Would TMP have been better had they used the TOS uniforms?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by CaptainMurdock, Feb 17, 2013.

  1. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    OK, it's important to step back from thinking of the Trek universe as existing separate from those who guided it and just accept that there was a sort of push and pull through all Trek's incarnations based on the powers-that-be.

    Gene's vision of Trek de-emphasized rank. That's why TOS uniforms don't even feature braids for ensigns, which maybe went a little too far. When you get to TNG, one ranking pip indicates ensign.

    Nevertheless, even in TOS there was some sense of pecking order and pomp and circumstance, hence the satin dress uniforms with the triangular campaign pins, but I've read that Gene didn't even like that.

    Consider that the battle in Khan (aside from the tall ships homage) hearkens back to Balance of Terror, which in turn is sort of a remake of Run Silent Run Deep. And therefore it is VERY militaristic. So you can't say Trek had no militaristic overtones. It's just that this was played up or down at different points in TOS depending on who wrote the script or exerted the most influence.

    When you get to TMP, Gene was allowed to establish the main tone of the Trek universe, and he struck a tone that didn't really return again until TNG. While Picard was very stiff at first, and one for discipline, the Enterprise as a whole was supposed to transcend the military and be a city in space with married families and kids. The Enterprise-D bridge has a very lounge-like vibe to it. With the woodgrain panel in the back and the earthen tones, you'd almost expect to see a fireplace in the corner and kids playing with blocks in front of the CONN.

    I think thoughts are pretty well divided on whether Starfleet life should be by-the-book or the more politically correct "let's sit this down and talk this through, shall we?" that Gene preferred.

    The reason the Nick Meyer era is preferred is that, left to his utopian ideals, Gene's world is rather dull. So yes, the red-coats (I really see them like revolutionary war red-coats, although some people think they look like mounties) are ornate, but this was basically a reaction against the short-sleeve T-shirt aesthetic that was struck in TMP, and maybe in retrospect, an overreaction.

    On a practical level, it also bears noting that in the movie era, the actors were starting to lose their physiques. Doohan was the first, who seemed to put on a lot of weight between TMP and Khan, followed by Nichelle Nichols and Shatner. The woolen red uniforms helped to disguise this better. There was no way anything resembling the TMP uniforms could have been carried all the way through to Trek VI without the entire Trek cast being ordered into the gym.

    Of course, none of this actually reconciles one coherent universe where everything makes sense, but that's what you get when creative forces shift from one power-center to another over the span of decades, and now you have JJ Trek with its own quirks to argue about.
     
  2. HaventGotALife

    HaventGotALife Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I don't think it was done on purpose. I think Bennett and Meyer wanted different uniforms because of Wrath of Khan. They wanted to make the Federation have a split--scientists and military--because it serves the movie's themes (just listen to David talk about "the military").
     
  3. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Actually, it does, because things go in and out of fashion for whatever reason, and Starfleet is likely no different. If this was a period in which Starfleet became more militaristic in nature, then the choice of uniforms would reflect that nature. Conversely, the next uniform design (the original TNG uniforms), may have reflected a change in Starfleet's priority as an exploration agency.

    The cycle could actually have repeated itself with the First Contact uniforms representing another change in Starfleet's priorities in the post-Wolf 359/Dominion War era.
     
  4. Lance

    Lance Commodore Commodore

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    I think us Star Trek fans can sometimes twist ourselves in knots trying to relate what we see on Star Trek to the way actual modern real-life navies operate. Indeed, the truth is that modern navies really only observe certain traditions from the era of great sea navies past, and even then usually only on formal occasions. So it'd only make sense to assume that the protocol of Star Trek's 23rd/24th century equivalent navies would be even further distanced.
     
  5. CaptainMurdock

    CaptainMurdock Commander Red Shirt

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    Well doesn't TMP take place in 2272 and TWOK take place in 2285? so that could explain the dramatic change in uniforms between films.
     
  6. Relayer1

    Relayer1 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Indeed Shatner says he ran and worked out frantically for TMP. Time well spent...
     
  7. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    That's absolutely right of course, and the points are well-stated. All I'm trying to explain is why, from the viewpoint of the work's internal consistency, I find the TWOK uniforms conceptually weaker than those of TOS or TMP.

    That doesn't address the specific point, though. Before TWOK, enlisted personnel had a uniform that placed them, visually, in the same ballpark as officers. This is consistent with positive and progressive developments in the 20th century that recognized the value of all service members' contributions and attainments and sought to minimize former class/status based differences. Then suddenly in TWOK, enlisted members were put in uniforms drastically different from officers and which overtly emphasized the fact that they were of lower status. That implies an immense change, even reversal, of the organization's structure, culture and core values. A switch in emphasis from exploration to defense does not seem nearly enough to account for it.
     
  8. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    It really is as simple that it was just a change that Starfleet underwent during that time. I don't think Starfleet is a monolithic entity, but one that undergoes constant change for various reasons (pick one--social, political, or just for the heck of it). Some of these changes will sit well with some, but not with others.
     
  9. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    That's on the level of "a wizard did it." Organizations comparable to Starfleet do not historically make comparable changes "just for the heck of it." Was there a social, political or cultural revolution in the Federation between TMP and TWOK? Maybe, but it doesn't seem manifest in any other aspect of the world we see.
     
  10. CaptainMurdock

    CaptainMurdock Commander Red Shirt

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    Well TMP takes place in 2273 IIRC and TWOK takes place in 2285/86. Uniform trends and stuff can change with in that big gap of time.
     
  11. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Again, it's not just a fashion trend, it's a complete change in philosophy. Enlisted personnel were considered worthy of officer-style uniforms, and then they weren't. That's a drastic -- and many would say retrograde --change in recognition of their status.
     
  12. BillJ

    BillJ Admiral Admiral

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    TOS style uniforms would've made TMP feel more familiar. But it wouldn't have made it a better or worse film.
     
  13. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    More accurately, on the level of "we changed it because we could."
    I would argue that Starfleet can indeed make changes "just for the heck of it"--and often does. I would also argue that Starfleet is not entirely comparable to organizations of centuries ago and can do things differently than they did periodically.
     
  14. Hartzilla2007

    Hartzilla2007 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Huh? :wtf:

    Or they wanted the Enlisted personnel more practical for what they were doing

    When has what they were wearing in Trek had an impact in their status.
     
  15. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    On the subjects of the TMP uniforms, Dorothy Fontana told me that Bill Theiss flew in to show his ideas to Robert Wise, but Wise wasn't impressed. Theiss went back to the movie he was working on, which was "Butch and Sundance The Early Years", and got an Oscar nomination for the costumes for it. Nuff said.
     
  16. marksound

    marksound Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Exactly. Look at the evolution/devolution of the uniforms in the US Navy. The "crackerjack" was retired for years in favor of a uniform that more closely resembled what officers wore. Then it was brought back.

    Duty uniforms these days vary by what the job at hand entails. It has nothing to do with "class." That's nothing but modern liberal social experimenting BS.

    That statement may offend some, but so be it. I'm too damn old to care. :lol:
     
  17. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Agree.:vulcan:
     
  18. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    Both have a similar amount of thought behind them. That may constitute believable justification for some; it definitely doesn't ring true for me.
    This was explained onscreen? Because if it wasn't, I don't think we can be sure of why a fictional organization does anything.
    I agree, it may not be entirely comparable. But there are enough points of direct comparability to present or historical organizations that we can judge some choices as more likely than others.
    An impraticality that only presented itself between TMP and TWOK?
    Military uniforms represent status within the organization. Historically, people resent having indications of status taken away.
    That's true, there have been some back and forth steps like that. But the overall trend is clearly toward uniformity and fewer distinctions. Look at the USN duty uniforms of today: With the adoption of the khaki service shirt for E1-E6 a few years ago and the "sea camo" NWU, the differences betwen sailors, chief and officers are fewer than ever before.
    Call it what you like, but military organizations see benefits in eliminating highly visible distingtion between the officer class and enlisted and have consistently moved in that direction. In 1944 the British Army started allowing other ranks to wear their battledress with a shirt and tie. The US Army began phasing out the officers' pinks and greens in 1946. The US Air Force adopted a blue uniform that differentiated rank only by insignia in 1950. The US Navy extended the short-sleeve summer white shirt to E1-E6 in 1963, the winter blue shirt in 1973, and the khaki shirt in 2010. And so on.

    At any rate, I've gotten a little far afield of what I intended, which was: I find the TWOK uniforms to be less consistent and therefore less believable than those in TMP.
     
  19. Kruezerman

    Kruezerman Commodore Commodore

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    I like the TMP uniforms, they looked like something an astronaut would wear. I think it would've worked well even today.

    Now the TOS uniforms are classic, but the quality of the costumes themselves wouldn't have been anywhere near up to scratch for a big movie like TMP. Also as others have said, it shows a change of time from TOS to the "present."

    I'm kinda "meh" with the TWOK+ uniforms, they look great for dress uniforms but not duty. They look heavy and hot for a ship that will 1) go into combat, 2) have crews go down into possibly humid or heat intensive environments, and 3) be rather cramped what with ~400 people living in pretty close quarters. So really my critiques of the TWOK+ uniforms are that they're impractical.

    I like the idea of a good military looking uniform for Trek, but those weren't it.
     
  20. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Vice Admiral Admiral

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    But I believe it often is true.
    Which in a real sense, is my point. Trying to adhere Starfleet to real-world organizations doesn't really work all the time, because Starfleet doesn't really have a real-world counterpart that is exactly like it. Starfleet can indeed have its own rationale for doing things--the look of its ships, the look of its uniforms, certain policies, etc.--and as such, the idea that it can do things because it simply wants to is likely valid (if not often the case) in many situations.
    Depending solely on how you view Starfleet. In fact, I think the majority of issues people might have with Starfleet is when there are points of direct incompatibility with present or historical organizations, and in such instances, the easiest way to reconcile them is by looking at Starfleet is as its own thing with frequently its own way of doing things.
     

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