Star Trek Tomorrow

I’m really looking forward to this movie. Especially as it seems to be loved by critics and fans a like who have seen it. I’m going tomorrow afternoon. But I assume some of you may have seen it already. What did you think?

UPDATE:Just saw it. I loved it. It was everything I hoped it would be. The actors were on the money. The film had the right degree of heart, humor and tons of action. This is the kind of Star Trek movie I always wanted to see. It visually captures the grandeur of space and the future, but it has the down to earth feel that the character’s relationships provide. And it is full of references to the old stuff to make it feel right.

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    Overall, it’s a good film. It’s the best in the Star Trek series since 1991’s Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country.

    However, it’s not a perfect film and I do feel it misses the presence of Shatner in spite of Nimoy’s scenes. It IS a continuation from the TNG storylines with Spock but I won’t say more than that.

    The characters have been recast extremely well and I feel we see the best uses of Uhura and Chekov in a long time… If any characters get slighted besides the two-dimensional main villain Nero, it’s Pike and Sulu but even they get their moments to shine.

    Pine and Quinto are excellent as Kirk and Spock. Pine had the most to lose but he captures Kirk’s essence perfectly without going into overacting or staccato. It is nonetheless compatible with Shatner’s depiction of the character and fits in logically while not being incompatible with what little has been established about Kirk’s family and background.

    People have to remember the original Star Trek was not that well-organized and nowhere near as well-documentated as The Next Generation. Dates for the major years of the TOS and TOS movies were not even established and set in stone by licensed books until the early 1990s! There were always going to certain things in a flux that remains open to interpretation. I’m sorry, but there are fans in denial of these basic facts that are stuck in their little fanon world of Star Trek…

    Little bits and pieces and Trek background not seen before in live-action appear in this film including an alien species once seen only in the early 1970s Star Trek animated series.

    I do feel the major artistic letdown of the film is the Enterprise itself. It is one ugly-looking design with engineering and nacelles out of proportion to the main saucer. Interior-wise, the ship is too white and bright. The bridge looks like it was equipped from an Apple store with checkout scanning guns. Engineering is ridiculously retro-industrial with piping, water, and turbines that belong more in a naval surface ship (carrier) or submarine than a spaceship. The film designers had a chance to do something that honored the original ship’s designs but were lazy and used the TMP ship as the basis for this. Bad, bad choices.

    The design choices of this film are a weird mish-mash of yes, “more powerful than original TOS technology,” but not as tough as the mainline TOS movie ships. It’s a weird feeling in that the technology LOOKS more advanced than the 1960s show but the ship itself “feels” less advanced and less powerful than its TMP/TOS-era movie series predecessor. I really don’t know how else to describe my sense of this.

    And yes, the worn look of the shuttles was influenced more by Star Wars than Star Trek. I have a feeling the Star Wars vibe will come back in more force in future ST films.

    At least the design of the Klingon ships wasn’t screwed up. It looks like they retained the classic Klingon battlecruiser look as seen in TOS and ST I, II, and VI so not all the art direction decisions were bad.

    The Star Trek (2009) movie itself takes place 8 years PRIOR (2258) to Season 1 (2266) of the original era TV series… Kirk in this film is at least 5 years younger than his original timeline counterpart when he takes command of the Enterprise and there are major disruptions with his Starfleet academics and some things with Pike. That said, if you pay attention to Nero and what he’s done in the film it’ll be clear just exactly what has gone on here.

    You don’t have to buy that lead-in Star Trek comic, Countdown, to understand the story and the consequence of Nero’s actions and how he came to be — it’s all clearly explained in one scene with Nimoy’s Spock.

    Otherwise, sit back, dis-engage what you know already about TOS, and enjoy the film.

  2. I meant to say the main action in the film takes place 8 years PRIOR to Season 1 of TOS.

    The film starts in 2233 and then progresses 10 years here and there until it reaches 2258 where the main action takes place…

  3. I loved it. I know what you mean about the ship, but I feel that is more realistic. Pipes will still be pipes in the Star Trek era. A ship that size will have them. I do think the apple store look was meant to be futuristic.

    I’d have preferred more contrast. They used dark colors and light in the old series.


    I’m not sure I agree with the retcon of Vulcan. Everyone from Doctor Who to this Trek seems to be channeling Superman comics

  4. Jim (May I call you Jim or do you prefer Hud?),

    The thing is that most moviemakers nowadays don’t seem to read the classics at all! Everybody gets references from comics or movies.

    Back in the day when comics were being created brand-new, Stan Lee, Gardner Fox, and their collaborators were well-read. The people making movies were well-read and referenced other forms of entertainment, too.

    Is it any surprise that movies are feeding on themselves when the only think filmmakers have ever done for entertainment is watch other films? Likewise for comics — most comic writers today don’t seem to have read anything BUT comics their entire lives!

    Star Trek 2009 wasn’t a bad Star Trek film nor was it the best. Star Trek II and the original crew are still my favorites… We’ll see whether Trek 2.0 goes from here.

    I’d prefer some things were changed about that Enterprise. And I disagree about engineering… this is supposed to be science fiction and that room looked distinctly like a water treatment facility and broke the illusion for a moment that I was seeing a futuristic ship on-screen. Then again, most science fiction film design has sucked since the early 1980s. The late 1970s was a great era for science fiction film design but everybody that worked in movies back then either got burned by Hollywood and left or have since retired.

  5. I understand what you mean, it took me aback for a second or two. The engine room should have engines in it. I thought he as just in a part of the ship dealing with water treatment.

    You’re right though, the great set designers were in the past. I really like Ken Adam who did the James Bond sets. Modern designers seem mainly good at recreating period sets and not designing futureistic sets.

  6. The fellows that did the designs for Star Trek (mostly the first six films) and Star Wars (original trilogy) have since either retired or moved on to other projects.

    Ralph McQuarrie is perhaps the visual concept artist most responsible for science fiction cinema visuals as we see them today mostly because of his work on the original Star Wars trilogy. He did considerable design work on Darth Vader, C-3PO, initial concepts for Boba Fett, and quite a few of the vehicles, too. There are scenes in all three Original Trilogy movies that are ripped directly from his production paintings and concept drawings. Between him and other SW artists, the whole used/worn look was started in sci-fi. McQuarrie also did design work for Battlestar Galactica (the ship’s “B-17 turret” cannons and overall original Galactica design were his ideas), The Black Hole, and Star Trek. His ideas for Star Trek were mostly rejected because they really didn’t fit in well with that universe… Never cared for his version of the Enterprise.

    Mike Minor, Joe Jennings, Doug Trumbull, Andrew Probert, and Matt Jefferies were most responsible for the design work that into the first few Star Trek films which also influenced everything else through the 2009 film.

    Jefferies designed the original Enterprise and its interiors and the Klingon Battlecruiser in addition to most of the other miniatures on the original Star Trek TV series. He was the overall art director on TOS. (The Romulan Bird of Prey miniature was design by Wah Chang who provided most of the unusual props for the shows — phasers and communicator. Chang also did a lot of work for Disney in the 1940s.)

    Jefferies also did the initial redesign work on the Enterprise for the Phase II TV series (which never went into production shooting) which evolved into TMP. Probert, Trumbull, and Jennings took Jefferies’ redesigned Enterprise concepts and embellished/put greater detail into them for the final TMP shooting miniature. Minor and Probert contributed to the Enterprise’s redesigned interiors. The upgraded engineering section and power shaft were pretty much Minor’s ideas from what I’ve read. Minor and Jennings also designed the Starship Reliant for Star Trek II.

    Probert stayed on various projects through the first year of Star Trek: TNG. He designed the Enterpise-D and did initial concept paintings for the Ambassador Class Enterprise-C Starship. Probert left Hollywood mainly because he felt he’d been stabbed in the back too many times by too many people. He maintains a website with some of his concept drawings and paintings and has collaborated with and provided a lot of material to people doing behind the scenes books on the production of the Star Trek movies and TNG.

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