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Old February 2 2008, 09:13 PM   #436
Cary L. Brown
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Location: Austin, Texas
Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

Manticore said:I think that it's quite possible to see this model in action, if they do decide to do so. It'd be pretty easy to just superimpose the paneling and detail on top of the 'pristine' model. All that they had to do was make a production model, and then put all of the paneling and stuff on top, and slap a 'matte' material that roughly conforms to the shape of the area that you're working in to block off bits that would be blocked off.
Hi Manticore,

I was under the impression that you'd done some work (even if just "casual recreational" work?) with CGI software before. Am I mistaken?

What you just wrote makes sense if you're talking about a PHYSICAL MODEL. But it makes no sense for a CGI one, I think.

When doing a CGI work for what you're seeing here, you'd make the full thing in a single element, no "mattes" involved. You'd model the hull shape, create cuts, and populate behind those cuts with either 2D inlays (probably the majority of what we see) or 3D inlays (for areas where it will be seen clearly.

You'd create the trusswork infrastructure underneath as CGI models as well. Whether or not the ground was CGI or real physical photography is hard to tell, though it sure LOOKS like real airfield tarmac to me.

My point is that, except for where you want to incorporate real physical elements, you'd be best off doing the entire ship/construction bit as a single scene, and only composite in things like the background. (Well, you might do the nacelles in their own individual passes and do the primary hull in a separate pass and composite with "Shake" or whatever you use, when talking about the final shot, but you get my point... you'd never use MATTES at all.)

Your comment from above would have been 100% correct if we were talking about physical models. But it just seems off-base when talking about CGI work.

Am I misreading you?
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Old February 2 2008, 11:15 PM   #437
Brutal Strudel
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Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

Cary L. Brown said:
The Stig said:
And that is where I am at the moment -- Why would anyone change it, except because they can?

Because it doesn't work stylistically anymore.

That you can't accept that doesn't make it any less so.
Okay, like Aridas and others, I find this sort of statement slightly irritating, but instead of saying "you can't say that," I'm going to ask you to explain WHY you say that.

You say that it "doesn't work." Okay, let's look at that.

Now, assume that you're talking to someone who's never HEARD of Star Trek before, and who furthermore is from a culture outside of our own, not knowing anything about the 1960s and not knowing anything about 2008, either. Maybe this is someone who grew up in an isolated village in the Andes. Maybe it's someone who has had a brain injury that caused loss of memory but not loss of cognitive function. Maybe it's a freakin' MARTIAN. Who it is, and why they're that way, is irrelevant. What IS relevant is that they have no prior knowledge of our current or past culture, and no prior knowledge of Star Trek at any level.

NOW... make your argument to that person. Explain what aspects of the classic 1701 design don't work, and WHY they don't work. How are you going to argue the point you're making to this "blank slate" person with no preconceptions?

If you can make a strong, reasoned argument on the matter, you may be able to convince those of us here who disagree with you that you have a valid point.

But if you just keep saying "well, this is how it is, and if you disagree, you're stupid and clueless," well... that's not demonstrating ANYTHING except that you have your own personal biases and associate those biases with "reality." Which, as I understand, is exactly what you're accusing OTHERS of, isn't it?
I've noticed the new design cheerleaders often argue in ways that completely cancel out each other. The two arguments I've seen used most often here--often by the same posters--are these:

The general public can't tell one Enterprise (Prime, A, B, C, D, or E and any other ship designed along the lines of the Constitution rather than, say, the Miranda) from another but...

The general public will not accept the design of the original because they will see it as dated.

Of the two arguments, the first is by far the more likely and it equally serves the purpose of those of us who think the original should be used largely un-changed (gotta admit, even Vektor's souped up version goes a wee bit too far for me, and I'm a drooling fanboy for most of his stuff) and those who want a redesign. The second argument is completely negated by the first.

So let's leave the general public out of this and look at it for what it really is: an aesthetic disagreement among fans of Star Trek, in which each party is as fannishly invested as the other. I'd hazard to say most of the re-design cheerleaders are fans of several series, perhaps having come to Star Trek from the 24th century. Likewise, I'd guess most of us so-called purists are primarily TOS fans. (One cheerleader--the most [ahem!] vocal was a fan in the 60s but sorta made a member of the club with TNG.)

Having said all that, I'll simply repeat what I've said before: when we saw the re-fit in 1979, it had a great deal of impact because it was the first official update we'd ever seen to the original design. Irs radical redesign was novel and madec an integral part of the story. Since then, we've seen countless updates, variants and sister ships, so many that one more "grand" redesign will mean precisely nothing. At this stage in Star Trek's life (a life that has limped on far too long, btw, but that's another thread), the only way to be novel is to go back to basics and give us the original, with no extraneous new design elements whatsoever.

But that's not going to happen, because these new guys are not "human photocopiers" (yeeesh) and, no doubt, they have a better idea of how things should be done. I haven't posted much lately because, really, I no longer care. I only posted here and now to point out how the cheerleaders have been making arguments that, taken together, make no sense at all.

Oh, and to say "Hi, Cary, glad you're back!"
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Old February 2 2008, 11:49 PM   #438
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Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

^ Well said.

For the record, I am an old-school TOS fan, and the original Enterprise is by far the best, with Refit a close second. Am I a purist? Sure--for what was already created. The TOS remasters, for example, I had some issue with because it directly impacted TOS itself.

This new movie is *not* TOS, and therefore doesn't really present a problem for me. It's a complete reimagining/reboot/retcon whatever you want to call it, and as such, I have no conflict.

So yeah, I'm curious what the new E will look like. And unless it has flapping nacelles, laser turrets and big solar panels hanging off the side, I will accept it just fine.
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Old February 3 2008, 12:16 AM   #439
Irishman
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Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

Well, I'm a re-futurizing Trek fan (as long as it makes sense), but I've been around since 1969. So, I grew up when TOS was going into syndication. I first saw Trek on the big screen with TMP.

I remember hearing or reading somewhere that the TMP design for the Big E was what Gene wanted to do for the TV bird but lacked resources to make it happen.

Given that, I'd be comfortable if the "new" Abrams Big E ends up being largely a TOS Big E with TMP detailing (with some artistic license here and there. I don't expect it to be the same, and I'm not sure I would even want it to be the same.

If the degree of change from TOS to the TMP is okay with Gene, it's ok with me in this instance.
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Old February 3 2008, 02:42 AM   #440
Cary L. Brown
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Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

Irishman said:I remember hearing or reading somewhere that the TMP design for the Big E was what Gene wanted to do for the TV bird but lacked resources to make it happen.
Well, I find that very hard to swallow. The SHAPES seen in the TMP Enterprise would not have been much more difficult to make than the shape of the TOS Enterprise. (We've all built models of both... and some of us have SCRATCH-BUILT them... and I'm talking about both CGI and physical models by the way, since the general approach to most CGI models applies to real physical models in many ways as well.)

I don't buy that argument at all. Which is not to say that Roddenberry may not have come along later and SAID it. Gene Roddenberry said a LOT of things, especially in his later years, that are awfully hard to support or justify.

The original E was designed by Matt Jeffries, through a series of "vetting" passes by G.R. and others on the production team. They "got it" and proceeded with that, then later revised it a bit when they got green-lit for a series. There's no indication I've ever seen or heard of that Roddenberry wanted something else but "settled" for what he was given.

If I'm wrong, please provide references to demonstrate how, OK?
Given that, I'd be comfortable if the "new" Abrams Big E ends up being largely a TOS Big E with TMP detailing (with some artistic license here and there. I don't expect it to be the same, and I'm not sure I would even want it to be the same.

If the degree of change from TOS to the TMP is okay with Gene, it's ok with me in this instance.
Well, here's the thing... G.R. was NOT technologically technically inclined. He was a pretty decent character-action writer, and he was a passable aesthetist. He had a degree of familiarity with military organizational structure. But he never showed ANY inclination, anywhere I've ever seen, that he was, or that he considered himself to be, a technophile. That's why he chose to surround himself with talented people who WERE just that. In the case of Star Trek, the two most prominent were Wah Chang and Matt Jeffries, with Irving Feinberg also being in the mix fairly heavily. THEY designed the stuff... and Roddenberry said "yeah" or "nay" to their various efforts... that's all.

I doubt that Roddenberry would have noticed the differences in shape between the TOS and TMP Enterprise hulls... at least he'd be a lot less likely to notice them than most of us in here are.

I just find it ... disturbing... when I hear these "Church of Gene" sort of comments. He was NOT the sole guy behind Star Trek. He was it's "overprotective and domineering mother-figure." There were plenty of other folks who had at LEAST as much of an impact on the show, though he certainly went through the most pain during its birth!

Would G.R. be able to pick out the differences between Vektor's "uber-detailed" version versus the original? He'd probably have seen a few things but he'd have had to think about it. A lot more than any of us would have to.
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Old February 3 2008, 03:48 AM   #441
aridas sofia
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Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

Arlo said:
Forbin said:
Arlo said:
^ Perhaps to fit within the visual and thematic aesthetic of the film?
Did they change the look of the ship during the series, to fit the visual and thematic aesthetic of each individual episode?
Meaningless strawman.

JJ is redesigning the Enterprise to fit with his vision. Accusing him of doing it "just because he can" is rather puerile.
A fascinating choice of words, "puerile". Not much different from "foolish," above. And just as logically absurd. This is like saying a thief that is accused of stealing didn't steal, he just appropriated for his own use. A distinction without a difference. "Fit his vision?" He has a choice in picking a vision. He chose the vision he did... because he could. His team "wants to make Trek in their own image", to quote the other guy, perhaps because he thinks it enhances the likelihood of success, or because he wants to stamp this cultural icon with his own brand. In the one case, it's because he can, and in the other it's because he feels he must.

Let's look at that last possibility. To be fair, I think it is a combination of the two, and feel his artistic vision is being driven by a misguided belief that designs that have been around for so long are "dated" -- a belief well represented in this thread by people who when pushed to provide a basis for their belief, rest on the argument that the opposing belief is "puerile" or "foolish". Of course, since Matt Jefferies was projecting what a starship might look like, and since a starship has never been contemplated beyond the barest speculations, there is no basis upon which to criticize the Jefferies design. None at all. To say it doesn't look like the ISS or other modern aerospace designs is nonsensical. It didn't look like anything from its own time, either. It's just as relevant to say it doesn't look like a meatloaf.

No... the only reason to believe this design is commercially untenable -- this iconic design, recognized worldwide and enshrined with other objects of cultural significance in the Smithsonian, is because he wants to change it. Underneath it all, that's got to be driving it. It's just that "he wants to put his stamp on it," because he can do it, and I guess that's okay. But let's call it what it is, and debate the motive, and not the design.
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Old February 3 2008, 04:16 AM   #442
Manticore
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Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

Cary L. Brown said:
Manticore said:I think that it's quite possible to see this model in action, if they do decide to do so. It'd be pretty easy to just superimpose the paneling and detail on top of the 'pristine' model. All that they had to do was make a production model, and then put all of the paneling and stuff on top, and slap a 'matte' material that roughly conforms to the shape of the area that you're working in to block off bits that would be blocked off.
Hi Manticore,

I was under the impression that you'd done some work (even if just "casual recreational" work?) with CGI software before. Am I mistaken?
No, you're not. I've had training (though I wish I'd had more, in retrospect) and I'm currently working on my portfolio.

What you just wrote makes sense if you're talking about a PHYSICAL MODEL. But it makes no sense for a CGI one, I think.
It makes perfect sense for both. If nothing else, it makes more sense with CGI, at least the way I do it. I, of course, am still an amateur (at least, compared to where I want to be), but I'd build a model, and then build cutouts separately and composite them on top, unless the model's specifically built to be a 'construction' or 'damaged', to the point where most of the ship is uncovered.

The way I view it, if you already have a high-detail model, it makes no sense to build one just as detailed (or modify it, which can be a task just as daunting as building a new one, if not more so) just because you're going to be showing some of the guts. What I'd do is build mostly a box, with one side of said box conforming to the hull at the location that I want the cutout. I'd put a hole in the conforming side that corresponds with the shape that I want cutout, and then put the guts inside that. The rest of the box, except for the hole's sides and the guts would be a special 'matte/shadow' material (from 3ds Max, and also where the "matte" that confused you later on came from) which basically blocks anything behind it for compositing purposes, basically setting the alpha to 0 in the render except for what it doesn't cover (I can show you a picture of what I'm working on if that doesn't make any sense). That way, except for the sides of the hole and what I have underneath, you see nothing of it when I render.

I'd put the hole model and the master model in the same scene, for consistency of lighting and camera motion, but, depending on the model program I'm using, in different render layers or whatever (how it's done depends on the program; personally, I find Maya's render layers to be far more elegant than 3ds Max's scene states, but they both do the same thing). Then, in After Effects or Combustion, depending on my mood and what I need, I put the render (well, renders; I'd do several passes of each, depending on the scene) of the hole on top of the render of the ship, with none the wiser. In the end, it saves a lot of hassles of playing with the master ship's topography, and IMO, time.

Keep in mind that I'm primarily a lighting and rendering artist, and while I can model and enjoy doing so, I enjoy composing an image, lighting it, rendering, and compositing far more. This way, I use a pre-existing model of the ship, and create a fairly simple model that won't take too much time or hassle to make, and get to the really fun stuff faster, and most people aren't the wiser.

Granted, my method is hardly perfect, but no method is. For one thing, it's rather weak on things like Enterprise's Minefield and Dead Stop, when you have to see stuff through the bits that are being composited on top of, but that's hardly insurmountable. But there, it'd likely be easier to just model at least the hull damage into the hull. But my method allows for more control over each construction element in post (when, in my experience, it's easier and less-time-consuming to modify things like color, and more controlled to boot).

My point was, mostly, that this model could be the final close-up model of the Enterprise (although I honestly doubt it), with the construction cutouts simply composited on top of it. Or, it could be a model built up specifically for this trailer. More likely, it's a bit of both. ILM's good enough that I'm not place any bets on it.
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Old February 3 2008, 04:19 AM   #443
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Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

For anyone attacking JJ for changing the "look" of the enterprise, I have a question.


Where you there in 1979, and if so did you attack Roddenberry or Wise for changing the "look" of the enterprise?
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Old February 3 2008, 04:28 AM   #444
Arlo
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Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

^ "Just because he can" is a loaded phrase. It basically means, "with no thought".

Based on what JJ and crew have said, it seems to me there has been a great deal of thought put into this production. As far as I know, JJ hasn't said much specifically about the new E design (I can't wait for the inevitable feature in Cinefex), so I think it premature to make assumptions about his motives in that regard.

Now certainly a lot of people take issue with the direction the film is going, and that's fine. Some people are excited about seeing a new E, some want nothing less than the NASM model up there on the big screen. Again, fine.

But to me, hand-waving it all away with a "oh, he's changing it just because he can" is slighting what is probably a very important and meaningful project to a whole lot of artists, writers, actors and producers.
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Old February 3 2008, 05:13 AM   #445
Cary L. Brown
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Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

hutt359 said:
For anyone attacking JJ for changing the "look" of the enterprise, I have a question.


Where you there in 1979, and if so did you attack Roddenberry or Wise for changing the "look" of the enterprise?
I'm not aware of a lot of people "attacking J.J." over this. I am aware of people not being happy with the idea. That's NOT the same thing.

Furthermore, the 1979 redesign was a REFIT. I.E, there was an EXPLANATION for why the ship was supposed to look different... they'd just spent years redesigning and refitting the Enterprise, to the point where it was an almost entirely new Enterprise. For all practical purposes, it wasn't the same ship anymore.

That explains ANY differences we saw.

I liked the idea that the ship was "updated." I missed the nacelle cap effect, though, and didn't care for the glowing deflector all that much. Otherwise, though, I thought it was fantastic, and it fit into my own personal "Trek universe" perfectly well. (The uniforms bugged the hell out of me, but the ship design didn't... go figure.)

What's being discussed NOW is a totally different thing, though. It's not talking about going to a time we haven't seen and showing us things we've never seen before. It's talking about going to a time we've already been to, and telling us that it didn't "really" look like we remember it looking like.

Not remotely the same thing. Yes, both represent artists coming up with their own takes on the concept... in THAT way it's the same. But there's a huge difference, and that difference is "does it fit with what's come before" or "does it contradict what's come before?"
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Old February 3 2008, 06:06 AM   #446
Brutal Strudel
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Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

hutt359 said:
For anyone attacking JJ for changing the "look" of the enterprise, I have a question.


Where you there in 1979, and if so did you attack Roddenberry or Wise for changing the "look" of the enterprise?
I a lready answered this question in my post from the previous page. I was 9 in 1979 and I loved the re-fit, thought it was the most beautiful spaceship I'd ever seen. (I've since gone back to the original, though the re-fit is a maddeningly close second.)

1979, though, is not 2008, and what was novel then is just another Trek variant now. That's why I say go back to the original.
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Old February 3 2008, 07:16 AM   #447
aridas sofia
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Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

Arlo said:
^ "Just because he can" is a loaded phrase. It basically means, "with no thought".
Nope. It means what it means. And no more.

Of course thought has been put into it. That has nothing to do with why that thought was put into it. As I pointed out above, the original design isn't dated compared to modern space technology, or compared to contemporary speculations on starship design. It has powerful marketing value because of its longstanding recognizability. The only thing you can say about this new design is it's new in order to be new. "This isn't your grandpa's Enterprise," was what one of the new Trek "supreme court" said, or something to that effect. But why? Hell, even James Bond used his 1964 Aston Martin in the reboot Casino Royale.

Maybe the new design will serve an important story point. I sincerely hope so. Maybe they'll screw with the entire Star Trek universe and then leave everybody hanging over the question of whether it will be straightened out in the next movie.

If it's not some reason like this, there's no reason for it that I can think of other than ego satisfaction.
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Old February 3 2008, 07:41 AM   #448
Data Holmes
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Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

aridas sofia said:
Arlo said:
^ "Just because he can" is a loaded phrase. It basically means, "with no thought".
Nope. It means what it means. And no more.

Of course thought has been put into it. That has nothing to do with why that thought was put into it. As I pointed out above, the original design isn't dated compared to modern space technology, or compared to contemporary speculations on starship design. It has powerful marketing value because of its longstanding recognizability. The only thing you can say about this new design is it's new in order to be new. "This isn't your grandpa's Enterprise," was what one of the new Trek "supreme court" said, or something to that effect. But why? Hell, even James Bond used his 1964 Aston Martin in the reboot Casino Royale.

Maybe the new design will serve an important story point. I sincerely hope so. Maybe they'll screw with the entire Star Trek universe and then leave everybody hanging over the question of whether it will be straightened out in the next movie.

If it's not some reason like this, there's no reason for it that I can think of other than ego satisfaction.
I still think the main reasons for the redesign, if you can call it that, is two fold...

One, to produce a finished ship more visually appealing for the big screen. And to, so that the exterior fits the interior sets designed for the production.

I don't think it's some evil plot by the producers to piss on the first 01. Nor do I think it's being done for the sake of just doing it.


Would it be nice to see the 01 in her tos glory, sure. But were we, as trek fans, would be amazed at the image of it, 90% of the people who will go see it will ask, why is the thing so smooth? where is the details? This thing looks like it's out of a pixar movie...


People have reached a point where the details have to be insane for them to accept it as, what I've come to call "fantasy real". for them to believe that it's something that could be made in the future. The simplicity and elegance of the 01 from tos wouldn't seem real or believable to them.
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Old February 3 2008, 07:55 AM   #449
Manticore
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Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

I feel that I didn't explain myself very well earlier. I'm not very verbally oriented (more visually, naturally ), so I'll provide an image to explain myself. Well, a video.

Please note that this requires DivX.


The first clip is the whole thing together, with a nice little hole punched in it...well, some panels cut out, whatever. There's some sort of structural stuff as a top layer, and a few pipes running underneath.

The second clip is the ship without the hole cut out. Same scene, no modifications to the ship.

The third is what the 'hole' object looks like. Though, after the fact, I realized a slightly easier way that I could have accomplished some of what I was going for in the construction of it...but that's the way of things, of course.

The fourth clip is what the hole looks like with everything that I want showing showing and everything else with a "matte/shadow" material, which basically means that wherever you see it, it shows the background image, no matter what's behind it, unless a shadow lands on it.

I hope this clears up my previous post!
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Old February 3 2008, 12:44 PM   #450
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Re: The OFFICIAL new Enterprise - Let the critiques begin!

One of the biggest flaws I find in recent examples of reboots is the use of franchises like Superman, Spider-man and James Bond. Superman was originally a character from the 1930s, Spider-man was a character from the 1960s, and Bond was a character from the 1950s. In all these cases, the central characters defy aging, and always had their stories set in contemporary settings.

Peter Parker, for example, was in high school when the Spider-man comics got started in the 1960s... and as of today, the character is in his mid to late 20s in current comic books, yet they take place in a world that mirrors ours of today. That is just how those things work, it is to be expected.

Star Trek takes place in a specific time period, and the characters are linked to that period. Star Trek isn't in anyway linked to our period, nor should it be. The styles of TOS hardly reflected the styles of the 1960s... infact, TOS redefined many things in the 60s and 70s. TOS isn't a reflection of the past, our past (and present) was greatly effected by TOS.

For those who think that space designs of the 1960s are out of date, I strongly suggest that you take a look at what NASA will be using as a replacement for the Space Shuttles in the near future.

As for other examples of reboots, Battlestar Galactica wasn't all that great when it came out originally. It was quickly pushed onto the public to take advantage of Star Wars, and they didn't even have time to come up with original story ideas. So in reality, it wasn't like there was a lot of material from the original series to work with anyways, so NuBSG shouldn't have felt restricted by the old one.

But if people want a rebooted Star Trek, why not just go with where Roddenberry most likely got many of his ideas anyways... Forbidden Planet! It has every thing that is great about Trek without the baggage of being Trek, and no one has revisited it in 50 years!

In the past artist reused old canvases because they were expensive. But usually they were a little discriminating in which old canvases they used. I, for one, am thankful that paintings like the Mona Lisa weren't painted over by later artist in a rush to show their own talents... I hope that artist of today have the same foresight and respect.

aridas sofia said:
Hell, even James Bond used his 1964 Aston Martin in the reboot Casino Royale.
I love that car!

I am a big fan of 1950s and 1960s Porsches, but there are a few cars by other makers that will catch my eye when they make an appearance... the 1964 Aston Martin is absolutely one of them!
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