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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies I-X

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

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Old July 3 2014, 12:24 PM   #61
2takesfrakes
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Re: its Star Trek IIIs 30th anniversary!

It's been commented elsewhere that Leonard Nimoy's direction involved mostly close-ups and wide-angle shots - with the implication that this was somehow indicative of lack of talent in the director's chair. But I see it from ... a different perspective. The intensity of the close-ups, for one thing, hightened the tension and helped to build on the drama. Movies are great for focusing on actor's faces, anyway. But there was also the fact that, even though TSFS had more money than TWoK to work with, a lot of the sets were pretty bad. Particularly - and most painfully - on the planet Vulcan.

Mount Seleya - where the actors were standing around - was represented, basically, by painted canvas, on the set! Like amateur night, I guess. And Nimoy - very wisely - chose to focus the lense on the actors as much as possible and tried to blur out the background as best he could, in-camera. The worst of these canvas backdrops was a sort of stack of blocky, boulder like formations going up the side of the mountain. It looked like a mural, it was so bad. Nimoy's direction positioned him in front of that, more so than the others, whom he chose to stand against the orange Vulcan sky. But how these things got agreed upon boggles the mind. The minute someone said, "we're going to use painted canvas to represent Vulcan" I would've fought against that. And maybe Nimoy did, but obviously ... they'd won out. Lenny didn't have enough clout, I guess ...
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Old July 3 2014, 01:11 PM   #62
trevanian
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Re: its Star Trek IIIs 30th anniversary!

^The money for the sets clearly didn't cover as well as they needed to. According to CFQ magazine and I think THE MAKING OF THE TREK FILMS, Vulcan was supposed to be shot in Red Rock, while Genesis would have been done in Hawaii (and possibly Mt St Helens, a hot property if there ever was one), and there's even concept art showing how the temple would have fit into the location.

I wonder how things would have turned out if the producers hadn't chosen to replace the art department leads from TWOK, who dated back to phase 2, production designer Joe Jennings and art director/storyboard artist Mike Minor. Jennings is on record (and this is for TWOK) as saying it would be bad science fiction to postulate a whole new world with its own custom ecosystem and then try to depict that with a real-world location that has signs of man's presence all over it, which is one reason why he did Ceti Alpha and the Eden cave inside Regula on stage instead of on location.

That would suggest Jennings would have continued this thought on SFS and stayed on stage ... but I keep thinking it would have turned out much more credible. The Ceti Alpha set works in part because of all the atmospherics and in part because it isn't on screen long, but the main thing is it WORKS. In SFS, there aren't that many shots where Vulcan really works as a location (for me, the stuff at the college is good and the ILM landing stuff.) And the early stuff on Genesis doesn't work for me at all, especially the cactus that to my eye looked more like somebody threw a flocked tablecloth over an inverted tripod.

I have a feeling Nimoy would have taken Jennings input more seriously than Meyer did, too, out of respect for his bg with Trek.

I rag on Nimoy for the flatness of the direction on both of his films, but there are quiet moments that really work in SFS, like Kirk finding McCoy in Spock's quarters, and McCoy talking at Spock on the BoP, which is my alltime favorite McCoy moment outside of THE EMPATH and BREAD & CIRCUSES, even more than the euthanasia in TFF. I think Nimoy's attempt to differentiate locations through color was a callback to TOS in some ways (including how it fails at times), and on blu-ray it comes through much stronger, reducing some of my objections to his approach.

I just hate that he gave ILM such free reign for creating the style and size of all the bits that gave the film its scale, because for me that is where the StarWarsification of TREK really took hold (except for the genesis tape and the eden cave painting, ILM was pretty much just following orders and executing the concepts of others on TWOK, whereas SFS they were designing and even contributing story stuff, like the dog and the bi-plane game.)

My biggest objection to Nimoy as director remains the fact that he didn't fight Bennett over the many story flaws (I accept that Nimoy couldn't fight studio heads over his casting, that would have been too much - but Olmos and Prochnow would have made for fearsome lead Klingons, he was really on the right track with them.) Even Shatner managed to protect a sliver of his concept (but couldn't keep out the injection of forced humor) when Bennett and Loughery went astray while on their own on the TFF script.
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Old July 3 2014, 05:40 PM   #63
Ithekro
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Re: its Star Trek IIIs 30th anniversary!

I miss the Horner themes in later Trek productions.
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Old July 4 2014, 01:17 AM   #64
ClayinCA
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Re: its Star Trek IIIs 30th anniversary!

Ithekro wrote: View Post
I miss the Horner themes in later Trek productions.
Oh man, me too. I've never liked the Voyage Home score even on its own merits, but especially following two beautiful Horner scores, it really sticks out like a sore thumb. Especially since (by the time production started on Trek IV) Bennett and Nimoy knew they were finishing a trilogy, it would have provided so much more thematic unity to have used the same composer as the previous two films.

Ah well.
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