Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979)

Nelson Au

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On this day in Star Trek history:

I just saw on Trekmovie that August 7th 1978 was the first day of filming of Star Trek The Motion Picture. They filmed Kirk’s first time stepping onto the bridge.
 

Norm

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Didn't Director Robert Wise shorten the Klingon scene? I heard he said something about he felt the Klingons wouldn't retreat. Yet they weren't just retreating. It always seemed to me they were making V'Ger think they were retreating and fired that rear shot. Anyway the Klingon scene was an awesome scene if anything it needed to be longer.
 
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Nelson Au

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What I’ve read at the time of the Directors Edition release, in an interview with Robert Wise, he wanted to shorten the fly around tour and inspection of the Enterprise that Scotty gives Kirk. Though he knew the sequence is loved by the fans. So he left it. That scene to me was a sort of gift to the fans and to also show that this is Kirk’s ship and to show how big a ship it is. When you realize in 1979, the only Enterprise we’d seen is the 11 foot model used on the TV series. This new model is much more detailed and updated, ironically it is only 8 feet long.

They also edited the dialogue for the size of the V’ger cloud, it was over 82 AU’s in diameter. They changed it to only 2 AU’s in diameter in the DE. One AU, astronomical unit, is the average distance the Earth is from the sun. That’s big.
 
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Osato

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Didn't Director Robert Wise shorten the Klingon scene? I heard he said something about he felt the Klingons wouldn't retreat. Yet they weren't just retreating. It always seemed to me they were making V'Ger think they were retreating and fired that rear shot. Anyway the Klingon scene was an awesome scene if anything it needed to be longer.
the opening scene wasn’t shortened to the best of my knowledge.

i
Do like that the directors cut added in final sound. It’s just an extra polish touch.
 

Josh Steinberg

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The Klingon sequence was trimmed ever so slightly - on disc 2 of the DE DVD set, under deleted scenes, you can select “trims” and see all of the tiny pieces that were cut throughout the film, usually just tightening shots by removing an extra second or two.
 
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Osato

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The Klingon sequence was trimmed ever so slightly - on disc 2 of the DE DVD set, under deleted scenes, you can select “trims” and see all of the tiny pieces that were cut throughout the film, usually just tightening shots by removing an extra second or two.
whatever they trimmed I can’t notice in the directors cut. I’ll have to compare.
There is no comparison.
 

Joel Fontenot

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Besides the extra "VIEWER OFF!" and the "oh my God" - both from Kirk, the only other noticeable trim was while going through the cloud. There is a cut that can be heard in the music too. After years of listening to the soundtrack, I notice a jump in the music at one point in the DE. I forget where exactly as there are several different times that there's a long sequence of the bridge crew just staring at the screen. There may be short second or two trims throughout, but there is just one really big cut that I remember.
 

Reggie W

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I've always liked this picture and have a very fond memory of seeing it when it opened in a big theater with my brother and aunt. One thing I have always thought about it, and I am not sure if I have ever mentioned it here, is that Shatner, to me, has always seemed off in it. It's pretty much like he can't find his groove of how he played Kirk. He's really not particularly Kirk-like for most of the film. The other actors, Nimoy and Kelley, seem to slip right back into their parts with relative ease but Shatner seems to not remember how he played Kirk or wants to change his portrayal for the big screen. Obviously in the next film, Khan, Shatner is full on back to owning the character (and did every other time he played Kirk in the other pictures) but in this one...well...I don't think he could quite find his way back into it.
 
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Nelson Au

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I heard about that Art Of Star Trek The Motion Picture book late last year or so and for sure I’ll be picking it up. :) it will be interesting to see what Jeff Bond has uncovered and was able to use for this book. I wonder if there will be much new stuff not seen before. It will be interesting if there’s coverage of the building of the Enterprise model too.

About 8 years ago, airbrush artist Paul Olsen released a book on his experience as an artist who had done some album cover art and was then asked to do the paint job on the refit Enterprise for TMP and created the unique Aztec paneling on the ship. More info can be found here if you’re interested: http://www.olsenart.com/strek.html

This came about because he was asked to give a talk at a Star Trek convention in England where he was surprised by so much interest and enthusiasm in his talks there. So if you’re into the model like I am, it was an interesting read.
 
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Nelson Au

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Reggie, interesting you felt Shatner’s Kirk was off. As if Shatner wasn’t able to find the character. Well, he was off. He’d been a desk bound admiral for a few years and so being back on the Enterprise, he’s a little unsure of himself. Its a new ship and has some new crew members. He’s not fully up to speed on the ship’s redesign. So he is off kilter for most of the film. But when the crew comes together as they enter V’Ger, I thought he’s fully in Kirk mode. I liked all the little bits Shatner uses to play an unsure Kirk. Some cool bits is when he orders the Enterprise to leave dock, you can see how nervous he is as he taps his fingers on the chair’s arms. He’s a bit defensive with Decker. Kirk is also will to admit he’s wrong as he argues with Decker.
 

Tommy R

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I’m gonna be ALL over that book! May not be able to get it right when it comes out, but definitely before the end of the year.
 
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Joel Fontenot

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I've always liked this picture and have a very fond memory of seeing it when it opened in a big theater with my brother and aunt. One thing I have always thought about it, and I am not sure if I have ever mentioned it here, is that Shatner, to me, has always seemed off in it. It's pretty much like he can't find his groove of how he played Kirk. He's really not particularly Kirk-like for most of the film. The other actors, Nimoy and Kelley, seem to slip right back into their parts with relative ease but Shatner seems to not remember how he played Kirk or wants to change his portrayal for the big screen. Obviously in the next film, Khan, Shatner is full on back to owning the character (and did every other time he played Kirk in the other pictures) but in this one...well...I don't think he could quite find his way back into it.
That was mentioned a lot for years. In fact, that complaint was lodged at all three leads at some point or another.

For Shatner's part, I always saw it as how Kirk was at that time. Remember Decker's own assessment of Kirk early on... "Sir, you haven't logged a single star hour in two and a half years. That plus your unfamiliarity with the ship's redesign, in my opinion, sir, seriously jeopardizes this mission".

Kirk was out of sorts... out of place... trying to find his way. Trying to get back out in space. I thought it was just right how Shatner played it - given the circumstances.

And, yes, by the end, they all find their feet, so to speak. Right around the time they are all standing around V'ger and just figured out what it was.

I always saw it as a natural progression as the movie went - even back when I saw it in the theater. Don't know if it was intentional given the off-screen antics going on, but it worked for me. I guess most others couldn't let go of the Kirk they just saw in TV the day before (since TOS was still in heavy syndication pretty much everywhere at the time).

Edit - and Nelson had a similar summery as I was typing this
 

Tino

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New book coming out soon. Anyone else picking it up?

Star Trek: The Motion Picture: The Art and Visual Effects Amazon product
Description
Product Description

The official guide to the film artistry of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Forty years ago, Star Trek: The Motion Picture brought Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise crew to the big screen and changed the course of the Star Trek franchise. Now, celebrate this landmark anniversary by discovering the visual artistry that made this an enduring science fiction classic. For the first time ever, explore archival material created by legendary Star Trek collaborators, including Robert Abel, Syd Mead, Ralph McQuarrie, Andrew Probert, and Ken Adams.
About the Author
Jeff Bond is the author of Danse Macabre: 25 years of Danny Elfman and Tim Burton, and The Music of Star Trek. He was Executive Editor of Geek magazine and Senior Editor at CFQ, the revival of Cinefantastique magazine, from 2003 to 2006. He covers film music and other subjects for the Hollywood Reporter and has written hundreds of movie and television soundtrack liner notes booklets.
 
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