Saturday, August 15, 2015

Saturday Night at the Movies 8/15/15!

Who cares what picture we see?

The late Persis Khambatta baldly would have - so this is tonight's choice...

One of the first TV shows to make the leap to the Big Screen - Star Trek's first cinematic epic took a laborious trip to theaters. Paramount was originally going to launch a fourth US television network (long before they actually did launch UPN) with a reboot of the original series called Star Trek Phase Two. This was in the mid 1970's.

Paramount changed their minds, forgot about that fourth TV network - at least until the mid 1990's - and decided to take the script for Star Trek Phase Two's pilot and make it a feature film instead. This was a few years later, specifically 1978 or 1979. Paramount for some reason locked in a release date - December 7th, 1979, and then watched as everything that could go wrong did go wrong as the movie was filmed. The script never got locked in, and was a little soft throughout filming, with new pages coming in until the movie wrapped.

Director Robert Wise did a fine job, but the special effects house hired took too long producing the copious visuals and opticals - and eventually got fired. Then there was huge race on to get the effects finished. They were so close to the premiere deadline - in Washington DC at a gala event - that they couldn't complete the credits dissolve from one credit to another - a visual motif everyone is used to - and instead had hard cuts from credit to credit - which looked really weird onscreen. Some of the visual effects were actually uncompleted - and Wise had no time to do a fine tune on the audio mix, so the acoustics of the soundstage are sometimes glaringly obvious in the echo-y sound mix. The print that was shown in Washington DC was literally still wet from the final work done on it minutes before it was threaded up. Amazing.

Cut to the early 2000's - when Paramount brought  a still hale and hearty Robert Wise back in and handed him some bucks to finally complete the movie as best he could. The Director's Cut now has dissolving credits...completed visuals (CGI but done to look like what they practical effects would have looked like if done in 1979)...and a smoother sound mix. I like the movie, though it's not one of the best in the series. It's a little slow, and bogs down in those special effects a bit in the middle third. But it's cool to see the cast taking their characters to the Big Screen, and the movie has a great look.

I have both the original theatrical cut and the Director's Cut on disc - and we could be checking out either - or if you're really brave - both - at any time - even this very evening, if you care to trek over to my place and star as my guest!

Until next post, you Can Poke Me With A Fork, Cause I Am Outta Here!

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