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General Trek Discussion Trek TV and cinema subjects not related to any specific series or movie.

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Old March 23 2013, 02:50 AM   #1
InklingStar
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Villains, Always With The Villains

As we have all been preparing for the new movie this Spring, I got to thinking about the structure of the movies versus the episodes. Something I realized is that nearly all of the movies feature a singular villain. Khan was the first, and in a way, each movie has tried to capture that same sense of malevolence combined with a personal vendetta against the captain. Kruge killed Kirk's son. Sybok was from Spock's past. Chang made it personal with Kirk. Soran and Ru'afo were more generic I think, but the Borg Queen and Shinzon both had a personal score to settle with Picard.

That seems to be par for the course with most blockbusters these days, as seen in The Dark Knight with Heath Ledger's memorable performance as the Joker. But what got me thinking is the fact that most of the best Star Trek episodes eschew this format.

Think of the very best episodes of TOS, TNG, DS9, and the others. Who were the villains? In "City On The Edge Of Forever," the villain was time. The villains of "The Trouble With Tribbles" were less mustache-twirling guys than comic relief. The villain of "Balance Of Terror" was not evil at all. "The Best Of Both Worlds"? A faceless collective. (Notice how they created a singular scenery-chewing villain for the movie sequel.) "The Inner Light" had no villain, neither did "The Visitor".

Even in the movie series, The Motion Picture and The Voyage Home were without villains, and the former is critically appreciated while the latter is one of the most popular with non-fans.

All that said, my question is why do we need a mustache-twirling scenery-chewing singular villain for every movie anymore? JJ Abrams' series has followed the last few TNG movies in that respect. Nero was a madman driven by revenge. Harrison appears to have his own bone to pick with the Federation, and will blow up lots of stuff in order to accomplish his goals. I think it would be refreshing to have a new Trek movie someday be about encountering the unknown, or solving a complex puzzle, or something along those lines, instead of having the same formula once again.

(NB: I still enjoy the movies [well maybe not Nemesis so much] and am greatly looking forward to Into Darkness, despite whatever I said here.)
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Old March 23 2013, 03:25 AM   #2
C.E. Evans
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Re: Villains, Always With The Villains

TMP's villain was V'Ger.

Star Trek IV's villain was modern-day Human ignorance & short-sightedness.

The difference between them and the other more straight-forward flesh & blood villains was that it didn't require phasers to resolve their conflicts, but both posed threats to the survival of the Human race that our heroes had to deal with all the same.

But TMP being "critically appreciated?" First I've heard of that. More often, I heard it bored most people to tears.

But I think Star Trek IV resonated with a lot of non-Trekkies because its primary setting was in the current day and there was quite a bit of humor seeing our futuristic heroes being fish out of water in our time (it being a feel good movie also helped, IMO).
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Old March 23 2013, 03:59 AM   #3
T'Girl
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Re: Villains, Always With The Villains

InklingStar wrote: View Post
Kruge killed Kirk's son ...
Someone had to, if only to stop the whining.

Heath Ledger's memorably performance as the Joker
Please, Cesar Romero was a better Joker than Ledger.

In "City On The Edge Of Forever," the villain was time.
The villain really was McCoy in that episode, his actions would have resulted in Humanity being enslaved by the Nazis'. He needed to be stopped.

The villains of "The Trouble With Tribbles" were less mustache-twirling guys than comic relief.
The villain was the Klingon agent who poisoned the grain. If he had been successful the Federation's enemies would have acquired the disputed planet.

The villain of "Balance Of Terror" was not evil at all.
Debatable, the Romulan commander violate a century old treaty and murdered people in foreign space. His hands were less than clean. "Orders are orders" isn't much of a defense.

"The Inner Light" had no villain ...
The villain there was the alien VCR that Picard was forced to watch for most of the episode.

The Motion Picture and The Voyage Home were without villains ...
Vger and the probe, both were going to kill everyone on Earth. Their actions made them both villains.



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Old March 23 2013, 04:22 AM   #4
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Re: Villains, Always With The Villains

Yeah, I've pretty much had it with every ST movie needing a evil villain badguy bent on revenge and ensuing space battle climax.

If these were Bond films, then okay yeah, you gotta have a villain badguy in every film, that's what Bond films are.

But Star Trek can be SO much more. Look at all the great eps that DIDN'T have an evil villain badguy crazed with vengence and DIDN'T have a kewl space battle.

More and more, I find myself watching TMP and TVH just to see a Trek film that's NOT Evil Bad Guys and Space Battles.

Everyone knows ST can be more than that, and hell that's not even a large part of ST to begin with.

I'm so damn tired of it, if the only ST they can make for the big screen is Evil Villains and Space Battles again and again and again, I'd rather they not make the movies anymore.
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Old March 23 2013, 04:56 AM   #5
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Re: Villains, Always With The Villains

T'Girl wrote: View Post
Please, Cesar Romero was a better Joker than Ledger.
To paraphrase Firefly, "Well, my time of taking you seriously is coming to a middle." Romero better than Ledger? Seriously?
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Old March 23 2013, 05:28 AM   #6
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Re: Villains, Always With The Villains

Pavonis wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
Please, Cesar Romero was a better Joker than Ledger.
To paraphrase Firefly, "Well, my time of taking you seriously is coming to a middle." Romero better than Ledger? Seriously?
Pfft. Of course! Look at the menace in this comparison picture. THE MENACE FROM ROMERO IS PALPABLE!



YOU CAN'T EXPLAIN THAT!
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Old March 23 2013, 06:05 AM   #7
sonak
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Re: Villains, Always With The Villains

J. Allen wrote: View Post
Pavonis wrote: View Post
T'Girl wrote: View Post
Please, Cesar Romero was a better Joker than Ledger.
To paraphrase Firefly, "Well, my time of taking you seriously is coming to a middle." Romero better than Ledger? Seriously?
Pfft. Of course! Look at the menace in this comparison picture. THE MENACE FROM ROMERO IS PALPABLE!



YOU CAN'T EXPLAIN THAT!

I see less "menace" and more "just saw a really ugly, fat guy who was naked."

but Romero WAS an awesome Joker.
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Old March 23 2013, 10:21 AM   #8
Timo
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Re: Villains, Always With The Villains

I see less "menace" and more "just saw a really ugly, fat guy who was naked."
And you don't consider that menacing?

Talk about a hardened villain...

I never could take Joker seriously. But Meredith's Penguin sent shivers up and down my spine.

Timo Saloniemi
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Old March 23 2013, 12:51 PM   #9
F. King Daniel
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Re: Villains, Always With The Villains

I think Kai Winn is the best of the recurring TV villains. I HATED THAT WOMAN. Followed by Seska and Maj Kullah(sp?), who were more like recurring annoyances for the Voyager crew. I did not like the Duras sisters of TNG one bit. LAME. Gul Dukat was okay, but overstayed his welcome by about a dozen episodes. The Borg Queen was good, but became far too petty for what she was supposed to be. The female Changeling was a nonentity. The Xindi weren't truly villains. Future Guy was a plot device. Sellek was good, but also not a true villain.

In the movies, Khan was decent, but is often overrated. Kruge was a good if bland baddie. Sybok was a good character, but not a villain. Soran could have been so much better. I actually liked Shinzon, the messed up Picard-that-could-have-been who despite all he endured, still managed to achieve ao much. I liked Nero too, he was an angry space trucker who I pitied more than anything.
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Old March 23 2013, 01:26 PM   #10
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Re: Villains, Always With The Villains

Like it or not, most Trek movies are action adventures, and that requres a villain to get the ball rolling. TMP and TVH were the only ones which weren't trying to be action adventures, and thus why they don't have specific villains.

Granted the problem with most Trek movie villains is that for the most part, they suck. Khan, and General Chang are easily the best, though John Harrison is looking promising. The rest are average at best. The Borg Queen was alright in First Contact, it's her Voyager appearances that tarnish the character. Sybok is in interesting character even if he isn't the best villain. Kruge, Soran and Shinzon at least were played by actors who made the characters somewhat entertaining. Ru'afo and Nero were just terrible.
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Old March 23 2013, 06:23 PM   #11
SchwEnt
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Re: Villains, Always With The Villains

Yeah but still...

At least for me, I'm tired of the Evil Villains all the time. Even if each one was really good... every movie??

I wanna see my ST changed up a bit.
"The Measure of a Man"
"The Visitor"
"City on the Edge of Forever"
"The Inner Light"
"The Trouble with Tribbles"
"The Naked Time"
"Amok Time"
"The First Duty"

All great eps, no space battles and no Evil Villains.
There can be dramatic conflict without Super Villains hell-bent on galactic revenge and destruction.
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Old March 23 2013, 11:02 PM   #12
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Re: Villains, Always With The Villains

As long as a villain has a meaning beyond the overt good vs bad conflict, I'm happy. Obviously it's a bit early to judge it, but I suspect Cumberbatch's character in the forthcoming film will have some sort of broader, more sympathetic goal.
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Old March 23 2013, 11:43 PM   #13
Lindemann's Catch
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Re: Villains, Always With The Villains

Gul Dukat was the ultimate DS9 Villain.
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Old March 24 2013, 01:16 AM   #14
The Wormhole
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Re: Villains, Always With The Villains

SchwEnt wrote: View Post
Yeah but still...

At least for me, I'm tired of the Evil Villains all the time. Even if each one was really good... every movie??

I wanna see my ST changed up a bit.
"The Measure of a Man"
"The Visitor"
"City on the Edge of Forever"
"The Inner Light"
"The Trouble with Tribbles"
"The Naked Time"
"Amok Time"
"The First Duty"

All great eps, no space battles and no Evil Villains.
There can be dramatic conflict without Super Villains hell-bent on galactic revenge and destruction.
What works on TV doesn't always work with movies. The kind of plots Trek does with its movies generally do require villains.
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Old March 24 2013, 04:25 AM   #15
sonak
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Re: Villains, Always With The Villains

Pondwater wrote: View Post
Gul Dukat was the ultimate DS9 Villain.

pre-"waltz," yes he was
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