The Cloud Minders: So Much Weird!

Discussion in 'Star Trek - The Original & Animated Series' started by Joe_Atari, Aug 24, 2014.

  1. Joe_Atari

    Joe_Atari Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Just caught "The Cloud Minders" on MeTV tonight. One of my least favorite episodes (lacks the campy appeal of "Spock's Brain" and the so-bad-it's-fun of "And The Children Shall Lead") of any Trek series, and not helped at all by being the severely edited syndication cut. Still it's becoming like The Room for me: a train wreck I can't stop watching.

    Just so much bizarre in this episode -- to name a few:

    - Shatner's odd, disjointed performance in the opening scene in the teaser (was the director asleep?)

    - "For what purpose?" -- not once, not twice, but three times (the first two occurrences within five minutes of one another!)

    - The repeated use of optical zooms -- although I found the one transitioning to Vanna's torture scene quite effective

    - The "Whoareyouwhatisthemeaningofthisattack?" dub is often mentioned, but Plasus' line "Leave here at once; go to your music" is not only unintentionally funny, but doesn't even sound like Jeff Corey and seems to be covering up a different line. Anyone know what it originally was in the shooting script?

    - Speaking of Corey, I've not seen him in anything else, but yikes, that performance... And wasn't he an acting instructor?

    - I've almost always found TOS' tracking of music from other episodes very well done, but the use of the climactic "Where No Man Has Gone Before" music for the fisticuffs on the planet surface in the first act was horribly inappropriate; doesn't work at all for me. Was Bob Justman in charge of the music tracking and wasn't this episode after he left the series?

    - I just noticed that after Kirk, Plasus, and Vanna beam up to the transporter room toward the end of the episode, Vanna mysteriously falls to the floor unconscious shortly after beaming! If she was just in the way in the transporter platform shot, surely the director could have found a way to leave her on the planet instead.

    - The Zenite gas mask has to rank with Dr. Crusher's early-season one TNG headgear/eyepiece as one of the strangest Trek props ever. How is that supposed to stay on the wearer's head anyway with that single strap over the top? It seems ready to fall off Shatner's head in every shot!

    - In the midst of all the bizarre, I noticed one more thing I had never seen before: There's that ubiquitous, time-saving stock shot of the bridge (taken from between the communications and science stations) with Takei at the helm, (I think) Billy Blackburn at navigation, and looking at the viewscreen. The shot dates back to early in the first season and usually features Shatner sitting in the captain's chair, standing up, walking around, etc. In "Cloud Minders" however, the shot features Nimoy instead of Shatner doing basically the same movements. I can't recall the Nimoy shot being used anywhere else in the series; is it unique to this episode?
     
  2. Melakon

    Melakon Admiral Admiral

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    "Very well, if you prefer the rays!"
     
  3. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    One of my favorite episodes, fourth from the end of the TOS series. Gave us a rare look at a Federation Member planet and it's government, important clues as to the organization of the Federation.

    Spock get to wax romantic for a hot skinny girl.

    Art terrorists.

    Contains one of Kirk's best lines ever; "Die from something that can't be seen? You astound me, Vanna."

    :)
     
  4. ZapBrannigan

    ZapBrannigan Commodore Commodore

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    The Spock version was also seen in "Arena" and "The Paradise Syndrome." If you look closely, you can tell that the uniforms are velour and thus don't match up with third season episodes.

    If you A/B the Kirk and Spock shots, it's pretty clear they were filmed on the same occasion. If I remember correctly, it was referred to as a "tie-down shot" in the Solow/Justman book.

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/1x18hd/arenahd309.jpg

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/3x21hd/thecloudmindershd1056.jpg
     
  5. Green Shirt

    Green Shirt Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    An oxymoron if ever I heard one. :devil:
     
  6. Commishsleer

    Commishsleer Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Bottom 5 episode for me.
    Can't get over the Spock/Droxine thing to see what's good in this episode.

    I realise that Droxine is hot but she's also quite vacuous - more suited for Riker methinks.
     
  7. Fruitcake

    Fruitcake Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I don't think she's hot. I think she is pretty weird looking, which is a big :techman: because she is an alien.

    I love this ep though. For the different setting.
     
  8. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Boy, you really didn't like it, eh? :rommie:

    I don't know, I enjoyed The Cloudminders, but you brought up some interesting points that had not occurred to me.

    The two things that I noticed about the episode was that:

    1) Spock talking about pon farr seemed out of character to me (one of only 2 times that I noticed that the character wasn't living up to his established history; the other was his attitude in "That Which Survives".

    2) Its eyes were bigger than its stomach: the budget was WAY too slashed to do what they wanted to do. The caves, the city of Stratos. They did their best, but you can see this had a sweeping, epic nature that they wanted to convey about the planet, and they didn't quite pull it off. But I was still able to enjoy it as if it were live stage production of a Star Trek episode. And that meant that I thought the writing and acting was good.

    I think I know what you mean about Jeff Corey, who not only was an acting instructor but I believe he was also Nimoy's acting instructor. So it was cool to see teacher-student onscreen together like Pacino-Lee Strasberg in Godfather II.

    I found there was a certain truthfulness saturated in Jeff Corey's performance. There was a certain rawness and, yes, vitality about it. I thought he was effective. He unapologetically wore his emotions on his sleeve, and that honesty of expression is what endeared his performance to me.
     
  9. The Old Building & Loan

    The Old Building & Loan Auld Lang Mod Moderator

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    You forgot to punctuate that with a clap.
     
  10. Ríu ríu chíu

    Ríu ríu chíu Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Or a cowbell.
     
  11. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    You have difficulty with connecting "hot" and "girl?"
    From Spock's point of view, Droxine was urbane, cultured, educated, reserved, soft-spoken, she comes off as calm and cool. Spock, with his Vulcan up-bring, would find all of these attributes a plus.

    Apparently Droxine is the kind of woman that Spock is attracted to. We've only seen Spock in a off-duty, private setting with a female on few occasions. this might be one of the few times we've seen this part of Spock's true character.

    Also, physically compare Zoe Saldana's Uhura to Diana Ewing's Droxine. Willowy, slim and slender, small breasted, flat tummy, toned but not muscled. Both actresses 5' 7".

    She is physically Spock's "type."

    :)
     
    Last edited: Aug 24, 2014
  12. Ithekro

    Ithekro Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Her outfit also has her navel exposed, which I seem to recall was something that was not done on TV eariler in Star Trek.
     
  13. Push The Button

    Push The Button Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Droxine doesn't do anything for me, I find Vanna to be much more attractive and interesting.
     
  14. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Droxine's voice would begin to grate on my nerves after a very short time. Maybe it was just her delivery, her lines had a weird oscillation of tonal quality...
     
  15. The Old Building & Loan

    The Old Building & Loan Auld Lang Mod Moderator

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    It was done at least a couple of times in the previous season's "Mirror, Mirror" and "A Private Little War", but was an issue for Barbara Eden during the same period...possibly a difference in time slot standards.
     
  16. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    When I was younger I didn't much care for this episode. But the passage of years has changed my opinion. Like other third season efforts it has its rough edges, but overall I feel rather favourable towards it. It also has a still relevant message in the story: that many of those who toil for the good of those above them in society often don't benefit or get to enjoy the rewards of their toil.

    This scenario had been playing out in human societies since history began and it's still happening today.


    In some respects I find "The Cloud Minders" to be an interesting companion piece to "Plato's Stepchildren" where the elite of society fully believed they had the right to manipulate and exploit others to the point of treating them as disposable. That's another message I think is still very relevant today.
     
  17. Joe_Atari

    Joe_Atari Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    If nothing else, certainly one of the more quotable episodes. How about Spock's, "The captain will employ his usual diplomatic balm." (I kinda wish they had cut directly to the shot of Kirk brandishing the phaser, but that might have been too much). Or Plasus', "I have been here nearly an hour... of your Earth time!"

    Didn't hate it, but even at its worst I never find Trek completely unwatchable; it can always be enjoyed on some level. TFF is redeemed by the sheer epicness of Shatner's ego on full, unfettered display. I thoroughly enjoy the scores for "Spock's Brain" and "And The Children Shall Lead" (minus the juvenile "kiddie" cues in the latter), and Shatner losing it in the cave and turbolift in "Children" is... I just can't take my eyes off of it.

    Now I do find bits and pieces here and there borderline unwatchable, like the Klingon translation scene in TUC, Cochrane's "astronauts on some kind of star trek" line in FC, the dune buggy chase in NEM, or the VFX in TFF.

    This is why I cut TMP and TFF so much slack (and in spite of its many flaws TMP is still my favorite Trek film). They, like "Cloud Minders", tried. TMP suffered from its rushed post-production and TFF from its screenplay and above-the-line costs (i.e. Shatner and Nimoy's salaries). The Stratos set design was so ambitious and I love the up-angle shot of the transport pad with the smoke, er, clouds over the orange sky. And although I'm not a fan of the TOS-R space-based VFX overall (and I fully understand the restrictions and elements they had to work with), I found CBS-D's episode-specific work here exemplary -- truly enhancing the episode without going over-the-top (ala "Doomsday Machine"). I wish they had done more with the Troglyte's fall (some realistic tumbling or flailing perhaps?), but incorporating the new visuals into the Spock monologue scene (with all of the fades) must have been brutal. Kudos CBS-D!

    Not to stray from "Cloud Minders", but this is the problem I have with recent Trek productions; all that money and talent and all the producers can come up with are tired retreads and revenge plots? Clichéd villains in trenchcoats?

    It's just his often over-the-top, hysterical (not in the funny sense) deliveries that detract for me, like:

    "Did you also forget your transport card?"

    "Could this perhaps be it???"

    "I am high advisor of all the planet; I will take no more orders!"

    Maybe Corey was playing to the banality of the lines he was given, and he probably didn't have enough screen time to convey any, say, inner conflict of the character, but I just couldn't take him seriously as the episode's heavy. He's supposed to be an unapologetic slave driver, right? I can't help thinking a more subtle, sinister approach to the character would have helped, like James Gregory in "Dagger of the Mind" where he pivoted on a dime from affable, benevolent caregiver to sadistic torturer (even though his motivations were not made clear in the final cut of that episode).
     
  18. EnriqueH

    EnriqueH Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Joe, I'm relaxing on the beach so I'll be brief:

    I disagree with your thoughts on Cloudminders, but I love how you've stated your case and explained your viewpoints.

    Nicely done.

    I hope we'll be hearing more from you.
     
  19. Joe_Atari

    Joe_Atari Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Which I did... way more times than I want to admit. :lol: Thanks for the links!

    It always struck me how cleverly the shot (like the more common one from the captain's chair) was often edited in with the surrounding footage, particularly early on in the series. Based on this I recalled the shot was used in "Metamorphosis" (at around 37:18) because it accompanied one of my favorite music cues in the series ("Nancy Sobs" if anyone's interested), but neither Kirk or Spock were on the bridge in the scene (Scotty was in command). The creators used part of the shot (apparently the Spock version) with an empty captain's chair and then cut to a shot of Scotty standing to the left of the chair.

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/2x09hd/metamorphosishd1027.jpg

    http://tos.trekcore.com/hd/albums/2x09hd/metamorphosishd1032.jpg

    Pretty seamless really, although later they had problems matching it with scenes where Sulu's viewer was up.
     
  20. Green Shirt

    Green Shirt Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Yes, if the word "skinny" is used as a connector. ;)