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Old 07-03-2008, 02:00 PM
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Default The original cast and next gen movies...

Howdy.

How many other folks here felt that perhaps the first three (at least) Next Gen films felt much more like overblown two-hour episodes rather than big-screen experiences (like the original six films)? I can see your hands. M'kay. Cool.

See, here was my big beef with Generations, First Contact, and Insurrection. Precisely the premise I just stated. They really looked and felt more like episodes that could easily have been done for television. I think part of the problem was this: In the time between the end of the original Star Trek, and Star Trek the Motion Picture, visual FX had jumped forward by leaps and bounds, thanks to Star Wars (and to no small degree...2001 A Space Odyssey...and that actually came out during Trek's second season, IIRC). When the Enterprise was refit, the sets redesigned, and the stories made much more epic, well, that truly defined a big screen experience for me. (Nicholas Meyer, responsible in whatever capacities for ST II, IV, and VI had a major hand in that, as well.) Overall, the appearance of the first six Trek films just had that wow factor (ok...maybe not Trek V) of a big screen flick.

Now let's jump ahead to the Next Gen films:
Between the time that Next Gen finally went off the air, and Generations hit the big screen, I think (at most) a year had passed. A couple of things really hampered the big-screen wow factor (for me) that was so prevalent in the first six films.

1. Television visual FX were improving considerably over the years. Next Generation and following shows were priding themselves on having "motion picture quality FX". And that was a good thing. However, the transition over one year from TV to big screen just didn't seem so great. Heck, in Generations, they even used a couple of shots straight from the TV series and ported them up onto the big-screen. If anything, it at least shows the ambition the show had while it was running...and it did work to that point. But really, the transition wasn't obvious. Even with the introduction of the Enterprise E in First Contact. The VFX may have improved slightly, but the story still felt "television episodic".

2. Which leads me to this point. The first six Trek films were handled by guys who knew about the ins and outs of a big-screen production. (Robert Wise, Harve Bennett, Nicholas Meyer, and even Leonard Nimoy). The writers, to my recollection, were big screen writers as well. The writers for the Next Gen films were straight from the writing staff of the series. Alas, when writing their stories, they still had that confined feel of the TV series, and nothing really exploded onto the big screen like it should've. Nemesis, at least, despite its many flaws, had that big-screen factor that was missing from the first three NG films. It was co-written by a big screen writer (John Logan of Gladiator.) It was directed by a big-screen director (Stuart Baird of US Marshalls, and Executive Decision). I will grant that there were many things that fell through the cracks somewhere in this equation...especially in the writing from John Logan. (How did the Enterprise get 5 more decks?) I would say that the biggest mistake was in getting two polar opposites involved in this production process. John Logan had been a Star Trek fan since he was a kid (supposedly), and Stuart Baird was almost a complete stranger to Star Trek. So, for many, the film may have an almost fanboyish, yet unfamiliar feeling mixed in there somewhere. However, the set design, lighting, story, and even acting, not to mention visual effects just seemed to explode into a big screen effect that I felt was missing with the prior three flicks.

I think another big problem with the Next Gen films was that it just didn't have the interpersonal story factors like the first six did with Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. Something about those stories with the big three just seemed to make the first six films that much more epic, tragic, and triumphant. Especially considering that before that, we only had the original series three season run, and, if you wish to consider, the animated series two season run. We didn't get a lot of time to really know Kirk, Spock, and McCoy...but they made damn good use of that time. And when the first six films hit the screens, those stories just seemed that much more impacting.

Over the course of the Next Generation series run, we had seven years to get to know our favorite characters...and many of the interpersonal stories were handled during that time. (Again, they made damn good use of that time.) But, once NG hit the big screen, there was that X-factor missing from the first six original cast films. Sure, the NG films seemed to center largely around Data and Picard. But rarely did we get to see much more beyond that. (Insurrection covered a little bit of the Riker/Troi relationship...but not much.) The most interpersonal storytelling seemed to come from Nemesis. (Riker/Troi's wedding....the first time we really seemed to jump beyond the Picard/Data dynamic.) But, if you think about it, you would figure that over the course of 15 years, Picard and Riker would've become that much closer as friends, and we would've seen more of that storytelling reflected in both the series, and the movies. But ultimately, there just seemed to be more dutiful "aye, sir" dynamic than Picard and Riker actually relating to each other the way Kirk, Spock, and McCoy did....or the way Picard and Data did. It really just felt like, in Nemesis, all Picard really did was sum up the nature of his relationship with his crew over the past 15 years with his speech at Riker/Troi's wedding.

Sorry. I rant....but this was something I was wanting to share, and wondered if anyone else felt the same.

Thank you for your attention and consideration.
Respectfully,
Martok2112
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Old 07-03-2008, 03:51 PM
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I see your point, and I agree, I fell that if TNG went to an 8th season and made these movies two part episodes or multiple episode story archs mixed with other episodes and maybe an apperance from Q, it would have turned out much better.
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Old 07-07-2008, 03:01 AM
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I disagree respectfully. I believe in the opposite; the first three TNG films were the ONLY TNG films to have movie-quality to them. First Contact to this day is my choice for best SFX in a Star Trek film. Generations and Insurrection had many beautiful visuals. But Nemesis reeked of cheap CGI, and the special effects were drastically underwhelming IMO.

As far as stories go, Generations was remarkably epic compared to episodic television, and I personally can't imagine it as an episode. Nor can I with First Contact, whose story definitely had a Wrath of Khan-esque action film feel to it. Insurrection did have a rather episodic plot, but Nemesis had a rather meandering story, and grew boring after a while, at least until they got into the big ending battle.

So no, I can't say I agree, although I do respect your opinions
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Old 07-07-2008, 03:25 AM
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TNG films never lived up to the standards of the TV series.
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Admiral Archer View Post
I disagree respectfully. I believe in the opposite; the first three TNG films were the ONLY TNG films to have movie-quality to them. First Contact to this day is my choice for best SFX in a Star Trek film. Generations and Insurrection had many beautiful visuals. But Nemesis reeked of cheap CGI, and the special effects were drastically underwhelming IMO.

As far as stories go, Generations was remarkably epic compared to episodic television, and I personally can't imagine it as an episode. Nor can I with First Contact, whose story definitely had a Wrath of Khan-esque action film feel to it. Insurrection did have a rather episodic plot, but Nemesis had a rather meandering story, and grew boring after a while, at least until they got into the big ending battle.

So no, I can't say I agree, although I do respect your opinions
En garde!

LOL! Just kidding, as I also respect yours on this matter.
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by martok2112 View Post
En garde!

LOL! Just kidding, as I also respect yours on this matter.
It's Trek fight!!!!
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:55 AM
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Star Trek is definitely the kind of show/series/franchise that the fans can all take something different away from it. Then again, any good sci-fi/space fantasy worth its salt will have such diversity.
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Old 07-07-2008, 04:57 AM
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Star Trek is definitely the kind of show/series/franchise that the fans can all take something different away from it. Then again, any good sci-fi/space fantasy worth its salt will have such diversity.
Nice!!! Well said!!!
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:02 AM
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Danke, mon amigo.

I know sometimes I harp about the fact that I prefer the action, and space battles, (I just love seeing powerful starships in epic clashes) but Star Trek is definitely more than that.

As a little kid, I loved any episode where shots were exchanged, or where the shuttlecraft was involved. After that, the stories grabbed me as a more mature kid, and an adult.
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:04 AM
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I think Martok has some fair points. I agree that Insurrection had the weakest script of them all, it was very much a television episode with rather poor effects (courtesy of leaving ILM) and while it had some nice ideas and individual scenes it doesn't work as a whole film. Generations was saddled with a checklist to be dealt with given to the writers by the studio which hampered their ability to come up with what they wanted. First Contact is by far the best film - it actually managed to be a FILM, a cinematic experience that left the TV roots behind, those very same roots returned in Insurrection. Nemesis was for me too much a copy of TWOK (probably hoping to emulate it's success given the lower box-office for INS), and although they wanted to bring all the stories to conclusion it meant none of them had much screen time to be done right (I mean Riker and Troi's entire new courtship was off-screen, we just jumped right into the wedding). So the moments were lost among the drive for action and not well paid off after 15 years. Whether running the series for longer would have been better, well I don't know - the quality was dipping and would have had to have been brought back up to avoid the show declining so ending it in 1994 was probably best. I enjoy them all taken on their own mind you but there wasn't a grand vision behind them, which is possibly what was needed.
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