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Old August 21 2008, 02:01 PM   #79
Cary L. Brown
Rear Admiral
Location: Austin, Texas
Re: Visual Proof a Resdesign is a good thing

3D Master wrote: View Post
ST-One wrote: View Post
3D Master wrote: View Post

No, they don't. All you need to do is look at the picture of the Doctherman model above to understand that one. If you're incapable of grasping just how magnificent a model the original Enterprise is, maybe you should look for a different genre of storytelling.
You may like it. I may like it.
But that is because we are already fans.
Todays audiences want something that looks modern. And despite how much you and I like the original design of the Enterprise, it just doesn't look like something that would be designed for a film in 2008 or 2009.
It does look dated.
Anyone who thinks it doesn't look modern is a fool. We couldn't even come close to constructing something that elegant and functional, even if we wanted to.
This is a fascinating argument... I keep hearing it, over and over and over. And the arguments NEVER CHANGE... never EVOLVE... it's just the same argument made over and over.

The two sides are, essentially, this:

1) "The original ship is old-fashioned." Sometimes the person making the argument tries to support their point with a further argument, but none of these have ever actually been demonstrated with facts or even significant logic, as far as I'm concerned.

"We know what real ships in the future will look like and this isn't it." Of course, that's nonsense. The people who are saying that are simply comparing a different FILMMAKING DESIGN STYLE (specifically, that of latter-day Trek) to the original design style, noting that they're different, and thus ERRONEOUSLY concluding that one is "more cool" or "more modern" instead of simply being DIFFERENT.

Key elements to this argument are things like "blue glow on the engines" or "solid red nacelle caps" "glowy deflector" or "blobby-curvy hull shapes" or "exposed greeblies" or even "hull marking font."

But these aren't "improvements." They're simply DIFFERENT ARTISTIC STYLE. They don't reflect more advanced filmmaking, or more advanced design.

When people say this, what they're really saying is "I want the old show design style to be changed so it matches the new show design style."

or ...

"The original design was cheesy and designed for stupid kids. Today, we're more sophisticated." That, of course, is total and complete nonsense. It's an argument which is never made by anyone who is above a certain age... anyone who's lived long enough to realize that people haven't fundamentally changed in any way... and that we're not REALLY any more sophisticated today than we were 40 years ago, as a species. We haven't somehow "evolved into a higher form" over a few decades, and our species-wide intelligence hasn't suddenly spiked just by virtue of a new generation or two having been born!

This argument is most popular with the same folks who think that the current generation invented sex... or that prior generations didn't know how to enjoy it. Or drugs, or "free thinking" or whatever else kids assume that they've come up with for the first time in human history. It's a combination of incredible naivety and incredible arrogance... and it's very common with kids, of EVERY generation, between the ages of 17 and 22 or so. Eventually, we figure out that the changes are mostly on the surface, and that reality is a lot more stable and consistent than we would have liked to have believed when we were young and stupid.

The people watching TV in 1966 were every bit as intelligent and socially sophisticated as the people going to the movies today. And what information we've learned, what changes we've seen, tell us NOTHING WHATSOEVER about what we should expect to see in a 23rd-century starship design, beyond what we knew in 1966.

The original design was created to appeal to intelligent, technically-savvy audiences who knew pretty much the same amount about spacecraft design as we know today. The only area where things have changed in a significant way has been in terms of computer technology. And I don't think ANYONE is suggesting, seriously, that the 1701 computer should speak with Majel Barrett's monotone voice with relay-clacking playing in the background, are they?

NOW... there are two different argument which are sometimes confused. One is whether the DESIGN is a good one or not, and the other is whether the PRESENTATION OF THE DESIGN is a good one or not. These are TOTALLY SEPARATE POINTS.

For instance, the image I showed (Darren's model) is of the same design, really, as the TOY IMAGE which was posted to argue against the design. This was a dishonest way to address the DESIGN, and I think that Darren's work is a great way to discredit that. The point of reposting that image is to drive home the point that the PRESENTATION can be good or bad, with the same design.

There's a "third way" argument which can be made as well... and in the Trek Art forum you can find a couple of folks right now who've been working on their own "high-resolution" versions of the 1701... faithful to the original design but with an additional level of "polish." The ship is the same ship, but we see detail which wouldn't have been visible on a 1966 TV screen, in other words. Other folks have done similar approaches, with different levels of faithfulness to the original design, but it's a true statement that the more faithful to the original it is, the more we seem to like it. I've currently got one of Vektor's renderings set up as my wallpaper at work, and people who are not Trek fans at all absolutely LOVE it.

Nobody has ever argued that the 11' model should be taken down from its display in the Smithsonian (as far as I know, it's still there... isn't it?) and used in this film. Much less the 3' model... and DEFINITELY nobody has ever suggested using a TOY (available at better WalMarts everywhere)!

The only legitimate argument is "is the original DESIGN the one which should be used?" And "original design" doesn't preclude some additional "polish" being added... but it DOES preclude changes to proportion, shape, or functional design... and to a lesser extent, to coloration and markings.

Those issues are the ones to discuss. And in those areas, there's no TECHNOLOGICAL rationale for changing ANYTHING. Nor is there any evidence I've ever been presented with to support the claim that "audiences expect something different," though I've heard many people make that claim (without backing it up in any way) repeatedly.

Ultimately, the argument seems to come down to "this is what I'm used to seeing on the screen and that other thing isn't... and I want what I'm most comfortable with" on the one hand, versus "this is what this particular ship has always looked like, and I don't want to see what I'm used to tossed aside and 'replaced' with something based upon someone else's stylistic sensibilities."
Cary L. Brown is offline   Reply With Quote