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  #21  
Old 01-25-2011, 11:01 PM
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horatio horatio is offline
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Originally Posted by samwiseb View Post
Oh, it's definitely a mess. When your producer and scriptwriter are re-writing each other's work up until almost the last day of shooting, you know it can't be good for your movie. In fact, just on the script level, I actually think Insurrection -despite its disappointingly shallow execution- has the edge over TMP and TFF put together. If only the designing, production and post-production of INS didn't come across looking like an overbudgeted TV episode. And the story went much, much deeper.

For a time I rated TMP lowest of all, just because I felt that everyone's constant bagging on TFF had become passe (this would've been before the TNG films started going downhill, mind). But TFF has only ever worked for me on a spiritual/metaphorical level --and I happen to be agnostic. Taken as a sci-fi story, it completely falls apart for me. As a 2nd grader would say, I don't 'get' it. They jumped to the galactic core, did not get sucked into a supermassive black hole or fried by a thousand suns, found an alien pretending to be 'god', blasted it with photon torpedoes and drank a toast. They found nothing. And I don't get it.
But isn't TFF a very materialist movie that uses the "aliens pose as gods" idea from Who Mourns for Adonais? There is Nimbus, an attempt to recreate paradise, a prophet who guides lost people to the real paradise which turns out to be a prison for just another false god (Eliza once made a great point here ages ago that the creature behaves very much like the Jewish God when he strikes down Kirk. Obviously no ambiguity Shatner intended although he should have but interesting nonetheless.) ... and then you have the Christian "God is us, the community" ending (although, as you have pointed out, Kirk, Spock and McCoy have found their comradery before). I can roll with that as a hardcore atheist.
I also like the pain scene and not because they explain what drives McCoy and Spock but because these key events in their lives feel natural to their characters. The movie doesn't sink into stupid, popular "explain and psychologize everything" mode in these moments.

So I'd say that there were some good ideas in TFF but that's it. In TMP you have other problems but at least a cinematic experience, something that is worthy of the big screen.
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  #22  
Old 01-26-2011, 01:43 AM
samwiseb samwiseb is offline
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But isn't TFF a very materialist movie that uses the "aliens pose as gods" idea from Who Mourns for Adonais? There is Nimbus, an attempt to recreate paradise, a prophet who guides lost people to the real paradise which turns out to be a prison for just another false god (Eliza once made a great point here ages ago that the creature behaves very much like the Jewish God when he strikes down Kirk. Obviously no ambiguity Shatner intended although he should have but interesting nonetheless.) ... and then you have the Christian "God is us, the community" ending (although, as you have pointed out, Kirk, Spock and McCoy have found their comradery before). I can roll with that as a hardcore atheist.
These are interesting points. I like the metaphors and what-not... but in terms of story I'm kinda fuzzy on the whole "alien pretending to be God" concept (I didn't like 'Who Mourns for Adonais' either, although at least with that story the premise was mostly solid).

Like, I wonder what 'God' is doing there at the galactic core apparently just waiting to be discovered/freed/whatever. Versus what he was 'supposed' to be doing there (ie, what was the nature of Sybok's vision, since there obviously was 'something' to it, that he expected to find 'God'). The Sybok/Nimbus stuff was compelling... but when you get to the end and they've 'killed' God with a couple of torpedoes, you have to ask, "okay, really, what was all that even about? Did they throw in the Klingons because they knew they had a paper-thin plot? What's the final message? That spirituality needs to be personal and practical? 'Maybe God's not out there; maybe he's right here'? I like that, I even agree with it, but... Why did we need to go to the center of the galaxy for that?"

I do like TFF's political attitude, which seems refreshingly less conservative than STs II and III (which is not to say that I take anything away from TWOK despite the fact). Kirk's rescue-the-hostages-by-force mission fails in pretty much the way you would expect something like that in real life. And I like that the Federation is at least partly responsible for the poverty and neglect evidenced on Nimbus III. In this regard I think the movie was ahead of TNG (most of it anyway) in establishing the cynical realism that Treks like STVI and DS9 have become known for.

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I also like the pain scene and not because they explain what drives McCoy and Spock but because these key events in their lives feel natural to their characters. The movie doesn't sink into stupid, popular "explain and psychologize everything" mode in these moments.
I liked that too. Also the scenes leading up to Nimbus III, Spock's divided loyalty, and even Sybok's subtle admiration for the fact that he was not able to divide Spock and his friends. I actually do quite enjoy the movie when I'm in the mood for it. But I press SKIP whenever anybody's about to sing, or Uhura's about to start flirting with Scotty. Oh, and the new limited edition soundtrack CD? AWESOME.

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So I'd say that there were some good ideas in TFF but that's it. In TMP you have other problems but at least a cinematic experience, something that is worthy of the big screen.
That's about where I am with these films. I think the ideas come together better in TMP, but even the warmest moments in that film are not quite (at the very end, it almost feels like classic TOS, but still very distant and formal). V has a few absolutely beautiful character moments, as well as some of the best cinematography in all the ST feature films, if only the rest of the movie wasn't so awful that you woudn't even notice. And I do believe the first four TOS films have more of a big screen feel to them than V and VI (as much as I prefer the narrative scope and Nicholas Meyer-ness of VI over most of what's in TMP).
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Last edited by samwiseb : 01-26-2011 at 05:43 PM. Reason: edited to fix a couple typos, even though it's too late to bother
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  #23  
Old 01-26-2011, 07:23 AM
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I think it is fair to call II-IV the core of the original movies, afterwards there is some disintegration. Yet despite all its problems TUC at least achieves to be a grand goodbye. It kinda gives the dying old man called original Trek some dignity.
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  #24  
Old 01-26-2011, 09:45 AM
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I do like TFF's political attitude, which seems refreshingly less conservative than STs II and III (which is not to say that I take anything away from TWOK despite the fact). Kirk's rescue-the-hostages-by-force mission fails in pretty much the way you would expect something like that in real life. And I like that the Federation is at least partly responsible for the poverty and neglect evidenced on Nimbus III. In this regard I think the movie was ahead of TNG (most of it anyway) in establishing the cynical realism that Treks like STVI and DS9 have become known for.
That's an interesting point - the 'Peace Planet' that essentially everyone has given up on and left to rot.

But is that there because it was attempt to show that the Federation could give up and walk away from such attempts, or was it there merely to be the desperately in need place where someone as able as Sybok can stake claim to the people there who 'need' the inspiration and vision he provides that has been lost from the three major powers?

Technically, I guess it's the latter, but then it also nicely implies the former as well once the movie is over and done with.

It foreshadows placed like the colony Tasha grew up on, another place it's implied that the Federation gave up on and left to descend into chaos and poverty.

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I liked that too. Also the scenes leading up to Nimbus III, Spock's divided loyalty, and even Sybok's subtle admiration for the fact that he was not able to divide Spock and his friends. I actually do quite enjoy the movie when I'm in the mood for it. But I press SKIP whenever anybody's about to sing, or Uhura's about to start flirting with Scotty. Oh, and the new limited edition soundtrack CD? AWESOME.
Spock's 'pain' is fine, but I do find McCoy's a little cliche - oh, he switched his dad off and then almost immediately they found a cure. It's not so bad, but for me it's another one of those 'rolls eyes, moves on to next scene' moments, even though Kelley plays the scene well and it gave him more to do that the films usually did.
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  #25  
Old 01-26-2011, 09:46 AM
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I think it is fair to call II-IV the core of the original movies, afterwards there is some disintegration. Yet despite all its problems TUC at least achieves to be a grand goodbye. It kinda gives the dying old man called original Trek some dignity.
The finale and feeling of finality to the fadeout in TUC is very well done. It's just a shame I'm no longer much of a fan of the two hours preceding it.
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  #26  
Old 01-26-2011, 03:14 PM
Steve Gennarelli Steve Gennarelli is offline
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Just my opinion but I'm really down on "Insurrection". I can't think of a more pretentious Trek movie.
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  #27  
Old 01-26-2011, 03:16 PM
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Just my opinion but I'm really down on "Insurrection". I can't think of a more pretentious Trek movie.
I donno TMP before the 2001 "Director's Cut" was pretty pretentous.
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  #28  
Old 01-26-2011, 05:03 PM
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Just my opinion but I'm really down on "Insurrection". I can't think of a more pretentious Trek movie.
Wow! I've finally found someone who dislikes Insurrection as much, if not more, than I do!
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  #29  
Old 01-27-2011, 09:13 AM
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Wow! I've finally found someone who dislikes Insurrection as much, if not more, than I do!
Excuse me..........I'm rarely 'up' on it!
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  #30  
Old 01-27-2011, 11:56 AM
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horatio horatio is offline
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Just my opinion but I'm really down on "Insurrection". I can't think of a more pretentious Trek movie.
If a Trek movie gets called like that it has obviously done something right. I kind like simple movies where heroes do the right thing for the right reasons.

This issue apart, INS is a problematic movie for different reasons. I think the main issue is its lack of thematic consistency. Is it a light-hearted piece or, pardon the pun, focusing on its "Heart of Darkness" elements? It's doing both and that's why it doesn't work.
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