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Star Trek - Original Series The one that started it all...

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Old November 14 2007, 03:33 PM   #31
Dorothy_Zbornak
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

Saw it in Toronto...agreed, it was too dark and grainy.

It's also an incredibly tedious episode.

Oh, and Rod Roddenberry needs to cover up.
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Old November 14 2007, 03:34 PM   #32
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

^ I'm glad someone mentioned how low the light, or lumen levels were. I saw it at the NYC AMC Empire and was disappointed with the presentation. The light levels were WAY too low, as were the audio levels.

After just seeing RAZOR on the exact same screen less than 24 hours before, I was really dissapointed with the Menagerie presentation. Not sure if it was just the calibration of the projector or something inherent to the source material, but the new Trek Remastered looks SO MUCH BETTER than it did last night....
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Old November 14 2007, 03:45 PM   #33
Mandra
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

Dissapointing turn out in Ottawa, ON, the theatre was only 1/4 - 1/3 full. Nobody was in costume that I could see. I'm not a techie, and we were sitting at the back, so it looked and sounded just fine to me.

It was the first time I've been able to watch a remastered episode. I very much enjoyed the background effects, mixed feelings on the digital Enterprise but it wasn't really an episode where we could see what she can do.

Laughs in the expected places ("The Women!", paper printout).

Overall I had fun and enjoyed it.
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Old November 14 2007, 03:46 PM   #34
rgb1701
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

So much for the technical execution review...

...Now for my take on the artistic/treknical issues.

I was also pleasantly suprised how well the Trek/Cage design and dramatic aestetic was expressed in a big screen commercial event.

Apart from the obvious TV Act structure and commercial breaks, I was amazed how well the Menagerie executed as a commercial dramatic presentation.

This is a testament to TOS, its writers, directors and producers, as well as designers who worked on the show.

The TOS minimalist design meme works to its advantage in keeping TOS relevant and watchable over the decades. I thought there would be more cringe moments due to certain TOS design elements and/or props. There were suprisingly few for me.

The only time the theater laughed due to a "dated" prop issue was the paper printout on the Pike bridge, which I found puzzling. During the 80's and 90's, I thought the paper printout was a dated prop faux pau- I don't any more. I just automatically interpreted that scene as "Pike wanted a hard copy", not that "hard copies are the only output method".

Yes, ePaper will be more prevelant going forward, but think Battlestar Galactica (new series). Far out in the field, you don't want to rely on digital/electronic Everything. You want legacy style options that are not suseptible to viruses, burn out, EM-pulse attacks, etc.

For this reason, I never understood fans' issue with the mechanical TOS bridge chronometer, which has been removed in the Remastered TOS. For the same reasons I cited, you want mechanical, legacy style backups for certain functions. In addition to modern GPS and atomic clocks, current US Navy ships are required to have on board a sextant (mechanical, hand held star/solar navigation), and senior officers are required to know how to use it, and take regular readings with it as a backup and verification of all the electronic/digital doodads. Similarly, I've interpreted the TOS bridge chronometer to be the Old Skool master backup ship chronometer- yes, they have a quantum/string/subspace uber advanced time keeping system in the bowels of the ship, impervious to nefarious time-line tampering and chroniton particle radiation , but the backup chronometer uses good 'ole mechanical wheels . Or maybe it's the mechanical chronometer that would be impervious to chroniton radiation ...

Plus, like current lawyers, some official communications types will probably always be preferred in hardcopy- think about the retaliation against eVoting machines and the desire to keep a physical proof of your vote. The Executive Orders book that Mendez opens is another example where Old Skool is preferred- for Official, formal, or Law related- Capital Punishment in that case.

Overall, I've always thought the Pike bridge looked more futuristic/realistic than the TOS series bridge, with cleaner control panels and better aesthetic by and large, with no apparent "dated" elements. Those Cage designers were far ahead of their time. The uniform design and away team equipment and jackets were right on target, too. And there is no problem with the goosenecks .

The only real prop cringe moment I had was the Pike communicators, considering the content and design of the average person's flip cell phone.

But that's easily dismissed Treknically by assuming that the communicator (Pike and TOS series) were MIL-Spec devices, which are extra-rugged field service rated devices. Those of you who've been in the military and/or have been engineers working on military projects know that military/field scientific equipment is usually larger/ apparently less "advanced" (industrial design-wise) than consumer grade devices.

After all, current cell flip phones can't communicate over a quarter million miles without external tower/satellite links, or last months/years without recharging, or auto-translate alien languages (retconned by ENT, which I agree with) like Trek communicators can . Plus, cell phones break when you drop them- I suspect a Mil_spec field rated communicator can take a LOT more abuse, which accounts for the size/packaging design. The real issue I have with the Pike communicator is not its size/functionality, but the decision to make it transparent, revealing the 60's era resistors, caps, etc, for no real reason. The TOS series communicator fixes this, and becomes smaller, and looks more like a MIL-Spec field device. If they'd simply made the Pike unit a solid color, there would be no real issue.

The biggest technical mis-calculation to me were the medical-related issues. McCoy makes a proclamation about not having conquered the brain/machine interface. A lot of progress has been made recently in that regard, and I would expect full brain/machine/computer/digital interfaces by then, with complete brain/machine control and brain/computer voice control by then (most likely in the next 20-30 years).

It's hard to believe that Pike wouldn't convince Vina to leave, given reconstuctive surgery capability by that time (it's pretty good now), which should basically fully correct the Talosian surgical errors and other damage from her accident, since she claims to "work" fine otherwise. Similarly, couldn't reconstructive surgery fix up Pike, with an internal artificial heart, etc? Yes, the accident was recent, and maybe it would take time to to the surgeries and replacements required, and I'll throw them a bone- perhaps his injuries are so severe, they require the fusion-powered chair he uses- plus, the life support chair and Yes/No light are cool .

I also found that the female actors looked less dated to me- I believe the hairstyles and general female aestetic is making a comeback in pop culture at large, so TOS is "back in style" (except for the TOS mini-skirts- why didn't they keep the Pike era female outfits!? )



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Old November 14 2007, 03:56 PM   #35
22 Stars
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

I thought the first half of the episode held up very well, even turning to my girlfriend and remarking that this is better than most stuff being made today, film or otherwise.

Obviously, being made for a TV audience, esp. on of the late 60's it often repeats itself in dialogue and in dramatic beats, in case someone was out of the room or tuning in late.

It's a good, solid story, that could use some editing if it were trying to be pitched to a modern audience.

rgb, That was a great idea to look in the projection room, I'm sure I would have found a substandard projector in the NYC screening too. Even a good home projector would probably not be able to light up a screen that far away, really disappointing presentation.
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Old November 14 2007, 04:03 PM   #36
Electric Coleslaw
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

I saw it last night in Columbus at Lennox. My only complaint was that there was a little “double image” going on in places at the ends of objects and faces. It wasn’t all the time but it was a bit annoying that it wasn’t perfectly focused and clear. Still was great to see it on the big screen. The obvious sales pitch for the DVD’s was a bit amusing. The best part was the theater erupting in laughter after Spock yells: “The women!!” That was followed up with Pike ripping open the girl’s jacket to get her phaser. A few people in the place uttered “Hey Now!” or “Woah!”

I was also a bit disappointed that no one dressed up. My wife made a great comment that she was one of only five women in the theater.

But after seeing the previews for the Season 2 DVD, I was wondering if they should have shown "The Doomsday Machine" on the big screen instead. The little snippets they showed looked impressive up there.
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Old November 14 2007, 04:10 PM   #37
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

I think showing the Doomsday Machine would be fun, but they would have to couple it with another, perhaps The Ultimate Computer (when they finish with it) to make it a two hour event.

Still, I don't think it would be as well attended as this fist screening. And many people who went to this, wouldn't go again because of the poor presentation. If TPTB were really smart, they would show a few of these on CBS HD sometime as a special, far more people would actually see the improved effects and quality.
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Old November 14 2007, 04:17 PM   #38
rgb1701
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

22 Stars said:
I think showing the Doomsday Machine would be fun, but they would have to couple it with another, perhaps The Ultimate Computer (when they finish with it) to make it a two hour event.

Still, I don't think it would be as well attended as this fist screening. And many people who went to this, wouldn't go again because of the poor presentation. If TPTB were really smart, they would show a few of these on CBS HD sometime as a special, far more people would actually see the improved effects and quality.
Agreed.

I would throw them a few bones again for a Doomsday Machine/ Tholian Web (or other FX heavy episode) two-fer, but only if a real commercial grade 1080p projector were used, and some real meaty extras were thrown in. There should have been free posters/pewter collectible coins/exclusive action figure (for the same ticket price) or similar to make it a real special event.
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Old November 14 2007, 04:28 PM   #39
Cap'n Claus
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

The fact that this was the show's only two part episode probably helped in making the decision to show The Menagerie.

Anyhow, saw it in Westbury, NY last night and had a ton of fun. Totally packed show, SRO. Thursday's show was already sold out before this one started. I hope Paramount's paying attention. This ain't TNG or Voyager selling out the seats, it's classic Trek, "cheesy" acting and sets included.

My picture was fairly dark also, but I got used to it. Many of the effects looked quite good up there and some details really came out (most have been stated, but Vina's pale soles of her feet really startled me).

Sadly, with all the highly touted upgrades, nobody ever bothered to fix the sound issues. The incorrect music in part two from the DVDs are still there (The Doomsday Machine score, for example, going into the episode titles). Other sound issues which bugged me included the "singing plants", extra layers of beeps on the bridge and the fact that the music seems to drown out some dialog.

It was nice to see the final Vina transformation stabilized, but adding the wavering effect to all of the illusions was distracting. One thing I finally noticed since I was practically living this experience with them (and have since seen the uncut Cage a million times), is that some of the Pike story doesn't make sense. Without the scenes of Spock trying to leave orbit, the power going out and the information ransacking of the computer, the ending is disjointed. References to "storage of records" being crude as well as power coming back in the transporter have no set up. So, they seem to come out of nowhere. Plus, there's no real resolution to Pike's personal crisis of being too tired to command. The Cage, on its own, is a better story.

I digress. It was a fun experience, one I would gladly repeat. We had the usual mixed crowd of guys in uniform, guys in Star Trek tee shirts (waiting on line discussing the plots like it was going to be on their college finals) and the "hip" guys well dressed and cracking wise at the rest. Typical convention crowd.
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Old November 14 2007, 04:43 PM   #40
rgb1701
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

I would assume that Paramount/CBS marketing/executive people are reading this- if not, they are remiss in their duties .

At minimum, someone should send a link to this thread to them- great marketing feedback on how to do better in the future...
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Old November 14 2007, 04:55 PM   #41
22 Stars
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

Well I used to work for both CBS and Paramount and I would be surprised if anyone is reading this. They tend to be pretty old-school in their ways. If anything, Fathom Events should have had a rep. at the screenings in major markets, to gauge reaction. That's what we did for Paramount sneaks.

If Fathom wants to do another, I'm sure CBS will be happy to sell them the license to do it again, but I wouldn't expect any great strides in the presentation, sadly.
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Old November 14 2007, 05:24 PM   #42
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

22 Stars said:
Well I used to work for both CBS and Paramount and I would be surprised if anyone is reading this. They tend to be pretty old-school in their ways. If anything, Fathom Events should have had a rep. at the screenings in major markets, to gauge reaction. That's what we did for Paramount sneaks.

If Fathom wants to do another, I'm sure CBS will be happy to sell them the license to do it again, but I wouldn't expect any great strides in the presentation, sadly.
Doesn't suprise me. Makes me not want to give Paramount any more of my money.

It appears the blame for the technical issues are evenly split between Fanthom and Paramount.

Fanthom should have provided a better projector and extras, but Paramount could have insisted on quality standards (1080p, surround, etc) as part of the license purchase. Plus Paramount should be true to their word about the "cleanup" claim. When a casual viewing reveals obvious dirt and scratches remaining from the source film, it demonstrates that Paramount wasn't really serious or meticulous in their cleanup effort. They ran the negatives through an automated scanner/cleanup process, without someone technically inclined watching the entire episode and fixing everything the automated system missed.

A fumble by both parties.

Lots of edits to my artistic review above...
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Old November 14 2007, 05:27 PM   #43
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

It would have been fun to be with other Trekkies, but I refuse to pay a premium price and go and sit in a mildewy theater for what is basically a TV show from the 1960s that I already have on DVD.
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Old November 14 2007, 05:31 PM   #44
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

Was too tired to post when I got home last night (went for drinks afterward) -- Birmingham, AL here.

The theater only had about 30 people in it, which I guess can be chalked up to the fact that Alabama has either a smaller Trek following than most other states, or that Tuesday night is busy night for folks.

It was obvious that the movie was being projected from someone's computer, because Linux noises could be heard in the background about once every 40 minutes or so. But I must say, I was floored by how much they had cleaned up the film, and how colorful and clear the remastered movie was. I am still on the fence about replacing old FX with new CGI, but it was sho' pretty to see Enterprise up there in modern tech-getup.

We had a few people that dressed up - I wore a jacket that I had put ENT patches on, and I saw two teenage girls with their DS9 shirts. The coolest thing was a pair of dudes that had their TOS uniform shirts on, one was a shorter blonde and the other a taller brunette (if only he'd worn his pointed ears!)

This was my first time to see the episode, and I had to suppress laughter when I first saw Pike in his wheelchair. Not because that was funny, but an ep of South Park parodied that situation. The people in the theater broke out in laughter in the expected places (Kirk flirting, Spock's "THE WOMEN").

I enjoyed myself so much I am going to the encore on Thursday. And I'm taking an entourage this time
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Old November 14 2007, 05:32 PM   #45
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Re: Menagerie, re-mastered on the Big Screen

TBonz said:
It would have been fun to be with other Trekkies, but I refuse to pay a premium price and go and sit in a mildewy theater for what is basically a TV show from the 1960s that I already have on DVD.
It sure is an interesting phenomenon. The film distribution and exhibition industry has been worried about losing market share to the home entertainment biz since VHS. It's been interesting to see the social element to screening parties like this take effect. As good as the presentation at home is, people (some people) still want to have that shared experience that only a theater enviroment can give.
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