FAN FILM FRIDAY: "Power Source"

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When Republibot started Fan Film Friday a year and a half ago, the first project featured was Starship Farragut's pilot The Captaincy. So, it seems appropriate that my debut in this spot should feature the first Farragut animated project, Power Source. Here's a preview:

Intrigued? Then join me after the jump.

As you can see, the animation is very faithful to the original Filmation style. Starship Farragut and Neo f/x brought on Kail Tescar (who's been keeping Trek's TAS flame alive for some time) as the lead illustrator and associate producer. If you're familiar with The Animated Series (TAS,) you'll be able to spot the 'stock animations' that were used to save time and make budget, but which have been lovingly recreated here by people using technology Filmation couldn't even have dreamed of. I love it.

I really like that they don't try to do a voiceover in the opening. It invariably comes of sounding cheesy after the original. The opening score is original, an adaptation of Farragut's live action theme by Hetoreyen.

There's a lot to geek out over here; the USS Azrael is indeed a Saladin-class destroyer (used here with the permission Franz Joseph,) and yes, Thelin (the gray Andorian) is the same officer who replaced Spock in TAS' Yesteryear. It seems logical that in this ('correct') timeline he is Farragut's navigator, and voiced by Chris Doohan rather than his father, James.

The voice of "Commodore" Johnson is supplied by Chase Masterson, best known as the Dabo girl Leeta on DS9. She's also appeared (in Orion makeup) on Of Gods And Men.

Farragut does an even better job than TAS did of showing the details from the original series. Note the trapazoid panels on the 'beams' over the hallways, and the odd instruments randomly stuck along the walls. However, they stick with TAS when it comes to things like rendering explosions.

I like the unusually open-ended conclusion for a Trek-style episode. Things are restored to normal, but we're still not sure what exactly we've been dealing with. I'd like to see more of these kinds of endings in Trek, it keeps the sense of wonder and the unknown in a series that has a tendency to wrap everything up in 45 minutes (22 minutes for the animated series.)

There's a lot to like here. They obviously paid careful attention to the Filmation cartoons (they even have Filmation president Lou Schiemer helping out) but I imagine people who didn't grow up with that seventies style animation-on-a-budget might not appreciate what they've done. If I had the time I could probably find an analog in TAS for every second shot (at least) used here.

The acting is even better than Farragut's live action productions. I'm not sure if that's due to the actors gaining experience or if voice work relieves them of the need to physically and verbally emote at the same time. Whatever the reason, they've uniformly stepped it up. Adding professionals to the cast certainly didn't hurt. In addition to Chase Masterson and Chris Doohan, voice actor Jason LeBlanc and Lou Schiemer contributed to the project. LeBlanc portrayed Captain Glenn. Schiemer apparently contributed minor characters, much as he did during Filmation's heyday.

The sound is first-rate. Hetoreyn's score feels true to both TAS and Farragut's live action episodes. (The fact that he scored the latter probably helps.) The sound effects appear to be straight out of the original (and likely are.)

There are a few mis-steps along the way. The color gradient used to depict Captain Carter's graying temples is not at all Filmation's style, and a Federation ship's computer should have a female voice. But these are minor complaints and this episode remains one of the better examples of what fan films in general, and Trek fan films in particular, are capable of.

In addition to Youtube, the Farragut animated episodes are available for streaming and download and as DVD ISO files (donation requested, but not required.) If you see them at a convention, a donation will get you a DVD and possibly some other schwag, like a Farragut crew patch.

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Have a fan film or web series you'd like to recommend? Contact Church Tucker at church@republibot.com

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