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Go Back   The Trek BBS > Star Trek Movies > Star Trek Movies XI+

Star Trek Movies XI+ Discuss J.J. Abrams' rebooted Star Trek here.

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Old November 1 2008, 01:47 PM   #346
ST-One
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

The God Thing wrote: View Post
ST-One wrote: View Post
Am I supposed to like that you expose Trek as the ripoff it is (with all those 'cues' taken from somewhere and someone else)?
LOL! Of course Trek is a "ripoff" of preexisting literary Space Opera ranging from Lukian of Samosata's 2nd century tale Vera Historia to A.E. van Vogt's 1950 fixup The Voyage of the Space Beagle and Eric Frank Russell's 1955 collection Men, Martians and Machines (featuring the heroic crew - which include chess-obsessed, logical "Martians" - of the starship Marathon encountering, amongst other things, a planet of villainous alien telepaths and another world dominated by intelligent machines whose biological creators have long since become extinct).

Also consider that the Organians - and every other hyper-evolved "energy being" encountered in TOS - can be traced back to Konstantin Tsiolkovsky's "Radiant Humanity" and the imprinting of human minds into supercomputers a la The Ultimate Computer was also a major plot element of Frank Herbert's 1966 novel Destination: Void (which was itself an expansion of his August, 1965 Galaxy Magazine novella, Do I Wake or Dream?). Beyond that, the speculation of the Milky Way being "Living Galaxy" for which technological humanoid civilizations serve as a biologically-ordained defense mechanism to defend against extragalactic parasitization in The Immunity Syndrome simply oozes the Milchstraßenorganismus of Robert Nast's 1928 biocosmology monograph Kosmische Hypothesen: Biologie des Weltalls mit Einleitung über die Relativität der Logik, although episode rewriter GR probably got the idea from Olaf Stapledon's 1937 novel Star Maker (which Freeman Dyson suspects was inspired by Nast).

Oh yeah, Sargon's deterministic assertion that all civilizations are condemned to self-destruction after "reproducing" through space colonization in Return to Tomorrow is right out of Dandridge Cole's magnificent 1965 tome, Beyond Tomorrow: The Next 50 Years in Space, which served double duty as the conceptual foundation of George Zebrowski's 1979 novel, Macrolife. Incidentally, Cole also coined the term "Planetoid Colonies" which found its way into the episode Friday's Child. There are many other antecedents I can dredge up, but I think these are sufficient for this particular thread.
So, nothing new in space then?

The God Thing wrote: View Post
So, ultimately, the question comes down to whose ideas are you going to liberate? Gene Roddenberry pilfered concepts from several of the leading hard (or at least firm) LitSF writers and spaceflight theorists of the day while J.J. Abrams appears to be retrofitting the plotline from The Terminator into Star Wars. I know which creative approach I would have preferred.

TGT
You know what, I could live with both.
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Old November 1 2008, 06:43 PM   #347
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

Many have tried and died. Look at the two B's - Brutis and Barrabas. And J.J.'s J's worry me. Might there be a Judas in the mix ?
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Old November 1 2008, 06:50 PM   #348
xortex
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

Plus he's hangin' around with the enemy competition George Lucas. CBS is out to destroy Star Trek so Star Wars could get a leg up on TV. The suits vrs the fans. Who is Abrams gonna listen to. The guy who's paying him, that's who. We fans are just the fringe ! When everybody is guilty then noone is.
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Old November 1 2008, 06:53 PM   #349
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

xortex wrote: View Post
Many have tried and died. Look at the two B's - Brutis and Barrabas. And J.J.'s J's worry me. Might there be a Judas in the mix ?
"Fred Freiberger" - oh crap
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Old November 1 2008, 08:33 PM   #350
Brutal Strudel
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

ST-One wrote: View Post
The God Thing wrote: View Post
So, ultimately, the question comes down to whose ideas are you going to liberate? Gene Roddenberry pilfered concepts from several of the leading hard (or at least firm) LitSF writers and spaceflight theorists of the day while J.J. Abrams appears to be retrofitting the plotline from The Terminator into Star Wars. I know which creative approach I would have preferred.

TGT
You know what, I could live with both.
No doubt, so can we. We'll watch it, realize our worst fears were correct, then shrug our shoulders and say, like the Lectroids we are, "So what? Big deal!" Ultimately, it's only Star Trek, and Trek's been a reanimated corpse for a long while now.

But what do you prefer? That's a different question. It's pretty clear that most of the Trekkies posting here would much prefer the latter. So be it.
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Old November 2 2008, 12:14 AM   #351
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

I had a brief e-mail exchange with Phase II Script Editor/TMP Associate Producer Jon Povill in March, 2005 concerning several production aspects of ST:TMP, and there was something he mentioned about TOS vis-à-vis LitSF that I thought was relevant to my upthread assertion which I will now quote (with permission):

"I have no information whatever as to whether "Destination Void" had any part in inspiring "The God Thing", but I can tell you that there was a file of abstracts of science fiction short stories that was present in the office of the Original Series, which somehow found its way eventually to my office and which I still retain. Presumably it was used -- or intended to be used -- as a source book for episode ideas if all else failed. (So where was it in season three, we might well wonder?) It is not uncommon for television writers to grab a bit of inspiration from other sources as we have incredible time pressures upon us. I did it with my "El Sid" episode of Sliders, which borrowed from "Escape From NY". On the other hand, another of my "Sliders" episodes, "Luck of the Draw" is presumed lifted from a book called "The Lottery" which I had never heard of or read at the time. So, it could go either way. It's interesting that even though I've had these abstracts for over 25 years, I may have looked at them a total of 5 times, and never when I was actually working on a show. When I "borrow", it tends to be from something that stuck in my mind as opposed to an actual intent. So, I'd give Gene the benefit of the doubt on this one, particularly as the abuse of religion was a subject that was ever in the forefront of his mind. If he was alive today rest assured that there would be parallel pieces to the radical Islam movement"
Mr. Povill, before granting permission, wished to know the context in which I intended to use that paragraph, so I directed him to this thread and my own post in response to ST-One. I will, again with permission and in the interests of full disclosure, quote his entire e-mail:

You can use the quote if you use the whole paragraph. The argument you are making is fine as far as literary criticism goes, but like so much of literary criticism it does not actually understand the creative process all that well in that it presupposes that writers are consciously pirating each others' concepts as opposed to having read (or seen) them at some point and accordingly having the concepts in their subconscious to later surface in combination with some other element with which it fits. Sometimes (as a writer) you recognize the connection and sometimes you don't. Last night I had dinner with a comedy writer friend of mine who told me about his last trip to the dentist. He was under nitrous and had been having a discussion with the assistant about reality shows on cable. They covered the gamut, "Deadliest Catch" , "Mythbusters", "Ghost Hunters" and some disgusting show about exterminators. And my friend described a momentary flash of inspiration he had -- "ghost exterminators, who would drive around in an Orkin-like truck and... Oh shit, that's 'Ghostbusters'"! That's the process. Stuff comes into your mind. Associations come into your mind and reposition themselves. And the truth of the matter is that it's only a rip off if you strated with the intent of mimicing that which you mimic.

With "El Sid" I did not start out to copy "Escape From New York", I simply got the idea of San Francisco as a penal colony and recognized immediately that it had been done in that movie -- but knew also that my story would not be the story of Snake Pliskin. Which brings me to the next point which is that the concepts are far less important to writing than are the characters and the execution. The saying goes that there are only nine archtypal plot lines -- but this is disguised by the fact that there are an infinite number of characters and character relationships. It is the characters that make any story unique, not the plot. How the characters react to and deal with the plot elements is what we, as an audience, relate to. That is what elevates a masterpiece from a piece of crap. Shakespeare did not cover virgin territory in his plays. He was dealing with history or folk tales that were entirely familiar to his audience. But the psychological depth of his characters and the emotional logic of their actions and reactions was so sound, so palpable, that the plays live on despite the need to wade through language so archaic it takes pages of footnotes to explain.

As I am sure you know, Gene sold Star Trek as "Wagon Train to the Stars" and had Horatio Hornblower in mind for the nature of the shipboard relationships. That said, how much of a relationship do you see between Star Trek and either Wagon Train or the Forester novels? It's fleeting at best.

Your essential premise is flawed not just in the sense that you assume the ideas were intentionally pilfered but in a failure to understand the creative process. Gene's version of Star Trek came out the way it did because of the approach to the characters and the material which dictated the nature of the shows, which in turn dictated the particular branch of sci-fi to which it would ultimately be compared. Lucas, by comparison, very deliberately chose an entirely different approach rooted in myth -- as delineated in "The Hero With a Thousand Faces" -- up with something no less valid despite its disregard of science. Epic fables have their place, too -- but they are apples to oranges when compared to hard sci-fi. The problem, however, arises if Paramount and JJ Abrams choose to convert Trek from hard sci-fi into epic fable, thereby negating not only the original intent and approach, but also the underlying nature of it's characters. Paramount has never understood Trek, and it has sought to convert it to epic fable ever since Star Wars came out. In my quasi-famous meeting with Jeff Katzenberg about my ending to TMP, he repeatedly complained that my ending was incomprehensible to an 8 year old and the movie had to be understood by 8 year olds or it would be worthless. To our credit -- or more to Bob Wise's credit -- TMP did not back down and made the movie, however flawed, true to Star Trek's approach and intent. But I am sure Paramount has never given up the notion of converting it to epic fable that would be more accessible to a less discriminating audience. Can that approach succeed? Possibly, but it will certainly be a bastardization that will offend all the purist fans out there. Paramount, however, does not care about a diminishing number of purist fans who don't go to the movies as much as they used to. They want to enthrall teenagers who, they hope, will flock to a reinvented Trek more in line with current perceptions of what is hip and cool. Will it work? We won't know till it's out there.

If you want to post this, you have my permission to do so.

Later,
JP
Naturally I am only too happy to defer to Mr. Povill in this matter, although I must stress that the flippant, dismissive tone of my post was partially the result of my negative opinion of ST-One, but that is a subject for another thread in another forum.

Finally, I would very much like to express my sincerest gratitude to Jon Povill, not only for his key contributions to Phase II/TMP - the study of which has become a lifetime avocation for this aficionado - but especially for the time he took in thoughtfully answering my queries as well as his willingness to share his private communications with a wider audience. Thank you, sir.

TGT
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Old November 2 2008, 12:23 AM   #352
Devon
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

Brutal Strudel wrote: View Post
Out of 79 episodes, I can think of two dozen or so, produced under tight deadline, that sound more compelling than this movie Paramount has had years to develop.
Surprisingly, I'd think you would have to have seen the new movie to come to that conclusion? Had years to develop? Oooh okay. Silly me!
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Old November 2 2008, 03:50 AM   #353
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

The God Thing wrote: View Post
I had a brief e-mail exchange with Phase II Script Editor/TMP Associate Producer Jon Povill in March, 2005 concerning several production aspects of ST:TMP, and there was something he mentioned about TOS vis-à-vis LitSF that I thought was relevant to my upthread assertion which I will now quote (with permission):
...
[snip]
...
Finally, I would very much like to express my sincerest gratitude to Jon Povill, not only for his key contributions to Phase II/TMP - the study of which has become a lifetime avocation for this aficionado - but especially for the time he took in thoughtfully answering my queries as well as his willingness to share his private communications with a wider audience. Thank you, sir.

TGT
If you get the chance, TGT, please extend my gratitude as well, I enjoyed Mr. Povill's contributions!
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Old November 2 2008, 04:02 AM   #354
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

Thanks from me, as well, to TGT and to Mr. Povill. I'm glad I came to school today.
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Old November 2 2008, 04:05 AM   #355
Brutal Strudel
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

Devon wrote: View Post
Brutal Strudel wrote: View Post
Out of 79 episodes, I can think of two dozen or so, produced under tight deadline, that sound more compelling than this movie Paramount has had years to develop.
Surprisingly, I'd think you would have to have seen the new movie to come to that conclusion? Had years to develop? Oooh okay. Silly me!
Okay, I'll ask this one more time: Why is it acceptable for you enthusiasts to look at the stuff coming out and spew uncritical glee but we skeptics, looking at the same material, must wait to see the movie before venturing our own opinions? Any amount of logic and intellectual integrity will tell you that either both camps have an equal claim to their opinions or that both camps should remain entirely neutral. Instead, you seem to think only the enthusiasts have a right to express their views. (Unless, of course, you can direct me to a post where you similarly "chide" a cheerleader for praising this film sight unseen. I doubt you can.) So yes, silly you. Indeed, "silly" is the kindest word I can think of to describe such blatant hypocrisy.

I don't mind that so many of my fellow Trekkies disagree with me on this. What I mind is the rude intolerance behind the so many of the counter-arguments, which are not arguments at all.

And this movie has been in the works, in some way or another, for at least three years. So please explain how that part of statement is wrong.

Anyway, an aside to TGT: thanks to you and Mr. Povill for sharing that with us. His comments are exactly what I was getting at when I said that ST-One's "joke" about Trek being ripped off showed a fundamental misunderstanding of creativity. 99% of creativity is recombinant; what we've been saying is that Trek works best when it recombines genes from the deep end of the idea pool.

I've also said elsewhere that Star Wars erred so badly in Episode One because it sought to bring two elements of Trek's type of SF--a "realistic" look at galactic politics a la "Journey to Babel" and a mechanistic explanation for the Force a la Star Trek in general with those misbegotten midichlorians. I had the same problem with Timothy Zahn's superior (to Episode One) Heir to the Empire novels.
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Old November 2 2008, 04:42 AM   #356
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

Paramount, however, does not care about a diminishing number of purist fans who don't go to the movies as much as they used to.
Of course not.

I've yet to see anyone present a convincing argument that they should.
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Old November 2 2008, 04:51 AM   #357
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

Starship Polaris wrote: View Post
Paramount, however, does not care about a diminishing number of purist fans who don't go to the movies as much as they used to.
Of course not.

I've yet to see anyone present a convincing argument that they should.
And I'm quite sure you've read/viewed such an argument many times, you just didn't SEE it.
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Old November 2 2008, 04:54 AM   #358
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

M'Sharak wrote: View Post
Thanks from me, as well, to TGT and to Mr. Povill. I'm glad I came to school today.
TGT, if you get the chance, please extend an apology to Mr Povill from Ross Plesset and I about FILMFAX stupidly omitting that fantastic memo he pulled from his files for use in what wound up being a tragically-stilted article. Ross had me helping him a bit for quite a long while on that piece, and in the end, I doubt he cleared $40 on the whole thing, plus we didn't get the best stuff into print.
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Old November 2 2008, 09:27 AM   #359
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

Brutal Strudel wrote: View Post
Okay, I'll ask this one more time: Why is it acceptable for you enthusiasts to look at the stuff coming out and spew uncritical glee but we skeptics, looking at the same material, must wait to see the movie before venturing our own opinions? Any amount of logic and intellectual integrity will tell you that either both camps have an equal claim to their opinions or that both camps should remain entirely neutral. Instead, you seem to think only the enthusiasts have a right to express their views. (Unless, of course, you can direct me to a post where you similarly "chide" a cheerleader for praising this film sight unseen. I doubt you can.) So yes, silly you. Indeed, "silly" is the kindest word I can think of to describe such blatant hypocrisy.
But therein lies you misunderstanding; most of us do not praise this movie unseen.
Other than the 'haters' who constantly condemn everything that comes from 'team Abrams' and state with the utmost certainty that 'this movie will fail', we 'cheerleaders' do stay neutral. We may like what was shown in the pictures and what was (very vaguely) alluded to in the interviews so far, but that definitely isn't enough to form a final opinion on the quality of the movie - negative or positive.

The movie could be shit or it could be gold. We will just have to wait till May to know with certainty.
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Old November 2 2008, 10:16 AM   #360
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Re: Empire Magazine pics!

ST-One wrote: View Post
But therein lies you misunderstanding; most of us do not praise this movie unseen.
Other than the 'haters' who constantly condemn everything that comes from 'team Abrams' and state with the utmost certainty that 'this movie will fail', we 'cheerleaders' do stay neutral. We may like what was shown in the pictures and what was (very vaguely) alluded to in the interviews so far, but that definitely isn't enough to form a final opinion on the quality of the movie - negative or positive.

The movie could be shit or it could be gold. We will just have to wait till May to know with certainty.
Exactly. You can be positive about it without making a judgement.
However, there have been very few to be critical without having
already judged the film as trash without having seen it.
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