Star Trek: Renegades is an ambitious crowd-funded fan-film that tries very hard to give Trekkies the Star Trek we miss so much. Unfortunately it falls short on a few points that detract from the otherwise stellar effort.
I can look past the low-budget effects, and mask-quality makeup, but what is harder to ignore is the bland script, and static dialogue. Star Trek should be a compelling conversation in both literal dialogue, and philosophical musing. It doesn’t always have to be a high-concept moral tale, but if not, please make it bearable to sit through. Renegades very tragically drags you through a mediocre script.
I applaud the effort to bring the world of Star Trek to a darker place. I’ve long since wanted a Star Trek show set in the dirtier, shadowier edges of the Federation, or beyond, and in that regard, Renegades succeeds. The core concept of Renegades is enjoyable, but as a story, it has little more to cheer than its skeletal framework.
There were a slew of returning characters, including Tuvok, The Doctor from Voyager, Admiral Paris, Icheb, and of course, Admiral Chekov. But even these fond memories don’t rekindle the fire that Star Trek has lit over the generations of its existence. It actually felt like a parade of familiar faces just to get Trekkies to say “ooh” and “hey, cool”. In reality, all the returning characters were a shoehorned distraction.
I did enjoy the idea of Icheb, from Star Trek Voyager, having a less-than-stellar life after being rescued by Janeway. After arriving on Earth after Voyager’s return home, Icheb is asked by the Federation to help other victims of assimilation re-acclimate to life after the Borg. In the end he is taken advantage of by Section 31, and turned into a weapon. This little clever aspect of the story is exactly what I have always wanted form Star Trek: exposing the Federation as as much of an abusive, subversive, and control-oriented governmental organization as any.
Star Trek: Renegades feels so close to success, but ultimately leaves a bad taste in my mouth. When fan productions the like of Star Trek Continues consistently offer stunning quality material that effortlessly feels like canon, Renegades just falls embarrassingly short. That doesn’t mean I don’t look forward to further attempts. There is plenty of potential here. Recent info suggests that Renegades will continue on as a web series. I only hope further funding, and more polished scripts, paired with more attentive acting, will give us Trekkies what we crave.
It may not be that the next coming of Next Generation, but it’s still Star Trek, and it’s pretty much all we’re going to get for a long time. (let’s hope The Worf Chronicles is just a sick joke) Star Trek: Renegades is available to watch on YouTube, so if you’ve got some time to kill for “kind of” a Star Trek movie, you might as well watch it.