Monday, November 12, 2007

Captain's Log: Movie Rumors, Movie Openings, E.T.s for real?

The existence of beings from other planets with their own space-faring vehicles is a central assumption of Star Trek and most other space fiction. Discovering "the truth" about them became the main thread of the enormously popular X Files. The latest Doctor Who and its spinoff series Torchwood say that earth started realizing it was being visited by such vehicles in the early 21st century.

Well, right on cue a group described as "an international panel of two dozen former pilots and government officials" is calling on the U.S. government to take UFOs more seriously, beginning by reopening a serious investigation of past reports. The BBC describes the group as including "former military officers from seven countries, [who] all say they have seen a UFO or have conducted research into the phenomenon."

The call had at least one government-related supporter. Said the Reuters report: "'It would certainly, I think, take a lot of angst out of this issue,' said former Arizona Gov. Fife Symington, who said he was among hundreds who saw a delta-shaped craft with enormous lights silently traverse the sky near Phoenix in 1997."

The group cited mostly security concerns for not continuing to "ignore radar returns that are not associated with existing aircraft and helicopters." The call comes only a week or so after the confirmation of a solar system with five planets--the most discovered so far-- in a distant star system described as "a cousin to our own."

Movie, Movie

This week a detailed rumor emerged about the plot of the new Paramount Star Trek film that's just begun shooting. Those readers wishing to avoid SPOILERS should stop now, even though I'm only going to refer to the plot and not recount it. But when I read the rumor, the first thing that occurred to me was how closely it resembles the premise of the still unseen independent Trek film, Of Gods and Men. As I recall how this Sky Conway-produced film was described to me by some of its principals at the Star Trek 40th Anniversary convention, it involves a chaotic, war-torn universe where Captain Kirk has not existed or was killed before he joined Starfleet, and the efforts of Star Trek heroes, including some of his former crew (Chekov, Uhura) to get history back on track. The teaser on the site suggests that an alien influence is involved in changing the past.

Now comes this rumor of Trek XI's story, involving time-traveling Romulans trying to kill a young James T. Kirk in order to alter history, and the efforts of one of his crewmates (Spock) to stop him. Of course, the rumor itself may be based on the "Gods and Men" story, but if it is a more or less accurate summary of Trek XI's premise...Fascinating.

The first part of Star Trek: Of Gods and Men, directed by Tim Russ, is scheduled to be released for viewing on the Internet on December 22.

Before that, InAlienable, the independent movie written by Walter Koenig and featuring Marina Sirtis and other Trek stars, will be available for viewing on the Internet on December 15. There's a $2.99 charge per showing. I hope to have more on this project soon.

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