Icheb

Discussion in 'Star Trek: Picard' started by Athena28, Dec 1, 2020.

  1. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I cannot take seriously the argument that a short but disturbing scene of graphic violence designed to convey the suffering of the victim and establish emotional stakes for the rest of the episode is gratuitous because it's gross, but that a scene of a man's entire torso exploding and revealing a giant parasite inside of his rib cage, which adds nothing to the episode's thematic content, is somehow not gross enough to also be gratuitous.

    That is a blatant double-standard.
     
  2. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Admiral

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    The suffering of Icheb may not be gratuitous but the excessive gorishness of the scene definitely is. On TNG as well as on DS9 they managed many times to give a sense of intense suffering of their characters without even a fraction of the unnecessary butchery put in this scene.(e.g Chain of Command for TNG and Hard Time for DS9, to name a few)...
     
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  3. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    No, it's not. There's a clear artistic purpose; it's not being done for the sake of mere shock value. The artistic purpose may not work for you, but it's clearly present.

    I found it much easier to imagine the visceral pain Icheb was feeling than I did for characters suffering in TNG and DS9.
     
  4. Doom Shepherd

    Doom Shepherd Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Y'all read comics? To me it's like you're reading new comics that came out after the CCA was abandoned in 2000 and pining for the days of really dull 70's era stories. Seems folks still haven't grasped that the new Trek shows that don't have to abide by network TV's 1960's era broadcast requirements and outdated Standards and Practices departments were always going to take advantage of that, and be more realistic* in every way... this being one of the TAMEST.

    *Yeah, I said realistic. Don't tell me you think what you saw Picard go through in "Chain of Command" is what you think torture is really like.
     
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  5. XCV330

    XCV330 Admiral

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    We can agree to disagree. I find Kirsten Beyer to be my least favorite of the current CBS trek writers. She was responsible for the worst episode of Disco season 3, Unification III. She did not do a terrible job with Saints of Imperfection, so I'll give credit for that. You trying to imply that I'd rather have a Berman solution rather than having a beloved character tortured, mutiliated and then killed in coup de gras is unfortunate. There was more than two ways to handle it. It was done sensationally and I maintain it did not have to be. It's up to the creators to decide how to handle it. It's up to the audience to decide how they respond to it.

    On the whole, I thought the writing in Picard was very good. It had Chabon in it, and Akiva Goldsman certainly can do amazing things at times (and sometimes he can do Batman and Robin) . It flopped at the very end, and it took a very bad turn at Stardust City Rag. I haven't had a single moment where I wanted to re-watch an episode, however. Maybe they'll find some other beloved character to kill off or mangle next year in an interesting way.
     
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  6. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    Interesting. By contrast, she's almost universally beloved in the TrekLit community for her VOY novels.

    I wasn't "implying" anything. Literally all I said was, "I found it much easier to imagine the visceral pain Icheb was feeling than I did for characters suffering in TNG and DS9" in reply to your remark about Berman-era ST conveying characters' pain through less graphic means. Absolutely nothing in my reply was about you. I don't mean that in a mean-spirited or rude way, but merely in a factual way: When I was evaluating how effectively Berman-era ST conveyed pain and suffering vs. how effectively "Stardust City Rag" conveyed pain and suffering, I did not give any consideration to your preferences.

    I mean, almost no creative choices "have" to be this way or that way. But the violence in "Stardust City Rag" was by definition not gratuitous, because there was a clear artistic purpose. If it didn't work for you because you just find that level of violence too alienating, that's legit, but that doesn't make that violence gratuitous.

    I'm gonna push back a little with the Hottest of Hot Takes:

    Batman and Robin... is good.

    :)

    It's not good if you're expecting a Nolan-style dark and serious urban crime story designed primarily for teenagers and adults. But if you approach it as the kind of movie it's intended to be -- a high-camp children's adventure film with a queer subtext -- then it's a really delightful film.
     
  7. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    I liked VOY better than I liked DS9. And a lot better than I liked the Dominion War seasons of DS9. But I was not all that fond of Beyer's VOY novels (and rather intensely disliked her having had a monopoly on them for as long as she did -- I'm delighted that Una McCormack got the Janeway "autobiography"). In addition to more McCormack, I would still really like to see another Greg Cox opus (in the relaunch era, this time), and I'd love to see what Christopher L. Bennett can do in VOY.

    And as to preferring a "Berman solution" to conveying suffering over a cliche'd trope that is guaranteed to raise at least as much revulsion as sympathy, DAMN STRAIGHT I DO, AND I DON'T GIVE A RODENT'S TURD WHO KNOWS IT!
     
  8. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    ... okay, we've moved beyond the realm of logical analysis and into the realm of unbridled anger that's wholly disproportionate to the situation.

    Either way, the violence in "Stardust City Rag" was by definition not gratuitous. It had an artistic purpose. You may not like it, but the artistic purpose is there, and therefore the violence was not gratuitous.
     
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2021
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  9. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    This is starting to remind me of some of the fanatical anti-colorization rants I've seen, universally denouncing colorization as a violation of whatever film's "artistic integrity." Regardless of whether the decision to shoot and release the film in black-and-white was an artistic decision, a technological decision, or an economic decision.

    Sure, it would be a crime against art to colorize The Elephant Man, Raging Bull, Young Frankenstein, Dead Men Don't Wear Plaid, or (as much as I detest the film) the "Kansas" sequences of the 1939 MGM Wizard of Oz, but what about the thousands of films shot in black-and-white because the budget didn't allow for color? What about the thousands of films shot in black-and-white because color technology wasn't yet practical? (I've seen a tiny fragment of color test footage of a scene from Animal Crackers. I think it's in the "early color" section of the "Widescreen Museum" web site) What of the "decolorization" of hundreds of high-budget films that had tinted sequences, or even hand- stenciled color?

    But back to the matter at hand, while I grant that illustrating suffering and sadism with an overused trope that, by definition, fills viewers with revulsion, is an artistic choice, I maintain that it was a bad artistic choice, and a case of "taking the easy way out," where a more considered, more original, more difficult to write approach would have also been a more effective approach.
     
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  10. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Admiral

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    If the movie has any artistic value then the director will have taken into account that their movie would be seen in black-and-white while filming. The clothes, the make-ups, the decor, the action, everything will have been done while keeping in mind this "limitation" and you may assume that they would be noticeably different if the movie was to be seen in colors.

    If the movie doesn't have any artistic value then you can certainly colorize it but why bother?

    Ever way colorizing doesn't seem like a good idea, plus in many cases, it looks awful.
     
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  11. XCV330

    XCV330 Admiral

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    Colorizing is a bad idea because even if the film would have been shot in color if the budget could have allowed for it, it wasn't so the cinematography, lighting, makeup, scene choices etc, even costuming and set design all factored into a black and white set. Colorizing was an attempt to fix a problem that did not exist. Ted Turner had made a fortune showing old TV shows on the cheap while getting decent ad revenue, and he wanted to make sure he got his money's worth when he bought the MGM and RKO back catalogs. I

    In retrospect he wasn't right in thinking that somehow colorizing old movies would make millions of people who otherwise wouldn't have cared suddenly want to watch them again. But it is understandable why he wanted to try.
     
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  12. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    I don't agree that it was a bad artistic choice, but that's a reasonable argument to make. My primary interest in this thread was just disabusing people of the idea that the violence was gratuitous.
     
  13. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I think that it is simply a matter of person response to the artistic choice. As you note, there is a revulsion but that the intent was to cause revulsion doesn't make that response bad. Now, I would argue that I am not one hundred percent convinced that it worked perfectly because there is the argument that Seven had no reason to kill Bjayzl the way that she did despite what was shown.

    For my part, I am usually against gross out revulsion inducing stuff, but in this instance it follows a fairly simple rule of screenwriting-if you are introducing a character's world further in to the story then quicker steps are take to establish what the daily life is like. The Rangers are shown to be operation out in the lawless wilds, away from Federation support. Ex-Borgs are being harvested for parts, and Bjayzl is an evil person in her pursuit, while manipulating Seven.

    Now, it's effectiveness, in my opinion, is lost largely because it is a smaller story within Picard's larger story. So, it the quicker introduction of this conflict could have been told over a longer season for great effect.
     
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  14. hbquikcomjamesl

    hbquikcomjamesl Commodore Commodore

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    The violence was not gratuitous. The specific invocation of the "eye-scream" trope, and the disgust and revulsion inevitable when it is invoked, are what I found gratuitous. And for the record, for the purposes of this discussion, I define a "Berman solution" as one that avoids shortcuts that are likely to cause audience revulsion.
     
  15. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    No. They are not. There is a clear artistic purpose for the "eye scream" trope and the disgust and revulsion it invoked. Again, it may not have worked for you. You may have found it too alienating for it to produce the desired effect of conveying to you the pain that drove Seven to kill Bajayzl. That's fine. Criticizing the execution is legit because the execution of an artistic choice can be extremely subjective. But it had an artistic purpose and was therefore not gratuitous.
     
  16. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Admiral

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    I think the gore gratuitous part is that losing an eye in the 24th century is not a permanent handicap, as a matter of fact, one of Seven's eyes is artificial and you can't tell... Yet it makes it seem that that is the reason for Seven to kill him. So I find it misleading... at best.
     
  17. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    That's not gratuity. That's criticism of how comprehensible the plot device (Icheb's implants being too damaged for him to survive) was for the audience. That's an entirely different question from gratuity (which is, again, when something is added for shock value without an artistic purpose that contributes meaningfully to the plot, character development, or thematic content).
     
  18. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, that's gratuity, because that can't possibly be the reason why Seven killed him (unless she is insane) yet it is shown with emphatic detail. Why would they show it if it is not the reason why he was killed? That's a textbook example of gratuity.
     
  19. Sci

    Sci Admiral Admiral

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    As I and others have already said several times in this thread, the purpose of the graphic violence was to convey the visceral pain Icheb was in, and to convey the horror that Seven felt, in order to establish the emotional stakes of her confrontation with Bajayzl. Gratuity is when an element is included without a clear artistic purpose (such as establishing the emotional stakes of a conflict).

    Criticism of the coherence of the plot device used to achieve that artistic goal may be valid, but it is not the same thing as gratuity. If the plot device is not sufficiently plausible to establish the necessary plot development, then that is a plot hole, not gratuity.
     
  20. Discofan

    Discofan Admiral Admiral

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    I disagree. The eye thing makes it more than it is (given that it's a simple procedure to have it replaced). Plus people are tortured for days, weeks even. There was a guy in a documentary I once saw that had been tortured for a year before he was liberated and yet he was able to speak of it with calm and detachment... and describe in detail what was done to him. We only heard him talk but that was way way more effective than that scene with Icheb. This is gore for its own sake.