The shattered wine glass was all we needed to know about why HAL broke down. He broke because he was made by human hands, because humans have accidents. While I didn't mind the explanation given in 2010 (I'm not going to look it up in the text, but I seriously doubt it was called a Hofstadter-Möbius loop or a "Hofstadter" anything in the book, since Gödel, Escher, Bach was published in 1979), in and of itself it was ultimately yackety technobabble of no consequence, except possibly to help establish that HAL was "cured". Furthermore, like most technobabble, it raised more questions than it answered, and on close inspection wasn't really convincing.
Oh, good grief, you couldn't be more wrong. The explanation had nothing to do with technobabble and everything to do with who HAL was as a character and the unfair and impossible situation he was placed in by his uncaring superiors. He was made to relay accurate information -- in other words, to be truthful. Yet the bureaucrats who sent him on the Jupiter mission programmed him to keep secrets from his crew -- to lie to them. They didn't realize how that would traumatize him, because lying and coverups came easily to them. To HAL, it meant being forced to go against his most fundamental instincts. And the severe cognitive dissonance that caused him, his inability to cope with the situation, led to a psychotic break.
So while the movie gives the impression that "He's just evil because he's inhuman," the book -- and the movie sequel -- reveals exactly the opposite, that it was the decisions of humans that caused HAL's breakdown. Essentially, humanity created a being without original sin and then forced him to become a sinner like themselves, and it broke him. That's much deeper than technobabble.
I don't think it's fair to blame the distributors.
And I don't think it's constructive to define every problem in terms of who to blame. A fixation on blame is not a healthy way to cope with problems. It's more important to understand
how they came about and how they could be/could have been fixed or avoided, rather than wasting effort on some petty scapegoat hunt. Responsibility is a worthwhile concept; blame is just vindictive.
Paramount block booked the film for that date and what were the theaters supposed to do if Paramount delayed it?
But they didn't have to lock down the production date so far in advance. They could've waited to settle on a date until they had a realistic assessment of how long it would take to make the film, but instead they locked it down prematurely, which was hardly fair to the filmmakers once it turned out that the schedule they'd been trapped into was too tight.
Besides, films change release date all the time. Remember, the most recent Trek film was originally going to come out in the winter of 2008, but was then postponed to summer 2009 because the writers' strike left that season a bit empty and they wanted something strong to fill the gap.
There's no reason Wise couldn't have tightened up the edit of the live action stuff while waiting for the effects shots to come in.
You're forgetting, they had
the FX shots in, more than they needed, which was the problem. They put all the FX shots they had into the rough cut, and the intention was then to go through that cut and refine and trim it, see what the best pacing and the best ratio of different scenes and shots would be. They started with more material than they needed so they'd have the option to trim it down in a variety of ways -- so they'd have coverage, as they say. I do the same thing when I write, as do lots of other writers -- start out with more than I need and then decide what's expendable. That's how editing works.
If you're going to second-guess the editorial judgment of the man who edited Citizen Kane
, at the very least you should get your facts straight first.
And re the effects, the responsible thing to have done would have been to trim down the number of shots and concentrate on a few really memorable images as opposed to a whole lot of shots that aren't necessary even if you want them. For instance, we don't need four minutes of flying over V'ger, we just need a handful of OMG THAT THING IS MONSTROUS shots to sell the hopelessness of the Enterprise's mission.
In your opinion based on a modern way of thinking about cinema, one conditioned by our modern generation when everything is so much faster-paced and people are so much more impatient. Personally I'm disappointed that so many modern films buy into that same rush-rush-rush mentality and devote so little time to moments of grandeur that deserve a more stately, contemplative presentation. I think those four minutes of flying over V'Ger are some of the most beautiful, awe-inspiring images in cinema history, and the best evocation of true alienness that Star Trek
has ever managed to produce. They don't just give us a glimpse and a superficial impression; they let us really examine V'Ger and take the time to absorb it, as did the Enterprise
flyby before. I, for one, appreciate that. They're also beautiful works of art by Trumbull, Dykstra, and their teams, and I appreciate the chance to really examine that artistry and soak in its details rather than just having it race by.