Thursday, January 06, 2005

A Peter's Famous Reviews Flashback!
Originally written 5/30/03

Star Trek: The Motion Picture - The Directors Cut

(1979)(2000) - D: Robert Wise
***
William Shatner, Leonard Nimoy, DeForest Kelly.
With the advent of DVD movies can now be any length, any rating, contain any scenes, because when you actually get time to go out to the theater, a movie must be a certain length, a certain rating, and must only contain relevant scenes that fit into the certain length a movie at a theater must be. But now DVD comes along, and a director can now poo poo on those nasty studio execs who forced them trim down their movie, and can now present the film the way he wanted, and the studio can market it and make just as much money! Everything from Star Wars to Orson Welles, to the Exorcist have come out with new versions, and it should come to no surprise that this movie should fit into this category, since there’s never really been a completed version shown since it premiered. This has been a tough film for everyone, the fans (trekkers and or trekkies), the studio, the actors, and apparently the director. It’s great to have Star Trek back, but it’s slow, and the plot doesn’t make much sense at first sight. It does have great have great special effects, which the original show lacked, but we end up watching a special effects show, with some familiar characters and then hours later it’s over.
So what’s good about this version? Well it’s been almost redone, and re-edited so it actually flows (even with slow scenes, like a five minute fly by of the “new” Enterprise), and most importantly the annoying alarm system (“Intruder Alert!!!!!) has been completely taken out! The viewer is no longer distracted with other things or sounds going, and can actually follow the rather tricky plot.
The new commentaries (which most DVD’s now must always have) also help out, along with a supplemental subtitle!
What’s not so good, is that the movie is fundamentally flawed and no little editing and remixing and remastering is going to change that. The script was intended as a pilot for a new series of Star Trek, and it plays like one. Only the two leads have any character development, The great star ship captain has been promoted, and he doesn’t like his new job, so he has the power to take control back. The other is trying rid himself of those damn dirty emotions his mother gave him, but some outside force keeps stirring them up, so now he must rejoin his old shipmates to find those answers. There are some sub characters that get a little play, like the ousted Captain who had an affair with a Lt. on a planet where you’re not supposed to do that! And the old nurse is now the doctor, but that’s not good enough, you need to bring the old doctor back so he can say “Damn it Jim!”, well that’s not all he says, but he doesn’t add much more than that. That’s it! Everyone else is pretty much irrelevant.
The movie as a whole is an improvement however, and Star Trek fans will enjoy it more, and those who don’t like Star Trek weren’t going to like it in the first place, but if they’ve never seen it before they won’t have to suffer as much if they had seen it earlier.
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