Star Trek: The Next Generation - Season 8
Each episode lasts one hour. Tone and characterization attempts to hew more closely to the show, unnecessary subplots and characters have been dropped, and the franchise concludes on a significantly different note.
- Tone and characterization would attempt to remain more consistent to the TV series.
- To this end, action sequences would be minimized and used only to further a story or character arc. Minimal extraneous set pieces remain. The Next Generation solves its problems with words or with cleverness more than fisticuffs and phasers.
- Scenes or characters which do not move along the story or further a character arc would be removed, even if they work well in their own right.
- Any indication that Data could remove or turn off his emotion chip would be excised. The later movies regressed rather than progressed his character; this edit aims to reverse that.
- Data's death would be removed and replaced with a different resolution for Shinzon. Killing a main character can be an excellent storytelling decision, but not if it is handled as sloppily as in Nemesis.
FIRST CONTACT / PHOENIX
- Removed any trace of Starfleet ordering Picard away from the fight, thus moving us into the main plot significantly quicker
Inserted new intro sequence
- Removed all dialogue and almost all shots of Lily throughout movie
- Removed Data failing to understand emotional significance of touching the Phoenix, and instead made it a shared moment between Data and Picard.
- Removed horror film sequence of minor characters discovering the Borg
- Removed Picard revenge arc--some audiences like it, but it makes no difference to the plot outcomes!
- Removed deflector dish subplot/video game action sequence
- Trimmed Cochrane
- Many small trims to move along pacing
INSURRECTION / HEART OF LIGHTNESS
- Skipped lengthy "Welcome to the Shire" introduction sequence
- Trimmed initial chase sequence to defer the revelation until the last moment that the rogue officer is Data
- Inserted new intro sequence
- Removed indication that Data's emotion chip could be removed
- Removed screwball and physical humor
- "A British Tar" remains, but some technobabble and other elements in the scene are trimmed for pacing
- All scenes indicating a romance between Picard and the Ba'ku woman are cut
- Significant amounts of action cut, starting with the first phaser battle after discovering the cloaked holodeck
- The Ba'ku and Son'a being the same species has been cut
- The detonation of the subspace weapon now destroys the Son'a ship, thus resolving the Enterprise's action sequence in far less time
- Surface battles cut to absolute minimum to advance the plot
- The Son'a first officer now turns coat based on his differences with Ru'afo without requiring convincing from Picard
- The story resolves with Ru'afo and his crew on the holoship. This is the poetic justice that concludes the narrative, and Action Hero Picard on the extractor is wholly unnecessary.
- Picard gazes at the restored peace of the Ba'ku before departing rather than at a love interest.
NEMESIS / ROMULUS & REMUS
- B-4 and all plots or scenes related to him have been cut.
- After the cold open on Romulus and new intro sequence, we cut directly to Picard being contacted by Janeway.
- Picard's mockery of Worf's discomfort with Betazed wedding customs has been cut, but a heavily edited version of the scene remains to foreshadow Riker and Troi's wedding.
- Shinzon's request to touch Troi's hair is cut.
- Thaleron radiation no longer dissolves biological matter on a subatomic level, because this makes no sense. Crusher just tells us it's Very Bad.
- When Data and LaForge discover the source of the computer intrusion, Data beams on a covert op to the Scimitar. This is achieved by an extreme crop of his disguised trip to the Scimitar in the original. Thus he is on the ship to rescue Picard. (As a sidebar, the implication is that the standard issue Federation uniform for covert ops is an orange jumpsuit.)
- The rape scene is made much shorter and is (hopefully) no longer outright offensive and exploitative. Picard also no longer asks Troi to endure more of these attacks (ugh!)--he just says he still needs her on duty.
- The entire ramming scene and latter action sequences of the movie have been cut. Troi's ploy to locate Shinzon's viceroy with telepathy is now the decisive means by which the Enterprise destroys the Scimitar.
- Thus, the movie closes on Riker and Troi's wedding (which, like most of the movie, has many small trims). In closing, we hear Data singing as we see a family growing up and parting ways.
The TNG crew always had a rougher ride at the big screen than their predecessors, with many claiming the only gold nugget was First Contact. I've always enjoyed them personally , even if RedLetterMedia's deconstruction of the films remains a highlight of any daty where I'm bored. Fortunatly, MenBailee has managed an enviable edit that tightens the bolts on the TNG movies, including First Contact. I love FC as it was, but the trims made here are'nt at all unwelcome and keeps Picard in a state of composed and ordered calm becoming of a starfleet captain. Insurrection and Nemesis were my main points of interest. Insurrection is my favourite TNG movie ever. EVER. Better than First Contact by a mile (blasphemy I hear you say), but at it's core it is a vintage bit of TNG, cut down it's a great runaround and the new ending is more in-keeping with how a tv episode would end. Nemesis works well without the B4 subplot and while there are darker elements I wish could be removed, consistency and continuity means they have to stay. The ending is right on the dot too, a sound climax that brings all the themes of family and unity together as we bid the crew of the Enterprise safe passage into those "blue skies". Overall this is a great effort and it gives the TNG crew deserving dignity in their final journies together.
A great way to clean up and even up the 3 final Next Generation movies. I thoroughly enjoyed watching these.
Although I understand why it was done, the B4/Data subplot omission was one of the only things that I enjoyed about Nemesis, so I did miss that being removed.
However, the edit is outstanding. I would definitely recommend taking the time to watch it.
This review will focus primarily on the "Phoenix" episode as I was only able to glance through the remaining episodes. I will update the review as I complete them.
I was skeptical when I first read that each episode was only an hour long. I thought perhaps a "to be continued" 2 part series could be accomplished, but not a single episode. Well, you nailed it. The vibe was nearly perfect with reimagining these movies as Next Generation episodes. I loved being thrown into the action, then going to the opening credits and back into the story. The only thing missing from the tv vibe were commercial breaks. The cuts were tasteful and intelligent and moved the stories along at the pace required without feeling overly rushed or lacking. Amazing Job! Wow! These may be the definitive narratives for these "episodes". Amazing work!
Audio/Video Quality: 9
The Audio and video are exactly what they should be for a dvd release. Great job!
Visual Editing: 8.5
Again, nearly flawless. The opening credits are the only real areas where the visual issues arise, but understandably so when trying to input new footage of the enterprise e. I agree with Bionicbob about a few seconds of time before jumping into the episode. Other than that, another great job!
Audio Editing: 9
There are a few hard cuts in the audio when trying to edit out scenes, the bane of any heavily orchestrated movie. These weren't jarring, just noticeable. Yet another Great Job!
"Phoenix" - 9
The biggest change here is the absence of Lilly. By the time I noticed this fact, 20 min or so of screen time had been edited out without a hitch. Superb Job! I feel Lilly's absence as an integral character (she does show up in a few scenes as a bystander) actually improves Picard's character. The whole Ahab/Revenge undertone is gone with her removal and so there is no need to resolve it. In fact, removing Lilly made me realize how First Contact knocked the character of Picard down by using revenge as his motivation. Picard isn't about revenge, he's about loyalty, integrity, and preserving the greater good. This edit restores those qualities that we all have grown to love about Picard. Bravo!
My only head scratching moment during this edit was the choice to remove Picard's line "What have you done to him?" when he confronts the Borg queen and she presents the "assimilated" Data to him. I feel that line and The Borg Queen's response help explain why Data was going along with her. Perhaps that can be reinstated in a version 2.0 which also includes a "Nexus" episode? :)
I do miss Picard and Warf's interaction where Picard apologizes and gives him his highest compliment, but I understand that it has no place nor any need to be included in this edit.
Wow, I just now realized that there was no deflector dish realignment/hand to hand combat scene. Ha, didn't even miss it. Assimilate that!:)
"Heart of Lightness" 7.5
The narrative movement of the story is quite excellent for the first 3/4 or so of the episode, but the ending felt rushed and unexplained. I first noticed the editing when Data found the holodeck in the river. The removal of the attack in the holodeck makes the request to free the Son'a soldiers, whom we never see being taken captive, a little odd. The cuts during the evacuation were done well and moved the scene along without having to head into the caves, but with the removal of the majority of Picard and Anij's scenes the love interest is gone, which kind of saddens. We learn a lot about Picard in and during these scenes and also the unique quality of the Baku which I feel reveal important aspects . Not essential, but I did miss these scenes. I appreciated the removal of the Admiral's demise. The ending was a bit abrupt and Warf's presence on the Son'a ship and the ship's plight is hard to take in as it heavily implies that a battle was fought, but again we never see it. I was intrigued by ending the episode without Picard's showdown on the solar collector. I think much of my gripes comes due to the fact that this movie was already very much a TNG 2 part episode. Still, this was an enjoyable edit that I'll watch again.
"Romulus & Remus" 8
Great movement of the story. All the key story points are present without the horrible argo scenes and B4. The absence of B4 does cause an odd moment when Data beams to the Scimatar to free Picard while wearing B4's jump suit and the removal of Data's sacrifice negates the need for the personal beaming device scene. I was hoping the mind rape scene would be left out or very much amended, but I do understand the inclusion of it for continuity reasons. The destruction of the scimitar was a little abrupt and didn't quite seem Picardish. I did like how the episode ended light and shipped the characters off on a good note with Data still alive, but I will admit that I felt Data's sacrifice meant more as his choice to save his friends truly completed and capstoned his quest to become human. This edit made a movie that I tolerated into an episode that was pretty good. Great job!
I thoroughly enjoyed this edit and applaud Menbailee's editing choices and skill. By and large this is a leaner and more faithful presentation of the characters and format we grew to love. This is one Trek you won't regret undertaking.
I love Star Trek and I am always saying we need more Trek edits (who the heck wants more Star Wars--blah/meh---lol) on the site and now we got one! Actually it is more like 3 in 1, and they are good fun.
I will break my review into a general overview and then get into some episode specifics. And YES, there will probably be SPOILERS, so you have been warned.
Let's start with basic dvd menu design.... and first I want to say THANK YOU MENBAILEE for creating an actual dvd release! I know it is more work, but imo it make the experience more satisfying and authentic.... I am an old fart, so I definitely prefer a fan edit on dvd rather than a video file to be watched on the old computer.
But some minor nitpicks about the menu work.... first, your pre-menu disclaimer/edit info is way too brief. I could not read it all in the allotted time and since it is part of the menu, it can not be paused. It could easily have been a good 15-25 seconds longer. Second, the menu looks awesome (great insertion of scenes from the movies!!!), connecting nicely to the tv series, however it is 4x8 while the three episodes are all 16x9. This just threw me off a bit, it just does not visually flow smoothly. I think for visual continuity either the episodes should have been 4x8 too or the menu made 16x9 (definitely the easier choice). Also, all the episodes start IMMEDIATELY upon hitting play... I think a slight 3-6 second fade in buffer would have been better.
The intent of this edit is to cut each movie down to one hour's length and give it the feel of the television series and for the most part it succeeds. The pre-credit teasers sort of just fade out both visually and audio-wise. It would have felt more like the TNG series if they had been given an iconic Trek music cue at the end of the teaser. The new show titles are nice and work, though I was not a fan of some of the star field overlay shots and thought some different shots of the Enterprise actually going to warp would have been better to match the audio. The opening episode title cards are EXCELLENT and look completely authentic.... fantastic work!!! Could the edits have benefited from commercial breaks? Maybe. It would have felt a bit more real, though many newer cable shows do not have traditional scene breaks anymore.... so I am of two minds on it. The end credits -- here I would have definitely created new end titles in the style of the tv series rather than keeping the movie credits. It just broke the illusion at the end for me.
On to the episodes themselves....
PHOENIX -- Great cut down to 1 hour. First Contact is probably the best of the NexGen movies, so I would not say this version is an improvement and only because Picard's arc is completely lost, thus his performance feels very uneven. But the flip side, Data's character is much better in this one hour format. Surprisingly, the removal of Lilly work pretty good (except in how it weakens Picard's story line) however, you created a couple of visual continuity issues. The viewer sees Lilly on the bridge during the evacuation order. Now based on her clothes and being more in the background, I could accept she was probably just a Starfleet officer banged up by the Borg. Except you again see Lilly in two major shots at the end of the episode, once prominently featured in the crowd shot when the Vulcan ship lands and again in the bar with Cochrane and the Vulcan after the Enterprise has departed. The crowd shot could easily be cut and I would have just ended the episode with the Enterprise going to warp rather than panning down to the bar.
So a good episode, but the uneven Picard arc and Lilly continuity issue, makes me give it a solid 7/10.
HEART OF LIGHTNESS -- by far my favourite edit on the dvd! The original movie feels like a tv episode and by cutting it perfectly down to hour, it now feels like one of the strongest and truest entries in the TNG canon. The new ending is sooooooo PERFECT! I loved it! Yes, this version still has the cringe worthy British Tar scene and though I believe it could have been cut, I understand why for later continuity it was kept. Some of the audio could have been slightly blended better, but I would give this episode a 9/10.
ROMULUS AND REMUS -- Having done my own fan edit of Nemesis, this is the one I was most curious about... and I think works pretty well! In fact, there are some ideas I wish I had thought of and may steal if I ever do a version two! LOL! I have gone on the record that I despise the Troi rape scene (it is the worst kind of ugly, lazy, sexist writing) and really wish you had not used it as I think your new structure would have still worked without it. Also, I think you should have cut the scene of Data offering Picard the emergency transporter, as there is no true pay off for it. I also noticed a minor continuity error where Riker refers to this mission as their honeymoon, except you have moved the wedding to the end of the episode. The new ending works, it is a smart solution, though I thought the cut was a bit abrupt. A very solid episode that I give 8/10.
All in all, an entertaining alternate viewing experience.
Thumbs Up! :)