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Review: We Take a Look At the Largest Exhibition in London's Hyde Park Since 1851: Star Trek: The Adventure!

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Posted: 09:17:10 on January 15 2003
By: Steve Krutzler
Dept: Number Eight
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 costumes.

The Exhibits
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 recommend it.

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.

Conclusion
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 other visitors.

7/10.

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.

© 2003 TrekWeb.com. All Rights Reserved.

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At last someone agrees!
By Doc ( ) at 04:04:15 on January 21 2003
URL: | User Info
Thank goodness I'm not the only one who feels disappointed (see comments from last week). I was beginning to feel that the rest of the country had lost the grip on reality!

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

Adventure is disappointment
By cbrbiker ( ) at 16:37:53 on January 20 2003
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Well I for one think that "Adventure" was a major disappointment. I certainly think "adventure" is a mis-leading word to use in it's title.

I paid £17.50 ($28.13 US) for my ticket and I feel thoroughly cheated. As a Trek fan, I could think of hundreds of ways it could have been improved: and it's not like they can't afford it! The only reason I can think of as to it's "minimalist" design is that it's touring the world and needs to remain fairly portable.

When entering the main area, you are greeted with a 1701-A model overhead and several Next Gen consoles which I was itching to press buttons on. Until I noticed the "DO NOT TOUCH" sign. And this was how things were to continue. Nothing was interactive and it was more like a museum than an adventure! Most of the space was taken up with costumes in plastic cabinets with the occasional weapons cabinet.

I took some photos which are on www.inspired-dreams.com/trek if anyone wants to check them out.

All in all, I think the visit has to be done. Mainly because it's a one-off event and (hopefully) won't be returning. The Enterprise D was very well done. the engineering and bridge sections were as accurate as they could be. As was the 1701 bridge (shame you can't walk on that one). Another feature worthy of note in the Voyager shuttlecraft simulator. That was quite fun. Oh yes, and the alcoholic beverage gift pack (Romulan Ale, Klingon Export & Ferengi Eelwasser). Unfortunately, the gift pack cost more than buying all three bottles individually (tried the Klingon one - very nice!) and there was not blood wine available!!

However, the good parts were few and far between, which left my party with a bitter taste after leaving. The highest rating it got from us was 6/10 and that was from a devoted Trekkie.

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

ah well
By varun ( varunk@bigpond.net.au) at 19:20:10 on January 15 2003
URL: www.geocities.com/deltaflyer11 | User Info
well that place sounds like fantasy come true. To bad in australia i'll never see anything like it :-(. Well if youll excuse me i have a kangaroo to catch.

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if star trek dies god help us all

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

I enjoyed it :-D
By jayUK ( ) at 18:48:49 on January 15 2003
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As explained the exhibition had it's draw back, but itís nothing like Iíve seen before and thoroughly enjoyed it.

Props from Nemesis were great to see, especially the Scorpion shuttle craft. They also had a nice display of props like phasers from all the series and plenty of other props showing how the shows evolved. It was great seeing how much effort is put in to the shows and movies

One thing that amazed me was the background of all the visitor when I was there. From young kids to the old, of all age and race! From old time fans, to new ones.
Itís nice to see that people arenít embarrassed because they like Star Trek.

Like everyone with me, the recreated Enterprise-D Bridge was amazing, but was annoyed as we were unable to take pictures, but luckily got a few pictures taken from the exhibition as well as some movies including on from the simulator lol ;-)

After all these years Star Trek is as popular and even though the new shows arenít perfect, new fans are being attracted because of shows like TOS, TNG and DS9.
(In the UK Star Trek is still big, we get about 13 episodes a week from TOS to ENT!)

Over all a great exhibition and itís nice to have something like this which is not in the US! Also I would say to any new comers to Star Trek who are in the UK of visiting to go visit Star Trek: The Adventure, definitely worth the £15.50!

JayUK

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Tracy Torme
By Cyrus ( ) at 15:59:34 on January 15 2003
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Sounds like a cool exhibit with more stuff than the Star Trek adventure in Las Vegas.


Dixon Hill Novels by Tracy Torne - does she really exist?

Tracy Torme definitely exists and it is a guy. He is son of Mel Torme and a writer who wrote several TNG episodes including "The Big Goodbye" which introduced Dixon Hill. He later on co-created sliders. I am sure he never wrote any Dixon Hill novels though.

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coool
By Beckett ( email@jonathan-davies.net) at 10:11:51 on January 15 2003
URL: http://www.jonathan-davies.net | User Info
Thats a really helpful review. Typical Paramount on some parts by the sounds of things! I might have a wander down old London way now the date has been extended! ;) Who could resist getting to walk on the Enterprise-D Bridge *gulp*

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Nemesis had all the right buttons there waiting to be pressed, but like Data on a Reman keypad Paramount seem to have pushed the wrong ones. :/

[ Reply to This | Parent Comment ]

  • RE: cool by msferengi @ 12:30:33 EDT on 15 Jan
    • RE: cool by Gitch @ 12:52:33 EDT on 16 Jan
    • RE: cool by Beckett @ 18:58:42 EDT on 15 Jan