Just caught "The Cloud Minders" on MeTV tonight. One of my least favorite episodes (lacks the campy appeal of "Spock's Brain" and the so-bad-it's-fun of "And The Children Shall Lead") of any Trek series, and not helped at all by being the severely edited syndication cut. Still it's becoming like The Room for me: a train wreck I can't stop watching.
Just so much bizarre in this episode -- to name a few:
- Shatner's odd, disjointed performance in the opening scene in the teaser (was the director asleep?)
- "For what purpose?" -- not once, not twice, but three times (the first two occurrences within five minutes of one another!)
- The repeated use of optical zooms -- although I found the one transitioning to Vanna's torture scene quite effective
- The "Whoareyouwhatisthemeaningofthisattack?" dub is often mentioned, but Plasus' line "Leave here at once; go to your music" is not only unintentionally funny, but doesn't even sound like Jeff Corey and seems to be covering up a different line. Anyone know what it originally was in the shooting script?
- Speaking of Corey, I've not seen him in anything else, but yikes, that performance... And wasn't he an acting instructor?
- I've almost always found TOS' tracking of music from other episodes very well done, but the use of the climactic "Where No Man Has Gone Before" music for the fisticuffs on the planet surface in the first act was horribly inappropriate; doesn't work at all for me. Was Bob Justman in charge of the music tracking and wasn't this episode after he left the series?
- I just noticed that after Kirk, Plasus, and Vanna beam up to the transporter room toward the end of the episode, Vanna mysteriously falls to the floor unconscious shortly after beaming! If she was just in the way in the transporter platform shot, surely the director could have found a way to leave her on the planet instead.
- The Zenite gas mask has to rank with Dr. Crusher's early-season one TNG headgear/eyepiece as one of the strangest Trek props ever. How is that supposed to stay on the wearer's head anyway with that single strap over the top? It seems ready to fall off Shatner's head in every shot!
- In the midst of all the bizarre, I noticed one more thing I had never seen before: There's that ubiquitous, time-saving stock shot of the bridge (taken from between the communications and science stations) with Takei at the helm, (I think) Billy Blackburn at navigation, and looking at the viewscreen. The shot dates back to early in the first season and usually features Shatner sitting in the captain's chair, standing up, walking around, etc. In "Cloud Minders" however, the shot features Nimoy instead of Shatner doing basically the same movements. I can't recall the Nimoy shot being used anywhere else in the series; is it unique to this episode?
Boy, you really didn't like it, eh?
I don't know, I enjoyed The Cloudminders, but you brought up some interesting points that had not occurred to me.
The two things that I noticed about the episode was that:
1) Spock talking about pon farr seemed out of character to me (one of only 2 times that I noticed that the character wasn't living up to his established history; the other was his attitude in "That Which Survives".
2) Its eyes were bigger than its stomach: the budget was WAY too slashed to do what they wanted to do. The caves, the city of Stratos. They did their best, but you can see this had a sweeping, epic nature that they wanted to convey about the planet, and they didn't quite pull it off. But I was still able to enjoy it as if it were live stage production of a Star Trek episode. And that meant that I thought the writing and acting was good.
I think I know what you mean about Jeff Corey, who not only was an acting instructor but I believe he was also Nimoy's acting instructor. So it was cool to see teacher-student onscreen together like Pacino-Lee Strasberg in Godfather II.
I found there was a certain truthfulness saturated in Jeff Corey's performance. There was a certain rawness and, yes, vitality about it. I thought he was effective. He unapologetically wore his emotions on his sleeve, and that honesty of expression is what endeared his performance to me.