Nicholas Meyer's Interpretation of Star Trek

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Clark Terrell, Mar 17, 2014.

  1. Clark Terrell

    Clark Terrell Lieutenant Commander

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    Much has been of Nick Meyer's interpretation and depiction of Star Trek in both The Wrath of Khan and The Undiscovered Country. Some like his style. Others don't. For me, there were several things he did that I liked and several that I didn't.

    What I liked:

    • Starfleet is a military organization in spite of what Gene Roddenberry would have everyone believe; why else have a rank system if there's no military structure backing it up? I'm glad that Meyer included more practices in his films consistent with military service.
    • Along these same lines, I liked the smaller officers' quarters seen in TUC; I never cared for the large quarters seen in TOS or TNG: starships aren't mansions or luxury hotels.
    What I did not like:

    • Meyer insisted on treating starships like ancient mariner vessels and acted as though they were traveling along an imaginary horizon, something that doesn't exist in space in any capacity.
    • Although I generally like the look of the red uniform jackets, I don't think they made much sense in outer space. Too many things to get knocked out of place or caught on something.
     
  2. RyanKCR

    RyanKCR Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually Kirk's final maneuver at the end of the Mutara Battle was to take advantage of the 3 dimensions in space. Remember Spock said that Khan was intelligent but not experienced. His pattern indicated 2 dimensional thinking.

    Also look at the Khitomer battle. The Bird of Prey was attacking the Enterprise from all sorts of positions around, above and below.
     
  3. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    There are plenty of rank systems outside the military. Police and Firefighters; for instance. The very definition of paramilitary is "organized similarly to a military force".
     
  4. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    To say nothing of a hierarchy in... well, everywhere in life.
     
  5. Clark Terrell

    Clark Terrell Lieutenant Commander

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    This is true, but hierarchies in other areas generally aren't represented by various uniform designs or rank insignia. There are exceptions: hospitals may require physicians of different specialties to wear different colored lab coats, and organizations like the Boy Scouts have various ways of noting accomplishes by the display of rank and merit badges.

    In sports, teams may designate captains with an extra patch sewn onto the team's jersey or by having them meet with officials before the beginning of a game (as seen in basketball and American football).

    But my gripe with Roddenberry's characterization of Starfleet is that it doesn't fit with what we see onscreen. Orders are expected to be followed, and any form of disobedience sparks some form of discipline. We aren't shown anything overly harsh (crewman scrubbing an officer's quarters, for instance), but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist or that one should deny it's ever happened. I just don't see what Gene was getting at.
     
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Think Police Force instead of Military Service. A fer instance: once you're enlisted in the service you can't just walk, but cops can hand in their badge and gun and resign. Given Roddenberry's service in the military, and his experience as both commercial pilot and a cop, I suspect he knew exactly what he wanted: a paramilitary service that doesn't have all the aspects we associate with contemporary military services.
     
  7. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Commodore Commodore

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    The red tunics looked great in Wrath of Khan. I don't know if it's because of the film stock Meyer used and/or the lighting, or just the newness of the uniforms, or even the fact that the cast was relatively "youthful," but they really look crisp and sharp. After that, the very same, standard tunic started to look less "believable" and more like a costume, to me - especially in The Undiscovered Country. Personally, I find the "uniforms" of The Motion Picture to be far more appropriate StarFleet attire - and they just look better. But Star Trek II's stiff, wool tunics hide many sins, which I understand, completely. Like Kirk and Scotty's cannonball guts, for example.

    Outside of the very obvious uniform changes, I hated Meyer's having made the TOS crew "intolerant," "xenophobic," or even "racist" to a certain degree. And David Marcus' murder was a poor excuse to justify it. Yes, STAR TREK is made-up fantasy and it's cool to be unconcerned with "tradition," but even so, these characters have their own "truth" to them. It's one thing to make Kirk "cheat" on an exam as a cadet, it's quite another to turn him into a bigot. That's not James T. Kirk's character - literally, or figuratively. But the canon of STAR TREK 6, is very specific on the matter and states that he's only too capable, despite 2 movies before it that specify otherwise ... but whatever. Rub the TOS crew's nose in shit for their last movie together. I no longer care ...
     
  8. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    This may well be true and as GR wished. But in TOS, movies, TNG onward, when the Federation is at war or requires a military force, Star Fleet fills that role.

    The military must be the ones to fight Klingon aggressors. We never see any other organization or fighting force. Star Fleet must be the military.

    Borg cube threatens to destroy Earth. Federation must send a military force to stop them. What military force? Star Fleet.

    Who fought for the Federation in the Dominion War? What military? Star Fleet.

    We've never seen any other Federation fighting force serving as the military, so evidence suggests Star Fleet is the UFP military (despite GR's ideas to the contrary).
     
  9. TREK_GOD_1

    TREK_GOD_1 Commodore Commodore

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    1. ST is sci-fi: an imaginary horizon is there for the audience most familiar with the kind of movement seen with passenger planes and sea ships travelling along a straight, "upright" path. That is what the audience expects---and that's why the ships were designed with a clear "up and "down," only rarely moving in a non-traditional (i.e. technically accurate) manner.

    2. I think the jackets were fine; remember, the crew is used to navigating their environment wearing uniforms with buckles, etc., so it did not cause a problem.
     
  10. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    How much time did the crew spend in actual "outer space"? They were usually inside a space ship, in fairly spacious quarters or on a planet's surface. Not sure what the objection is.
     
  11. Clark Terrell

    Clark Terrell Lieutenant Commander

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    I was referring to their normal working environment, not open space itself. In any case, I see too many ways that the uniform jackets are problem given how bulky they are. The TMP pajamas are much more appropriate. If they'd had something like the FC uniforms, I'd have been fine with that, too.
     
  12. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Still not seeing the problem. Mostly the crew is sitting in chairs and pushing buttons. They seem to have special clothing for working with the engines, landing parties and special ops. They aren't usually in tight spots where the "bulk" of the jacket would be a hindrance.
     
  13. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I hated the retro look with the Buckingham Palace look of the uniforms. They were not the Star Trek and Starfleet that had already been established in TOS and TMP. it layered on the miltaristic veneer too heavily. I really disliked how he made everything manual even under battle conditions. It just didn't look right given the technology we expected to see in Star Trek.

    I also disliked the way he was hammering home the idea of our heroes being near ready for being put out to pasture. This, to me, was just so counter to what I had hoped to see after TMP. And even after thirty years I'm still disappointed by it.

    As a story and how it's told TWOK has much to reccommend it, but there are a lot of things included into it that still rankle me.
     
  14. xvicente

    xvicente Captain Captain

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    GR failing to acknowledge the necessity of the military aspect of his show missed a grreat opportunity: imagine Starfleet really isn't the Federation's military. Then, one episode, some shit happens and the real military (the Space Force or Space Navy) have to be called, I mean some rumbling huge ugly dark ships with cannons with barrels the size of Enterprise's nacelles and blisters and antennas and pointed things. For perspective.
     
  15. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

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    Re: the uniforms, it's also shown that they do change into more suitable attire when they go out 'in the field'. The landing party jackets in TWOK, or the dirty fatigues they wear on the Nimbus mission in TFF, for example. They aren't running around wearing those red jackets all of the time, only in the formal environment of the Starship.

    I do take the point about them perhaps being a little too much like a dress outfit for regular use, though. Truth is they're perfect "costumes" from the perspective of being a movie and making a visual impact on the audience, but in terms of the 'reality' of the situations that the crew are in, then the TOS uniforms, or even the TMP uniforms, are certainly more practical for day-to-day use.
     
  16. Clark Terrell

    Clark Terrell Lieutenant Commander

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    Something that Starfleet took decades to realize, apparently. What I've never understood is why the jackets were used without the turtlenecks or belts in the early-twenty fourth century.
     
  17. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

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    To be honest, the turtlenecks without the jackets would have been a more appropriate uniform than the other way around. ;)
     
  18. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    They just look too ornate and too heavy. The real world explanation is they hide more of the actor's physique. But as Starfleet duty wear it just looks wrong.
     
  19. OpenMaw

    OpenMaw Captain Captain

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    Starfleet is the military arm of the Federation. There is no denying that. The fact that it also serves many other functions does not negate the fact that it is the muscle for fighting offensively and defensively. Even as far as Gene is concerned i've never understood the trepidation over this fact. there is nothing inherently wrong or malicious about the military. It is those who lead and what laws bind that military.

    On top of which I wouldn't want SF to handle the police duties for planets when something like Federation Security, or local authority could do the just as well. Giving one organization power and province over both could be disastrous.


    I was never big on the TWOK uniforms. We needed a redesign after the TMP uniforms. Though I personally would have brought back the original series colors, added some additional detail for coherence to the ranks, maybe a few extra bits of detail in the form of creases or lines on the shoulders and arms to break up the monotony of the solid color, and left it at that.

    I do agree with the sentiment behind the TWOK tunics though. A little more function. Much like JMS's thoughts on the Earth Force uniforms. They have pockets and pouches and a much clearer rank designation. One of the few things I liked about the Enterprise uniforms too.
     
  20. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    The things I don't like are mostly picky things. I don't like the uniforms at all. I don't like the look and the "formality", but mostly I don't like that they don't look like they evolved from anything that had been seen before. And I hate that officer and enlisted uniforms were separated into completely different designs. The concepts just don't seem plausible.

    Some of the "starship as classic sailing ship" went too far and stretched credulity. I didn't like the dozen or so people pulling up gratings to load a torpedo. I didn't like the door closing right through the "drive shaft." And Scotty "showing" the dead cadet to the captain would make sense if he was on a gundeck, visible from the quarterdeck, but carrying him from engineering to the bridge... it's stupid.

    He was getting at a futuristic organization where things have changed from what we know. Think of how different military discipline is now from 200 years ago. And having a different approach to rank and hierarchy makes sense if you imagine that Starfleet evolved, not strictly from a military organization, but as an umbrella organization that combined military with civilian agencies, say the equivalents of the US Navy, Coast Guard, NASA and NOAA.

    True, but it could still be that without incorporating all the trappings of today's military organizations.