Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Nostalgia encaged

Tonight was the one-night-only presentation of the HD, new CGI FX version of "Star Trek: The Menagerie" (TOS) on the big screen, at the glorious Hayden Orpheum Cinema in Cremorne.

Not only was it a great advertisement for the upcoming boxed sets on DVD HD, it will whet appetites for the Spock/Pike/Kirk story being filmed by JJ Abrams for his new Star Trek motion picture, currently filming. I was very satisfied by the (highly criticised on the Internet) new SPFX, now in glorious CGI.

It was a great night of wonderful nostalgia, catching up with: Karen S. and her mother Mavis, veterans of the early days of Astrex; Djura's friends Tanya and Atha (who were handing out fliers on behalf of Paramount Home Video); plus other members of the Star Trek Meetup Group. So out of over 200 attendees at the first session, I recognised at least ten people. (Actually, I thought I might have spotted a few more.) We assume the second screening had a similar number.

Cartoon by Brett Bower, (c) 1987

The night made me flashback to the time when Network Seven secured the rights to run the full series of Star Trek - in colour for the first time - in the early 80s, when Paramount was just starting to drop some hints about the then-forthcoming "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan". They gave away free passes to see "The Menagerie" on the big screen, although the original flier had promised "City on the Edge of Forever" and "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", neither of which I'd seen at the time. Frustratingly, I'd bought a Beta copy of "The Menagerie" only a week before the free screening, and with so many episodes still eluding me, it was a little frustrating to sit through the double episode again so soon.

Thinking about "The Menagerie", tonight may have been my first time watching it since that big night over two decades ago. I've seen "The Cage", the first pilot, in various editions, many times in the intervening years, but have rarely been inspired to watch the whole of "The Menagerie" again. It held up extremely well, especially with so much in new, sharp contrast, fabulous new backgrounds, Enterprise and shuttlecraft flybys and amazingly detailed starfields.

Seven's freebie night had managed to fill the main level of Sydney's State Theatre without even trying, interrupting the theatrical first-run release of "Clash of the Titans". The event was lampooned, ever so gently, by Seven's late night news, and Therin of Andor made his TV debut that night. Almost everyone in the theatre was in costume that night. However, at the Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace, I spotted only three costumes (Tanya, Atha and yours truly - I wore my ST:TMP shirt from Epsilon 9), and a couple of TOS-themed silk ties. Sigh.

The Season One DVD HD sets of TOS come out next week, according to the "making of" documentary that introduced the double episode.


De said...

I didn't hear of anyone doing this, but how cool would it have been for someone to show up to a screening driving a Captain Pike chair?

Therin of Andor said...

With all those steps? How cruel!

Did you notice that the only Starfleet door handle we saw in all of TOS was on Pike's room at Starbase 11?