What We Left Behind

By nature I love brevity: A wonderful trip through the story of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. And what a story it is!

I walked into the theater on May 13th intrigued. I knew I'd be seeing the DS9 Doc I'd been waiting to see for a very long time, but I had no idea what I was actually in for. The first thing I noticed as my father and I entered the room was the crowd. Almost everyone there had some form of Trek memorabilia on their person – hats, shirts, even a few replica uniform pieces. The theater marquee actually read 'Star Trek: DS9,' something I never in a million years thought I'd see written up in a movie theater. We walked in, and everyone in the theater was discussing the show. We had a few friendly conversations with strangers about its different elements, how much we loved it, and who our favorite characters were.

We were among friends. Star Trek: Deep Space Nine meant something to every single person in that room.

And when the lights dimmed and the film began, I soon felt that we were returning to old friends as well as meeting new ones. I've seen the show in its entirety twice, and it's my favorite series. I've gotten to know the characters of DS9 very well over the years, and it was wonderful to see them take the center stage for two hours. Even though the actors are in many cases very different from their characters, and they were merely talking about their experiences, the film gave me a view into who they were on the set of that show. I got a sense of what it was like, how it felt, and how it wound up coming out the way it did.

I learned many things I didn't know about the show, and I know a great deal. I was also reminded of things I did know and loved. That was mostly what this was about: remembering something that I, and the rest of the people gathered in theaters around the country on that night, love. I could do that simply by watching an episode or two of the show, but it was so much more powerful when I was surrounded by people who love it as much as I do. We clapped for this more than my showing of Avengers: Endgame did for that. Not because the two are comparable in any way – they're much too different to make any sort of comparison – but because we all loved the show deeply in a way that not everyone who goes to see a typical movie does.

A couple things made this documentary stand out besides the fact that I care so much about the subject. The first is the remastering of scenes from DS9 in HD. Every shot from the show that's included in the film is in HD, and that alone was worth the price of admission. The recreation of a battle sequence from 'Sacrifice of Angels,' too, was amazing to see and very much appreciated. The second thing was the sequences, placed throughout the film, documenting a gathering of the show's writers in which they plotted out what they would do if they were given free reign to create DS9 Season 8, Episode 1. The key role this played was to give us a sense of what it must've been like in the writers' room when the show was originally being made. It never once felt like they were giving us fan service just for the sake of it, even though it could very easily have become that with no consequences. Instead, you could tell that they were still writers who wanted to tell a story first, and please the fans second. It was wonderful.

What We Left Behind is a film produced by people who love Deep Space Nine, for people who love Deep Space Nine. If you are one of those people, I wholeheartedly recommend that you find a way to watch it. You will not be disappointed. If not, it will almost certainly not be for you. This was made for a specific niche of people, and it only really appeals to those people. Plus, there are a ton of spoilers for the show, and you don't want to keep yourself from discovering it later and falling in love with it. The more you know about the show, the more you will like this doc, and even if you think you know all there is, this will make it clear that you do not.

Pensees:

-Watch through the credits; there's a ton of really fun content throughout.

-I will never be able to pronounce Colm Meaney's name the same way again.

-It's very interesting to find out how the actors felt about their characters and performances at the time, compared to how they feel about them now. Time has certainly changed everyone's perceptions of the show, not just those of the people who watched it.

-This review is a week after the film premiered, but you can still see it; the doc is being rereleased on June 26th. If you're a fan of DS9, go and see it if you can at all manage it.

-Everyone who was at my showing got a cool poster out of the deal. No idea if that extends to other theaters.

6 out of 6 epic space battles.

4 comments:

Victoria Grossack said...

Thanks for this! I'm currently in a part of the world where it won't be available, so I have to enjoy it vicariously and hope that it eventually makes its way to Netflix.

I read somewhere that it was crowdfunded; do you know if that's the case?

Juan said...

Thanks CoramDeo! DS9 is also my favourite series of all time. I grew watching it during my teenage years. And it helped me during a couple of lonely years. I have never connected with every single character of a series, or movie for that matter, like a did with the crew of DS9, and their villains. They were like family. That crew for a time were my only friends and my heros.

And most importantly they open the door to a whole new way for me to see the universe, to see the nature of human relationships but above all, new ways to appreciate the human condition. And also it was fun as hell! It was also one of the few series I have seeing tha became better and better with every season.

I still remember seeing it for the first time. I'm from Argentina and back then with didn't have internet nor magazines that covered Star Trek. I didnt knew that it existed. I tuned the TV to see a new episode of TNG (not knowing that last one was the finale) and suddenly this new series started out of knowhere. A strange title card narrating the Borg attack appeared. It looked like Star Trek (I mean there it was Picard), it sounded like Star Trek but something was diferent, strange, darker and then the opening credits started and I just simply fell in love. The music, the station, the strange character, the mistery. It was more of the same, but yet new, diferent, wild. I can't decribe it. It was magical! And it become a big part of my life.

I remember thinking "An ugly space station? They don't have a Federation Starship? How is this going to work? A Ferengi as part of the cast? That women used to be a man? Is really that grumpy guy made out of Jelly? Is that black man a new Jesus? Man, was I in for a surprise!

This doc is a gift. I not sure I will be able to see it here in the theaters. But I hope Netflix peek it up soon! The way you talked about it made me nostalgic. Made me wanna cry. Now I want to see it even more. Thak You!

Terry J. Erdmann said...

Yes, the documentary was crowdfunded--and one of the fun things about the credits is that every single contributor is listed! The DVD will be out in August, not July as this review says.

CoramDeo said...

Terry, yes, the DVD is coming out in August. I don't know where you're getting July from; I never mentioned the month in this review. I did say it's coming back to theaters in June, though, which it is.