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- Fri, Sep 4, 2015, 5:16am (USA Central)
Star Trek: The Motion Picture
Underrated. Not a masterpiece, but not a flop.
In both its successes and its failures, TMP is the most "Star Trek" of the TOS films.
As in TOS, Kirk, Spock, and McCoy work perfectly, alone and together. I love the way Kirk gazes lovingly at the Enterprise upon reuniting with it -- I even love when Shatner goes completely over-the-top and actually tears up. I love how Kirk thoughtlessly removes the Enterprise captain from duty because the Enterprise is his ship, damnit. I love the decision to turn McCoy into a hippie pacifist. I love that Spock is cold and distant when he returns. I especially love that while Kirk knows something is wrong, McCoy chalks it up to Spock being a Vulcan.
As in TOS, the characters are tragically under-explored. Kirk's conflict with Deckard just kind of evaporates, and McCoy never really gets a moment to shine. Spock's arc actually has a proper beginning and end, but no real middle -- he has a problem, and he overcomes it, but we don't really get to see him work through it.
Also as in TOS, most of the main cast -- Uhura, Checkov, Scotty, Sulu -- are completely sidelined and do nothing of note.
As in TOS, the plot is haphazard and stretched thin. The long sequence of the Enterprise going too fast serves no purpose other than to pad the running time. It almost pays off in the Kirk-Deckard conflict, which could have been really interesting, but it takes too long and that subplot ends up being pointless.
As in TOS, we have an obvious mystery plot with a twist ending. But TMP does something that TOS did rarely, if ever: the twist is genuinely surprising and at least somewhat effective. TOS had a lot of twist endings, but its best episodes are almost invariably much simpler stories. TMP's twist is kind of hokey -- as in TOS -- but it's also genuinely interesting.
As in TOS, the guest stars stick out awkwardly against the perfect chemistry of the main trio.
As in TOS, we see a character get a tiny bit of development, only to be callously killed off. Also as in TOS, the reaction to the death is horribly understated. When Ilea dies, Deckard -- who we're supposed to think loves her -- just makes a quip at Kirk, and that's the end of that.
As in TOS, the gender politics are clumsy and awkward at best. Practically the first thing Ilea says when she walks onto the bridge is, "My oath of chastity is on record." Um, ok. What?
As in TOS, the film wants to be great sci-fi, with lofty ideas about the future, the development of the human race, our relationship with technology, and the possibility of other intelligences.
As in TOS, it doesn't quite reach its aspirations. TMP wants so badly to be 2001 you almost feel bad for it. I don't mind the slow pace. Hell, I don't even mind that the plot essentially comes to a standstill halfway in. (The film looks beautiful all the way through, and the 2001 ripoff sequence is no exception.) But the standstill overstays its welcome; and, more importantly, it essentially destroys the character interactions which had shown so much promise.
Each of TMP's three acts feels like a separate film. The first act looks like it's going to tell the story TOS always deserved. The second act is visually stunning but otherwise empty. The third act rushes to give the Deckard-Ilea relationship some kind of substance before moving on to the twist ending. Each of these acts has promise, but the second act is clearly the most unlike the other two. Instead of trying in vain to be Stanley Kubrick, the writers should have had some confidence and tried to tell their own story.
I'm willing to overlook a lot of flaws in something that *tries*. I would rather see a deeply-flawed film with high aspirations than a highly-polished film with no substance. This isn't pretension -- insubstantial films simply bore me. As with TOS, TMP had high aspirations -- but it came closer than nearly all of TOS to achieving them. Unfortunately, TMP would be the last time Star Trek had such aspirations.
- Fri, Sep 4, 2015, 3:23am (USA Central)
Thanks for the review Jammer, as always. I had a question that I would really like an answer to, though. What becomes of the pillar/artifact they discover and take back to the station. It supposedly had clues to Odo's people/origins. Did they ever follow up on this? I thought a stone artifact that could have clues to Odo's origins was a pretty neat idea..Can anyone tell me if it was ever followed up on? Thanks!
- Fri, Sep 4, 2015, 3:12am (USA Central)
@ William B - "Now, because the personal development with Kira leads to her boning with Ghemour...."
Boning? I think there's a missing letter there, or are you implying that Kira and Ghemour had a much different relationship. LOL!
- Fri, Sep 4, 2015, 3:03am (USA Central)
Time's Arrow, Part II
"Part two of "Time's Arrow" is a competent but unremarkable conclusion to the competent but unremarkable part one. If part one felt anemic as cliffhangers go, then at least part two didn't have a high bar to clear to live up to its predecessor. And that's pretty much what it does: lives up to part one without for a minute transcending it."
I couldn't have said it better myself.
This episode is exactly like "Time's Arrow, Part I" - average, average, average. Just about everything I said about Part I could easily be repeated here for Part II. What else really needs to be said?
Well, I'll point out that SFDebris adequately summed up the problems with the villains in his review a while back - we don't even find out their motivations! A lot of people have pointed out how the Twain character gets a little jarring (for me it's the use of him to deliver a rather ridiculous caricature of the 19th/20th centuries as opposed to the "enlightened" - read, leftist - 24th). What really stands out for me, however, is the Picard/Guinan story. This is it?! This is what makes their relationship "beyond friends, beyond family"?! He looked after her once for a few hours while she was mildly injured? Damn, talk about disappointing. This story needed more than that to justify all the mystery this relationship has teased us with for so long. What we get isn't bad, but it really needed to be developed more. I'm just going to assume that their second "first meeting" in the 24th century was something amazing.
Other than that.... yeah....
And since, apparently, we're doing lists in these comments for some reason, here's a few of mine. The TOS episode ones are the only ones set in stone for me since TOS is the only series I've completed in this re-watch. We'll have to wait and see if the rest hold up.
1.) The Wrath of Khan
2.) The Undiscovered Country
3.) The Voyage Home
4.) First Contact
5.) The Search for Spock
7.) The Motion Picture
10.) The Final Frontier
11.) Star Trek into Darkness
12.) Star Trek (2009)
1.) Journey to Babel
2.) The Trouble with Tribbles
3.) Mirror, Mirror
4.) The Conscience of the King
5.) Amok Time
6.) Balance of Terror
7.) The Enterprise Incident
8.) Space Seed
9.) The Doomsday Machine
10.) Bread and Circuses
71.) Assignment: Earth
72.) The Enemy Within
73.) The Omega Glory
74.) The Way to Eden
75.) Spock's Brain
76.) The Apple
77.) And the Children Shall Lead
78.) The Alternative Factor
79.) Mudd's Women
80.) The Mark of Gideon
I don't know what my favorites and least favorites will be for TNG, DS9, VOY and ENT until I'm done with the re-watch. But, I can say that as of right now, my number ones are....
TNG - The Defector
DS9 - In the Pale Moonlight
VOY - Scorpion, Part I
ENT - United
TOS - McCoy
TNG - Data
DS9 - either O'Brien, Kira or Ezri (I can't decide.)
VOY - either The Doctor or Seven of Nine
ENT - either Archer or T'Pol
- Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 11:48pm (USA Central)
This episode is just ok. For someone who has lived a couple hundred years, Laas sure didn't learn his manners. His arguments also don't make much sense on a station filled with a dozen different races where every one gets along. I think this episode doesn't really do Odo's character justice. He values justice so much more than everyone else, and yet his eyes were blinded by race so he couldn't stay objective like he always had been.
- Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 11:06pm (USA Central)
This was no ratings ploy, as some here have suggested. Sure, every producer wants to put something really strong out there during ratings season, but I was impressed over how wonderfully restrained this episode was. It was a great character study on Barclay, and a fun story to watch unfold... The season was really humming along at this point, as this along with other episodes proved that when the stars align, great writing, acting, and directing all come together to put together an awesome story... Totally agree, 4 stars all the way!
- Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 8:19pm (USA Central)
I think Elliott's idea about same-sex crew members hooking up would've been neat and could've had some interesting conversations between say Reed and Trip.
REED: So apparently I hooked up with Rivers.
TRIP: Rivers? Really? Huh.
REED: Yeah. what's wrong with Rivers?
TRIP: Nothing, no I just thought maybe you'd be more attracted to someone like Kelby.
REED: Well Rivers is handsome in an unconventional way.
TRIP: You know who would've really made a good match for you? Major Hayes.
(My dialogue is garbage)
I did like the design of the old-Enterprise and thought Lorian was great.
- Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 5:40pm (USA Central)
This was just what I needed: a fun, light, well-acted episode with surprisingly smart and hilarious details. Nothing too serious or heavy-handed. After watching some earlier TNG I was relieved there was no stiffness and bad acting to be found here.
- Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 4:02pm (USA Central)
For all of you getting creeped out by being in love with a worm, have you seen what a brain looks like ?
- Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 2:57pm (USA Central)
Excellent episode. We finally have a story where the stakes mean something, and by layering the tension we build to a conclusion that's every bit as satisfying as the rest of the episode demands.
We are kept twisting as to the veracity of Setal/Jarok's claims, and due to some excellent guest acting we can identify with the titular defector when he's revealed to simply have been a pawn in a larger game. For someone to have given up everything for an honourable cause, only to have even that snatched away, leads to the inevitable, and affecting, conclusion.
With some memorable Shakespearean allegory thrown in, this is a worthy 3.5 stars.
- Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 1:49pm (USA Central)
The Vengeance Factor
One of those episodes that turns out to be desperately uninvolving, if not actively bad. The Enterprise crew seem to have nothing to do except bang heads together when necessary, and after having dealt with one uninteresting negotiation scene we then get to do it all again with another.
Riker cracks on to Yuta instantly, and in front of the Sovereign too, but the relationship has to move fast because it's the only bit of the episode that really has a pay off - as he guns her down at the end.
So this has a couple of nice moments but overall - 1.5 stars.
- Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 9:26am (USA Central)
@Roman - I think you underestimate the trust Picard has for Guinan. Guinan's "hunches" are always spot-on, which I've always assumed, for lack of a better explanation, is because of the species she comes from.
I honestly don't think Picard would have gone through with the Enterprise-C going back in time if it hadn't been for Guinan saying it was absolutely necessary. This nagged at him, and changed his perception enough that instead of sending the Enterprise-C into battle (which it was clear they WERE going to do, whether or not the ship would have been "hopeless" in such a battle), he actually took time to think about his decision at many levels, and then finally decided that if there was a chance that the Enterprise-C could "fix" the timeline, it should be sent back.
As someone on the thread said before, the temporal prime directive would apply here, even if the concept itself didn't really exist at this point in Trek. Because Picard had an idea that he was FIXING the timeline rather than deliberately changing it, he was willing to do it. And the idea of fixing the timeline came directly from Guinan. Logic, in this instance, could have gone either way. It was Guinan's certainty that made Picard decide to do what he did.
- Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 9:13am (USA Central)
I'm sorry, but the Mariachi band was completely hilarious. It was such a Q thing to do - stupid and genuine all at the same time, and completely embarrassing for the bridge crew. I actually laughed out loud when that happened. Plus, you know, the cigars, and the beautiful women. It was funny, dammit.
I definitely think this episode deserves the full 4 stars. I can't think of a part I didn't like or appreciate in some way. And there is a lot of depth here, which is what I enjoy most in a Trek episode.
- Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 8:41am (USA Central)
William B, Thank you for sharing you personal experience. I will be brief, as I truly understand what you went through when your parents divorced. I had a similar experience after my divorce. I said nothing to my son until he was a about 5 and he asked me where was his daddy. I told him that he lived across town and I didn't know why he didn't come to see him but he could come anytime he wanted to see him. I gave him all the love I had, I even attempted to watch football and baseball with him. (I never liked sports) I refused to unload all of our garbage on my son. I remarried when he was 6 to a wonderful man that doesn't care for Star Trek at all. My second husband came in like a straight arrow,he told my son that he would be his dad and he would never have to look for him because he would always be there; He has kept his word. Ex- husband took us to court to re-gain his parenting rights, when my son was 15. My ex was rejected by my son because he started accusing me of keeping them apart. I took this approach because I wasn't going to be the villain, I let him learn about his dad on his own.
@Elliot I like your "Acts" I agreed with most of it especially about Dukat sitting at his desk in his uniform at any hour day or night. Also when you asked "aren't there any lawyers in the Federation" I think they could have gotten that Admiral from TNG "Drumhead" to arbitrate and it really would have been a fiasco.
@William B, I agree they should have had Sisko give a more detailed explanation of his decision to give rugal back to his father, but I don't think Rugal is capable to making this decision because he doesn't have all the pieces to the puzzle, when he goes home with the butcher he will find that all Cardassians are not the same.
- Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 5:29am (USA Central)
What annoys me is that after something happened Tuvok rushes to Engineering and asks for back-up by Security. Later we see him entering Engeineering together with ONE (1!) security crewmember and he contacts the captain that the female caretaker is aboard. A few scenes later Janeway sees the female caretaker in Engineering and when she looks up she sees Tuvok and Belanna floating in the air: the female caretaker has done this. Where is the security crewmember that accompanied Tuvok? What did the female caretaker do with him? He just disappeared? Strange.
- Thu, Sep 3, 2015, 3:12am (USA Central)
Such a deep episode. As an audience, we KNOW this "traitor". We've seen her jump on the bed as a child! Many (myself included) agree with her choice to join the Maquis. While many (myself included) also respect the hell out of the Federation and what it stands for.
It's a tough call for Ro. But what is not a tough call is rating this episode four out of four stars. I am currently binge watching "Next Generation" in chronological order and as a first time viewer. This one hit me like a tidal wave in comparison to other great episodes of this amazing series.
- Wed, Sep 2, 2015, 8:48pm (USA Central)
I couldn't disagree more with this review. This episode certainly deserves 3-4 stars. Of course it was expected for Tuvok to be restored at the end of the episode, but this fact did not detract from its overall emotional impact. It was wonderful to see another side of Tuvok, and his bonding with Neelix (in non-annoying mode, no less) was superbly performed by both actors. Like other posters above I teared up when "new" Tuvok uttered the line "how will you know how much I enjoy being with you?", as well as Neelix's line "I'm really going to miss him."
While it would have been nice to see Tuvok express more direct gratitude at the end of the episode, this was subtly done as Tuvok offered the non-logical response to Neelix's original riddle. I think this was Tuvok's way of letting Neelix know that, despite the restoration of the "old" Tuvok, that he did appreciate Neelix for what he was, even if his "logical" self precluded him from expressing it as often as he would like.
All in all, a touching episode definitely worthy of recommendation.
- Wed, Sep 2, 2015, 3:49pm (USA Central)
Our Man Bashir
Speaking as a geology graduate, i can confirm sisko's plan wouldnt work!
- Wed, Sep 2, 2015, 2:53pm (USA Central)
A Matter of Time
If I remember correctly there is a quick shot of Worf carrying the rest of the items out of the time pod.
- Wed, Sep 2, 2015, 2:44pm (USA Central)
Well, on the good side this introduces the concept of the wormhole that basically the entirety of DS9 is based off, and the Delta Quadrant for Voyager. And there are a couple of good scenes - notably Riker smiling off Ral's attempt to needle him.
But overall this is a shocker. Ral's seduction of Troi is profoundly creepy, and the dialogue clunky and unintentionally comedic. The bizarre girl talk aerobics session comes out of nowhere. And the Ferengi neither amuse nor entertain. 1.5 stars.
- Wed, Sep 2, 2015, 2:19pm (USA Central)
Meh. 2.5 stars. I, too, would like more Data backstory (pre-TNG) instead of more pre-activation. The real problem with this episode is the very idea that Soong was able to push synthetics to the point of having an android register on medical scans as human and actually grow older/die. Way too far fetched for me. It almost seems like the writers just threw this one together. Flanagan's acting comes through, though, and I rarely give TNG episodes < 2 stars, so 2.5 it is.
- Wed, Sep 2, 2015, 1:29pm (USA Central)
I was less enamored with this episode than many others. While it was handled well enough I never felt the plot lines really took flight.
Geordi and the Romulan having to put aside their differences and cooperate comes off as a sub-Sesame Street lesson, teaching us that we are all the same underneath. OK, but it's such an overused theme it's difficult to take too seriously.
The Worf story is stronger, and his flat refusal to intervene - and Picard's refusal to press him to the limit - feels like a character faithful interlude. However, as noted above Worf gets a free pass when the Romulan proves not to want his help - and that undermines the ground this story is built on.
So it's not bad, and after a couple of terrible episodes the VFX seem to be back up to speed, but overall - 2.5 stars.
- Wed, Sep 2, 2015, 12:02pm (USA Central)
I found this episode overly mushy, entirely unsubtle, and the acting on almost everyone's part as wooden and unfeeling as the android who was the central figure. The plot, acting, and script bang the viewer over the head with the obvious, cliched themes. I found myself rolling my eyes at almost every interaction, and couldn't wait for this one to end. It was too much story packed into 40 minutes. It may have been better without the admiral business, which was a real distraction from the main event. But as it stands, this has to be one of my least favorite episodes of the series so far. I do not understand the undying love that so many have for this one. I may have to go back and watch "Measure of a Man" to get the bad taste of it out of my mouth.
- Wed, Sep 2, 2015, 9:06am (USA Central)
Over the years, I have come to appreciate the Ferengi episodes. Anyway, this one is lovely, with the end coming straight out of "It's a Wonderful Life."
- Wed, Sep 2, 2015, 1:30am (USA Central)
I haven't really watched Voyager much--my wife is addicted to anything Trek, though--but I've been reading Jammer's reviews off and on, as I hear episodes being played in the background. Something amusing has cropped up as I've read the reviews--as I noted under the review for "The Gift," that episode was directed by Anson Williams, formerly Potsie on "Happy Days." This episode features Don Most as Kaden--that's formerly Donnie Most, who played Potsie's sidekick Ralph Malph on "Happy Days."
Is Ron Howard in one of these? Is there a Vulcan version of Fonzie running around the Delta Quadrant?
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