Tag Archive: Star Trek 2009

AOS cover

Review by C.J. Bunce

The magical, multimedia, computer-generated art of Archeologists of Shadows is at once both like something you’ve never seen before yet strangely familiar with bits and pieces of so many different influences.  The characters seem to have evolved from the green planet in Avatar and the villains from the Iowa State Patrol borg police of Star Trek 2009.  The compositions have influences in the creepy worlds of both artist Dave McKean and at the same time the otherworldly spaces of filmmaker Guillermo del Toro’s Pan’s Labyrinth.  The fantasy evokes painted high fantasy pulp cover art and the mystery and old religions and myths of The Dark Crystal.  The colors and lights throughout the book are reminiscent of the work of artist Lee Bermejo.  The industrial architecture conjures the oppressive cityscapes of Fritz Lang, and the surreal buildings of  Antoni Gaudi.

As to the story, we’re introduced to a far off place, maybe Earth’s own future, the world of Terminator if the Connors have failed to save humanity, where humans have degraded to the point where they have only few organic parts.  The protagonists, Alix and Baltimo, are indeed borgs, with elaborate, realistically visualized cybernetics with a definite steampunk vibe.  They are on the brink of a crossroads like the dull citizens of George Lucas’s THX 1138–readying for the final steps of full mechanization.  Like the cast of Waiting for Godot, they wait for something to happen, maybe godlike intervention, until a stranger offers assistance.  Like Neo in The Matrix, do you act or not act, and which action bears the most risk, the doing or not doing?

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By C.J. Bunce

Inspired by the new blue space suits in the new movie Prometheus, yesterday we began showing the evolution of the space suit as seen by Hollywood from the 1950s through the 1970s, including a few photos of real astronaut suits that influenced movie designers.  Today we continue trekking forward to the costumes of today.

In 1979 the original cast of Star Trek returned in Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Mr. Spock, clad in an orange space suit, tries to meld with the menace called V’ger.

Kirk arrives in a white suit to rescue Spock after he is knocked unconscious.

Forget about the Astronaut Farmer, I really liked the 1979 TV series Salvage 1 with Andy Griffith, an early glimpse at an astronaut a la Virgin’s Richard Branson, where private folks build a rocket from scratch and send it up, up, and away.

I don’t recall Roger Moore wearing the classic aluminum looking suit in the James Bond movie Moonraker, but he wore one in PR photos.

The yellow suits worn throughout most of Moonraker’s space scenes.

Here is an astronaut scene you might not recall–In 1980’s Superman II, Zod and friends use American astronauts on the moon as playthings before bringing their wrath to Earth.

In 1982 we get another look at the Kirk and Spock suits from Star Trek: The Motion Picture, now worn by Walter Koenig and Paul Winfield alongside Ricardo Montalban in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan.

More of a protective suit, a few of these radiological suits were equipped with glass helmets, making us think they might work outside the USS Enterprise. Here Scotty and his engineering crew wore these in both Star Trek: The Motion Picture and Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Either way I think these make for some awesome designed space suits, and Scotty never looked cooler.

In 1979 we met the first of Ridley Scott’s Alien universe, and witnessed HR Giger’s visionary suits for the crew of the Nostromo.

Sigourney Weaver’s character Ripley had her own version of a space suit.

In the 1981 film Outland, Sean Connery takes an excursion to Jupiter’s moon Io. And again we have multi-colored space suits!

Sometimes creating space suits means replicating reality, and it was hardly ever done better than in 1983’s Mercury program biopic, The Right Stuff.

The Right Stuff also featured Sam Shepard as Chuck Yeager, and here he augured a test plane into the ground. Crash and burn.

In 1984 Roy Scheider discovered this time he needed a bigger ship in the 2001: A Space Odyssey sequel, 2010.

One of my all-time favorite sci-fi movies is The Last Starfighter. Grig and Alex wore some of the best looking space suits in this film (OK, yes, I’ve included a few pilot outfits in this list).

In 1986 we got to see kids in space in Spacecamp, starring Lea Thompson.

Marketed as “from the makers of Star Wars,” the 1990 film Solar Crisis didn’t even come close.

In the original (but unreleased) cut of Star Trek Generations, the film was to open with a suborbital drop by Captain James T. Kirk. The heat shield tiles were a good idea.

Ron Howard created one of the best films ever of any genre with the superb account of Apollo 13, starring Tom Hanks and Kevin Bacon.

In 1996 with Star Trek: First Contact, Captain Picard and Worf wore this type of suit to defeat a threat from The Borg. These suits were later re-used by the crew in Star Trek Voyager.

In 1997’s Event Horizon, Sam Neill wore a darker and grittier look.

Matt LeBlanc piloted the Jupiter 2 in the remake of Lost in Space (1998) complete with helmeted suit.

More recycled Hollywood. In 1998 B’Elanna Torres wore Captain Kirk’s space suit from the deleted opening scene from Star Trek Generations, in the Star Trek Voyager episode “Extreme Risk.”

In the blockbuster 1998 movie Armageddon, Bruce Willis and Ben Affleck wore these realistic space suits to save the world from a giant rock.

…but first the crew had to wear these suits to drill through the jagged asteroid’s surface.

In 2000 Val Kilmer starred in Red Planet, blending horror and sci-fi, wearing this nicely designed space garb.

Red Planet also featured The Matrix’s Carrie Ann Moss, sporting her own cool but differently styled suit.

In 2000 the all-star cast of Space Cowboys mirrored reality, looking like John Glenn in his second voyage to the stars.

Also in 2000, Mission to Mars featured this type of astro-wear.

In 2002 George Clooney donned a space suit in Solaris, where a psychiatrist investigates a space crew.

But it is really hard to beat these copper colored space suits as worn in 2002 by Scott Bakula’s Captain Archer on the TV series Enterprise–for me the color reflects the old heavy underwater gear of centuries past.

The key impetus that created the Fantastic Four in the 2005 film was a volley of cosmic rays, turning Michael Chiklis’s Ben Grimm into The Thing.

In 2006 in the episode “Waters of Mars” David Tennant’s Doctor Who lead an incredible mission to save Earthlings in space, a mission with a terrible destiny. 

In 2008 the rhino-alien Judoon took Doctor Who by storm, looking tough in these big suits…


And in the same year, the short aliens with big blue suits, the Sontarans, also from Doctor Who.


Maybe the strangest space suit so far, this bulky outfit was worn by Cillian Murphy in Danny Boyle’s film Sunshine.

Maybe the future is really in gear like Iron Man’s suit. After all he’s taken it into space.

Whether you’re a traditional Trekkie or not, you had to like the great look of JJ Abrams’ 2009 remake of Star Trek. And still we have mutli-colored outfits to tell everyone apart!

In 2009’s Moon, Sam Rockwell has some issues to deal with. One of those over-hyped films that I couldn’t get through. Still, it had a good overall look.

In 2009 the TV series Stargate Universe featured these very futuristic, detailed space suits.

Very simple space suits from the 2009 TV series Defying Gravity.

In 2011’s Doctor Who episode “The Impossible Astronaut” Matt Smith was killed by whoever was in this astronaut suit.

Also in the 2011 Doctor Who season, the episode “Rebel Flesh” featured this future-human protective gear, which might as well be a space suit. Over the decades Doctor Who has featured aliens in space suits, too, and too many to list!

Which brings us to June 2012, and next week’s premiere of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus, with these slick blue suits appearing on posters everywhere.

Now we know this was not a comprehensive list, but please drop us a note and let us know if we missed any key space suits.

Speaking of yesterday’s discussion of Cybermen and The Borg, another well known borg sci-fi character was the subject of a New York Times article this week:  RoboCop is being resurrected for the big screen this year, one of several remakes of 1980s properties, such as 21 Jump Street and Dirty Dancing, coming soon to a theater near you.

Unfortunately there is not much information yet released, especially no photos yet of the police uniform for the 2013 RoboCop production.  Peter Weller, who we learned this year will be featured in the next Star Trek movie, originally dawned the steel armor of the downed cop who, like the Bionic Man, was rebuilt to fight the forces of evil in the U.S.  The original costume is instantly recognizable, but early word from production is that we will see a very different police armor uniform for the new RoboCop.

Although it is not quite as cool as the original RoboCop, I am a fan of the Iowa State Patrol uniform worn by the officer hunting down a young James T. Kirk in the future Riverside, Iowa in Star Trek 2009:

I’m still not sure if that was a good protective outfit for a human cop, or whether that android face mask reflects an actual android, or this was meant to be a cyborg creation.  Either way, it’s a pretty good outfit.

Years ago Academy Award winners Sylvester Stallone and Sandra Bullock showed us the prim and proper cops of the future city of San Angeles, where we learned “In the future, all restaurants are Taco Bell.”

My fellow Trekkies will recognize those belts being re-used in the Mirror Universe of the Enterprise TV series by evil Captain Archer & Co.  These guys looked believable.  But no armor!

And this year’s coming remake of Total Recall features another slick looking future cop:

Note that the new Total Recall takes no obvious design queues from Paul Verhoeven’s original Total Recall.  So it should be no surprise if the new RoboCop takes no design queues from Verhoeven’s RoboCop.  Verhoeven’s RoboCop was inspired by the future cop from the comic book 2000 A.D., Judge Dredd, and Verhoeven’s RoboCop has been interpreted as a retelling of sorts of the original Judge Dredd story because of several common themes, and, of course, the mask.  Although the Sylvester Stallone future cop in Judge Dredd didn’t adhere totally to the original story, he did have a mask, but his uniform was a bit strange:

Future cops are definitely “in” these days.  Karl Urban (Bones in Star Trek 2009, Eomer in Lord of the Rings, Xena, Bourne Supremacy, Chronicles of Riddick) will be starring in a new version of Judge Dredd, that Urban says comes more from the course material, titled Dredd and expected to be released in September 2012.

Far less interesting are the precrime future cop uniforms from Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, based on Philip K. Dick’s short story of the same name:

For the new RoboCop, José Padilha is slated to direct a screenplay by Nick Schenk and Joshua Zetumer.  Thirty-three year old actor Joel Kinnaman has been tapped for the lead role as Murphy/RoboCop.  Of the creative trio, Schenk is the best known for his sceenplay for Clint Eastwood’s (awesome) film, Gran Torino.  Kinnaman had a small role in last year’s The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and as Stephen Holder in the TV series, The Killing.

Here is the the marketing blurb for the new film: “In a crime-ridden city, a terminally wounded cop returns to the force as a powerful cyborg with submerged memories haunting him.”

Unlike the new RoboCop, the original RoboCop rarely removed his helmet.

Padilha and Kinnaman have disclosed thus far that the new RoboCop will be a very different film than the original, with a costume where you can see the RoboCop’s eyes, and they’d said that the focus of the new story will be the period from Murphy getting shot to becoming RoboCop, as opposed to an action film where RoboCop serves as a futuristic officer.  So this seems a bit like the path of Martin Caidin’s original Bionic Man story as told in his novel Cyborg.

Ronny Cox and the earlier, non-cyborg version, from the original film

My favorite scene, and the one I hope they do include in some way, is the scene where the non-cyborg RoboCop before Weller’s is revealed to be flawed and destroys one of the executives in the board room at the big reveal.

The current release date is scheduled for August 9, 2013.

C.J. Bunce



Yeah, Black Friday and Star Trek set decoration don’t really seem to go together, do they?  I’ll explain.

If you happened to be out and about on the retailers’ big day this week, and you happened to walk by the Target Portrait Studios inside your local Target Store, you might have seen this:

So what’s the big deal?  If you’re a Star Trek fan you might notice that Target is using some Italian-made “Calligaris Jam” counter stools for their photo salon guests.  Still no idea what I’m talking about?  These are the same style of chair that Chris Pine’s James T. Kirk is sitting in when he first meets Zoe Saldana’s Uhura, also sitting in this style of chair, in a Riverside, Iowa, bar, in the 2009 Star Trek movie.  This was the first ever meeting of these two characters in the Star Trek universe. The stools are visible at either side of the frame in this scene from the movie:

This isn’t an every-day chair, and set designer Karen Manthey selected these fairly high end stools along with chairs for the Riverside, Iowa, location filmed in L.A. from the Italian design company’s selection of futuristic colors.  Below is a screen-used version from the set of the film, in the transparent orange variety, which CBS Paramount sold at auction a few years ago with a handful of other props from this scene.  Target has the transparent red-colored version of the chair.  At $300-400 per chair, Target Stores must be doing fine in this troubled economy!


If you’re wanting to bring some of the Star Trek futuristic look to your own home, you can buy these online in the bar stool version or a chair version, which also was used in the Riverside bar scene in the film–for the Star Trek fan who has everything, as they say.

Or if you decide to use the Target Portrait Studio this season and you want to get a little sci-fi slant to your photo, ask to use this chair, and send the photo along and we might post it here.  Very unusual to see these obscure chairs as we roamed on Black Friday.

While we’re discussing the Riverside bar scene, below are photos of detail of a screen-used cadet sweater worn by background female cadets in the 2009 Star Trek film.  This is the same uniquely knitted costume sweater as worn by Zoe Saldana playing Uhura as she sat on the bar stools in the above scene in the film.


Although Anovos is scheduled to produce a Starfleet female cadet uniform for cosplayers, they haven’t yet announced whether they will produce a sweater for the set as used in the film.  Here is their prototype replica from their booth at Comic-Con this year:

Check out the Anovos website for other custom gift ideas for your favorite Trekker or Trekkie.

C.J. Bunce




If you saw Star Trek, the 2009 reboot of the Star Trek universe with a new cast (except for Leonard Nimoy returning as Spock from a different timeline) you probably either liked it or hated it.  Those who liked it credited it with being another fun summer action flick.  Die hard Star Trek fans argued about where it stood with respect to the past series and movies, and took turns poking holes in the movie’s plot.

But imagine for a second a movie that bridged the Next Generation cast’s appearance in Star Trek Nemesis with this new slingshot back to the time before the original series.  Imagine a movie that brought Data back to life, that included the further adventures of Captain Picard, Worf, and Lt. LaForge, and what transpired for Ambassador Spock after the events of the Star Trek: The Next Generation two-part “Unification” story arc.  Now imagine this movie was written by the same guys that wrote the 2009 movie that was released.  The fact is, this story was written and it was released in comic book form as a prequel to the actual movie’s release.  And that prequel, called Star Trek: Countdown, is a far better story than what made it to the screen, and it explains a lot that went unexplained in the reboot movie.  In fact, it is difficult to understand how anyone understood what happened in Star Trek 2009 without having first read the comic book prequel.

To be sure, the 2009 flick was fun, and pretty good, if you could overlook the blinding lens flare camera pans that seem to typify director JJ Abrams’ recent shooting style.  The cast was a lot of fun, especially with Simon Pegg as Scotty.  The ships looked great, and the changes to the original history timeline at least were explained to fit where the story was going.

But several things were not explained.  Except for a brief flashback, why was Spock so engaged with the Romulans?  What happened to the Remans after Star Trek Nemesis?  Why did the Romulans in this new movie look nothing like the Romulans we’d seen in numerous series over the past 40 years?  Why were the Romulans wearing Klingon clothing?  Answers to these questions were answered in Star Trek: Countdown and a follow-on series called Star Trek: Nero.  And more than that we got to see what happened to the crew of the Enterprise-E after Data died in Star Trek Nemesis.

Star Trek: Countdown begins with Spock as the Vulcan Ambassador to Romulus, a few years after the events of “Unification” in Next Generation.  A star is going supernova and Spock has a plan to prevent the star from destroying Romulus but Spock can get no support.  Spock befriends a leader of a mining group named Nero who can help Spock move along with his plans.  We learn Nero begins as a good guy whose life falls apart through decisions and lack of decisions of others.  How can all the anger create the character we see in the film?  The answers are made clear here.

Both Spock and Nero meet up with the Enterprise, now captained by Data. They also meet up with Picard, now an ambassador. Geordi LaForge, now a private ship builder, is enlisted to help Spock with his project involving red matter, the project that ultimately sends him back to the time before Spock met Jim Kirk.  And by the end of the story Nero confronts the Klingons, including one General Worf.

The story is the story fans of Next Generation wanted to see, even more than Star Trek Nemesis. For those wanting to know more about Nero including why Nero’s crew shaved their heads and got tattoos and why they were wearing Klingon clothing including cloven toed boots, Star Trek: Nero fills in some gaps.

Whereas the plot originated from film writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman, self-professed Next Generation fans, Mike Johnson and Tim Jones scripted this complex prequel.  David Messina’s art is solid, covering the old Trek and new Trek equally well and giving superb new uniforms to the Starfleet crew post Star Trek Nemesis.  Check out that painting of Spot in Capt. Data’s quarters above!  Credit for much of the look of this book goes to the great color work by Giovanna Niro.

Ultimately two years after its release, you can’t help but wish the production had made this movie first as an appropriate bridge to the new cast, and that the movie we’re waiting for in 2013 would be the 2009 version.  At least with this written version we got a peek at a good story that would have tied everything together, and Roberto Orci hinted at Star Trek: Countdown as being considered Star Trek canon, at least until someone changes any of its story elements on film down the road.

C.J. Bunce


Whether you are a Star Trek cosplayer or a collector of the real thing, the more information you have the smarter buyer of replica or real props and costumes you can be, and the more accurately you can create replicas from the Star Trek universe.  Yesterday we ran down the best resources for Star Trek information focusing on the various Star Trek TV series.  Today we will cover books that include reference material for the Star Trek feature films.  Some of the information in the general categories overlaps so we will repeat those that apply to movies here.

The eleven Star Trek movies are available on DVD, Blu-Ray, VHS, and streaming video, by series and in compilations.

Here are the key websites you need to know about:

  • Memory Alpha – A detailed, currently maintained encyclopedia of all things Star Trek.
  • Trek Core – A great source for screen caps of all series episodes, including some HD versions.

As to reference books, several licensed Star Trek books are available, many still in print, and the following are what I consider the best resources publicly available. I have also provided links to the books at Amazon.com, but your local library can also get these for you.  (Book cover thumbnails are a bit fuzzy since I used direct links to Amazon listings).

Running through the general books from yesterday again that also include information on the Star Trek feature films:

Star Trek – General

Star Trek: The Art of Star Trek, by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens, 1997.  If you only have one book about Star Trek behind the scenes, it should be this book.  Full of original paintings, behind the scenes photos, and close-ups of costumes and props, this is the best book available on the Star Trek television shows and feature films.  If you have it you will read it over and over again.  It is only lacking in the fact it was made before Star Trek Generations, so for everything after that you should seek out some of the other suggested books.  Also, you’ll notice on this list the Reeves-Stevens are a great source of all sorts of Trek material.  Highest recommendation.

The Star Trek Encyclopedia, by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda, 1999.  With two Star Trek insiders like the Okudas writing this reference guide, it’s no wonder this is such a popular book.  Literally the A to Z guide to the Star Trek universe, make sure you get this most recent version that includes all updates.  Unfortunately it has not yet been updated to include the latest films and the Enterprise TV series.  Still, a single source for the obscure and the general in the franchise.  Highly recommended.

Star Trek Chronology: The History of the Future, by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda, 1996.  Another reference by the Okudas, this time aligned in chronological order of the events of the Trek universe, as opposed to the order of production of the series, which is the format of all other Trek reference books.  Handy to see overlap between series and whether the Battle of Wolf 359 comes before or after the destruction of Praxis (in case you get confused on that).

Star Trek The Next Generation: Technical Manual, by Rick Sternbach and Michael Okuda, 1991.  An unprecedented look at the science and technology of Star Trek.  The masters of the Trek art production team include here detailed drawings and explanation to support the science behind the stories portrayed in the television series and films.  A must for all Star Trek fans.

Star Trek: Aliens & Artifacts, by Michael Westmore, Alan Sims et al, 2000. This book provides key views from the main make-up artist and the propmaster for the later Trek series. Lots of close-up photos of alien races and make-up, but a lesser focus on props. Good behind the scenes stories. Highly recommended.


Captains’ Logs: The Unauthorized Complete Trek Voyages and Captains’ Logs Supplemental: The Unauthorized Guide to the New Trek Voyages-Entire Deep Space Nine & Voyager History, by Edward Gross and Mark A. Altman, 1996.  Although this episode-by-episode guide has has been replaced for the most part by the TrekCore free website, it’s still worth flipping through to find episodes you may have forgotten about. The first contains the original series, the supplement expands into later episodes of Deep Space Nine, Voyager and Star Trek Generations.

And the books that focus on the feature films:

Star Trek Movies

The Making of the Trek Films, 1995, edited by Edward Gross, 1995.  Chock full of detailed insight into the creation of every Star Trek movie from The Motion Picture through Star Trek Generations.  Extensive scuttlebutt on what actors and crew thought of each production, including trials faced, marketing successes and perceived failures.  Surprisingly good resource for being more of an assemblage of data than a cohesive narrative.  Recommended.

Star Trek:  The Motion Picture

The Making of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, by Susan Sackett and Gene Roddenberry, 1980.  Invaluable sourcebook for the decisions behind the creation of the first Star Trek film.  Low on photographs, but good insight into the movemaking process.  Recommended.

See The Making of the Trek Films, 1995 referenced above.

Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan

The Making of Star Trek 2: The Wrath of Khan, by Allan Asherman, 1982.  This book includes several interviews with the actors and creators of the best of the Trek films.  Includes contemporary stories and behind the scenes accounts.  The only book focused on this movie in this detail.  Includes some good behind the scenes photos in black and white.  Recommended.

See The Making of the Trek Films, 1995 referenced above.

Star Trek III:  The Search for Spock

See The Making of the Trek Films, 1995 referenced above.

Star Trek IV:  The Voyage Home

See The Making of the Trek Films, 1995 referenced above.

Star Trek V:  The Final Frontier

Captain’s Log: William Shatner’s Personal Account of the Making of Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, by Lisabeth Shatner, 1989.  What you would expect in a book by a daughter about her father.  Manages to document the uphill battle to make what is generally thought of as the least successful of the Star Trek movies.  Gives insight into Shatner’s inexperience with directing and how that translated to film.  For STV fans.

See The Making of the Trek Films, 1995 referenced above.

Star Trek VI:  The Undiscovered Country

Charting the Undiscovered Country: The Making of Trek VI, by Mark A. Altman, Ron Magid and Edward Gross, 1992.  The smallest of the “making of” books yet it provides good detail of Nimoy’s direction and story influences for one of the best films the franchise has to offer.  Also includes black and white photos of props, each cast photo from prior films, and information about costumes.  Recommended.

See The Making of the Trek Films, 1995 referenced above.

Star Trek Generations

Star Trek, the Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, Generations & First Contact, by John Eaves, 1998. Great illustrations and text from the artist behind several Star Trek properties.

See The Making of the Trek Films, 1995 referenced above.

Star Trek:  First Contact

The Making of Star Trek: First Contact, by Lou Anders, 1996. A great resource–lots of photographs of the borg, weapons, sets and cast interviews. Recommended.

See Star Trek, the Next Generation Sketchbook: The Movies, Generations & First Contact referenced above.

Star Trek:  Insurrection

The Secrets of Star Trek: Insurrection, by Terry J. Erdmann, 1998.  One of the best looks at a Star Trek production, including great tidbits like photos of stunt cast members, art production, close-up of background characters, and costume and prop design.  Nice behind the scenes text and photos.  Highly recommended.

Star Trek:  Nemesis

See The Star Trek The Next Generation Companion: Revised Edition referred to in yesterday’s post.

Star Trek 2009

Star Trek: The Art of the Film, by Mark Cotta Vaz, 2009. Great photos of the art behind the new film, some used and some that didn’t make it to the screen. Good sketches of costumes and details of alien masks and make-up. Nice explanations of the different locations from the movie.

Also, invaluable costume and prop information can be found in the following catalogs:

  • Christie’s December 2006 Auction Catalog
  • Profiles in History 12, 14 , 41, and 44 Auction Catalogs
  • Julien’s 2010 Star Trek Catalog

Happy reading!

C.J. Bunce