Wednesday, January 11, 2012

More Collectible, Less Valuable, “Star Trek Movies In Motion” Cards Are Still Wonderful!

The Good: Decent concept and execution, Some interesting chase and good signers, Nothing impossible to find
The Bad: High-end cards are hardly exciting, Numbering errors in autograph cards.
The Basics: A surprisingly good and generally easier to collect set, “Star Trek Movies In Motion” is a decent value by the box!

Rittenhouse Archives, when it got its start, had to innovate in order to produce trading cards that were not by the legal definition trading cards. As a result, its first two Star Trek trading card sets were both oversized and consisted of lenticular (motion) cards. The Star Trek In Motion set (reviewed here!) launched the company and returned a sense of quality and interest to the cards that had been waning at Fleer/SkyBox.

So, it ought to be no surprise that to follow up on its exceptionally successful The Complete Star Trek Movies trading card set that Rittenhouse Archives would return to producing motion cards. This took the form of the “Star Trek Movies In Motion” trading card set and it was a modest set that was generally easier to complete than a lot of Star Trek card products by Rittenhouse Archives, but still more difficult because of a few high-end cards that fans needed to hunt down which were disproportionately difficult to find compared to the other cards. Still, it was a pretty impressive set.

Basics/Set Composition

Star Trek Movies In Motion” was the second release of Star Trek trading cards focusing entirely on all of the cinema adventures of Star Trek from Rittenhouse Archives. Properly assembled, the set is a collection of 135 trading cards and there is an official “Star Trek Movies In Motion” binder from Rittenhouse. All but eight of the cards are available in boxes of “Star Trek Movies In Motion” cards, making it one of the boxes that is actually more valuable in that collectors may actually pull most of the cards they need right from the box. The cards were originally released in boxes that contained twenty-four packs of four cards each. Boxes tended to run in the $65 range and guaranteed one common set and three autograph cards per box.

Collation in the “Star Trek Movies In Motion” set was remarkably good, at least as far as cards falling along the promised ratios. To complete a true master set of “Star Trek Movies In Motion” cards, collectors had to purchase at least six cases of the cards, as there were two multi-case incentive cards. As well, there were promotional cards that were not available in boxes or cases. Still, this is a pretty small set and looking over it, it is a decent coda for the concept begun in "The Complete Star Trek Movies" set, but it is not exceptional in any way on its own. At least it is not the insanely difficult to complete set that many of Rittenhouse's products of late have been.

Common Cards

The common card set consists of 60 trading cards, which are printed on as lenticular cards. This means that each card is slightly thicker than the standard trading card and each card is plastic with several frames of motion for the image on the card. So, for example, card number 34 depicts the Chameloid changing form and card 35 shows the Klingon torpedo blast a hole up through the Enterprise's saucer section from Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. It is pretty wild to watch in slow motion as one tilts the card as the torpedo appears, then blows a hole in the starship!

Each film in the Star Trek cinema collection is granted six cards in the common set and they are all in landscape format for ease of viewing in the binders. By this point, especially after the Complete Star Trek Movies set, fans have had more than enough of the plot of each Star Trek film, so the motion cards have no writing on the backs; the cards themselves have the numbers on the front on the lower right hand corner. “Star Trek Movies In Motion” set utilizes many images that are not the typical ones seen over and over again, making for a visually interesting set that mixes characters and special effects shots, making for a visually interesting common card set.

Collation on this set was excellent, so the common sets averaged just over one set per box, which inflated the value of the set slightly.

Chase Cards

There are seventy-five chase cards in “Star Trek Movies In Motion” set, with sixty-seven found in the boxes of cards and the remaining eight available outside the boxes and packs. The bonus cards that can be found within the boxes were the Movie Stars In Motion, "Quotable" Star Trek Movies, Portrait cards and a set of autographs. For some baffling reason, there was no checklists for this set. This is rather annoying, though this is only a serious issue with the highest end chase cards because the common and primary chase sets are rather well-designed to more or less "spell out" exactly how many of the cards there are supposed to be.

Every other pack in a box of “Star Trek Movies In Motion” cards featured one of twelve "Movie Star In Motion" cards. These cards were lenticular like the common set and featured seven cards of the Star Trek main cast members and five of the crew from the Star Trek: The Next Generation crewmembers. This is a decent set and most of the images are as clear as lenticular cards can get - to achieve the motion effect, the cards sacrifice some clarity. These make for nice tributes to the principle characters, which are not featured as prominently in the common set, in favor of some of the guest stars and special effects shots getting coverage.

The next bonus card set, with three cards from it found in a box, were the Portrait cards. These black and white (actually sepia would be more accurate) feature the nine Star Trek main cast members (including Grace Lee Whitney as Rand and Majel Barrett as Dr. Chapel) and the seven Star Trek: The Next Generation cast members. The Original Star Trek cast shots consist of the promotional photographs for Star Trek: The Motion Picture, while the Next Generation portraits utilize the promotional photos from Star Trek: Nemesis. The lame thing about this is the sepia nature of it; none of these movies were in black and white and it seems lazy or pointless to put the cards in an alternate colorscheme instead of making them crystal clear with bright colors!

The next bonus card set was found two cards per box and that was the "Quotable" Star Trek Movies chase set. Each film was granted two quotes (one on front, one on back) and this was treated as a bonus set. It is nice to see the popular "Quotable" format resurface, but in this context, it is hardly overwhelming. Like the portrait and autograph cards, the "Quotable" chase cards feature images in the portrait orientation and they ultimately have a "take it or leave it" quality to them. To reduce each film to two catchphrases is an intriguing prospect and Rittenhouse does as well with the concept as may be expected.

Finally, at three per box are the autograph cards. “Star Trek Movies In Motion” set has a pretty impressive array of twenty-nine autograph cards available in the packs, though the fans who were watching this set before it came out are likely to be somewhat disappointed; some of the best signers did not make it into this set. Rittenhouse Archives continued its tradition of getting a wide array of autograph signers for this set, though some of the biggest names are still outstanding, which makes one hope there will not be a "Quotable" Star Trek Movies set to fill in that gap. As it is, the signers range from the downright obscure (A65 is Roger Aaron Brown who appeared as a Technician On Epsilon IX in Star Trek: The Motion Picture or A75 Rif Hutton, who played a Klingon Guard in Star Trek: Generations) to the highly sought after (A46 is Kirstie Alley as Lt. Saavik and A41 is James Cromwell as Zephram Cochrane from Star Trek: First Contact). There are some big name signers in this set, from Christopher Plummer (General Chang) to David Warner (Gorkon) and Patrick Stewart (Captain Picard), but all of the highly sought after ones were limited (signer signed approximately 500 of the card) or very limited (signer signed 200 - 300 of the card). This level of difficulty becomes problematic when one considers that 10,000 boxes of the cards were produced. Fortunately, only five of the autographs were classified as Very Limited, but problematically, they are the ones who have signed for several other sets before: Stewart, Tim Russ, Marina Sirtis, Nichelle Nichols and the now-deceased Majel Barrett. Annoyingly for collectors, some of those signers that undersigned for this set are ones that ought not to have been so difficult to get, like Alice Krige, Ron Moore and Rif Hutton. Because this set continues the form and numbering from the prior cinematic set, the autograph cards start with A41. The numbering is a mess, though, as this set does not A49 or A50. There is no A56, but there are two different A57s. One presumes the absent A59 is the rumored John Laroquette autograph that failed to materialize for the set.

Non-Box/Pack Cards

As with most "modern" trading card releases - certainly the ones from Rittenhouse Archives - not all of the cards needed to make a true master set are available in the boxes of these trading cards. In this set, there are eight cards that cannot be found in the boxes. There is the usual promo card which foreshadowed the series release which is common enough to find (P1). In this case, there are two P1s, a paper one and a lenticular one featuring Khan! There are two cards exclusive to the “Star Trek Movies In Motion” trading card binder, the binder promotional card (P3) and an autograph (A42) of James B. Sikking from Star Trek III: The Search For Spock! The P2 card is a promotional card available only through Non-Sports Update Magazine and it might take a little work to track down (though the magazine offers back issues pretty readily).

The remaining cards are the casetopper and the two multicase incentive cards. The casetopper is a wonderful autograph of Alfre Woodard as Lily Sloane from Star Trek: First Contact. This is a nice signature and it is a great way to present it.

The grails of the set are the multicase incentive cards. Rittenhouse gave buyers a new autograph of Grace Lee Whitney as Rand from Star Trek: The Motion Picture and it is at this point one wants to be able to ask Rittenhouse Archives if they actually think a Grace Lee Whitney autograph is any kind of incentive. For every three cases, fans, collectors and dealers are rewarded with a card of someone who signs virtually anything. This card was given to dealers every time they purchased three cases (36 boxes) of the product and they are only available in the secondary market. It is not a great card.

The six-case incentive card was an autograph of William Shatner from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. Leonard Nimoy has not signed as much as many of the other Star Trek stars for the trading cards, so this is a decent incentive, though a Shatner/Stewart Star Trek: Generations autograph would have been the ideal.


Overall, the set looks nice, and despite the problems in the autograph card numbers and the very highest level chase cards (and the lack of the Laroquette autograph!), this is a great set from Rittenhouse Archives and is well worth collecting.

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

For other trading card collections based upon the Star Trek films, please check out my reviews of:
Star Trek: The Motion Picture Topps card Set
Star Trek Master Series
Star Trek 1994 Edition Master Series
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier Cinema Collection
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country Cinema Collection
Star Trek Cinema 2000
Star Trek (2009 movie) cards

This is a set of trading cards that I am proud to sell in my online store.  Be sure to check out my current inventory by clicking here!


For other card reviews, please be sure to visit my Card Index Page for an organized listing of all the card reviews I have!

© 2012, 2009 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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