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John Byrne
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 10:03pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

Also, as an aside, I enjoy the STANDARD ORBIT Podcast and its hosts, but their glowing praise for AbramsTREK ‘09 was pretty darn grating. One of the hosts said that he felt that he connected more with Pine’s Kirk than with Shatner’s, and that NuKirk exhibits more character depth and complexity than the original.

Everyone has their point of view, but...What. The. F***. This is a viewpoint that’s simply on another planet, compared to mine.

•••

Pine Kirk is a Bad Boy, which is much more the model for "heroes" these days. Fans, it seems, do not want role models. They want characters closer to how they imagine they would be themselves in the same position.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 07 March 2018 at 10:37pm | IP Logged | 2 post reply

Precisely. And it unnerves me.

I’d rather have Shatner’s Kirk to look up to than Pine’s Kirk to relate to.

Not that I engage in barfights and threesomes with alien women, mind you.
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 9:22am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

Greg K (regarding the STANDARD ORBIT Podcast): "One of the hosts said that he felt that he connected more with Pine’s Kirk than with Shatner’s, and that NuKirk exhibits more character depth and complexity than the original."

Okay. Everyone is allowed their opinion. This one tells me that this person and I will never agree, and it's not worth my time to pay attention to him.

I could fight and argue and debate, but... I'm old and tired. It's so much easier to ignore opinions I find idiotic than try to change their minds. It wastes my time and annoys the bear.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 12:13pm | IP Logged | 4 post reply

I’m coming more and more to the conclusion that there is a truly subjective quality to all art. Each person brings their own personal experiences, preconceptions, and ideas to the table. We all have our have own personal readings of art, and project ideas into it which were never intended by the creators, but which also aren’t necessarily invalid. 

When and where someone comes into contact with something for the first time plays a big role, I think, as does the generation gap. There are those who saw “The Man Trap” as kids on September 8, 1966, and fell madly in love for life. Others are watching it as adults for the first time at this very moment, and just see an old, cheesy sci-fi show.

Say what you will about AbramsTREK, but it did (initially) have massive mainstream crossover appeal. For some young people, seeing it on opening day was as profound an experience as seeing the original STAR WARS in 1977, and, even after subsequently exploring prior iterations, will always see it as The Greatest STAR TREK Ever.

Different strokes, and all. I can’t wrap my brain around those who worship at the feet of that film and it’s portrayal of the TOS crew, but I know that I might just as easily feel the same way, if I’d been born a decade or two later than I was. 

I’d like to think I wouldn’t, though!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 2:41pm | IP Logged | 5 post reply

Whenever I hear about the rickety sets, the poor SFX, Shatner's bad acting, etc, I know I am not hearing a genuine opinion, but the moans of some fanboy who is regurgitating the regurgitated regurgitations of others.
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Ted Downum
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 4:58pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

I've always found the Legend of Shatner the Bad Actor especially galling. He was a very good actor in TOS. Granted, as a lifelong Trekkie, I'm biased, but I think--at very least--he was as good a TV leading man as anybody in the late sixties.

Fanboys can chortle over the Shatner they think they know, from Priceline commercials or whatever, but I would bet they've never seen "The Enemy Within" or "Miri" or "City on the Edge of Forever" (among others).







Edited by Ted Downum on 08 March 2018 at 4:58pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 5:34pm | IP Logged | 7 post reply

Whenever I hear about the rickety sets, the poor STX, Shatner's bad acting, etc, I know I am not hearing a genuine opinion, but the moans of some fanboy who is regurgitating the regurgitated regurgitations of others.
++++++++++++

There definitely seems to be a common thread in the complaint department, with people reciting the usual clichés and criticisms which have been floating around in popular culture for many years.

Kirk's characterization is my go-to bullet point when discussing this phenomenon. People always trot out words like "reckless", "womanizer who bangs green women" and "arrogant jerk" when discussing the character. Of course, if you actually do your homework and watch the show, that is not at all the character Shatner was playing.

But it IS the character Pine was playing.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 5:37pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

I've always found the Legend of Shatner the Bad Actor especially galling. He was a very good actor in TOS. Granted, as a lifelong Trekkie, I'm biased, but I think--at very least--he was as good a TV leading man as anybody in the late sixties.
++++++++++++++

I'm gonna come right out and say it. Shatner was and is a great actor. Brilliant comedic timing, and good dramatic instincts. I'll forgive any quirks or excesses that he's employed, because he gets things so right so often.

I'd also argue that THE WRATH OF KHAN might be his career-best performance. His best Kirk performance, at the very least.

Edited by Greg Kirkman on 08 March 2018 at 5:37pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 5:51pm | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Shatner very smartly jumpstarted his career by turning into a caricature of himself. He gave the audience what they expected. Unfortunately, this began to creep more and more into Kirk.
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 7:01pm | IP Logged | 10 post reply

Shatner really is a fine actor.
I agree with you Greg, he does have great comedic timing.
From Trek to T.J. I have not had a problem with any of his acting.

He had a cameo in Dodgeball and nailed it.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 7:26pm | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Shatner very smartly jumpstarted his career by turning into a caricature of himself. He gave the audience what they expected. Unfortunately, this began to creep more and more into Kirk.
++++++++++

Looking at all of the movies spanning from TMP-GENERATIONS, Kirk comes across as fairly schizophrenic. You have the obsessive jerk-Kirk from TMP, the mostly-on-model Kirk from II-IV, the super-hammy Kirk of V, a mostly-on-model Kirk in VI, and then back to ham in GENERATIONS.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 08 March 2018 at 11:24pm | IP Logged | 12 post reply

I get the sense that the Kirk from TMP didn't really have a story arc originally, until someone came up with the idea of cribbing Clark Gable's from "Run Silent, Run Deep." A dynamic sub commander, just past his prime, is sidelined for a significant time with a desk job but itches to get back out there again. When a ship and an opportunity presents itself, he demotes his own hand-picked apprentice to second-in-command and takes the top spot for himself. Since the new sub is an upgraded, experimental model, the second-in-command makes it his job to keep the sub and crew safe while the new captain strives to prove that he isn't acting out of selfishness or obsession. Many of the details are different (Gable doesn't care which ship he helms; He needs to get out there to avenge himself on the Japanese sub commander who sank his last one) but the broad strokes remain.

As such, I find it hard to see TMP's storyline for Kirk as actually being Kirk's. It plays for me like so much busywork to give a leading man to do in the middle of an otherwise technical and ponderous space epic that fails to play at a human scale. I can also see Kirk just REALLY having had an off two years behind a desk, being patronized and placated by Starfleet Command. The film does not tell us that the doomed woman beaming up with Cmmdr. Sonak is supposed to have been Kirk's girlfriend and unofficial keeper or what effect her death has on his performance as Captain. 

I find a few moments here and there throughout the film series to be more Shatner-esque than Kirk; the much-loved banter concerning Italian food in IV and, of course, his moment as Marta in VI being two of the most obvious. Overall, I liked what he with what he had to work with in Generations. 

Trek's producers felt they were very lucky to get Shatner back in the 60's and I have to agree with them. No one else was going to give you that character or that performance. Modern viewers overwhelmingly prefer naturalism to Shatner's more vulnerable, sometimes overtly theatrical approach, but Trek is still alive and kicking today, and for that matter, so is Shatner and his career. He must being doing something right.

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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 March 2018 at 12:59am | IP Logged | 13 post reply

Y’know, I think TMP has the skeleton of an interesting story for Kirk, but the problems lie mainly in tone and execution.

I also find it fascinating that TMP and TWOK both tell essentially the same story—Kirk’s midlife crisis—, but they go about it in radically different ways. One fails and the other succeeds. 

Both films present a Kirk who’s stuck behind a desk and worried about proving himself. In TMP, Kirk selfishly wants to recapture his glory days on the Enterprise and strongarms his way back into the center seat. TWOK presents a Kirk who feels old and rusty, and has to be convinced by Spock to take command during the Genesis crisis. Even then, he makes mistakes, and it takes him awhile to get his mojo back, but he ends up winning the day. Because he’s still Jim Kirk. An older, more mature version of the Jim Kirk we know and love from TOS.

On the flipside, the resolution to TMP basically boils down to Decker voluteering to merge with V’Ger, thus clearing the way for Kirk to stay in command of the Enterprise. Problem solved. Except that Kirk does not really play a proactive role in solving the V’Ger problem, aside from helping to piece together what it is and where it came from.

Seeing Kirk overcome self-doubt and age to defeat Khan, only to then admit that the death of Spock made it all a Pyrrhic victory is so much more satisfying. He learns and grows from the experience, because Spock’s sacrifice shakes him out of his melancholy, and makes him appreciate the potential adventures which still lie ahead. TWOK gives him an actual character arc, whereas TMP gives only the illusion of an arc, and really just uses it as an excuse to hit the reset button to get him back into the center seat.


Edited by Greg Kirkman on 09 March 2018 at 1:01am
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Eric Sofer
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Posted: 09 March 2018 at 8:16am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

I'm gonna incur wrath here, but I didn't think Shatner was a great actor. I think he was a really good actor on "Star Trek." I think Nimoy and Kelley were great actors on TOS, and the all-around chemistry worked so well that it elevated everyone's performances (usually...)
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Brian Rhodes
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Posted: 09 March 2018 at 11:49am | IP Logged | 15 post reply

I've suggested before that, from a story standpoint, nothing is lost from jumping from TOS right to TWOK. You can (and should?) ignore TMP altogether. I had only seen maybe a handful of TOS episodes before I caught TWOK on cable. So, I was familiar with Trek, but not a big fan.

But, everything you need to know is in that movie, and changes from the show can largely be attributed to the 15 years or so that have passed between the two. The Enterprise has an updated design. The uniforms are different. Kirk is now an Admiral flying a "computer console" instead of starship. Spock is Captain of The Enterprise, and has retained much of the TOS bridge crew.

Spock is still cool and mostly emotionally detached. His ultimate act is one of pure logic, after all. He may be a little more warm and fuzzy than his TV self, but again...he's aged, perhaps mellowed...and has had those additional 15 years around humans.

No mention of V'Ger or Decker or failed Kolinahr attempts or anything from TMP. Potential arcs (Kirk's midlife crisis) and even exterior shots of the Enterprise were repurposed, as if we were just supposed to forget there was a previous movie. TWOK was perhaps the first re-reboot before anybody even knew what a reboot was.

And Shatner is very good in it. Anybody who thinks the man doesn't have acting chops needs to watch (or re-watch) this movie.

Edited by Brian Rhodes on 09 March 2018 at 11:51am
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Ted Downum
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Posted: 09 March 2018 at 12:41pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Brian Rhodes: "...from a story standpoint, nothing is lost from jumping from TOS right to TWOK. You can (and should?) ignore TMP altogether."

*****

If I were introducing the franchise to a brand-new viewer, I would suggest exactly that.

Over the years, TMP has grown on me a little (thanks to the director's cut DVD in the early 2000s), and it's got a few scenes with major nostalgic resonance, but overall it's a false start--also, a glimpse at what Phase II might've been like. But, to me, the movie series didn't really start until '82.



Edited by Ted Downum on 09 March 2018 at 12:42pm
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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 March 2018 at 1:27pm | IP Logged | 17 post reply

TMP

Where NOMAD has gone before.

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Rob Ocelot
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Posted: 09 March 2018 at 4:01pm | IP Logged | 18 post reply

TMP

Where NOMAD has gone before.

Hyuck hycuk!   I've heard that one before but it never gets old.

Would things have turned out better if Phase II had made it to screen?   I'm not so sure.   I think it would have lasted two seasons at best before running out of steam.   From the story synopses I've read and the stuff that actually made it to screen (TMP, "The Child", "Devil's Due") it's all pretty dire.


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John Byrne
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Posted: 09 March 2018 at 4:39pm | IP Logged | 19 post reply

Credit to Richard Pini for the NOMAD gag.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 March 2018 at 5:22pm | IP Logged | 20 post reply

Would things have turned out better if Phase II had made it to screen?   I'm not so sure.   I think it would have lasted two seasons at best before running out of steam.   From the story synopses I've read and the stuff that actually made it to screen (TMP, "The Child", "Devil's Due") it's all pretty dire.
+++++++++++++

Steering things back on topic, I do think that the aesthetics of STAR TREK might have turned out differently, had PHASE II actually gone to air.

It was literally an updating of TOS, after all. Same uniforms, variations on the usual equipment, updated interior and exterior for the ship.

I'm also fascinated by Matt Jefferies' PHASE II redesign of the Enterprise. It was intended to be fundamentally the same ship we already knew, but upgraded with new engines and other new features. The shape and proportions of the design are nearly identical to the TMP redesign of Jefferies' PHASE II redesign, but Jefferies' version retains the smooth skin and livery of the TOS ship.

Edited by Greg Kirkman on 09 March 2018 at 5:23pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 09 March 2018 at 6:32pm | IP Logged | 21 post reply

I don't believe anything was done in TWOK to effectively erase TMP. TWOK does what the best of franchise stories do which is to tell a story that is self-supporting and gives the viewer or reader a complete experience. While the events go on to propel two other films fast on TWOK's heels, you could end the story right there and have had a hell of a ride. 

Supposedly, TWOK takes place a number of years after TMP. I don't know how often the events of a decade ago crop up in your conversation, but it doesn't seem odd to me that Kirk and Spock aren't shaking their heads and saying, "Wonder where Decker is at this moment..."

It does not reboot the franchise. It does provide the viewer everything they need to know if they are starting there, which is what a film is supposed to do. That it does it so well when it is the middle part of an ongoing story is fairly impressive. The story with Khan began with "Space Seed" and the events of TWOK continue on in TSFS and TVH. TMP falls outside of that story and thereby seems all the more disposable as a result, but that simply means that the films initially were keeping with Trek's continuity-light, episodic approach.

After all, you can skip "Where No Man Has Gone Before," and start off with "The Corbomite Maneuver" if you want to. That does not mean the latter reboots the former. 

And Eric, Shatner did somehow manage to helm four primetime television series*, playing four very different heroes. I maintain that he must have been doing something right. :-)

I do have friends who claim they cannot look at Shatner without A.) despising him and B.) seeing only Shatner and not the character he plays. I have similar difficulties with Will Ferrell and Jack Black. So, you're not alone.

* Five, if you count TAS.


Edited by Brian Hague on 09 March 2018 at 6:37pm
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 09 March 2018 at 6:49pm | IP Logged | 22 post reply

Had "Phase II" gone to screen, the lives of all of us posting on this thread would have been very different indeed. :-) 

A "Battlestar Galactica" level production with cheesy stories and iffy budgets would have been an awkward burden to carry forward, and absent the franchise's success in movie theatres, would any network have then gambled on a third live action Trek series after the performance of the first two?

If we had gained "Phase II," we very likely would have lost not only the film series, but TNG and all of its spin-offs as well. Granted, something else may have come up to replace them, but with different actors and premises... Would they have become the things that we love so much?

In bringing this back around to aesthetics, TMP largely does not appear dated. It's still forward thinking enough to have escaped that trap, issues regarding hairstyles and sideburns aside. How would "Phase II" have looked week after week, guest star after guest star? TNG looks pretty dated to me, and I shudder to imagine how much more so "Phase II" would have if it had the production values of BSG or "Fantastic Journey." 

Of course, all that being said, I might just trade in the whole timeline we got for a couple of fun "Phase II" episodes guest-starring Bernadette Peters and Roddy McDowall. :-)


Edited by Brian Hague on 09 March 2018 at 7:05pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 March 2018 at 7:41pm | IP Logged | 23 post reply

I don't believe anything was done in TWOK to effectively erase TMP. TWOK does what the best of franchise stories do which is to tell a story that is self-supporting and gives the viewer or reader a complete experience. While the events go on to propel two other films fast on TWOK's heels, you could end the story right there and have had a hell of a ride.
+++++++++++

As the story goes, cast and crew basically decided to ignore TMP without coming out and saying that it was non-canonical, or that TWOK was a reboot.

It was a proper in-continuity-type reboot: Just try to write a better story, and simply ignore previous elements/stories which don't work! Don't make the act of rebooting an event which calls attention to itself.

Edited by Greg Kirkman on 09 March 2018 at 7:45pm
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 March 2018 at 7:47pm | IP Logged | 24 post reply

A "Battlestar Galactica" level production with cheesy stories and iffy budgets would have been an awkward burden to carry forward, and absent the franchise's success in movie theatres, would any network have then gambled on a third live action Trek series after the performance of the first two?
+++++++++++++++

Having recently watched BSG for the first time, I could not help but draw comparisons with what PHASE II might have been, since they would have been running at the same time.
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Greg Kirkman
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Posted: 09 March 2018 at 7:49pm | IP Logged | 25 post reply

In bringing this back around to aesthetics, TMP largely does not appear dated. It's still forward thinking enough to have escaped that trap, issues regarding hairstyles and sideburns aside. How would "Phase II" have looked week after week, guest star after guest star? TNG looks pretty dated to me, and I shudder to imagine how much more so "Phase II" would have if it had the production values of BSG or "Fantastic Journey."
++++++++++++++++

Say what you will about TMP's muted colors and whatnot, but it's arguably the only TOS-era film which truly looks and feels like a MOVIE. A heck of a lot of money and effort went into it, and the quality is definitely there in every shot. It has a sense of epic scope which the other films all mostly lack.
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