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Star Wreck: In The Pirkinning

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Directed By
Produced By
Distributed By
Country
Finland
Language
Release Date
August 20, 2005 (premiere for cast & crew, Tampere, Finland)
August 23, 2005 (limited club screenings release, Turku, Finland)
September 5, 2005 (general non-US DVD release)
October 1, 2005 (general Internet release)
Runtime
103 min.
Rating
Finland:K-11
Budget
Undisclosed


Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning is a 2005 direct-to-DVD motion picture produced by five friends in a two-room flat with a very small budget and the support of a few hundred fans and dozens of acquaintances. Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning is the seventh production in the Star Wreck movie series, the first of professional quality and feature length. It is a dark science fiction comedy about domination of the world and the universe, and a parody of the Star Trek and Babylon 5 universes. The film is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial 1.0 Finland license.

Although the movie is a fan film at heart, it far exceeds the usual standard of such films by having its own unique, cohesive story, a parody rather than simple fan fiction, and many critics have favourably compared it with typical professionally produced science fiction films, in part because of the quality of the special effects and overall production. Another remarkable fact about this film is that it is available as an authorized and legal download on the Internet.

Plot Edit

Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about
the entire movie.

Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning picks up where the previous movie, Star Wreck V: Lost Contact left off. Captain James B. Pirk (Samuli Torssonen) is stranded with his crew, Commander Dwarf (Timo Vuorensola) and Commander Info (Antti Satama), on turn-of-the-millennium Earth. Life is not good. Dwarf works in a small-time hot-dog stand, and Pirk is stuffing himself with hamburgers. Info's whereabouts are unknown.

During their stay on Earth the timeline is wrecked beyond repair, so Pirk decides to take fate into his own hands. Pirk locates the space ship of the Vulgars (a parody of Star Trek's Vulcans, whose first contact mission was corrupted by a hedonistic rock star who took them into his charge), which was sold to Russia, and incites the Russians at the Chanistanya nuclear research facility to a revolution and to build a new ship, the Potkustartti. With the help of the Russians and their president Ulyanov (Kari Väänänen), the P-Fleet is born again, as Pirk's empire. Earth falls quickly under Pirk's rule, however, the relatively primitive technology of the new P-Fleet's ships prevent them from expanding the new empire onto other habitable planets.

By Sergey Fukov's freak encounter with a maggot hole (a parody of the sci-fi staple, the worm hole), Pirk is given a new idea of conquest. Pirk's hunger for power and profound lack of reason drives him through the maggot hole, behind which he finds a parallel universe. In this universe, history has taken a completely different path, leading to Babylon 5-like technology. Hell-bent on conquest, Pirk unwittingly reveals his plans of invading the parallel universe Earth to the commanding officer of the Babel 13 (resembling the Babylon 5 space station), by which he commits himself into a mortal battle with Babel 13's forces.

Tide of the battle turns with the intervention of relief forces lead by Excavator, commande(ere)d by Festerbester. After a bitter fight, Pirk must flee back into his own universe where he will have his final brush with fate, being once again stranded on Earth, without a ship, during an ice age. There is some controversy over whether they are, as Info suggests, stranded 11,000 years in the past, or if they are actually far in the future without hope (as suggested by the appearance of space debris when the camera zooms out from Earth just before the credits).

Characters Edit

Most of the major characters are obvious parodies of characters from Star Trek or Babylon 5.

Members of the P-Fleet

  • Captain/Emperor Pirk, played by Samuli Torssonen. A semi-independent character based on James T. Kirk. Incompetent fool with incredible luck. Has eye for tactics in ship-to-ship combat, but lacks any social abilities.
  • Commander Info, played by Antti Satama. A parody of Data. Always correct to the point of nausea. After running out of flesh colored paint, he's been around with silver skin.
  • Commander Dwarf, played by Timo Vuorensola. A parody of Worf. A psychotic Plingon alien who betrayed his people to join Pirk's crew. True to his Plingon warrior background, he never showers or bathes.
  • Sergey Fukov, played by Janos Honkonen. A semi-independent character based on Pavel Chekov. Great-great-great-great-grandfather of the original Fukov in Star Wreck 1, 2 & 3. An abysmally incompetent nuclear engineer who served at the Chernobyl nuclear plant in his earlier years. The only captain of the P-fleet who manages to inflict more destruction to his own ship than the enemy.

Members of the Babel 13

  • Captain Johnny K. Sherrypie, played by Atte Joutsen. A parody of John Sheridan. The commanding officer of the space station Babel 13. Fond of long-winded speeches and delayed decisions.
  • Commander Ivanovitsa, played by Satu Heliö. A parody of Susan Ivanova. The sarcastic Executive Officer of the Babel 13. Her daily duties consist of reporting parking violations and enduring Sherrypie's speeches.
  • Festerbester, played by Janos Honkonen. A parody of Alfred Bester. A psy-co officer with a habit of commandeering ships. A good tactician.
  • Security Chief Mikhail Garybrandy, played by Jari Ahola. A parody of Michael Garibaldi. Babel 13's head of security. Tends to grab the bottle at the most inappropriate moments.

Supporting characters

  • President Ulyanov, played by Kari Väänänen. The president of Russia. An honest, well-mannered politician with the best of intentions.
  • Lieutenant Swagger, played by Tiina Routamaa. A parody of every exploited female officer in the history of Sci-fi. Lieutenant Swagger is the beautiful but stone-cold helm officer aboard the Potkustartti. Her tough-as-nails composure only lifts on seeing Emperor Pirk in peril. She hates her uniform.
  • Ambassador Flush. A parody of Kosh. Utters idle comments in cryptic ways.

Casting for Festerbester and Fukov make use of their source characters' casting. The vastly different roles of Chekov and Bester were both played by Walter Koenig.

Production Edit

The primus motor of the production was Samuli Torssonen. In the early 1990s, he had produced short animated humorous Star Trek inspired fan films under the collective title Star Wreck. During those early years, Torssonen recruited his friends to help him in these productions. Most notable of them was Rudi Airisto, who hated Star Trek and helped add parody aspects to those films.

After four animated short films, Torssonen and his friends decided to produce a longer live-action piece. The result was Star Wreck V: Lost Contact, released in 1997, and it was a straightforward parodical retelling of Star Trek: First Contact, with some original elements. All of the non-location shots were produced using a bluescreen technique. This fan movie, like the preceding animations, is a small cult hit in the Finnish science fiction scene.

After Lost Contact, Torssonen and others intimately involved with its production decided to create a final, sixth episode. It was supposed to be a fifteen-minute live-action special effects heavy film, containing the basic plot elements of In the Pirkinning: Pirk acquiring a ship and then a fleet, a quick transport to a Babylon-5-esque world, where the Trek-inspired P-fleet ships would have a huge battle with Babylon 5-inspired ships. Rudi Airisto was to direct, and the production started in the way Lost Contact was made: without proper planning and learning as they went. After Airisto moved to the UK to study, Torssonen called Timo Vuorensola and appointed him as the director.

The first years of production were a learning experience for the cast and crew. Essentially no footage shot during that time survived to the released film. During this process, they acquired more people, mostly through personal connections, to volunteer in the production either behind the scenes or in front of the camera.

In the year 2000, the production crew released an intermediate film, Star Wreck IV½: Weak Performance, a short live-action piece.

For the next several years, to an outside observer, In the Pirkinning was continually "almost finished, to be released within next six months". Eventually, it took seven years from the first conception of the movie to its release, most of that time being taken by the huge time it took to render all the computer-generated imagery that formed all of the special effects as well as the virtual sets for all non-location scenes.

For most part of the production, the studio was a converted two-room apartment: one room featured the blue screen and most of the computers and other equipment involved in the shooting, and the kitchen contained the render farm. A wardrobe was used for dubbing.

The film features the appearance of three professional actors, two of which are Finnish national celebrities: Jari Ahola, Karoliina Blackburn and Kari Väänänen. Väänänen's appearance was a favour in exchange for a video CV the production crew made for him.

Ships Edit

The ships used throughout the picture are near exact copies of the main ships and smaller fighting vessels from Star Trek and Babylon 5, only the names are comically different. Near exact replicas of nearly every Starfleet vessel and nearly every version of the Enterprise are seen (the name of Pirk's own ship, the Enterprise-E clone Potkustartti, is translated as Kickstart), as well as near-exact replicas of the Babylon 5 station, the Excalibur (from Crusade, renamed the Excavator), White Stars, Starfuries (renamed Star Flurries), and Earthforce Omega Class Destroyers (referred to as "Amigo Class Destroyers" and bearing unlikely names like Backgammon and Apalling). Two of the latter are named after Finnish military figures, Mannerheim and Ehrnrooth, and one after a hero of Finnish mythology, Ilmarinen.

Translation Edit

Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning contains humour in all levels, from word play and short gags to character parodies and a black comedy story line.

The Star Trek spoof material is mostly inherited from the earlier Star Wreck films. The core of them date back to the first Star Wreck animation from the time when Torssonen and his friends were in their early teens. Consequently, some of the Star Trek spoofs have a distinct teen-age feel.

A lot of the word-level humour is based on humorous mistranslation. For most of the Star Trek and science fiction terminology there exists corresponding terminology in Finnish, due to the large amount of science fiction and Star Trek that has been translated to Finnish. Star Wreck takes these established translations and twists them: for example, a phaser is conventionally translated as vaiheinen ("that which has phases"), while the Wreck equivalent is tuikutin (literally, "a thing that can cause twinkling"). Similarly, warp is conventionally translated as poimu ("tuck", especially of a garment), while Wreck uses kieroutuminen (literally, "twisting" or "becoming perverse," depending on the intended meaning). These mistranslation puns are impossible to translate to English effectively, though the English subtitles do try to create different puns (twinkler instead of phaser, twist for warp, etc.).

The case of Mikhail Garybrandy is a prime example of an untranslatable spoof. The Finnish name of the character is Mihail Karigrandi, which is a reference to a fictional character Kari Grandi (played by Eeki Mantere), whose adventures for the good of thirsty people (bringing them the Grandi-brand juice to drink) were depicted in a long-running Finnish TV commercial series. The tagline of the commercials, "Kari Grandi, kaikkien janoisten sankari, aikamme legenda" ("Kari Grandi, the hero of all who are thirsty, a legend in our time") was paraphrased by Garybrandy in his line "Olenhan kaikkien janoisten sankari... aikamme legenda" (roughly, "After all, I am the hero of all who are thirsty... a legend in our time") spoken near the end of the movie. This is funny also because Garibaldi was an alcoholic and Garybrandy takes to drink again in the movie, and drinking is often glorified in the Finnish (male) culture. The words "hero" and "legend" are very often used in relation to drinking alcohol; "hero" is used sarcastically to mean a bungler or anti-hero (often used in a friendly male bonding fashion) and "legend" refers to all kinds of (spectacularly) goofy things people do when under the influence, or the said people.

As a spoof of both Star Trek: The Original Series and the Finnish language, the engineer of the Potkustartti (credited in the English credits as "the Scottish engineer") speaks Finnish in the Turku dialect. This parodies Montgomery Scott's speaking in Lowland Scots.

Translations of subtitles can be found here.

Reception Edit

During the seven years of production, In the Pirkinning was occasionally mentioned in Finnish media, including several stories in national television news and in major regional newspapers.

Several favourable reviews have been published in Finnish media since the release. (Should look them up.)

Within a week of the movie's authorized Internet release, more than 300,000 copies of the movie were legally downloaded from the main distribution site, excluding the several mirror sites [1].

Within two weeks of the movie's authorized Internet release it was estimated that more than 1,500,000 copies of the movie has been downloaded in total, including the several mirror sites.

Within two months of the movie's Internet release, it was estimated that more than 2.9 million copies of the movie had been downloaded from the official site alone, surpassing the viewership of the most popular Finnish movie ever, Edvin Laine's The Unknown Soldier (1955). Team's service provider, Magenta sites, reported over 2 petabytes of data transfers and estimated that actual amount of downloads, including all mirrors, would be in the range of 3.5 to 4 millon. [2]

References Edit

Apart from the movie itself, sources for this article include the Making of documentary distributed with the movie on the DVD, as well as the Star Wreck forums.

External links Edit

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This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Star Wreck: In The Pirkinning. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with MOVIEPEDIA, the text of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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