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Old September 21 2012, 05:18 PM   #89
Fleet Captain
Location: Charlotte, NC
Re: Rename The Motion Picture

Christopher wrote: View Post
Irishman wrote: View Post
Too many long scenes of the characters staring at nothing, and scenery-chewing by Kirk. Even the beauty shots of the new Enterprise, space office, drydock, Epsilon station, Vger and the Klingon ships were too drawn out. It almost felt like someone made the decision to linger on them to justify having spent the money on all those new models.

I would love to see someone take the Director's Edition (with its completed and updated FX) and edit it down to something more reasonable, and not be such a snore.
I think what needs to be remembered is that TMP came along during a paradigm shift in the way SF film was done. People today look back on it as a generation whose view of SF cinema is defined by Star Wars and its successors, the trend of SF as action-driven roller-coaster rides. But TMP harkened back to the SF of the '60s and '70s, to films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Silent Running. It wasn't about mile-a-minute excitement; it was about ideas and atmosphere and grandeur and sense of wonder. And it wasn't just SF; there were a number of films in other genres that weren't afraid of long, slow, contemplative passages that were about immersing the audience in the atmosphere of a scene. See films like Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, the works of Kubrick and Leone and Bergman, etc. This was part of the language of cinema in the era where most of Robert Wise's career fell. It can be hard to understand today when so many of us watch movies on DVD or our computers, but if you experience something like that on the big screen, with all distractions taken away, it's a far more immersive and effective experience.

So it wasn't that Wise's approach was wrong or inept; it was that he was following an older paradigm, one that audiences weren't as quick to embrace after Star Wars changed the rules (and not necessarily for the better). And I don't think that was a mistake. I think TMP is perhaps one of the last big statements of that particular paradigm, the swan song of a cinematic era. After all, TMP and The Black Hole, which came out only two weeks later, were the last American films to feature overtures in their theatrical releases, something that had been a common practice in earlier decades. TBH was also an exemplar of the older style of SF filmmaking, essentially a space-based remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, although showing some of the influence that Star Wars had on SF cinema.
After re-watching the TMP Director's Edition with the commentary, I would have to revise my earlier statement to say more accurately that the fault lie with both Wise and Trumbull, with regard to the starship porn cuts, etc. Even Wise saw the need for reducing some of the scenes to run shorter. He said so, for crying out loud!

And as for those other examples, I have yet to speak with any classic film fan who complains about the pacing of TMP, who also complains about the pacing of those other films you cite - especially 2001!
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