Mindgame Trilogy

Mindgame

This is afan-made production whose storyline may be invalidated by later official studio productions.

Recently escaped from an experiment in which they were almost manipulated into killing one another, a human officer, a Sontaran warrior and an eloquent Draconian have now gone their separate ways – though not necessarily to happy endings. The human finds herself alone and adrift in a solo spacecraft with no food or water left, and a dwindling supply of oxygen. The Sontaran is transported back into the heart of the battle he once craved, where he finds that his newfound ability to think freely isn’t an asset. And the Draconian is imprisoned, now confined to a cell that he can’t reason his way out of.

Battlefield written by Terrance Dicks
Prisoner 451 written by Miles Richardson
Scout Ship written by Roger Stevens
directed by Keith Barnfather
music by Nicholas Briggs

Cast: Sophie Aldred (Space Pilot 692 7896), Miles Richardson (Commander Of Brigade Merq), John Wadmore (Field Major Sarg)

Notes: Where Mindgame strongly hinted that the human soldier played by Sophie Aldred was Ace (possibly from the New Adventures novels), Mindgame Trilogy complicates that interpretation with the death of Aldred’s character.

Review: An interesting and somewhat surprising 1999 follow-up to the rather well-produced (if chlich├Ęd) fan-made video project Mindgame, Mindgame Trilogy suffers a great deal in comparison because it alternates between being a total bummer (as Sophie Aldred’s doomed space pilot slowly rationalizes her way toward suicide) and rather annoyingly dull (the Draconian’s dilemma, something which could have been much more interesting). It’s presented as three “episodes,” each written by a different author, to smooth the transition a bit; each episode focuses on Mindgame Trilogyonly one character. If any of the three original characters fares best, it’s the Sontaran (now played by John Wadmore), who winds up in what may be the most action-packed fight scene ever to be populated by only one character. But in many ways, the Sontaran’s plight smells familiar – his duty and honor diatribes could have been lifted from any Klingon-centric episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Sophie Aldred goes an excellent job of portraying her character’s agonizing psychological death dive, but it’s that segment which is the most downbeat, depressing, and hard to watch. It’s also the most compelling, emotionally speaking. I have to make a special mention of the use of CGI to place Aldred’s character in the cockpit of a drifting space vessel; rather like the Starfury cockpits in early episodes of Babylon 5, it doesn’t afford the camera any leeway in terms of movement, but it’s still an effective device, especially considering that the fan-made videos turned out by BBV and Reeltime Pictures had acquired a bit of a reputation for doing things on the cheap.

This leaves us with the Shakespeare-spouting Draconian. Not only does this part of the video barely make sense, it’s not that entertaining, and smacks of an actor having written himself a vanity piece. While Mindgame Trilogy is a fascinating study of each of these characters in isolation, perhaps the mold should have been broken for the chapter involving the Draconian character, and perhaps he should have had someone to interact with, even if it was a sentient computer that needed only a voice. As it is, he spends his hour on the stage fretting and strutting… well, at least it sure Discuss it!feels like an hour. The running time of the video is again padded out with a making-of program, much like the original Mindgame.

An interesting and worthwhile (if flawed) experiment, Mindgame Trilogy at least has good performances to commend it. This video may well be an actor’s delight, but perhaps not a viewer’s delight.

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