Revisiting the films...

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Warped9, Jun 1, 2012.

  1. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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    I may be just playing with words but as a therapist I do teach clients to be more accurate with their words because words hook people very easily.

    Saying Star Trek 09 sucks can hook people into an argument. Saying I didn't like Star Trek 09 may limit the chances of people being hooked into an argument because in the second instance you're saying something that may provoke further inquiry--- but it may not hook people into an argument. The first saying you are speaking universally, even if it is only your opinion, it is stated as if you are speaking for others. The second way of saying it is clearly speaking only for yourself.

    Sorry to hijack the thread.
     
  2. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    "That dinner was awful!" is an opinion. "That movie was awful!" is an opinion. It's standard colloquial language, and it's ridiculous to have to preface that with "In my opinion" when that's not the standard usage.

    Proceed, Warped9.
     
  3. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek - The Motion Picture (1979) ****

    The Enterprise races to intercept an immense unknown object headed for Earth and destroying everything in its path.

    One thing that undeniably hurts ST-TMP is the lack of context. It's not 1979 anymore. Viewers are no longer seeing at after a drought of ten years without any new Star Trek (setting aside TAS and a handful of books). There are things in this film you likely wouldn't think of doing today simply because we've been inundated with Trek since the 1980s.

    Certain expectations also work against the film. Star Trek has been best on television where it was offered up in one hour segments. Television is a medium of brevity and it can rarely afford to take the time to really explore ideas. It usually has to be snappy and tightly paced. The constraints of television production also mean you have to be really creative to be effective in your storytelling. Yet it also means that you're rarely compelled to be epic and you can focus on smaller scale stories.

    A feature film almost demands that your story be epic. In extent it also allows you the luxury of time to dwell on certain things whether they be visual or expository. Sometimes that works...and sometimes it doesn't.

    Today the beginning of ST-TMP can feel like it drags. Thats partly because contemporary films are often paced more quickly than those of thirty years ago. Audiences often aren't as patient today. The other reason is one of context. In '79 we didn't mind seeing how all our favourite characters were brought back together. Roddenberry and Wise chose to show the idea that time had passed since the end of the Enterprise's five-year mission and that our heroes had drifted apart and were no longer in sync with each other. Hence we had to see them reunited and rediscovering their place with one another. This was also acknowledgement of the very real fact the original cast was visually older than what they had been in TOS. I think it works in the film and it reflects a sense of credibility after a group of people have been apart for an extended time. Indeed it would have seemed unbelievable if everyone had just fallen into place as if nothing had happened.

    Unfortunately just as everyone is beginning to gel again there's nothing of character substance to replace it. Sadly they had an inkling of an idea, but they chose not to explore it: Decker's friction with Kirk. It really comes down to Decker acquiescing to Kirk too easily. The best example I can give of how this could have played out is a 1950's war film called Run Silent, Run Deep. In RSRD Burt Lancaster is a young up-and-coming commander recently granted command of his own submarine. Everything is turned on its head when an older officer (played by Clark Gable) is given command for an important mission and displacing Lancaster. The tangible tension amongst the crew as well as friction and resentment between Lancaster and Gable is exactly the sort of thing that could have worked for ST-TMP. And this character drama was played out during a mission where no one knew if they would survive or not, effectively paralleling whether the Enterprise will survive its encounter with Vger. But because we get little to nothing of that added character drama the story has to rely solely on discovering what Vger is and what it wants. In RSRD the threat to the mission is as much inside the sub as without. In ST-TMP the threat is only from the outside. That can work in a television episode where you've got only 42-50 minutes to tell your story. It gets more problematical in a two hour feature film.

    The DE solves some of that problem (over the theatrical and television versions) by being deftly edited and quickening the pace of unfolding events to some extent. It helps a lot, but I could argue they could have gone a bit further in this regard, but it still wouldn't make up for the sense of something missing. I have my opinion of what's missing and someone else might have another idea.

    There's another character element here that could have used a bit more screen time: Spock's dilemma. In this film Spock is finally at the crossroad where he has to decide which direction his life will take and what kind of person he's going to be. At first he thinks (as perhaps he has long thought) that he needs to purge himself of his human half to feel complete. But the film illustrates that Spock will never feel complete until he fully acknowledges and accepts his human half. More specifically he has to accept his unique nature. Spock's dilemma isn't much different from the personal crises many of us can face at one time or another.

    Many have jokingly called ST-TMP the protracted episode "Where Nomad Has Gone Before." That isn't a wholly inaccurate charge, but it's not necessarily a crime to revisit a story idea. It matters more how you deliver it. Roddenberry and Wise would have done well to inject a little more of another TOS episode, "Obsession." This is similar to what I was describing from RDRD.

    ST-TMP struggles with another issue of context. In the '70s and '80s we were getting a variety of SF films. Today there is an expectancy to be something of a roller coaster adventure that overloads the senses and not much time spent on any exposition or introspection. ST-TMP chose not to emulate Star Wars released two years earlier. Whereas SW was a rollicking adventure TMP aimed for something different. I don't think it's too cerebral, but it certainly seems so compared to something like SW. Roddenberry and Wise appear intent to aim for something other than another a shoot-em-up adventure and I don't think they were consciously trying to emulate 2001: A Space Odyssey.

    This is a gorgeous film to look at and restored it lays false the charge that it's monochromatic and sterile looking. It's actually quite colourful even if it isn't vivid. In TOS they were trying to depict a credible future within the constrains of television production and budget constraints. ST-TMP was able to give Star Trek's depiction of a future a distinctly more polished look. This is evident in the elaborate sets and ship miniatures and, yes, costumes. I think this is where we see Robert Wise's imprint. He didn't just want to polish off the look of TOS, he wanted a credible look to their future vision and one that wouldn't necessarily gel with contemporary sensibilities. And thats a reflection of how much real thought went into this film. They were convinced the setting had to look convincing to help audiences buy into the story. It worked...mostly.

    The opening sequence of ST-TMP could well be one of the best for Trek features. It was certainly very effective in 1979. Three highly detailed Klingon Battle Cruisers take on an immense alien object. The Klingons are now much more alien looking and with their own language (with English subtitles). They're still belligerent and shortly have their warrior asses handed to them. we next get to see Vulcan as we've never seen it before as well as a long-haired Spock amongst of group of Vulcans speaking their own language (with English subtitles). Televisied Star Trek was never like this because they couldn't afford to do it. Here a feature film allows you to do something rarely seen in television.

    The resolution of TMP feels a bit anticlimactic and mostly because it works well enough for a science fiction film, but might leave something to be desired for viewers weaned on explosive action for an ending. And I think this is where TMP runs into some trouble: it's trying to be two kinds of films, a Star Trek adventure and a thought provoking science fiction film. It works as a SF film, but it suffers a bit as a Star Trek film. Note I say it suffers and not that it fails---two different things.

    Overall I quite like ST-TMP. I think it's quite good. I like it better now than one I was younger. It has a lot of excellent things in it even if there's a little something missing to make it excellent.

    It feels like Gene Roddenberry's series idea writ large, but it could use an extra measure of passion.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Gojira

    Gojira Commodore Commodore

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    Great review and I agree with what you've said.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  5. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    One thing I neglected to comment on: the soundtrack.

    Today it's somewhat odd to hear the TMP opening theme because it's so associated with TNG. Nonetheless this is an amazing soundtrack with very evocative music. My favourite version is actually the ending credits where you get not only the main theme, but also the Ilia theme as well as the Klingon theme all mixed into one.

    Within the film I like the sequence when the Enterprise is launched more than the sequence where the refit design is revealed.

    The Klingon theme is spot on and the Vulcan music is nicely eerie.

    The music nicely enhances the early scene where we catch our first sight of Admiral Kirk arriving at Starfleet Headquarters. I remember how in 1979 the theatre erupted in thunderous applause and cheering when Kirk emerged from the shuttle. Kirk was back.

    And the music was all you could hear in a dead silent theatre as everyone was awestruck seeing the refit Enterprise revealed on the big screen. Variations of "Holy shit!" wound their way throughout the room.
     
  6. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^The Klingon theme in the end titles? That happened in STV but it's not in TMP.
     
  7. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Really? I know it's in TFF, but I could have sworn it was also in TMP. I'll have to check again because I didn't listen to the closing credits this time around after the film was over.

    The soundtrack was one of the things I liked in TFF, but I don't want to get ahead of myself.


    Another thing I liked about TMP and something that still resonates. It ended on a hopeful note: Star Trek was back and set for new adventures...

    Hmm, we had no idea what was coming...


    I came across Run Silent, Run Deep several years ago when I caught it on TCM. I had heard something of the film and decided to check it out. I thought it was a wonderful film and yet almost right off I could see the parallels with ST-TMP. I couldn't stop thinking about the conflict between Lancaster and Gable and how it was exactly the kind of thing needed in TMP.

    I do have another reservation about TMP and thats the casting of Stephen Collins. I simply thought he was a wet blanket with no screen presence. He isn't horrible, but he's just there. Instead of having some measure of conviction he seemed more like, "Wah! You took my ship away! Wahhh!" Of course he could only work with what he was given. It also didn't helped to be photographed in that silly one-piece uniform. I don't mind the TMP uniforms in general, but the one-piece outfit was lousy.

    What the film does illustrate is that if Decker had been in command it would have been game over. Kirk's instincts were in form and he knew when to push forward and when to stand pat. Decker was so over cautious he was near paralyzed. Decker would have still been considering his next move after Vger had already sterilized the Earth. :lol:

    Decker represents an idea Roddenberry referenced in his novelization of the film: the emergence of a new humanity that felt somewhat apart from the "throwbacks" of Starfleet. The new humans were supposedly more evolved intellectually and spiritually(?) then the old-fashioned humans, many of whom felt more at home in Starfleet. Roddenberry's idea was that many of the new humans made lousy Starfleet officers because they were too easily swayed by "higher" forms of life with supposedly higher levels of consciousness. Oldstyle humanity (as represented by Kirk and crew) proved themselves better suited for encountering the unknown since they tended to have a stronger sense of self, a stronger sense of identity and not so easily swayed by new ideas. Older humans were more skeptical.

    Maybe it was just New Age babble of the time, but it had an interesting ring to it. The new humans apparently weren't comfortable with some of the military aspects of Starfleet. In some ways this idea seems to have been raised again in early TNG as evidenced by Picard initially being quite hesitant to appear the least provocative with other life forms.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  8. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    If you have to be told that Warped9 is sharing his opinion, you have bigger problems. Not everything needs a damn disclaimer. Warped9 is obviously sharing his opinions, he presented nothing as "fact"... Jesus.

    As for your review, I quite enjoyed it. I wish there was a blu ray version of the DE so I could be truly at peace with the film, though, I know that would require all the new special effects to be redone.
     
  9. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not sure if the OP knows this, but it's interesting to see Run Silent, Run Deep brought up as a counterpoint to Star Trek--The Motion Picture, since both films were directed by Robert Wise.
     
  10. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Yep, I knew that. Apparently it was another film that was being rewritten even as it was being shot.
     
  11. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Back in '79 I enjoyed TMP overall even though I (like others) had reservations. However, I wasn't of the mindset that it was a failure. I saw it as a near miss. I thought it was good and wouldn't have required much to be better. But there were others who just wrote it off as a huge disappointment.

    This certainly wasn't the only time I'd see this over the years. It seems to be conventional wisdom that Spider-Man 3 and Iron Man 2 are crap. They're actually not bad at all, but they're not as good as their predecessors. But the sentiment seems to be if it's not awesome then it's plain crap, it's a fail.

    I see only a few missteps in TMP, and here I'm talking about the film in general and not specific versions. The DE fixes some of the missteps of the previous versions simply because those were easy to fix, things that would have been fixed in post production given sufficient time.

    In terms of story there are are two basic missteps: there needed to be more character drama and the ending wasn't big enough. The ending of TMP is similar to the ending of TNG's "The Best Of Both Worlds." Both are logical resolutions in context with the events leading up to them, but each are wanting dramatically.

    In TMP's case I think the dramatic missteps could have been fixed with some deft rewriting. The story as is works well enough if we're talking about a novel, a work in prose, but it doesn't fly as well onscreen. It needs more dramatic juice. TMP as is works better if you can pay attention to a lot of other things going on in the film, but if you just sit there passively waiting to be stimulated then it might not make an impression on you.

    Visually there is another miscue. I don't mind the TMP uniforms in general, but that said I think they could have done better. I've seen the uniforms up close on display at an exhibit, and in person they're really nice. Unfortunately it didn't translate as well onscreen. Something a little crisper and with a bit more pop would have been better. I think it also would have helped counter the complaint that the film seemed rather monotone. I think they could have found a way to inject a bit more colour into the designs as a nod to TOS without going too bright and the designs could have been crisper.

    Just an idea I photoshopped some years ago.
    [​IMG]

    For myself I would have paralleled TOS a little more in concept. Command could have been something of a taupe-ish gold or even a soft greyish brown. Sciences could have been a soft blue. Medical a soft green (as pictured above). Engineering and support services could have been grey and Security could have been a darker grey or grey/blue. You could even retain the concept of the whole uniform being the same colour rather than department colour over black trousers as in TOS. I would have also kept the insignia more consistent with what we saw on TOS. I like the retaining of the rank braiding on the sleeves. Something like what I'm suggesting would have seemed more like evolution rather than confusing wholesale change. In TMP department was denoted by colour in the circle around the insignia. Well thats fine in the real world, but it's too small a detail show up clearly onscreen. Department denoted by uniform colour is a lot easier to see and understand onscreen.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  12. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek II – The Wrath Of Khan (1982) ***

    A genetic superman seeks revenge against Admiral James Kirk.

    The real strength of this film is the acting and making the best of the words written for the characters. All the major characters are decent in this and it’s one of Shatner’s best performances (since he’s also done some damn fine work in TOS). It also can’t be denied this film has good pacing and a good dose of energy. It’s the pacing, the performances and some nice visuals that make much of this film work.

    But from early on I get one overriding feeling from this film: it feels like they really want you to forget TMP ever happened. There are certainly no references, even indirect ones, to previous events. But there is a pervasive sense of change. Whatever could be changed from TMP was changed. The edict seems to be not that TMP missed a bit in a few places, but that it was a total bust, which it certainly was not. Sometimes change is good and it works, and sometimes it doesn't.

    It starts out promisingly with a forceful version of the familiar Star Trek fanfare and then launches into a very nice opening score…befitting a seafaring adventure. Nice bit of music, but it doesn’t convey the idea of “strange new worlds “or “where no man has gone before.” It sounds more like Captain Blood, The Buccaneer, Horatio Hornblower or maybe even Master And Commander. Maybe it would work for an adaptation of some military SF such as Honor Harrington, but it’s not Star Trek.

    TMP had a terrific opening sequence with three incredible Klingon ships taking on some alien unknown and getting wiped out in the process. TWOK’s opening scene is...cadets in a training simulation. The whole thing is WTF! as the ship is apparently disabled by one lousy Klingon torpedo that also manages to kill the entire senior staff. Funny, I remember the TOS Enterprise being able to take all kinds of punishment as well as the TMP refit able to withstand a volley from Vger that had already destroyed three Klingon ships. (Of course this is such a cool idea they’ll repeat it in Generations to wreck the Enterprise D).

    We next get some decent character moments between Kirk, Spock and McCoy and they’re soon laying it on thick that Kirk is having midlife crises of sorts. He apparently feels old when he’s probably no more than about fifty. Fifty today isn’t old (unless you’re not well) and it shouldn’t even be an issue in the twenty-third century. Hell, Picard will be gallivanting around on the E-D and he could have been pushing sixty.

    But the real thing that’s bugging my ass this early in the film is the idea of the Enterprise as a training vessel. Putting clues together from within the film the refit E isn’t more than about ten years old since its refitting in TMP. But then, of course, they’re ignoring everything from TMP. Whereas TMP left us with the promise of new adventures on the final frontier TWOK has everyone and everything just about ready to retire and be scrapped. Yep, a real positive way to start out the story.

    Some people complained about the TMP uniforms, and while I can’t agree that they’re bad I can agree a bit more colour and perhaps a crisper design would have been welcomed. TWOK’s answer is to give us Buckingham Palace. Again they’re a design that could work in some other SF property, but it’s totally inconsistent with the general look that had already been established for Starfleet personnel: comfortable everyday services wear. Certainly not retro dress outfits. Again it’s not Star Trek.

    At this point what strikes me is that we seem to be seeing a version of Star Trek as filtered through someone’s eyes perhaps not familiar with what had come before and they’re convinced Star Trek has to be something else to be accepted. Hello??? We’re here because Star Trek was successful being what it is and not something else. This is akin to Tim Burton making a couple of movies that are unmistakably his but they also just happen to have Batman in them. This is someone’s idea of a seafaring adventure dressed as sci-fi that just happens to have Kirk, Spock and the Enterprise in it.

    The first good thing I get to see in this picture is the starship Reliant. Finally, after decades of waiting, we get to see another Starfleet starship that isn’t identical to the Enterprise and it’s to be a good-looking design at that. The other neat thing is the nice looking Regula One station. The next scenes revealing Khan and the creepy Ceti eels are accompanied by nicely eerie music. It’s a scene that can make your skin crawl. But I am also confused: where did all those kids come from? Khan’s followers were a mixed bag of races all approximately the same age as him. Now they’re all blond California surfer dudes and beach bunnies who’ve had a bad hair day at the mall. And despite being reduced to a bare level existence Khan has still somehow managed to get plastic surgery to enhance his chest. Hoookay… BTW I’m not bothered by Khan recognizing Chekov because just because we hadn’t seen him yet in TOS’ first season it doesn’t mean he couldn’t have been aboard where Khan could have run into him.

    Some other little details: what is with all the CRT monitors? In TOS we had futuristic looking flat panel displays for viewscreens, something that certainly would be futuristic in 1982. Hell, in the real world we didn’t get flat panel displays until the early 2000s. But in TWOK tube screens are everywhere. Yet another bit of retro tech.

    This film is also something of a deconstruction of what had been established in TOS. Kirk has a son he wasn’t allowed to see and the idea that Kirk has never faced death. What? Kirk has faced death numerous times. He’s faced the prospect of his own death, the death of his closest friends as well as the death of numerous personnel under his command. This is just ridiculous revisionism.

    Why is the Enterprise relegated to a training vessel? Why doesn’t the Reliant know what planet they’re orbiting? Why is a nebula depicted like a fog bank when in actuality if you were in a nebula you probably wouldn’t know it? How can a bunch of throwbacks, no matter how smart, able to overcome an entire ship’s complement and then know how to run the ship without any help? They apparently needed help to run the Enterprise in TOS. Why are two highly advanced starships wallowing around like 17th century galleons?

    Because Harve Bennet and Nicholas Meyer wanted to do a submarine warfare story that just happened to be some Star Trek in it and yet looks like they never bothered to watch something like TOS’ “Balance Of Terror” or “The Doomsday Machine” or “The Ultimate Computer” or even “Elaan Of Troyius.” “Balance Of Terror” adapted a submarine combat story (“The Enemy Below”) and made it work as science fiction. Bennett and Meyer just thought they’d do the reverse. Worse yet they tried to make Star Trek like an old seafaring tale and throw away as much of the SF element as possible.

    One could argue that Robert Wise might have been trying to make too much of a science fiction film out of Star Trek (which is a ridiculous charge when you think about it), but Nicholas Meyer was obviously trying to make Star Trek into as close to 17th century naval warfare as he could get away with. Even as I was trying to enjoy the performances and brisk pacing I kept getting jarred out of it by things that felt really out of place in what should have been a good Star Trek film.

    TMP is a really smart film that needed a little more drama and passion. TWOK is an energetic film that is unfortunately dumb as a brick. And so it’s really going to come down to how much you can forgive to be entertained. The only way I can really accept this is as some form of alternate universe or parallel timeline where some characters and references are familiar, but the rest has changed.

    The death of Spock is very moving, and candidly if Trek had ended it then and there the TOS era would have had an appropriate sense of finality. Spock’s death was a fitting one---he died saving his friends and shipmates---unlike Kirk’s death in GEN which feels utterly meaningless. Kirk’s death later on is moving because it’s heartbreaking to say goodbye to one of the most cherished and iconic characters of television and film, but his death in context of the story is pointless.

    So my final assessment is that while I like the numerous good character moments as well as the good performances and energetic pacing I really dislike the story it’s all founded on, the backstory and everything that plays into it. I can enjoy the film to some extent, but it leaves some unappealing aftertaste.
     
  13. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Back to TMP, the biggest problem for me was always that there are character arcs and potential character arcs, but, Spock's aside, none of them amount to anything. As I've pointed out in the past, they set up this terrific conflict between Kirk and Decker, and then utterly fail to use it. Decker just gradually becomes Kirk's buddy, even calling him "Jim", but there's no event that causes this shift. I've often felt that a parallel between Spock's story and Kirk's was there, but undeveloped: namely, both men are obsessed with finding their place, and both are taking enormous—perhaps suicidal—risks to get what they need. Kirk's pushing to be the Captain, at the possible risk of his crew and every living thing on Earth. But Kirk's conflict just evaporates. I've often felt Spock's spacewalk should have been Kirk's wake-up moment, wherein he recognizes that his own behavior is as obsessive as Spock's, and he finally starts acting for the mission instead of himself, and, in doing so, rediscovers the person he is. It wouldn't have taken much—mostly dialog tweaks, but the idea obviously didn't occur to the writers. Too bad.
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2012
  14. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    ^^ I can't disagree. It comes back to what I said about the film needing more character drama.
     
  15. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Yeah, I'm pretty quick to take the bait when people bash the new movie, but I thought it was clear that Warped9 was just expressing his own personal opinion--in a thread about his own rewatch of the movies. Fair enough.

    (What pushes my buttons is when people insist that they're speaking for all "real" Trekkies, or all Trekkies of a certain generation, which is not at all what Warped9 was doing here.)

    And if I stand up for Star Trek IV, and insist that it "is" one of the best and most entertaining films in the series, that's just my opinion, too. :)
     
  16. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    For the record I do a lot of cringing and gagging when I hear praises being sung for a film I have quite a low opinion of. Fortunately no one can see that through my monitor. I also make a point of not having anything to drink beside me while I'm on the computer reading these forums because I don't want to always be cleaning off whatever I might spit all over my display. :lol:
     
  17. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Speaking as someone who once threw up on a keyboard (not because of a movie review), I can testify that it's not good for the hardware!
     
  18. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    The death of Spock was actually a gutsy move no matter what I think of the story itself. If Nimoy had chosen to not return to the Star Trek fold as Spock his death would have retained a real poignancy. His absence would have resonated throughout any future Trek feature films even if a new character (Saavik?) managed to fit in with the rest of the original cast. But since Nimoy had a change of heart and did return Spock's resurrection rather undermines the poignancy of his death in TWOK.

    Even the title of the following film, The Search For Spock, pretty much gives away the whole point of the third film. It might have been nice if they could have come up with a title that wouldn't have spelled it out so blatantly before you actually sat down in the theatre.


    Some years ago I wrote a rewrite outline for TWOK. I wish I knew what happened to it. Essentially I retained all the major elements present in the existing story, but tweaked it to fix the things the really bugged me. And assuming Spock still dies at the end then it could still work.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2012
  19. Harvey

    Harvey Admiral Admiral

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    The CRT monitors were an affordable alternative to the 16mm projections used in the previous movie, which didn't fit the far reduced budget of the second feature. I don't think they're really all that jarring; they're mostly in the background here (rather than foregrounded in the way that they are in a film like 2010: The Year We Make Contact).

    Doesn't the Genesis tape sequence opt for a more futuristic flat panel look?
     
  20. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    When I consider TMP more I can envision the inclusion of a couple of short scenes that could have down wonders for the film without taking anything away.

    Early in the DE version we see the scene on the bridge where one crewman questions Kirk's command by asking about Captain Decker. Uhura replies to it. Now if this could have been followed up in a later scene (perhaps in the rec room) where Sulu and Uhura are faced with a couple of Decker supporters and there is some real heat being generated. When it gets really heated Decker happens to come by and diffuses the situation by reiterating that while he appreciates their support he asserts that Kirk is indeed in command and he won't have anyone questioning it.

    Now follow this up with another small scene between Decker and Ilia wherein he faces up to why he really left her behind on Delta. We can then see that Decker is really questioning whether he wants Ilia or a Starfleet career.

    The scene in Kirk's quarters where McCoy challenges him could have been expanded a bit. This could have been a good place for McCoy to deliver a little exposition to clue the audience in on things that happened earlier and offscreen. It's a scene that should play out much like the similar scene in "Obsession" when McCoy challenges Kirk's obsession over killing the vampire cloud creature.

    "Jim, you've been miserable since Nogura maneuvered you into accepting a promotion. This incident gave you the golden opportunity to turn the tables on him and get your command back, something you should never have given up in the first place. You rammed it down his throat and you'd rather die than lose it again, maybe even if it means taking all of us with you."

    "Get out of, Doctor!" Kirk snaps loudly.

    "Negative, Admiral. You'd better be sure your priorities are straight or you'll never again be the man you once were. The man you want so desperately to be again."


    Something like that and then the rest of the scene could play out pretty much as it did.
     

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