Written by Paul Gitsham
, edited by Steve Krutzler
Situated in London's Hyde Park is Star Trek: The
Adventure, a new 7,000 square meter exhibit costing a reported £20m
(US $30m) to build. This climate-controlled attraction covers all five
series (six if you count the Animated series) and all ten films and is the
Royal Park's biggest show in 150 years, since the "Great Exhibition" of 1851.
Unlike other exhibits, notably the Federation Science exhibit of recent memory, the attention to detail here is remarkable. From the moment you walk
into the first exhibtion space the walls are adorned with lovingly
recreated Okudagrams, both static and incorporating moving and realistic
displays familiar to even the most casual STAR TREK viewer. A number of famous sets have been recreated, from the garish display of
1960's architecture and color coordination that is the bridge of the USS Enterprise 1701 (no bloody A, no bloody B...), to the armory of the Enterprise NX-01 via Quark's Bar, one feels as if you are truly
walking the sets. Sadly, for those of us who yearn to be a Starfleet officer
everything is strictly Hands-Off.
As with many of these exhibits, it's the props and costumes that are
really fascinating. Everything from Deanna Troi's wedding dress and
Picard's dress uniform to the costumes of little-remembered one-time guest
aliens are on display. The props include everything from Romulan hand
phasers to the bottle of Chateau Picard (2267) from NEMESIS and a
selection of Dixon Hill Novels by Tracy Torne - does she really exist? However,
the piece de Resistence has to be the full sized Scorpion model from
the new feature - Patrick Stewart and Brent Spiner must
have really gotten too close for comfort when filming that scene.
In addition to the always well-catalogued previous series and nine
films, a real effort has been made to promote ENTERPRISE and NEMESIS. In
addition to the armory are story boards and cardboard study models from
ENTERPRISE pre-production. The walls have original concept art for the
design of the NX-01, complete with doodlings and comments such as "Too
futuristic" and "Keep the nacelles," and photographs document the
building of key sets. Trailers for NEMESIS run constantly (particularly
interesting for Brits as this was a week before its premiere in the
UK) and in addition to the Scorpion there are large numbers of props and
There is, of course, the obligatory Transporter room, where you can get a
photograph of yourself being turned into a beam of sparkling energy
before being reassembled (hopefully) at some exotic locale. For the more adventurous there is the VOYAGER shuttlecraft simulator -- a frankly stomach-churning CGI ride through a Borg cube at high-speed.
No discernable plot or reason for doing so is presented (hey its
VOYAGER!) but by the time I clambered out I felt vaguely sick so I heartily
For those who have always fancied pitting their acting talents against
William Shatner (and who have £20/US $30+ burning a hole in their
pocket), the option to star in your very own TREK episode is an
absolute must. Positioned in front of a blue screen, you are super-imposed upon original footage of the
original crew through the magic
of digital imagery, spliced together to form a unique episode in which you are
the star. You are given a number of lines to read at specific cues
allowing you to converse with Captain Kirk and there is a choice of three episodes, with
different numbers of lines making this suitable for all ages and acting
ranges. You get to take home a copy of your opus on VHS or DVD - with
additional copies available for £10 (US $15) each.
The final (and best) act, however, is the Enterprise adventure, where
you get to live out your fantasies (to a limited "Don't touch please"
extent). A wonderfully recreated Enterprise-D engineering set
leads to a full size mockup of the bridge, before you are finally
disgorged, blinking, into the gift shop.
The Down Side
There are, as always, a few disapointments with this type of exhibit. The most serious by far is the poor signage and lack of maps, a
blatant ploy to extract more money from you by making the hiring of an
audio-guide (£3/US $4.50) or the purchase of a guide book (£10/US $15)
necessary. Not having any change in my pocket I had to do without either
and was very unimpressed. If you are in luck, a prop or exhibit may have
one line of text telling you what it is, or which film/series it comes
from--rather a cheek I feel, having already paid the best part of £15
(US $22.50) to enter the exhibit.
Further, you are required to attend a particular two-hour time slot and
cannot simply stroll in whenever and wander around or sit in Quark's and chat to other Trekkers all afternoon. Once you have done the
final Enterprise Exhibit, you also can't get back in again. This made the
lack of a map all the more annoying, since you leave with a
nagging feeling that really good part of the attraction may have been missed.
The Star Trek Adventure is a good, family, day out. Kids will love the
exhibits and there is something for Trekkers of all ages. On the whole,
what it does well it does very well, and the attention to detail is
something they should be very proud of. Poor signage and lack
of map, and the expectation that you should pay more money for even the
most basic directions are serious flaws, an assessment echoed by numerous
The exhibit was scheduled to run in London until the 1st of February but has been extended through March 30, 2003. For more information visit Star Trek: The Adventure or StarTrekUK for a complete run down of the exhibit's features.
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