Review of The Menagerie Part 1 Remastered | TrekMovie.com
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Review of The Menagerie Part 1 Remastered November 27, 2006

by Dennis Russell Bailey , Filed under: Review,TOS Remastered , trackback

You say ‘yes,’ I say ‘no…’
The Enterprise visits Starbase 11, ostensibly because Spock has received a request from his former captain – Christopher Pike – to divert there.  Right away we learn two important things:

  1. Uhura’s not a gossip.  There’s been "subspace chatter for months" about the fact that Pike was crippled in an accident, yet she’s never passed that information on to anyone aboard the Enterprise (except, apparently, Mr. Spock)
  2. Morse code, binary digital computing, and the game "Twenty Questions" do not exist in the "Star Trek" universe.  As a result, although the otherwise mute Pike can signal in two distinct ways – one beep for "yes" and two for "no" – it’s considered virtually impossible to get specific or complex information from him (like, say, the answer to the question "is Mr. Spock lying to us?").

McCoy, for one, considers Spock lying to be "absolutely impossible."  Embarrassingly for him, then, Spock tells a few more whoppers and steals the Enterprise in order to return Fleet Captain Pike to Talos IV:  "the one forbidden world in all the Galaxy."  When Kirk and Commodore Mendez catch up and put Spock on trial, his defense consists of making them watch an old “Star Trek” rerun.  Luckily for them, it’s a good one that they haven’t seen.

Enter the “Star Trek Universe”

Despite the superficial and too-convenient logic of the “envelope” story concerning Spock’s crime and court martial, "The Menagerie" itself is one of Trek’s best episodes.  It’s seminal in its contribution to the sense of a real future world, one with its own “history,” that has contributed so much to “Star Trek’s” enduring appeal for many of its most devoted fans. The clever use of material from a pilot shot years before featuring different actors and substantially different sets, effects and faux technology successfully evokes the illusion that the Trek Universe had existed and evolved for far longer than the few weeks the series had actually been broadcast. A “flashback” manufactured specifically for the episode in 1967 would likely not have been nearly so persuasive or gripping in its details.

The pilot telefilm “The Cage” from which the Pike sequences are drawn cost Desilu in the area of $600,000 (1964 dollars).  The production values are extravagant, for the time; the recreated alien surface of Talos IV stands up well next to similar designs used in films like “Forbidden Planet.”  Add to this the several hundred thousand dollar budget of a production “Star Trek” episode – including the Starbase 11 sets and matte paintings – and the two-part “Menagerie” compares favorably to any Hollywood feature science fiction film of the pre-“2001” era.

What’s bad in the remastered version?

Well…nothing.  My single complaint with the CG in the last episode I reviewed ("City On The Edge Of Forever") was the poor "spinning light" effect in the Enterprise’s nacelles.  That entire model has since been replaced, and the lighting effect is just fine.


The ship (and nacelles) are looking good

What’s good?

Space shots of the Enterprise.  After a bit of a steep learning curve, CBS Digital has nailed the look of the Enterprise in space.  In most instances the ship’s surfaces, its motion and scene lighting are everything one could ask for.  The images are faithful to the atmosphere and design of the original series effects while adding detail.  Like many another long-time fan, I’m glad to see the return of TOS’ multicolored star fields as well.

Unlike last week’s episode (“Space Seed”) the CG artists this week have stuck close to the composition of familiar original series model shots.  In one early shot, they’ve recreated the famous orbital-approach-to-camera but moved the POV much closer to the ship and planet for a stronger dramatic effect.   In another, they’ve re-rendered an angle of the Enterprise breaking orbit first recreated for the remastered “Miri,” and the vast improvement over their previous effort is easily apparent. CBS Digital has been spot-on at rendering planetary globes from the very beginning of this project, and both examples this week continue that success.  The surfaces of both the Starbase 11 planet and Talos IV remain nonspecific, so swathed in cloud and splashes of color that any actual terrain features are only hinted at.  The artists continue their practice of tying the dominant colors of the globes to the environments we see in the live-action surface sequences – something done haphazardly if at all in the original shots.  The very close shot of the limb of Talos IV as Jose scans out those “rounded metallic bits of spaceship hull” is particularly striking.

The shuttlecraft space exterior is also good, and the ship now bears specific Starbase markings.  The interior shots of Kirk and Mendez feature a subtle, moving star field visible through the forward window instead of the static backdrop originally filmed.  A similar moving star field can be seen through the window of Pike’s cabin later in the episode. Another nice touch: a view of the Enterprise’s nacelles, visible in a rear-angle Main Viewer shot.


CBS artists name their first shuttle ‘Picasso’…it is a bit cubist

Extraordinary Digital Mattes

The most remarkable, and remarked-upon, new effects on display in the remastered “Menagerie Part I” are of course the digital model used to create mattes of Starbase 11 and the new zoom-in-through-the Bridge-dome shot which introduces us to the first crew of the Enterprise (don’t nitpick me on the “Robert April” thing, kids).

The Starbase matte is a fine piece of work, used to stunning effect in several distinct ways.  The first is during the opening beam-down of Kirk and Spock and McCoy.  Here the digital model creates a sense of true scale and perspective that was only partly conveyed by the excellent original painted matte.  People are now visible moving about in the middle and far distance.  The brilliant sky and ringed world overhead still evoke the romance of old “Golden Age” science fiction pulp magazine covers.

A day-lit image of this model is now visible through Commodore Mendez’ office window in the next shot, clearing up a minor continuity glitch: the cut-out towers originally used outside the windows on the Starbase office and hospital sets were black, set against a deep blue “sky” backing, and lit to suggest a cityscape at night..  However, since our people materialize in the plaza at what looks like high noon this left us to wonder how many hours Kirk and cooled their heels in the waiting room before being granted audience with the Great and Wonderful Commodore. A few moments later, when we meet the crippled Fleet Captain Pike, the camera follows him wheeling about in his support chair.  The parallax view on the CG cityscape outside the window changes in a much more realistic way than the cutouts placed only a few inches beyond the sill could. The original silhouette towers and backdrop are still used in later scenes in Mendez’ office.  Here, though, they’re enhanced by the addition of moving lights representing Starbase flying vehicles crossing the night sky.


Starbase 11 now gets day and night  

The push-in on the Bridge of Pike’s Enterprise is a particularly challenging shot for a number of reasons – two of which are that the digital version includes a transition from a CG model of the Bridge set and crew(!) to live action and that the camera POV zooms in on the live action at an angle which is too low.  In the 1965 version, the difference in angle between the outer saucer and the stage floor is obvious.  In the recreation, it looks to me as if the digital “camera” actually moves in on the exterior model at an angle similar to the original and then, as the shot transitions from digital to live action actually drops down into the scene to match perspectives. I have a little experience with the particular challenges involved.  CBS Digital pulls it off nearly flawlessly.

What’s left alone

I like to note things that one might expect the artists at CBS to consider touching up but which they choose not to tinker with.  This may well be simply because of lack of time or interest, but I can’t help hoping that sometimes it’s a matter of deliberate restraint.  This week, aside from leaving the extraordinarily detailed Talos IV soundstage “exteriors” entirely alone, I notice that nothing appears to have been added to the overhead Bridge displays on Pike’s Enterprise. The pilot version of the Enterprise Bridge shown in “The Cage” included continually changing displays above each perimeter station.  This was accomplished via the use of slide projectors and back projection.  Supposedly, union rules required that each projector be manned by a separately assigned crewperson, so the effect was deemed prohibitively expensive.  Therefore, when “Star Trek” went to series the overhead displays remained static most of the time. One might think there’d have been a temptation to add a new graphic here or there and I’m glad they didn’t do it.  The story of Christopher Pike and his strange adventure on Talos VI deserves, more than almost any episode of “Star Trek,” to be preserved as a kind of an historical document.


Pike’s  bridge just fine as is

About those missing credits…

The folks at CBS Digital are doing fine and often inspired work, week after week, at a breakneck pace.  Does CBS Paramount ever intend to add their names to the credits at the end of these remastered episodes?  If not, why not?

See More Screenshots 

Dennis Russell Bailey is the coauthor of two episodes of Star TrekThe Next Generation, "Tin Man" and "First Contact." Most recently he’s served as co-producer, writer, CG effects and design artist and bottle-washer for the independent film ‘Starship Exeter

Comments

1. ety3 - November 27, 2006

Fine review; I agree with it all.

And may I also add how immensely I prefer “Starship Exeter” to any of the other fanfilms I’ve seen thus far.

My only complaint is that they aren’t getting out fast enough, but that’s hardly a surprise, is it?

2. ety3 - November 27, 2006

A note on “Exeter”s effects: I am most pleased with how they seek to honor the original series’ sensibilities. This really hit me in a recent installment of “The Tressaurian Intersection” when the Exeter “lurches” away from the camera to change course, much like the Enterprise did in TOS.

I laughed out loud and clapped my hands in delight. It was perfect.

3. Greg Stamper - November 27, 2006

Very comprehensive review. Very good.

4. John A. - November 27, 2006

I assume that the names of the CBS staff will be added to the DVD’s when they come out. With the editing being done to the episodes so they can be aired on tv, to add more names to the credits now might mean more trims from the actulal show being aired. That would suck!

5. TomBot2006 - November 27, 2006

Pretty good review… I mostly agree as well. Yes, the blinking chair was totally for dramatic effect, especially since the actor who portrayed Pike was unavailable, I believe. I mean Spock could mindmeld with Pike right? Yes, we know he would have lied his green ears off. And weren’t there other telepathic/empathic races, even in the TOS era? Oh well, it’s all grease to get to main story which is “The Cage”.
My, they sure did have large and clunky sd cards in those days, didn’t they? ;) It was nice touches that Starbase 11 had some of that old fashioned tech around, such as the War of Worlds’ intercom viewers, to link up with the Cage pilot. I’m not sure, because the photo’s kind of small, but weren’t the globes on the shuttle nacelles supposed to be frosty or glassy looking? Not a gripe, just wondering.
As usual, I am enjoying this trip back in time. :)

6. Gary Gneffke - November 27, 2006

Nice review, especially the wise cracks at the beginning. Funny stuff.

7. Scott Gammans - November 27, 2006

Dennis who?

8. Litenbug - November 27, 2006

Excellent review… thanks Mr. Bailey.

Ety3…. The fanfilm thread was a couple stories back.

9. DB - November 27, 2006

Ety3, thanks for the kind words about “Starship Exeter.” We all wish that we could get the acts out more quickly than we’ve been able.

Scott, don’t make me hurt you.

10. Scott Gammans - November 27, 2006

LOL!

And FWIW, I agree with your approval of the untouched bridge displays on Pike’s Enterprise. It’s a shame that arcane union rules and budget constraints kept those dynamic bridge displays from being used in the regular series run, but it makes the visit to the past all the more special.

Excellent review, Dennis. :)

11. Matt Wright - November 27, 2006

Great review, I agree with all your point Dennis.

12. Chris - November 27, 2006

Is that Kirk in the window of the Shuttlecraft???

The effects in this episode were really good. I think they finally figured out what the Enterprise is supposed to look like. The nacelles are much improved. The camera diving into the bridge was really well done.

13. Buckaroohawk - November 27, 2006

DB,

A fine review, and I loved the pithy comments at the beginning.

I’m new to this site, so I just learned that you are Dennis Russell Bailey, author of two of my favorite TNG episodes, “Tin Man” and “First Contact.” It’s an honor to meet you, even if it is just over the internet.

Also (and I’ve said this before), the work that you and the “Starship Exeter” crew are doing is fantastic. I’m an amateur CGI artist myself, and I know how long it can take to get decent looking shots together for any kind of film project, let alone get live action scenes done as well.

If you don’t mind the shameless plug, you can see some of my CGI work on Youtube.com. Just go to the site and type “buckaroohawk” (without the quotes) into the search bar. I’ve never had my work reviewed by a professional, so I’d appreciate the input.

Keep up the great work here and on the “Exeter” site. I’m looking forward to seeing the rest of “The Tressaurian Intersection.”

14. seangh - November 27, 2006

Here’s that awesome ext to int Dome shot of the Enterprise:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oXTXzIjbDLY

:-)

15. Josh - November 27, 2006

I agree.

These artists deserve MUCH credit. MUCH credit.

They have achieved the daunting, impossible task of doing JUSTICE to a timeless classic.

16. Abi Brady - November 28, 2006

IIRC, the Star Wars special editions didn’t involve changing the credits, either, even when new actors got introduced.

17. Adam Cohen - November 28, 2006

Another excellent review for yet another fantastic episode.

Trek fans, we’re officially being spoiled after suffering years of neglect. Now, we wait for Abrams’ next move…

18. ety3 - November 28, 2006

#8 Litenbug –

I brought up “Exeter” only because the author of the review works on it. It seemed to be an opportunity to directly congratulate the man for his efforts.

19. Cervantes - November 28, 2006

A very good review Dennis.

It is great to see all this excellent site’s screenshots and videos of the ongoing remastering every week, and so another big thankyou to Anthony and all the other contributers to this site…and its forum visitors too.

As a HUGE fan of special effects of all kinds over the years, this project has been a wish fulfilled for me, where the Original Series of Star Trek is concerned. While I shall ALWAYS cherish the original work, it is just so much fun to see additions that were not achievable back in the day.

It’s not just the obvious stuff like the new Enterprise shots that impress, it’s the stuff like the excellent planet colourshemes that now properly tie in with the colours of the set-scapes, and little touches like moving starfields seen through windows in the background. These are all turning events into a more rounded whole throughout the episodes, giving a more complex production value look to everything.

I LOVED this episodes new purple sky with ringed planet look, the shuttlecraft, the rear view of the nascelles, and of course the “fly through from above” into the Bridge. As we here in the U.K. have not seen these first few episodes yet, this site is an invaluable reference and stopgap.

I look forward to some more shots of the front and rear of the Enterprise from an ABOVE viewpoint in the future episodes, as they were always my favourite if you hardworking CBS Digital guys can oblige.

20. Dip Thong - November 28, 2006

“What’s bad in the remastered version? Well…nothing.”

Except the dome fly-in screwed up the position of the turbo shaft doors. Otherwise a nice piece of work.

21. DB - November 28, 2006

Nah – the angles of the ship and the live-action insert were a choice rather than a mistake. I approve (we made the same choice on “Starship Exeter”). :)

22. Dave - November 28, 2006

Not to nit pick – but no one mentioned anything about the Second planet!

The space shot shows the Enterprise in orbit around a single planet – both the original episode and the Re-mastered one. But on the planet surface there is a very big ringed planet in the sky.

Why did they not add that to the ship shots??

23. John - November 28, 2006

Dave — a good catch, one that I noticed as well.

24. Dip Thong - November 28, 2006

#21: “Nah – the angles of the ship and the live-action insert were a choice rather than a mistake.”

Dennis, are you confirming that from CBS or is it your own speculation? Because if it was a “choice” (as opposed to a mistake or a cheat) and the Okudas are making canon the fact that the turbo elevator doors are in a different spot INSIDE the ship as to where the shaft is clearly located on the OUTSIDE of the ship, then that would be interesting news to fans. It would be nice to know, then, what that big (now useless) bump of the back of the dome is for. It would be nice to know how a turbo shaft would fit inside the curve of the dome given the geometry and architecture we see on screen. It would be nice to know that crew members steering the Enterprise MUST sit facing forward, despite the silliness of that requirement.

Really, is your need to imagine the crew sitting facing the bow so important that it negates both the actual architecture on screen and 40 years of supporting materials — materials produced and approved by TPTB? Because if so, you’re creating a whole new reality to replace what’s already established. And before you respond that “The Cage” IS establishing the reality, what we saw in the original shot was misaligned optical compositing. CBS could’ve aligned the interior to the exterior. They should’ve. They didn’t.

25. litenbug - November 28, 2006

#18 ety3
My apologies.

26. DB - November 28, 2006

“Because if it was a “choice” (as opposed to a mistake or a cheat) and the Okudas are making canon the fact that the turbo elevator doors are in a different spot INSIDE the ship as to where the shaft is clearly located on the OUTSIDE of the ship, then that would be interesting news to fans.”

It’s already “canon,” by the only definition that actually matters: it’s been shown to be so on-screen, in “The Cage” and “The Menagerie.” It’s been “canon” for over forty years.

Why people believe that the meaning of “canon” includes “absolutely logical and consistent” puzzles me. Even the dogmatic or canon beliefs of various religious sects — the context from which the word’s usage is ultimately derived — are often mysterious and self-contradictory.

There is “Star Trek,” the artistic creation of a great many people over many years, which is not wholy consistent or logical but which represents immense creativity and energy — and then there’s this Star Trek that some fans seem to want to will into existance by trimming and discarding and rationalizing bits of the canon until they’re comfortable that all the dots can be connected in visible and immutable ways. The latter is at best an exercise in criticism of a not very interesting kind.

27. Commodore Z - November 28, 2006

Dennis Bailey did a cool job with his version of the bridge “fly-in” shot in Starship Exeter. I am impressed with his generosity and professionalism in recognizing the great work in CBS-Digital’s fly-in shot and in the rest of “The Menagerie.” Thumbs-up all around!

28. litenbug - November 28, 2006

My opinion is it’s a goof, unless someone on the remastered staff says otherwise… and I only skimmed these threads… did someone say what it was?

But, if it’s a mistake, by now they know .
Either way, the earth did not stop revolving.

29. Captain Pike - November 28, 2006

If by “40 years of supporting materials” you mean Franz Joseph’s blueprints and tech manual, there are lots of details in them that don’t match the on screen reality of Trek. I was always uncomfortable with the bridge being skewed as he depicted. I much prefer to think the bridge is aligned with the ship’s axis and the elevator makes a short jog before it goes down the shaft to deck 2.
They should have fixed the “nub” on the model back in the day. Even more sensible would be to not have the elevator exposed on the exterior at all – too vulnerable to accident or enemy action.

30. Picardsucks - November 28, 2006

Everyone go check out Exeter’s recreation of the zoom in on the bridge scene. Astounding!!!!!! The Tressurian Intersection blends in perfectly with Star Trek continuity. They have really captured the style, the feel, the effects the sense of peril and the most importanty the single greatest ingredient that all the Next Gen (except DS9) era shows most sorrowly lack: that sence of warmth among the crew. The effects are really terrific. Go now and view the Tressurian Intersection and support their efforts with a generous donation!!! I beguile you to do so with the power of the Shatner!!!!!! Starshipexeter.com and for nice info and pictures and clips of the production go to exeterstudio.com (Dennis kodos but how about an update????) May you all find at least a little Shatner in your lives!!!

31. FlyingTigress - November 28, 2006

#29 If by “40 years of supporting materials” you mean Franz Joseph’s blueprints and tech manual, there are lots of details in them that don’t match the on screen reality of Trek”

Agreed. I believe that the Great Bird himself never considered FJD to be consistent with ‘canon’. A great piece of work, but, among other things, the FJD single-nacelle (scouts/destroyers) and tri-nacelle (Federation-class Dreadnaught) configuations were considered to be “Not in MY S/T Universe”.

32. DB - November 28, 2006

The folks at CBS Digital followed the design of the shot that already existed in “The Cage.” The shots don’t design or animate themselves, or happen “by accident” such that they turn out to match what was done previously.

And thanks to Commodore Z and others for the kind words regarding “Exeter.”

33. Ralph F - November 28, 2006

I always loved THE CAGE, and would usually watch it as a double feature with FORBIDDEN PLANET. I think the episode stands on its own as a good 50s/60s science fiction film.

34. Ralph F - November 28, 2006

FWIW, I think when the series finally makes it to DVD (HD-DVD or Blu-Ray?) we’ll see not only the full and complete episodes, of course, but extended credits.

Can hardly wait for the full version of THE CAGE.

I’m also checking the iTunes Store almost daily for the possibility of buying the re-mastered theme (both the non-vocal and vocal) as well as episodes. I’m kind of surprised that this wasn’t worked out in advance; I know people who DVR “Battlestar Galactica” every week but still buy each episode as it comes out at the iTunes Store (and then eventually get it on DVD for the extras & etc.).

Was this “revenue stream” overlooked, or was it a matter of legalities (i.e., CBS Digital does not have the right to sell the materials)?

35. DB - November 28, 2006

BTW, there are at least two other “Exeter” clips up at YouTube:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBU_–2qkeY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m0ZVYly557A

36. DB - November 28, 2006

I’ll try that again:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZBU_–2qkeY

37. DB - November 28, 2006

Okay, the software here seems to replace a double dash with an emdash or something, so the first link doesn’t work. The second one does.

38. Chris - November 28, 2006

Looks coool…..anyone know if The Cage has be Remastered as well ?

39. DB - November 28, 2006

It supposedly will be. Guess they’ll have a leg up on that, with all the footage they’ll have completed for “The Menagerie.”

40. Old School Trek Nerd - November 28, 2006

Wow, dudes here certainly take their turbolifts seriously!

So far, I am most impressed with Exeter’s look on screen. That is an original CG model, yes?

I liked NV’s CG work under Max Rem, but I’m not thrilled with the work on their latest feature. Some of it was good, some very VERY bad. For a comparison, the second trailer for “To Serve All of My Days” features work discarded in the final film, and it’s pretty. damn. good.

Also Daren D.’s beauty shot on the Enterprise on his site is very impressive as well. I think with a little more work on lighting and render, CBS Digital will get their model looking just like the real thing.

And Dennis, Kudos on your TNG eps. I always liked “Tin Man” and the concept of actual space-borne lifeforms (which was followed up on in the episode with the giant space calzones. “Space Child” or something like that, maybe?), and Bebe Neuwirth’s alien groupie “First Contact” was funny as hell.

41. DB - November 28, 2006

Thanks. And yeah, that’s an original CG model in “Exeter.”

42. An olde timey fan - November 28, 2006

I always thought Morse code would be a great way for the dumb to communicate — in fact, that’s what prompted Samuel Morse to invent it in the first place! And why Captain Pike wasn’t rigged up with a Morse sounder is inexplicable, especially considering that it was a standard technology and readily available skill in 1964.

Morse was used extensively by Amateur Radio operators, military units, Naval and merchant marine vessels, spies, Boy Scouts, space satellites, and even honest-to-gosh telegraphers still employed by Western Union.

Why did it take until Star Trek V for Morse to be used in Trek???!!! The world wants to know!

73,
W3JY

43. Lao3D - November 28, 2006

Trek has always had the ability, at least for me, to conjure that “willing suspension of disbelief” crucial to great drama, especially sci-fi drama.

But for those unwilling or unable to suspend disbelief, how about this: Just as stroke victims often have speech sections of their brain affected, leaving them unable to form complex sentences, perhaps Delta rays have a similar effect. Pike might have been unable to master complex strings of morse code, but could muster simple yes/no responses.

Eh? Eh? How ’bout that for justification?

44. Imrahil - November 28, 2006

Well, given that nobody outside of cub scouts now learns morse code, don’t you find it odd that Kirk (and Spock) knew it in the first place? It was a few years ago now that the last official morse code transmitter station went offline .

45. Jeff - November 28, 2006

Good review. Yes, the nacelles are looking good now. It was the only thing that stuck out. Now the episodes are pretty much spot on from week to week.

46. FlyingTigress - November 28, 2006

#42

But, that would have spoiled the plot… Wouldn’t it? LOL

As has been pointed out in MANY discussions, Trek was not intended to be a ‘no conflicts’ scientific discussion: an episodic “Nova”. Entertainment or ‘message’ drove the Big “E”, not (not necessarily, anyway) full scientific accuracy.

47. Dr. Image - November 28, 2006

Love the review, DB.
A sense of humor is something that only enhances the enjoyment of all things Trek!
Carry on!

48. An olde timey fan - November 28, 2006

#44 — actually, Morse saw quite a bit of service in Afghanistan, and of course it is still a requirement for an amateur radio license with hf privileges (but not for much longer).

49. seangh - November 28, 2006

I know this has strayed off topic, but since it’s DB’s article and he’s hanging here at the momnet,

Here’s a comparison of the Original Exeter opening and the Latest from TTI:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sYRxTa6ypGE

I actually really like model shots – well done except for those Nacelles – which seem to be the bugaboo (both for CG and models)

50. Buckaroohawk - November 28, 2006

Just watched the “Exeter” news clip on Youtube. Fun! Loved the fact that the news camera operator shook the camera every time the PA shouted “Boom!” And the wink the reporter gives is priceless. Looks like she was having a great time.

51. Dr. Image - November 28, 2006

Having trouble viewing any of the Exeter eps. from the site.
But that dome shot on uTube is- WOW!! And their CG ship compared to NV? Well…sorry NV, those gridlines have GOT to go– yeecch!!

52. Old School Trek Nerd - November 28, 2006

Re: Dennis Bailey

You’re also getting praise on the Fan Film message thread. Another poster echoed my own thoughts by saying that Exeter’s ship shots look like really clean Star Trek images. The reason I asked you about if Exeter was an original CGI model was because I was wondering if you weren’t somehow painting your ship’s designation over some of the better actual Trek effects.

Of course, upon re-examining the dome shot, you can see somewhat inside the windows on the deck below the bridge, so I’m convinced.

Let’s just say, until last Saturday, you had the best dome view in Trekdom. I just wonder how much more it cost Paramount to deliver theirs.

53. Sean4000 - November 28, 2006

NO, NO, NO, NO…………………………………

If you want to see how clean the show and FX SHOULD have looked

look here

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sm63K_tkkFc

THIS is how good DTS could have cleaned the negative and Eden could have made the new FX

This is my opinion from the get go, you can “kill me later” for them.

54. New Horizon - November 28, 2006

Glad to see Exeter get some recognition. :) I nearly wet my pants when I saw how close they got the effects in TTI looking like the original series. I hope we get to see more Exeter episodes, it’s really under appreciated.

55. Anthony Pascale - November 28, 2006

#13
I agree this is a great site…well done Dennis

#53
I agree that Eden did very good work, but bear in mind that Enterprise had a budget closd to $2m/episode…much of which was going to Eden.

I also that Exeter is probably my favorite of the current crop of indyTrek. They have done a good job of making it feel like it was made in the 60s. And with the CGI this is probably most apparent. They have resisted the same temptation to ‘go nuts’ with the CGI, just as CBS have. I have no issues with wild and crazy CGI effects, but it needs to fit in with the live action. For example BSG style effects are great, but look out of place in a TOS era show.

56. Imrahil - November 28, 2006

#48 – Really? I didn’t know that about Morse in afghanistan. The story I heard was from a few years ago, Clinton was sending a “goodbye” to the last Morse radio station.

And re: Exeter; I’ve always thought it was the better of the two fanfilms. Way less fanboi-ish than NV, and it’s a pity that NV got all the “stars” to be part of it.

If they ever do a new Trek series, I’d like to see something exactly like Exeter; another of the Feds’ starships in Kirk’s era.

57. Dip Thong - November 28, 2006

#26 – DB: “It’s already “canon,” by the only definition that actually matters: it’s been shown to be so on-screen, in “The Cage” and “The Menagerie.” It’s been “canon” for over forty years.”

*Sigh* Okay, Dennis, cool. A flawed optical composite is canon and should not be changed. By that logic, then, nothing else should be changed either because it’s ALL been on-screen for forty years and is now canon. Scotty’s invisible phaser beam in Naked Time? Canon! Don’t touch it!

You still haven’t addressed why the turbo elevator doors are in a different spot INSIDE the ship in comparison to where the shaft is clearly located on the OUTSIDE of the ship. In the same shot no less. Or how they’d fit a turbo shaft in a curved hull where it wouldn’t fit.

Seriously, what is so terrible about the notion that the command stations are off-axis? There’s no physical reason why they NEED to be forward. Ever heard of flying by instruments (that would be “aircraft logic”)? Or do you think they need to actually look at the viewscreen (or maybe you think it’s a window?) to manuever in the void of space?

#26 – DB: “There is “Star Trek,” the artistic creation of a great many people over many years, which is not wholy consistent or logical but which represents immense creativity and energy — and then there’s this Star Trek that some fans seem to want to will into existance by trimming and discarding and rationalizing bits of the canon until they’re comfortable that all the dots can be connected in visible and immutable ways. The latter is at best an exercise in criticism of a not very interesting kind.”

Yet you’re the one who can’t handle the “consistent or logical” explanation that the bridge is off-axis and it is YOU who is picking and choosing what’s “canon” and what’s not. You want to have it both ways. You insist the bridge is straight because you believe it’s logical and makes physical sense, but when someone points out that it DOESN’T make physical sense given the architecture of the ship then you get on your “Trek isn’t wholly consistent or logical” high horse. Look, I completely accept that there are logical inconsistencies in Trek. Of course there are. I’m able to suspend disbelief with the best of ‘em. My problem with THIS SHOT is that it’s the one shot in the whole series were the interior set and exterior model are supposed to be married together. We see them together in the same frame. That’s why it’s a cool and unique shot. And the architecture doesn’t line up. Simple. It COULD and SHOULD but that would mean taking the apparently unprecedented mental leap of realizing that the three command stations are really pointed slightly to the left. Apparently that’s just too much of a crazy notion.

And if you have such snooty disdain for “some fans” (I guess those would be the ones with the audacity to disagree with you — or do your two TNG credits allow you exclusive right to determine ‘canon’ for the franchise???) then why are you hanging out on a fan site? Why are you working on an internet fan film if you have such a low opinon of “some fans”.

I’m just askin’.

#29: “If by “40 years of supporting materials” you mean Franz Joseph’s blueprints and tech manual, there are lots of details in them that don’t match the on screen reality of Trek.”

Very true, but Franz Joseph isn’t the real issue. Look at the model. Look at the set. The model has a cylindrical bulge to the rear of the dome. The set has the doors to the side of the command stations. If you line up the two, the command stations are off-axis — which is perfectly fine in a fly-by-wire STARship with gravity generators and inertial dampers. There is no room in the curved hull for a turbo shaft tube that jogs to the side as it reaches the bridge deck – not without shrinking the size of the overall bridge interior much smaller than what we see on screen.

#31: “I believe that the Great Bird himself never considered FJD to be consistent with ‘canon’.”

That doesn’t mean that some things FJD did weren’t accurate given the realities of the set and model. The baby doesn’t need to be thrown out with the bathwater. Look at the model. Look at the set. It requires FAR LESS “artistic license” to simply say the command stations are off axis. This illogical desire to have three crew members sitting forward creates far more discrepancies than simply accepting the more likely explanation that they’re not. And don’t need to be.

#32: DB “The folks at CBS Digital followed the design of the shot that already existed in “The Cage.” The shots don’t design or animate themselves, or happen “by accident” such that they turn out to match what was done previously.”

Dennis, you never answered my question. Do YOU KNOW that they intentionally WANTED the elevator in a spot that didn’t match the exterior model? Have you talked to them? Have the Okudas (whose opinion I’d accept) spoken to you directly? Or are you speculating? Clearly, the shot is close enough to the original that CBS was trying to match the angles (duh), but that doesn’t answer the question of whether they didn’t notice the doors were misaligned or didn’t care. There’s a distinction. If they didn’t care, then they cheated the architecture of the ship to make the shot “look right” instead of BE right — a mistake. If they didn’t notice, that too is a mistake. If they BELIEVE the doors are in the right spot (as you’re implying), they’re confirming that the turbo elevator arrives on the bridge deck in a spot inconsistent with the exterior model — which would be weird considering that every time we see someone get into the elevator the interior running lights show it immediately DROPPING. Not sliding to the side and THEN dropping. Dropping. If the turbo shaft DOES just drop, and it’s really located in the spot you say, it makes that shaft-shaped bulge on the back of the dome meaningless and, apparently, empty. So what IS that unusued shaft-shaped bulge the modelmakers made a point of adding on the model in apparently the wrong place?

According to the Art of Star Trek, the original bridge set was 38 feet wide. The turbo shaft alcove area adds another 3 feet or so and then the turbo shaft had a diameter of, being conservative, another 5 feet. That makes the radius from the center of the bridge to the back wall of the lift 27 feet. Add in the wall of the lift (maybe 1 foot), the wall of the tube shaft (say another 1 foot) and we’re looking at a minimum diameter of roughly 58 feet just to reach the point where the turbo shaft meets the interior surface of the outer hull (under DB’s scenario). Add in another 5 feet or so for the outer hull thickness and account for the fact that the hull is curved and we’re adding, conservatively, another 15 feet to the dome’s radius where it meets the deck. That makes an exterior dome a minimum diameter of 88 feet (not including the now meaningless mystery shaft-bulge). In other words, for DB to be right — that the command stations face forward and the elevator doors don’t match the model — it would require a bridge dome almost 30 yards wide! Now look at CBS’s dome fly-in shot. http://trekmovie.com/tosrem/menag1/pikebridgenew.jpg Does the dome really look almost three-times WIDER than the interior space?! Or does that 38 foot wide bridge fit pretty snuggly inside the hull. By all the laws of geometery the turbo shaft doors in that shot should open directly into outer space!

The bottom line is that the door alignment is a compositing mistake, both in the original and by CBS. Maybe intentional, maybe accidental (definitely inconsequential!) — but a mistake nonetheless. CBS did an otherwise amazing job. Kudos.

Maybe it’s best to just accept the “artistic license”. Unless you can’t imagine an off-axis bridge. Then putting elevator where it can’t physically fit is more acceptable that having people steer the ship sitting slightly sideways.

But what would I know. I’m just “some fan”.

58. jonboc - November 28, 2006

Dip Thong…give it a rest, will ya? Pretty please? The dome shot was created and you don’t like it. Fine. Most everyone else did. Fine. They aren’t going to go back and change it. Fine. So can we move on?

..and yes, Exter is easily the best fan film out there…even in its incomplete state. It has the “feel”. There are certain elements that, when all put together, make their Trek feel like Trek. It doesn’t just manage to look like Trek, but it also captures all those intangibles that makes it “feel” like Trek. New Voyages, while doing a great job, just doesn’t feel right to me.

59. JK Aimreks - November 28, 2006

Mr. Dip Thong, I must concur with jonboc. Give it a rest. Please. I am ready to beam myself into the void of space if I have to read any more about the turbo shaft alignment. Live long and prosper, though.

60. Buckaroohawk - November 28, 2006

I’ll third jonboc’s and JK Aimreks’ petition to Dip Thong: Enough, please. You’ve been on this issue in two separate threads about this episode. It just isn’t that big a deal.

Agree to disagree and let’s all move on. I suggest taking the first star to the right, and straight on till morning.

61. An olde timey fan - November 28, 2006

Hey guys, go easy on Dip Thing. He builds rockets ;-) for Star Fleet Command, you know, ;-) over there at the San Francisco Rocket Yard Command ;-) I mean, you can’t get upset with a guy because he’s a perfectionist in his job, can you?! You wouldn’t want him to build the bridge the wrong way and maybe make his rocket fly crooked now, would you???! ;-)

62. An olde timey fan - November 28, 2006

#56 – Morse in Afghanistan – soldiers deployed in the mountains found CW and hf NVIS were the only reliable commo link. In fact, hf has made something of a comeback with ALE and the realization that satellites are not the best bang for the buck! Also the Russians still use CW, probably for survivability reasons.

Clinton was probably at one of the Coast Guard shore stations. They stopped monitoring the international distress frequency in favor of a sat-com based system. Not sure I like that idea as it depends on infrastructure that can be lost without notice, but an automated beacon with coordinate telemetry does have a certain appeal when you’re going down, doesn’t it?

FYI, Morse “numbers” stations, believed to be spy communications, are still as common as ever.

63. navamske - November 29, 2006

In the original “Naked Time,” Scotty’s phasering a hole in the wall outside the locked engine room so he can get at the controls (intra-ship beaming, as used in “The Day of the Dove,” apparently not yet an option even though the ship’s about to get fried in the atmosphere), but there’s no phaser beam visible. They fixed that in the remastered version. In the original “Menagerie,” right after Miss Piper notices that Captain Pike has vanished from his room, Commodore Mendez apparently gets paged because he starts talking to his intercom and learns that the Enterprise is warping out of orbit. Yet there was no audible indication of an incoming message. I’m surprised they didn’t fix that in the remastered version. If they did, feel free to let me know — I have a significant hearing deficit.

64. DB - November 29, 2006

“According to the Art of Star Trek, the original bridge set was 38 feet wide. ”

Except that this isn’t so. The diameter of the original bridge set was around twenty-seven or twenty-eight feet wide.

You can confirm this with just about anyone who’s worked on the many replicas of it. A thirty-eight foot diameter version wouldn’t look at all like the original.

65. hitch1969© - November 29, 2006

“When Kirk and Commodore Mendez catch up and put Spock on trial, his defense consists of making them watch an old “Star Trek” rerun. Luckily for them, it’s a good one that they haven’t seen.”

I HIGHLY enjoyed this review. Very well written, witty, and too hip for the room as it were. Excellent work, Dennis Russell Bailey, who I shall now and forever call DRuss B-Flav© because da rhymes he kicks be so so tasty. All the ladies in da house forget K-Fed, you wanna dance with DRuss B-Flav© instead!!

very mac in the pants review, my man. good work and I hope to see more.

best!!

=h=

66. DB - November 29, 2006

Let me correct my previous statement:

The diameter of the bridge set from wall to wall was around twenty-eight feet. *However,* if you include the turbolift set it might work out to thirty-seven feet along that one axis.

67. seangh - November 29, 2006

I think the fact the turbo door is off axis is probably has to do more with shooting of the set than anything else. A turbo door directly behind Kirk’s chair would impact the way the set is shot, with many more head on shots of kirk in his chair (which would require moving the helm / nav station out of the way with every medium and close up shot.)

The way kirk is shot, from his right side, with the turbo lift visible in the BG is crucial to the dynamic of the characters – Kirk often interacting with Spock at his station and often reacting to whom has come in or gone out of the turbo doors. This might be more difficult to achieve with the doors directly behind Kirk – though not impossible.

I’m not sure if that helps you with your issues, but at least it’s a practical rationale of why the set was contructed the way it was.

68. Captain Pike - November 29, 2006

I love The Cage (obvious from my hand I guess) but I always thought the “modern” wrap around was pretty lame. From Spock committing mutiny to Pike having to blink his lights to Mendez inexplicably being a Talosian projection, I have always found it contrived and nonsensical. For me Mendez turning out to be “fake” negates all drama and tension from the whole court martial. And it doesn’t make any sense and it’s completely irrelevant to the plot!

69. Dr. Image - November 29, 2006

# 68: But- in the words of M. Night– what a twist!

Well, I just had the thrill of finally seeing that latest ep. by the Exeter guys.
The editing, production, acting, script, FX, all top-notch stuff! They “get it!”
And the ship- they nailed the look. Wow.
I daresay, even down to the proper size……”engine balls.” (cringe)

70. seangh - November 29, 2006

#68 – Hey Pike – I have to agree with you. I think this two parter is only memorable because, like DB said above, it gives TOS a real history – a sense of being around.

But as a story, kinda lame. Were the Talosians able to actually control peoples minds with ESP projection all the way from Talos? That’s a stretch.

71. Surak - November 29, 2006

If keeping it simple results in “superior” quality, as is evidenced in this episode, I’m all for it. Even Daren Doc gave a good review to this effort.

http://betafive.com/wordpress/?p=54

I don’t know CGI, but if there were a way to “smudge” the painted backdrop, that would be great.

I hope in the future CBS Digital will try more elaborate camera motion over their Enterprise, but this was so much better than their early work I am pleased!

72. Orbitalic - November 29, 2006

OMG! The nacelle thingys spin too fast the wrong way.
OMG! The ships too Graygreenbluewhite.
OMG! The bridge faces east
OMG! TheTurboshaft is misaligned
OMG! How does this poor girl get up to Warp One with all these problems?

There’s a lot of people I respect in here for what they know or how they react to other people’s opinions. But, you know what? There’s far too much ranting about a few mistakes. Mistakes from 40 years ago or a few weeks ago. I like the show too, but dam…you need a new hobby if you are at home on a week night calculating the exact alignment and size of the bridge an imaginary starship.
Comment, but please don’t make a career of it.

73. Buckaroohawk - November 30, 2006

Re: #68 by Captain Pike

I agree. Mendez being a hallucination always bothered me. When exactly was he replaced? Was he ever at Starbase 11 at all, or was it after Kirk procured a shuttlecraft to chase after the Enterprise?

It would have been better if he had been really there the whole time and gave the order to drop the charges against Spock after receiving the OK from Starfleet. That way, the drama of the trial wouldn’t have been negated.

74. RonS - November 30, 2006

I just got done readning a great book called “Burning Dreams” that deals with Pike life. It also goes into great detail about the events in Menagerie.

I love the remastered shows so far. I am really loking forward to part 2!

75. Leo Star Dragon 1 - July 11, 2011

Hi! #00: The court martial may have been “dramatic” enough for some to wish it were real. But it served its purpose as a distraction to keep Kirk and the other crew members distracted long enough for Spock to do what he felt he had to do at the time. It gave them “plausible deniability”. #01: The turbolift alignment factor always annoyed the hell out of me, just on a visual basis alone, without ever doing any math. #02: As for these two episodes’ problems with the bridge zoom in, any problems with that can be attributed to the illusion factor and how the Human mind interpreted them. But as for the actual episode “The Cage”, that’s artistic license! Akin to how Hawaii and Alaska are inserted into maps of the Lower 48, but way off scale, for weather broadcasts. Unless the viewer is a “Jay Walker”, he or she is going to know that they aren’t shown to scale and will make allowances for it. #03: Oddly enough, at the time of this posting, I’ve only seen the TV versions of the Remastered episodes shown here, but I’ve only seen five of them on my DVD sets. #04: I want to see the fan-made stuff too, but on DVD, not via “YouTube” or what-have-you. Happy Summer!

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