Villains, Always With The Villains

Discussion in 'General Trek Discussion' started by InklingStar, Mar 23, 2013.

  1. InklingStar

    InklingStar Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    As we have all been preparing for the new movie this Spring, I got to thinking about the structure of the movies versus the episodes. Something I realized is that nearly all of the movies feature a singular villain. Khan was the first, and in a way, each movie has tried to capture that same sense of malevolence combined with a personal vendetta against the captain. Kruge killed Kirk's son. Sybok was from Spock's past. Chang made it personal with Kirk. Soran and Ru'afo were more generic I think, but the Borg Queen and Shinzon both had a personal score to settle with Picard.

    That seems to be par for the course with most blockbusters these days, as seen in The Dark Knight with Heath Ledger's memorable performance as the Joker. But what got me thinking is the fact that most of the best Star Trek episodes eschew this format.

    Think of the very best episodes of TOS, TNG, DS9, and the others. Who were the villains? In "City On The Edge Of Forever," the villain was time. The villains of "The Trouble With Tribbles" were less mustache-twirling guys than comic relief. The villain of "Balance Of Terror" was not evil at all. "The Best Of Both Worlds"? A faceless collective. (Notice how they created a singular scenery-chewing villain for the movie sequel.) "The Inner Light" had no villain, neither did "The Visitor".

    Even in the movie series, The Motion Picture and The Voyage Home were without villains, and the former is critically appreciated while the latter is one of the most popular with non-fans.

    All that said, my question is why do we need a mustache-twirling scenery-chewing singular villain for every movie anymore? JJ Abrams' series has followed the last few TNG movies in that respect. Nero was a madman driven by revenge. Harrison appears to have his own bone to pick with the Federation, and will blow up lots of stuff in order to accomplish his goals. I think it would be refreshing to have a new Trek movie someday be about encountering the unknown, or solving a complex puzzle, or something along those lines, instead of having the same formula once again.

    (NB: I still enjoy the movies [well maybe not Nemesis so much] and am greatly looking forward to Into Darkness, despite whatever I said here.)
     
    Last edited: Mar 23, 2013
  2. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    TMP's villain was V'Ger.

    Star Trek IV's villain was modern-day Human ignorance & short-sightedness.

    The difference between them and the other more straight-forward flesh & blood villains was that it didn't require phasers to resolve their conflicts, but both posed threats to the survival of the Human race that our heroes had to deal with all the same.

    But TMP being "critically appreciated?" First I've heard of that. More often, I heard it bored most people to tears.

    But I think Star Trek IV resonated with a lot of non-Trekkies because its primary setting was in the current day and there was quite a bit of humor seeing our futuristic heroes being fish out of water in our time (it being a feel good movie also helped, IMO).
     
  3. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Someone had to, if only to stop the whining.

    Please, Cesar Romero was a better Joker than Ledger.

    The villain really was McCoy in that episode, his actions would have resulted in Humanity being enslaved by the Nazis'. He needed to be stopped.

    The villain was the Klingon agent who poisoned the grain. If he had been successful the Federation's enemies would have acquired the disputed planet.

    Debatable, the Romulan commander violate a century old treaty and murdered people in foreign space. His hands were less than clean. "Orders are orders" isn't much of a defense.

    The villain there was the alien VCR that Picard was forced to watch for most of the episode.

    Vger and the probe, both were going to kill everyone on Earth. Their actions made them both villains.



    :)
     
  4. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah, I've pretty much had it with every ST movie needing a evil villain badguy bent on revenge and ensuing space battle climax.

    If these were Bond films, then okay yeah, you gotta have a villain badguy in every film, that's what Bond films are.

    But Star Trek can be SO much more. Look at all the great eps that DIDN'T have an evil villain badguy crazed with vengence and DIDN'T have a kewl space battle.

    More and more, I find myself watching TMP and TVH just to see a Trek film that's NOT Evil Bad Guys and Space Battles.

    Everyone knows ST can be more than that, and hell that's not even a large part of ST to begin with.

    I'm so damn tired of it, if the only ST they can make for the big screen is Evil Villains and Space Battles again and again and again, I'd rather they not make the movies anymore.
     
  5. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    To paraphrase Firefly, "Well, my time of taking you seriously is coming to a middle." Romero better than Ledger? Seriously?
     
  6. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    Pfft. Of course! Look at the menace in this comparison picture. THE MENACE FROM ROMERO IS PALPABLE!

    [​IMG]

    YOU CAN'T EXPLAIN THAT!
     
  7. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I see less "menace" and more "just saw a really ugly, fat guy who was naked."

    but Romero WAS an awesome Joker.
     
  8. Timo

    Timo Admiral Admiral

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    And you don't consider that menacing?

    Talk about a hardened villain...

    I never could take Joker seriously. But Meredith's Penguin sent shivers up and down my spine.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  9. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    I think Kai Winn is the best of the recurring TV villains. I HATED THAT WOMAN. Followed by Seska and Maj Kullah(sp?), who were more like recurring annoyances for the Voyager crew. I did not like the Duras sisters of TNG one bit. LAME. Gul Dukat was okay, but overstayed his welcome by about a dozen episodes. The Borg Queen was good, but became far too petty for what she was supposed to be. The female Changeling was a nonentity. The Xindi weren't truly villains. Future Guy was a plot device. Sellek was good, but also not a true villain.

    In the movies, Khan was decent, but is often overrated. Kruge was a good if bland baddie. Sybok was a good character, but not a villain. Soran could have been so much better. I actually liked Shinzon, the messed up Picard-that-could-have-been who despite all he endured, still managed to achieve ao much. I liked Nero too, he was an angry space trucker who I pitied more than anything.
     
  10. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Like it or not, most Trek movies are action adventures, and that requres a villain to get the ball rolling. TMP and TVH were the only ones which weren't trying to be action adventures, and thus why they don't have specific villains.

    Granted the problem with most Trek movie villains is that for the most part, they suck. Khan, and General Chang are easily the best, though John Harrison is looking promising. The rest are average at best. The Borg Queen was alright in First Contact, it's her Voyager appearances that tarnish the character. Sybok is in interesting character even if he isn't the best villain. Kruge, Soran and Shinzon at least were played by actors who made the characters somewhat entertaining. Ru'afo and Nero were just terrible.
     
  11. SchwEnt

    SchwEnt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Yeah but still...

    At least for me, I'm tired of the Evil Villains all the time. Even if each one was really good... every movie??

    I wanna see my ST changed up a bit.
    "The Measure of a Man"
    "The Visitor"
    "City on the Edge of Forever"
    "The Inner Light"
    "The Trouble with Tribbles"
    "The Naked Time"
    "Amok Time"
    "The First Duty"

    All great eps, no space battles and no Evil Villains.
    There can be dramatic conflict without Super Villains hell-bent on galactic revenge and destruction.
     
  12. LobsterAfternoon

    LobsterAfternoon Commander Red Shirt

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    As long as a villain has a meaning beyond the overt good vs bad conflict, I'm happy. Obviously it's a bit early to judge it, but I suspect Cumberbatch's character in the forthcoming film will have some sort of broader, more sympathetic goal.
     
  13. Pondwater

    Pondwater Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Gul Dukat was the ultimate DS9 Villain.
     
  14. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    What works on TV doesn't always work with movies. The kind of plots Trek does with its movies generally do require villains.
     
  15. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    pre-"waltz," yes he was
     
  16. T'Girl

    T'Girl Vice Admiral Admiral

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    As a Star Trek fan, I would love to see a non-violent drama, an involved mystery story, or even a romantic comedy set on the Enterprise. But no "A -list" movie can play solely to Star Trek fans and exspect to make back it's production costs.

    Now if TPTB were willing to make a B-list Star Trek for around 30 or 40 million, we maybe could see a complex storyline Star Trek movie that wasn't devoted to girls in their underwear, space battles, running up and down corridors, and cardboard cutout "villains."

    Allow me to rephrase, Cesar Romero was a better ACTOR than Ledger. There now, all better.

    :)
     
  17. plynch

    plynch Commodore Commodore

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    V'ger and humanity/time/whale probe were antagonists, but not villains. Sybok was quite sympathetic, not even close to a villain. Chang and Kruge were cool.

    As in "Muwahaha, I am out to get you."

    SO tired of villains, especially the damned vengeance plot. Great in Kahn. Bad in Nemesis. Just plain old in JJTrek.

    My trouble is I don't like action/adventure. Sucks for me I suppose. I don't see any cerebral Trek on the horizon.
     
  18. Pavonis

    Pavonis Commodore Commodore

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    No, not better at all.
     
  19. Nerys Myk

    Nerys Myk The Real Me Premium Member

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    Doesn't Romero mostly play Cesar Romero?
     
  20. Coloratura

    Coloratura Snuggle Princess Premium Member

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    To me, DS9 had the market cornered on great, nuanced major villains. You had:

    Kai Winn, who truly believed she was doing what was right for her people, even as she fed her own vanity.

    Gul Dukat, who considered himself a good, though flawed, man, even as he took bajoran prisoners to his bed, and manipulated them to get what he wanted.

    The Female Changeling, who had no love at all for the solids, but dearly loved her own people and would do anything to protect them, and even Odo, who was a rebellious child in that regard.