Thursday, June 26, 2008

Star Trek 566: Bride of Chaotica!

566. Bride of Chaotica!

FORMULA: Night + Heroes and Demons + Badda-Bing, Badda-Bang

WHY WE LIKE IT: Satan's Robot.

WHY WE DON'T: The Bride (there's OTT and then there's OTT).

REVIEW: From start to finish, Bride is a masterful exercise in style. The look, the fades, the music, the acting style, the retro SF vocabulary, the costumes, the black and white cinematography, the dramatic recap, the wobbly sets, the castle that wants you to start singing about Camelot... There's even a Planet Hell inside joke. All of it, beautifully conceived and crafted.

The plot about a photonic version of Starfleet invading the holodeck and thinking it's a real planet, however, strains credulity. It probably should, as this is a just a bit of goofy fun. But where something similar like Our Man Bashir just had one crazy premise for us to swallow, Bride leaves too many questions unanswered. Where do the aliens get proper period costumes when they look like nothing else in the program? How can the holodeck interact with the aliens like they're holograms too when the computer shouldn't really recognize them? What kind of convenient malfunction actually prevents the holodeck's power source from being unplugged? And worst of all, why did Harry and Tom sit on information about interdimensional openings on the holodeck for three whole days? My point is this: A comedy episode doesn't justify lazy writing.

As a comedy, it has its good moments. Satan's Robot is especially entertaining (especially its disheartened "Invaders!"), and Tom's deadpan "his armies of death" has just the right dryness to it. Janeway has always shown herself a more than competent actress in other settings, and not surprisingly, she plays Arachnia to the hilt. I find Kate Mulgrew's performance to be very distracting however. Yes, Arachnia should be played over the top, but Mulgrew makes Janeway's reactions to the program over the top as well, her face a collection of twitches and ticks. I'm not sure needed the toilet humor about Bolians either.

LESSON: Exclamation points make everything more dramatic. I mean, more dramatic!

REWATCHABILITY - Just a bit better than Medium: Loved the style, but found the substance lacking.


Jayunderscorezero said...

I think it's interesting what each Trek's "signature holodeck programs" tell us about each show itself. With DS9, there's obviously the Alamo et al used to mirror in microcosm the Dominion war. With TNG, programs like the Sherlock Holmes and Dixon Hill ones translate the show's focus on exploration into themes of discovery and investigation. And with Voyager, the holodeck programs seem to be fun but ultimately light examples of fluff: holiday resorts, romances, fairytales and campy pulp sci-fi.

Siskoid said...

And the idea of building a community with Fairhaven. You make a really interesting point.

mwb said...

Using classic Sci Fi serial fodder does cause me to forgive a lot of their crap.

But none the less. It is still putting lipstick on a pig...