Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Captain Clark Terrell, Sep 2, 2013.
That I did not know about The Trial.
I think Perkins relates the car anecdote in that British 3 hr TV thing about Welles that aired a short while after his death. I know it was definitely something I saw rather than read, and I haven't seen that in a very long time (my VHS tape disintegrated before the turn of the century.)
Oh, well, that explains some of my confusion, then. I didn't know that. I thought the film by credit was always assigned to the director, as illustrated here. Wikipedia aside, it's certainly been that way in every film I've ever made note of it in. Anyway, in this particular case, the film by credit went to the director.
The order of billing is negotiated with the exception of Guild mandated placements, anything before the titles is totally a contractual issue.
Here's a DGA article on possessory credits, as I have now learned that they are called, and the Wikipedia article. I found the discussion in the DGA article of the so-called billboard mandatory "film by" provision, which is no longer in effect, illuminating.
Well ... perhaps, it was foolish and vain of me to expect agreement. But Next Generation took STAR TREK to the franchise level and did it so well, that I was confident agreement was inevitable.
However, as Shatner so memorably put it in his own Valentine to Kirk - THE FINAL FRONTIER:
"... I was wrong."
And another thing ...
Harve Bennette has railed on, over the years, how THE MOTION PICTURE was so much in denial over the passage of time, that the cast was even made-up to look younger. I would challenge that by noting the challenge of Decker in TMP. Age does seem to be a factor.
In fact, it was only Kirk's "experience" that gave any truth to his argument to STARFLEET that he should be in command. I love it, most of all, that Decker was not made to look incompetent, just to make Kirk look cool, or to prove that the center seat of the ENTERPRISE belongs to Jim Kirk. Later, in GENERATIONS, the ENTERPRISE B captain has to be shown as incompetent to do both.
Why Hollywood feels this need to beat people over the head with plot points, or whatever, I don't know. But the subsequent sequels make TMP's writing look (relatively) so much more sophistocated and subtle. And even though there were several writers involved in the script's evolution, I'd like to credit Gene Roddenberry for that.
Once GR was taken out of the loop, STAR TREK lost a lot of it's subtlety. Like having it shoved in our face(s) where Khan got all his MOBEY DICK quotes, for one thing. "Remember Ahab, kids? Yeah! That's right, you remember! Khan's like Ahab. You understand, now." And on and on, down the line, with many of these films ...
The Next Generation succeeded in spite of Roddenberry not because of him, I believe. So much of what we got was inspired by people other than Roddenberry, which is why he ended being sued for creator credit (by D.C. Fontana, David Gerrold, Bob Justman) and settled the issue quietly. Without Justman we wouldn't have gotten a Klingon on the bridge nor Patrick Stewart. Away Teams were directly lifted from David Gerrold's 1973 book "The World of Star Trek".
Paramount was going to take and create a new Star Trek with or without Roddenberry. They actually tried to get people like Tracey Torme, Greg Strangis and Leonard Nimoy (name sound familiar? ) to create and run a new series before settling or Roddenberry after the others rejected the offer.
Turning Star Trek into a franchise may have been inevitable, but I'm still not sure it was a good thing for its long term health. With each version, the overall product became a little less special and and a lot more dull.
That's unfair. Harriman had plenty of good ideas; he was just hampered by the fact that the ship was incomplete and he didn't have the resources he needed to carry them out. And he then made the smartest, most responsible choice he could have: asking the more seasoned Kirk to help, taking advantage of the best resource he had available. An incompetent commander would have let his ego get in the way of completing the mission. By having the good judgment to defer to Kirk, Harriman proved his competence. (After all, part of being a good commander is delegating. Kirk usually asked Spock and Scotty for ideas rather than doing it all himself.)
Except that Decker didn't make Kirk look cool, at least not at first. Decker recommended more simulations for the warp drive before using it, and he was right because Kirk flew the ship into a wormhole. When Kirk tried to fix the problem by using phasers that weren't functioning, Decker was again correct in changing Kirk's order. His quick thinking saved the ship.
It was only after McCoy called Kirk out for his behavior that the latter realized he was letting his ego get in the way of making sound command decisions. Kirk later avoided another confrontation with Decker after the two disagreed about raising shields against a possible assault, recognizing that Decker was merely doing his job by pointing out alternative strategies to his captain.
When I think about Decker's character, I don't see someone whose purpose was to make Kirk look good as much as it was to remind Kirk that even an experienced commander could stand learn something from one of his shipmates, something Kirk had forgotten in his push to regain the center seat. Kirk's experience did make a difference near the film's conclusion, something that Decker seemed to accept.
But Decker's own presence helped Kirk focus his energies in the right places, which is exactly why he was aboard the ship in the first place. The executive officer's job is to advise and guide his captain in making decisions (though the captain has final say in what those decisions are). Decker may have been intended to make Kirk look good, but I think he proved he was just as deserving of a command as Kirk based on his own decision-making and concern for his crew. Had he not left with V'Ger, I'd have enjoyed seeing him gain command of another ship.
Yes, you're both saying the same thing -- that Decker was not made incompetent to make Kirk look cool. I think you missed the "not."
Yes. That is correct - thank you, sir.
As for Harriman's situation, yes that is very apparent, that he's been "caught with his britches down," as it were, but has nothing to do with him, personally. Perhaps it's because of the direction, here, going for dramatic effect and big emotions, or whatever... but the looks both captains throw eachother and their general interaction comes off as Kirk being the go-to-guy and Harriman doesn't deserve his own captaincy. Especially when he says some technobable nonesense about using the nacelles and Kirk just shakes his head at him, as if to say, "no. Not going to work, there, sonny boy."
"Oh, but the gravimetric waves will tear this ship apart, if we save those people," implores Harriman.
"Risk is part of the job, if you want to sit in the captain's chair!" admonishes Kirk.
And Harriman's constant state of uncertainty and insecurity is very disturbing, considering he's a STARFLEET captain. I mean ... was he bounced up the chain of command and given STARFLEET's flagship, while he was still a cadet, because of politics - only not being quite prepared for it, like Kirk was? And the circumstances of everything coming together "next Tuesday" and all of that, is a very lazy setup for Kirk's derring-do and as such ... I do not care for it.
Whilst these events that play out ARE beyond anyone's control, only Kirk is confident enough, experienced enough and strong enough to keep it together. So, when Kirk finally relinquishes command back to Harriman, it's almost as if those reporters being there is what saved Kirk from relieving him of that command, in the first place. The way the whole scene plays out, clearly, Harriman was meant to go and get zapped by the Nexus. I know that's not how the FACTS are but that's definitely the vibe I get ...
Surely that wasn't a good day for Harriman, but just because he was less experienced and had the odds stacked against him, that doesn't mean he was incompetent. Like I said, he was wise enough to realize that the right thing to do was to defer to Kirk. He put the good of others above his pride. That alone earns him my respect.
And several of the novels capture Kirk's thoughts about Harriman during those scenes. Kirk seemed to think Harriman would do well as he gained more experience and actually thought it was the fault of Starfleet that the Enterprise would be out of spacedock without proper staff or equipment aboard, not Harriman.
Part of Harriman's seeming uncertainty is he already knows he doesn't have all the equipment he needs for a rescue mission, then he has to explain each of these things to Kirk. On top of all this, there's a press crew aboard televising everything, apparently "live".
Part of the impression may be due to casting. Alan Ruck is quite talented, but seems to specialize with slightly introverted characters.
I was just about to point this out.
Ruck doesn't have much of a "command presence", probably one of the reasons he was chosen. So Shatner looked even more in control of the scene.
I read somewhere that Shatner got his story idea for STV from GR himself -the idea of finding god. Something Gene always wanted to do (aside from that Kennedy thing)
With respect to the issue of being ill-equipped, that's really not how I saw the scene play out at all. Kirk's line, "You left Spacedock without a tractor beam?" coupled with Shatner's delivery sounds exactly like a personal admonishment. Orders or not, and whatever the consequences to his career, Kirk wouldn't have left Spacedock so ill-prepared, is what he's saying. By implication, Kirk regarded ship's preparedness as ultimately the captain's responsibility.
As for the question of how Kirk thought Harriman might do in the future, I do agree that "Risk is part of the game if you want to sit in that chair" could easily read as Kirk giving Harriman another lesson about the captaincy, under the belief that his words weren't utterly wasted.
Edited to Add: Before someone can say, but what about Kirk taking out the refit Enterprise in TMP while she was still not spaceworthy, that was a bona fide emergency; the Enterprise-B was not launched under an emergency.
oh, and look up "camp."
yup - TFF is extremely Rodenberryesque.
•S: (adj) camp, campy
(providing sophisticated amusement by virtue of having artificially (and vulgarly) mannered or banal or sentimental qualities) "they played up the silliness of their roles for camp effect"; "campy Hollywood musicals of the 1940's"
Separate names with a comma.