Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Vger23, Jun 27, 2019.
Oh yeah, that's right. And I disagree.
Everyone's entitled to their opinion. But clearly the 'search for god' idea wasn't exactly the best thing that ever happened to the Star Trek franchise.
I didn't say it was. I just say I prefer "out there" science fiction premises to "<insert everyday common thing here>...IN SPAAAAAACE" when it comes to Star Trek.
I'd rather swing and miss than go down with the bat resting in my shoulder. But that's me.
I'm far more interested in a Star Trek premise about "the search for God" than I am about "the wall comes down.......IN SPAAAAAAACE" for example, because that story has nothing in particular that makes it uniquely Star Trek. Execution is a whole other variable....but that's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about what kind of premise interests me more.
In the novelization, Sulu felt guilt over a friend dying in his childhood when the Klingons attacked the colony he was living on. He did his best to save them, but always blamed himself for not being successful even though it was already too late. Uhura's experience isn't shown, but Sybok healed the pain Scott felt over Peter's death in TWOK, and the fear that Peter somehow blamed him and Kirk for it.
Oh yeah a reference to Peter would have been awesome. Poor Uhura doesn't even catch a break is the novelisation though? Lame.
On the contrary, a jacket worn by Jim Kirk is a collectors' item. The jacket the Coward James Kirk (of "The Assassination of Chancellor Gorkon by the" fame) was wearing when he was murdered in prison, still soaked through with his and Dr. McCoy's blood? You'll be able to buy a moon after you flip that! A nice one!
Her "healing" is never shown, no. But the novelization does add a lot more character development than the film version does, IMO. Including the Klingon crew (Klaa was a former gunner before he became a captain, and his rig is a custom job. Not all of his crew mates, especially his own gunner, are very fond of his perceived ego). In the scene where Sybok influences Chekov, the novelization says that Chekov heard his words as though he was speaking Russian. It would have been a nice touch had it been done in the film.
Or given the stupid comedy treatment that worked for TVH, where plenty were the butt of jokes as well, especially Chekov... Notice how Kirk himself is also the butt of some jokes, such as the pratfall with the gravity boots at Yosemite - I have no clue what went on in the writers' room but, regardless of deliberating, it was nice to see that Kirk too had his moments of incompetence as well. But, yeah, it's still a truism that scripting one character to look better by surrounding them with people written as utter nitwits, especially established ones, serves none of them well in the end. It's like going to a pickup being surrounded by uglier people. Which is arguably even uglier.
If anything, if they were aiming for the joke of being in the woods with beans, nothing will top a certain scene from a certain mov-- oh all right, here it is I found it:
Spoiler: Here's how *that movie* got its name...
As you can see, and thankfully not smell, that is how it's done best, sadly... Though McCoy's joke aimed at Spock's Vulcan innards is actually a halfway decent runner up.
The context of the time in which it is made is important, I must concede. TVH set a standard and as the saying goes, strike when the iron is hot. TVH was arguably needed because of the human adventure involving Spock's life, death, and life was a bit hefty. But the comedy act for two movies in a row? TFF needed to be a lot more solemn and stern, back to the feel that II had. Shatner was just caught in the middle between his vision and what the execs wanted (and, yeah, if the first one worked well then it makes sense to keep the formula, I must also concede that), and halfway into TFF is when the movie starts to feel like a thriller adventure movie instead of a bah-da-bump comedy act, possibly because of so many issues during filming that the suits just let Shatner do what he wanted then bury the thing. Replace the comedy with the more serious theme, even with the hostage plot device (which started with a belch, har-har), and TFF would have been a winner. As it stands, it's a missed opportunity and tragedy and Shatner too often is unfairly blamed.
41 seconds in, notice that Kirk is being told not to tune into "Get Smart"...
I recall reading somewhere Shatner had two ideas - the 'god' idea and the 'fountain of youth' idea. "Insurrection" did the latter, though I think an episode of 'Futurama' did the same idea far better. With 'god', there aren't many ways one can go with it. Shatner's take, about God being in each of us in our hearts was rather poetic, and a lot better than an imprisoned incorporeal thing that would become an influence on TNG's "Power Play" from season 5. It's not without its problems, and interestingly enough the line "What does God need with a starship?" is as clever as it is bizarre if not insulting, depending on your point of view. That took some guts to attempt. And it allowed Shatner to subvert the trope, since it seems likely that God isn't in the middle of the galaxy howling like a horny coyote waiting for any passer-by with a starship. Would be a bit of a boring wait, wouldn't it, for any ship to safely traverse the most densely packed region of the galaxy, gravitic forces, added radiation, and all?
Some political thrillsy stuff isn't going to hurt - if kept to a honed minimum or allegory. Entertainment can have messages, but from observation most people don't like it being too overt or direct. Look at the 1983 "V" miniseries compared to 2009. 2009's was playing petty politics and the other was actually telling a nuanced story steeped in dramatic claustrophobia, using an event from the past as partial inspiration and without making banal tie-ins or lackadaisical namedropping with the delicacy of a nail being hammered.
Agreed. It wasn't a great idea when Roddenberry tried it, and it wasn't a great idea when Shatner did it. Harve Bennett very perceptively pointed out that "the Enterprise finds God" is an inherently flawed premise, because as soon as you read that in a TV Guide logline, you know that it's not really going to happen. It's going to be a fakeout of some kind. And if you know how a story is going to end from a one-sentence synopsis, chances are it's a bad story.
Although Harve Bennett and David Loughery did try to steer Shatner away from it. In a rewrite they did without him, they changed Sybok's quest from "finding God" to finding the fabled land of Sha Ka Ree, a paradise along the lines of Shangri-La. Satner was not happy when he found out. Ultimately, they compromised and both ideas ended up in the final picture.
Yes. Shatner needs a strong director like Nicholas Meyer to reel him in. Directing himself, he gets very hammy at times. Nimoy let Shatner get away with some very hammy moments in his movies, too. Meyer presented a more contemplative, understated Kirk who was more akin to the guy we saw in the first season. The Kirk we see in Star Trek V is full-blown 3rd season hammy Kirk.
Which is another flawed premise. Are the characters actually going to find the Fountain of Youth? No, because time is still linear and the real-life people playing these characters are still aging. Even if they're temporarily de-aged (and likely played by other actors who the audience doesn't know), they're going to give it up by the end. So right there there's no suspense to your story.
A good story premise should immediately grab your interest and make you go, "Oh, yeah? And what then?" The best episodes of TOS had those. "Kirk and Spock travel back in time to the 1930s, where Kirk falls in love with a woman who's destined to die so that history can be saved." "Kirk deals with the Klingons as a litter of alien critters start reproducing so rapidly that they overwhelm his ship." "Kirk and his crew are accidentally transported into a savage parallel universe, where crew members rise through the ranks by assassination." The God and the Fountain of Youth ideas both make you go, "Oh... This again." It's like watching an episode of Gilligan's Island and wondering if this is the one where they'll finally get off the island.
I think a straight up adventure story would've been much better suited to Shatner's talents as a director. Something action-packed and suspenseful, like a Die Hard in outer space. But he fell into the trap of trying to make a BIG IMPORTANT STATEMENT, which at the end of the day, was rather trite.
Here's the inherent problem with a movie about a 'search for god,' and specifically for TFF: There are only two possible outcomes:
1. Sybok actually finds God!
2. Sybok gets duped.
The audience already knows that Sybok isn't going to find God on some planet in the center of the galaxy. It doesn't matter whether Sybok actually believes this or not. It's all bullshit, and the audience knows it. So there's no dramatic tension, because the audience already knows that Sybok will fail. The only thing they don't know is what he's actually going to find on that planet. It would have worked better had he just not found anything at all. But instead he finds some eeeevil alien who needs a starship to escape the planet and do more eeeeevil things, and who ultimately just gets killed by a photon torpedo blast (which makes one wonder: if he was so easily killed, why didn't the ones who imprisoned him just kill him?)
The film also doesn't work all that well as an analogy about 'false prophets,' mainly because real false prophets are all about duping their followers out of their money, and Sybok does nothing of the sort. And it definitely doesn't work as a 'we find God in our own hearts' message, because the only inherent message this film conveys is that Kirk is better than everyone else, and the only reason why he even let Sybok complete his quest was that Kirk was tolerating him.
What's the roadblock against finding God for real? Many movies have done that. And Trek has already found a couple of real gods, back in the sixties, although it didn't get all that much mileage out of them.
Nothing wrong with Sybok finding God and, say, getting smitten by Him for his foolishness. Serves him right, and allows for the big guy to remain just as ill-defined and unblemished as He otherwise is. But what sort of a story to tell on top of that? TFF essentially tells none, for better or worse.
Since the thing changes shape so visibly as the movie proceeds, I'm all for it being a stain of some substance that will seep into Kirk's bones (even if it leaves a mark on the jacket as well). So the daring rescue doesn't depend on the fact that Klingons do skimp on clothing expenses.
Plot logic wise, TUC was fine up until, and then past, the "They would recognize the UT" scene. Why remove the reference to sabotaging of the UT there and have Koenig loop that silly line in its place? TFF in turn has its worst plot contrivances between Kirk launching into the mission and Kirk getting captured by Sybok - but also some of its most interesting moments, which is more than I can say about the corresponding problem spots of TUC.
Because depicting God in your movie and saying "This is what one, true God actually is" is, as Shatner said in another movie, the height of hubris. Especially in a mainstream summer blockbuster science fiction movie. It would offend religious people across the board, and not just Christians. Imagine how upset people got over Monty Python's The Life of Brian and increase it tenfold.
In Shatner's original script for TFF he wanted the "God" entity revealed to be the devil.
No, not an evil devil-like alien - the ACTUAL DEVIL
Other than such comedic films like Oh God and Bruce Almighty, what movies have shown someone searching for a Judeo-Christian God and actually finding him?
Re: Trek: Things like “Who Mourns for Adonias” doesn’t really count, as it’s established early on in the episode that Apollo is just a very powerful alien who was worshipped as a god a long time ago. No one takes him seriously as an actual divine being.
'Executive Consultant' Roddenberry was incensed about the idea, firing off letters to Asimov and Clarke about the literalness of God in early scripts.
http://www.missionlogpodcast.com/discovereddocuments/095/ (scroll down to read all)
Some have surmised he was also unhappy because his 1975 God Thing Trek movie script with God being an alien being was rejected, but this similar idea wasn't.
People, including myself, stopped caring about what "incensed" Roddenberry a very long time ago.
Although in this instance he certainly had a point, especially if the script was the way he described it.
GR was Absolutely Right™ about the story proposal. It was a terrible concept poorly thought through. There's a cool idea in the germ of it—the charismatic evangelist bringing people under his spell—but they went in the dumbest and least workable direction from that premise. The real meat available there was to explore why people in a technological society would be so willingly duped.
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