Sunday, January 25, 2009

The 'Nam With Phasers

Star Trek. I haven’t watched it since the late 80s. It’s been Remastered. Now it’s being Re-viewed.

“A Private Little War”

The gang at CBS Digital photographed the CGI Enterprise from some nice angles, but this was somewhat undermined by a very fake looking new digital planet which looks like a painted plastic ball (I blame the way they lit the planet). They also added a Klingon ship which was talked about but never seen in the original version. Too bad they couldn’t do something to make the Mugatu look less fake! (Hire Rick Baker or Stan Winston’s people to have a go at it.)

This was a fun episode to watch as a kid, with lots of running around, some fights, a couple of phaser blasts, and a cool (for a pre-teenage viewer) monster. As you got older you appreciated it’s ‘Nam comes to Star Trek story of two superpowers each arming rival factions of a primitive society. But the Mugatu really looks goofy.

William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy are both outstanding in this episode, though they spend the majority of it apart from each other. This is an episode where DeForest Kelley spends a good deal of time partnered with Shatner and they make the most of it (perhaps not doing so again until Star Trek VI), proving that the heart of the show really is the three of them, as characters and actors.

Michael Witney, who plays Tyree, comes across as more slow and thick-headed rather than simply as an innocent primitive. Nancy Kovak, who plays Nona, should have been brought back as a Klingon or Romulan woman. She had a certain spark about her. Or maybe it was that weird red fur top she wore. The Mugatu should have been corralled to peddle Dole bananas (assuming he liked bananas and not, say, pineapples).

Remember the Kazon aliens from Star Trek: Voyager episodes, the people with the weird paper mache-like hairdos? Well, the goofy blond wigs that Tyree and his people wear come a close second to those as Star Trek's worst alien hair styles. And they all wear the same funky khaki outfits that look like they came from a primitive Old Navy.

Disclaimer: Star Trek is Copyright 2009 and a Registered Trademark of CBS Studios, Inc. No infringement of those rights is implied.

Thanks to for the Star Trek screencaps.

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