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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 9 2012, 11:10 PM   #76
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Greg Cox wrote: View Post
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 . . . .
I remember lots of commentary about that when the film was new. Up to a point you can interpret their behaviour a just really good friends after so many years, but then it becomes apparent something else is being suggested and it doesn't work.

Of course the whole idea that these people would still be together after so many years in a real organization beggars credibility. As fans we turn a blind eye to that, but it doesn't really make much sense.

Spock's behaviour throughout TFF is also rather WTF. He's basically the comedic straight man. Far too often he didn't even sound like Spock. It was almost as if Nimoy were reading some other character's lines.
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Old June 9 2012, 11:22 PM   #77
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
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And I'm amused to see that nobody has even mentioned the WTF moment with Scotty and Uhura . . . .
I remember lots of commentary about that when the film was new. Up to a point you can interpret their behaviour a just really good friends after so many years, but then it becomes apparent something else is being suggested and it doesn't work.

.
You can't just throw something like that at audiences out of the blue, not after literally decades of Uhura and Scotty not showing the slightest romantic interest in each other. In theory, you could make it work if you actually laid some groundwork in advance, but without any sort of set-up? No way.

By contrast, the Spock/Uhura thing in the new movie worked (IMHO) because:

1) it's an alternate timeline.
2) the characters are still young, so the relationships aren't set in stone yet.
3) the original show occasionally flirted with the notion, at least in the first season.

But Scotty/Uhura came out of nowhere . . . .
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Old June 10 2012, 04:38 PM   #78
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Star Trek VI – The Undiscovered Country (1991) ***

A peace initiative between the Federation and the Klingon Empire is threatened by conspirators on both sides.

I’m sure I’m going to annoy someone, but this film has some real stupidity in it.

Firstly, like pretty much all the previous films, there’s a genuinely decent story to be told here. Yet like all the previous films problems arise due to lazy thinking and/or poor choices. The biggest flaw with TUC is its generally ham-fisted approach. There really isn’t much subtlety in it.

Cliff Eidelman’s score is certainly evocative and parts of it throughout really set a mood. But as a main them it again felt out of place. It’s another example of trying to make Star Trek feel like it’s something other than what it is.

The first WTF moment is the opening scene where Praxis explodes. Any minor bit of reflection on how it’s done shows how silly it is. If something explodes in such a way that the effects are significantly felt light years away (and I think it’s safe to assume the Excelsior was light years distant outside of Klingon territory) then it’s not going to just damage the Klingon homeworld---it’s going to obliterate said homeworld. Secondly, natural effects cannot travel faster-than-light and so the effects of the Praxis explosion would take freakin’ years to cross light-years to reach the Excelsior and not mere minutes or hours. This is poor writing we probably wouldn’t accept from a comic book. But since it’s live-action and done in a generally serious tone they figure probably no one will notice. Wrong.

We know Nicholas Meyer has returned because he again puts his stamp on the Trek universe where Starfleet’s existence is primarily military defense and the Enterprise is comparable to a warship or submarine. He goes so far as to redress sets and shrink corridors and crews quarters to reinforce the idea of a cramped naval vessel. This is totally inconsistent with the Enterprise having long been established as a ship of exploration and peace that also happens to be able to defend itself. The design of the ship, inside and out, was always meant to convey that idea. But not in Meyer’s take on Trek. He reinforces this idiocy by suggesting that if peace with the Klingons is achieved then Starfleet could well dismantle large parts of its defensive structure. How stupid is this? The Klingons certainly aren’t the only ones out there ready to take on the Federation. In TOS the Enterprise ran into a lot of folks that could be just as dangerous as the Klingons. Indeed in TOS the Klingons aren’t seen all that often at all. But, of course, in the movies they’re everywhere.

Meyer also doesn’t get the characters. I made a point of watching some of the special features before watching the film. In it William Shatner expressed his disagreement with Kirk’s blatant racism in the film. His take is that while Kirk may indeed have certain feelings he wouldn’t wear them on his sleeve. And if he did inadvertently blurt something out he would immediately regret it. He therefore asked Meyer to allow Kirk to show some regret and distaste after blurting out they should just let the Klingons die. Meyer initially agreed and then later cut the scene where Kirk expresses regret and embarrassment over saying something so distasteful aloud. Shatner wasn’t happy. And this sentiment carries over into the other characters as well. In TOS the episode “Day Of The Dove” touched on the issue of race hatred between humans and Klingons and yet also showed the Enterprise crew could wrestle with and control those feelings. This was a powerful message throughout the series. But Meyer’s intent was to deconstruct all of that. His version of Kirk was little better than some of the nutjobs in the ‘60’s era film Doctor Strangelove (Or How I Learned To Love The Bomb). Nichelle Nichols was also one who objected to the blatant racism shown by the Enterprise crew. Her take also was “this is not who these characters are.”

Nuance and subtlety are obviously not Meyer’s forte. Mind you Meyer isn’t the only one at fault here. Leonard Nimoy was involved in this story and he doesn’t seem to have objected to Meyer’s ideas.

In TFF Kirk says, “I miss my old chair.” Amen to that, Captain. I miss the Enterprise we saw in TOS, TMP and even TWOK. I miss that beautiful yet powerful starship of the far future. I don’t care at all for the worn and cramped and darkened starfaring submarine Meyer puts on the screen. He also reinforces that idea by injecting nautical references that have absolutely no relevance whatsoever to operating a starship. This is a big issue with me throughout the films TWOK-TUC. Whatever one’s issues with TMP the depiction of Starfleet and the Enterprise is conceptually consistent with what had been established in TOS. That overall approach would return in TNG. But in the films II-VI that idea is just thrown away and it really pisses me off.

How come on one makes a stink of the fact General Chang somehow managed to get hold of an excerpt of Kirk’s personal log? That moment was like getting hit over the head with a hammer and yet no one onscreen raises a finger over it.

How convenient that Kirk and McCoy get to keep their uniforms as prisoners sent to Rura Penthe and that they’re not searched and no one notices the viridum patch on Kirk’s shoulder? And how convenient that tiny patch can be detected two sectors away. And how monumentally stupid was the scene where the Enterprise crew are clumsily trying to use old-style books to communicate in Klingon? Here was a perfect opportunity to flesh out an established character more and they totally ignore it. Uhura is the ship’s Communications Officer with decades of experience. Wouldn’t it have been a nice tough if she knew at least just enough Klingon language to communicate when needed? It would have been a simple and elegant solution as well as a nice extra dimension to her character. But yet again they choose the ham-fisted approach just to get a cheap laugh.

Spock’s telepathic assault on Valeris is REALLY out of character. And just how did Spock know Sulu aboard the Excelsior would know the location of the Khitomer conference, particularly when the location is supposed to be secret from anyone not directly involved in the conference? Doesn’t the Enterprise have any shields? How else to explain the holes in the hull? Again with all the sparking and exploding consoles when under attack (same in TWOK). And why is Spock asking McCoy (of all people who should actually be in sickbay) to assist him in in modifying a torpedo? Aren’t there any number of technicians or engineers aboard who could do that particularly in an emergency?

One damned stupid thing after another to kick me out of the story.

I also found the ending scenes both on Khitomer and the Enterprise bridge to be awkward and over staged.

The film does have some positives to it. It has energy and good pacing. The f/x are competent. The music works for a lot of scenes. There are some good character moments. The essential story is a respectable one. Unfortunately the positives aren’t enough to elevate the film to anything more than just an okay effort. It’s a better and more polished effort than TFF, but not by a great margin.


I’m ready to be burned at the stake now.
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Old June 10 2012, 05:01 PM   #79
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Warped9 wrote: View Post

I’m ready to be burned at the stake now.
Better save some space for me at the top of that log pile. I liked TUC when I first saw it, but now I really hate it. It's my least favourite original cast movie, and of all of them, I hate only Nemesis more.

And it's for all the reasons you state, it's a case of the plot dictating the characters and not the character driving the plot. It's the biggest wholesale character assassination I have ever seen, with none of the original cast coming out of it well. Swan song? You have to be kidding. Instead we get Valeris Mary Sueing it for the duration, while everyone else is made to look like an idiot, while the movie spits on continuity.

At the end of TFF, Kirk is saluting Captain Klaa and inviting the Klingons over for drinks.

in TUC, he's never been so close?

In TMP Chekov is head of security on the Enterprise, in TUC, he doesn't know how phasers work on a starship and has to have Valeris explain it to him!

Uhura has no experience with languages, McCoy doesn't know Klingon anatomy, Scotty's reduced to manually counting torpedoes...

The Undiscovered Country is a nasty, exploitative piece of work that leaves a foul taste in my mouth the more often I see it, and the only redeeming features are its production values and its pace. It would have worked much better as a stand alone piece, an original sci-fi creation with all new characters and in a different universe.

Don't get me started on the Scooby Doo ending on the Home Video release, and the whole Colonel West subplot. Discussing a secret rescue plan in Klingon territory in front of the Romulan ambassador. Yeah, real smart!
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Old June 10 2012, 05:05 PM   #80
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Re: Revisiting the films...

From memory, there was a line at the start of TUC said somthing like.

"Sub-space shockwave orignated at ...." Subspace is TFL. Might be contrived somewhat unbelivable. But at least they tried to address why a ship light years away would feel it.
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Old June 10 2012, 05:37 PM   #81
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Re: Revisiting the films...

The Laughing Vulcan wrote: View Post
Warped9 wrote: View Post

I’m ready to be burned at the stake now.
Better save some space for me at the top of that log pile. I liked TUC when I first saw it, but now I really hate it. It's my least favourite original cast movie, and of all of them, I hate only Nemesis more.

And it's for all the reasons you state, it's a case of the plot dictating the characters and not the character driving the plot. It's the biggest wholesale character assassination I have ever seen, with none of the original cast coming out of it well. Swan song? You have to be kidding. Instead we get Valeris Mary Sueing it for the duration, while everyone else is made to look like an idiot, while the movie spits on continuity.

At the end of TFF, Kirk is saluting Captain Klaa and inviting the Klingons over for drinks.

in TUC, he's never been so close?

In TMP Chekov is head of security on the Enterprise, in TUC, he doesn't know how phasers work on a starship and has to have Valeris explain it to him!

Uhura has no experience with languages, McCoy doesn't know Klingon anatomy, Scotty's reduced to manually counting torpedoes...

The Undiscovered Country is a nasty, exploitative piece of work that leaves a foul taste in my mouth the more often I see it, and the only redeeming features are its production values and its pace. It would have worked much better as a stand alone piece, an original sci-fi creation with all new characters and in a different universe.

Don't get me started on the Scooby Doo ending on the Home Video release, and the whole Colonel West subplot. Discussing a secret rescue plan in Klingon territory in front of the Romulan ambassador. Yeah, real smart!
Keep reminding me of more instances of stupidity and I'm likely to lower my rating.

One little thing I did like was the depiction of space combat in a more three dimensional way.
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Old June 10 2012, 05:59 PM   #82
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Re: Revisiting the films...

^ Yeah, that did not read like a three-star review on a five-scale at all.

My opinion of the first four movies is exactly the same as when I first saw them over 20 years ago. The same as the TNG movies. Zero difference. My opinion of TFF has gone down but it was a steady decrease over time without fluctuation.

TUC? Where do we begin? I've zig zagged all over the place. 20 years ago, I loved the movie. 10 years ago, I was deeply critical. Now I have a deeply mixed opinion of it.

All the criticisms I have were voiced immediately above or I've posted them before. I agree with them all. No need for me to rehash any of it.

The positives: Cliff Eidelman's score is great and it fit this particular film. The Rura Penthe landscape was an impressive piece of location shooting. It's admirable that TUC wanted to parallel a turning point in Real Life and a turning point in the Star Trek Universe; but the approach could've been handled much better.

In the novelization, an outpost is attacked, crippling Carol, Kirk visted her in the hospital, and that would've made a huge difference in setting up his disposition.

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Old June 10 2012, 06:13 PM   #83
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Lord Garth wrote: View Post
The positives: Cliff Eidelman's score is great and it fit this particular film. The Rura Penthe landscape was an impressive piece of location shooting. It's admirable that TUC wanted to parallel a turning point in Real Life and a turning point in the Star Trek Universe; but the approach could've been handled much better.

In the novelization, an outpost is attacked, crippling Carol, Kirk visted her in the hospital, and that would've made a huge difference in setting up his disposition.
Agreed on both points.
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Old June 10 2012, 06:13 PM   #84
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Summation?

The Motion Picture (DE) **** (B+)
- This is a really noble first effort. It displays a lot of thought and care and interest to deal with big ideas. It’s a beautiful film to look at. I think it feels more connected to TOS than any of the subsequent films. Where it falters is the lack of a little more energy and passion through character drama---there’s isn’t quite enough going on---and that keeps the film from being an A effort.

The Wrath Of Khan *** (C+)
- It has the energy and passion that TMP needed more of along with good performances and good character moments. There are nice visuals. But I flat out don’t like Nicholas Meyer’s simplistic and dumbed-down vision of Star Trek. He tries to cover poor writing and huge logic flaws with action and pretty pictures.

The Search For Spock *** (C)
- A continuation of and very similar to TWOK in overall execution. But now it’s wearing even more thin and some of the f/x are starting to look rushed and half-hearted.

The Voyage Home *** (C-)
- The familiar characters are starting to drift from what they once were. The humour is overdone. Like the previous two films it’s the cast that helps keep things afloat, but it’s not enough to overcome a lot of the silliness in this movie.

The Final Frontier ** (D+)
- A good basic story, some good character moments and a solid score can’t overcome sloppy writing, lazy thinking and shoddy looking f/x.

The Undiscovered Country *** (C-)
- A good story idea, good pacing and energy can’t do enough to overcome character deconstruction, a lot of stupidity and the return of Nicholas Meyer’s vision. Despite trying it really isn’t that good a send-off for the TOS crew.


In the end TMP and TWOK are the two best films primarily because they resonate better with the original series. They're both flawed in some way or other and yet they're much like two sides of the same coin. Despite my rating of it TVH is my least favourite of the group---I just found it silly whereas I find TFF to be a noble failure. It certainly makes me think of what some of these films (like TFF) could have been like with another director.

One of the things I disliked about the films was the lack of continuity in sets. Each director brought a different idea to the Enterprise's interiors (notably the Bridge) that really bugged me. It certainly made it difficult to accept that this was really meant to be the same ship or even an almost exact copy.
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Old June 12 2012, 06:42 AM   #85
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Re: Revisiting the films...

My capsule thoughts on the movies:

1. Star Trek 09-Credit due for a new producer who made ST feel like ST again. Adventure, scale, cachet, all missing from previous Trek movies. If all that's not enough, it's writing brought some small development to characters that basically didn't change much in the original series, executed well enough to be nominated for a Hugo, Nebula, Writers Guild Award, a trifecta not accomplished by any other Trek movie.

A home run, a bullseye, direct hit!! A smashing blockbuster success! The most cinematic, the most dense, most energetic, fully realized, rich, fun, rousing, professionally made MOVIE of all of ST. Rewatchable with almost every sequence creating a lasting impression. The best "teaser", best beginning credit sequences, the best Special FX, the best sound, best ending credits! Grade: ***** of 5 stars

2. Wrath of Khan-The best movie for 27 years until 2009! Good characterization, and a movie that makes up for an underwritten villain role with terrific performances by everyone concerned. Themes about aging, family, new life-hope, with a good dose of action. Still contains SF movie's best battle scene. *****

3. First Contact-Admittedly, not a perfect film, and not the best Borg story by a long shot but it also offered a multi-leveled formula for success: ST history, time-travel, almost elemental enemies, and something rarely seen..a personal vendetta for Picard. ****

4. Voyage Home-Not completely logical but a fun movie with no significant strikes against it. Expanded the ST universe a bit, with a look at Starfleet and the UFP. Did I mention fun? ****

5. Nemesis-Again, not a perfect movie, one I'd have re-written myself somewhat, but it's a major improvement in scale and pace over the previous STNG movie as well as the latter TOS ones. ***1/2

6. STMMP-DE-Ok here is where I change my mind occasionally..sometimes STIII feels more statisfying as a movie, but the new DE is an improvement over the original...its a tighter movie. Hard to beat for FX and music (both nominated for Oscars)the story feels slim, but the philosophy behind it wins the day. ***1/2

7. STIII-So STTMP improves upon TOS with a story that takes AI seriously, and tried to include Spock in that as a personal link...STIII again uses Spock but in a story whose philosophy is bizarre and very un-Treklike...postulating souls that come back to life...must have had theists as well as non-theists perplexed in it's day (I was 14 and just knew I liked Spock being alive). There are good moments and ILM does a great job on a small budget (one that used fewer FX than many made-for-tv movies, as well as STNG 3 yrs later). Ultimately it can't compete with some of the better Trek movies. ***

8. Undiscovered Country-Marginally better than #9 on my list. Not a movie that withstands the test of time well both in production and format. ***

9. Insurrection-Underrated, certainly not a terrible movie. Lacks scale and a sense of urgency. Gains points for a plot that's still debated amongst fans today. ***

10. Generations-A complete mess of a script. The most inconsistent internal logic of all stories. It's few pluses can't make up for a scattershot mis-fire of a movie. **

11. Final frontier-The movie that shall not be named! Though I am naming it embarrassingly bad. Problems begin at the start of a poor concept, terrible dialogue, dumb humor, horrible FX, old actors looking tired. This is what happens when the studio doesn't throw out a clearly terrible script...possibly because of the success of STIV and STNG. 1/2

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Old June 12 2012, 01:18 PM   #86
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Re: Revisiting the films...

You blew your credibility by naming Nemesis the fifth best movie.
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Old June 12 2012, 02:43 PM   #87
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Re: Revisiting the films...

The films really are such a mixed bag for me. I watched them all (up to Insurrection) in the theater and have re watched them all on video and DVD multiple times. I was never as fond of TWOK or TVH as most, particularly TVH, but I still watch them with enjoyment. Mostly. And that brings me to TUC.

I remember exiting the theater pumped over this film, thinking it one of the better of Trek's theatrical offerings. There had been a couple of scenes that made me cringe, but far fewer than TVH or TFF. There had been some serious holes in the plot, but what Trek hasn't had those? The issue is that every single time I have viewed it since, the cringes increase and the plot holes just seem to keep coming. It has ended up being my second least favorite of them all and my least favorite with the original cast.

What were they thinking?
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Old June 12 2012, 09:06 PM   #88
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Re: Revisiting the films...

RAMA wrote: View Post
1. Star Trek 09-Credit due for a new producer who made ST feel like ST again. Adventure, scale, cachet, all missing from previous Trek movies. If all that's not enough, it's writing brought some small development to characters that basically didn't change much in the original series, executed well enough to be nominated for a Hugo, Nebula, Writers Guild Award, a trifecta not accomplished by any other Trek movie.

A home run, a bullseye, direct hit!! A smashing blockbuster success! The most cinematic, the most dense, most energetic, fully realized, rich, fun, rousing, professionally made MOVIE of all of ST. Rewatchable with almost every sequence creating a lasting impression. The best "teaser", best beginning credit sequences, the best Special FX, the best sound, best ending credits! Grade: ***** of 5 stars

RAMA
I disagree with this on so many levels I wouldn't know where to start. I'll take TFF over any of the TNG films and certainly over ST09 by a wide margin anytime.

Then again you and I hardly ever agree on anything.
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Old June 12 2012, 10:28 PM   #89
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Re: Revisiting the films...

Warped9,
First, than you for starting this thread. Given what you have said of the films in other threads, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I feel that you gave fair reviews to all of the films you covered. I think that all of your criticisms are valid, though in the majority of cases they don't seem to effect my enjoyment of these films as much as they do yours, which is fine.

One thing you mentioned in one of the reviews, I don't recall which, was Shatner's performances seemly less "Kirk-like" as the film series went on. This is something that I have to admit hinders my enjoyment somewhat. I think it is noticeable in some way in IV, V and VI, though it is--to my mind--a major problem in V. The character he is playing doesn't seem very much like the Kirk of TOS, or even TMP, TWOK and TSFS. It is a major issue for me in Generations, which you didn't cover. There are a few lines in the Enterprise-B sequence at the beginning of the film that seem "off" to me, but the whole sequence in the Nexus seems like he's playing a different character to me. Hard to put my finger on jyst what it is, but his mannerism's and delivery of lines seems more like Shatner than Kirk to me. I don't know how much of this is the fault of the script he was given, but it definitely bugs me when I watch.

Again, thanks for the reviews!
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Old June 12 2012, 10:50 PM   #90
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Re: Revisiting the films...

EliyahuQeoni wrote: View Post
Hard to put my finger on jyst what it is, but his mannerism's and delivery of lines seems more like Shatner than Kirk to me. I don't know how much of this is the fault of the script he was given, but it definitely bugs me when I watch.
I've had much the same feeling. Some of it may indeed have something to do with the scripts. In TFF it's Shatner directing himself so how objective could he have been in regard to his own performance?
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