The Stars Are Not That Far
STAR TREK FIRST FRONTIER (2020) is an American Star Trek fan film directed by Kenneth Smith and written by Keith Brooks, Chad Dowdy, Kenneth Smith, and Harold Stafford. It stars Robert Pralgo, Tara Ochs, Brianna Ferris, and Barry Corbin.
It tells the story of the initial launch of the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE in the year 2245. In command is Captain Robert April. With him is his wife Sarah April as the ship’s Chief Medical Officer.
Captain Robert April is being honored as a hero and being given a medal. Only he doesn’t feel very heroic and too many people died in the mission they are applauding. For this reason he repeatedly turns down command of the new CONSTITUTION-class U.S.S. ENTERPRISE and wishes an Earth assignment.
The starship BONAVENTURE accidentally wakes up some nasty aliens whose biological mandate is to kill and destroy. They take some of the BONAVENTURE’s crew hostage – including April’s sister – and kill the rest. Meanwhile, at the award ceremony the aliens sabotage the starship ENDEAVOR and blow it up.
April accepts a promotion to Fleet Captain and uses the ENTERPRISE to go after the aliens. But he is then shocked to discover his wife Sarah is the ship’s chief medical officer. This never happened to Kirk.
April and the ENTERPRISE track the aliens to Jupiter where they manage to capture one of them. But the creature infects Captain Collins with a mutating virus and April is forced to take command of the ship.
Needless to say, with much daring do, April and the ENTERPRISE crew manage to thwart the aliens, rescue his sister, and save the Earth from that damned mutating virus. Just in time to catch a kiss from his wife. Ahhhh, true love. Oh, and he remains as Captain of the ENTERPRISE. Ya gotta love it!
This film is the brainchild of Kenneth Smith who wanted to do a movie about the ENTERPRISE’s first mission under her first Captain Robert April. It has been said this film was five years in the making but Mister Smith says he wrote the story ten years ago. An argument can be made that this movie was therefore ten years in the making. In either case it is obvious this film was a labor of love for those behind the camera as well as those in front.
- The visual effects are cheesy. I have seen better even in fan fiction.
- The sound is often off. Sometimes it is too low and other times it is so loud I can’t hear what characters are saying.
- The acting is uneven. This is a common occurrence in fan films. In this case some of the performances are so good that perhaps they cancel out my thumbs down.
- The aliens are kind of cheesy looking as well. This may also be a thumbs down not worth mentioning. Let’s face it in the original series there were cheesy looking aliens as well – remember the Gorn?
I always like to list what I don’t like about a movie first and then say what I do like about it. In this way I end on a positive note. For this film I am happy to do it that way because I want everyone to be very clear about how I feel in regards to this movie.
- I love this story. If there is a complaint I can make about the writing it is that I was sorry to see it end and could have kept right on watching.
- I love Robert Pralgo as Captain April and Tara Ochs as his wife Sarah. The scenes with them together were riveting. The entire film I kept saying to myself, why doesn’t he kiss her? Well the kiss came at the end and it was worth the wait.
- I loved the sets, I loved the props, and I loved the costumes. Yes they harken back to the time of the original series – they are supposed to. A story that takes place before the original series should look like it. This one does and it is on purpose and it is perfect.
- Damn fine characters and characterizations. Man did I feel for April and his wife Sarah and their struggle. I felt for Captain Collins. I felt for Lieutenant Lyra. I even felt for Ensign Brooks – I laughed but I felt for him as well. This movie gives you characters you want to see more of.
- I love the U.S.S. ENTERPRISE. For me the ship is one of the characters and I was happy to see it get the respect it deserves.
- All hands involved in this production know their Star Trek and it shows. There is a reason why the uniforms come in only two colors. There is a reason why April’s emblem is different form those of the crew and not the emblem everyone associates with Star Trek. There is a reason why the hand weapons look the way they do.
- So many professional actors and familiar faces are involved in this production. Take a look at their pictures and see if you can place where you have seen them before. I’ll give you a hint, CONSTANTINE, FURIOUS 7, STARGIRL, AGENTS OF S.H.I.E.L.D., and NORTHERN EXPOSURE are just some of the answers.
I have long been a fan of Star Trek fan fiction. I faithfully followed STAR TREK CONTINUES and STAR TREK: PHASE II. I loved STAR TREK: HORIZONS (I should write a review of that film) and I adored both STARSHIP EXETER and STARSHIP FARRAGUT. Let me tell you something, as much as I love all those and more none of them excited me as much as STAR TREK FIRST FRONTIER. I fully recommend this movie for anyone who likes Star Trek, likes science fiction, and likes good storytelling. The film ends with a setup for more stories. I certainly hope so. I would love to see more Robert April, Sarah April, Lyra, McCain, and Brooks. Let me know and I’ll bring the popcorn.
In our rating scale I am happy to give this movie three and a half Gray Geeks.
Well that is it for now gang. I thank you for letting me take the opportunity to write about what I think and how I feel. I want to ask all of you to be safe and continue vigilant. The danger is not over yet. Keep wearing that mask and keep putting on those gloves. Be the superhero you always knew you were. Hasta La Vista!