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  #21  
Old 09-15-2011, 10:16 PM
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kevin kevin is offline
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It is curious how the movie did seem to be broadly well liked by a wide range of people, from those who had never seen any Trek before to those who had been there at the start. It seemed to have satisfied a fairly wide range of folks.

But of course it also didn't. And I'm trying (and it's not very hard) to remember if that has ever happened before with Trek series and films, where some love it and some hate it. Yeah, that has. There are Trek fans out there who don't think DS9 is 'real' Star Trek.........etc, etc - I could go on but...........

It's also the case that Star Trek as a whole was hardly a charity case in recent years and nor was it something that was supposed to attract only a niche crowd. It has been underfunded previously in film terms over the years (after the huge wad was blown on TMP back in 1979) but the TV series have always been extremely generously funded from TNG onwards to the tune of millions of dollars per episode since 1987. Although even then the exectives were smart enough to apply business decisions to the show to ensure the risk was off their shoulders as much as possible because no-one knew how this very expensive TV show was going to go. That was more than many other sci-fi shows had to spend on themselves and that continued. And at that spending level it was not supposed to only be caught by the select few.

It also was never especially risky once it settled into to TNG era.

Sorry, but Star Trek has coveted pop culture status for years and any argument to the contrary is not a strong one. For a while it even sorta had it. It's selectivism based on the decline of the franchise over the final stages of the Berman years leading up to the cancellation of ENT when it actually DID have just a comparatively niche audience. But not because that was who it was targeting.

Nor do you set up a merchandising network like Trek did in it's last heydey if you aren't out to milk.

Given that all the films after TMP virtually have fit the sci-fi/action/adventure template and tried to appeal and be accessible to general movie-goers as well as fans, it's no surprise at all that the Abrams film did the same (while it's cute to see complaints about the explosions and visuals effects reliance and starship fights and lack of a 'proper' Trek story (likely insert ones own definition of what exactly that means for everyone) there seems to be some odd selectivism about just how many explosions, visual effects and starship battles there's already been and not ones that were always underpinned by superb allegorical sci-fi storytelling either) but certainly there is some sourness that it did it better than the others.

Star Trek (as a franchise) is a thing that runs the quality and story gamut from embarrasingly stupid crap, to quite excellent stuff across all the films and TV shows. It's merely that few ever agree on where everything slots in. The last film is no different.

Yet, as Martok notes - we turn up anyway. Whether it's been as dumb as a box of hair, or something smart and effective, or we watch the next week's episode to see if it will be better than last week's. Because that's what fans do. Stay for the long haul and praise/complain about the latest entry and then tune back in to the next installment.

So, anyway, I will wait to hear more about the sequel and then go and see it when it comes out................even if by then I have reservations about it's story (once I know what it is exactly) and then decide whether I like it or not.
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  #22  
Old 09-16-2011, 12:36 AM
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Trek is all things to all people.
In the end you only enjoy it for yourself—not for others.
I'll see it regardless of the storyline—good, bad or ugly reviews.
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  #23  
Old 09-16-2011, 01:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by omegaman View Post
Trek is all things to all people.
In the end you only enjoy it for yourself—not for others.
I'll see it regardless of the storyline—good, bad or ugly reviews.
Kevin, I applaud your eloquence.
Omegaman, I applaud your succinctness.
And Martok, I applaud your.....er....wait....I am Martok! Gaaaaahhhhhhh!!!!


To put a little more balance into the insight....
I'm sure that for those that this Star Trek film has disappointed, it was very much like how Star Trek The Motion Picture was for those whom it disappointed...


A promising beginning that turns out being the best 10 minutes of the movie....everything that followed was just not up to snuff.

For ST:TMP the complaints were:
1. Stiff, wooden characters that apparently were shadows of their TV series selves.
2. Overblown, overlong visual effects sequences that lasted for too long, juxtaposed against too many looks of awe and amazement on the crew during the V'ger travel sequence.

Of course, I loved ST: TMP. The first ten minutes were indeed the best, but to me, the story did not diminish sharply from there. It was great seeing my heroes up on the big screen, seeing the Enterprise refit and up on the big screen...and I dug the story. And I was only ten years old. When it came out on VHS, I was down at the local library every Saturday afternoon for about twelve weeks, reserving time in the media room just to watch Star Trek The Motion Picture. (It was the only sci-fi movie they had at the time. Shortly after that, they'd gotten TRON and Star Wars....but it was understandable why they were so slow in getting such movies....new VHS movies back then were around $100-$110 dollars to purchase.)

Even to this day, ST: TMP holds up quite well for me. It held up considerably when the Director's Edition DVD was released, and it holds up even more immensely on Blu-Ray.
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  #24  
Old 09-16-2011, 02:02 AM
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Trek hasn't been a cash cow before ST09, the budgets and target audience speak for themselves.

I am not against action per se (gee, like you folks I am a guy), I actually liked it quite a lot when e.g. ENT went for more action during its third season.
I am against action that comes at the cost of losing substance. This doesn't mean that the story has to be super-smart or technobabble-saturated or whatever. It merely means that there should be a decent story that feels a bit like sci-fi. Action in space is not automatically science-fiction.

I am not in favour of the other extreme, dry, talky sci-fi. TMP is a sleep pill. All I am arguing for is more balance ... and given the success of balanced movies like TWOK or FC I dare say that at least once my crazy opinion is mainstream compatible. By the way, a short inspection of these two movies reveals that things like thrill or surprise value are ingredients that make action work all the better.
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  #25  
Old 09-16-2011, 02:02 AM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Trek hasn't been a cash cow before ST09, the budgets and target audience speak for themselves.

I am not against action per se (gee, like you folks I am a guy), I actually liked it quite a lot when e.g. ENT .
I am against action that comes at the cost of losing substance. This doesn't mean that the story has to be super-smart or technobabble-saturated or whatever. It merely means that there should be a decent story that feels a bit like sci-fi. Action in space is not automatically science-fiction.

I am not in favour of the other extreme, dry, talky sci-fi. TMP is a sleep pill. All I am arguing for is more balance ... and given the success of balanced movies like TWOK or FC I dare say that at least once my crazy opinion is mainstream compatible.
HA HA....I too sometimes use ST:TMP as a sleep aid. Much as I love the movie, it is a pretty serene one to go to sleep by.

In fact:
Sci-fi movies I love to drop off to:

Star Trek The Motion Picture
Star Trek VI The Undiscovered Country
Star Trek Nemesis
Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back
Dune (both theatrical and Sci-fi productions)
The Black Hole
Battlestar Galactica (pilot episodes for both the original and new series)
Babylon 5: The Gathering (pilot for B5)
Babylon 5: In the Beginning (prequel to the pilot)
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  #27  
Old 09-16-2011, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Egg liqueur and a wooden oven do the trick in winter. OK, you folks in New Orleans don't really need the latter but you can compensate the lack of an oven with more egg liqueur.
Hahahaha....you'd be surprised in our rather short winters how much we'd love a wooden oven.
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  #28  
Old 09-16-2011, 10:00 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by horatio View Post
Trek hasn't been a cash cow before ST09, the budgets and target audience speak for themselves.
I'm sorry, but... seriously? I'm afraid I just don't follow on this one.

Star Trek has been a cash cow ever since Paramount pulled the plug on their aborted TV series and decided to make a movie instead.

Then they green-lit a second feature film, on a TV budget, and even tried to strong-arm the director they hired into not bringing in a music composer they didn't want to pay for (Nick has gone on record griping about this). They readjusted their expectations following TMP's figures, and decided to make every last bit of money off the ST banner, quality be damned. Then when there was 'talk' about 'possibly' making a third movie, the producers suddenly got cold feet about killing off a major character.

Then they allowed an unqualified writer/director to manage the fifth film because they were still high off their success with the fourth. When they saw they were in trouble, they lowered their budget accordingly. What the hey, as long as they were still making money. Then they got cold feet about making a sixth film, and by all accounts might never have gotten around to it had it not been a ST anniversary year. There was still 'some' money that had not yet been sucked out of the cash cow. We can't have that.

Next you have the TNG spin-offs: three consecutive series worth, no less. One spin-off I could understand, because TNG actually had the ratings to justify it. Could DS9 say the same? Sure, I realize "we all like DS9", but... That show started steadily declining immediately after the pilot. I vividly remember press interviews going into VOY's premier: with questions like "You don't think there's a danger of oversaturation?" being answered with Berman's usual PR speak "Well, of course we're very much aware of the dangers of making 'too many trips to the well', but I can assure you the matter has been given all due consideration." Translation: the studio was milking their cash cow yet again, and the producers having to put their positive spin on the situation knew it all too well. But at least they had job security (something most people don't get in Hollywood).

I guess we're just not on the same bus, if by 'cash cow' you mean that this is the first time since TMP that ST has tried to play in the big leagues (even though Kevin's analysis of ST on the TV front demonstrates this is also not the case). But from where I stand, it took some serious balls to gamble that the franchise could achieve this on the feature film front. Certainly no less so than gambling that a high-budget production value TV series could thrive in the then-untested first-run syndicated market. I don't see anything risk-averse about ST09's development, because (since you bring up budgets and target audiences) there was nothing in the numbers for movies I-X to indicate that ST could sustain itself as an A-level film franchise. Though I suppose if you wanted to put a cynical spin on that you could say "Yeah, well, there was nothing risky about such a move because ST really 'sort of' had nothing to lose by that point. So... meh."

If the next film is content to simply do 'only what worked the last time' (as certain other semi-recent films/series in the ST franchise were guilty of doing) then I will say ST has again fallen back into "milking the cash cow dry" mode. Anyway, it's now nearly three hours since I came off my graveyard shift, so... goodnight y'all.
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  #29  
Old 09-16-2011, 01:44 PM
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Saquist Saquist is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by samwiseb View Post
I'm sorry, but... seriously? I'm afraid I just don't follow on this one.

Star Trek has been a cash cow ever since Paramount pulled the plug on their aborted TV series and decided to make a movie instead.

Then they green-lit a second feature film, on a TV budget, and even tried to strong-arm the director they hired into not bringing in a music composer they didn't want to pay for (Nick has gone on record griping about this). They readjusted their expectations following TMP's figures, and decided to make every last bit of money off the ST banner, quality be damned. Then when there was 'talk' about 'possibly' making a third movie, the producers suddenly got cold feet about killing off a major character.

Then they allowed an unqualified writer/director to manage the fifth film because they were still high off their success with the fourth. When they saw they were in trouble, they lowered their budget accordingly. What the hey, as long as they were still making money. Then they got cold feet about making a sixth film, and by all accounts might never have gotten around to it had it not been a ST anniversary year. There was still 'some' money that had not yet been sucked out of the cash cow. We can't have that.

Next you have the TNG spin-offs: three consecutive series worth, no less. One spin-off I could understand, because TNG actually had the ratings to justify it. Could DS9 say the same? Sure, I realize "we all like DS9", but... That show started steadily declining immediately after the pilot. I vividly remember press interviews going into VOY's premier: with questions like "You don't think there's a danger of oversaturation?" being answered with Berman's usual PR speak "Well, of course we're very much aware of the dangers of making 'too many trips to the well', but I can assure you the matter has been given all due consideration." Translation: the studio was milking their cash cow yet again, and the producers having to put their positive spin on the situation knew it all too well. But at least they had job security (something most people don't get in Hollywood).

I guess we're just not on the same bus, if by 'cash cow' you mean that this is the first time since TMP that ST has tried to play in the big leagues (even though Kevin's analysis of ST on the TV front demonstrates this is also not the case). But from where I stand, it took some serious balls to gamble that the franchise could achieve this on the feature film front. Certainly no less so than gambling that a high-budget production value TV series could thrive in the then-untested first-run syndicated market. I don't see anything risk-averse about ST09's development, because (since you bring up budgets and target audiences) there was nothing in the numbers for movies I-X to indicate that ST could sustain itself as an A-level film franchise. Though I suppose if you wanted to put a cynical spin on that you could say "Yeah, well, there was nothing risky about such a move because ST really 'sort of' had nothing to lose by that point. So... meh."

If the next film is content to simply do 'only what worked the last time' (as certain other semi-recent films/series in the ST franchise were guilty of doing) then I will say ST has again fallen back into "milking the cash cow dry" mode. Anyway, it's now nearly three hours since I came off my graveyard shift, so... goodnight y'all.
Yeah it has been a cash cow...maybe not compared to other milk machines but it's been so steady for revenue...
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  #30  
Old 09-16-2011, 02:18 PM
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Originally Posted by samwiseb View Post
I'm sorry, but... seriously? I'm afraid I just don't follow on this one.

Star Trek has been a cash cow ever since Paramount pulled the plug on their aborted TV series and decided to make a movie instead.

Then they green-lit a second feature film, on a TV budget, and even tried to strong-arm the director they hired into not bringing in a music composer they didn't want to pay for (Nick has gone on record griping about this). They readjusted their expectations following TMP's figures, and decided to make every last bit of money off the ST banner, quality be damned. Then when there was 'talk' about 'possibly' making a third movie, the producers suddenly got cold feet about killing off a major character.

Then they allowed an unqualified writer/director to manage the fifth film because they were still high off their success with the fourth. When they saw they were in trouble, they lowered their budget accordingly. What the hey, as long as they were still making money. Then they got cold feet about making a sixth film, and by all accounts might never have gotten around to it had it not been a ST anniversary year. There was still 'some' money that had not yet been sucked out of the cash cow. We can't have that.

Next you have the TNG spin-offs: three consecutive series worth, no less. One spin-off I could understand, because TNG actually had the ratings to justify it. Could DS9 say the same? Sure, I realize "we all like DS9", but... That show started steadily declining immediately after the pilot. I vividly remember press interviews going into VOY's premier: with questions like "You don't think there's a danger of oversaturation?" being answered with Berman's usual PR speak "Well, of course we're very much aware of the dangers of making 'too many trips to the well', but I can assure you the matter has been given all due consideration." Translation: the studio was milking their cash cow yet again, and the producers having to put their positive spin on the situation knew it all too well. But at least they had job security (something most people don't get in Hollywood).

I guess we're just not on the same bus, if by 'cash cow' you mean that this is the first time since TMP that ST has tried to play in the big leagues (even though Kevin's analysis of ST on the TV front demonstrates this is also not the case). But from where I stand, it took some serious balls to gamble that the franchise could achieve this on the feature film front. Certainly no less so than gambling that a high-budget production value TV series could thrive in the then-untested first-run syndicated market. I don't see anything risk-averse about ST09's development, because (since you bring up budgets and target audiences) there was nothing in the numbers for movies I-X to indicate that ST could sustain itself as an A-level film franchise. Though I suppose if you wanted to put a cynical spin on that you could say "Yeah, well, there was nothing risky about such a move because ST really 'sort of' had nothing to lose by that point. So... meh."

If the next film is content to simply do 'only what worked the last time' (as certain other semi-recent films/series in the ST franchise were guilty of doing) then I will say ST has again fallen back into "milking the cash cow dry" mode. Anyway, it's now nearly three hours since I came off my graveyard shift, so... goodnight y'all.
As I wrote, for a company a cash cow is "a product in your portfolio with a large budget, large revenues and small risk used to finance smaller, more risky products."
You pointed out budgets reductions during the the first Trek movies so no cash cow.
You pointed out the continuous rating problems of all three shows after TNG so no cash cows. I totally agree that they did milk every last drop out of Trek in the nineties but that's not what a cash cow is.

About the risk, the previous concept for an eleventh movie, a war trilogy based on a cancelled series, was risky. Returning to the roots and the most popular characters was the safest way to go. But that's not what I have a problem with.
You wrote about the bad trend of the last movies and that this implies that Trek is a risky franchise ... but, guess what, they did not make just another Trek movie, they made a high-budget movie designed to reach a very wide audience. The creative implications of this choice is what I have an issue with. Of course I don't want Trek to be a niche product which it has never been, but I neither want it to lose its soul and essence (I am well aware that this is a subjective issue and that you consider ST09 to be a great Trek movie while for me many things about ST09 just taste like arbitrary blockbuster and not like Trek ingredients) while it tries to pander to the masses. Don't spread the butter to thin.
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