Discussion in 'Visual Arts' started by XIDOR, May 21, 2016.
Well I get that but it is also a bit misleading.
Well to be fair sometimes Roddenberry's more serious ideas were pretty silly as well. I think the first two seasons do a great job of creating the Trek universe what's,often overlooked, however, is the fact that Gene L. Coon and John D.F. Black could be credited with quite a bit as well. The basic template was established by Roddenberry (clearly borrowed from Forbidden Planet) while Coon, Black and other writers filled in that creation including the Klingons, Organians, Romulans, etc.
Coon was the guy responsible for a lot of what made Trek great. Roddenberry left to his own devices gave us TMP and the first season of TNG - not exactly franchise highlights. In fact, the franchise was lucky to survive both...
Wow, too many Zardoz avatars! I'm seeing double...
Mr. Fein, if you're monitoring this thread, thank you for posting and replying to the questions and posts here, I just learned today that you chimed in.
Clarification to some of the questions raised was great to read, particularly that the CGi assets were always rendered in HD. Daren Docterman has been writing that the CGI was done in SD resolution only. So it's exciting that you have all the assets you need except an OK to do the project. A three film blu ray set would be terrific, the theatrical cut, the longer TV cut and Robert Wise Directors Cut in a box set! I wish there was a way to convince the studio that this film needs to be restored and preserved. Thanks again.
It doesn't sound like they were rendered in HD. It sounds like the models were high enough quality that they could be rendered in HD, and that the producers of the DC of TMP still have all of those assets.
No mine is the close up Zardoz different breed entirely...
Reading this thread makes me want to see the Director's Cut. There have been so many releases of the film over the years. Which ones (ones) should I get? Is there one available on Blu-Ray?
I appreciate the recommendations.
Sadly the DC is not in Blu. The only version available there is the theatrical cut. There is, as I recall, an extended version on laserdisc.
Unfortunate the DC isn't on Bluray. I do own it on DVD though which I haven't watched in ages. Now, in the store today I also noticed a DC of The Wrath of Khan. I did nearly pick it up but now after reading a couple reviews, it's sounding like it's a must buy?!
They aired a "director's cut" of TWOK years ago on ABC - a few little scenes got cut for time that really should have been left in the film. I think it's even stronger with them, especially the bit about Scotty's nephew.
I'd definitely recommend the director's edition, even though it's not available in HD. It's out of print, but used copies are readily available on eBay for less than $10 with free shipping. Hopefully we'll see an HD release at some point.
Thanks! I was lucky to find it at my Public Library so I'll watch it tonight. I have a feeling that I have seen that version but over eight years ago so it will be nice to see again but on my bigger screen. I've always loved the Overture before the opening titles. I always thought that it gave the film a nice Old Hollywood vibe, which Robert Wise was part of as apprentice to Orson Welles and Val Lewton.
I'm down for a Blu-ray of this. I have the Director's Cut on DVD. Better imo than the Theatrical Cut.
I'd pre-order a Star Trek The Motion Picture Director's Cut without hesitation, I love the movie and I think it's DC incarnation gets the most out of it.
Another vote for the DC, and yes, it's a shame it's not available in HD.
Did you ever watch that Director's Cut of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, Simon? Curious what you thought of it.
For me, the extra effects scenes really helped sell the scale of V'ger, while I thought both the edits made to the film as well as the restored scenes did a lot to help refocus the picture on the relationship between Kirk and Spock and Spock's journey away from pure logic. The arc of the story becomes much stronger and less muddled in the director's cut.
The film is still terribly flawed, but makes a lot more sense and the purpose seems a little more tenable and admirable even if the results are, well, non-ideal.
The real reason?
Selling fewer than 2000 copies on BD doesn't justify the cost.
They recreated all special effects on all three seasons of the The Original Series; if that is possible why not redo every single special effect in The Motion Picture in 4k. They could also rerelease it just like Apocalypse Now redux.
I thought I read somewhere that the reason the Director's Cut hasn't come out on Blu-ray is because the special effects were all done in 480p?
My guess is they don't wanna spend a coupla million dollars to do so.
CBS/Viacom/Paramount is going through some painful changes right now, and there's talk that one or more of the divisions may be spun off into a separate corporation before too much longer. Apple, Google, and Netflix have each been rumored as potential suitors to buy the Paramount studio and their library. Weirder things have happened: who could have foreseen 3 years ago that Disney would wind up owning Fox?
Paramount has had two rounds of layoffs in January. Rumor is that Paramount just got rid of its marketing chief and a kind of purge is taking place in preparation for the CBS/Viacom re-merger which has been approved in principle...
Small correction: the script was largely written by Harold Livingston, who got sole credit and had violent arguments with Roddenberry (including a WGA arbitration). Film director Robert Wise disliked Roddenberry's attempts to meddle so much, he basically had the Star Trek creator banned from the set. Roddenberry had very little to do with the final film except for coming up with the bare bones of the story, most of which he wrote five years previously for the unproduced Phase II TV series. The "color palette" had zero to do with Roddenberry or Wise, neither of which supervised any of the home video transfers. The tone of the writing was shaped more by Wise than anybody else; he'd done serious science fiction several times before, with The Day the Earth Stood Still and Andromeda Strain, arguably two of the greatest SF films ever made (and both very serious). DP Richard Kline did come in to approve one of the 1980s versions for one day with colorist Patrick Kennedy, but as far as I know nobody else ever did.
What is true is that once Roddenberry and Paramount worked out their legal differences in the mid-1980s (including a large lump sum payment for a profit percentage, after Paramount insisted "the show never broke even"), Roddenberry did manage to get full creative control over Star Trek: The Next Generation, and that did reflect a lot of his ideas. But even in that case, the series bible was written mostly by David Gerrold, who later had to sue for residuals based on that series bible. (I consider David to be a friend and won't go into more details than he's said publicly.)
Read the These Are the Voyages books and find out what Roddenberry actually did and did not do on the TV show, particularly on the third season (which was supervised mostly by Fred Freiberger). I think it's fair to say that without Roddenberry, the show could never have existed, but the larger point to remember is that some of the best traits of Star Trek were due to Gene Coon, John D.F. Black, Dorothy Fontana, producer Bob Justman, and David Gerrold. I would say together, those five were responsible for more than half of what fans liked the most about the show. I'm hoping someday David will write the book on what went on during the movie and the TNG TV show, but I think he's limited on what he can say in public due to NDAs and non-disparagement agreements.
They were. They wouldn't stand up to 4K much less Blu-ray (well they could be upscaled but they wouldn't look all that great IMHO) quality. The problem is that, in trying to save money, they didn't future proof the Director's Cut. The ironic thing is that it will ultimately cost them more. If the digital models and effects still exist somewhere, they could just improve resolution, detail, etc. It isn't, of course, quite that simple but it could be done and they wouldn't have to go back work it up from scratch.
Indeed, Roddenberry was, reportedly a nightmare at times to work for. That didn't mean he couldn't be charming or good to work for on occasion but he didn't seem like the same man that had created "Star Trek". He would go back to rewrite scripts just so that he could lay claim to additional money for the rewrite. David got screwed royally by Roddenberry someone that Gerrold showed a lot of loyalty to even when Roddenberry screwed over his own "friends" (rewriting John D.F. Black's script for "The Naked Time" which was rewritten when they were hard up for material for the first season. He then called Black and told him he had rewritten his original script and didn't have to pay him a dime. Black appealed, got a story credit and fee). Roddenberry had many admirable qualities but he also could be less than a decent guy with some of his own friends when it came to "Star Trek". As you mentioned Coon, in particular, created quite a bit that added to the show including the Klingons, as I recall he came up with the Prime Directive, etc. He was a terrific writer and producer who doesn't get enough credit because he died before "Star Trek" got its great syndication revival.
As far as the film itself, the original story was largely written by science fiction novelist Alan Dean Foster with revisions by Roddenberry during the scripting phase as I recall. Foster shared story credit (although really part of that should also have been attributed to John Meredyth Lucas who wrote the script for the Nomad episode which the film resembles).
All one has to do is look at the scripts that Roddenberry wrote for the series (which were largely inferior to what others created although that isn't to say he wasn't a good idea guy--he came up with some terrific ideas it's just that he wanted credit for everything later), the lower number of scripts compared to other writer-producers-creators (Joe Stefano wrote over half the scripts for "The Outer Limits" for example, Rod Serling wrote 3/4s of the scripts for "The Twilight Zone", J. Michael Strazyski wrote every episode except a couple for his show "Babylon 5"). That's not to say that Roddenberry couldn't write or wasn't talented (Harlan Ellison once noted that Roddenberry "just couldn't write" which was hardly true although he wasn't at the same level as Ellison). Coon certainly deserved a co-creator credit later for what he contributed. As with a lot of TV series, the development from concept to execution to maturity involved a lot of people beyond their respective creators.
Roddenberry largely sulked in his office collecting his fees when "Star Trek" was moved to the "death zone", i.e., Friday night at 10 pm and, as you pointed out, gave up his creation to Freiberger (probably the worst choice for "Star Trek". Although Freiberger did some nice work on "The Wild Wild West" and other shows, his lack of understanding of science fiction was highlighted by the largely disastrous season he produced and wrote scripts for of "Space: 1999"). The only memorable episodes from the third season, ok wrong choice of words, were either written prior to Freiberger coming on board ("Spectre of the Gun" written under a pseudonym by Gene L. Coon) or were written (D.C. Fontana) and directed by others (John Meredith Lucas). The magic went out during the third season because Roddenberry gave up creative control and let Freiberger run the show as he saw fit.
As you pointed out, Roddenberry would rewrite Livingston's script so that he could earn co-writing credit and the accompanying payments and they battled back and forth with Roddenberry rewriting Livingston's script without the latter's knowledge. Frankly, Wise got fed up with the creative tug of war and he used his role and pull to finish the production with minimal involvement from Roddenberry. Paramount was equally to blame giving Roddenberry way too much creative control as producer and would rue the day that they did it. Heck, even when they looked at a sequel they didn't approach Roddenberry but TV writer-producer Harve Bennett who, when asked by Eisner if he could produce a sequel for less than $40 million, Bennett replied that he could produce four movies for that amount. Paramount's lack of decisiveness and pre-booking the film as the production struggled with Con Pederson's company as Paramount hired a company that had never done a major film production's visual effects and only worked on commercials, only made things worse. Doug Trumbull and John Dykstra had to step in to provide the effects and shoot round the clock to make up the lost time for visual effects. As it was, the film was still damp from the processing plant when the reels showed up at the theater.
It was a disaster of epic proportions. The fact that we got any sequels that kept the "Trek" franchise alive was largely down to Harve Bennett (who likened his position as being like a sharecropper on Roddenberry's land). Roddenberry did come back with "ST:TNG" which, to his credit, succeeded but it wouldn't have happened without Gerrold, Fontana and even Rick Berman shepherding the series.
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