Star Trek: Of Gods and Men is an interesting phenomenon. It’s a fan-made film, but one done with at least the tacit acceptance of the powers that be. I picked this up after watching and enjoying another fan0-made Trek film, World Enough and Time.
Of Gods and Men is set about twelve years after the “death” of Captain Kirk on board the Enterprise B (in Star Trek: Generations). Starfleet has built a replica of the original USS Enterprise, a kind of museum and tribute. Captains Nyota Uhura and Pavel Chekov are in attendance, along with Captain John Harriman (captain of the Enterprise B). A time disturbance leads them to the planet of the Guardian of Forever, where Charlie X (from the original episodes, now 40 years older) is seeking revenge on Kirk. He escapes into the guardian and changes history…
The result is a mirror universe-like empire, the “Galactic Order,” made up of humans, Klingons, and more. Uhura is married to Stonn on Vulcan, which has remained neutral in the face of the Galactic Order’s oppression. Chekov is now a ruthless freedom fighter. And Harriman is still captain of the Enterprise, but he now serves the Galactic Order. Thus the film’s tagline, “Legends come together one last time…to destroy each other.”
While it opened kind of slowly, and the special effects were a bit uneven, I loved seeing some of the classic actors again. Nichelle Nichols will always be awesome, and while Walter Koenig sometimes seemed a bit tired, I really liked him as Kittrick the freedom fighter. We also got Trek alumni like Tim Russ as Tuvok, Grace Lee Whitney as Janice Rand, Chase Masterson, Ethan Phillips, and many more.
I’m having a hard time trying to evaluate this thing. Some of the plot elements were familiar, particularly after the J. J. Abrams Star Trek reboot. On the other hand, Of Gods and Men came out two years before the Abrams movie, which raises a few questions in the back of my mind… But even aside from that, the broken timeline isn’t exactly a new approach in Star Trek or science fiction in general. But it worked. It gave us a plausible story, and allowed the creators to bring back a number of characters from the old series. The tension didn’t exactly have me gripping my seats, but I stayed to watch the whole thing when I should have been working.
Familiarity with the old series will help. Otherwise, there are a lot of characters and references that probably won’t make a lot of sense. But as someone who grew up on original Trek, it was fun to see everyone coming together again.
My only other two comments are that the final battle dragged on a bit, and the Uhura/Stonn thing didn’t make sense to me, particularly given Stonn’s character in the original series. That said, it was a lot of fun to revisit Star Trek, and this had more of the original Star Trek feel than the Abrams reboot.
Also recommended: Star Trek: World Enough and Time. I believe both this and Of Gods and Men can be viewed online for free, as well as ordered on DVD from their respective websites.