In the latest NCM Fathom and CBS Home Entertainment event, audiences across North America were treated to a special feature-length showing of the Star Trek: The Next Generation's tour de force episode "The Best of Both Worlds". TrekCore traveled all the way to the AMC Century City Theater in Los Angeles for a star-studded event bringing together an array of Star Trek faces to celebrate the best of TNG.
Robert Meyer Burnett, Roger Lay Jr, Denise Okuda, Mike Okuda, Ira Steven Behr and LeVar Burton (image from John Champion)
Showing on over 600 screens throughout the United States and Canada, we always knew that demand for "The Best of Both Worlds" at cinemas would be huge, but even the guys at CBS were surprised to see AMC opening up a second screen to accommodate the huge number of people wanting a ticket at our venue. The event turned out to be not just a magnet for fans, but the staff and crew of the show couldn't keep away either. Fans were delighted for the chance to meet Michael Westmore, Ira Steven Behr, Mike & Denise Okuda, LeVar Burton, Elizabeth Dennehy, Trek VAM Gurus Robert Meyer Burnett and Roger Lay, Jr as well as Sandra Piller, wife of the late Michael Piller.
Denise Okuda, Mike Okuda, Ira Steven Behr, LeVar Burton and Elizabeth Dennehy (image from John Champion)
The presentation kicked off with the arrival of a special one-night-only viewing of "Regeneration: Engaging the Borg", the 30 minute documentary included on the special single disc release of "The Best of Both Worlds". The documentary drew widespread appreciation from the audience with some of the comments from Elizabeth Dennehy provoking raucous laughter. I'd already had the pleasure of reviewing the VAM in its original form (check out the review here if you haven't already), but seeing it up on the big screen and watching with a packed theater made it all the more impactful.
A number of attendees at previous NCM Fathom TNG events have complained to TrekCore about the poor visual quality of the presentation, so I was somewhat prepared for a drop in quality from the familiar 1080p HD transfer of the Blu-rays. The punch that "The Best of the Both Worlds" delivered on the big screen managed to more than assuage those fears - while not totally HD, the image came with great contrast, saturation and a nice level of detail.
The feature was truly electrifying on the screen and managed to stir within me the same anticipation and awe that I remember feeling when I saw the episode for the first time back in the nineties. Dramatic moments once again engendered edge-of-the-seat nailbiting tension, even though we all knew how the episode played out. That's the beauty of seeing these episodes remastered and on the big screen, it gives the fan a whole new viewing experience that they could never hope to experience in the comfort of their own home. This feeling wasn't even lost on those guys working on the Blu-rays who have been forced to sit through the episodes time after time... Robert Meyer Burnett turned to me on numerous occasions, simply exclaiming "Wow, look how amazing THAT looks!". The excitement in the theater was palpable, and something I won't forget in a long time.
Following hot on the heels of the episode's conclusion, viewers were treated to a cut-down gag reel featuring clips from both the Season Three Blu-ray's reel and the single disc "The Best of Both Worlds" reel. Torrents of laughter rocked the theater as Michael Dorn managed to destroy take after take with his inability to spit the words out past his fake Klingon teeth.
Equally well received was the great new trailer for Season Four of Star Trek: The Next Generation on Blu-ray. Taking on a rather unique camp comedic style, Jonathan Angus' latest trailer production brought about more laughs from the audience as classic clips of Data's dancing, Worf's "I am not a merry man" and Lwaxana's attempt to inadvertently fire torpedoes from "Mr. Woof"'s console were cleverly intercut to deliver a great ironic comedy flare throughout.
The event wrapped with the obligatory visit to the local bar with diehards Robert Meyer Burnett and Roger Lay, Jr managing to shepherd Elizabeth Dennehy and Sandra Piller along with us all for copious amounts of liquor to finish the evening with a bang. Dennehy continued to charm, managing to endear herself to everyone even more with her incredible modesty about acting out the role of Shelby. Sandra was a sheer delight to talk to and made everyone in attendance feel closer to Michael through her thoughtful, poignant recollections of her husband's life. We'll have a nice piece coming soon about Sandra as she spoke exclusively to TrekCore about some exciting projects she's working on to remember Michael in a very moving way.
Let us know if you attended a "Best of Both Worlds" screening near you! What did you think of TNG's best episodes on the big screen? And if you haven't pre-ordered yet, the special Blu-ray release of the feature is available to order from the links below!