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Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning is a 2005 motion picture produced by five friends in a two-room flat with a 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 available as an authorized and legal download on the Internet under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs-NonCommercial license.

PlotEdit

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, while trying to pick up girls. 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 C.P.P. Potkustartti (translated as Kickstart). 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, but 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 a 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.

The tide of the battle turns with the intervention of relief forces lead by the Excavator, commanded 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 beyond hope (as suggested by the appearance of space debris when the camera zooms out from Earth just before the credits).

CharactersEdit

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

Members of the P-FleetEdit

  • Captain/Emperor James B. Pirk, played by Samuli Torssonen. A semi-independent character based on James T. Kirk, he amounts to a megalomaniac, egotistic and incompetent fool with incredible luck. He has an eye for tactics in ship-to-ship combat, but lacks any social abilities. The only reason he has ever advanced beyond Sub-Lieutenant are his tactical skills and ability to keep discipline by bullying.
  • Commander Info, played by Antti Satama. A parody of Data. He is always correct, to the point of nausea. After running out of flesh colored paint, he hasn't bothered attempting to diguise himself on 21st Century Earth. Basically an android with Asperger syndrome. Has tendency to annoy everyone around him.
  • 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. Trigger-happy and eager for action even if risking the objective.
  • Sergey Fukov, played by Janos Honkonen. A semi-independent character based on Pavel Chekov. He is the great-great-great-great-grandfather of the original Fukov in Star Wrecks 1, 2, and 3. Before joining up with Pirk he was an abysmally incompetent nuclear engineer serving at the Chernobyl nuclear plant. He is 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 forcesEdit

  • Captain Johnny K. Sherrypie, played by Atte Joutsen. A parody of John Sheridan. He is the commanding officer of the space station Babel 13, and is fond of long-winded speeches and delayed decisions. The mirror image of Pirk.
  • Commander Susannah Ivanovitsa, played by Satu Heliö. A parody of Susan Ivanova. She is the sarcastic Executive Officer of the Babel 13. Her daily duties consist of reporting parking violations and enduring Sherrypie's speeches. She bemoans the fact that her career advancement seems to have stalled.
  • Festerbester, played by Janos Honkonen. A parody of Alfred Bester. He is a Psy-Co officer with a habit of commandeering ships, and he is a good tactician.
  • Security Chief Mikhail Garybrandy (Karigrandi), played by Jari Ahola. A parody of Michael Garibaldi, also parodied Kari Grandi on some jokes and with name. He is Babel 13's head of security, and tends to grab the bottle at the most inappropriate moments.

Supporting charactersEdit

  • President Ulyanov, played by Kari Väänänen. He is the president of Russia; an honest, well-mannered politician with the best of intentions.
  • Lieutenant Swagger, played by Tiina Routamaa. She is a parody of every exploited female officer in the history of science fiction. 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, he utters idle comments in cryptic ways.

Note that the same actor, Walter Koenig, played both Pavel Chekov in Star Trek and Alfred Bester in Babylon 5; this is reflected in Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning, where the same actor, Janos Honkonen, plays each of their counterparts.

ProductionEdit

The "prime mover" of the production was Samuli Torssonen. In the early 1990s, he 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 1997's Star Wreck V: Lost Contact, 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 movie, like the preceding animations, was 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 planned 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 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 closet 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.

ShipsEdit

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. The name of Pirk's own ship, the Enterprise-E clone Potkustart, is translated as Kickstart. The Excalibur from Crusade is "renamed" the Excavator. Babylon 5 Starfuries are renamed "Star Flurries", and Earthforce Omega Class Destroyers are referred to as "Amigo Class Destroyers" and bear unlikely homonymous parody names like Backgammon and Appalling. Two of the Amigos are named after Finnish military figures, Mannerheim and Ehrnrooth, and one after a hero of Finnish mythology, Ilmarinen. One of the Finnish Navy flagships was also named as Ilmarinen.

TranslationEdit

Template:Original research Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning contains humour in many 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). Likewise, "photon torpedoes" have become simply "light balls", and wormhole a "maggot hole". Emperor Pirk himself has apparently a bad understanding of various words, such as using "resorts" for "resources": the original Finnish wording uses "resorit", meaning "sleeve ends" instead of correct "resurssit".

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 Potkustart (credited in the English credits as "the Scottish engineer") speaks Finnish in a heavy Turku dialect. This parodies Montgomery Scott's speaking in Lowland Scots. The corresponding English subtitles have indeed been rendered into Lowland Scots.

Translations of subtitles can be found here.

ReceptionEdit

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.

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 have 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. In comparison, the most popular Finnish movie, Edvin Laine's The Unknown Soldier (1955) has a Finnish theatre attendance figure of 2.8 million (which, of course, doesn't include screenings outside Finland, TV screenings, video sales and rentals from the past 50 years). The film'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 million. [2]

In January 28, 2006 In the Pirkinning premiered in Finnish TV, broadcast by YLE TV2Template:Ref followed by a February 4th rerun on YLE's digital channel, YLE Teema. Teema's broadcast included the earlier movies and a documentary.

Imperial EditionEdit

Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning: Imperial Edition was released on December 13, 2006. Unlike the original version, this special edition is available on DVD only, and is distributed by Universal Pictures Nordic. The original version remains available for download.

In the Imperial Edition, the only major change to the movie itself is that the special effects have been redone and ship models are entirely new. The 2 DVD release also has a number of documentaries and a commentary track. The primary motivation for this release was the production crew's desire to use their own ship designs in the movie, and also to get additional funding for their next movie, Iron Sky (Rautataivas).

ReferencesEdit

  1. Template:Note YLE TV2, YLE TV2 Channel Feature, 28 January 2006. "Star Wreck VI: In The Pirkinning (in Finnish)"

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

External linksEdit

ga:Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning it:Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning nl:Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning ru:Звёздная развалина: В начале Пирка fi:Star Wreck: In the Pirkinning

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