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Star Trek: Operation Beta Shield (2008)

 -  Action | Fantasy | Sci-Fi  -  2008 (USA)
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User Reviews

Not bad, if you know these characters.
2 April 2011 | by (Canada) – See all my reviews

First I should warn you that this film is not something you should watch without having some familiarity with the fan series Star Trek: Intrepid and Hidden Frontier/Helena Chronicles/Odyssey. Having seen only half those series, I found myself a little lost, even though I had seen the prequel Orphans of War some time earlier. Also, this film appears to be followed by the Federation One series, and the short film One of Our Own. (Maybe a flowchart on the hiddenfrontier website is in order). It also has some relationship to The Section 31 Files audio series I am totally unfamiliar with.

The film has two main story lines, with a minor subplot as well, and it's difficult sometimes to keep track of what is happening. For example, when Intrepid is sent to Vrijheid, it just wasn't clear to me that is where they were, until I watched that part again a few times. This film is short enough that it could have benefited from a few more minutes helping the rest of us understand things.

There's also a subplot having to do with Nostrum seeking his fiancée. This didn't really seem to fit in with anything else, so I'm not sure why it's there. If it's needed to complete a story, I'd probably have taken all these scenes and inserted them into a future film as a flashback. Maybe it makes more sense if you've seen all the other series.

This film is in the usual Hidden Frontier style, although it is of much higher quality than the original Hidden Frontier series. Some of the backgrounds are animated. The green auras seem to be gone.

The acting is OK too, generally, a step up from Hidden Frontier. In particular, the McCabe character (actor Wayne Webb) has grown since Hidden Frontier days and could probably fit right in to any official Star Trek set, except maybe for one scene which looks like he was briefly possessed by James Cawley, of nose-scrunching fame.

Makeup was good, which is to say I didn't notice any. The characters looked like they should look.

And I liked the closing credits music, which I guess is original, although based on familiar themes.

Briefly, the story is: Excelsior has a diplomatic mission to the Romulans, to seek permission for Federation (Starfleet & Klingon) forces to repel suspected Archein invasion into their Beta quadrant, as a first step to protecting Alpha quadrant from the same, while dealing with claims of Section 13 spying. Intrepid, which was accompanying Excelsior, is sent to Vrijheid to investigate the Section 13 part. There's a change in leadership, and the new Federation President Vindenpawl renames Starfleet One to Federation One. With this sort of non-ending, the film feels like a series pilot. It certainly has my interest.

I wavered between 6 and 7 for this one. I went with 6 due to the green-screen style (even if it's perfect, I still probably won't like it) and the complex plot relying on a lot of knowledge from other series, without re-explaining it for those who haven't (or won't) see those other series.

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