Sometimes the essence of the image and impact can be extremely telling within the construct of perception. Many of the “Short Treks” have their own identity or tell a small part of the “Star Trek” universe hopefully in a way that feels fairly true within the existence of the characters shown. In this bit it is done more with a sense of foreboding but through a series of perceptions. Mark Pellington, who directed at least one episode of “Discovery” last season brings his considerable music video experience to “Children Of Mars”. Known for slamming onto the screen with the highly regarded video “Jeremy” by Pearl Jam back in 1991 and later with the psychological terrorist feature “Arlington Road” starring Jeff Bridges, he has a very specific understanding of both short form and the aspect of alienation and paranoia. The key here is the music. Even though it is a play on a battle during the time of The Next Generation, Pellington sees it through the eyes of two girls at school whose parents get caught in the crossfire. The song is “Heroes” by David Bowie but it is performed by a different artist (likely Jeff Russo since there is no attribute in the credits). The events are periphery but have to do with size and scope and the brutality of acts even in a smaller space or sphere of impact. The essence of family is integral to “Star Trek” and sometimes the small stories get miss. Which is why “Short Treks” but this specifically because of the right music, the right director and the right narrative.
By Tim Wassberg