Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by F. King Daniel, Sep 8, 2012.
I was going to suggest that (and Star Trek: The Voyage Home), then thought the same thing.
Star Trek: The Motionless Hairpiece
Star Trek: Spock's Mullet
Star Trek: Acid Trip
Star Trek to Infinity and Beyond
Captain Kirk vs. the Giant Space Dildo
The V'ger Monologues
That 70s Film
Dude, Where's My Creator?
Star Trek: Prodigal Son
Star Trek: Wayfarer
Star Trek: Traveler
Star Trek: New Life
Star Trek: The Return
Star Trek: Kindred
Star trek: Know Thyself
Star Trek: What Lies Beyond
Star Trek Out of Theaters
Agree. I know people who also complain Andromeda Strain is slow and boring, but I think it works fine.
I love The Andromeda Strain. It's one of my favorite science fiction films (I like the book, too). The long scenes in Andromeda, that are likely the ones that bore people, depict the process of systematic investigation, testing, and experimentation, to face and ultimately avert the crisis. It's all part of the story, and those scenes do advance it.
The drydock scene in TMP works for me because that part of the film was for the fans, I think. Really, it was for anyone who could take pleasure in seeing something from the imagination brought so realistically to life (to the state of the art of VFX). I think there is a valid comparison to be made with a dance number. Good call, Christopher. That could at least arguably apply to a general audience. But for the fans, it was an extra special moment because she'd come back.
After the drydock indulgence, the V'Ger shots get diminishing returns because the point's been made already. They don't contribute to the story, except to say that V'Ger is really big, intricate, and weird. That point could have been made more efficiently.
I'd like to think that had he had more time in post, Wise could have gotten the pace that he wanted in TMP. Another science fiction film to Wise's credit is The Day the Earth Stood Still, hardly boring.
I've never felt that way. For one thing, it's a chance to sit back and listen to one of the finest musical scores in motion picture history without a lot of dialogue and sound effects getting in the way, and there's nothing wrong with that. For another, the V'Ger flyover features what are still some of the most amazing, beautiful, spectacular images I've ever seen on the screen, a real triumph of design and FX technology. It's the closest thing I've ever seen onscreen to the sense of wonder at superadvanced alien technology that you get from books like Rendezvous with Rama.
And that's exactly what happened with the Director's Edition DVD 22 years later, which was edited under Wise's supervision, or at least following his and Roddenberry's notes. The musical cues "The Cloud" and "V'Ger Flyover" were intentionally written to have repetitive phrases that could be easily trimmed down so that the scenes could be adjusted to the appropriate length, something the filmmakers had always intended to do but were unable to do when the locked-down release date forced them to send an unfinished version to theaters. For the DE, both the cloud and flyover sequences were trimmed by a minute or so apiece.
I was speaking from the perspective of the general audience. Even though I personally enjoy the V'Ger shots, and the music, I can fully relate to the diminishing returns aspect. I believe it applies in this case from the perspective of the general audience.
Trimming the V'Ger scenes by one minute or two doesn't change the fact that, to a general audience, the middle part of the film is boresville.
Star Trek: Return
I think that Robert Wise should have fired his editor! Too many indulgent shots, and I don't know, it may have been Wise's call to edit it that way, and I may be giving a great director too much credit (after all, the director's edition wasn't a shorter film at 136 minutes).
Too many long scenes of the characters staring at nothing, and scenery-chewing by Kirk. Even the beauty shots of the new Enterprise, space office, drydock, Epsilon station, Vger and the Klingon ships were too drawn out. It almost felt like someone made the decision to linger on them to justify having spent the money on all those new models.
I would love to see someone take the Director's Edition (with its completed and updated FX) and edit it down to something more reasonable, and not be such a snore. One problem I can see with that is that at some point, you run the risk of the new quicker pacing not matching the existing score.
Has anyone done such a thing?
Almost. That's the Lois and Clark Theater.
No, the Lois & Clark Theater is the one in Metropolis . . . .
It can be both. It's a chain.
I think what needs to be remembered is that TMP came along during a paradigm shift in the way SF film was done. People today look back on it as a generation whose view of SF cinema is defined by Star Wars and its successors, the trend of SF as action-driven roller-coaster rides. But TMP harkened back to the SF of the '60s and '70s, to films like 2001: A Space Odyssey and Silent Running. It wasn't about mile-a-minute excitement; it was about ideas and atmosphere and grandeur and sense of wonder. And it wasn't just SF; there were a number of films in other genres that weren't afraid of long, slow, contemplative passages that were about immersing the audience in the atmosphere of a scene. See films like Lawrence of Arabia, Dr. Zhivago, the works of Kubrick and Leone and Bergman, etc. This was part of the language of cinema in the era where most of Robert Wise's career fell. It can be hard to understand today when so many of us watch movies on DVD or our computers, but if you experience something like that on the big screen, with all distractions taken away, it's a far more immersive and effective experience.
So it wasn't that Wise's approach was wrong or inept; it was that he was following an older paradigm, one that audiences weren't as quick to embrace after Star Wars changed the rules (and not necessarily for the better). And I don't think that was a mistake. I think TMP is perhaps one of the last big statements of that particular paradigm, the swan song of a cinematic era. After all, TMP and The Black Hole, which came out only two weeks later, were the last American films to feature overtures in their theatrical releases, something that had been a common practice in earlier decades. TBH was also an exemplar of the older style of SF filmmaking, essentially a space-based remake of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, although showing some of the influence that Star Wars had on SF cinema.
TMP came off as a 2001 wannabe, that's for sure. It may have partially succeeded.
I just watch it as Star Trek: The Chill-Out Picture. Just let it wash over and enjoy the ride rather than get hung up on plot or action. I saw an interview once with Douglas Trumbull, who worked on TMP visual fx, who said that after working on the stargate sequence in 2001 his primary interest became first-person POV cinema, which eventually led to Brainstorm and his simulator ride stuff. Seems the Vger scenes in TMP were part of that journey for him.
Imagining that it's 1979 and I'm in Paramount's marketing department and want to come up with a title that reflects TMP - or that just sounds good - I'd probably plump for one of the following:
Star Trek: The Movie
Star Trek: The Return
Star Trek: Enterprise
Star Trek: The Human Adventure
Star Trek: V'ger
Star Trek: Reunion
Star Trek: The Maker
Star Trek: In Thy Image
Star Trek: Destiny
Or, in the vein of the Airport sequels, Star Trek 1979 (it would've seemed really cool at the time!)
^Interestingly, nearly half of those were eventually used for one thing or another.
Given the marketing concerns discussed above, the need to make it clear that this was a movie and not a TV show (since, remember, there had already been two Trek TV series by this point, including the animated one), I think they chose the right title. The Motion Picture is classier than The Movie would've been, conveying the sense of sophistication they were going for. In Thy Image or The Human Adventure could've worked if it hadn't been the first-ever movie, but since it was, I can understand why the need to specify that took precedence.
Star Trek Returns
2271: A Star Trek
Star Trek: The V'ger Incident
Star Trek: The Doomsday Machine Revisited
Star Trek: The Changeling Redux
TMP is still one of my favorite films. In 1979 I can remember seeing "Apocalypse Now", "Alien", and TMP. I enjoyed all 3 films then and I still do, thanks to Video Tape and DVD.
Navigator NCC-2120 USS Entente
Well said, and I agree. I think "Apocalypse Now" and "Alien" would also qualify as films done in that slow manner, which were also released in 1979.
Navigator NCC-2120 USS Entente
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