Comment Stream

Search and bookmark options Close
Search for:
Search by:
Clear bookmark | How bookmarks work
Note: Bookmarks are ignored for all search results

Total Found: 2 (Showing 1-2)

Page 1 of 1
Set Bookmark
Scott Fraser "A Likely Lad"
Fri, May 22, 2009, 9:51pm (UTC -5)
Re: Star Trek: The Motion Picture

Star Trek The Motion Picture (TMP)is my favourite film in the entire series. It is interesting that this is the only visualisation of a lost period in Star Trek's fictional timeline. Consider, we have the original 5 year mission which was followed by this movie (not counting the animated series)there is then a 14 year gap, fictionally as it were in time from the end of TMP and The Wrath of Khan (TWOK). All the remaining films are set after each other leading up to the final mission of the original crew and Kirk's death. The period of time from the end of the 5 year mission to the beginning of TWOK is an immense source of speculation and interest for fans and scores of unofficial books have been set in this period.
TMP is divorced from the rest of Kirk's time in Trek through being set in this gap and provides just a small peek at this unknown period. The script was the original pilot proposal for a new series on TV called Star Trek Phase 2 and it's interesting to speculate which way Trek would have gone had this been the start of a new series rather than the first film.

The script itself was titled "In Thy Image" for the TV pilot project but was dropped when it was decided to adapt it to movie form, I do think the title The Motion Picture is boring and I wish they had kept the original title, it gives a better indication of things than TMP which could mean anything.
The film has been remastered and looks brilliant, but it has also been re-edited to quicken the pace and make the film seem a bit busier and faster, the selling point however is that some scenes and effects have been completely replaced, one of them is a breathtaking shot of the planet Vulcan with giant statues and ancient temples and blood red skies and mountains, it is worth the purchase of this disc for this alone. Sensational.
The soundtrack of TMP is something that has always stuck in my head from the day that I first saw this in 1979, it is possibly the best music ever used on Trek, but then what do you expect being composed by the genius that gave us the Jaws theme, Jerry Goldsmith. I will never forget his Ilia's overture, the Klingon theme that became so famous and of course the Enterprise music score. World class.

TMP is more in line with the way Gene Roddenberry originally envisaged the series, by being more thoughtful, intellegent and character-led than the more grand shoot-em-ups and big battles going off in space. Stories like The City on the Edge of Forver and The Inner Light are of much more interest to me than stories like The Best of Both Worlds and Scorpion.

The special features are to die for including such gems as a documentary on the aborted Phase 2 series with some super rare test footage of various elements, documentaries are also used to cover the film itself and the reimagining of thing. Theatrical and teaser trailers are included as are 16 quite substantial deleted scenes, and storyboard archives. Great stuff.

This film is not only my favourite Trek movie but rates very highly in my all-time list of all films, but I do have one gripe however. as much as I love this version of the movie I would have like to have been given the choice to watch the original theatrical version if I so choose, and it should have been an option on this disc. You can see all the original material that was changed in one of the extras, but this is not the same as having it integrated into the movie itself.

So there we are, not only the best Trek film but for the sheer quality of the special features the best DVD release of a Trek Film. Unmissable.
Set Bookmark
Fraser
Sun, May 10, 2009, 2:53pm (UTC -5)
Re: BSG S4: Daybreak, Part 2

I started watching BSG last summer and quickly devoured all the episodes that I'd missed followed by all of Jammer's reviews. Jammer, I'd like to thank you for enhancing my appreciation of the series. Now it's over, I thought I'd post some thoughts.

I think that although BSG is not without its flaws it's still one of the best TV series I've seen, standing comparison with any other sci-fi series and any of the other series in the US that are currently attracting so much praise. I think its overall quality, and inevitably its imperfections, are in no small part due to Ron Moore's idiosyncratic and fearless approach to storytelling. That the finale reflected both the strengths and weaknesses of that approach is no surprise, but imo as with the series as a whole, the strengths far outweighed the weaknesses and I'm willing to bear those inconsitencies because I think that we gained much more than we lost through the writers' adaptability.

I don't ask that something be perfect just that it be great - ambitious, challenging, enlightening and significant - and that's a really tall order in itself. With excellent writers influenced by eclectic sources from literature, history, philosophy, political economy, sociology, theology, science and technology (and no doubt other ologies) who still managed to tell a thumping good story with multi-faceted characters and themes, BSG is a great series and Caprica notwithstanding I'll be lucky to see another of comparable scope and ambition. Most series don't even try and still fail. BSG tried for so much and imo rarely failed at all.

(I also think that Moore set a new benchmark in terms of his personal outreach to fans and although it's a smart move to nurture your audience when a TV series can be cancelled at short notice, that generosity and courage despite the ire sometimes attracted from fans and the risks in revealing his creative process, has been inspiring to me as a writer).

Just in case anyone thinks I'm carrying Moore's water (I'm writing from the UK so that would be tricky) there were some things about the finale that I wasn't entirely happy with. I agree with Jammer that it didn't seem very likely that so many people would simply renounce technology, especially in a potentially hostile environment. It does also seem to send an unintended message that the problem lies with the tools rather than the toolmaker. I am sufficiently interested by agrarian anarchism (and its rich tradition in US political philosophy) to be on balance intrigued rather than repelled by this twist however, as Jammer points out, does anyone believe that Tyrol (along with many others including potentially Bill Adama) is not heading for a lonely and miserable existence without technology to help him? It might have been more credible if Adama like Cortez in the New World had 'burned his boats' as a way of saying that 'this is where we are and this where we're staying' but that dictatorial move is clearly not the tone that the finale was aiming for.

And overall I'm happy with that tone because I think that the whole is stronger than the weaknesses in any of its parts. If the renunciation of technology is the downside of an opportunistic storytelling approach, manipulated to suit the desired end, then I actually think that Kara's disappearance is the upside and ultimately one of the things that raises the story to myth.

I don't really care whether the writers did it because they genuinely thought it was the best thing to do or whether it was because they'd written themselves into a corner. If you criticise it purely for that then where do you begin or end? A lot of the best twists or narrative arcs in the series, like Starbuck's death or the New Caprica episodes, were basically opportunistic. 'Harbinger of death' could simply mean 'messenger of death' - she has returned from death with a message. It's we who view that negatively because of the negative associations that we have with death. But in Eastern philosophies for example, death is just part of a cycle that leads to rebirth and so it would be fitting for a messenger of death to bring new life and if anything, BSG seems to say the two are inextricably bound.

A series that began with genocide must be about death and what survives it, if anything, if nothing else. The debates in the series surrounding resurrection technology vs. procreation, and finally (some of) the cylons renouncing resurrection technology, are perfectly complimented by Starbuck's metaphysical alternative, a literal resurrection from death that explores an idea common to many religions with the one character who chased death more than any other from the beginning.

It makes Kara one of the pivotal and profound figures in the series because she embodies the tension between life and death, materialism and idealism, optimism and pessimism, secular and religious thinking, and all these questions remain ambiguous. Her doubt is our own, her hope and despair profoundly true.

Kara represents a leap of faith on the part of the audience and the storytellers, and in jumping the ship to Earth 2 she gives us a literal leap of faith of the kind that she experienced before in Maelstrom. It's appropriate that the character who so recklessly pursued death from the beginning should be the one who returns from death to save her people from certain extinction and give them a chance of new life in a promised land.

I also think that it's correct for a series noted for its realism, which I distinguish from literalism (nothing in BSG is literally true and while it may be realistic 'reality' as a whole remains an open question), should essentially ask 'what is real?' in the same metaphysical way it asks 'what is human?' and 'what is cylon?'

This obviously also makes Baltar a very pivotal character. Although I feel that his religious arc in series 4 was not as interesting as it could have been and his ultimate destiny not quite as overwhelming as once seemed likely, I do think his arc is very significant. Religion and its debates with secularism have been at the heart of BSG from the beginning and Baltar's character arc has embodied those debates not to say his conflict with original sin - the blood on his hands that he can't escape from. Moore knows his history - we know that at bleak and desperate times cults like Baltar's do appear to offer the hope that can be self serving and also the most crucial thing for survival. Baltar's motives may be ambiguous but then so were Roslin's when she used the scrolls of Pythia to political ends (hence her hilarious conversation with Baltar in The Oath) and Adama's when he promised to find Earth. We see the consequences when those hopes and ideals are dashed in Sometimes A Great Notion and hopes fulfilled in Daybreak. Baltar's leap of faith, from the most materialistic and crassly self-interested character, makes explicit what Starbuck implies - that sometimes we have no reason but own belief.

I imagine that Moore knew roughly where he was going with Baltar but not exactly how he would arrive. With Daybreak imo the superficial action, despite inconsistencies, is sufficiently credible to sustain the larger myth that gives BSG such power taken as a whole. I think Moore's cameo is a sign of his rigor, he tries to work everything through and mostly succeeds. Why has he come up with this retelling of the story of our ancestors from the 12 colonies so many millenia before? Because Head Six and Baltar are there to influence him in Time Sq at the crucial time!

Finally (if anyone has got this far without falling asleep), I think the way that the flashbacks were used was the most emotional and beautiful aspect of the finale for me. I briefly thought that the flashbacks might turn out to be a kind of time loop caused by the black hole. So that everything that has happened will happen again in eternal recurrence, but that would probably be a step too far! We saw how the characters have changed and how they haven't, and the choices they made that brought them to where they are. It was poignant to see them before such seismic events changed their lives forever. Also because it showed that their lives weren't so great on Caprica (Lee -aimless, Baltar - empty, Roslin - family dead, Adama - being retired, Starbuck - Zack about to die) and that in many ways the attack on the colonies was both the worst and the best thing that ever happened to them. Death and rebirth tied together. As Roslin told Adama in Islanded in a Stream of Stars: her time with him, for all her suffering, was the best of her life. So the genocide was more ambivalent for the characters than we thought and the 'paradise' on Earth 2 is sorrow as well as joy, in fact it's an extremely bittersweet finale for most of the characters. There was and there will be no golden age.

And William and Lee Adama say goodbye to the women they love, while Baltar of all people comes full circle, and promise that they will remember, another way to transcend death.

So goodbye BSG... you won't be forgotten, and thanks Jammer for your reviews, until The Plan ..... and then Caprica?
Page 1 of 1
▲Top of Page | Menu | Copyright © 1994-2021 Jamahl Epsicokhan. All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication or distribution of any content is prohibited. This site is an independent publication and is not affiliated with or authorized by any entity or company referenced herein. Terms of use.