Discussion in 'Fan Productions' started by TK421, Dec 13, 2008.
What? You actually played one of those games?!
If the designs are altered even one iota, then to the purist they are no longer the 60's designs. Just for starters, if you are going to make them look "more realistic", in the sense of looking like they are made out of metal and space-age plastic, or plasteel, or whatever, instead of painted wood, then they are really no longer the 60's designs. Having seen remastered The Menagerie on the big screen, I can tell you that when seen on the big screen, the TOS sets look like they were made out of wood.
At best, movie versions of the TOS sets must be a revisionist or updated take on the 60's designs. People with film experience please help me out here, as I believe that right here is where the production designer would run into a fundamental quandary. The question is how much do the designs get revised. Do you fix the fact that not all of the controls are, shall we say, practical or functional? Don't you think that on the bridge more informative and especially dynamic graphics should be present in at least some of the panels of blinking and flashing lights, besides and including the engineering station? Cutty's station is a marvelous example of elaboration because it addresses the issue of how the original set might have looked, were that bridge station ever essential to the series for more than one season. But what about the functionality of the other stations. We're all used to computers now. Back in the 60's that was not so, and the public didn't really have any expectations of how a computer interface might look. That is to say, besides the fact that it might have beeping and flashing things. This is what's wrong with Spock's station. You can't just throw a few isolated switches to do some esoteric function any more and expect the audience not to laugh. People know you have to at least look like you are navigating a menu hierarchy or pressing dedicated function keys within a reasonably large array of them. What you have to have is something more like TMP. Keypads, with many keys. Dynamic monitors. The big budget view of TOS is TMP. Instead of retconning, they just chose to say they were refitting the Enterprise.
Now, one could argue that "TMP did it wrong". That represents a much more fair question, in that at least the issue is now more reasonable. If that's what you think, then help me out here, but I assume that what you want is the feeling that the cast projected in Galaxy Quest, when they all first saw the bridge of the real Protector built by the Thermians. In other words, you would want it to look like "a real version of the TV show". And, you are saying that TMP didn't give you that feeling. (Goodness knows it did for me.) Yes? Well then, gee, I don't know. That's why I said it's a production design quandary in the first place. Those with film experience here might be able to address this issue. If they can, I'd like to know what they think about this.
For the record, goodness also knows that the U.S.S. Kelvin sequence in JJTrek gave me the cold shivers of OMFG this is really how The Very Freakin' Cage would look for real.
Tell you what, when one of you have $150 million to spend on that movie that's a *perfect* recreation of the original series, go ahead and put your money where your mouth is. I promise to throw you a few quarters when you're bankrupt and living rough on the streets.
I love the original as much as the rest of you, but really, I've never understood how anyone can believe those sets would cut it today in a multi-million dollar movie. I'd love to see someone prove me wrong, but I just don't see it happening.
I mean, if you made the set elements out of solid gold (replicating every curve), but painted them the same way they were originally painted, does that make them wood?
I'm unable to follow how you see the original designs performing this form of alchemy.
The JJTrek producers looked at a set design that was closer to the original. Abrams concluded that it looked "preposterous and small" which is about right.
They did throw the TOS fans a bone with the Kelvin bridge, which is actually a design I prefer not only to the Enterprise bridge in this film but to just about all the bridges designed for Trek movies and shows prior to this (but after the TOS bridge). As it is the Kelvin bridge is more than a bit bigger than the TOS bridge.
The closest thing to a successful update of the TOS bridge itself was the bridge as seen in ST 5 (not the awful rearrangement and nonsense of ST 6). I liked that one, but it's still dated now, and I'm certainly glad that Chambers and company threw all of that out and started over. As it is, the JJPrise bridge draws most of its inspiration from Jefferies' original design, with very little taken from the various elaborations that have been done since.
What's so bad about the Enterprise bridge in Star Trek VI? It looked fine to me.
How can you tell through all the lens flares?
The Kelvin bridge was a dark room behind lens flares, the Enterprise bridge was a bright room behind lens flares. You can't really see much clearly on either set in the movie, so their design (good, bad or neutral) was a waste.
With enough lens flares, they could have been filming on the bridge set made for ENT's Defiant and no one would have been the wiser for it.
But did you want to make this a thread about STXI... or can we return to Exeter? After all, there is a whole section of this board devoted to STXI if you want to talk about it, so there isn't a good reason to do it here.
Look at the floor of the TOS bridge and the floor of the TMP bridge.
By the way, we were discussing how to film TOS era Trek in the modern age, which relates to Exeter art design, TYVM.
I see one big fallacy being tossed around, namely that the materials used somehow equals the design, which is a load of crap big enough to fertilize the Sinai. And frankly, anyone who would complain that a TOS bridge doesn't look like it was made of plywood (assuming such a troglodyte actually exists), 1) is in serious need of professional counseling, since this person is clearly a menace to himself and others, and 2) is such an infinitesimal minority that it shouldn't even merit a mention in an interoffice memo, let alone in the actual production process.
Much like the suggestion that the original bridge would work in a £150 million blockbuster. It simply wouldn't (except for a very small minority of the viewing audience). I can see the headlines now.
Paramount's 150 million dollar plywood flagship sinks without a trace.
Yeah it's trite, but like I said up thread, if anyone has $150 million they want to invest, be my guest. I'd certainly pay to see it, but then I'm in that small minority.
I don't recall making the fallacy of equating materials with design. In case my point wasn't clear, I'll rephrase. I was saying that there are many reasons why TOS-faithful designs cannot be used on the big screen, including but not limited to what materials the set appears to be made out of. I listed several other additional reasons. There are probably more.
Show me where the bridge was INTENDED to look like painted plywood. Because that is precisely the case you're making, that it wasn't just made from conventional materials available at the time, but that it was INTENDED to look like it was made from conventional materials.
Otherwise, Farmer Ted, there's the Sinai, get crackin'.
No, you misunderstand what I said, pal. Of course they didn't intend it to look like plywood. At the magnification of the big screen, it simply does look like plywood. Anyway, what you think I said is not what I said, and nor was it what I intended to say.
For what it's worth I thought you were pretty clear on that point.
I also agree that making the exact same set out of metal wouldn't make much difference. The original series designs would not work in a modern, multi-million dollar, commercial motion picture.
Thank you, Nick. And thanks for pointing out that being a critic is easy, but being responsible for $150M takes more than a big mouth.
That seems pretty clear to me... you think the design (no matter what it be made of) will turn that material into wood.
Like I said, I'm unable to follow how you see the original designs performing this form of alchemy.
The sets in STXI weren't any more or less functional than TOS... less so if you consider that the characters in STXI would have had to fight to see anything on the bridge through the lights being shined in their eyes. The audience could hardly see any details in STXI because of how it was filmed.
People who didn't get Star Trek before aren't going to be watching to see if the controls are practical/functional in any way... in fact, the background stuff should only be enough to place the characters in the story, and then the characters become the focus. Normal audience viewers don't need realism that can't be seen on screen, and the stories don't need props to include functionality that isn't part of the plot.
It is funny, if you take apart TOS design elements (to the basic elements), and then examine them, you can filter out aspects that truly are dated without having to do something completely different. If we look at Jefferies' original design for a standard bridge station, and look at the cross-sectional curve... what about that curve is "60s" or non-functional or unrealistic (or could turn gold into wood)?
Other than it having been around in the 1960s, what makes it unusable today?
Doing something different to do something different is great... if you are really doing something different. Why not do something non-Trek if that was your goal?
There seems to be a lot of laziness in Hollywood these days... or attempts to ride on the successes of past artists. And even if studios wanted to keep things like Star Trek around, it would be refreshing to only make a movie if a compelling story pops up first... rather than trying to compel a story to meet a release date.
Unfortunately, that is the real failing of any movie franchise (and why Trek isn't really good movie material... the best Trek stories would never make it to the big screen anyways).
I just don't know how to reply to this.
I"m not getting involved in the debate, except to say that the design of the TOS bridge does not scream "1960s" to me, with the exceptions of the "Burke chairs" and the control panels, given the current trend toward touchscreens, "glass cockpits" and the like.
The remaining TOS sets scream not so much "1960s" as "1960s TV show," given their plainness. I love the use of colored lighting in the sets, but the plain, light gray walls of virtually every set except the bridge just look cheap today. The sparseness of the engine room's control panels along the side wall is particularly indicative of a show that didn't have a lot of money to throw around.
TOS is my favorite Trek TV series, but it, like its successors, is very much a product of its time.
You said something looks like they were made out of wood... if no wood is showing, and everything is painted, how does a design look like wood?
I've made a number of props/replicas, and I often started with wood, got the shape/contours I wanted, then made a mold and made the final pieces from plastic/urethane. The final pieces looked identical to the original, and many times after making the mold I painted the wood master like the copies. Without holding them, you couldn't generally tell which was which.
I'm guessing that you are seeing wood because you are expecting to see wood... not that you are actually seeing wood. Because you know that the sets are made of wood, you associate wood with the designs. So it wasn't poor design, you decided to ruin the magic for yourself.
That is a bias on your part... not on the average viewer. If the average viewer doesn't know (or care), then they aren't going to be seeing wood. They are going to see the design.
A few years back Ptrope did a beautiful reworking of the bridge stations starting with the basic elements from the design as seen in The Cage. Of course, much of what he incorporated the producers of TOS wanted... but couldn't afford (as every active display on the bridge required a projectionist by union rules... and I think there are nearly 60 displays on the TOS bridge).
To date, I can only think of one instance where I saw wood (actual wood, not imaginary wood) in TOS, and that was in a hole in the deck that Charlie was looking through.
I noticed that size was brought up... spacecraft should feel cramped and claustrophobic. Space is a hostile environment, which is why you need spacecraft... and it is part of the drama. That has been lost today.
I mean, maybe audiences don't want to see things like that. I thought that Master and Commander was the best Trek movie to make it to the big screen, but I guess it didn't do that well because it wasn't realistic enough for modern audiences.
Actually, the original designs would work just fine... if you actually had a compelling story. The problem with space movies these days is that movie companies aren't concerned with story... they want as much flash as possible.
Any setting... even the original set designs for Forbidden Planet would work today if they are supporting a compelling story.
Weak stories need a lot of things to distract the audience from their shortcomings... and under those circumstances, no, the standard TOS designs aren't flashy enough.
While I liked STXI, it lost a lot by the third viewing because it was more of a ride than a compelling story. And it needed everything Hollywood could provide to keep the audience's attention off the story (the weakest part of the movie).
All movie productions could learn from Pixar... story is king!
Then we'll have to agree to disagree, because while I agree that story is king, I doubt most members of the movie-going public would pay to see a *serious* multi-million dollar movie using those sets. What fans will pay for, and what fans want to see, is not the same as what the general public is willing to pay for. And it's the general public who will make or break any movie, not a subset of hard core fans.
Wrath of Khan was a compelling story, but do you *really* believe it would have broken even if it had used exactly the same sets as the original series? And that was almost 30 years ago. Today's audience is vastly more demanding.
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