It's one thing to boldly go and explore a mythology; it's another to simply just take toys and build another castle. The best fan fiction does a little bit of both; Of Gods and Men does too much of the latter and not enough of the former.When I wrote those words for Comic Related back in May, I had not seen the third part of the three-part fan film commemorating Trek's 40th anniversary. I was secretly hoping that, in the third act, it would pull itself together and prove me wrong - that, in fact, there was still life in the Star Trek franchise.
Unfortunately, my greatest disappointments were confirmed - this is probably one of the worst pieces of Trek ever made. It's such a badly conceived, written, and acted piece of fanwank that it makes Journey's End seem like appointment television. And if JJ Abrams' movie version of the the Enterprise crew does poorly in the box office, this will be seen as the final nail in Trek's coffin.
In all fairness, it's obvious that the people involved love Trek...so then, why is this so pedestrian, so simplistic, so cliche that it's often hard to watch.
Maybe I've answered my own question - there are numerous references to classic Trek. Way too many references, not just to characters, but to plots. It happens so much that if I tried to spoil the experience for someone, they would either not believe me or shrug and walk away. This is an episode reminiscent of later Voyager or even early Enterprise - there's enough for the hardcore fan to latch onto, but it ends up being a parody of itself, like a full length version of Bring Back Kirk.
Of course, the other weakest link is the acting - one would expect bad acting from amateurs (and quite frankly, most "amateurs" would do better than this), but from people in the business for thirty plus years? Granted, it shows how dedicated they are to Trek, but to volunteer for rubbish like this seems...well, sad. And the special effects...well, I've seen better in Second Life.
I know that some readers will chastise me, either claiming that I'm not being fair and/or that I should be grateful to the producers of the New Voyages for dedicating their time and talents to a non-profit endeavor. However, there's something about this production that feels incredibly arrogant, that doesn't have the sheer joy - or sense of discovery - that classic Trek or TNG did. (Or even, I'll argue, DS9).
Granted, it's free, and you can watch online and make up your own mind. However, you will lose an hour and a half from your life, and I can think of better things to do....like watch classic Trek.