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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    ^^ It's a similar sentiment that motivated me to create those images in the first place.

    Somewhere I have images that look like a collection of screencaps from New Era episodes that never actually existed.
     
  2. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I've probably spent more time complaining about SFS than I have TheAbramsThing(s) and 21st Century Bond put together (which is a whole lot of bitching, believe me!)

    But I just watched it again a few minutes ago and didn't nod off or fast forward. In fact, except for the 'klingon bastards' line , it worked emotionally all the way through. It's still megadumb, but I'm BEGINNING to understand why people make excuses for it. The things I hate I still absolutely hate, but there was no blood pressure rise ... this time.
     
  3. gottacook

    gottacook Captain Captain

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    I just watched III and IV for the first time in many years, a few days apart. To me IV is just not aging well, relative to III.

    The rhythm of IV is misshapen. The threat-to-Earth scenes at the beginning feel like they go on forever, with needless insertions (sorry, Majel) of a character called simply "Chapel" saying lines anyone could have said. The middle part is lots of fun, but Kirk has just lost his son and shouldn't be having so much fun (I'm well aware that in the real world 2.5 years passed between theatrical releases of III and IV). And the whale/probe conversation also seems unending.

    I am not about to start reediting the movie, nor would I do so without being able to replace the music in any event. But somewhere in there is a movie I would actually enjoy seeing again.

    By contrast, I found that I could forgive III its weaknesses. First-time director, middle chapter of longer story, etc.
     
  4. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Can you name some of your specific criticisms? I'm curious.
     
  5. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I'm headed out the door to the doctor right now, but will be back at you with this in a few hours.
     
  6. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    EDIT ADDON: my thoughts on SFS failings, dumbnesses, wrong turns, all in no particular order ... I'm sure there are plenty of things I'm missing or going light on, but like I said, this last time I really enjoyed the movie all the way through, so I must be mellowing ...

    Your ship is dead. The planet below is inhabited by armed klingons, and apparently is blowing itself up. There's a ship with only a couple people on it parked right next to you. Most of them are going to be dead when they come aboard your ship. So what do you do? beam to the other ship and take it over, then be in a position to rescue those down below, dictating terms to the surviving armed baddies down there? No, let's beam down to the exploding planet, then try to talk the reasonable-minded guy who just killed another starship and your son into bringing you up.
    This is just one of several bits in SFS that are just recycling similar scenes in TWOK but giving them slightly different spins ... and it shows how you can reuse bits, but by doing so out of context, you're guaranteed to not achieve the same effect. 'You're going to have to come down here' in TWOK becomes, 'you're going to have to bring us up there to get it." Likewise, the RELIANT sneak attack scene plays out in SFS with the major deviation being Greedo -- sorry, the Enterprise shooting first. I think dramatically recycling the same bits with tiny spins is the dramatic equivalent to Meyer's take on tracking in pre-existing music to your film, that it is like getting kissed over the telephone. Diminished effect, to be sure.

    The worst for me is the fact Kirk doesn't SEE his son killed. You can justify Kirk's reaction -- but to do so he needs to see it, not hear Saavik have to say the dramatically unplayable 'Admiral ... David is dead" line. You can justify a vidfeed from GoogleGenesis or from a klingon tricorder on the surface or however, but put it up there on the big viewscreen and let him see it happen. There are times when visual discretion is wonderful, but this is TREK's big SPACE OPERA film, with planets blowing up and sturm and drang ... the hero shouldn't be performing histrionics on the basis of what amouts to being a singing telegram.

    As far as that goes, the interim between when the Enterprise automatics fail and when the self-destruct stuff happens ... shouldn't Scotty be doing his miracle worker thing for real right then, running down with Chekov and Sulu and trying to load a torp manually?

    The whole 'backing out' of dock aspect was a really blown opportunity ... if you're going to do it that way, with the doors just BARELY opening in time, then Sulu should have had to rotate the whole ship through a quarter barrel roll to minimize the ship's profile while those doors were opening. A huge missed opportunity to do a real cliffhanging moment, instead of just playing at it and then cutting away to miss what should have looked like a similar moment in GALAXY QUEST and STARSHIP TROOPERS.

    Spacedock - the idea of putting such a terrestrial-based concept in space is utterly STAR WARS, not Trek. Whether the spacedock interior really was just the deathstar2 reactor model or not (not inclined to going into that one again), it certainly LOOKS like it. More of the bigger-is-better bullshit, no notion of 'my what a big target I am' or how silly it is to put doors on a structure like this, just so they can fail. ILM started designing the TREK universe (even props!) with this one, and it was pretty much all wrong IMO. It's not just aesthetics either ... it takes you out of a movie if you see something that looks like it should be getting strafed by a star destroyer in a TREK movie ... or it should, anyway.

    More trivial ones ...

    The idea the ship is too old, when we're at most a decade or 12 years past the refit (don't bother quoting Okuda for the 'official' year, I don't buy that any more than the notion that the refit is a constitution -- it is ENTERPRISE-class.) More arbitrary plotting based on need to steer story a particular way without regard for legitimacy of notion.

    The idea that Spock would stop aging because he was moved away from the genesis effect has from day 1 sounded as preposterous as anything else about Genesis. What, does that mean if Spock gets near green protomatter he'll suddenly start aging again? It just sounds like contrivance on top of contrivance, and arbitrary as hell.

    Here's one I'll include apart from the others, because I don't know that it is dumb (it certainly works dramatically, and forms the basis for the remaining TOS pics in terms of making them seem very contemporary) ... the idea that Federation and Starfleet are so fucking paranoid about Genesis that they are throwing these guys under the bus and watching their every move and saying things like, "i don't think you ought to be discussing this subject in public." That's about what I'd expect from the US navy in 1967, when they told the crew of the LIBERTY that they couldn't discuss who it was that strafed them with machine gun fire and napalmed them and then torpedoed them after machine gunning all their lifeboats. The unevolved Federation from SFS onward in the TOS films -- even Nimbus III in TFF, because apparently that was designed to fail -- isn't just at odds with Roddernberry, but with a legitimate democracy in general. It isn't like section 31 is doing some black ops thing ... we're talking about spying on citizens and denying them freedom of expression. And it isn't even a specifically Starfleet thing, so it isn't like 'obey my order' ... the guy who takes McCoy in is FEDERATION security, not Starfleet.
    All of that would be fine if they had kept Sowards' notion for TWOK ... that Starfleet had just abandoned the 'boldly go' policy in favor of just holding onto and protecting the systems they had, and that Kirk at 50 had his midlife crisis because everything his career was about was being discarded. So you'd have known this was a future that was reverting back more toward what we had ... and it would have been interesting if over the films the originally 'boldly go' got reinstated in part through the efforts and sacrifices of these guys. But that TWOK backstory didn't happen, which makes what follows seem arbitrary as all get-out to me.

    My wife pointed out that some of the inexplicable reversals from TWOK to SFS (specifically Kirk going from 'I feel young' to "the death of spock is an open wound.") is kinda understandable given that grief is not a linear process ... you don't necessarily get better and better, you could have off days. So again, I'm being a little more forgiving.
     
  7. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    The missing scene, of course, was Chapel escorting Sarek to the Council Meeting. "You're not too late, Ambassador". It was in the comic adaptation. A nice little acknowledgement of the Spock/Chapel encounters in TOS, and that Chapel had been missing from ST II and III.

    Cameos by Kyle (ST II), Rand (STs III and IV) and Chapel aren't "needless insertions" for fans of those characters.
     
  8. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I was a huge fan of Kyle in the series (thought he demonstrated more personality than Sulu), but geez, his TWOK bit looks like an outtake and has no business being in the final cut. Turn and hold profile ... hold ... ARGHHH! It's like they brought somebody in from Super-8 parody or something.
     
  9. gottacook

    gottacook Captain Captain

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    I hadn't heard about the extra Chapel scene - was it written but not filmed? By "needless" I simply meant she was given no dialogue that was meaningful to the story or revealing of her as a character - practically no dialogue at all, for that matter.

    Unplayable is right, especially if your character is supposed to be some kind of Vulcan. But as far as seeing him killed, we don't even see that Saavik sees him at that moment. Was Nimoy reluctant to show the actual killing? Was it scripted to occur offstage? Or was it filmed but edited out later for some reason? I don't recall this being addressed on the TSFS commentary track (which I enjoyed, for Robin Curtis' contribution among others).
     
  10. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Just a wild theory: Maybe there was some concern about protecting the film's PG rating? Perhaps having David murdered onscreen might have been judged as too intense?

    (Note that in Wrath of Khan, the bit where Khan tortures and slaughters the staff at the space station also occurs offstage. Perhaps for the same reason?)
     
  11. EliyahuQeoni

    EliyahuQeoni Commodore Commodore

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    Your other criticisms are valid for the most part (Valid enough that I don't feel the need to argue against them). Yet all of them I either never noticed until they were pointed out, or never bothered me that much. Except the one I quoted above. The logic in this bugged me when I first saw the movie when I was 11. It never made much sense to me & I never felt the concept (if there was one) was explained very well. I love TSFS, but this is the one major blemish I see in the film.
     
  12. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    Didn't even have PG13 invented yet, and while TEMPLE OF DOOM was this same year, that stuff was a lot more graphic than showing a knife going into this blonde kid. You know they weren't going to do it as a PSYCHO knifing, so I can't see ratings being an issue here at all.

    I would guess the handling of the killing was a matter of taste (when protoSpock inadvertently kills a klingon that also barely registers), but my view has always been that Nimoy should never have taken the scene on stage as written, for the reason I cited above. But then I also blame him for taking the Romulan out of Saavik (I remember in the novelization she just goes berserk after David is killed, being phasered or disruptored over & over till she is finally blasted unconscious.) It kinda bugs me that Alley got the good scenes to play (and didn't do all of them that well) whereas Curtis had the talent but only got the dregs.

    With TWOK, I think showing all that would have been a needless digression, because you can already see what Khan is capable in his eyes .... I just rewatched TWOK tonight and was amazed at just how powerful his early scenes are, just with the implied menace (probably didn't even need to show as much with the eels -- always hated that giant fake ear.) I thought his performance weakens a lot as it goes on, but perhaps that is because he is doing most of his performing against an unseen opponent later on, rather than with live actors. Or it could be a deficiency in Meyer's work, I dunno.
     
  13. Marsden

    Marsden Commodore Commodore

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    On the subject of Rand in the movies, did someone still have an "agenda" against her? She's actually only in 2 movies and in both she displays incompetence or lack of intelligence in both.

    I'm pretty sure the red haird GLW cameo in III was not Rand, unless she was borrowing the Captain she's sleeping with's rank pins.

    For the record, I liked Rand, and thought they handled her original removal poorly, and the movies don't show her well.

    Any notion of a Star Trek VII staring Captain Sulu really couldn't have been possible after that scene after Sulu talks to the Klingon in the begining.
     
  14. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I agree with your criticism of the way Starfleet is depicted. I remember reading a fanzine article on the movie, where it brought that issue up, saying essentially "what the heck has happened to Starfleet?"

    Actually, the whole subplot of the "going renegade" against Starfleet has always seemed very contrived to me. I mean, Kirk was THERE at the formation of the Genesis planet, and he's an admiral, and one of the most famous figures in the Federation. Yet Starfleet is throwing up all these bureaucratic obstacles in his path for no reason other than to create conflict.
     
  15. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    She's wearing a 'Commander' pin.
     
  16. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I thought she was in 4, not 2. TMP, SFS, TVH (she may not have any dialog in the final cut, but isn't she jumping up and down at the end when the sun comes out?) and TUC on EXCELSIOR.
     
  17. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    I don't know. Kirk butting heads with the brass and Federation bureaucrats was kind of a staple of the original series. Kirk defied orders to divert course to Vulcan in "Amok Time," for instance. And he regularly clashed with troublesome Commissioners in episodes like "The Trouble with Tribbles," "A Taste of Armageddon," "The Galileo Seven," etc.

    This was the same sorta thing, just on a larger scale.
     
  18. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I don't see this as remotely similar to those other situations. Dealing with some self-important politico operating well out of his comfort level is nothing like the overall feel of coming back to an Earth where, as my favorite 90s era commander would say, 'nothing's the same anymore.' The stakes of Kirk losing his command were the same in many eps as SFS, but that kind of thing is just a go-to for kicking things up a notch dramatically, whereas the situation in SFS suggests something much further reaching and dire (probably not unlike the stuff in the first Shatnerverse book, which I recall as having a guy something like the Peter Weller character in the new movie.)

    Even the defying-Starfleet-on-getting-Spock-to-Vulcan thing is a matter of a commander in the field making the on-the-spot call, which can be justified to some degree even w/o T'Pau's assistance. I think I remember David Gerrold's assessment of the way things were in SFS in his revised WORLD OF STAR TREK -- the one I didn't ever buy because it cut too much good stuff from the original -- was that it looks like Starfleet doesn't ever want this team operating together again, so it wasn't just me getting that vibe from the movie. Whether that is just the Bennettization of Trek or something else, I don't know, but it felt as wrong and unTrek to me as seeing the blocky ILM-designed structure that lacked the built-in-space beauty of the TMP latticework dock.

    I've only rarely ever gotten out of a movie and went home to write what I thought the followup had to be -- it happened with ALIENS and with SFS. Neither of them remotely resembled what the followups actually were (my aliens followup was probably closer to what the next PROMETHEUS sequel might be in terms of where they went, but not what they did), but in the case of SFS, I really thought Kirk & co needed to spend their golden years doing their thing on their own, that the whole Starfleet/Federation aspect was a big weight on the storytelling as well as being an expense to have to depict which could be saved and put into depicting those strange new worlds in ways that didn't look like white blankets on top of inverted tripods (which is how some of those cacti look in SFS.)

    Plus I felt then (and still do) that I was a lot more interested in these people than in the organization they served as depicted in the films. Would have been very happy to see these folks FIREFLYing along in the BoP for another few pics. I remember my mom liking the idea as a way of getting back to ShangriLa, or 'you CAN go home again, you just can't take the old familiar family car to get there.'