Why are the TOS movies better then the TNG movies?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by The Overlord, Sep 23, 2011.

  1. Herkimer Jitty

    Herkimer Jitty Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I grew up on TNG. I was familiar with Picard and Co. before I knew Kirk, Spock, and Bones.

    But I am of the opinion that the TNG films are shite. I doubt just one factor contributed to it, but I guess the direction Trek was headed on TV at the time definitley had a hand in this.

    I'm of the opinion that Berman-era Trek was rooted too deeply in paying homage to past Trek, and adhering to stringent storytelling conventions that strictly structurally defined what Star Trek was. Which more often than not, was boring.
     
  2. Skywalker

    Skywalker Admiral Admiral

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    Aside from TWOK and some of TVH and TUC (basically, the Meyer movies), I don't think the TOS films are really all that much better than the TNG films, overall. They're about even, I think. None of them are on the same level as STXI from a cinematic standpoint, though of course XI's budget was much larger than any of the first ten movies'.
     
  3. Saito S

    Saito S Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Everyone is biased in one way or another. So he doesn't care for TOS, or for most of the TOS movies. I fail to see how that makes his opinion somehow less valid.
    I only felt this way about INS, personally.
    How were the TNG movies "kid friendly", exactly?
    I agree with what you are saying about the problems with Berman-era Trek. That is, I agree with your assesment of what, in general, those problems were, but for me, they didn't have AS much of an impact on my enjoyment of the movies. It very much applies to VOY, however, and even more so to ENT.

    All of that said, I don't think either the TOS or TNG movies have an edge against the other, personally. At their absolute BEST, I feel the movies couldn't touch the very best that the Trek TV shows had to offer in terms of depth. The better ones were fun movies, sure, but that's it. TMP was the only one out of all eleven films that tries to be more than an action movie (and it fails for being just a bad movie, but at least it aimed for some high-concept sci-fi instead of a villain-based action piece). TVH, of course, is also not "villain based action", but it's a comedic romp, and while it's lots of fun, it's hardly deep or impactful beyond that. I will say that several of the movies do a good job with character development, specifically. But in the end, the core of almost every Trek film is "beat bad guy, stop threat, save day."

    My favorites overall are TUC and FC, and even then, I think both of those are "very good", but not "great." TVH, GEN, and STXI slot in next, at "good" (and GEN does get a special mention for being, IMO, the single Trek film with the best cinematography and most grand feel). Most of the rest I generally don't think too highly of, topping out at "okay" or "heavily flawed with some redeeming qualities here and there." The exception is TFF, which just sucks.

    So in the end, my answer to the OP would be: they aren't. But they aren't especially worse on the whole, either.
     
  4. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Those are plot events. DOING something with a character means doing something dramatic: making the character have to solve problems or make a choice. Of the above list the only ones that meet the criteria might be Picard DEALING with the deaths in his family, and Data DEALING with his newfound emotions.
     
  5. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    Die Hard, First Blood, and Enter the Dragon are examples of action movies.

    The Voyage Home is not an action movie at all.

    The Wrath of Khan has quite a bit of action in it, but it also spends a lot of time focusing exclusively on character interactions and development. To say that the only theme of TWOK is to defeat Khan is really to miss the point entirely. It's about facing mortality, most prominently Kirk aging and Spock sacrificing himself to save the ship. The climax of the movie does not come when Khan dies, but when Spock dies.

    The Search for Spock has little action.

    I don't think you are using the term "action film" the way it's generally used. I think a better term for these Star Trek movies would be science fiction adventure films. Others can address the rest.
     
    Last edited: Sep 23, 2011
  6. malchya

    malchya Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I have to agree with the consensus that the TNG films, with the notable exception of First Contact, just felt like extended television episodes. All of them, including First Contact, suffered - IMHO - from being poorly written and edited. The only one of the films that seemed well directed (as in by a Director, not plot direction) was, again, First Contact. For all of my dislike of TWOK, it was well written and generally well directed; where it fell apart for me was in post production (the ship to ship combat was not believable to me, despite the excellent model work). TSFS also had some sfx issues and was more sloppily written, but still better than any of TNG. The only TOS film that, to me, was worse than any of TNG films was TVH. Lordy, but I do despise that sanctimonious piece of ham handed fluff!
     
  7. spooky spice

    spooky spice Commander Red Shirt

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    Agree

     
  8. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It seems to me that Berman wasn't a very powerful movie producer. He got so much shit thrown at him by the studio, do this, do that. Generations was basically the attempt to connect plot points required by Paramount. Insurrection and Nemesis suffered from too much intervention by Stewart and Spiner. Stuart Baird directed Nemesis only because of some flimsy horse-trading with Paramount, and Logan got to write the script because Spiner did him a favor.

    I don't know if stuff like this happened during the production of the TOS movies. Except for The Final Frontier, when Shatner got the job, and Paramount lost faith in the film, and then threw shit at him as well. Paramount could have gotten ILM for the effects and Sean Connery as Sybok, but no, it had to be at the same time as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (also a Paramount movie).
     
  9. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    ^Welcome to Hollywood.
     
  10. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I don't get the criticism that the TNG movies "felt like episodes." Other than INS (and ironically the popular FC, which DID strike me as a plot they could have used for a two-parter, albeit with a lower budget), this doesn't strike me as very accurate.

    I think Generations and Nemesis are both very cinematic and at least LOOKED pretty great, despite whatever other problems they may have had.

    I've never seen this "TNG movies feel like overlong episodes" criticism from professional critics, so I suspect it's a Trek fandom meme.
     
  11. inflatabledalek

    inflatabledalek Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    In addition to the various other things mentioned, I think the TOS films handled the ageing thing much better than the TNG ones did. The fact they're getting older is acknowledged, they don't just stay in the same job for two decades (the short in fiction gap between four and five is the only time the status quo is really maintained, the rest of the time there's a sense they're off living their lives and all doing different things on and off with not everyone staying on the Enterprise all the time).

    There's also a general sensible lack of physical action, and what we do get is either played for laughs (Kirk vs. Kirk or the rock climbing) or has the character at a disadvantage (Kirk only beats Kurge because the planet is exploding around them, and Sybok uses him like a rag doll). About the only serious physical feat in all six films is Kirk and McCoy's march across the ice in VI, and that really hurts McCoy.

    In comparison, the TNG films don't change, evolve or age the characters at all. Even with Data's emotion chip, the one big change, that winds up being seen as such a failure it's forgotten by the final film. They just sit in the same chairs doing the same jobs for 15 years with little sign of anything going on in their lives beyond that (Worf's tenure on DS9 was not only down to outside constraints but had no impact on those two films after his introductory scenes, he might as well have been on the Enterprise all along,. strange they never thought of giving him a subplot where he has to work with the Enterprise's security chief).

    And as they get older you need more and more suspension of disbelieve over the increasingly over the top action scenes. Everyone in Nemesis is younger than the cast of TUC, but Picard and Riker especially look much more worn out and tired than any of Kirk's crew do because we're supposed to try and buy them as being capable of killing an entire bridge crew of Remans alone or beating the shit out of Ron Pearlman. it just looks... silly. In a movie that's trying to be very serious.

    One thing I've always found interesting is how FC really does feel the most cinematic of the TNG movies (though I'd agree with the above that the others aren't that TV like despite their other flaws), but the story is most like that of a TV episode with it's clearly defined and mostly seperate A and B plots. But then, that's a film where objectively I can point at all sorts of things in it and go "That's crap" (Hello Borg Queen) but when watching it I manage to get completely caught up in it and enjoy in immensity despite the logic flaws. Which I suppose, is what a good big dumb action film will do.
     
  12. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It always appeared to me like the entire cast just phoned it in in Nemesis. They weren't fit, they looked fat. And tired. And worn out. And lazy. Stewart sounded like he had a cold.

    Compared to First Contact where they seemed at the height of their fitness and performance. Frakes seemed to be at his thinnest in First Contact, Dorn at his strongest. The perfomances were alround enjoyable, the chemistry was wonderful.

    Insurrection was a bit "lazier", but still about the same level.

    But Nemesis... seriously, something went entirely wrong there. There was a 4 year gap between the movies, but on screen it seems to me like 10 years.
     
  13. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    Star Trek was about the idea that there were no bad guys or aliens but others with different reasons for what they have to do. Think Balance of Terror. No better, no worse. Kirk points out that the Gorn might have had a good reason to destroy Cestus Three, and the climax to me was when he decided not to kill him, today! That shows a radical departure in his thought processes and ability to learn and change and regognize that one sees things as others see you - the reverse side has a reverse side which may be more powerful, who knows. Popular opinion could be wrong and the single metron child noted that complimenting Kirk for not being a good soldier drone of the state.
    The music of the TOS movies were better, or shall I dare say just different and more to my personal taste. They weren't afraid of risk taking as Berman was terrified of. I'm sure when he gets older he is going to save string too.
     
  14. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    With so much money and power at stake he had to be a sure footer from day one. He was a studio stooge after all and like $1000 dollar suits alot. Yet was in control of everything from day one as well, very quitely and oh yes, subtly.
     
  15. OverJoyJackson

    OverJoyJackson Lieutenant Junior Grade

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    What got to me was all the closeups. I think when I saw Leonard Maltin review it he said the same. And usually when a movie uses lots of closeups or zoom ins, its because of a lack $$$ for sets. I think Nemesis is worse than the Final Frontier, which is saying alot.
     
  16. ClayinCA

    ClayinCA Commodore Commodore

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    Oh, come on, she did way more than that. In one movie, she complained about an EMH, and in another, Data threw her into the water. :p

    It's a little more than that--the Washington Post said that "Structurally, [Generations] is an episode of the TV show Star Trek: The Next Generation," and the New York Times called Insurrection "little more than a glorified television episode." The San Francisco Chronicle says that Nemesis "might have made for a novelty episode of the TV series." That's just a superficial search, so I suspect there are a lot more references like that out there.
     
  17. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

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    And she noticed that her boobs have firmed up.
     
  18. xortex

    xortex Commodore

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    That's character enough development for me.
     
  19. sonak

    sonak Vice Admiral Admiral

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    OK, looking back over some of the reviews, I do see it here and there, so it is out there. But I still didn't see it as a common theme from a quick survey of my own, just mentioned in a few reviews.

    However, it's not really explained what it means. I know nothing about film technique, so is it a reference to that? It doesn't make sense as a reference to story or special effects that I can tell.

    I mean, TMP, which literally DOES have a TOS episode plot for its premise, is one of the few Trek films that almost never gets the "TV episode feel to it" criticism, so that particular knock strikes me as arbitrary, a way of saying you didn't like it without really explaining why.


    (If you said, "Generations is a mess, plot-wise and thematically," OK, that's a criticism. But saying "it feels like an overlong episode?" What does that mean? Not to mention I can't see how anything even REMOTELY similar to GEN could be pulled off as a two-part TV episode)
     
  20. BriGuy

    BriGuy Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I know everyone has their opinion, but this is just ridiculous.

    Khan is considered the greatest Trek movie, and solid as a movie in general, and may in the long-run even find itself with the title over the 2009 movie.

    TVH was hugely successful. And yes, TUC was also good.

    As for TNG movies, only FC was a hit. Gen had only the notoriety of being the first, and for being a cross-over movie of TOS and TNG, which was at the same time it's claim to fame and it's undoing.

    As was said, TOS had a bigger leap to make from TV to movie, so its advancement was more noticeable. TNG was higher quality on TV, and it ran longer on TV, and with the exception of FC, it had a hard time leaving its roots.

    Though, I credit a big part of the success of TOS movies to Khan and "Space Seed." The trilogy - Wrath, Search and Voyage are really the highlights and highpoints of the TOS movie franchise. Search may be the weakest, but as the mid-point of the trilogy, at least we had a continuing narrative.

    Once the story thread that started with Khan was gone, TOS movies really became rudderless, it seems, as exhibited so strongly by TFF.