Revisiting the films...

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

  1. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek: Generations (1994) *

    Picard enlists the help of the presumed dead James Kirk to defeat a madman bent on destroying a world.

    If you want a better story of the crossing of Trek generations then read the novel Federation by Judith and Garfield Reeves-Stevens. It’s a much better work.

    The beginning of this film is painfully embarrassing. Everything about it feels forced and contrived (of course, it’s fiction) and there isn’t one whit of at least trying to make it feel natural. And if anyone ever makes another joke about Shatner’s hair they really should take another look at Koenig’s doo. Yeesh!

    The stupid “Tuesday” jokes are really lame. Who would launch a ship without being fully ready? The christening bottle idea felt dumb, particularly when we see liquid when the bottle breaks. Excuse me, but wouldn’t wine, mostly composed of water, be completely frozen in the absolute zero of vacuum? I’ve never been crazy about the Excelsior design, but it would have looked better than this one with the added bits. The design goes from looking ungainly to dorky—perfect for the equally dorky Captain Harriman. And again we get an Enterprise being the only ship within reach of an emergency. It’s just one dumb thing after another. Still, the one slightly redeeming element of this sequence that it did feel like a more fitting end for Kirk then the one setup at the end of the film.

    I like to think I have a sense of fun, but the next sequence of the E-D’s crew aboard a holodeck sailing ship just to give Worf his promotion to Lt. Commander was yet another really lame exercise. I can’t see ever being done this on the series. It just felt like something you’d read in a fanfic and yet not see on the actual show. Riker’s joke on Worf and Data’s “joke” on Beverley Crusher were also cringe inducing.

    Both beginning sequences aren’t an encouraging start for this film.

    I don’t really care for the darker interiors of the E-D. It’s jarring compared to the series and feels wrong. It’s far too dark. I like the idea of switching to the newer DS9 style uniforms, but with replicator technology wouldn’t it have been easy to have everyone wearing the new attire rather than the mix of the two designs we see? And how come Data’s emotion chip is now the size of something that has to be implanted in his head when the original series version was small enough to fit into one of his teeth? The icing on the cake is after implantation of the chip Data behaves like a total nutjob and it’s annoying as hell.

    Part of what’s wrong with this film is that they are so obviously trying to cram as much crap into it as possible. The Romulans are referenced, the Borg are referenced and the Klingons are again prominent in a Trek film. Can’t these guys think of anything else? The film could have been a lot better if they could simply have told a more straightforward story not weighed down with so much crap. And emotional Data is damned annoying as hell.

    The battle between the Klingon BoP and the E-D is complete and utter B.S. Everything about the sequence just grated on my nerves. And the final crashing of the saucer section was just the cherry on this pile of foul smelling pudding. I absolutely hated this entire sequence. Why is Deanna of all people at the helm? No other qualified helmsman? Oh yeah, Mirina Sirtis needs something dramatic to do to feel integral to the story.

    When the refit Enterprise was wrecked I was moved. I found it sad. When the E-D is wrecked I felt…not much because the whole thing felt so contrived. That and the E-D was never romanticized the way the original ship was. Actually that sums up the entire first hour and a half of this film. It’s all a bunch of stuff just crammed into it in a force fitted manner to try to make interesting. The result, though, is an utter failure.

    Seeing Jim Kirk again doesn’t really improve much. While he provides the only real charm in this film it’s far from enough because the rest of it feels just as contrived as the preceding parts. It doesn’t help either that it feels more like were watching William Shatner on the screen rather than Captain Kirk. That said it was chilling watching Kirk die. I admit it really hit me despite all the nonsense leading up to it. Kirk will always be a hero for me and one of my favourite fictional characters ever.

    Burying Kirk under a pile of rocks on some barren rock was symbolic. To me it represents what the franchise has become. It became a pile of contrived nonsense without any heart to it and a deadweight of rubble atop much better work that has been done in TOS and TNG.

    A lot of people can groan over STV-TFF, but it has energy and a measure of charm and enthusiasm. At heart TFF has a better story even if it is weighed down with extraneous silliness. TFF also has a far superior soundtrack to GEN.

    In the end GEN is a really sad and pitiful effort. To call it a heavily padded one hour episode would be kind.


    Oh yeah, I neglected to mention the story yet again begins on Earth. Well okay, Earth orbit.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
  2. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Captain Captain

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    I rewatched all the movies in 2009. I thought the shift from TUC to GEN was the most jarring. It really shows that the movie was written by people who were out of their element in this installment.

    I thought Data's emotion chip was annoying too. And, really, is that the best time and place to install an emotion chip? Data has always had a hard time grasping humor, it's nothing new, so why should he feel his growth has reached an impasse any more than it has before? Another consideration is that with never having had emotions before -- with the exception of "Descent" -- what would Data's level of emotion maturity be? Even the youngest officers have two decades of experience dealing with emotions. What does Data have? He'd need to have psychiatric examinations to re-evaluate if Data has the temperament to function in Starfleet.

    There might be more that comes to mind but it'll have to wait until Tuesday.
     
  3. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    This one has massive holes, yet I have a soft spot for it. I think there was a good story in there somewhere and the Enterprise-D exterior space shots were stunning.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
  4. The Laughing Vulcan

    The Laughing Vulcan Admiral Admiral

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    Got nothing against the champagne bottle staying liquid in space, as there's only radiative heat loss to cool it down out there. No convection or conduction. Chuck out a bottle of wine at a starship and the contents should stay liquid long enough for it to hit the ship and break the bottle...

    But as soon as the bottle smashes, the contents should probably have crystallised as soon as the drops are small enough...

    I'm not going to touch the movie though...

    I do remember that I loved the lighting of the film, it was the first time TNG felts cinematic.
     
  5. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    It did in some respects, but in others it was poor. The darker interiors aboard ship are the most obvious example. The exterior ship shots were pretty good.

    Generally speaking, though, very few of the films did well with the space scenes. After TMP and TWOK it becomes very hit-and-miss.
     
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2012
  6. Joker

    Joker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    :vulcan:
     
  7. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    :lol:

    Fixed.
     
  8. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Star Trek: First Contact (1996) **

    The Borg travel back into Earth’s history to assimilate humanity before it can develop star flight.

    Uh, could someone turn up the lights, please? It’s getting rather dark in here. Granted the actual look of the space shots are nice I have to say that whatever issues I might have had with the design of the E-D I liked it much better than the fanboy wet dream known as the new E-E. It strikes me as overdone and with disturbing Voyager echoes to it. Also I don’t care for the new dark look of the black and grey uniforms with only a touch of colour---it looks wrong. Just as the uniforms of TWO-TUC looked like belonged in something other than Star Trek and the Starfleet that had been established so do these new designs for FC.

    The Enterprise is way out on the Romulan border and yet they can make it back to Earth in practically no time to engage the Borg. Hookay…

    Zefram Cochrane is retconned into a drunken lout. Data can now switch off his emotion chip when previously it had become a permanent functioning part of his system. The Borg collective now have a queen. Previous time travel stories had the crews doing everything they could to cover their tracks in the past, but here they go out of their way to reveal themselves. And the hero worship is laid on rather thick---no wonder Cochrane gets creeped out. The ending is hilarious. They’re supposed to be making a discreet exit, but they beam out in plain view of anyone watching.

    This film has a more graphic look than the TV series given greater production resources particularly in regards to the Borg. The film also has one redeeming quality over the previous film: it has a more straightforward story with less extraneous stuff thrown into it.

    This is marginally better than GEN simply because it feels more coherent and better paced. But the script is also full of silly dialogue the characters are forced to spout. There are periodic okay moments, but they’re not plentiful enough. The EVA walk on the hull of the ship is kinda nice. This really is the TNG attempt to create their own version of TWOK. But in a head-to-head comparison I think TWOK is still a distinctly better effort overall even given what issues I have with that film.

    GEN contributed greatly to my souring on contemporary Trek in general and the TNG film franchise in particular. FC is slightly better than GEN, but not nearly enough to win me over.
     
  9. Joker

    Joker Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Did I miss something? I thought the world ended in 1979?
     
  10. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    In science fiction you can find new life.
     
  11. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    Really dislike First Contact for what it did to the Borg. Turning them into second-rate, B-movie zombies.
     
  12. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    First Contact is up there with TWOK as the best of the Trek films. Much like TWOK it gets almost everything right-good humor, good story, good use of all the regular characters(the only Next Gen movie to do that), good action, the effects still look first rate today. The music is awesome, too.

    The only downside is the way it changed the Borg, but Alice Krige is good enough in the movie to overlook it.


    With GEN and FC, I thought the Next Gen movies were off to a great start.


    Then came INS...
     
  13. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Captain Captain

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    This is the movie where we seriously disagree. It had to happen some time. Right? ;)

    Personally, I think FC is the only TNG movie that's any good.

    That's probably just the overall direction Starfleet design was heading in at the time.

    Given how much I couldn't stand the emotion chip, that's one change I'm not going to complain about.

    This never bothered me since the Borg are supposed to be like bees.

    I'm with you on these.

    Yup.

    That's one of my favorite parts of the film.

    I'd call it an inversion since it's the protagonist who was vengeful. Picard snapping in the ready room was perfect. Patrick Stewart really sold me on the scene. This was Picard as we've never seen him before because his inner demons had driven him like never before.

    Picard's confrontation with Worf over destroying the ship was a classic scene.

    I'm glad Lily called bullshit on the idea that humanity in the 24th Century was supposedly more evolved. This movie, and the later seasons of DS9, proved it was bullshit. I'm a little surprised she'd even envied Picard for the world he was going to, given what (little) she'd seen of it.

    The only problem here was with Picard pulling a Rambo in the holodeck. That couldn't have been any more of a rip-off of The First Blood: Rambo II. Though I liked the Dixon Hill program.

    I ultimately agree that TWOK is the better film but I wouldn't put as much distance between them.

    FC made me think the TNG movies would great despite the rocky start with GEN. I was proven wrong with the next two installments.

    Another note: This movie had one of the best sountracks. It's one of my top three. Musically, I rate it next to TMP and above TUC.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
  14. Mr_Homn

    Mr_Homn Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Really enjoyed the reviews, Warped9. Thanks for putting in the time and effort. I wouldn't have the patience to flesh out my feelings/opinions of these movies, especially considering their overall mediocrity.

    I agree with the majority of what you said. I wouldn't put TMP at the top, although I agree with most of your points. The cons you listed hurt it more for me than it does for you, apparently. I also sort of resent it. We never would have gotten the Meyer crap or the rest of the crap if it had delivered. It let us down and its failure paved the way for much of the stupidity to take its place. I can't blame that all on this movie, of course, but I can't help but imagine how much better the Trek universe would be today if TMP was planned out with more - I don't know - Care? Thought? Time?... In that way, TMP's flaws upset me more than the subsequent movies.

    Also, I definitely think TFF is a better movie than TUC. Actually, I should probably say it's a better Star Trek movie. From your review, it sounded like you think that way too, although your ratings say otherwise.

    I completely share your thoughts and overall sentiment on Star Trek '09, for obvious (to you and I at least) reasons.

    In my opinion, the Star Trek film "experiment" as a whole has been a failure. None of the Star Trek movies ever matched TOS or TNG at their best. They could have been SO much better. Of course if you look at it from a purely financial standpoint, it's been a success for the most part, but that means little to me. The TNG movies especially were painfully disappointing. Patrick Stewart and company *really* deserved better. At least when you combine the Original 6 movies, there's about 2 or 3 movies worth of good stuff spread out in there. There's *maybe* an episode's worth of good stuff in the TNG movies... Ugh.



    I sound like I hate these movies, but I just find them very disappointing, compared to what they should have been. Okay, I DO hate a few of them. But I do still get enjoyment out of watching some of them as well. Quite a bit of enjoyment for a few of them. They are guilty pleasures for the most part, but they can be a lot of fun in the right mindset.

    But, in the end, I would happily throw them all away for one more *good* season of TOS or TNG.
     
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2012
  15. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    If TMP had delivered then things would have been different afterward. But there are reasons the film came out as it did and it seems no one would acknowledge what those were and accept responsibility. I suppose it wasn't unexpected TPTB reacted as they did by wanting to jettison everything but the cast, the sets and the filming miniature.

    TMP echoed "The Cage" in some respects because it proved that Trek on film could work and make money, but it wasn't exactly what everyone had expected. All manner of reasons have been given, but if the film hadn't been saddled with the costs of the aborted Phase II production then the financial aspect looks a lot better because no one can say TMP didn't make money. It ended up being one of the better performing films.

    Leading up to TMP no one could decide what kind of film they wanted yet everyone seemed to know what they didn't want. It's almost like "they wanted it all" and couldn't figure out how to get it. Hence the pressure to tell a "big" story. Although you can't blame the fans there was also a heightened expectation and with every fan possible hoping for something different from the next fan.

    I applaud them for wanting to do something different from Star Wars. It is more in keeping with TOS' somewhat more "cerebral" or thoughtful approach overall.

    But the story they went with simply wasn't complete with all the kinks worked out before they switched gears and tried to rush out a feature film based on it.
     
  16. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    ^^^ If Star Wars was indeed the impetus for the studio to make ST into a feature film, we can be very glad that TPTB didn't force it into a ripoff copycat. They could have imagined all the things they thought made SW popular (kewl lazer battles, funny robots, etc) and stuck them into their Star Trek movie, just to capitalize.

    There were many SW ripoffs at the time, trying to ride the bandwagon. Most failed terribly. It could have been so, so horrible for Star Trek.

    And then I think about Star Trek 09...
     
  17. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    While we scrutinize the Trek films even after so many years you gotta wonder what the Enterprise crew watch for entertainment.

    [​IMG]

    McCoy: "Dammit, Jim! There's nothing worth watching this evening. Nothing but reruns."

    Kirk: "Shut up, Bones, I haven't had time to see a lot of these."


    And the series we never saw...

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't know about that. Everyone admits it was a mistake to start with an unfinished script. The critical error was block-booking the film into theaters which set an unalterable end-date, which effectively forced them to start before the script was ready. The Robert Abel problem just exacerbated the situation.

    Let's put a name on TPTB: Nick Meyer. In his memoir he basically said he decided to zig where TMP zagged:
    [RIGHT]
    [/RIGHT]
     
  19. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Speaks volumes to me about someone who didn't understand shit about TOS and its universe. Says Robert Wise grasped it better than Meyer did.
     
  20. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

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    I would have to agree. While I generally enjoy Meyer's Trek films, the above quote makes me glad he didn't have the budget he wanted...