Thursday, April 7, 2011

Somewhat Repetitive, Star Trek: Cinema 2000 Trading Cards Are Still Nice!

The Good: Good idea, Some decent autograph signers, Some nice chase cards
The Bad: Use of autograph redemption cards, Orientation issues with common set, Reuse of chase cards.
The Basics: Back from when card collecting was still fun, Fleer/SkyBox released Star Trek Cinema 2000, focusing on the Star Trek movies, a final good, but sloppy set!

The Star Trek films, despite being fertile ground for merchandising, have not - traditionally - been exploited nearly as much as other parts of the Star Trek franchise. Indeed, I have a love of Star Trek trading cards and while far more sets of original Star Trek cards are produced than seem to be demanded, fans and collectors tend to devour anything that hits the marketplace from the Star Trek films. Despite having created a widevision set, while Fleer/SkyBox held the Star Trek trading card license, they attempted to milk the fans for another set focusing on the films (there were only nine at the time) and Star Trek Cinema 2000" trading cards were born!

The thing is, as years have passed and fans and collectors look over their collections, in the wake of bigger and more unified card sets, "Cinema 2000" shows its flaws more. The common set seems a little sloppier, the chase cards (some) seem less inspired, and the use of redemption cards with the autographs is as troubling as ever.

Basics/Set Composition

"Cinema 2000" was the final release of Star Trek trading cards from Fleer/SkyBox, before they lost the license to Rittenhouse Archives. Properly assembled, the set is a collection of 290 trading cards and there is an official "Cinema 2000" binder from SkyBox. All but three of the cards are available in boxes of "Cinema 2000" cards, making it one of the sets that is theoretically a greater value than most to purchase by the unopened box or case. The cards were originally released in boxes that contained twenty-four packs of eight cards each. Boxes tended to run in the $50 range and guaranteed one common set and one autograph per box.

Collation in the "Cinema 2000" set was remarkably good, at least as far as cards falling along the promised ratios. It is hard to calculate how many boxes one had to purchase to complete a true master set, but with ideal collation, it seems like thirty-six boxes would get one every card that can be found in the boxes (again, if everything falls completely ideally). Despite its popularity at the time, "Cinema 2000" cards may still be found with relative ease on the secondary market.

Common Cards

The common card set consists of 100 trading cards, which are printed on standard cardstock and have a glossy UV resistant coating. This causes cards to stick together occasionally, but this is a moot issue as the vast majority of trading card collectors keep their cards in binders these days to protect and display their cards. Each film in the Star Trek cinema collection is granted nine cards in the common set and SkyBox was a bit sloppy as far as presentation goes. Star Trek III - VI have cards which are all landscape orientation, but the other five sets have at least one card that is in portrait orientation, necessitating turning the binders around constantly. Still, collectors get nine wonderful and generally uncommon images from each movie on the front and backs that are generally well-written.

The common cards look decent, with this set having bright colors and a lot of contrast on the common cards. "Cinema 2000" set utilizes many images that are not the typical ones seen over and over again, making for a visually interesting set that features both the main cast and significant guest stars from the movies. Still, this can be problematic. Take, for example, card 26; this depicts Kirk and Kruge fighting on the Genesis planet and it is a dark card and that offers the collector few details to pick up on. There is a decent mix of cards featuring characters and special effects shots, making for a visually interesting common card set.

The backs of the cards are unfortunately sloppy in their writing at times. The backs have plot summaries describing each part of the movie in a fair amount of detail, continuing card to card. As a result, when one reads all of the backs in order, they get the entire movie, one film per page. But the proofing of the set was poorly done; card 64 is actually 64 A because the "A" which begins the first sentence was misprinted to be right after the number.

In addition to the nine cards per film, there is a checklist and nine cards each of female guest stars and villains. The villains cards are beautiful landscape-oriented card that are great for getting autographed and feature each main villain from the nine different Star Trek films and they look wonderful. The female guest stars are all portrait-oriented, but this set is a bit sloppier in its assembly. Instead of Robin Curtis for Star Trek III, Kirstie Alley who played Saavik in Star Trek II is depicted on F3 (F2 is Bibi Besch as Dr. Carol Marcus). Strangely, F7 is a card printed for Gwynyth Walsh as B'Etor, but the picture is of Barbara March as Lursa. Go figure.

Collation on this set was excellent, so the common sets averaged one and a half per box, which was good for collectors. As a result, this set is actually less common than many other Star Trek sets. Even so, the common sets do not hold that much value (common sets almost never hold their value these days).

Chase Cards

There are one hundred ninety chase cards in "Cinema 2000" set, with one hundred eighty-seven found in the boxes of cards and the remaining three available outside the boxes and packs. The bonus cards that can be found within the boxes were the Foil parallel, Movie poster, Alien Worlds, Saluting The Captains, Dr. McCoy: A Tribute, Autograph and Redemption and
Galactic Conflix cards. The various chase cards are a study in redundancy and creativity, with the first level of chase card being a simple reprint of the entire common set in foil cards. All one hundred common cards are reprinted on foil cardstock and while the effect works wonderfully for many of the cards (most notably the Female Guest Stars), some of the cards (including some of the Dark Side foils) are almost impossible to discern as being foil cards. As well, because the backs are identical to the original printings, there is no simple way to tell by the back one has a foil card.

At one in every other pack, there is a Movie Poster card. These unremarkable chase cards feature one portrait-oriented image of the theatrical release poster for each of the movies. The set of nine was easy to assemble and the only real problem is that the cards are unremarkable. Had these been done in foil, they might have retained some value as a chase card, but as they are, all that separates the common cards and the Movie Poster cards is the numbering on the back. Also underwhelming are the Alien Worlds cards. The front of each of these cards - which were also about one set per box - featured an image from a planet in each Star Trek movie, though these had a mild foil effect for a little picture window on each card of a character on the appropriate planet.

The first actually interesting chase set is the "Saluting The Captains" set. This nine-card bonus set featured the recognizable and obscure captains from the Star Trek films. In addition to the obvious Kirk, Spock and Picard, the set includes Styles, Esteban and Harriman. As well, Captain Sulu gets his due! The only truly odd choice is that Zephram Cochrane, at least in light of the one captain who is not represented: the captain of the Saratoga at the beginning of Star Trek IV, which would have at least given the set one female leader! The "Saluting The Captains" set are beautiful purple cards that feature a nice picture window of the appropriate captain and the Enterprise crew from the movie that the captain depicted is in. This is a worthwhile set that takes two boxes to complete.

At two cards per box is the "Dr. McCoy: A Tribute" set. Because the "Cinema 2000" set was released shortly after the death of DeForest Kelley, the tribute to McCoy is a nice one. Each of these white plastic cards features an image of McCoy from the movies and in the background there is a large lenticular image. However, unlike most lenticular cards that are motion cards, these cards simply create a vivid three dimensional image. These cards remain a fan favorite of many fans and collectors.

At one per box are the autograph cards. "Cinema 2000" set has a pretty impressive array of twenty-one autograph cards available in the packs. Unfortunately, three of the cards, autographs for Alice Krige, Anthony Zerbe and Dwight Schultz, are redemption cards. These three cards appear in the boxes only as a coupon and all of those coupons (Redemption cards) are long since expired. Still, for the actual autographs, SkyBox managed to get a wide array of autograph signers for this set. They range from the somewhat obscure (A25 is Robert Hooks as Admiral Morrow) to the instantly recognizable (A1 is Patrick Stewart and A15 is Catherine Hicks, who played Dr. Taylor in Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home). Ironically, one of the hardest to find autographs in this set is actually the Daniel Hugh Kelly, one of the community leaders from Star Trek: Insurrection. Only four main cast members (Stewart, Frakes, Nichols and Takei) signed for this set. As well, there is no autograph card #21 as the signer backed out at the last minute. For those hunting boxes, the value of boxes has risen of late as three autograph signers to this set - Jane Wyatt, Robert Hooks and Paul Winfield - have since died. These autographs are decent cards, with each card having an image of the character on the top half of the card and a wonderful open space below - beneath a film strip graphic - where the signature goes. Despite being unique to this set and not being full-bleed images, most collectors still liked this set and they look good.

The final level of chase card is actually three levels of chase card. These are the Galactic Conflix cards. Galactic Conflix cards were thicker than normal cards and were found one card per box. The Galactic Conflix cards were die cut plastic cards meant to look like a film strip each card featuring a space battle from one of the movies. There were three sets of nine Galactic Conflix cards, but the silk-screened image on each one was the same (i.e. GC1 has the same image and text on all three variants). What changed was that there were three levels for each Galactic Conflix card: limited to 1000, limited to 750 and limited to 250. Each limited edition range had a different background color: gray, black and blue. The different sparkled colored background changed the image and it was an interesting gimmick. The x/250s still hold quite a bit of value in the secondary market. These are nice and the idea is clever, even if it has fans chasing after three versions of essentially the same card.

Non-Box/Pack Cards

As with most "modern" trading card releases not all of the cards needed to make a true master set are available in the boxes of these trading cards. In this case, though there are only the three autograph cards that were in boxes as redemption cards that fans need to hunt down. These three autographs are only available on the secondary market now and might take some wrangling to hunt down.


"Cinema 2000" was a creative, if somewhat poorly executed, set, but after all of these years, it is one of the few Fleer/SkyBox sets that still holds its values because it was well made and well-received, making boxes hard to come by. Despite the difficulty of tracking down the most limited Galactic Conflix cards, this was still a fun set to collect and one worth going after given the opportunity.

This set culls images from the Star Trek films, reviewed here!

[These cards are on sale in my webstore! Check out my current inventory by clicking here!]

For other Star Trek or movie-themed trading card set reviews, please check out:
Star Trek 40th Anniversary Series 1 Set
Batman Returns Movie Photo Cards
Twilight trading cards


For other card reviews, please be sure to visit my index page by clicking here!

© 2011, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.

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