Review “Of Gods And Men” Act 3 June 14, 2008by John Tenuto , Filed under: Fan Productions,Of Gods and Men,Review , trackback
The third and final act of the independent Star Trek: Of Gods and Men saga is available starting Sunday June 15th. TrekMovie.com was given an early preview of this excellent action-packed conclusion, replete with Trekkie nods and a great starship battle.
Morals are for men, not gods
– Gary Mitchell, "Where No Man Has Gone Before"
This time, it really is "Of Gods and Men"
Of Gods and Men ultimately reveals the meaning of its title, with battles on the Guardian Planet between gods and starship battles between men. The story is set mostly in the alternative reality, as the restored Chekov and Uhura work with former enemy Harriman to battle Kirot Prime and his Galactic Order. At stake is the restoration of the proper timeline.
The episode begins where Act 2 left off with a bit of a quick (and too convenient) resolution to the "to be continued" cliffhanger. The action then moves to the big reveal (pictured below) that the main villain, ‘Kirot Prime’ is actually Gary Mitchell. While this is an inspired nod of continuity, the reveal loses a bit of drama because Gary Lockwood’s Mitchell has been recast (with Daamen J. Krall), requiring Nichelle Nichol’s Uhura to let the audience in on who he is. Besides those minor issues, there is much to like about this chapter of OGAM.
Ol’ silver eyes is back
Of Acting and Actors
The acting in this episode is excellent with Gary Graham, JG Hertzler, Alan Ruck, and Nichelle Nichols again carry much of the load. Also Chase Masterson’s Xela is finally given something to do besides sitting in her chair looking green and pretty. Masterson shows that there is an actress under the Orion make-up. The cameos here are excellent, and unlike cameos in most entertainment, actually work to help the narrative. For example, Grace Lee Whitney’s Rand has a moment where she is beamed down to the planet during Gary Mitchell and Charlie’s titanic battle of the gods. She merely stands there, yet it speaks volumes because it distracts Charlie, who in the episode "Charlie X" is in love with Janice. Also it was a delight to see Arlene Martell (T’Pring from "Amok Time") play a Vulcan presiding over a marriage ceremony which concludes the mini-series.
Who you callin’ a slave?
Of Narrative and Character
Unlike Act 2, which was mostly character moments, Act 3 is mostly about action. There are excellent starship battles, including a very cool use of the saucer separation capabilities of the GSS Conqueror. The battle on the planet is compelling but perhaps isn’t as strong as its notions of a battle of the gods. Yet OGAM doesn’t forget the importance of character in this chapter. Characters are redeemed and there are nice moments such as Uhura singing "Charlie’s Our Darling" to connect with the troubled super-being. The theme of OGAM is the right to self determination, to live and let live. While stronger in the second chapter on this idea, the theme is not forgotten here. The final wedding scene also has a very is also fun character moment, complete with TOS-like episode-capping humor.
Uhura can still sing
Of Effects and Cinematography
Act 3 delivers by far the best effects of the entire mini-series. While still not Network TV quality, the space scenes are very good, helping the narrative and characters. The scope of the battles and the huge variety of ships is reminiscent of some of the exciting battles from the Deep Space Nine Dominion War arc. There are also some nice homages to Generations and The Wrath of Khan, especially in meaning and symbolism. Yet, OGAM still has its own look, with Director Tim Russ continuing the almost documentary-style cinematography of previous chapters. Adding to the effects is the music by Justin R. Durban, which has a dramatic quality adding to both the visuals and the narrative.
That’s a lot of ships
Of Gods and Men Together
Now that all three acts are available, it is highly recommended to watch them as one entire film. Almost like the Star Wars films, OGAM plays differently when watched together. OGAM is ambitious, yet there were limited resources. Despite the inclusion of so many professional artists and actors, it must be remembered that OGAM is still an independent fan film. Yet, like Phase II’s recent episodes, OGAM must be considered one of the best examples of the fan film grene and as close as they get to ‘the real thing,’ despite some limitations in effects from earlier chapters or the occasional set or art design flaw. What is really important for Star Trek fans is here: good acting, a science fiction narrative that has both action and metaphor, a social theme, and a discussion of modern events utilizing futuristic notions.
Koenig’s Chekov and Ruck’s Harriman fighting for freedom
Act 3 of "Star Trek: Of Gods and Men" will be available for download Sunday June 15th at 5:01 PM Eastern. A special preview was sent to those on the OGaM e-mailing list Saturday. And don’t forget to stay for the credits, there is a great gag reel.
For more information, visit StarTrekOfGodsAndMen.net