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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 June 20 2010, 12:12 PM   #1
Kain
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Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

...Again after many years. Now that i have seen at least once everything there is to see about Star Trek, I decided to re-watch TOS, and immediately after that to see the movies again. I did not remember much of the TOS movies, so TMP was relatively new to me.

This post is to comment the characterisation of TMP as "Star Trek: The Slow Motion Picture". It is looooong and slooooow, all right. But there is a good reason for it. And I understood it when I watched it right after TOS.

After you see the effects and crew of TOS, you get used to the old special effects. You also like the Enterprise crew. So, the new effects, and the reunion of the crew after 15 (if I remember correctly) years, is something spectacular and awsome. Not as spectacular and awsome as Star Wars, but, in my opinion, the next best thing.

Seeing the first 3 minutes of stars passing by, and music playing, left me puzzled. But when I saw the Klingon ships, I understood that, at the time the movie was made, no one had ever seen Star Trek on the big screen. All these slow scenes are made to give you a sense of perspective, and make you understand how extremely big those ships are. In fact, I imagined beeing at the cinema, watching this movie for the first time, after so many years of just having TOS, and feel awed to see the Enterprise that big in front of me.

So, for me, this movie's flaw is just that it was made only for cinema, without considering home video releases in the future. I just wish, now, that I could see this movie the only way it is meant to bee seen: Front row in a really big cinema crowded with people thirsty for more Star Trek after TOS.

If the movie was re-released, especially with today's 3D (go see Avatar), I would definately go see it.

And another thing: Am I the only one that, after he's seen every Star Trek ever made, then re-watched TOS, and then seen the movie, felt a strange nostalgia when hearing the movie theme, also used by TNG?

Last edited by Kain; June 20 2010 at 01:21 PM.
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Old June 20 2010, 12:55 PM   #2
Tharsis
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Re: Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

I also just watched TMP again..and I was surprised at how much I really really loved it. I had remembered it as being boring, slow paced, etc. etc. But, I agree that the long scenes are meant to introduce you to the grand scale of Star Trek. The new directors cut helps things out a lot also.

I only watched TMP for the first time on VHS, back in the 90's. I think Gene Roddenberry deserves a lot of credit for his story line..its really an amazing piece of sci-fi writing. Its crazy to think he was removed from the creative end of things for the subsequent films. Although I loved the later films, it would have been interesting to see what he could have come up with.

Then again, he did oversee TNG Season 1, yuck.
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Old June 20 2010, 04:57 PM   #3
Captain Al
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Re: Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

Quite a bit has been written about the making of TMP, including how the script wasn't finished when they started filming, and about how they were rewriting the subsequent scenes while filming present scenes. I think part of the reason it was flawed was because of the way they were shooting it. Plus, they had a pretty strict deadline and didn't get to finish a few of the special effects sequences.

But you're right, TMP was designed for the big screen. I always thought it looked a bit awkward on the pan-and-scan VHS tape I used to have.

The ships are big, the scale is big, but there is no concrete villain in TMP. We see the Klingons at the beginning, then . . . never again. The villain is Vejur, more or less. And the danger is Earth Will Be Destroyed unless the Enterprise can stop it. That's pretty huge. But is it so huge that audiences don't have a villain they can "boo?" The Enterprise even fires photon torpedos once, at an asteroid.

Add to the fact that there is no B plot. In subsequent films, there is always a second storyline going on: in TWOK, it was Genesis/Khan; in TSFS, it was Genesis planet, and so on.

With TMP, the main story was the Enterprise's mission to intercept Vejur, and what happens along the way. And all the scenes get lloooooong.

Paramount decided to dump Phase II and make TMP instead, in response to the huge success of Star Wars. TMP, I guess, was supposed to be the antithesis of SW, and I believe audiences were divided.

TMP is actually one of my favorite films of all time, but I can see its flaws. I still enjoy watching it, just as audiences loved seeing their familiar faces and new Enterprise up on the big screen after all those years of reruns.

Last edited by Captain Al; June 20 2010 at 05:57 PM. Reason: Phase II
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Old June 20 2010, 05:53 PM   #4
Lieut. Arex
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Re: Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

Captain Al wrote: View Post
Paramount decided to dump New Voyages...
The revival was called Phase II. New Voyages is/was the name for a series of fan productions before they chose to rebrand their work as "Phase II". Personally, my preference would be they had not done that to avoid confusion.
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Old June 20 2010, 05:56 PM   #5
Captain Al
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Re: Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

^Oh, God, I knew that! <head slap> I'm editing it.

Yes, Paramount dumped Phase II (I've got the Phase II book, I swear!) and went with TMP instead.
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Old June 21 2010, 01:05 AM   #6
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Re: Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

[QUOTE
Add to the fact that there is no B plot. In subsequent films, there is always a second storyline going on: in TWOK, it was Genesis/Khan; in TSFS, it was Genesis planet, and so on.
[/QUOTE]

The 'B' story is Spock's journey, his struggle with his 2 halves and his attempt to extinguish the human side, which only has a resolution with the 'tear' scene in the Director's Cut. The resolution of this subplot ties directly to the ultimate solution of what to do about V'Ger.
Another 'B' story is Kirk's struggle to acknowledge how unhappy he is with a General Staff job and how much he really wants to be a line officer again, and the conflict this causes with Decker.
The 'C' plot is Decker and Ilia's relationship and how this affects the crew's ability to communicate with V'Ger.
See, LOTS of subplots going on here. That's why it's such a good film
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Old June 21 2010, 02:13 AM   #7
Sarita
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Re: Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

There were definitely some sub plots in TMP, such as the rivalry between Kirk and Decker, and the frustrated romance between Decker and Ilia. Both of these issues were resolved by Decker and Ilia joining with V'ger. I think V'ger also resolved Spock's failure to achieve Kolinahr because it made him realize that there's so much more to life than logic.
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Old June 21 2010, 03:12 AM   #8
sonak
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Re: Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

Some of the characterization stuff with Kirk having to get used to being Captain again, Spock's spiritual quest, the Decker-Ilia stuff, is interesting, but the plot's a ripoff from TOS's "The Changeling," the pace is very slow, and too much of the characters watching special effects on the viewscreen.
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Old June 21 2010, 06:12 AM   #9
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Re: Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

I was surprised to discover that Isaac Asimov was a science consultant on the film. Does anyone know the extent of his involvement?
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Old June 21 2010, 09:38 AM   #10
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Re: Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

I saw the film when I was quite young and I rather enjoyed the thoughful plot. Nimoy's subtle performance is exceptionally good too. I agree that it was really designed for the wide screen and some of the effects drag on the smaller screen. If they had sent out a landing party, preferably featuring some of the supporting cast, that could have livened things up, and communications between the landing party and ship could have spread the acting load a bit more. I was shocked to learn that they considered killing Chekov when his console exploded. I wonder how different subsequent sequels would have been without him in...
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Old June 21 2010, 01:36 PM   #11
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Re: Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

arch101 wrote: View Post
The 'B' story is Spock's journey, his struggle with his 2 halves and his attempt to extinguish the human side, which only has a resolution with the 'tear' scene in the Director's Cut. The resolution of this subplot ties directly to the ultimate solution of what to do about V'Ger.
Very good point. That scene was in the SLV too, right? I can't believe that wasn't in the theatrical cut. (Although, the "this simple feeling" bit in Sickbay also kinda resolves that subplot.)
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Old June 21 2010, 07:09 PM   #12
CorporalClegg
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Re: Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

Kain wrote: View Post
All these slow scenes are made to give you a sense of perspective, and make you understand how extremely big those ships are.
I've always found it to be the opposite in that it shows just how infinitely and insignificantly small the Enterprise (humanity) is. The massive cloud (whether it be 2 or 82 AU) just dwarfs this ship.

So you had this intrepid little ship out there buzzing around and exploring the unknown. That was the point to those long sequences.

It also plays into the V'Ger = God angle--as in the massive "heavens."

Captain Al wrote: View Post
The ships are big, the scale is big, but there is no concrete villain in TMP.
I don't understand the prevailing notion that Star Trek movies must have a villain.

Of all the hundreds of Star Trek episodes out there, how many of them had distinct, defined villains? For that matter, of all the films made in the history of cinema, how many had one? I thought so.

V'Ger was clearly the antagonist of the story that promoted GR's humanistic subplot of: Man creates "God"; God threatens Man's existence, so man must destroy God.

What more is needed?


We see the Klingons at the beginning, then . . . never again. The villain is Vejur, more or less. And the danger is Earth Will Be Destroyed unless the Enterprise can stop it. That's pretty huge. But is it so huge that audiences don't have a villain they can "boo?"
See above.

Add to the fact that there is no B plot.
Again, why does there have to be a B plot? TMP had plenty of subplots, a B plot was not needed (as is usually the case with "B" plots).

In subsequent films, there is always a second storyline going on: in TWOK, it was Genesis/Khan;
Pointlessly superfluous.

in TSFS, it was Genesis planet, and so on.
Nearly equally pointless.

And all the scenes get lloooooong.
As I stated eariler, there was a conceptual point this: scope.

TMP, I guess, was supposed to be the antithesis of SW, and I believe audiences were divided.
I don't know how divided. I'm not quite old enough to have seen it, at the time, everyone in my family saw it and loved it. It was actually my parents' (Who just celebrated their 30th last week) first date. But also, in most stories I've read (here and other places) most who saw it when it came out, loved it.

And, as far as I know, even with the boom of nuTrek, it remains the most successful one. (I could be wrong.)

But with your Star Wars analogy, the irony has been that the runners did an about face and have since tried desperately to catch the phantom mantle of Trek Wars and, until recently, have pretty much failed.

TMP is actually one of my favorite films of all time
Mine too,
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Old June 22 2010, 04:59 AM   #13
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Re: Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

CorporalClegg wrote: View Post
And, as far as I know, even with the boom of nuTrek, it remains the most successful one. (I could be wrong.)
It's the fourth most successful
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Old June 22 2010, 05:16 AM   #14
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Re: Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

^ Actually, when adjusted for inflation, it is the second most profitable one. STXI is slightly ahead for the number one spot.

Link. Note: it doesn't include STXI, but you can see it's BO in the link by scnj.
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Old June 22 2010, 09:35 AM   #15
Therin of Andor
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Re: Just watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture...

scnj wrote: View Post
I was surprised to discover that Isaac Asimov was a science consultant on the film. Does anyone know the extent of his involvement?
Asimov appears on Roddenberry's LP, "Inside Star Trek", which was also the bonus disc for the extended 20th anniversary soundtrack of ST:TMP. He and Roddenberry were fellow Humanists.

GR was gathering some "real science" elements to exploit with TMP, and often tapped a brains trust science fiction writers and NASA consultants, such as Jesco Von Puttkamer (the hypothetical theory behind the faster-than-light space warp drive and the promotional slogan "The human adventure is just beginning").

I seem to recall real theories of wormhole space inspired the wormhole caper in the movie.

Wikipedia says that Asimov gave advice "during production (generally, confirming to Paramount Pictures that Roddenberry's ideas were legitimate science-fictional extrapolation)".
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