New Independent Star Trek Film: Axanar

The long wait for a decent Star Trek spin-off is almost over. Not wishing to knock JJ Abrams’ attempts, but I’m referring to Star Trek story lines that follow the original timelines, ie. those that leave the Vulcan culture & planet thriving!

There have been a lot of fan based films but as a general rule, even though the storyline may be good, the acting is not so great and the special effects are even more limited (the latter not being the most important though, in my opinion) due to the understandable limited budgets.

However, a new star has emerged after nearly two decades that the official Star Trek franchise left our screens and it has arrived in the form of Star Trek: Axanar. The official site for those of you who wish to get their information direct from the horses mouth is: (really? you don’t believe me? Shame on you!)

I’ve recently been in touch with one of the geniuses behind the project, called Terry, and he informs me (as can be backed up on their site, yes go ahead & visit it!) that part of it’s success is because it features professional actors such as the legendary JG Hertzler (although this time not in his famous Klingon attire), and Gary Graham (know in the Star Trek world for his portrayal of Vulcan Ambassador Soval and for me personally, his role of Matt Sykes in the 80s series “Alien Nation”).

Add to the above the fact that there are amazing special effects involved, filmed in a professional studio, based on an original Star Trek storyline event, and the creators are 100% Star Trek fans, then this film is more like an official Blockbuster Movie than a fan made project.

Last Saturday even saw the World Premiere of the prequel “Prelude to Axanar” at the Comicon event in San Diego, something which Terry neglected to invite me to so hopefully the rest of us mere mortals will be able to get our hands on copies soon enough. In the meantime, enjoy the short official preview and as always, please let me know your thoughts.

My Top 10 Films

Those that know me will probably already know what my top 10 favourite films are but if you find yourself looking for something new to watch on TV or video, then here is a selection of 10 flicks that you may not have seen before.

Stoffer's Top 10 Films
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1. The Princess Bride (1987)

As the Grandad (played by the late Peter Falk of “Columbo” fame) who relates the story states, it’s full of fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love and miracles. The humour in this film is very witty and contains lots of famous phrases that are still repeated today. A very feel-good tale about true love with a great cast and wonderful scenery. This is a film that I never tire of watching.

2. Charade (1963)

A classic humorous thriller starring Cary Grant & Audrey Hepburn as the main stars but with the stellar support from Walter Matthau, James Coburn, and George Kennedy to name a few. After the death of her husband, Audrey Hepburn’s character suddenly finds herself surrounded by people demanding the fortune that her husband apparently stole from them. Who can she trust?

3. Avatar (2009)

If you’ve not heard of this film then I don’t know where you were during 2009. It is filmed entirely in 3D and was the first live action 3D film that I went to see at the cinema. It deals with the themes of man’s abuse of nature (albeit on a strange planet) and how one man overcomes his disability to fight for the alien natives and save their home. Although it may not sound like much, the CGI scenery is absolutely spectacular.

4. The Towering Inferno (1974)

They don’t make films like this anymore, probably because Hollywood can’t afford to pay the astronomical fees of modern A-list actors. It’s seems as if they had a real party of the creme-de-la-creme of Hollywood 70s actors starring in it: Steve McQueen, Paul Newman, Faye Dunaway, Fred Astaire, Richard Chamberlain, O.J. Simpson, Robert Vaughn and Robert Wagner. The film takes place within the world’s tallest skyscraper whilst a fire takes hold of the upper half of the building, leaving the occupants with apparently no way to escape their doom. The tireless services of the Fire Department are highlighted as well as the dangers of man’s greed and putting money ahead of safety.

5. North By Northwest (1959)

A film by the master of suspense: Alfred Hitchcock, starring Cary Grant and Eve Marie Saint. A case of mistaken identity proves dangerous for Cary Grant. Nothing more to be said really. It has been beautifully restored in the BluRay version and is a real treat for all Hitchcock fans.

6. Back To The Future (1985)

I can’t believe that this film is nearly 30 years old. Michael J. Fox stars as Marty McFly who gets trapped back in 1955 and ends up putting his own future in jeopardy when he meets his parents, with disastrous consequences. Helped along the way by Christopher Lloyd as the almost crazy Doc Brown, Delorean cars became iconic and left us all wanting to drive at 88mph to see what would happen!

7. Star Trek 4: The Voyage Home (1986)

I’m a fan of anything Star Trek but this makes my Top 10 as we get to see the crew of the Starship Enterprise return to Earth but in “modern times” (well at least they were back in the 80s!) The film has an ecological “Save The Whales” theme but is fun watch for all the family, even if science-fiction isn’t your thing.

8. Three Amigos (1986)

The 80s was a good decade for comedy films and this one is no exception. Steve Martin, Chevy Chase, Martin Short star as out-of-work actors in the early 1900s who get given the job of a lifetime: to act out the fight against deadly Mexican bandits in a small Mexican town. Little do they know that the fight is real! Look out for a “plethora” of funny moments.

9. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)

Two con artists, Steve Martin & Michael Caine, from opposite ends of the food chain find that the town isn’t big enough for the both of them so they set about on the con of a lifetime where the winner takes all. A brilliant display of both British & American comic talent. I can still remember rolling on the floor, crying my eyes out with laughter at the “so you vont feel zis sen” scene.

10. Asterix & The Olympic Games (2008)

A French children’s comedy originally entitled “astérix et les jeux olympiques” that is full of typical French slapstick comedy. Gerard Depardieu is the perfect Obelix and the film is true to the style of the comics. Nice cameo appearances from the likes of F1 Champ Michael Schumacher too, whilst Alain Delon makes a very believable Caesar (“Ave Moi”) . I’d recommend watching it in the original French to get the full nuances of the comedy, even if you have to read it with English subtitles.