Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Growing On Me Over The Years, The 2014 Star Trek Movies Trading Cards Deliver A Lot!

The Good: Generally good orientation, Fairly collectible, Some awesome autograph cards, Good writing
The Bad: Surprisingly few bonus cards, Lame parallels, Odd autographs
The Basics: The 2014 Star Trek Movies trading cards are a very cool collection of trading cards . . . even if the process of collecting them is very erratic.

One of the interesting aspects of trading card manufacturing is that the speed with which trading card manufacturers get material does not always allow them to generate great trading card sets during the window which the material is viable. Back when J.J. Abrams revitalized the Star Trek film franchise, trading card manufacturer Rittenhouse Archives created a trading card set based upon it that was released in the days before the film hit screens. It did not take long for trading card fans to realize, though, that the Star Trek (2009 Movie) set (reviewed here!) had a common set that was based almost entirely upon material from the film's trailer. Sadly, Rittenhouse Archives was not able to get in material from the entire film in order to make a comprehensive set for the film.

Clearly, Rittenhouse Archives learned from their mistake, when Star Trek Into Darkness was released theatrically. Rather than rush to market a substandard set, Rittenhouse Archives waited and instead manufactured a much more comprehensive set in the form of the 2014 Star Trek Movies trading cards. The 2014 Star Trek Movies trading cards are a fairly well-organized set that looks good, accurately embodies the subject and is decent when viewed as a complete set. It is, however, a set that continues the trend in trading card collecting that makes trading cards harder to collect and leaves fans with a profound excess of common card sets needed to amass the master set.

Basics/Set Composition

Fully assembled, the 2014 Star Trek Movies trading card set has 748 cards and is essentially six sets in one. As well, there is an oversized binder produced by Rittenhouse Archives that barely manages to hold the entire set. The set consists of 110 common cards and 638 bonus cards. The chase cards are mostly available in the packs of cards, though eight of them were incentive or promotional cards and could not be found in any of the packs. The 2014 Star Trek Movies trading cards were released in boxes of twenty-four packs of six cards each.

Common Cards

The common card set for the 2014 Star Trek Movies trading cards consisted of one hundred ten modern-looking trading cards. The entire common set recaps the plot of Star Trek Into Darkness (reviewed here!). One of the nicest aspects of the 2014 Star Trek Movies trading card common card set is that the cards are consistently oriented. The entire set features images in landscape orientation with a single decent-sized image on the front and a different image on the back.

The 2014 Star Trek Movies cards have the traditional UV-resistant coating which is flawlessly applied. The back of each card has a plot synopsis of the scene depicted on the front and the writing is decent. The 2014 Star Trek Movies common set accurately portrays the entire plot of Star Trek Into Darkness. No matter what one thinks of Star Trek Into Darkness, Rittenhouse Archives actually did a pretty awesome job of translating the film into trading card form. This is a very complete and comprehensive set for relating the story of Star Trek Into Darkness!

Chase Cards

The 629 chase cards that can be found in packs and boxes of 2014 Star Trek Movies essentially create an additional common set (of sorts, disguised as a chase set by its rarity) and four bonus parallel sets, in addition to more traditional Star Trek chase cards based upon some of the new films.

The 2014 Star Trek Movies trading card set features multiple bonus sets that require multiple cases to complete, starting with the most basic chase set. The 2014 Star Trek Movies set features a 110 chase card set that essentially replaces the previously-released Star Trek set. The 110 card Star Trek (2009 Movie) trading card chase set replicates the common card set in quality and substance, with the 2009 film Star Trek as a subject. The orange-colored backs easily help collectors differentiate the Star Trek (2009 Movie) chase set from the common cards . . . for those who might not recognize the images from the different films right away.

The 2014 Star Trek Movies set is bloated with parallel cards. The parallel cards are somewhat unremarkable as they replicate the common and Star Trek (2009 Movie) chase sets with minor foil accents. Two per box there are silver foil parallel cards and one per box there are gold parallel cards for the Star Trek Into Darkness and Star Trek (2009 Movies) sets. The silver parallel sets are limited to 200 cards - individually foil-stamped with the collector's number on the back - and replicate the two other sets with minor foil accents; a bar and the name of the film in silver foil on the front. The gold parallel sets are essentially the same thing, with gold foil accents on the front. The gold foil parallel cards from the two sets are each limited to 100 of each card. Given that each of the four parallel sets is comprised of 110 cards, collecting the parallels - which are comparatively unremarkable - the parallels are decent, but difficult to collect relative to the coolness of the cards.

The 2014 Star Trek Movies have remarkably few chase cards outside the parallels. In fact, at one-per-box, the Star Trek Into Darkness Foldout cards are the only set that can be complete with the purchase of a whole case. The nine Star Trek Into Darkness Foldout cards are essentially double-tall cards that feature all of the main cast of the Enterprise from the J.J. Abrams Star Trek films, plus Khan and Dr. Marcus. The foldout cards are similar to paper dolls and feature the characters in publicity shots. In fact, these seem to be the same artwork as the cardboard standees produced by another company, just with a background colored to match the character's uniform color. Unlike the common and other parallel sets, the foldout cards are portrait-oriented, not landscape oriented.

Rittenhouse Archives manufactured badge cards, which were found one in every three boxes. The over-thick cards form a twenty-four card subset that features full-sized metal pin badges embedded in each card. The badges, rank pins and insignia pins are neat and it is cool for fans to get them in trading card form. That said, the film's uniforms are not so iconic as to make the badge pins seem indispensable or instantly recognizable. Like the foldout cards, the badge cards are portrait-oriented.

Even more rare are the twelve costume cards. Found one in every four boxes, the costume cards are landscape-oriented and feature costume swatches from all of the main cast, Dr. Marcus and multiple costumes from Spock, Kirk and Uhura. These costume cards are individually-numbered on the back and all but the last three are colorful cards that look amazing and are very collectible.

Then there are the inevitable autograph cards. The 2014 Star Trek Movies set of trading cards features thirty-four autograph cards, devoted to the characters from Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness. Main cast actors like Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Simon Pegg and Leonard Nimoy all signed for the 2014 Star Trek Movies trading card set. The set is enhanced by autograph cards from Alice Eve, Peter Weller and Deep Roy, who have a lot of name recognition outside the Star Trek films and were not incredibly rare. In fact, there is something odd in the fact that Ben Cross (Sarek in Star Trek) signed as few autograph cards as the (late) Leonard Nimoy. The 2014 Star Trek Movies set is notable for being the only trading card set (to date) to feature an autograph card from Spock Prime from the J.J. Abrams Star Trek films. Genre fans are likely to be psyched that Noel Clarke of Doctor Who fame signed a card for the 2014 Star Trek Movies.

Unfortunately, the bulk of the autograph cards in the 2014 Star Trek Movies are unremarkable filler signers. Rittenhouse Archives was unable to get Tyler Perry or Winona Ryder to sign autograph cards for the set, though they did get Jennifer Morrison and Rachel Nichols to sign for the 2014 Star Trek Movies set, managing to fill two big gaps from the Star Trek (2009 Movies) set. But performers like Reggie Lee, Scottie Thompson, and Sonita Henry (among others) had such minor parts spread among the two films as to make their autograph cards virtually unchaseable. Also odd is the fact that the 2014 Star Trek Movies trading card set has 34 autograph cards and 32 of them are full-bleed, portrait-oriented autograph cards. The other two autograph cards are a landscape-oriented Star Trek Into Darkness autograph cards. The obscure format features a single image of a character and a heavy border that also has the future version of London in the background over which the actor has signed. The variant autograph card format is not inherently bad, but given that there are only two cards in this style and the performers who signed the cards are Joseph Gatt and Nick Tarabay, they are much more rare than they are at all remarkable or worthwhile.

Non-Box/Pack Cards

The 2014 Star Trek Movies trading card set has eight cards not found in any of the boxes or packs. There are three promotional cards – the usual general release, an exclusive one placed in Non-Sport Update magazine, and the binder-exclusive promotional card.

The casetoppers for the 2014 Star Trek Movies trading card set are unfortunately bland. The two casetopper cards feature the U.S.S. Enterprise from Star Trek and Star Trek Into Darkness with the monologue to Star Trek written on the back. The casetopper cards are not individually numbered, foil or even sealed into their toploaders with anything other than a very simple plastic seal (unlike the standard Rittenhouse gold foil seal)!

Then there are the incentive cards and these follow the trend of recent Rittenhouse Archives releases! For purchasing six cases, dealers received a Simon Pegg autographed costume card. The autograph costume card looks incredible and all of the cards I've seen have a very clear signature from Pegg. The nine-case incentive card brings Benedict Cumberbatch's autograph to Star Trek fans. Unfortunately, Cumberbatch signed a Star Trek Into Darkness format autograph card for the incentive card and that is a bit of a letdown considering how cool the full-bleed autograph style is. But, it is still impressive that Rittenhouse Archives managed to get Cumberbatch to sign. It is unfortunate that the superlative card of the set is one that is so very hard to find!

The final chase card of the 2014 Star Trek Movies set is the Rittenhouse Reward card. The Rittenhouse Rewards cards is a tenth Star Trek Into Darkness foldout card. The additional foldout card features Chekov in his red outfit for the brief time he was Chief Engineer of the Enterprise in Star Trek Into Darkness. While arguably unnecessary, the Rittenhouse Rewards card at least features Chekov for how he appeared for the majority of Star Trek Into Darkness.


The 2014 Star Trek Movies set manages to commemorate well the J.J. Abrams Star Trek films even if there is a great disparity in the quality of the autograph signers and the parallel sets seem redundant given that the more common sets are actually pretty extraordinary.

This set culls images from the Star Trek films Star Trek (reviewed here!) and Star Trek Into Darkness!

These cards are available in my online store! Please check them out here: 2014 Star Trek Movies Trading Card Current Inventory!

For other trading card reviews, please check out my reviews of:
Star Trek Aliens
Star Trek 50 Years 50 Artists trading cards
Star Trek Classic Movies Heroes & Villains


For other card reviews, please visit my Card Review Index Page for an organized listing!

© 2017 W.L. Swarts. May not be reprinted without permission.
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