Computer Voice- TMP vs TWOK

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Vger23, Sep 30, 2019.

  1. Vger23

    Vger23 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    So in TMP (Theatrical Version), one of the most prominent and striking features of the refitted Enterprise is the computer voice. It's heard echoing through Engineering, announcing travel pod availability, sounding various alerts, giving status, etc. and is present through almost the entire film.

    In TWOK, it features very prominently in the Kobyashi Maru simulator. In fact, it gives very detailed dialogue during the tactical displays, and as the Enterprise engages the Klingon fleet. Then, suddenly, the concept kind of disappears for the rest of the film series.

    Now, I guess you could argue, "well, it was just a feature of the simulator..." but we all know that the beginning of TWOK was originally intended to fake audiences out, so I'm not sure that's the REAL answer (although I suppose it kind of works in-universe).

    What are your thoughts on the Enterprise computer voice?
     
  2. Smellmet

    Smellmet Commodore Commodore

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    I loved the theatrical TMP voice, it was robotic sounding and really lent some futuristic atmosphere to the new enterprise, that being said when you can get a realistic human sounding voice out of a £35 Amazon Echo dot (which the TWOK version sounds more like ironically) 300 years before this it kind of undermines it a little.

    There was the voice during the TSFS destruct countdown sequence, but I can't think of any other instances in the TOS film series. I guess the scripts didn't particularly demand it.

    I kind like the idea of the Enterprise having a central 'brain' with a voice, with the ship being a character in my eyes.
     
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  3. Bad Robot

    Bad Robot Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Well Nick Meyer would have written that scene from scratch (right?) since I think the need to fake audiences out over the death of Spock was his idea.

    So now I wonder if he wrote the computer dialog stuff on paper, or if it was added in post-production, perhaps after test screenings. And if it was on paper, did Nick Meyer see The Motion Picture?

    Bennett had already seen it. And he watched all the episodes when he got the STII gig (presumably before he hired Meyer as director).

    I also wonder how that scene played to audiences in 1982 who perhaps vaguely remembered the computer voice from TMP, but perhaps not favorably (as I imagine a lot of fans by that time had stopped thinking of TMP favorably).

    So you're watching the movie. Everyone's told you it's REALLY good, not like TMP, but you don't know. That trailer seemed awfully cheap. Thank god there was no overture this time. Title sequence was twice as long, but at least it's more dynamic. Spock's ear comes up. Everyone's wearing these red naval jackets (one critic felt cruelly inspired to call them Santa Clause outfits). Scene feels awkwardly static with no exteriors shots of the ship for some reason. Kirk is absent. And then... oh yeah, there's that obnoxious computer voice. How did we forget about that? Oh, there it is again. And again.

    Do you think for a second... Oh crap, everyone was wrong, this really IS like the last one. (While you still have time to think anything before everyone starts dying and you wonder what's going on.)

    I don't know, but I wonder if Meyer or somebody else really was just having fun adding that detail as part of the fake-out.
     
  4. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Meyer and Bennett had to come up with a new tactic after Gene Roddenberry had urged Susan Sackett to announce the intended "Death of Spock" at a UK convention, with hopes of quashing that part of the script. Spock was originally supposed to suffer a real and unexpected death early in the movie. After the surprise broke early, the Kobayashi Maru scenario prologue was written to "fake" the audience. Kirk's "Aren't you dead?" line to Spock was part of the in-joke.

    Years later, Harve Bennett and Susan Sackett were still on friendly terms. Some Aussies took Susan to Movieworld in Queensland in 1992, when Bennett was working there on "Time Trax", and she regretted not contacting him earlier so they could meet up. In a "Starlog" interview, long after his Trek tenure, he reminisced about Roddenberry's attempt to sabotage his ST II plans. He had come to realise the prologue made for a much better ST II and said, of the incident in the UK, "One day I really should thank that lady..."
     
    Last edited: Oct 1, 2019
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  5. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Didn't Majel do the Movies computer voice?
     
  6. Smellmet

    Smellmet Commodore Commodore

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    Definitely not in TMP, I'm not even sure if she was the one in TWOK either - it was definitely her by the time TNG came around I believe.
     
  7. Ronald Held

    Ronald Held Vice Admiral Admiral

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    She was the voice in all of the seties, but DSC. Uncertain about the 10 +JJ movies.
     
  8. WarpFactorZ

    WarpFactorZ Commodore Commodore

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    I'm pretty sure she was the computer voice in ST'09 (and of course she was also Nurse Chapel, heard off-screen in the med-bay).
     
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  9. Vger23

    Vger23 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I liked it too, although you could argue that the more robotic voice was done purposefully, so it could be distinguished from that of the typical crew voices during alert situations, etc.

    Good point, I had forgotten that. There's a distinct purpose for it in TSFS, though. If it were TMP, you would have gotten "RED ALRET, RED ALERT" etc during the Klingon battle in orbit of Genesis.



    She was definitely the computer voice in ST09. I don't think she did the voice in any of the other movies. She was the Starfleet computer voice in TOS and in all the TNG-era shows.
     
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  10. Timby

    Timby Game ... OVER! Administrator

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    She did the computer voice in all the TNG movies, as well as the Director's Edition of The Motion Picture (dubbing over Doug Hale).

    Harve Bennett was the voice of the simulator in Wrath of Khan, as well as the flight recorder in The Search for Spock.
     
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  11. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    In SFS and TFF the computer voice was male. Harve Bennett provided it, boasting at at least one convention that it was he doing the "Le- Le- Le- Level, please." as Kirk, Spock and McCoy head for the bridge from the shuttlebay.
     
  12. Smellmet

    Smellmet Commodore Commodore

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    The countdown voice in TSFS was female wasn't it?
     
  13. Dr. San Guinary

    Dr. San Guinary Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Yep.

    The "Le- Le- Le- Level, please" voice was indeed male, but it was only heard on the Excelsior. And while that voice probably was Harve, the turbolift voice was Nimoy.

    The countdown voice (counting down to self destruct) heard on the Enterprise was female.
     
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  14. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    I meant what I said about Harve Bennett boasting that he provided the "Le-Le-Level, please." That version of that request from the turbolift was only heard in TFF, and that only at the beginning. Nimoy provided the smooth "Level, please." that Scotty told "Up your shaft." in SFS.
     
  15. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I think Majel did the countdown for Spock's thruster pack?
     
  16. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I recall the TMP computer voice being one of the things Mad Magazine parodied in their contemporary satire, with Kirk demanding that it be switched off. Mad used to be very good at recognizing and highlighting those kinds of things :D

    The spacedock had a computer voice in 1984's STIII as well, played by Judy Durand. She would later be the voice of Cardassian conputers, noteably through all seven seasons of Deep Space Nine. She also mostly provided Federation computer voices during the Activision era of Star Trek videogames in the early 2000s, even though Barrett was presumably available for these.
     
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  17. Qonundrum

    Qonundrum Commodore Commodore

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    The TOS' higher pitched en-unc-i-a-tion sound is interesting, but that's how 1960s writers thought sounds would be like - less human and certainly less evocative of emotion, just relaying data without the need of a monitor screen. By 1979, that just wouldn't fly and the series wasn't doing prequels at the time.

    TMP's original ruled. Not because they didn't use the overly attuned vocoder that everyone else was using - especially for the Cylons. Conveying a sense of urgency, my only problem with the new voice is that the voice would repeat the same thing a few too many times in the background and become jarring and/or silly. From memory, the director's cut eliminates the excessive repetition but also makes the mistake of removing the stout, robotic cadence that added tension into the need to get to alert station and with a new vocalization sounding so wimpy it manages to deflate the entire scene in one fell whiny swoop.
     
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  18. David cgc

    David cgc Admiral Premium Member

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    The DE's replacement voice is such that I've always assumed that it was a crewmember giving updates on the all-call, and not the actual computer. The new red alert klaxon was really flat and electronic-sounding, too. It didn't feel like it was happening in the scene, just that it was a sound clip overlaid on the video, and they kept it going way, way too long (IIRC, on the grounds that since it was less jarring, they could just keep the alarm going on longer, seeming to forget the stock Trek joke of the Captain yelling to turn off that damn noise after everyone was at their stations). The original alarm was harsh, but it got out of the way as soon as the characters had been, well, alerted. The DE version just keeps going over and over until the emergency has passed. The entire wormhole scene? The maw scene all the way up until Kirk cuts the engines? This is supposed to be less annoying and repetitive than a single "Emergency alert, incoming fire ahead, zero mark zero"?

    I love a lot of stuff in the DE, there are a few things I could take or leave, but the replacement sound effects (not the added TOS ones, changing what was already there) for the red alert, computer voice, and warp speed sequences, along with losing a lot of good McCoy stuff from the SLV ("Command fitness," and McCoy actually having to stop Kirk in the lounge to deliver his button about Kirk and Spock both possibly putting themselves ahead of the mission rather than just zinging Kirk as part of the conversation) are the ones I can't get past.
     
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  19. Maurice

    Maurice Admiral Premium Member

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    For anyone unfamiliar with the lingo, on a U.S. Navy/Coast Guard vessel what some call the "all call" is the 1MC (1 Main Circuit) shipboard public address circuit.

    Likewise, on a Navy ship the general alarm is typically fourteen gongs.

    In the TMP theatrical cut the alarm does not continue through the entire wormhole. In fact, it doesn't make it past the first cut to the outside of the ship after Kirk slaps down his seat restaint. I think there are about 25 "gongs" there total.
     
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  20. Vger23

    Vger23 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    I agree, and as such, it's really like there's no "favorite" version of TMP for me. It's a lot like Close Encounters and Blade Runner. Each version has things I like and things I don't. It's very frustrating.

    I think I'd say that if I could get the improved character elements of the SLV, the new special fx and sound mix (minus the changes you mentioned) of the DE and the quality / resolution of the Theatrical BR, I'd be happy.