Saturday, June 27, 2009

(82) Osiris: A Star Trek Fan Production

82

Osiris: A Star Trek Fan Production
http://www.stosiris.com/
All of the website links appear to be dead as of spring, 2015.  (May check).  A May 19, 2015 post on the Facebook page also makes it clear that this project has been halted, possibly forever.

The home base is Michigan. USA.
May 19, 2015, it was announced that there would be no more episodes filmed.  One episode in the can may or may not be released at some time in the future. (B)

Facebook Page: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Star-Trek-Osiris/109278812422169?v=wall
Listing at Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/user1615487/videos/sort:date

Eclipse, Parts I (54:06) and II (58:38), now available for viewing.
On Vimeo:
Part I:  http://vimeo.com/4227518 (54:06)
Part II:  http://vimeo.com/10643529 (58:38)

For download:
Part I:  http://stosiris.com/media/eclipse-part-1/
Part II:  http://stosiris.com/media/eclipse-part-2/

Penumbra (50:40) is available:
On Vimeo:  http://www.vimeo.com/18861051
For download:  http://stosiris.com/media/penumbra/

Penumbra does address many of the issues I raised in what I wisely left as a 'draft' review below.  It also shows significant growth from the first two-part story.  The acting and writing are both head and shoulders above the first story, and the rest of it was strong, but this is even stronger.  I am not sure it's a 5, but I'll be surprised at this point if  they put out three or four more episodes and none of them are 5s.  If it's not a 5, it will be because I don't find a message, which is necessary for the 5.  It is excellent, though, as a great film to watch and enjoy.

I may set up a second section of "Quick Picks" for 4s and 4.5s.  Divide it into two classes of excellent.  I'm already using Gold and Silver for time periods, so I'll have to think of another designation.

A Review of Penumbra:

Fan Film Friday: Star Trek: Osiris: ‘Penumbra’


Relay 97 (Released Oct. 30, 2011)
Available on Vimeo: http://vimeo.com/31348135 (24:01)
To download in Windows Media Format: http://stosiris.com/media/relay-97/

The acting in this series just keeps improving, and by sticking to simplier stories, they are avoided bizarre plot holes.  This episode shows continued growth.  I would have liked a better understanding of why the woman was initially rude, however.

Reviews: Fan Film Friday: Star Trek: Osiris: ‘Relay 97′  and RELAY 97

Osiris has another film in the works called Remonstrations (was called Darkness and Shadow), probably another full hour of Osiris heaven.

Their You Tube channel appears to have been abandon before they released their first film.  Nevertheless, for completeness, here is it:  http://www.youtube.com/user/STOsiris08

Draft Review of Eclipse:

Rating: 3.5 with a possibility of being moved up to a 4, depending on what happens in future episodes.  One of the difficulties of rating this show that is the opening of a story arc, and not really a story in itself, is you don’t know if the many apparent contradictions and loose ends are clues or poor writing.  That said, this is no worse, and probably better, than the very first Phase II episode, and that series has gone on to great things.  For most fan films, their first is their weakest, and this is only Star Trek: Osiris’s first episode.

Overall, the acting, at least of the ‘good guys’ was good, and the acting of the bad guys...  I assume they followed the director’s and writer’s take.  But I’ll get back to this when I discuss the writing.  Because it involves spoilers, I am moving it to the end of my review, so that people who do not wish to read spoilers can read part of this review.

The show appears to have been shot entirely in front of a green screen, and the green screen work was good.  Also, the space scenes were good.  At times there was a little green around the actors, but not so much that it interfered with the story.  I loved the uniforms.  What did detract from the story, technically, was the uneven volume of the sound, at least on the copy I downloaded.  At times, I couldn’t follow what people were saying, even if I rewound it and listed three or four times.  That said, I didn’t think it effected my ability to follow the story arc.

It is tightly enough edited that, in spite of a lot of time introducing the characters, it held my attention and didn’t drag.   I felt some of the introduction could have been done in medias res, rather than up front, and that would have tightened it, but even as it was, it never got boring.

In directing, the placement of people, was usually good.  At one time somebody who was being spoken to to the left entered Stage right, but besides that, there were no obvious gaffs, no clothing changes in transit, no injuries that switched location.  It could be that the director has to take partial responsibility for the 1950s comic-book-like bad guys.  The show was reasonably entertaining.

Because of the nature of my issues with this production the remainder of this review includes spoilers.   So, if you don’t want to read spoilers, stop reading  HERE.

The underlying problem with all the issues, except the sound, was weak writing.  But acting and writing are the two pillars of any production, so it is a very big weakness.

In my experience, the lower level among people who work to overthrow establishments with  mass movements, or at least one on the scale shown, with operatives on many ships planned over a number of years, believe in the righteousness of their cause.  I didn’t see any ‘true believers’ in this story.  They were instead all acting as cynical opportunists. And even if  leaders of such groups are secretly cynical and power hungry, they can act lovable, brave, idealistic, and either ‘one of the people’ or a member of a group ‘the people’ admire in front of a crowd. The group is too big and too carefully placed over too long a time to just be a violent gang with people trying to show who they are by being violent and intimidating.  Yet that is how the personalities are shown

I didn’t want Lex Luthor... err... Chief Engineer Edwards... to take over the ship, but I couldn’t imagine him being Captain Bale’s choice of Chief Engineer unless Captain Bale, also picked by our bad guy Admiral Bradford, is a complete buffoon, or a deep cover Section 31 Agent, who was supposed to stay with the ship and crew and place them at Station 432, to control the person who will be the real hero of the series, Admiral Hoffman.   That would be an unexpected twist, it would work, since  Admiral Hoffman is the primary person who opposes Admiral Bradford, and this places an operative on the station with him where he could act as a spy.  That would explain a lot.   It would also solve a very basic Fan Film problem, namely, the fact that most fan filmmakers cast themselves as the lead.  Being on both sides of the camaera is very hard to do, even for film industry pros, and the films improve when the directors and writers are not the main characters... Cook and Cawley notwithstanding.

The leader of this group, Jay Miller has cast himself as Captain Kieran Bale, who appears to be the lead character (although it’s still possible that Admiral Hoffman is the real lead, which would make the whole story work much better).

I believe that Captain Bale is supposed to be a good guy and the lead.  I can think of no other reason to give us so much detail about his history with the Doctor.  If he’s a bad guy, to be exposed later, this could have been skipped.  In fact, even if he’s a good guy and the lead, this could have been given to us in bits and pieces and not all in the opening story.  But, again, we know something disrupted his relationship with the Doctor.  If he’s bisexual, that might not be a discovery that he’s gay... it could be he was recruited into Section 31, and couldn’t be in such an intense relationship.

The character of the captain is acted well, but written poorly. (A.)  Why on earth would Admiral James Bradford put anyone not in his pocket in charge of the most technically advanced ship in the fleet?  Let alone TWO top people neither of whom is in his pocket?  He personally picked both of them and so far it appears as if NEITHER is one of his guys.  That makes no sense. (B.)  Then, Captain Bale acts out against his No. 1, who was not his choice, like a five year old.  There are a three reasons this makes no sense.  First, the individual is not the person who refused to take the position, and is not responsible for that person saying no.  Second, if you are a regular member of an organization and a supervisor, and you want to get rid of somebody, it makes better sense to quietly gather your case to rid yourself of that person rather than declare yourself up front, in other words, to reserve your options.  Third, you are in a position to cause this person to fail by giving them assignments which are impossible to do, hence ensuring they can’t be done.  So the reasonable approach is to pretend to give him a chance, while putting together a file against him.  (C.) The captain surrenders the ship to Chief Engineer Edwards without a fight, which I found difficult to believe.  (D)  When his senior staff wants to put together multiple plans for escape from the cargo bay, he nixes that, insisting on putting all his eggs in one unlikely-to-succeed basket.   In conclusion, if this guy ISN’T supposed to be Section 31 deep cover, he’s one of the most incompetent captains in Starfleet, and the real issue is how did he ever get his rank, let alone get command of the Osiris.  If I were an Admiral stuck with him as a Captain, I’d assign him to a small ship providing equipment to the leaders, or in a backwater which was not facing a threat.  My only other possible take is that the deep cover guy is his No. 1, and Bale was picked because Admiral Bradford thought it would be easy to overcome a buffoon.

If Captain Bale is deep cover Section 31, when the coup presents the real alien leader, he could then break with it, and take Admiral Hoffman’s side for real.  He has been presented as a narrow, control freak type person, who is believable as a bit of a Xenophobe.  It would work.  There is an opportunity here for character growth.  Alternatively, his second in command is, like the Section 31 people, prone to the violent solution, and he could be the “deep cover’ Section 31 person, set to be inside the resistance.

Sadly, the problems with the writing doesn’t start and end with Captain Bale and his first officer.  I see no way to fix the other problems.  The security chief is supposed to be Betazoid, and this whole conspiracy goes over his head, even when the No. 2 in Engineering raises the issue in advance.  Is HE deep cover Section 31, too?  Has he been drugged in some way that blocks his abilities but he doesn’t know it?  HOW?

Captain Bale keeps telling us this is the finest crew in the fleet.   One of the strengths of fan films like Starship Farragut and Tales of the Seventh Fleet is that they give themselves latitude by NOT making this claim.  Once you make this claim, you have to question most of the weaknesses the crew shows.   This could still be fixed if Bale is there because Admiral Bradford thought he was so weak that Chief Engineer Edwards would easily overcome him, and his opinion is just not meaningful.  He’s obviously a very bad judge of character.  It is believable that Bradford overestimated Edwards, and underestimated what he thought was a weak support staff for Bale, but which Bale thinks is a strong staff.  Does what I just said even make sense?

I also found this massive but apparently undiscovered conspiracy not credible.  Section 31 would have to have a whopping big budget to have enough officers in it to take on mainline Starfleet and the whole Federation.   Section 31 was formed with the Federation, and therefore would certainly include all of those original races.  There is no way it could be anti-Vulcan or anti-Andorian.  I don’t buy it.

Their Xenophobic claims would be far more likely to take the form of a group who want the earth government to withdraw from Starfleet than Starfleet officers.  We are asked to believe that the center of the Klu Klux Klan would logically be New York City, the most diverse city in the history of mankind, but not as diverse as Starfleet, and that their real goal is to take over the Federation/Union and hand it over... to a leader from A non-Federation Species/Kazakhstan.    Hello?

While small extremist and militarist groups have taken over nations, the nations are usually in very big trouble at the time.   They do often make the types of claims that Section 31 is making here... but they do it with conviction.   The most likely result of this coup would be armed resistance by both other Starfleet and the military of each member world... leading to a quick, if bloody, defeat for Section 31.

It could be that the writers intend for there to be a message here.  But the weakness of the writing is such that I could not find that message.

I will add a plot summary later.

Other Reviews: Fan Film Friday: Star Trek: Osiris: ‘Eclipse’ (Review/Advance Preview)
Couch Potato Movie Reviews

Every fan film is a gift of Trek to the Trek Community.  I believe we should be grateful for it.

20 comments:

  1. just a friendly notice:

    the captain of the uss osiris is gay and has a 'partner'. it wasn't in purple, like hidden frontier was.

    ReplyDelete
  2. ok i just saw the episode 1 and i guess its a sequal (i guess because of the ending)

    and i must say that this is an EPIC FAIL

    why??? because the director has made it all wrong from the start

    1st episode "the eclipse" starts pretty good with a nice wiew of paris and some ambassador having a business conversation and suddenly she get arrested by two soldiers who point guns at her direction

    or shall i say WRONG direction, when they are pointing to the right then she is supose to look to the left but she never did....instead she keep looking at the right

    that was a miss but however i gotta give one credit though to the background and special effect its really well done but thats all the credit i give

    my 2nd problem with this is the acting

    no its not that bad fact is most of them are pretty good specially the evil admiral he is very proffesional with his voice

    but there are two actors that makes me annoyed to look at

    first its the red hair girl who is the helmsman, she is totally over doing all her scenes

    she smile too much, she doesnt feel her character and she is 40 years old try to play younger wich she fails i know this is a no pay job and i shouldnt be too hard on the acting

    but see this woman is a catastrophe

    and another horrible acting is the captain
    ok not that bad as the red hair helmsman but he is too stiff and he talks too much, what i notice the scenes are longer on him, the other scenes are maybe 1 to 5 min while his is 20min long

    and since he is the director i notice that he put all the camrea ankles on him meanwhile you can only see one side of the other actors and actresses wich is a very selfish directing like forinstance at the end when the evil admiral holding his speach on the monitorn there you see full picture of the captain looking at the monitorn together with his 2nd command but you cant see the 2nd commander clearly only his shoulder....WHY???

    and finally the script

    i have nothing against that the captain is gay its ok but its soo much unneccesary dialogs and less action

    if it had less dialog and more intresting action it would have been more greater story

    to bad because it is a good idea however

    but because of the directing, dialogs, and acting its not gonna be the best internet serie of all time, i fear its the worse

    i have seen the other fan serie of star trek its much better tempo in it even though its slow as well but still entertaining

    so all in all for Osiris i give only 2 points for the background and special effect

    but if the serie is gonna continue i have 3 sugestions

    1: the director must take acting lessions and be fair to the others when he film and respect other opinions (wich he hasnt if you have noticed their webpage)

    2: re write the script to less dialog and more action

    3: to the red hair helmsman please take acting lessions before you hurt yourself

    thank you

    ReplyDelete
  3. Wow, I guess anyone will say anything in their jealousy when they can be anonymous!

    But if you're going to continue commenting on things, I have 3 suggestions:

    1. Learn to spell.
    2. Learn punctuation.
    3. Own your words, don't go anonymous!

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  4. To anonymous: What are "camera ankles"?

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  5. Wow. Strong opinions. I understand your feeling the story is moving slow. But, I am allowing that they are in the "exposition" stages of the story. Its hard to get people to know and care about characters from a world they can't necessarily relate to without a lot explanation. Its better in dialogue than long scrolling title cards IMO.
    I also have to disagree with your opinion on the "red hair helmsman". I think her CHARACTER is overacting. NOT the actor. She is an over eager to please novice. I think her CHARACTER is even annoying to those around her. But I am guessing that things will eventually change and her perky idealism will get a dose of reality and make her "easier" for you to swallow.
    Also, its "angles" not "ankles."
    Perhaps you need to take a film theory and criticism class before you hurt yourself. :) Also spell check.

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  6. I know everyone is entitled to their own opinion but wow man, that's a pretty harsh and generally insulting review of this show. There is such a thing called respectful and constructive criticism.

    I would like to see you put something like this together and see how it turns out.

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  7. To the above "writer", on December 5, 2009:

    While you make some very valid points, any and all weight of your statements is completely VOID thanks to your complete lack of basic grammar and writing skills. I find it amusing that you are giving production tips - and particularly writing tips - to these folks when you cannot even SPELL simple words correctly, or make use of a COMMA or two instead of stringing five sentences together like a toddler describing an exciting day at pre-school.

    That said, yes, there are some of the "basics" of camerawork and directing that are lacking here, and at times the story and acting have some rough edges. (And, don't forget that actors are only partly responsible for their performance -- they get direction from the director.)

    But this is their first episode....

    Take a look at season 1 of TNG when compared to later seasons. It was lit like a high school stage play. The alien planets looked like cheap cable-access studio sets. And acting? Picard did eventually become a regal, authoritative captain - but at first was, frankly, an over-enunciating British caricature. Riker was so overly grandiose in many of his lines that he belonged on the Shakespearean stage. And Troi? It took several seasons before she became a serious, empathetic, realistically-emotional counselor. In season 1, she was pretty much a whiny bitch.

    All shows - even professionally produced ones - have growing pains and learning curves. While some of the rookie mistakes in production on Star Trek: Osiris are distracting and jarring for a moment to the viewer, the overall theme and storyline are much more interesting and engaging than other fan series with higher production values and budgets. The music is obviously professionally produced, the special effects are fantastic (except for some green-screen keying issues), the sets & costumes are great. I think this show's really on its way once it irons out some kinks.

    This show FEELS like Star Trek to me, while others feel like the directors' own sci-fi vision, which happens to have a Starfleet insignia on it. Give these guys some time, and I'm sure "Osiris" will give any of these other shows a run for their money.

    Just one girl's opinion, take it or not.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I saw the episode, and while there are some weaker points, there are also some pretty strong ones. I do a little acting myself and I didn't see anyone who was out of place or even struggling with their role. I even laughed a bit because the Captain didn't look old enough to buy beer yet, and I felt the same way with Star Trek: TNG with Jonathan Frakes as Cmdr. Ryker at first. Ryker turned into a bad-ass by the end of the series, and that may be the case with this show, too!

    It seems like these guys paid a lot of attention to the details of Star Trek, and are staying pretty true to that legend, even while trying to give it their own twist. If they continue along that path, each episode should get better and better.

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  9. Are you talking about the redhead girl with the bun? She's not 40, what are you talking about? Am I thinking of the wrong character?

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  10. This review is high-larious. Someone Anonymous just dropped their cinematic reviewing britches down around their camera ankles. I am monitorn, should I be discounting this person, as the review itself seems to have no substance. Just some nit pics over editing and maybe some personal opinions on various aspects. Nothing in there about the actual episode. BUT, I think I will bookmark this page and see what else is posted. Comedy Gold!

    Now I just have to get me a copy of Star Trek: Osiris!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Looking beyond the horrible brutality of this unfortunate attempt at the English language, this "review" seems more like a personal grudge than an actual film critique.

    The impression I get is that this was written by someone who either auditioned and failed to get a part or someone who participated in the production, most likely as an extra or a featured extra, and they felt they weren't appreciated enough. The whole thing feels like a juvenile temper tantrum poorly disguised as "review". The reason behind this is, given the credits listed on stosiris.com, the two main people he is critisizing (the captain and the ensign) also have the jobs of Executive Producer/Director (the captain) and Casting Director (the ensign). Of course, this is just my impression, I could be wrong. It may just be a coincidence.

    As stated by others here, this is the pilot episode. There are always bugs to work out and improvements to be made. I have no doubt that, like any show, each subsequent episode will improve upon the previous one.

    When it comes to camerawork, one thing to take into account is that this is done entirely on a green screen set of unknown size and this can severely limit the available angles and shots that could be made. Again, being a pilot episode, shots and angles will undoubtedly improve as the series progresses. No one is an expert the first time they do something.

    In regards to the red headed ensign, her character comes across as an enthusiastic rookie who is eager to please and completely unaware of the potential darkness that comes with service on a starship. Given the plot, I expect this to change as the series goes deeper into the civil war-like plot.

    Star Trek Osiris shows a lot of promise as a series. With the lack of new Star Trek shows on TV. This feels like a show that will give a lot of Star Trek fans a much needed fix. When I watched the first episode, the first thought that came to my mind was that it feels like a Star Trek show. If it had the budget and sets of shows like Voyager and DS9, I could very easily see this show making it as a TV series.

    ReplyDelete
  12. To Anonymous 12/10/09 12:55 PM

    First, your "review" sounds more like a personal grudge. If I were a betting man, I would say you have an axe to grind with Osiris. It almost sounds like "the red hair girl" rejected your sexual advances or something. Also, your grammar and syntax would lead me to guess that English is not your native language.

    Second, Osiris is a fan based series. The production will not be on the same level as what comes out of Hollywood, but when I watched it, there was no doubt it was a Star Trek series. The spirit of Trek is very much alive in Osiris and I cannot wait to see where the series takes us!

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  13. After re-reading Anonymous 12/10/09 12:55 PM, I am wondering if he could be a Pakled?

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  14. Did anyone else think that the sound was a bit "off?" It seemed to have a certain muffled quality at times, and then at other times seemed too "abrupt." Maybe microphone quality or placement, or editing?

    The show should get better as time goes on. It actually started to feel "tighter" towards the end of the first episode. Part of that was the action finally picking up, but I also got the sense of the actors and production crew starting to hit some kind of stride.

    ReplyDelete
  15. good points:
    cool ship.
    the commander's hair.
    interesting story.

    bad points:
    sound of voices a bit up and down.
    some scenes a bit long.

    pretty good for a fan series pilot episode.

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  16. Damn! That's kind of a harsh review. I watched it and I didn't think it was too bad. Seems like someone must have pissed in your cheerios before you watched it. It's cool that you posted a link to an alternative review, though.

    Other than the technical issues, the only thing that really jumped out at me is that the guy who plays the captain needs to be a bit more athoritative and stop looking down when he talks. It makes him look weak.

    The guy who plays the admiral on the starbase has the whole command thing down perfectly. He makes for a guy one could believe as a high ranking federation officer.

    I didn't see the bad guys as "1950's comic book" kind of guys. It kind of goes along with the whole attitude of the Romulans, the Cardassians and let's not forget the cocky attitude of Section 31 Agent Luthor Sloan. The Section 31 agents are following their basic slogan of "by any means necessary". If that means being stormtroopers for a while, that's what they will do. If it means being assassins, same thing. They adapt to the situation.

    The series may have gotten off to a rocky start, but I think it has the potential to be a really interesting series. I just wish they would hurry up and release the next episode. I kinda want to see what happens next.

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  17. I watched the first 2 episodes and enjoyed them. they had many good parts and faults. generally it was an intriguing tail and a very cool concept.

    I gave this episode till half way before stopping watching. It was all talk, talk, talk! Even TNG's most "talky" shows threw in a little action or changed the pace, and had some interesting camera "ankles"

    As fascinating as this regards the Section31 coup you have to wonder if this is Star Trek at all. It looked like Star Trek but it felt more like Babylon 5.

    The female doctor CANNOT act- I'm sorry- but she can't- and her wig is more believable, which is really saying something. The Vulcan ambassador is a caricature at best.

    At the end of the day Star Trek is money making TV series that is there to entertain. Osiris in this episode didn't entertain me at all. In fact I stopped watching. It needs more depth to the writing- bring us more impacting drama! Not all stories should be told through dialogue.

    I enjoyed the first 2 episodes. This was a disappointment, however I look forward to hopefully watching a better written epsiode. production values were an improvement on the last 2 eps.

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  18. I haven't written my review of Penumbra yet, but I have to say there's a LOT of action in it, you clearly just quit too soon. The show is centered on the female cast, and perhaps that is not what you enjoy. I also disagree with you about the Doctor's acting abilities. Some people just don't want to look at an overweight woman, and that is all they can see. Perhaps that, and not her acting, is your real issue. I do notice that you did not sign your name to your comment. I hope you'll think about what you say, and consider signing your name to whatever your say. If it's not good enough for you to put your name on it, it's probably not worth other people's time to read.

    -- Barbara Reader
    -- Star Trek Reviewed

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  19. Barbara, I don't see why posting my name will help my points come across. No one knows me anyway.

    I never mentioned the actor's weight. I think she is very pretty. I am also female. I don't care if a story has a female overture. My favourite characters in Trek were always female. I would never be so rude as to mention someone's weight.

    I just happen to think from what I saw that doctor isn't acted at all well. I keep expecting her to pull a folded up paper from her sleeve with the lines written on it.

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  20. Funny, Imzadi. The Dr has just finished a movie with Gerard Butler. I guess she's good enough for Hollywood but not for the web. But hey, some people just don't like some people, for no good reason. I can't STAND Jeff Bridges. PERIOD!. I can barely stomach Big Lebowski.
    DJ Deth

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