ST-TMP: your first time...

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by Warped9, Mar 1, 2014.

  1. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    An hour? I don't see it--110 minutes, 100 minutes at the least. That takes out 20 or thirty minutes. Honestly, I don't think it can afford to loose that much. Some of the reaction shots and some of the effects shots from the Vejur flyover and (if you must) some of the shots of the Enterprise in drydock would tighten pacing immeasurably, two or three fewer "there is an object in the center of that cloud and pacing would tighten a great deal.
     
  2. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    I'm not talking about editing the existing film as is. I mean the essential story it's telling. We already have a TOS example with "The Immunity Syndrome." If you drop the early sequences on Vulcan and Earth you effectively have a bottle show in TMP. It could easily be rewritten as a one hour story.
     
  3. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    It could but it would have to lose so much of its thematic richness.
     
  4. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Yes, but we're getting to the heart of the matter. A story that could fit into fifty minutes of television needs more if you're going to stretch it into a two hour feature. You said yourself maybe you could edit TMP down something much tighter, but if you have to fill that two hours what do you need to put in there to keep people engaged?
     
  5. RandyS

    RandyS Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I was nine years old, and already a lifelong Star Trek fan, thanks to my mom, who was a fan since 1966. She took me, my little brother, (who was three then), and several cousins to see the movie sometime during the Christmas break in 1979.

    Beyond that, I remember nothing about it.
     
  6. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    After I saw the film on its opening night I saw it a second time about a month or so later at another theatre (back in the days when films could run for months in theatre before having to make room for the next releases). I'm not sure exactly, but maybe a year or two later I saw it again only on the IMAX screen at Ontario Place. Now that made the Enterprise and other visuals freakin huge. :eek:

    It reminds me of walking in downtown Toronto and using office buildings to guage the scale of how big the Enterprise would really be.
     
  7. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    I think Maurice nailed it: I'd have more scenes of the Enterprise crew--bridge, science labs--actively trying to figure out what's going on. Not many but more than Spock saying the occasional mind-blower like "[it] measure twelth power energy." And we only know that's a mind-blower because we hear Sulu and Decker react with minds blown.

    TMP is paced very well in its first third because we get a sense of people frantically at work trying to get the Enterprise ready to launch. Once Spock shows up, the Enterprise has no more serious problems--Wise wanted it that way, he said the Enterprise was "happy" now that Spock was back where he belonged. Okay, no more malfunctions but some of that frantic energy should have continued in the service of finding out what Vejur is. The examination of the Ilia probe in sickbay is as close as we get.
     
  8. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Exactly. Look at the fourth season of the Twilight Zone. They tried expanding the show from thirty minutes to an hour and it didn't really work for that series. The hour-long episodes feel padded and take far too long to get to the inevitable twist endings, which probably would have had more impact if the leadup had been shorter and punchier.

    They wisely went back to thirty minutes the following season.
     
  9. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Spock Walk--engrossing as it is--does not count. That motherf*cker went off the reservation.

    And that reminds me: those added scenes of active inquiry must all prove fruitless, serving as additional impetus for Spock's rash actions.
     
  10. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Exactly. Star Wars was wonderful, but it comes out of a very different strain of scifi, owing more to Edgar Rice Burroughs and "Buck Rogers" than, say, John W. Campbell.

    The first time I saw Star Wars, at the UA 150 theater in downtown Seattle, I was thrilled to see an old-fashioned pulp space opera done right--and with an A-list budget and effects. It never even occurred to me to compare it to Star Trek. I realized even then that Star Wars had more in common with, say, The Adventures of Robin Hood or The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad than Trek. It was a glorious swashbuckling adventure . . . and works perfectly on that level.

    Honestly, I still think Close Encounters influenced TMP more than Star Wars.
     
  11. 2takesfrakes

    2takesfrakes Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Visually, I can't help but give TMP the best rating out of all of the movies - even the reboots. It remains the best looking, the most different of any or all of the STAR TREK movies put together. It's gorgeous eyecandy from beginning ... to end. I think the costumes are particularly fetching. The neutral colours are very pleasing and the cut and design of the fabrics looks great. And I think that the cloth-insignia patch idea was brilliant! Sometimes, I will even dress with a white shirt and grey pants just to remind myself of that look. Unfortunately, wearing regular, Human clothes makes no real comparisson, but I find the overall look of TMP to be the most realistic, out of all of them. Does that mean it is realistic? I don't know, probably not. In fact, I'll even go so far as to say "no," outright. But it looks totally believable, to me.
     
  12. gottacook

    gottacook Captain Captain

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    My perhaps-too-subtle point is that Kirk says "Radio" as though he himself had never said "subspace radio" - as if the very word "radio" were as ancient as "vacuum tube" or perhaps "transistor" would be to him. And that's a flaw of the script, intended for general audiences who wouldn't have heard of subspace radio (just as they'd be presumed not to know that the V'ger story had an antecedent in "The Changeling").

    Perhaps moviegoers not familiar with the old series would have interpreted the line just as you did, but this and many other elements of TMP came off as awkward to me and perhaps to others who'd by then watched every episode 10 times in syndication.

    Your analogy only works in some alternative reality in which people routinely use "electronic telegrams" (instead of e-mail, tweets, texts, etc.) and you were to receive an old-style telegram.
     
  13. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    Even back in '79 I had no problem interpreting the line the way it was intended. And I've never heard of anyone not understanding it.
     
  14. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Or if I were a Starfleet officer who knows that "radio" and "subspace radio" are about as similar as a Roman chariot and a Tesla electric car. We have "tablet" computers now. Somebody hands you Maurice's clay "tablet" and says its a message from a technology so advanced it defies analysis. You use the word "tablet" and you use the word "clay" but, in this context you may use both familiar words incredulously.

    And Uhura says the word with a surprised and incredulous tone in "Space Seed." She's the communications officer.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  15. Greg Cox

    Greg Cox Admiral Premium Member

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    Honestly, that line doesn't bother me at all. It's a neat, efficient, very natural way to get the idea across with a single word of dialogue instead of excess technobabble. Additional exposition distinguishing old-school radio from subspace radio would have just bogged things down.

    To quote one of my favorite bits of writing advice: "Sometimes an ounce of inaccuracy saves a ton of explanation."
     
  16. Hazel

    Hazel Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Darn, I don't have a good story. I just remember waiting for it to come on TV. I'm only slightly ashamed to admit that I read a book at the same time I watched it, looking up when I thought I heard something exciting or character-focused.
     
  17. CorporalCaptain

    CorporalCaptain Admiral Admiral

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    I agree that there's a problem with the "Radio?" line, and I picked it up on first viewing. I think I'm probably in general agreement with gottacook here, although my explanation for why it's a problem differs somewhat.

    The problem is that the conceit that radio is too primitive creates a disconnect with the audience. It's just another brick in the wall laid by Star Trek taking itself too seriously for its own good.

    However, I don't consider it as much a problem in the script as it is in the delivery. Instead of conveying that he's not heard of radio in ages, as by "Radio???" (don't forget that Spock has just off-loaded some technobabble, via "A simple binary code transmitted by carrier-wave signal. Radio."), the delivery should denote surprise, if not amusement, because Kirk knows good and well what radio is, as in "Radio?!?"

    A follow-up line wouldn't have hurt either, explaining why it's a surprise, but there's yet another problem. V'Ger's shift to a primitive form of communication could have been reasonably interpreted (based on what they knew at the time) as evidence that it is aware that its previous communication was problematic, and that it believed that Earth might have the same difficulty receiving and responding as the Enterprise initially did. In other words, it might have been taken as evidence that V'Ger was finally starting to appreciate carbon units.

    So, a smart follow-up line would be in the vein of:
    "Radio?!? First they signal in ways that we almost cannot comprehend, and now they use methods that we advanced beyond centuries ago. What does it mean? Are they finally trying to talk down to our level?"​

    Besides all that, the level of surprise in the use of radio conveyed in the film doesn't even mesh with other dialog of TMP itself. If you dissect the technobabbly "photic sonar" scanning technology, you find RAdio Detection And Ranging. "Photic sonar" is even more eye-rolling than Kirk's surprise at the use of radio, given that sonar stands for SOund Navigation And Ranging. Comparing light to sound just to be cute is more advanced? Really? Why they had to say something that made the writers sound ignorant instead of just saying radar is beyond me.
     
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2014
  18. Brutal Strudel

    Brutal Strudel Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

    Vejur contacted the Creator in radio for the same reason the Quran is only the Quran if read in Arabic: it was using the holy language.

    You have a point with "photic sonar"...
     
  19. Warped9

    Warped9 Admiral Admiral

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    No, I agree the simplicity of the way Kirk speaks the word conveys volumes very well within context of what had transpired up to that point. Any further explanation would have been essentially TNG style technobabble.

    It would also have made the film longer. :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  20. gottacook

    gottacook Captain Captain

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    I was simply trying to analyze why I thought the "Radio" line didn't ring true (in 1979 or since), and thanks to CorporalCaptain for interesting alternative reasons why this might be so. (I certainly wasn't suggesting adding follow-up dialogue...)

    I still think the script problems of TMP more generally, whether reflected in this one line or not, were those of trying too hard to appeal to a general audience, in light of the fact that TWoK (by going in the opposite direction, i.e., making a sequel to a specific episode) actually did succeed in appealing to a general audience.