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Star Trek Movies I-X Discuss the first ten big screen outings in this forum!

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Old June 8 2012, 08:28 PM   #61
susanmary428
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Fair enough, that's true. After all, the whole middle part of TVH is hilariously dated!
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Old June 9 2012, 05:26 AM   #62
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home (1986) ***

Kirk and crew travel back in time to save Earth from an alien probe in the future.

If I thought the main title themes of the previous two films didn’t sound like Star Trek the main theme for TVH is even less so. It’s simply too light in tone even if it’s not a bad tune in itself.

One thing I have to say: I really don’t like the look of Starfleet in these films. In general I don’t like how many of the Starfleet personnel we see are depicted. It seems like every command officer we see has to “phone home” for instructions. I will allow that the ones seen in this film don’t come across as bad as Esteban in TSFS, but still I’m not impressed. None of these characters come across with same fibre that was more apparent of the Starfleet officers we got to see in TOS.

The first part of this film is very much similar in tone as TWOK and TSFS. The change in the main cast’s appearances isn’t nearly as obvious as it was in TSFS. But what the hell did they do to the Klingon ship? The bridge looks nothing like the bridge we saw in TSFS. I find it hard to believe that Kirk, Scott and company would have bothered making such extensive modifications just to fly the ship home. Indeed it really doesn’t make any sense at all. Vulcan didn’t have a more suitable ship to transport them? And if they were so wanted by Starfleet you’d think they’d make a point of transporting Kirk and company themselves. No, it’s really a contrived excuse to use the Klingon ship for the story.

I also really doubt the Klingons would have designed their rather small ship to have such a cavernous empty interior seeing as how they usually seem to like cramped accommodations. But here it is conveniently sized just enough to hold two humpbacked whales.

What’s with the dreamlike sequence when they engage their time-warp slingshot around the sun? It’s something that doesn’t connect with anything else in the film before or after. And we don’t see anything like it on the return trip.

The 23rd century has no means to reenergize dilitium crystals yet Spock thinks of a way just off the top of his head using elements found “only” in the late 20th century… Uh, yeah…

It’s at this point the film takes on a distinct change in tone---it veers from generally serious minded to generally comedic. It’s also where the film really loses me despite some genuine smirks along the way (and some of the humour is really lame). Time travel in Trek is nothing new, but it was done much better before in “Tomorrow Is Yesterday,” “Assignment—Earth,” “Yesteryear” and at its best in “The City On The Edge Of Forever.”

Catherine Hicks makes for an appealing marine biologist. She also comes across as quite natural and genuine. And it is a nice (though coincidental) touch that the U.S. naval carrier Enterprise makes something of a cameo appearance. I also quite like some scenes at the end, namely the scene where Kirk is reduced in rank and the parting scene between Spock and Sarek.

Despite my criticisms this movie isn’t as bad as I remember it. Overall it’s basically on par with the previous two films. I don’t care for the story in general, buts it’s not horrible even as it’s just okay.

TVH essentially completes a trilogy begun with TWOK. Over these three films we get to see a Starfleet that doesn't seem to bear much resemblance to the one depicted in TOS. It feels more fainthearted, more wussy and it looks monochromatic with really silly looking uniforms. There are some good moments throughout the films, but overall it doesn't really resonate as the Star Trek I really enjoyed before---something is missing.

And although I've ranked TWOK, TSFS and TVH all basically the same I feel it gradually loses its identity from TWOK (C+) through TSFS (C) and sliding into TVH (C-)

For me Star Trek was, "Space, the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. To explore strange new worlds. To seek out new life and new civilizations. To bold go where no man has gone before." TMP, even with its missteps, felt like that. TWOK-TSFS-TVH seemed to lose that feeling.
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Old June 9 2012, 06:32 AM   #63
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Re: Revisiting the films...

The three-star ratings for those three films seem fair then because of your mixed impressions of them for different reasons.

On the other hand, whenever someone says "show me something new!" I think of Voyager and Insurrection as examples of how that doesn't always guarantee that'll work. No one really cares about the Baku and VOY isn't exactly everyone's favorite series.

Since we're talking about TWOK, TSFS, and TVH; I think it has to do with Harve Bennett. As an outsider to Star Trek, he based his first movie (TWOK) on a pre-existing episode. Then, in his next movie, he went back to the most-used enemies of the series. Finally, he took it back to Earth. Very methodical.

TSFS, is text book methodical, mechanical writing. It's also the one Star Trek film where Harve Bennett has sole writing credit. They have to go back to Genesis. The Enterprise is damaged. It's too easy for Starfleet to say "go ahead!" so have Kirk butt heads with Starfleet; who then becomes an obstacle. McCoy is out of it because of the mind-meld, adding to the urgency. Who can Kirk fight? Why not the Klingons? What can up the drama and make Kirk really hate them? Kill David! But the Enterprise is undermanned and badly damaged. There's no way out! What to do? Add more drama! Blow up the Enterprise! "Kirk and crew hijack the Klingon ship!" Then they show up on Vulcan, Spock's body and spirit are re-united and everything's back to normal (minus the Enterprise being blown up) or is it? "To be continued!"

TWOK, on the other hand, is a combination of several different pitches and several different versions of the story, so it comes off as more dynamic and spontaneous.

TVH, whatever one would think of it, was an inspired idea. "What if the crew goes back in time and saves an endangered species to solve a problem in the future. Well we're at it, we can contrast Star Trek with the 20th Century!" And they ran with it.
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Old June 9 2012, 10:39 AM   #64
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home (1986) ***...And it is a nice (though coincidental) touch that the U.S. naval carrier Enterprise makes something of a cameo appearance...
Too bad it's the U.S.S. Ranger.
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Old June 9 2012, 10:56 AM   #65
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Lord Garth wrote: View Post
... text book methodical, mechanical writing.... And they ran with it.
You're right. It did feel mechanical.

My essential point was about a feeling TOS had. A sense of going outwards rather than hang in' around the neighbourhood. A sense early TNG seemed to have even as it felt somewhat different than TOS.

These last three films have much of the warmth of the familiar characters primarily because of the cast's long familiarity with them, but most everything else around them is lacking. For me anyway. There is a lack of seeing something new. The dynamic of TWOK helps overcome some of my ambivalence, but then it becomes a slide because it all becomes evermore about seeing the familiar and overused. The basic story of each film is viable, but the energy and interest level drops off as the trilogy unfolds.

It really doesn't matter what rating one gives these films, which are favourites and which not, because it boils down to all of it has been done before and done better in TOS.

The ideas in TMP aren't bad, but the film generally lacks the dynamic energy and drama of similar stories told before. They overlooked part of what made those stories work.

The ideas in TWOK aren't bad (although TOS never did a story revolving around revenge), but the naval brinksmanship story was done better in TOS ("Balance Of Terror"). TSFS is really about what these friends will do for each yet we've already seen it played out numerous times in TOS. "The Empath" might be the most complete example of such as a story.

Time travel in itself has been used before, but TVH just isn't as well done as when time travel was done before in "Tomorrow Is Yesterday" and "The City On The Edge Of Forever."

It's all very much been-there-done-that as well as a lot of it not feeling as creative as what came before.


Maurice wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post
Star Trek IV – The Voyage Home (1986) ***...And it is a nice (though coincidental) touch that the U.S. naval carrier Enterprise makes something of a cameo appearance...
Too bad it's the U.S.S. Ranger.
Yeah, but it's the bought that counts.
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Old June 9 2012, 03:17 PM   #66
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
The ideas in TWOK aren't bad (although TOS never did a story revolving around revenge)
What about "Court-Martial" (Ben Finney fakes his own death to get revenge on Kirk), "Conscience of the King" (Kirk and Riley both wrestle with their desires for revenge), "Turnabout Intruder" (Janet Wallace is settling an old grudge against Kirk), "The Doomsday Machine" (Decker wants revenge against the planet-killer), and, arguably, "Obsession?

Although I suppose the latter is more about guilt than revenge.
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Old June 9 2012, 03:28 PM   #67
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post
The ideas in TWOK aren't bad (although TOS never did a story revolving around revenge)
What about "Court-Martial" (Ben Finney fakes his own death to get revenge on Kirk), "Conscience of the King" (Kirk and Riley both wrestle with their desires for revenge), "Turnabout Intruder" (Janet Wallace is settling an old grudge against Kirk), "The Doomsday Machine" (Decker wants revenge against the planet-killer), and, arguably, "Obsession?

Although I suppose the latter is more about guilt than revenge.
I stand corrected. I hadn't thought of it that way, but you're right.

TVH (potentially) brings us right back to the situation at the end of TMP: our heroes have a new ship and are set for new adventures "out there." Alas, this is part of what bugs me because they had already hit the reset switch at the beginning of TWOK and now were back at the same place we left at TMP.

Several years ago I sat down and worked out outlines for the four films TWOK-TFF that addressed all my gripes. The essential stories remainded the same as well as key moments, but a lot of the silliness and blatant logic flaws were addressed. I also had it set only a couple of years after TMP (and TWOK did come along only three years after TMP). The initial setting was the refit Enterprise was a couple years into its second five-year mission and the events of the four films were within that context.

I really wish I knew what happened to those outlines because at the time they were quite well received. Hmm, maybe I could do them again in abbreviated form. The original versions came about because I was dared to show the stories could be improved rather than me just criticizing them.
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Old June 9 2012, 04:11 PM   #68
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Re: Revisiting the films...

I wonder if Harve Bennett was ever approached to produce a second Star Trek series before they went to Gene Roddenberry?

What allegedly got Gene Roddenberry involved was that he didn't want the series to be about a crew full of kids. This also happened to be around the time Harve Bennett came up with the Starfleet Academy idea while William Shatner was playing hardball with contracts.
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Old June 9 2012, 04:23 PM   #69
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Re: Revisiting the films...

I thought Roddenberry was, like, their 5th or 6th choice to produce TNG?
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Old June 9 2012, 08:48 PM   #70
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Star Trek V – The Final Frontier (1989) **

A renegade Vulcan hijacks the Enterprise in his search for God.

Firstly, let me get the negatives out of the way.

There are indeed some genuine humourous moments throughout this film, but unfortunately there is a lot of unnecessary and overdone humour as well. Star Trek has always had a sense of humour, but it has usually been with a light touch as well as done contextually. Here it’s just laid on way too heavily. You quickly get the sense you’re not seeing our familiar heroes, but rather a collection of characters that just happen to look like them.

Sadly this film also looks cheap. By 1980’s standards it looked less than impressive. Now it looks shoddy in far too many places. The model work is really disappointing and in some spots rather amateurish. The f/x work looks mostly third-rate. The interior sets are also disappointing. So much of it looks budget conscience. I found the hangar deck miniatures and the full-size set really sad. The Enterprise bridge was also really disappointing. I much preferred the refit bridge seen in TMP and TWOK. The lighting is also terrible---it’s way too bright. The computer graphics on the bridge also looked cheap. The shuttlecraft interior looks very bare bones as if it’s unfinished, or more like a cargo transport.

I don’t really mind the mountain climbing and campfire scenes, but the gravity boots idea was silly and the “Row, row, row your boat” bit was cringe inducing. Of course that also includes the entire turbolift climbing sequence. Yeah, these men are friends, but it’s laid on too thick. Scotty banging his head on a bulkhead was just plain stupid just to get a cheap laugh.

Of course that leads to yet another point of contention: the whole idea of treating the new Enterprise as a lemon. First they made the ship a cadet vessel and now it’s a lemon. It pissed me off just to wring out a few more cheap giggles.

And Klingons again. The Klingons serve no good purpose in this story. If General Koord had been written properly he would have been the only Klingon needed for the story…if a Klingon absolutely had to be included.

Surprisingly there are some positives to this film that salvage it from being outright bad. Firstly, it has a fine soundtrack. From the opening credits onward it sounds like a Star Trek film. The music alone helps the film immeasurably. There is also a respectable story buried under too much sloppy execution. It’s very much like “Spock’s Brain” where there’s a good story waiting to be told if only there’d been a deft rewrite.

As flawed as this film is I can’t fault Shatner’s energy. There is indeed some welcome energy and run-and-jump in this, which also helps to keep things moving along decently. There are also two key scenes that really help to elevate the film. The first is where Sybok reveals the hidden pains of both McCoy and Spock. It’s capped off by Kirk shutting the whole thing down with, “I need my pain!” speech. The second scene is where Kirk challenges the entity with, "What does God need with a starship?" The third scene is where Kirk, Spock and McCoy share “brotherly” thoughts near the end. That scene alone makes the Yosemite Park scenes redundant and extraneous.

In the end this is a noble failure. It has its heart in the right place and it feels like a genuine Star Trek story. But it needed a bit more smarts in writing and a good dose in polish.

TFF could have been dynamite. Sybok was really a variation of Dr. Severin and his followers from TOS' "The Way To Eden." And the TOS crew had already butted heads with a wannabe god, Apollo, in "Who Mourns For Adonais?" as well as the beings in "Return To Tomorrow."

At its heart TFF was daring to say that rather than God creating us in his own image it's we who create or envision God each in our own image. Thats a pretty strong statement for a "sci-fi" movie to make. It's partly why I see TFF (from what I remember) as a noble failure. It has the core of a freakin' good story to tell. Unfortunately something got lost in the translation. They either didn't realize what a good story this could really be or they simply couldn't figure out how to properly tell the story.

TMP was essentially asking, "What am I? Is this all there is? Why do I feel incomplete?" Spock realizes this and actually says it aloud right there after he returns from his space walk. I could argue that TMP does a better job of telling its story better than TFF, but both films have a noble idea at heart. TFF has the passion and energy that TMP needed more of, but TFF doesn't convey its ideas as clearly as TMP. Basically, Robert Wise could have used a bit more of William Shatner's vitality while Shatner could have used more of Wise's smarts and experience in telling a story.
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Old June 9 2012, 09:06 PM   #71
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Oh, one other plus. Shatner's hair looked much better in this film.
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Old June 9 2012, 09:17 PM   #72
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Re: Revisiting the films...

What bugged me about ST V (on the exactly two occasions I've watched it) is just how muddled and unfocused the narrative is. The movie makes a big deal about those three ambassadors, then pretty much forgets about them until the end of the movie, when it suddenly remembers that, hey, isn't David Warner in this film? Sybok is kinda, sorta of a bad guy, who kinda, sorta brainwashes the crew, except when he doesn't (and the idea that Sulu and Uhura and the rest would actually choose Sybok over Kirk of their own quasi-free will is beyond the pale right there). And Kirk wants to stop Sybok's insane quest, except when he doesn't. The whole thing is such a muddle of confused, ambiguous motives that the story struggles to acquire any sort of urgency or momentum.

I get that, with Sybok, they were deliberately trying to make him morally ambiguous, instead of just a two-dimensional black hat, but they didn't pull it off. There's a fine line between ambiguous and unfocused and ST V crossed it . . . which, as I recall, is an even bigger problem than some ill-advised attempts at humor.

And, yeah, I cringed at "row, row, row your boat," too. Thank God they made another film so the TOS saga didn't end on that note . . . .
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Old June 9 2012, 09:52 PM   #73
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Re: Revisiting the films...

The way it looks on the surface, most of the crew committed mutiny by siding with Sybok. I rationalize it as mind control but I shouldn't have to rationalize it.

I feel bad for Spock. His brother was essentially a televangelist. "I've been healed from my pain!" says the miner. Then Sybok exclaims, "Praiseth thy Loooord!!! Amen." Hallelujah!

Basically, Robert Wise could have used a bit more of William Shatner's vitality while Shatner could have used more of Wise's smarts and experience in telling a story.
I agree. The best dealing with of religion in a science-fiction film that I've seen is Contact.

Star Trek has always had a sense of humour, but it has usually been with a light touch as well as done contextually. Here it’s just laid on way too heavily.
And very out of place. This was the wrong type of story to try emulating what made TVH successful.

I like the slogan on Kirk's T-shirt though.

The condition of the Enterprise-A must've been Starfleet's revenge for Kirk's crew sabotaging the Excelsior.
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Old June 9 2012, 10:32 PM   #74
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
What bugged me about ST V (on the exactly two occasions I've watched it) is just how muddled and unfocused the narrative is. The movie makes a big deal about those three ambassadors, then pretty much forgets about them until the end of the movie, when it suddenly remembers that, hey, isn't David Warner in this film? Sybok is kinda, sorta of a bad guy, who kinda, sorta brainwashes the crew, except when he doesn't (and the idea that Sulu and Uhura and the rest would actually choose Sybok over Kirk of their own quasi-free will is beyond the pale right there). And Kirk wants to stop Sybok's insane quest, except when he doesn't. The whole thing is such a muddle of confused, ambiguous motives that the story struggles to acquire any sort of urgency or momentum.

I get that, with Sybok, they were deliberately trying to make him morally ambiguous, instead of just a two-dimensional black hat, but they didn't pull it off. There's a fine line between ambiguous and unfocused and ST V crossed it . . . which, as I recall, is an even bigger problem than some ill-advised attempts at humor.

And, yeah, I cringed at "row, row, row your boat," too. Thank God they made another film so the TOS saga didn't end on that note . . . .
Very true, and it's why I wouldn't have bothered with the Klingons at all or the Romulan representative or the David Warner character. The crew's behaviour only makes sense if it's some sort of mind control. But because it isn't depicted as outright mind control then their behaviour is bullshit.

Part of the problem with Trek films, and sci-fi movies in general, is this mindset that the story always has to be huge, and consequently some interpret that as there has to be a lot of different things going on. Sure that can work, but unless you're adept at juggle a lot of elements then you're best to stick to something more straightforward and tell it the very best you can.
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Old June 9 2012, 11:04 PM   #75
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
The crew's behaviour only makes sense if it's some sort of mind control. But because it isn't depicted as outright mind control then their behaviour is bullshit..
Exactly. The movie can't seem to make up its mind if the crew is being mind-controlled or not, but, seriously, Kirk's crew is not going to mutiny unless they're heavily under the influence of alien spores or whatever. Period.

And I'm amused to see that nobody has even mentioned the WTF moment with Scotty and Uhura . . . .
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