Review: Star Trek: The Next Generation Theater Event + LeVar Burton Defends Wil Wheaton At NYC Event

Last night CBS and Fathom Entertainment held special one night only theater screenings of two episodes from the first season of Star Trek: The Next Generation. This celebration of the 25th anniversary of the show was also a way to promote today’s release of the first season of the show on Blu-ray. TrekMovie’s John Tenuto share’s his thoughts on the event with a recap and review, including some tidbits shown that aren’t on the S1 release. Also find out what LeVar Burton had to say about Wesley when he attended the NYC screening.

 

RECAP & REVIEW: Star Trek: The Next Generation July 23 Theater Screening

It was strange to be at a movie theater so close in time to the tragedy in Aurora, Colorado to see Fathom’s Star Trek: The Next Generation 25th Anniversary Movie Event. In fact, it was obvious from the police presence to the careful scrutiny all received going in that things have changed, at least temporarily, for American film goers. The experience of going to a theater had shades of what it was like to fly in an airplane immediately after September 11th, 2001. Tragedies can change the way we think about and experience even the most common events, like attending a movie. And yet, appropriately, it was at this Star Trek movie event that good will and humanity shined through everyone’s courtesy and common interests. To say it was heartening to have a great time in a theater full of strangers who are also fellow fans is an understatement. Perhaps they aren’t strangers after all…

My wife Maria Jose, son Nicky, and I went to the Regal Lincolnshire Theaters in Illinois for the 7:00PM showing. Like with all the other screenings, patrons arriving early were treated to a Star Trek: TNG trivia game on the big screen. By the time the program began, there were only about 15 empty seats in the large auditorium. Reports from other locations also indicate full or close to capacity crowds across the country. I cannot remember ever being at a theater that packed before, despite going to many films on opening day. It was a welcomed sign of the continued enthusiasm for Star Trek.

The first item on the program was a Season One Blu-ray bonus feature detailing remastering of TNG into HD. There was an audible gasp when new version of the Crystalline Entity was shown next to its original standard definition presentation. However, it was great to learn how much respect the new team has for the original artists and their concern for not changing anything that didn’t need to be changed. That being said, any effects not done in camera, such as phasers and transporter beams, had to be recreated for the Blu-ray versions. The comment by one of the artists that they are trying to match every single sprinkle and light in the transporter to match the original showing was a good indication of the new effect’s team respect.

Then Denise and Michael Okuda appeared in a special video made for the theater screenings, informing us why “Where No One Has Gone Before” was selected as one of the two episodes showing that evening, mostly because of its spectacular effects and more importantly, its representation of the major themes of Star Trek.

The episode itself was everything promised. The effects are amazing, and I can’t wait to rewatch it again today when the Blu-ray is available. Most enjoyable was watching the episode with fellow fans, whose laughter and applause was at exactly the right moments. This wasn’t a Rocky Horror Picture Show crowd. Instead, we all quietly watched the episodes (no distracting cell phone lights activating that I could see!) and enjoyed the humor and adventure. The biggest laugh was for Chief Engineer Argyle’s well deserved ignoring of the arrogant Mr. Kosinski.

A surprise was the excellent bonus featured in between the two episodes, which featured never before seen costume and makeup tests (Data with green and orange eyes!). The inclusion of bloopers and the joviality of the crew on the set elicited many laughs. Plus, there was a great deal of trivia in the documentary.

Denise and Mike Okuda also shared some great trivia (not on the S1 set) as they introduced “Datalore” including the fact that Mike was almost Noonien Soong! In the original script, Lore and Data look at a picture of their creator, and Mike was slated to be the one photographed. It was also learned that “Datalore” was Gene Roddenberry’s last writing credit for Star Trek.

The episode was very fun, with Brent Spiner’s performance being a highlight. The Crystalline Entity gets a “wow” for certain. And the crowd reaction to “Shut up, Wesley!” was worth the price of admission. Seeing the great demise action sequence of Lore being tossed by Data into the transporter beam was a great thrill on the big screen. 

At our screening, there was a glitch during the scene where Lore is disabling Data. Supposedly a few theaters lost their feed permanently at that point. That is the only technical problem we have learned about. For us, it wasn’t too bad, but for other fans it would have been disappointing to not see the ending of the episode for sure!

The conclusion of the evening’s program was a preview of the Season 2 footage. The Borg look great, and the bonus features which include a reunion of all the TNG cast together looks to be fun and heartwarming. Especially intriguing is the promise of deleted scenes from “Measure of a Man.” Unfortunately, no exact date other than “2012” or “soon” were given.

All in all, a wonderful fun community event. We hope that CBS/Paramount considers this kind of event for each of the seasons…can’t you just see “The Best of Both Worlds” on the big screen?


Signing off screen for TNG event on July 23, 2012

LeVar Burton surprises fans at Times Square Screening + Wheaton’s free eBook reviews

Star Trek: TNG’s LeVar Burton was in NYC yesterday and he decided to check out the event on his own (incognito). TrekMovie reader George Hill sends in this account:

Last night at the Times Square screening, some PR person started giving a speech before the show, and got some lukewarm claps when he mentioned Wil Wheaton. Then, someone shouted out that his “personal friend” should get some more love, and there would be no Wesley hating allowed.

That someone was LeVar Burton.

Other highlights:

  • He gave a lot of respect to the fan who came dressed as Geordi.
  • One fan asked how long it took Data to get made up. He responded that Data never got made up, Brent Spiner did, and that they weren’t actually in that spaceship. When the fans got a little restless at that, he said that he meant they weren’t in it “all the time.” Because they beamed down to planets and Starfleet Academy sometimes.
  • He revealed that he has only seen about 80 episodes of TNG, since watching the show they did weeks ago was difficult to do when it was in production.
  • He talked about Voyager episode "Timeless," and how much he enjoyed being Captain.
  • He talked about his directing experience in "Second Chances" as “a double dose of Frakes.”
  • I asked how he managed to have the time to do both Star Trek: TNG and Reading Rainbow. He answered that given the universe is expanding, and space and time are expanding, there is always more time. Also, Rick Berman was very supportive of children’s TV, and allowed some flexibility to keep Reading Rainbow alive.

Speaking of Wil Wheaton, the former TNG actor and current professional geek, has released a free ebook featuring reviews of the two episodes which were shown at the event. These have been taken from his "Memories of the Future" collection. You can download the free ebook here.

Share your experience below

Did you get a chance to attend one of the screenings? Share your thoughts on the event below? Did people show up in costume? Do you have any fun photos? Post links below or send in photos to tips@trekmovie.com.

 

Available Today  – price drop to $59.99

The first Blu-ray season for Star Trek: The Next Generation comes out July 24th. The six-disc set includes HD remasters (in 1080p and 7.1 DTS audio) of all 26 episodes, plus brand new special features (see below for full details). The official retail price (according to CBS) is $118.00 in the US (which is actually a little less than the MSRP for Star Trek: TOS Blu-ray Season 1).

You can order the set at discounted prices.  Amazon has lowered their price to $59.99 which appears to match Best Buy. Walmart is selling it for $78.86 

Amazon – USA Walmart – USA BestBuy – USA
Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season One
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$78.86
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Star Trek: The Next Generation – Season One
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$59.99
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The set is also available for pre-order at Amazon sites around the world.

Canada UK Germany

 

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