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Old November 14 2007, 02:46 PM   #34
Location: Earth
Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

So much for the technical execution review...

...Now for my take on the artistic/treknical issues.

I was also pleasantly suprised how well the Trek/Cage design and dramatic aestetic was expressed in a big screen commercial event.

Apart from the obvious TV Act structure and commercial breaks, I was amazed how well the Menagerie executed as a commercial dramatic presentation.

This is a testament to TOS, its writers, directors and producers, as well as designers who worked on the show.

The TOS minimalist design meme works to its advantage in keeping TOS relevant and watchable over the decades. I thought there would be more cringe moments due to certain TOS design elements and/or props. There were suprisingly few for me.

The only time the theater laughed due to a "dated" prop issue was the paper printout on the Pike bridge, which I found puzzling. During the 80's and 90's, I thought the paper printout was a dated prop faux pau- I don't any more. I just automatically interpreted that scene as "Pike wanted a hard copy", not that "hard copies are the only output method".

Yes, ePaper will be more prevelant going forward, but think Battlestar Galactica (new series). Far out in the field, you don't want to rely on digital/electronic Everything. You want legacy style options that are not suseptible to viruses, burn out, EM-pulse attacks, etc.

For this reason, I never understood fans' issue with the mechanical TOS bridge chronometer, which has been removed in the Remastered TOS. For the same reasons I cited, you want mechanical, legacy style backups for certain functions. In addition to modern GPS and atomic clocks, current US Navy ships are required to have on board a sextant (mechanical, hand held star/solar navigation), and senior officers are required to know how to use it, and take regular readings with it as a backup and verification of all the electronic/digital doodads. Similarly, I've interpreted the TOS bridge chronometer to be the Old Skool master backup ship chronometer- yes, they have a quantum/string/subspace uber advanced time keeping system in the bowels of the ship, impervious to nefarious time-line tampering and chroniton particle radiation , but the backup chronometer uses good 'ole mechanical wheels . Or maybe it's the mechanical chronometer that would be impervious to chroniton radiation ...

Plus, like current lawyers, some official communications types will probably always be preferred in hardcopy- think about the retaliation against eVoting machines and the desire to keep a physical proof of your vote. The Executive Orders book that Mendez opens is another example where Old Skool is preferred- for Official, formal, or Law related- Capital Punishment in that case.

Overall, I've always thought the Pike bridge looked more futuristic/realistic than the TOS series bridge, with cleaner control panels and better aesthetic by and large, with no apparent "dated" elements. Those Cage designers were far ahead of their time. The uniform design and away team equipment and jackets were right on target, too. And there is no problem with the goosenecks .

The only real prop cringe moment I had was the Pike communicators, considering the content and design of the average person's flip cell phone.

But that's easily dismissed Treknically by assuming that the communicator (Pike and TOS series) were MIL-Spec devices, which are extra-rugged field service rated devices. Those of you who've been in the military and/or have been engineers working on military projects know that military/field scientific equipment is usually larger/ apparently less "advanced" (industrial design-wise) than consumer grade devices.

After all, current cell flip phones can't communicate over a quarter million miles without external tower/satellite links, or last months/years without recharging, or auto-translate alien languages (retconned by ENT, which I agree with) like Trek communicators can . Plus, cell phones break when you drop them- I suspect a Mil_spec field rated communicator can take a LOT more abuse, which accounts for the size/packaging design. The real issue I have with the Pike communicator is not its size/functionality, but the decision to make it transparent, revealing the 60's era resistors, caps, etc, for no real reason. The TOS series communicator fixes this, and becomes smaller, and looks more like a MIL-Spec field device. If they'd simply made the Pike unit a solid color, there would be no real issue.

The biggest technical mis-calculation to me were the medical-related issues. McCoy makes a proclamation about not having conquered the brain/machine interface. A lot of progress has been made recently in that regard, and I would expect full brain/machine/computer/digital interfaces by then, with complete brain/machine control and brain/computer voice control by then (most likely in the next 20-30 years).

It's hard to believe that Pike wouldn't convince Vina to leave, given reconstuctive surgery capability by that time (it's pretty good now), which should basically fully correct the Talosian surgical errors and other damage from her accident, since she claims to "work" fine otherwise. Similarly, couldn't reconstructive surgery fix up Pike, with an internal artificial heart, etc? Yes, the accident was recent, and maybe it would take time to to the surgeries and replacements required, and I'll throw them a bone- perhaps his injuries are so severe, they require the fusion-powered chair he uses- plus, the life support chair and Yes/No light are cool .

I also found that the female actors looked less dated to me- I believe the hairstyles and general female aestetic is making a comeback in pop culture at large, so TOS is "back in style" (except for the TOS mini-skirts- why didn't they keep the Pike era female outfits!? )

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