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

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Old March 5 2014, 12:46 AM   #151
TenLubak
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

Warped9 wrote: View Post
When Star Trek - The Motion Picture first premiered in December, 1979 I was already 20 years old, and about ten years after I started watching TOS

TMP was coming at the close of a drawn out decade where the last new Trek onscreen had been TAS five years ealier. Five years can seem like an eternity to a teenager. Before TMP when I had been in high school there had been some buzz about the forthcoming feature. But the only advance information we could get was in sci-fi and fantasy magazines, occasional newspaper articles and feature articles in magazines like Starlog and Omni. One might also pick up some news at conventions, which was something I wasn't frequenting yet. Whatever articles (and photos) we ran across could be considered gold since information could be scant compared to what we can learn about a film today before it's released.

I, too, had reservations when seeing some of Ralph McQuarries concept paintings early on, but as the realease drew nearer and Phase II pics started surfacing as well as lastly actual TMP shots then I started to feel more reassured.

The anticipation was almost unbearable. Star Trek was then (and remains still) my favourite television series. It consumed me and I soaked up every scrap pf knowledge and trivia I could lay my hands on. You can be assured I was there on opening night.

Over the years I've seen TMP (in vaious versions) numerous enough times. Last year is when I most recently revisited the DE version. Looking back my feelings haven't changed much although in some respects I like the film more now than way back in '79. I see it in a somewhat different perspective that allows me to appreciate some things that might not have registered consciously originally.


Opening night:

The opening credits with the main title theme. Stirring with a touch of bombast. But I will say I missed the familiar Star Trek fanfare (which we'd hear next in TWOK).

Without question TMP was visually breathtaking. This was Gene Roddenberry's Star Trek writ large. Today we can be almost desensitized to the splashy and polished f/x of contemporary visual spectacles---practically anything that can be imagined can be realized. But back then you simply couldn't have been prepared for the opening sequence of three detailed Klingon battle cruisers approaching the Vger cloud. Then we got to see the new look Klingons. And then we got to hear them speak in their own language (with English subtitles).

It..was..mind-blowing.

You're still absorbing that opening sequence when you find yourself on Vulcan. Here Vulcan seems more alien than it did in "Amok Time" and certainly more expansive. The music feels appropriately strange...and then the Spock and the Vulcans are speaking their own language.

You've just been repeating "Holy shit!" to yourself during the first several minutes of the film when you next find yourself at Starfleet Central in San Francisco. And the audience erupts when Admiral James T. Kirk appears on the screen, completely drowning out the film.

Things slow down a bit broken only by a cheer for the appearance of Commander Montgomery Scott. What follows is a mixture of silent and whispered "OMG!" throughout the crowd...

The refit Enterprise is revealed.

Today there can be a lot of groaning over this scene. Contemporary audiences don't seem to really care for it. But there is context at play here. Today most SF tech in film and television, no matter how cool looking, is still basically hardware to the creators and the audience. And that includes pretty much every Trek ship since the film era of including each successive new version of Enterprise after the refit. But to starving Trek fans this was the reveal of one of TOS' most popular characters: THE starship Enterpirse.

It..was..gorgeous! And many of us felt like Kirk as he looked over the new ship. And as then no succesive Trek ship has managed to look so nice on the screen.

The WTF moments would slow down after these incredible sequences broken by successive cheers for the reveal of each familiar character from TOS, but most particularly for McCoy and Spock. The Vulcan shuttle sequence was also wicked.

It's not long after this that TMP started to run into trouble. It never got bad, but it could start to drag, most notably during the Vger flyover sequences. Back then as an awed 20 year old I couldn't yet articulate what was wrong, but now I can say it needed to be edited and it needed more character drama to offset and liven up the proceedings. Not necessarily action in the conventional sense of run-and-jump and phaser battles, but in the character sense alike some of TOS' best moments. The film didn't back up noticeably until our heroes finally come face-to-face with Vger.

Just prior to that sequence I still recall one distinct moment of disappointment with the f/x: the moment the crew go out on the hull. The scaling and perspective were so poorly done and in such constrast to what was otherwise a spectacular looking film.

My mind was spinning when I left the theatre. In many respects I was blown away with what I had just seen. But that said I still recall a measure of doubt over something (at the time) I couldn't put my finger on.

Even with my misgivings I was ecstatic that live-action Star Trek was back. The ending sequence left little doubt in my mind that further adventures would follow, only it remained to be seen what form they would take. In the iterim I read quite a few of the subsequent Trek novels being published as if they were picking up where TMP left off.

Over the years my opinion of the film wavered as I was exposed to ever fading prints of the film on television. It became more sterile and monochrome looking. Eventually I picked up a VHS release of the SLV cut seen on television. The picture and colour looked much better and the addition of previously cut scenes helped alleviate some of the protracted f/x sequences. But it wouldn't be until seeing the DE version that I would really start to appreciate the film on a level more like how I felt in 1979. And in some respects even more so. The editing certainly tightened things up. I still regret the missing extra character drama, but that's something you can't cgi into a film.

A few years later in 1982 I went to the premiere of TWOK. That, too, was a mixed experience. It was definitely more energetic than TMP, but I really didn't care for the new look of the uniforms and the somewhat retro approach Nicholas Meyer layered into it. At the time I thought, even with my criticisms, TWOK was better in overall execution. But since those days my opinioned has swung. Now TMP is the film I prefer and TWOK comes in a conditional second.


Anyone else recall their first time?

As a child who was 12 at the time, and had only seen TNG season 6+7 on Fox 45 WBFF, I rented my first Trek movie from the library Star trek 5. The fist time I saw the Enterprise, I said aloud thats not the enterprise. This Star Trek was different than what i was used to. I didnt understand how they were in dif time peroids and alll
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Old March 5 2014, 01:14 AM   #152
trevanian
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

TUC's final budget was absolutely 30 mil, not 27, which was the point of departure for the budget, the number at which it got greenlit. That's all direct from Steven-Charles Jaffe, speaking the same month the film went into theatrical release.

I thought TMP's figure was pretty solidly 44, that 35 was just for the production w/o other charges.

Also, the gross figure for TMP worldwide that was bandied about endlessly in 80-81 was 175 mil. I have no idea how to reconcile that with this 139 number everybody has now.

Mike Minor claimed TWOK came in at 13 mil because of all the insane overtime to get sets ready to shoot each day, since Par didn't allot enough stage space. Unsubstantiated, i guess ...

I've seen claims that TFF ran to 33 mil. The number for INS seems high, as the reshoots ran the budget up to 68, not 70.





Warped9 wrote: View Post
Here's a little something I quickly worked up comparing each film's budget and world box office take and then adjusting both for inflation.



In this light TMP made a shitload of money and ranks in the top three for the most financial successful of the Trek films. The difference among the top three films is negiigable. All the other films rank significantly lower.

In terms of return on budget TWOK is the runaway winner earning back eight times its budget. Of course, its budget (as well as TSFS) was significantly less than TMP's because of the re-use of established sets and other resources.

Ranked in terms of world box office:
STID
TMP
ST09
TVH
TWOK
FC
TSFS
GEN
TUC
TFF
INS
NEM

Ranked in terms of return on budget:
TWOK
TVH
TSFS
TMP
TUC
FC
GEN
ST09
STID
TFF
INS
NEM
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Old March 5 2014, 01:18 AM   #153
trevanian
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

Maurice wrote: View Post
trevanian wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post

Yeah., but it's a big "so what"? So, you discover there is a God, and...?
Start even bigger theological wars than we already had over him, I guess. (point taken, okay?)
I meant as in a dramatic "and...?" what does this mean for the story?
Ummm ... changes your worldview? 'Character grows richer upon reflection,' or one of those studio reader-style quotes that sound like that?

And anyway, it is that you discover Satan, and God exists only by implication. So the existence of God is validated indirectly.

This is a weird conversation for somebody who hasn't intentionally set foot in a church in nearly 40 years except for funeral services.
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Old March 5 2014, 01:32 AM   #154
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

TAS already went to the center of the galaxy and found "Satan."
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Old March 5 2014, 01:39 AM   #155
trevanian
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
TAS already went to the center of the galaxy and found "Satan."
TOS had already encountered a mutated machine from earth that was wiping out everything in its path, too, but apparently it doesn't invalidate TMP. You're gonna get hung up on somethin only you and I and maybe 5000 other people remember?
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Old March 5 2014, 01:55 AM   #156
Maurice
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

trevanian wrote: View Post
TUC's final budget was absolutely 30 mil, not 27, which was the point of departure for the budget, the number at which it got greenlit. That's all direct from Steven-Charles Jaffe, speaking the same month the film went into theatrical release.

I thought TMP's figure was pretty solidly 44, that 35 was just for the production w/o other charges.

Also, the gross figure for TMP worldwide that was bandied about endlessly in 80-81 was 175 mil. I have no idea how to reconcile that with this 139 number everybody has now.

Mike Minor claimed TWOK came in at 13 mil because of all the insane overtime to get sets ready to shoot each day, since Par didn't allot enough stage space. Unsubstantiated, i guess ...

I've seen claims that TFF ran to 33 mil. The number for INS seems high, as the reshoots ran the budget up to 68, not 70.
FYI. I have the APRIL 12, 1991 Budget for Star Trek 6 right here in front of me. Even then it was projected to cost just over 30mil. Add any additional overages over the remaining 7 months of post and you've easily into the low 30s.
ABOVE-THE-LINE TOTAL 10,008,007

PRODUCTION TOTAL 15,857,139
POST PRODUCTION TOTAL 3,370,641
OTHER DIRECT COSTS TOTAL 921,031
BELOW THE LINE TOTAL 19,148,811

TOTAL BUDGET 29,127,811

OVERHEAD COSTS 1,100,000

NEGATIVE COST (GRAND TOTAL) 30,227,811
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Old March 5 2014, 02:02 AM   #157
Greg Cox
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

trevanian wrote: View Post
Maurice wrote: View Post
trevanian wrote: View Post

Start even bigger theological wars than we already had over him, I guess. (point taken, okay?)
I meant as in a dramatic "and...?" what does this mean for the story?
Ummm ... changes your worldview? 'Character grows richer upon reflection,' or one of those studio reader-style quotes that sound like that?

And anyway, it is that you discover Satan, and God exists only by implication. So the existence of God is validated indirectly.

This is a weird conversation for somebody who hasn't intentionally set foot in a church in nearly 40 years except for funeral services.
I know what you mean. I suppose searching for "God" or "Eden" resonates if you're religiously inclined. But from where I was sitting it was like the Enterprise was going in search of Bigfoot or the Loch Ness monster. It was hard to take it seriously.
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Old March 5 2014, 02:17 AM   #158
CorporalCaptain
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

I don't believe that searching for, and especially actually finding, God or Satan is something that Star Trek could pull off in a commercial feature film, without pissing a lot of people off.
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Old March 5 2014, 02:36 AM   #159
Maurice
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
I don't believe that searching for, and especially actually finding, God or Satan is something that Star Trek could pull off in a commercial feature film, without pissing a lot of people off.
That and I think it's still a story dead-end. The journey has to be about these people searching for or denying the truth and what finding or failing to find "God" means to them or fails to teach them. But that's not what the story is about, which is why the idea wouldn't have worked with the story as-is. It requires a different narrative.

For me the real meaty story there is how does a scientific society deal with a religious zealot, where "reason" doesn't work because proof denies faith. THERE is some character conflict and a theme worth exploring.
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Old March 5 2014, 02:37 AM   #160
Greg Cox
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

CorporalCaptain wrote: View Post
I don't believe that searching for, and especially actually finding, God or Satan is something that Star Trek could pull off in a commercial feature film, without pissing a lot of people off.
Besides, everyone would just accuse them of ripping off The Black Hole.
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Old March 5 2014, 02:54 AM   #161
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

I'm not precisely sure how the discussion came to be taken over by TVH and TFF, but: Gillian could be looking after the whales AND going into space with them in a spaceship. Perhaps the probe told George and Gracie, "Get your aquatic butts into space, so we can meet up properly," and/or they liked being in space and wanted to go again.

The only other thing I can think to say about seeing TMP first-run is that in at least one scene the color values were off - it was a Kirk-Spock-McCoy discussion, and their uniforms were suddenly rather gray. And as the DE showed and addressed, there were other elements not quite ready.

I've wondered ever since: What would have happened if the premiere had been delayed, as was done for such films as Titanic and the first AbramsTrek, to ensure that the final print had no technical or effects-related problems? Had such a long-awaited, much promoted in advance, big-budget movie ever been delayed before TMP? If not, what was the first? Was postponement ever considered as 7 December 1979 approached? Is there any consensus history on this, or even reliable individual points of view?
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Old March 5 2014, 03:00 AM   #162
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

Reason for the uniforms changing color was due to portions of that scene being shot in front of a blue screen; if the uniform color had been retained odds are it would have been keyed out along with the blue screen.
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Old March 5 2014, 03:22 AM   #163
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

gottacook wrote: View Post
I've wondered ever since: What would have happened if the premiere had been delayed, as was done for such films as Titanic and the first AbramsTrek, to ensure that the final print had no technical or effects-related problems? Had such a long-awaited, much promoted in advance, big-budget movie ever been delayed before TMP? If not, what was the first? Was postponement ever considered as 7 December 1979 approached? Is there any consensus history on this, or even reliable individual points of view?
The film had been pre-sold into theaters that blind-bid the film, so Paramount would have been class-actioned by all of them and that would have been something like 25 mil to give back (don't know if that would be with interest added) and still not have anything coming in. They threw as much money and resources as they could to get it in on time because no matter how much they spent, it still wouldn't be the huge black eye of a so SO expensive delay.

Lots of films have been bumped back ... APOCALYPSE NOW came out, what 2 years after it was supposed to? HEAVEN'S GATE - well, let's not go there, just buy the book about the movie instead, FINAL CUT.

There's a story, not substantiated, that Trumbull had in his contract something that said he guaranteed acceptable/marginal effects if it had to release on time, but that he guaranteed much better work if they delayed to spring or summer. I don't happen to think it is true, but certainly the fact that CLOSE ENCOUNTERS got pushed back 6 months (at one point it was supposed to be out ahead of STAR WARS!) helped the film's look enormously, as Trumbull & co were only coming up with the revised mothership and shooting it during that extended time.

I'm of the opinion that if they'd held back TFF 6 months it would have benefited, as it got annihilated in summer of 89. I could understand not wanting to spend more money on fx (even though they needed to ... badly!), but even holding it back w/o fixing it might have helped. Until the Abrams, there were no TREK movies released in summer after TFF, presumably because Paramount knew they couldn't compete. And it wasn't just TREK. The Bond movie that summer did terrible in the US, and that was the LAST Bond movie to release in summer -- they've all been winter since then, all the Brosnans and the Acid-face-guys pics.
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Old March 5 2014, 03:41 AM   #164
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

gottacook wrote: View Post
I've wondered ever since: What would have happened if the premiere had been delayed, as was done for such films as Titanic and the first AbramsTrek, to ensure that the final print had no technical or effects-related problems?
Candidly I'm not sure it would have made much difference in terms of how the film was received overall.

TMP suffered from issues of pacing and editing. Yes, the DE fixes some of that, but I don't know if it would have been enough of a difference (assuming the finished f/x and final editing would have resulted in something similar to what we got with the DE). If some of the protracted visual sequences were actually cut in about half then that might have been viewed more favourably, but other issues still remained.

TMP's other issue of lacking in character drama and other small script issues would still have been there. I like the film and yet I can't ignore some things are missing. These issues could only have been fixed much earlier in the writing before they went to camera.
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Old March 5 2014, 10:55 AM   #165
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Re: ST-TMP: your first time...

Harvey previously shared some docs about the films and their budgets which give some interesting information.

One—apparently a planning doc for TUC—gives the total costs for films 3–5 and rough breakdowns of same. I put this data into a spreadsheet to kick out the following:


Where +/- is what % difference from the the preceding film.

Math doesn't add up to the penny, but close enough.


TOTAL BUDGET
If that's accurate, even after budget cuts, ST5 cost 43% more than ST4, which is a bigger increase of that from ST2 to ST3 or ST3 to ST4, but given how successful ST4 was maybe Paramount saw this as a surer bet.

CAST
As a ratio of Cast costs you can see the The percentage of the total budget spend on the Cast goes up with each film.

SETS
ST5's set costs are whopping compered to its two immediate predecessors, no doubt caused by the new bridge set plus the Paradise City set.


Except for the Cast and VFX (for ST3), the percentage of each film's total budget spent in other area is relatively consistent between films.
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