REVIEW: “The Trouble With Tribbles” (“Star Trek: Remastered” edition)

Star Trek (Remastered): “The Trouble With Tribbles”
Remastered Episode #9 (11/4/2006)

To this point, there have been two major disappointments with Star Trek: Remastered. Though remastered in High Definition, the episodes are not actually broadcast in HD. Worse, the computer-generated Enterprise looked like a cartoon through the first eight episodes.

With those two disappointments, and many of the new effects seeming so beholden to the originals as to exactly duplicate their overall setups, my reaction to Star Trek: Remastered so far has been, “Why bother?”

To their credit, the production team behind the remastering effort was aware of and openly acknowledged the issues with the CGI Enterprise. “The Trouble With Tribbles” features the debut of a new CGI model, one that takes less time to compile and allows them more time to tweak each shot.

And the result?

Astonishing.

Finally, Star Trek: Remastered begins to justify its existence. No longer was I ripped out of the episode by inserts of a cartoon Enterprise. I may be one of the few, but I love the 1960’s-era model shots of the Enterprise so a cartoon just wasn’t going to cut it for me.

But now, the Enterprise looks real. I can believe in her again. I can see details that my mind always knew were there, even if 1960’s technology or budget limitations prevented them from actually appearing on the model or on screen.

The team also uses the model to great effect, not always limiting themselves to the exact same shots presented in the original episode. There are several “beauty shots” that remind me of motion picture era Enterprise fly-bys. That’s more like it!

The production team has indicated that they plan to go back to the eight episodes already aired with the first CGI model and replace it with the new one. Kudos to them for taking so much pride in their work. I’m looking forward to seeing “Balance of Terror” again, in particular.

The remastered opening credits sequence still features the first CGI model. I’m not docking points for this, as I assume they will take care of this and retro-fit previous episodes as soon as time allows. Beyond the cartoon Enterprise, the biggest distraction in the opening credits is the vocal portion of the theme song. The female voice is way too high in the mix compared to the original, drowning out the instrumentals.

In one of several finishing touches provided by Star Trek: Remastered, a Klingon battle cruiser now appears in the episode. In the original, the Klingon vessel never appears on screen since a model did not yet exist in the second season. The Klingon battle cruiser model was not ready until the third season. It made its debut in “The Enterprise Incident” as a Romulan vessel.

Though Deep Space Nine‘s “Trials & Tribble-ations” in 1996 featured the first official TOS remastering using portions of “The Trouble With Tribbles,” there are no cutesy DS9 cameos inserted in the Star Trek: Remastered version. This is appropriate, since the original episode chronicles the first time through the events, not the alterations caused by time travel.

Up next week is “Mirror, Mirror.” It’s great to finally be excited about Star Trek: Remastered again!

Dramatic Content: 10 (out of 10)
Effects Upgrades: 7
Overall Experience: 10
Recommended: Yes

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