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Old 2015-10-09, 01:45 PM   #22
inflatable dalek
Duke of Kidderminster
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Kidderminster UK

Originally Posted by Tetsuro View Post
Don't get me wrong, I'm not suggesting the Abrams Trek movies are good - I just don't think Nemesis is any better. Judging from the comments of Sirtis and Frakes, it's pretty clear the director of that film didn't really seem to care either.
Mind, I think Frakes is directly responsible for Insurrection being so bad. The script is stupid, but so is the script for First Contact (seriously, how many Enterprise crewmembers are assimilated because Data decides to have a blow job rather than smash the poorly designed CANISTERS OF DEATH the second he's first off the table?), it's his grab you by the balls and stare you in the eye and dare you to call it stupid direction that makes it all work.

It's clear from his commentary on Insurrection though he finds the whole moral point the film is trying to make really dumb. He even says when Baku Bloke sets his pacifist stall out that it's "Typical Piller crap". If the director, who sets so much of the tone and feel of the film, doesn't think the story is any good it's no wonder the film winds up no good.

Of course, the ideal would be to have a great script and great direction, but the later can cover a multitude of sins.

What really grates me is that Star Trek has always (or at least usually) been about big ideas, something even Star Trek V managed to deliver - it's when the fans of the Abrams movies try to defend it by saying it has a message too, but their idea of a "message" is just the usual shallow cliché about friendship, an idea that is neither big or original anymore. In comparison, Star Trek III also dealt with that same message and did it far better - and you might as well argue that Commando is a "deep" film because it values the importance of father/daughter relationships.
So what would you say is the big idea/message behind The Voyage Home? Don't hunt animals to extinction? That's pretty basic, even whale hunters don't want them wiped out as that would destroy their jobs.

Or is it "Use exact change"?

Certainly I'd say the two most recent films are as thematically deep as most of their predecessors, especially Into Darkness which is very concerned with contempoary American politics. Not subtle to be sure, but neither is "The Wall comes down IN SPACE!".

The films don't really do that sort of thing very well anyway, TV Trek can take an idea and knock it about for an hour to produce something like Darnok or In The Pale Moonlight because it's part of a longer season.

The films have to try and service all the characters and tell a big self contained plot all within two hours. Themes tend to be a bit surface level. Which is why The Motion Picture is so annoying, it thinks it has this great big 2001 style revelation, but it basically boils down to the sort of thing the series did so often it should really be a post it note.

I think Khan actually does the layers thing better than any of them. Mainly because it doesn't go for the easy answers, it looks at the effect of ageing on a hero but doesn't come up with the stock "You're never too old for this shit" conclusion. Kirk does make mistakes, and they get people killed. He has to accept he's older and slower and that's no bad thing in and of itself because he also has experience.

Shame the following two films are basically about restoring the status quo of the series and going "No, seriously, Kirk is awesome!".

Originally Posted by Warcry View Post
I'm 90% that her and Wesley's lines all wound up deleted. It's a shame really...with it being the last outing of the TNG era, if it was going to suck anyway they really needed to just say "screw it", go full fanwank mode and cram in every single familiar face that they could. Hell, throw Guinan in as bartender again and have Wesley fly the ship. They didn't bother to explain why Worf was in uniform again, so it's not like those things would have been any more ridiculous.
Guinan's lines are still in the film. I think she might actually have more dialogue than Geordi.

Wesley being back in Star Fleet is bonkers, but hey, so is Worf (IIRC there was a "Being an ambassador did not agree with me" line that was cut, though I don't think it's been on any of the home media extras. There's supposed to be like an hour of deleted scenes, about half of which have been released). Picard must have shared Kirk's "Don't retire" advice about.

In retrospect it's amazing Will Wheaton even showed up for a cameo, he's been very clear in interviews recently he deeply dislikes the way Rick Berman treated him on the show and still bears a grudge there.

The one time that I watched the deleted scenes, I remembered thinking how much better they were than anything that actually made it into the finished film.
Amussingly the one where he and Data share a drink is introduced on the DVD by Patrick Stewart from an interview from before the final edit had been made where he goes on about how it's a key scene to the film!

Mind, I'd have cut that one myself, it's all basic "Explain this human ritual to me" Data 101 stuff that after 30 odd years he shouldn't really need explaining.

Fair point. If Nemesis had been the fourth TNG movie out of six I don't think people would hate on it nearly as much. But as the grand finale for the crew that we all grew up with, it's pretty galling.
It's worse than that: it's the grand final to all of the original Star Trek timeline (though if you're watching in production order you've still got two years of Enterprise afterwards. This is not a good thing), indeed, chronologically it's still the final ever Star Trek story (even if various time travelers the different crews run into--including of course Spock Prime--post date it). Suck on them balls.

The staggering thing about Baird as a director is even Paramount didn't think he was any good at it. They desperately wanted him to do the job he's actually talented at and perform an emergency edit on (IIRC) Mission Impossible 2 and Tomb Raider, the deal he struck was to get to direct a film afterwards. They literally looked down their list of projects and put him on the one they gave they least amount of **** about (over Berman's head) as quid pro quo for getting Lara Croft's boobs to bounce in slow motion properly.

I actually do think at least some of Roddenberry's ideas were good. It's his execution that I have a problem with. By the time TNG rolled around he was a crazy old man who wasn't anywhere near as much of a visionary filmmaker as everyone had told him he was for the previous couple decades. He was much like George Lucas, really...lots and lots of good ideas, but clearly in need of a strong moderating influence that could pull his head out of his ass once in a while.
It seems a lot of the problems were down to his lawyer (who shouldn't have been rewriting scripts but was) misinterpreting a lot of what Roddenberry wanted. So "No petty character conflicts" became "No conflict between characters at all" and so on.

The biggest problem with the utopian Federation that he'd envisioned was that it was boring if you took it at face value, and he was too idealistic to score points by subverting it like late TNG and DS9 did. The concept really took off once the idea that even paradise wasn't perfect took hold. Seeing Picard or Sisko grapple with hard decisions and figure out how to uphold their morals and save the day is way more interesting than Picard smugly monologuing to aliens about how inferior they were until they got bored and went home.
When written at its worst the Federation is clearly evil, like in that episode with Worf's step brother where he's trying to save some people from an exploding planet and Picard is all "No, helping these people not die would break the Prime Directive, who knows what could happen if we interfer with the natural course of evolution on this planet and these children weren't all dead. Now let us watch the world explode!

Wait, do they have a hot milf who wants to stroke my head? No, just Sheri Palmer from 24? No go. Died planet die!".

Amusingly, considering Picard's drastically different attitude, that episode was a direct influence on Insurrection and it "Trick the villagers into thinking they're on the holodeck" plot.

After Googling, I'm going to have to disagree on that. Kirk's admiral's outfit does look pretty cool but everyone else looks like they're in pajamas. I do like the variety on display but when everything is awful that's only a small point in its favour.

I think they'd look immeasurably better with the small addition of a dark belt, though, so it's not a total loss.
The basic jumpsuits were actually dyed red and (with some extra bells and whistles stuck on them) worn by the cadets in Wrath of Khan as non speaking extras just have to put up with having their genitals crushed (note that main guest star cadet Saavik isn't wearing one).

And then the third most prominent female character was axed after her actress was sexually assaulted by one of the show's execs. Sadly not a surprise, since the man in charge set the tone by treating his actresses as sex objects that only existed for his own pleasure (and shit, for all we know he could have been the guy who did it...). Not really surprising that the same attitude was able to flourish during the first season of TNG either.
She was actually assaulted by two different people working on the show (though one was a more distant high up exec). She never named names, but apparently according to her autobiography one gave her some home made jewellery to "Apologise".

Now, guess what Roddenberry liked to make at home as one of his major hobbies?


What really shocked me, though, is that Mr. Leslie was in more episodes than Chekov or Sulu, and only six fewer than Scotty.
He'd have been there right to the end as well if his health problems hadn't forced him off the series.

Though he's called by at least one other name during the course of the series (I don't know how IMDB/Memory Alpha divy up the roles), so how many times he's Leslie and how many times he's The Other Fellow is open to debate. He could have been playing a different non-speaking character in every episode he's not called by name!

That wouldn't have been a terrible choice either, since Data in a command position is always interesting. Though honestly, if Shelby wasn't the backup plan then I'm inclined to wonder just what she was there for to begin with.
Well, famously Piller put no thought whatsoever into what would happen in Part 2 as he thought he was leaving the show. It's remarkable it works at all really (little things like how the saucer separation plan is set up in the first part are just luck rather than planning), it's shame it seems to convince them that writing the first part of a cross-season two parter without deciding on what was going to happen in the second was the way to go as none of the others are anywhere like as neat.

To be honest, as much as I love The Best of Both Worlds (and I love it a lot -- it might just be my favourite Trek story ever, especially if you include Family as a coda) the ending is a bit disappointing for me because it basically kills Riker as a character. I actually think that the title refers to him -- he wanted to be captain but he also wanted to stay with the Enterprise "family", and at the start he's struggling to decide between the two. And then Picard is gone so he gets to have both, and he's left to deal with the guilt of having it all at the cost of another man's life. It's a great character piece for him and he grows so much over the course of those two episodes. But then we need to restore the status quo for the next episode, so they back down from the development that he experienced here and for the next four seasons there's literally nowhere to go with the character. It's just one of those things that I think they would have been able to handle much better in today's TV environment.
The smart thing to do with Riker once he was obviously ready to go off and be his own captain would be to give him the spinoff show. Doing a version of DS9 with Captain Riker would be fairly easy (though the different backstory to Sisko would have created a different dynamic), but by the time they seriously started thinking "Spinoff" they knew TNG films were on the horizon, so I guess even if he'd been offered it, Frakes would have opted for the movie career anyway.

It says a lot they seriously talked about killing Riker in Second Chances, promoting Data to first officer and having Thomas Riker take over ops. Apparently they decided not to shake things up that much with the films coming (I suppose billing would have been an issue as well, Frakes is the show's official second lead. Effectively demoting him to a lower role--even if the character was already in reality the fourth most important behind Data and Worf--would have likely caused issues).

On BoBW in general, what I love about it (and it's actually much more like Khan in this respect than the films that have actually tried to ape that one) is how it's not really a big all out action epic, it's about the tension and growing sense of doom.

Which is lucky as some of the action stuff has dated (Borg walks down corridor. Gets shot and falls over. Another Borg walks down corridor. Gets shot and falls over. Another Borg walks down corridor. Gets shot and falls over. Another Borg walks down corridor. It's forcefield has adapted! Shelby: Enterprise, get us out of here!. It's Jones' score that really sells that stuff), but overall it's still an extraordinary piece of TV.

It was nice to at least hear on DS9 that Shelby made captain before Riker (though Ron Moore apparently had to apologise to Peter David as they'd assured him before starting New Frontier they weren't going to do anything with Shelby. I've a feeling officially that's now a different Captain Shelby in deference to him, but screw that).

To your other point, I've honestly never been able to figure out why Data was so popular. The character is written so inconsistently. Like how he "can't feel any emotions" in spite of curiosity and the desire for self-improvement being the absolute core of the character. I'd be fine with that if there was some room left for us to say "of course he can, he's just so unaware of himself that he doesn't realize" but the script treats it like a factual truth even though we've seen so many times that it's clearly not. I mean, the guy has friends, a desire for self-preservation and self-determination, an insatiable desire to learn, a deep interest in how others' minds work -- none of those things would be true if there wasn't emotion behind them. But yet the show keeps telling us that, no, he's got no feelings just because he doesn't shout at people or get all mushy with members of the opposite sex (except that one time...) The whole thing is a huge middle finger to the core Trek idea that we should respect people's differences...he's clearly got emotions, but they just don't count because they're not the same as ours. As if Data is broken because he's different and he won't be right until what makes him unique is gone and replaced with a cookie-cutter human. And then they don't even have the guts to stick to their guns about that, and after he gains a lot of humanity over the first two films they immediately roll it back for the last two with no explanation given.

Brent Spiner is fantastic and he does a great job with whatever he's given, but what he's given is crap far too often. Its a credit to him really, with a lesser actor in that role Data would have been completely intolerable instead of just likeable-but-disappointing.
I read something a couple of years ago I'd never noticed before: At no point during the first two seasons is it said Data can't feel emotion. Indeed, he generally seems to, even if he doesn't really understand them and mostly has a childlike glee about things. It's Michael Piller in season 3 who decided he can't feel anything at all.

I think Data's big problem comes from the conflice Datalore creates with the backstory in the show bible everyone had been working from: That he'd been built by aliens to study humanity and was presumably relatively new at it. Then when they have to chuck a script out at the last second and come up with somthing on the spot (the evil twin thing was apparently Spiner's idea, and to be fair, he makes that episode however silly the script is in places. Killing Lore when he was obviously fodder for the films--especially when they wound up giving Data a new evil twin anyway--was very short sighted) he's suddenly been living around humans for decades and has the memories of hundreds of them.

It's a bad fudge for how he'd been portrayed so far (he'd gone two decades without hearing the word "Aphrodisiac"?), and worse than that they continue to treat him as a guy who doesn't really understand or get humans as if he's not spent that much time active.

And seriously, how had he not had sex before Tasha? People in the Trek Universe will pay to have sex with holograms so presumably a bit of fun with a "Programmed in multiple techniques" android who is going to be entirely about your pleasure rather than his would appeal in the sexually liberal 24th century? Surely as part of his exploration of humanity he'd try just about every type of position and partner across as many species and genders as he could?

Agreed on what they do to him in the films. I actually like his subplot in Generations (even if it is very much a TV episode structure B plot that doesn't really connect to anything else in the film), I know it annoys a lot of people but I actually find something unsettling about Data's attempts at humour and following breakdown.

If in the following film he'd just come to terms with emotions and was basically how Spock is from Khan onwards (basically at peace with himself and much happier) I think people would have less of a problem with it. But the backtracking that starts with Data's character development in First Contact and that has completely buggered what was once a great character by Nemesis makes it a dead end.

Totally agreed. I've loved her in everything I've seen her in, no matter how big or small the role. Even though she was only in it for a few episodes, Forbes' Admiral Cain is easily one of my favourite parts of the new BSG.

(And since you were perving on her earlier, I feel obliged to point out that the lady aged like a fine wine...)
Oh yes, though I suppose she was quite young when she did TNG, but ding dong. She seems to like doing random things as well, I'm still not sure how she wound up in that Ken Scott BBC thriller thing from a few years ago (as she was playing a deaf character it hardly needed an American!) but she was great in it.

To be honest, considering her talent and her experiences of being a Trek semi-regular and how that does involve a lot of just sitting there saying "Yes Sir, No Sir", I can see why she wasn't up for more. Though ironically the DS9 role would have given her much more meat if she'd agreed to take Ro over, Kira did very little of the stock Trek stuff.

Where Shinzon is concerned, though, I'm pretty sure it was on purpose. One of the biggest problems with the movie is that it tries to riff on The Wrath of Khan far, far too much.
Oh yes, and the nicking of the plot points shows how badly they misunderstand the situation.

Khan: Kirk flies into a nebula because the interference it causes with sensors places the damaged Enterprise on a level playing field with the Reliant and allows him to take advantage of Khan's inability to think of space in terms of three dimensions (which neatly forefronts one of the advantages of Kirk's age: His experience).

Nemesis: Picard flies into a nebula that allows Shinzon the ambush the Enterprise because of the way it interferes with sensors (and for some reason stops the Federation fleet waiting on the other side from sending in at least a couple of ships to see where the Enterprise got to when she doesn't come out) for no reason whatsoever other than "This is what happened in Khan".

Originally Posted by Brendocon 2.0 View Post
Okay, this was all good and funny in the first place, but I think the joke's run its course.

If you'd have just said "Computer end program" I'd have locked the thread for you.
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