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Old 08-25-2010, 09:56 AM
samwiseb samwiseb is offline
Join Date: Aug 2008
Posts: 1,208

Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Funny, I found Spock's repetition of his Sherloch Holmes line from TUC in ST09 quite annoying.
It kinda was. Him referring to Holmes as an ancestor was 'kinda' weird and I still don't know what to make of that. Is it fourth-wall breaking? I don't know. But fortunately it's the same movie in which the Klingons suddenly take up Shakespeare.

I actually like inconsistencies or idiosyncrasies as long as they're intentional. I like creative freedom and audacity. I like if a director says "screw it, I'm going to make this picture my own, and I can change the wardrobe, sets, lighting and music however I want to." I want every picture and every series to show its own fingerprints. The flip side of that is, there is tremendous responsibility and consequences. I think most of us agree that Meyer was a lot less subtle on STVI than II... as if maybe it bothered him for ten years that not enough people 'got' his literary references the first time around, and so he took it into overkill. Maybe VI is like the B-side of II... maybe it's Donnie Darko The Director's Cut.

Did you also mind rituals in TOS like the forced laugh at the end or Spock constantly bashing with McCoy or Kirk getting the half-naked girl? TV and cinema are arts of repetition, just imagine a car crash in a movie without an explosion. Everybody would be shocked because cineman doesn't repeat its oldest clichée.
You're asking questions I won't have easy or even semi-consistent answers to.

Car crash explosions are like sound in space; movies may seem 'incomplete' without them... as if the visual or sound effects were simply not completed. A skilled director or editor can still experiment with those things.

The Spock/McCoy bashing was pure genius, considering who/what the characters represented, and it was something Roddenberry himself probably wouldn't have recognized or exploited from the characters (he was more a conceptualist than a writer, I think, when handling his characters).

Kirk's 'playboy' qualities represent a kind of recurring cliche that I often suspect (or hope) was unintentional. On a ST09 thread I haven't found time to respond to, you were comparing young NuKirk with (what we know about) young ShatnerKirk. I think your analogy of Kirk constantly falling down and grabbing for the edge was right on, and the symbolic repetition of that visual image throughout the movie was an essential component. As you mentioned, this is not the same Kirk who grew up on Tarsus IV (or wherever) or acted like a geeky, walking stalk of books with legs at the Academy. The thing is, I think young NuKirk is actually more 'true' to the classic character than those biographical details or 'facts' that fans cling to. Even if I were making a Prime Universe Starfleet Academy movie, I would probably just ignore Tarsus IV and James Finnegan (I'd be willing to wager Harve Bennett's script ignored them too). Kirk was still very much "in development" or evolving (devolving?) at the time those facts were established. Maybe network interference was to blame... but for better or worse, the skirt-chaser Kirk from Seasons 2 and 3 is what the world at large came to know and remember. Everyone's favorite ST movie (we all know the one) would have been a very different picture if those now-famous/infamous qualities/flaws had not already existed in Kirk for the director to exploit.

And yes, the forced laugh at the end of many episodes was almost always annoying. And 'Galileo Seven' takes the golden cheesecake award.

These cliches or character traditions however are not the same to me as a laughably clumsy piece of technobabble that gets repeated out of laziness. It's not even something I know how to explain; I already tried. There's no style or purpose to it, it's entirely mechanical. Perhaps Data forgot to look right at the camera when he said the line.

You might see if you can dig up a copy of the 'annoted' screenplay for Nemesis, that was circling the web just after the movie came out. The margins are full of (imaginary) dialogue between Berman and Logan, illustrating the creative gears that were 'probably' at work (use of quotation marks deliberate, just to be fair). It's totally hilarious, and has a disturbingly familiar 'ring' of truth for skeptical fans, with comments like "[BERMAN]: Here, give me that typewriter for a second" written into the margins wherever there is technobabble. Like I said, it's intended to be a cynical portrayal, not a (necessarily) accurate one.

Sure you throw Berman and the studio together, you just claim that he and the studio are both overprotective. Not that I understand what this word means in this context. All I can deduce is that Mr.Berman sometimes had creative ideas whereas the studio wanted to play it safe.
If I 'just' do it, if that is the one instance, how am I throwing them in together? I never said or implied they were of a like mind or in total agreement with how to run things. Is it necessary to stop every time and specify that 2 does not mean 20 just in order just to not say something that I'm not saying? You've already acknowledged the studio wanted to play it safe, so there's no need to explain that part.

Berman, perhaps out of loyalty to Roddenberry's ghost (I'm not inclined to doubt it) seemed to want to run tight ship and do everything just the way Roddenberry did it. There are two problems with this. Berman is no Roddenberry, nor is he really a writer (he's a producer). Also Roddenberry, I think most agree, did not always necessarily have the best ideas of where to take the series. It took a couple years to get together a group of people who could make consistently strong dramatic television while working within the Roddenberry constraints. I don't have a problem with that; there are 'utopiest' (that's probably not even a word) fans out there who only consider TNG as the one 'true' ST. Maybe they feel our generation needs a new age of progressively enlightened mythology, and for a time TNG was that.

That's all fine, but you still have basic rules of drama that are as old as theater itself. If you can find the next Roddenberry, fine, make him one of the showrunners of ST. But really look for the creative people, and let them be allowed to leave their fingerprints. Bring in the Nick Meyers, the Joss Whedons, the J. Michael Stracynzkis, the JJ Abramses, the people who will never 'understand' Roddenberry but appreciate ST nonetheless. Instead of just grooming the people you already have to continue regurgitating old Prime Directive stories because "this is how (we think) Roddenberry would have done it." You cannot, cannot, encourage creativity by insisting that "established canon" dictates the set lighting must be this way, or the music 'must' be un-intrusive or unnoticeable.

(How did the whole music restriction thing start? At a guess, I would say 19-inch stereo TVs were still a novelty in 1987, and Paramount really wanted to boast the atmospheric quality of the sound mix on their new first-run syndication series. Maybe there's still a memo somewhere. But even the synthesized 'new age' sound of early TNG, I'll take anyday over the ponderous sounds that passed for music from Season 5 up to the cancellation of ENT. Music is almost half your movie! It's the emotions of the film. DS9, in all it's space battles, political intrigue and vast epicness, never matched the simple edge-of-your-seat ticking-clock excitement of 'The Best of Both Words I and II.' And that's why.)

What is risky about rebooting the most popular Trek series? It's going back to the roots, into territory which you know many people will like. That's as safe as it can get. The Romulan War story would have been risky, a new series would have been risky, but back to the roots certainly isn't. If it really was a gamble they wouldn't have spent 150 million bucks.
I would argue spending 150 million bucks on anything named 'Star Trek,' even at the height of its popularity, was an unprecedented risk. There was no way to predict how mainstream viewers might respond (or not). Even blockbuster franchises like The Terminator don't guarantee success. The only guarantee with Star Trek is the fans, and most of them wanted a new series "set 100 years after Nemesis" (how often have we seen that thrown out there?). I suppose such a series would have kept most of the same people and the same aesthetic as all the TNG spinoffs... at least in the assumptions of most fans (many of them the same fans, I might add, who 'hate' Berman and Braga). Skin-tight jumpsuits, chroniton particles and neutrino emissions, warp 'signatures', and ponderous music... I hate to sound condescending, but can't people get enough? There's nothing risky about that, even if it fails. That's just called not learning their lesson.

The 'Romulan War' movie did sound intriguing, and I sincerely regret Berman never got the chance to (possibly) 'redeem' himself with producing such a movie. Although to me it's 50/50 whether such would have been the result. I guess he had just run out of time. And I'm sorry and all, but it's also kind of just 'too bad.' If anyone has the script I wouldn't mind reading it.

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