Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Star Trek Movies 4-6

I covered Star Treks 1-3 in a previous post.

Star Trek IV: Easily the best of the first six movies, and also the least Trek like in many senses. There are no battles, no phasers or torpedoes, no enemies. The acting is up to fair, but the pacing is good. And yes, it is very funny in parts. Being funny without being stupid appears to be a difficult balance for the Star Trek writers, and they only really achieved it here.

The plot is pretty ridiculous and full of holes and great leaps of faith. It's not really satisfying sci-fi. But so be it. DeForest grins almost the entire movie.

Star Trek V: ST 1 was about lots of weird graphics with the enterprise floating along to discover some higher power. ST 2 was a cat and mouse adventure game. ST 3 was a road trip and cat and mouse adventure game. ST 4 was a comedy thriller. ST 5 was about lots of weird graphics with the enterprise floating along to discover some higher power. With bad comedy.

ST 5 was still better than the absolute disaster of ST 1, but not by much. The acting has fallen back down to poor. The screen writing is simply awful, with scene after scene simply being set up as if to say "look how clever and funny I am". Not funny, and not even warm and fuzzy. Just stupid.

The pacing was still better than 1. And I have to note that the camera work was actually quite good. I noticed that the actual shots throughout the movie were well done.

The plot, however, was just dull. And so forced. It is one thing for people to take over other people's minds, but quite another for the non-controlled Enterprise crew to continue going along with it even after they have been attacked. And the great big something was nothing.

Out of a sense of decency, I won't even mention how embarrassing Nichelle Nichols' and James Doohan's parts are.

Star Trek VI: Was back to ok. Neither as bad as 1 and 5, nor as good as 2, 3, or 4. The plot about making peace with one's enemies is fine, and was in fact a key plot development. But it was so transparently juxtaposed over Earth world politics that it was hackneyed. Chekov's "Guess who's coming to dinner" line represents this over-the-top problem.

The acting, for the most part was back up to fair, and even good. This time it was William Shatner who was at his worse. He seemed to have developed this weird sense of timing and intonation, like he was whispering all of his lines, or like he was reading for a radio-play, rather than acting in a movie.

For the first time, the movie appeared to be way too short. The movie would have been better if it would have been able to develop its points with more examination and background. Instead, we rush through contact, rush through the trial, rush through the imprisonment and escape, and finally rush through the rescue.

One thing particularly egregious about the final rescue scene is something that often happens in movies: suddenly everyone applauds a bunch of people whom no one could suspect of being anything but criminals. It's as if they too had been watching the movie and had all of this information with which to suddenly exonerate these people. By all rights, the Enterprise crew should all have been shot the moment they appeared in the hall. And how about disobeying orders, yet again?


I never saw any of the remaining movies, so the next three will be a surprise. Actually, I've only seen about one season of TNG, and maybe one episode of DS9, and that's about it, not counting most of the original series. So I get to pass judgment on the new stuff primarily from a movie-goers perspective.


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Harold said...

I've always loved IV, too. My favorite part is Kirk explaining to spock about the use of "colourful metaphors." This had something rare in movies: fun. Of TNG movies, I liked First Contact. If you haven't seen it, Yehuda, you should try it out sometime.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

I'm working on it. Next up is ST7, Generations, I think.


Anonymous said...

Give Star Trek V another chance. I found that it wasn't as bad as I had remembered it to be on a second viewing. However it is still an odd numbered movie and we all know the rule about Star Trek movies don't we.

There is a great bit in Star Trek IV that I don't think any other science fiction film or tv show has done. After the whales have been released and are being chased by whale hunters, Kirk et al are in their ship which is still hundreds of miles (at least) away and Kirk says to "put it on screen". Of course it comes up on screen with a roaming camera angle. Dr Talyor asks "How did you do that?" The question is not answered, but I think it is very important that it was asked.

Yehuda Berlinger said...

fraser: I'll pass on a review of V. Life is too short, and there are far many good movies that I haven't yet seen. I only rewatched these to give them all context, as an experiment.

I did notice, and appreciate, that line about the "view without the camera" trick. I'm wondering how the controls for that thing works. Is it set to the saved coordinates of an object, and then the viewing angle is chosen by some sort of AI? You rarely see them adjusting after the initial view.