Captains, and while they are very short, they are fascinating glimpses into the motivations behind each actor's portrayal of a Commanding Officer:
Disc 1 - William Shatner: Introduction to The City On The Edge Of Forever, Interviews - What makes a Good Captain, The Importance of the "Captain's Log", Captain Kirk's Legacy.
Disc 2 - Patrick Stewart: Introduction to all three episodes, Interviews - The Importance of the "Captain's Log", Playing a Captian, Looking Back, Star Trek & The Stage, Picard's Future.
Disc 3 - Avery Brooks: Introduction to Far Beyond The Stars, Interviews - A Captain and Father, Sisko as Emmisary, Directing, Imagining the Future, Social Commentary, Aspirations, Star Trek's Impact.
Disc 4 - Kate Mulgrew: Introduction to all three episodes, Interviews - The Importance of the "Captain's Log", Janeway's Best Qualities, What makes a Good Captain, Janeway's Future, Looking Back.
Disc 5 - Scott Bakula: Introduction to Judgement & These Are The Voyages, Interviews - What makes a Good Captain, The Importance of the "Captain's Log", Archer's Best Qualities, Looking Back, Closing Statement on Captain's Log Fan Collective.
While not the best of the best, these episodes spanning the history of Star Trek are certainly indicative of the talent, energy and love that went into the show over the couse of over 35 years. With insightful (if short) interviews and some fine performances both in front of and behind the camera, this set is a great addition to the collection of any fan who doesn't already have every single episode on DVD! The episodes highlighted on this five disc set have whetted my appitite and got me in the mood for some marathon Star Trek action. So go grab me a case of Blood Wine and a hot Dabo Girl, cause I'm ready for some more!