I don't understand why people think they are so awful.
The big one for me is the particular shade of grey they used for the Enterprise's hull color.
What I took from the story is that the mere presence of the pod, while in the storm, was endangering the ship in some fashion. It would seem obvious (imo) that Finney was physically in the pod doing something.
Whether the hole/burn on the aft of the secondary hull is supposed to indicate the pod's previous location, or is just some of the damage from the storm ...YMMV.
I believe they used the original actual color of the Enterprise model as opposed to the color seen on tv due to lack of sophistication in the FX, photography, lighting, analog compositing, etc. The CGI FX, matched for the time period, will always look better than the original FX.