Readers may remember that I wrote briefly last month about the fan-film-to-be Star Trek: Axanar currently being sued by Paramount/CBS. Prelude to Axanar is a ~20 min. short film created a couple years ago to serve as a “teaser” for the planned, full-length, feature-quality film and to encourage fans to donate to the Kickstarter campaign. As mentioned in the prior post, the film will be based on a Star Trek role-playing game and tells the story of a significant battle and turning-point in “The Four Years War” between the United Federation of Planets and the Klingon Empire.
As you can probably guess, Prelude to Axanar reveals the events leading up to the confrontation at Axanar, a planet strategically positioned between the four principle worlds of the Foundation — Earth, Vulcan, Andor, and Tellar. The format is that of an historical documentary, with significant players in the war reflecting back on what happened, interspersed with images of planets, ships, and the devastation caused by both planetside attacks and space battles. There are several faces that should be familiar to genre fans — J.G. Hertzler, Tony Todd, Gary Graham (reprising his role as Vulcan Ambassador Soval from “Enterprise”), and a couple Battlestar Galactica alumni (which I’ll leave as a surprise).
Until recently, I had only heard of the Axanar project but never looked into it, let alone watched Prelude. (Some fan I am, eh?) I was expecting a typical fan-film, with sub-par acting and cheap-looking F/X. I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. This is a top-notch production — from the acting to the visual and special F/X to the music and costumes, etc. Everything looked and sounded just as good as the TV shows!
I loved seeing Graham as a slightly grayer Soval, as well as the other Star Trek actors in new roles. The “Hero of Axanar”, Garth of Izar, is played by Axanar’s writer/producer Alec Peters. He did a fine job. Perhaps my favorite, though, was the Klingon Warlord and Supreme Commander, Kharn the Undying. The music, lighting, costume & makeup combined with a terrific (though somewhat subdued) performance by… well, you’ll just have to watch it. And the reason the production values are so high?
“The makeup and hair was designed by Academy Award winner Kevin Haney and Star Trek veteran Brad Look of Makeup Effects Lab in Hollywood. Top that off with the amazing visual effects of Tobias Richter of The Light Works, and sound by Academy Award winner Frank Serafine.”
If Axanar Productions can win the lawsuit and maintain the passion and production quality seen in Prelude to Axanar, I think Star Trek fans can anticipate being quite impressed with Star Trek: Axanar. Of course, it certainly helps that so many of the fans involved in the making of the film are also talented professionals themselves.