The last Trek movie with a standout VFX sequence

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by JamesRye, Nov 4, 2019.

  1. JamesRye

    JamesRye Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    When I were a lad, you'd sometimes go see a movie just for that break out new special effect. I'm thinking of The Abyss and the Pseudopod sequence, The morphing T1000 and of course the dino's in Jurassic Park and later bullet time in The Matrix

    . The old Trek movies may look dated now, but they had some truly stand out sequences, from a time when great VFX were expensive and hard to produce. Nowadays, we're used to seeing incredible VFX and it's kinda taken for granted.

    TMP- Spock's thruster flight through V'ger
    TWOK - The genesis device and it's fractal generated landscape
    TSFS - The incredible destruction of the Enterprise
    TVH - The amazing whale miniature work (still looks real - imagine how this would look with CGI)
    TFF - Yosemite thruster packs
    TUC - The Praxis explosion (used in pretty much everything there-after) and the Kirk character morphs
    GEN - OK, this is one cheap ass film. You could argue that the saucer crash is pretty cool, and I'd agree, but there's nothing standout about it. It's pretty primitive even for 1995. And the nexus effect is good - but again, derivative.
    First Contact - The Borg queen descends.
    Insurrection - Yuck, these VFX have dated badly and there's nothing stand out there.
    Nemesis - Nope, nothing special there.

    I like the modern Trek movies too, but again, there's nothing like the Genesis effect. I guess Avatar was the last time that I saw a truly stand out VFX scene was in Interstellar and it's incredible black hole scenes.

    What stand out sequence did I miss? Were there any ground breaking VFX in Gen, FC, Ins or Nemesis?
     
  2. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    I prefer the model work, to be honest. The effect should have won an award, but either there wasn't one available, or enough people were convinced it was real whales it wasn't considered.
     
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  3. NewHeavensNewEarth

    NewHeavensNewEarth Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Nothing but love for the whales! (such a hippie, I know)
     
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  4. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    TMP -- V'Ger! I saw this on the Big Screen in the theater in September and V'Ger delivers just like I thought it would.

    TWOK -- Inside the Mutara Nebula.

    TSFS -- The destruction of the Enterprise.

    TVH -- The weird music video like sequence when they went back in time to 1986.

    TFF -- Not a special effect. The sight of El Capitan as Kirk was climbing it.

    TUC -- Three for one: The Excelsior being caught up in the shockwave following the destruction of Praxis and the Klingon blood floating in Zero G. Loved these in 1991. Also the Klingon torpedo piercing right through the saucer section of the Enterprise. "The hull has been compromised." "I wonder how bad?" Pretty bad. This had more impact (in both senses of the word) because it wasn't the type of damage you'd normally see.

    GEN -- The saucer section of the Enterprise crash-landing on the Veridian III. Also Kirk and Picard on horseback.

    FC -- The fleet of ships destroying the Borg Cube on Picard's command. And the Zero G fight.

    INS -- Nothing. They abandoned model work and practical effects in favor of all-CGI too soon. 1998 was too early to pull it off on a medium-budget film.

    NEM -- The Enterprise smashing into the Scimitar.

    I have to say that even though the Abrams Films make it easy to separate Old Trek from New Trek, I think as far as special effects go, and from a technical standpoint: I think of Old Trek as being the first eight movies (not the first 10) and New Trek would be from Insurrection on. Because that's when CGI took over.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
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  5. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Commander Red Shirt

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    Not sure that was a special effect ;)
     
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  6. Lord Garth

    Lord Garth Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Okay, you've got me there. Hey. I'm trying to help this movie out here! And it's a nice visual. :D
     
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  7. JamesRye

    JamesRye Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Yeah, I agree entirely. I think CG would look really fake here, I watched The Meg recently and the underwater CG was pretty unconvincing.

    One sequence that would surely be improved with CG is the saucer crash landing in Generations. I think the crew had trouble to keep the thing from flipping up (probably needed more weight on the leading edge of the saucer). Voyager's Timeless episode looks much better - and this was done on a TV budget! That said, I think the sequence is rescued by the edit and the music. There's a terrible matt painting though when we see the devastation that the saucer caused as it plowed through the trees. It just doesn't work and the camera just lingers on it for way to long.
     
  8. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    V'ger looked spectacular. Nothing came close in the first six or ten movies.

    I'd argue that the Riverside shipyard in ST'09 is up there.
     
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  9. pfontaine2

    pfontaine2 Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I can't say I have too many favorite effects sequences in the Star Trek films. The destruction of the Enterprise in Search for Spock is especially powerful and spectacular and remains my favorite effects sequence of all the films.

    There are certain effects moments that stand out for me though. Here are two from films that aren't generally regarded highly:

    In Nemesis, I love the scenes where Brent Spiner plays both Data and B4 in the same shot together. Specifically, I really like the shot where both characters are connected at the back of the head by a cable. The camera starts on one character, pans over the top and ends on the other, all accomplished seamlessly. There are similar shots in Next Generation where the same actor plays two characters (Data and Lore or Picard and his future self in Time Squared). Still, I remain impressed by these effects because they are often seamless and perfectly executed.

    The rear-projected star fields in Final Frontier still impress me, especially in the officers lounge scene. Rear-projection is as old as movies themselves but it was very well handled here. The blacks were ultra black and for once I really felt like the ship was traveling at warp speed.

    And I'm in total agreement that the whales in The Voyage Home are awesome and could not be bettered using computer graphics animation. ILM really outdid themselves with a special effect that ultimately didn't rely on optical printers or blue-screen. Just a couple of remote controlled whales in a pool lit with real light with real caustic reflections etc. It's simple and beautiful and still impresses.
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2019
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  10. NCC-73515

    NCC-73515 Commander Red Shirt

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    I read whale activists even complained cause they thought they filmed real whales up close, harassing them in the wild
     
  11. Cutie McWhiskers

    Cutie McWhiskers Commodore Commodore

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    TMP- Wormhole effect, but honorable mention to when they first enter the VGER Cloud
    TWOK - Mutara nebula dogfight, but every vfx scene is done extremely well considering the budget
    TSFS - destruction of the Enterprise
    TVH - "Hello, computer!" Just kidding. The practical effects for the whales in the Klingon water tank are marvelous! Most of the methods to use Earth being devastated were fairly well done too
    TFF - first view of the center of the galaxy
    TUC - Kameloid morphing scenes, if not cloaked Klingon ship dogfight (best dogfight and f/x since TWOK)
    GEN - saucer crash, there's no better way to get rid of the 1701D and it looked great. Just don't mention the reuse of the Klingon ship from TUC
    First Contact - The Borg queen descends (quality vs quantity over the campy "million generic ships whizzing around only one cube because the Borg never adapt and send two cubes)
    Insurrection - So'na/1701E dogfight in the nebula, great use of ship perspective to the planet as well as having the most emotionally tense and proper dogfight in YEARS
    Nemesis - loved the head-on crash (all CGI, wow!!!). Shame the rest of the movie leading and after it is so dire
     
  12. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    This implies the cube was there to do what the cube in "Best of Both Worlds" was there to do. It wasn't. The time travel mission was their ultimate goal, the rest was cover for it.
     
  13. Vger23

    Vger23 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    [​IMG]
     
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  14. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    #citationneeded

    Well, actually, I suspect you're making a joke, but...
     
  15. Smellmet

    Smellmet Commodore Commodore

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    I don't know if that many can be classed as 'stand out' or groundbreaking, or if I'm simply going to list my favourites but here we go.

    TMP: I would say a lot of the FX in this film were either ground-breaking or at the very least, state of the art for the time, so it's no surprise that the visuals not only hold up well for the film's age, but surpass a great many of it's sequels. The model work with the enterprise in dry dock is outstanding, as is some of the vger stuff and the warp/wormhole scenes, (though they do seem dated now, but they made going to warp feel like such an event)

    TWOK: Considering the budget constraints on this movie (11m vs 46m for TMP), the visuals on this movie are really quite good for the time. Obviously they re-use stuff from the previous movie - the dry dock sequence and the office complex model turned upside down doubles for the Regula 1 station, but it's done well enough not to jar. The stand out visual though surely has to be the Genesis simulation, the first entirely computer generated sequence in cinema, alongside the star field from the opening credits. I think the rest of the visuals still look pretty good for a 37 year old film, the warp effects (particularly the first one) are excellent, as are the battles. A great effort considering the minuscule budget.

    TSFS: I would say the standout visual for this is the destruction of the enterprise, which is pretty well done for the time, but groundbreaking? I wouldn't say so. I'd also say the space dock scenes are on the money for 1984 also - the Enterprise approach to the big mushroom is a particularly great shot. Unfortunately, in my view the rest of the visuals here are pretty ordinary - the enterprise doesn't look as good in space as the previous entries and this film marked the beginning of ILM getting lazy with the warp effects too.

    TVH: As others have said clearly the standout here is the whales, which still look totally convincing today to my eyes, and though it looks pretty cheesy now, the time travel 'dream sequence' was more early CGI. Honourable mention goes to the final shot of the enterprise leaving space dock, which remains one of the most impressive shots of the ship in the TOS movies (I didn't like the warp effect again though).

    TFF: I don't know where to start with this. As others have said the rear projected stars were well done, and the approach to the galaxy's centre through the same windows were good also, but, bar the final shot of the Enterprise in orbit with the BoP, the rest of the visuals here range from below average to downright embarrassing. Look at other films released in the same year such as the Abyss, and you can see just how far behind this film was. Worst effects in the entire series by a country mile and as bad as the 60's show in parts.

    TUC: For me, the standout FX here is the Klingon blood - bearing in mind this was released in the same year as T2, which helped pioneer such effects, I would say that these are right on the money for the time, which is good for a film with a budget a quarter of the 100million splashed out on T2. The morphing bits are done well enough too, as are the rest of the shots in the main. There's little to complain at here in my view. The film looks a lot slicker than most of the others in the series.

    GEN: Has to be the saucer crash. Others seem to have a mixed reaction to this, but I thought this was amazing in the theatre, and I think it still looks great now. I would rate the FX in this film as the best since TMP, and I think they are superior to at least the following two entries - the ships look great, the shockwave scenes are awesome and the planet destruction still holds up very well too, as does the Nexus. The overuse of footage from previous films sours things somewhat though.

    FC: I have very mixed feelings about this one. On one hand we have that fantastic pull-back at the opening of the film, and the introduction of the Enterprise E with the ensuing fleet battle, which was nice to see at last on a trek film, but on the other the film seemed to blow it's wad all too early, and some of the other visuals were a bit below par for me - the torpedo hits on the missile complex looked crap, and the image of the earth through the force field where Picard and lily were talking looked dreadful too. The Borg queen intro was decent enough, as was the space walk, but I preferred the visuals in Generations in the main. At least there was no re-use of older footage, so maybe I'm being a bit harsh, but I think First Contact has dated worse than Generations - maybe it's the lighting and direction that make me feel this way.

    INS: This is a disappointment pretty much across the board from me, but not to the level of TFF fortunately. As someone else pointed out, they moved to CGI for the ships - and it was either too early, or it was just poorly executed. Bar a couple of shots in the Briar Patch, everything here just looks fake and video gamey, and there's no standout sequence of note. A depressing, below average effort, just like the film.

    NEM: I would say the standout sequence here is the excellent space battle and ramming scene, which looked great and still do to my eyes. The opening scene with the camera zooming into the Romulan Senate and subsequent assassination were well done, as was the shot of the Romulan mine. Nothing particularly grates here, the Enterprise looks great, it's all competent, but by 2002 audiences were being dazzled by the visuals in Attack of the Clones, The Matrix, or the Lord of the Rings trilogy, so this film was a bit behind the curve really, despite me being a fan of this very flawed movie.

    Clearly all the visuals in the reboots are superb, even the now decade-old ST09. Their budgets were enormous too, so there's little point in including these in the discussion.

    Overall I would say only TMP consistently pushed the boat out, but considering the film's budget - which was huge for 1979, this should be considered a given. There's a few bits in some of the other movies here and there, and an honourable mention for TWOK delivering that first CGI sequence on by far the smallest budget of all the films.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2019
  16. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    TMP: the whole damn movie. Seriously, for all the criticism this one gets from all quarters, one thing that can't be denied is the quality of the effects work. It's sublime.

    TWOK: the battle sequences are taut, but well executed. I'm particularly keen on the brief shots of Reliant cutting along the side of Enterprise with phasers, and Enterprise retaliating by bursting open Reliants bridge dome.

    TSFS: The arrival at spacedock sequence is breath-raking on big screen or small, and seamless in how it composites together so many different shots/angles to really sell the size of spacedock relative to the Enterprise. The brief shot of the battle ravaged ship 'pulling in' as seen from one of space dock's lounges is heartbreaking (and sold marvelously by Grace Lee Whitney's distressed reaction shots -- credit where it's due.)

    TVH: The whales. The trippy time travel sequence is nice too, but probably the best special effect in the movie was the way William Shatner's toupee looks like actual hair during the scenes where he's swimming under water ;) (I joke :D But only kinda)

    TFF: The back projection is nice. In a movie whose special effects are admittedly all a little below par. I guess the shuttle crash into the Enterprise shuttle bay is pretty well done.

    TUC: The Praxis explosion, and the battle sequence (torpedo piercing Enterprise saucer).

    GENS: The Enterprise urgently jumping tp warp just before the Nexus shockwave hits the Armagosa observatory is sublime. It could be one of the best shots of the Enterprise-D ever commited to film and absolutely stands up today.



    FC: The Borg Queen descending into her body, and the flawless hull walk sequence (made all the more remarkable when you realise they're compisiting the three actors against the Enterprise-E model, not using CGI, so it's a superlative showcase of the detail that model was capable of, in the only movie it ever appeared in.)

    INS: As others have said, slim pickings on this front. The move to all CGI was understandable, but unfortunately let the movie down big time. The best of it is probably during the chase sequence with Worf and Picard pursuing Data. There's one shot which looks fake as hell, but I give props to for at least trying (It's the bit where the interlocked ships barrel down towards the surface of the planet and get so close to crashing they actually dislodge soil -- a small moment, but not badly done.)

    NEM: The crash into the Scimitar. And the reason it looks great and stands out? They built new physical models to do it. Even in 2002, the level of detail you could shoot with physical model work outclassed all of the CGI around it (although, unlike INS, the CGI wasn't actually too bad this time).

    TREK '09: The Narada and the Kelvin. And later, Enterprise being built at Riverside.

    INTO DREKNESS: Nothing is really 'stand out', but the ship crashing over San Fransisco isn't that bad I guess?

    BEYOND: Enterprise getting it's arse handed to it by the tiny little bee ship things. Yes it's quite derivative, managing to feel like a big budget 2016 reprise of the Odyssey destruction from 'DS9: The Jem Hadar' mixed with the saucer crash from GENS. But it's a well made sequence, and gripping to watch unfold (especially on the big screen.)
     
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  17. valkyrie013

    valkyrie013 Captain Captain

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    Tmp: The Drydock sequence.. Showing Scotty and Kirk in the pod!
    TWOK: Genisis Sequence as one of the First CGI, Eel in the Ear, and Mutara Battle.
    TSFS: Space dock, and Enterprise Destruction, and probably Genisis Planet Imploding.
    TVH: Whales and the Dream sequence..
    TFF: Dick.. The effects were terrible.. Maybe the Rear projection stuff.
    TUC: Praxis, Excelsior thru the Blast, Kligon Blood, and final battle.
    Generations: Enterprise B in the Nexes, It was CGI alot of the time!
    FC: Borg Battle, Hull battle.
    Insurection: Not much, maybe the Nebula battle,
    Nemisis: Scimitar battle was nice
    ST09: Generaly good, but don't think anything revolutionary.
    ITD: Enterprise gettind beat up, and the Vengence crash into San Fran.
    Beyond: Enterprise slice and dice and crash. Yorktown station
     
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  18. FormerLurker

    FormerLurker Commodore Commodore

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    I cite the plot of the film.

    FC is about the Borg going back in time to attempt to take Earth over in the mid-21st century. The cube attacking by itself is not the Borg not learning from their mistakes, but rather cover for their attempt. While it makes sense to us for them to go back in time and then approach Earth, the Borg are not known for subtlety, or improvisation. A concrete plan to deceive the Federation into thinking they're merely attacking again, only to time travel into the past and conquer Earth before the Federation could come into being is the type of plan the Borg would come up with.

    No joke.
     
  19. DonIago

    DonIago Vice Admiral Admiral

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    If that was the Borg's plan, why not simply go back in time first and then travel to Earth?

    And given that the Borg almost successfully attacked Earth even without time travel, I'm not sure how they're not learning from their mistakes.

    I think it makes more sense if we assume that time travel was a Plan B.
     
  20. Vger23

    Vger23 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    TMP is the VFX crown jewel of the entire franchise. Enterprise in dry dock, Klingons being digitized, Spock Walk, wormhole sequence, V'Ger' transcendance. All amazing stuff.

    TWOK has some awesome stuff featuring the Mutara Nebula and of course, the Project Genesis tapes.

    TSFS is a visual feast that is vastly underrated from an fx standpoint. Approach to spacedock, stealing the Enterprise, self-destruct sequence, and the Genesis Planet destruction are all awe-inspiring, and the last time Trek VFX really impressed me.

    TVH is ok I guess. Whales maybe? I don't know. Nothing to see here.

    TFF is tough, as we all know. But, I love the rear projection in the observation lounge as they slowly move in on the barrier, and I like the shot of the shaft of light crossing the Enterprise's path above Sha Ka Ree. The shuttlecraft crash isn't half bad either.

    TUC is mundane for the most part. The Praxis explosion I guess? Even that hasn't aged well. Dunno...

    GEN is gorgeous. Somone else said it's this and TMP, and I think that's a great argument. The saucer crash is still jaw dropping to this day. I also like the Nexus scooping up Spran on Veridian III and the shockwaves destroying the planet (and crashed saucer), but pretty much everything looks good.

    FC is ok. I can't stand the opening battle. Completely uninspired and unemotional. I guess the spacewalk sequence and the model work of the new Enterprise if I had to pick (that first shot is nice).

    INS has nothing I'd say was particularly impressive.

    NEM has the shuttle flying on Kolaris III, the Scimitar ramming sequence, and some cool stuff in the Battle of the Bassen Rift.
     
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