“The Cloud Minders” Remastered Review + Video & Screenshots | TrekMovie.com
jump to navigation

“The Cloud Minders” Remastered Review + Video & Screenshots July 14, 2008

by Jeff Bond , Filed under: Review,TOS-R Screenshots/Video , trackback

REVIEW

by Jeff Bond

Another entry in Star Trek’s “struggle for freedom” sweepstakes, the late third season entry “The Cloud Minders” is distinguished by the spectacle of a floating sky city a dozen years before The Empire Strikes Back’s Bespin (but about thirty years after a floating city in the Flash Gordon serials), a strong character actor guest star turn, and two of Bill Theiss’ most spectacular costumes.

Once again the Enterprise is rushing to cure a plague, this time a botanical one, and when Kirk and Spock beam down to a mining entrance on the surface of Ardana to pick up a life-saving consignment of Zienite they’re attacked by the Troglyte miner caste. After being rescued by the High Advisor Plasus (Jeff Corey) and a couple of guards, Kirk and Spock are beamed up toe Stratos City, the “finest example of sustained antigravity suspension” Spock has ever seen.

It turns out class warfare has erupted between the effete Stratos City dwellers, artists and thinkers all, and the worker class Troglytes, who do all the dirty work but are confined to the surface and mines of Ardana. In order to get his Zienite, Kirk’s got to get his hands dirty himself—first figuratively by interfering with Plasus and his brutal interrogation of one of the Troglyte leaders, Vanna (Charlene Polite), then literally when Vanna kidnaps him and holds him hostage in the mines.

Depending on who you talk to, “The Cloud Minders” is either one of the strongest entries in the third season or one of its worst. Writer David Gerrold was involved in rewriting Margaret Armen’s script, and he later pilloried the episode’s politics as it settles for merely the beginnings of negotiations between the Troglytes and Stratos City dwellers rather than outright rebellion—in Gerrold’s view it was like ending a story on the Civil War with mere talks about emancipating the slaves.

The episode itself has its strong points, not the least of which is the audacious idea of the floating city itself. Although achieved with the simplest of methods by the effects technicians of the era (in one shot it almost appears to have been pinned to some cotton clouds at the top of the soundstage cyclorama), Matt Jefferies’ set designs and the matte painting do give an impression of a floating city with the bare minimum of resources. Jeff Corey’s Plasus helps as well—he’s one of the more convincing politicians seen in the original series, a man who appears quite at home with the trappings of power, who’s able to deflect an insult like a diplomat but who will only be pushed so far by Kirk’s perceived meddling. He’s in strong conflict with Kirk throughout and while he’s shown to be dragged kicking and screaming into an understanding with the Troglytes at the epsiode’s finale, he’s not depicted as a 100% heavy either. He also has an easy and convincing relationship with his daughter Droxine.

Corey was a famed acting teacher (Paul Newman was one of his pupils) who still taught classes up to around the time of his death; his theory was to focus on a character’s differences from those around him and he had a wide range that’s barely suggested by his regal Star Trek performance. He played the vicious but cowardly villain menacing Kim “Miri” Darby in the John Wayne film True Grit and memorably foreshadowed the deaths of Butch and Sundance in George Roy Hill’s Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, telling his old outlaw friends “You’re gonna die and you’re gonna die bloody!” But he also does a magnificent job of scene stealing in the dark thriller Seconds by interrupting his explanation of how his company rejuvenates and creates new lives for its clients when he suddenly finds himself with an uncontrollable craving for the baked chicken meal that’s just been served to John Randolph (trust me, you have to see it to have any idea what I’m talking about).

If Corey is a strong presence, Diana Ewing’s Droxine is another matter, although give her this: she probably sports the finest abs ever displayed by an actress on the series, and Bill Theiss’ gravity-defying costume rivals and probably betters a similar hanging over-the-shoulder gown he designed for “Who Mourns For Adonais?” Ewing affects some of the patrician aura that Barbara Babcock did so well in her Trek appearances in “A Taste of Armageddon” and “Plato’s Stepchildren,” but without Babcock’s wit and intelligence. She comes across as something of a high class bimbo, which makes Spock’s wildly out of character flirtation with her all the more disappointing, despite some nice lines (“Extreme feminine beauty is always disturbing.”). A bizarre piece of Nimoy-narrated montage only serves to make Spock look worse with some nonsensical lines (“The name Droxine seems particularly appropriate for her…”—meaning what? That she seems like a drug used to treat asthma and bronchitis?).

The fact that Spock would blithely discuss his secret Vulcan mating rituals with this woman is pretty much beyond the pale (at least in “Enterprise Incident” he was betraying his people’s privacy to obtain vital military secrets)—and check out the incredibly suggestive blocking as Droxine plaintively asks “Is there nothing that can disturb” the Vulcan mating cycle—as she kneels with her face in front of Spock’s stomach it sure looks like she’s got an awfully specific idea of what to try first.

In a way the casting works because Droxine seems noticeably less intelligent than the Troglyte Vanna. Charlene Polite (shown in at least one costume that rivals Droxine’s) brings a nice edge of bitterness and skepticism to her role as Kirk works to gain her trust. Shatner has a field day wrestling with her on his cloud city quarters’ bed (“Actually, I find this rather enjoyable…”) and he gives one of his better third season performances here. His display of the first symptoms of the stupidity-inducing Zienite gas is rather subtle, his face tightening into a taut, impatient mask as he fusses with his phaser while holding Vanna and Plasus hostage in the caves late in the game.

Kirk’s gambit of beaming Plasus down into the caves to demonstrate the effect of the gas is outrageous—he’s guilty of kidnapping, quite a serious crime—but by the time he executes the idea he’s been digging Zienite for a while and is arguably well under the influence of the gas himself. And the fight scene between Kirk and Plasus (played, like many third season episodes, to the tympani of Fred Steiner’s Ruk music from “What Are Little Girls Made of?”) could have been worse given Corey’s age at the time.

For me “Cloud Minders” holds together because it effectively suggests so much more than it shows—for one thing one of the few high-tech members of the Federation whose planets we see in the series, as well as a strong planetary leader and a multi-tiered society, and probably the most imaginative setting of the entire series. The episode also wraps up with one of the best musical cues of the series, an adaptation of Alexander Courage’s music simply titled “Enterprise In Orbit: Big” in the cue sheets, this was a piece of library music recorded for the series that was first heard in the second season episode “Catspaw,” but only heard in its entirety at the end of  “The Cloud Minders”—it repeats the last five notes of Courage’s Enterprise fanfare against a rising series of three note chords for a wonderfully majestic effect as the Enterprise leaves Ardana.

 

Given the beautiful matte paintings the CBS-Digital crew has conjured up for the Remastered project expectations were understandably high for what would be done with “The Cloud Minders,” and for the most part those expectations are met with an elegant, better-detailed and more elaborate take on Stratos. The episode actually begins with an interesting low angle on the Enterprise, darkly and moodily lit with high warp stars streaking past in the background as the ship rushes towards Ardana. Further shots of the ship are more familiar library angles but the opening shot sets the urgency of Kirk’s predicament nicely.

The after-commercial title card shot of the original made use of a NASA image shot over Saudi Arabia, and CBS-D reportedly tracked down the original photograph and enhanced it for the episode. In fact this is some of the most ambitious work CBS-D has done editorially in the entire run of the project—they fix a glaring error early in the episode when Kirk blurts out “Who are you? What’s the meaning of this attack?” and Shatner is shown with his mouth closed as the line plays over the scene; a different angle is used in the new cut so that Kirk’s face isn’t seen directly while the line is delivered. In order to incorporate the new cloud city shots and the cleaned-up NASA shot into the montage over Spock’s narration, the CBS-D team has also toyed with the order and duration of some of the other shots in the sequence, although it’s arguable that this odd bit of editorial work can be helped.

One of the worst effects in the original series was the cartoonish shot of a suicidal Troglyte jumping to his death, with a clearly two-dimensional black figure animated over the Saudi Arabia NASA shot. CBS-D adds a bit of Stratos architecture to put the shot in perspective and creates a new falling figure, although it’s still somewhat stiff.

While the new Stratos shots have much greater depth and detail (down to apparently an image of Droxine faintly visible on one of the exterior balconies), the effects crew still limits themselves to what could have been achieved at the time—while there is some movement of clouds in the background, the cottony wad of clouds that seem to support the city remain immobile and there are no shifts of perspective around the city. Ardana itself is rendered as almost Mars-like but with fluffy white clouds, nicely matching the look of the NASA orbital photograph. All in all, one of CBS-D’s better efforts and it’s nice to see this work expended on something a bit classier than “The Lights of Zetar.”

 

SFX VIDEO

[new features: Vid is now higher res + click the above to go to full screen]

 

SCREENSHOTS

Remastered vs. Original

 

Seasons One and Two discounted at Amazon US
The Season Two box set is now available at Amazon for pre-order, discounted to $63.99 (Amazon has a low price guarantee that if they drop the price before ship date of August 5th you will get that lower price). The Season One DVD / HD DVD combo disk is available now for $103.95 (retail is $194.99).


Amazon.com (USA)
Seasons One and Two of TOS-R
($103.95 and $63.99 respectively)

Season One on sale at Amazon Canada
The first season combo set is on sale at Amazon.ca for CDN$54.95 (the US$ is about even with the Canadian $ these days). You can purchase from Amazon.ca using your Amazon.com account and even with shipping Americans can still save over $40. The second season is pre-selling for CDN$71.49 so it wouldn’t be a savings from the US.


Amazon.ca (Canada):
Seasons One and Two of TOS-R
(CDN$54.95 and CDN$71.49 respectively)

 

Comments

1. Cheve - July 14, 2008

We are waiting for the screenshots before the comments.

And for the blu ray edition with DVD on the other side.

2. mat - July 14, 2008

not impressed !!

3. Bones Thugs & McCoy - July 14, 2008

One of the better Season 3 episodes.

4. Spaceboy - July 14, 2008

Yah, I hadn’t seen this one in a long time ’til this weekend. That Spock inner monologue bit was weird…

5. ety3 - July 14, 2008

Nice job on the city and on the montage of shots during Spock’s monologue.

One mistake, though. After Kirk busted Vanna out of her cell, they showed the surface of the planet from Stratos, but they used the original shot and not the super-clean clear shot they used elsewhere. You can tell by the lack of color and the black splotches.

6. ety3 - July 14, 2008

The original Arabia shot is mistakenly included in the montage above, but at least you can see the difference between the original and the new.

As for Plassus, I thought Jeff Corey’s performance was too hyper and angry in the first part of the episode. He should have been more cold and calculating, thus giving the “zienite gas fight scene” more weight.

7. CmdrR - July 14, 2008

Nice, detailed review, Jeff.

It’s been awhile since I saw this episode. I didn’t realize just how many bites of the apple they took re: shots of Stratos and the delta. Yikes, you need a serf to remind them, “It’s only a model.”

This ep, to me, is a coulda-been. It has the nice theme of class struggle, and what exactly you’re supposed to do about it if all you have is a starship. It’s also got Jeff Corey, who is far more memorable than most of the script.

IF Trek comes back to being a series, I would love to see them distribute plots like this throughout several episodes so that we can see things develop over time. E comes to Ardala — see a problem, gets some zienite and leaves. E comes back in next episode, between battles with the Klingons, and Kirk notices how deeply divided the society is. Etc., etc. This would allow the characters to build up to the emotions shown on the screen. Spock gettin’ an off-season rutt for Droxine might even begin to make sense.

Anyway, nice work CBS-D. Except (jeez, he couldn’t just finish there) the viewscreen on that looooong bridge scene is really sloppy. Sorry.

Anyway, the lingering shot of the E is gorgeous. Would love to see some movement in the windows… Uhura in her quarters mayhaps…

8. Plum - July 14, 2008

Droxine… hmmm, I’m no scholar but isn’t the name Droxine a reference to Greek myth (Star Trek referencing Greek myth you say!?! Gad zooks!)?

Wasn’t Droxine some rather spiteful brat but so beautiful the Gods wanted to get jiggy with her?

Anyho, I reckon that was what Spock’s line is about.

And I find the relationship with Droxine and Spock, er, logical. After all, she’s intellectually on Spock’s level (at least she thinks so). This is what attracts them to each other as much as great abs and exquisite ears. ;p

9. garen - July 14, 2008

I’m sure this has been covered before…and this is probably the first comment i’ve ever left in the “Remastered Review” column…..but can anyone tell me why “we” as fans seem to accept that major change in color for the enterprise in the new effects shots?

I mean…generally speaking…we’re a fussy bunch. So…maybe i missed the uproar…but cmon….they completely change the look of the Big E.

right?

10. Roger - July 14, 2008

The cloud “supporting” the city is only slightly better looking then the original, what a shame! No movement at the edges, it still looked air brushed. The whole sky needed a revamp and needed to be rotoscoped in all the back ground shots.
Liked the opening shot of the”E” haulin a$$ though.

11. Anthony Thompson - July 14, 2008

This episode fascinated me as a child. I’m looking forward to seein it again. As for the CBS-D work, it could have been better on this ep!

12. Jeff Bond - July 14, 2008

I knew once I raised that point about Droxine’s name someone would point out what it really meant! I’ve always wondered about that.

As for the Enterprise, it’s gray–the shots where it looks white, which were run throughout the series, are of the pilot version of the model (which I believe was a lighter gray but still not pure white), which leads to a rather consistent, er, inconsistency throughout the original series. But if you look at episodes as early as “Space Seed” the ship is clearly gray, not white.

13. The Underpants Monster - July 14, 2008

Jeff, you mean “Girls,” not “Girl’s.”

14. Izbot - July 14, 2008

9. garen –
“can anyone tell me why “we” as fans seem to accept that major change in color for the enterprise in the new effects shots?”

I think the new model is accurate in color. The problem was with the processing of the original shots which, depending on the effects, often veered too far off from the actual color. In the old shots the E changes from gray to blue to even greenish over the course of the series.

15. CmdrR - July 14, 2008

“can anyone tell me why “we” as fans seem to accept that major change in color for the enterprise in the new effects shots?”

Silly me. I always thought the ‘true’ color was a vibrant bluish-white. Somewhere around this site, there was a comparison that showed the E changing from white to grey to pink (!) to blue. And that’s not even counting the two kinds of nacelle ends that alternate throughout the series. It’s like Dick York and Dick Sargent being in the same episode. Yikes.

16. Thomas Jensen - July 14, 2008

It’s great that they fixed that editing error with Kirk’s mouth closed, but hearing his voice. I believe that the VHS and DVD versions had both at different times.

I’ll have to go and listen to that “Enterprise in orbit” music cue at the end again, I didn’t know about that.

Overall, the new CGI was a welcome addition. The opening shot of the Enterprise in the teaser was seemingly a new angle. I’m looking for anything new these days as the last few episodes are broadcast.

17. Tony Whitehead - July 14, 2008

This story reminds me so much of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis.

18. Marvin the Martian - July 14, 2008

I had so much anticipation for this episode based on the screenshots, as a “floating city in the sky” certainly fires the imagination.

The new matte shot is gorgeous. And the planet orbit shots are just fine.

But boy… the rest of it is really really disappointing. I was expecting a really cool shot of the sky and clouds from the angle of the planet. Just seeing a realistic city floating in the sky would have added SO much to this episode. Yet, it comes off as half-baked. It looks just as fake now as it did then… perhaps worse. I cannot believe they didn’t bother to rotoscope a new shot of the sky… they did one for “Wink of an Eye”… why not here where it was even easier to do?

I’m happy about the Remastered project, but damn, if it doesn’t annoy me just as much… “missed it by that much!”

Sigh.

19. drlondon - July 14, 2008

I always got a great belly laugh from this episode when we cut from Spock chatting up Droxine to Kirk and Vanna then suddenly back to Spock & Droxine where their discussing Ponn Farr. Always set’s off the old WTF?!? alarm in my head. LOL.

Like ol’ Spocko was trying to get a little action on the away mission.

20. Peter D. - July 14, 2008

I hadn’t seen this episode in years and what really struck me is that montage with Spock’s voice over, it’s a real Ed Wood moment.

21. Rainbucket - July 14, 2008

All I’ve found so far is Droxine as a brand name of Levothyroxine, a synthetic hormone replacement “usually given to patients with thyroid problems, specifically, hypothyroidism. It is also given to people who have goiter or an enlarged thyroid gland.”

I look forward to your theories as to what in blazes Spock meant by an appropriate name.

Here’s one: though it wasn’t Droxine per se, there was a 1995 scandal about a pharmaceutical company suppressing researching that generic levothyroxine was just as effective as its own brand. This was long after TOS, but the episode’s in the future, and Spock has an encyclopedic memory. So perhaps he meant she was disingenuously overvalued compared to generic alternatives.

22. SSP - July 14, 2008

It’s a shame how ”budget conscious” the effects ”improvements” are throughout the revamp of the original series. In comparison to the digital remastering and the music re-recording, the CGI efforts are far below par.

Honestly, I have been less than impressed overall and have kept silent up to now. There are perhaps a couple re-done matte paintings of suitable caliber, but the rest are cartoonish at best and look unfinished and rushed. I get this image of the TOS-R CGI artists jabbering on their mobile phones trying to line up their next gig while doing the TOS-R effects with one hand shifting back and forth between the mouse and keyboard.

Is this harsh? Yep. But if the shoe fits…

It is just monumentally sad when the effects in the fan-produced series’ like Star Trek New Voyages and Starship Exeter are better by orders of magnitudes than the half-baked attempt by the CGI artists on the TOS-R — who are so much better than their efforts here show. It’s shameful. ”True fans” would have gone all-out regardless of the budget. The effects on TOS-R aren’t good enough even for a demo reel.

Honestly, I’d love to see a group of renegade CGI fan artists have a go at the original series — just a couple episodes. The opening teaser of the unfinished Starship Exeter’s ”Tressaurian Intersection” is worth a look if anyone is curious — and no — I’m not associated with any of the fan-produced series’.

CBS should have hired the Dave School to do their redux. It would have been the opportunity of a lifetime, giving a bunch of budding CGI students a chance to show off their stuff, and the experience they would have come away with would have been invaluable — and the work would have been far better.

Sorry CBS, but you blew it.

23. Brent - July 14, 2008

Another episode ruined by Fred Freiberger. Like Dorothy Fontana’s story that became “The Way to Eden” , David Gerrold’s original story, entitled “Castles in the Sky” turned out very differently and again DeForrest Kelly is the big loser. So instead of McCoy crashing in a shuttlecraft on the planet’s surface where he becomes involved in helping the dilithium miners who are suffering from slave like work conditions and disease, causing Kirk and Spock to intervene in the planet’s politics,we have Kirk and Spock handing out free gas masks to keep them Troglytes happy and working.

The original story as written by Gerrold was to be a morality play. KIrk comes up with no real solution to the differences but does get the 2 sides talking. McCoy’s response is “Right, but how many children will die in the meantime”

Fredc Frieberger wanted happy endings so out goes David Gerrold’s script and in comes Margaret Armen to do a whole new script.

24. Brent - July 14, 2008

Jeff, you got the story idea part wrong. Margaret Armen wrote the script based on David Gerrold’s original story, not the other way around

25. eagle219406 - July 14, 2008

I don’t believe that Spock actually went into detail about Ponn Farr. There was an episode of Enterprise, (And yes it is canon, the producers say so) where a Vulcan tells Trip that Vulcans are driven to mate every 7 years. He does not say how they are driven, thus showing that they didn’t know about it in “Amok Time.” It is possible Spock told Droxine the same thing, without going into too much detail.

One thing that I liked about this episode was that, since this planet was already a member of the Federation, They could help them out without having to worry about the Prime Directive. That’s why there was no complaint about the masks, Although I thought they were ugly.

It was also one of the few episodes where the main pretty woman was with someone other than Kirk. In this case it was Spock.

For a long time I have been looking forward to seeing what they would do to Stratos in the FX. And I say I was not dissappointed. I say that even though the FX in some were not perfect, THey were a big improvement from the original.

26. Andy Patterson - July 14, 2008

Another very good review

“although give her this: she probably sports the finest abs ever displayed by an actress on the series”

Yay brother.

“Depending on who you talk to, “The Cloud Minders” is either one of the strongest entries in the third season or one of its worst.” Very cagily put considering the disagreement some give you at times.

And silly me…I remember now. How could I have mixed up Jeff Corey’s appearance with Alias Smith and Jones?

27. ster j - July 14, 2008

19. We reach on the WTF moment of Spock chatting up Droxine!

Know what REEEEALY bugs me about this ep? The dialogue! It seems like everyone punctuated their lines with “For what purpose?” (Acutally, it was only three people: Kirk, Spock, and Vanna, but it seemed like more.) I wanted to throw them a thesaurus, have them use “Why?” or even “How come?”

Did you see the big goof that the remaster people got right? When the action resumes after the teaser and opening credits, and Kirk and Spock are wrapped up in those whips, you hear Kirk say,” Who are you? What’s the meaning of htis attack?” **without moving his lips!** In the remastered version, they re-use a shot of the troglytes and now Kirk is heard off camera.

Finally fixed that! It only took 40 years!

28. Sean4000 - July 14, 2008

22: You’ll get your chance. Just give me a few more weeks to get a reel together.

29. Engon - July 14, 2008

Hate to say it, but the name “Droxine” is almost certainly a play on “Hydroxyzine,” a drug sythesized in the 1950’s as an antihistamine which turned out to have powerful anti-anxiety properties.

It is an effective “sedative, hypnotic, and tranquiliser,” just like Plasus’ daughter.

30. The Weary Professor - July 14, 2008

This is not really a comment on this piece, but an overdue post on Jeff Bond’s reviews in general. Nowhere in recent memory have I seen more perceptive and informed critiques of Trek (and no, I’m not related to him). As a trekker since the early dinnertime syndication days–circa 1971–and a fairly smug TOS know-it-all, I have to tip my ears to him. If only we could combine his reviews and Asherman’s Star Trek Compendium into one resource…Now THAT would be great.

31. petitspock - July 14, 2008

We’re getting near the end of remastered episodes. I’m going to miss seeing new TOS footage. It’s as close as I can get to new TOS without actually getting new TOS.

32. THX-1138 The Fandom Menace - July 14, 2008

As much as I liked the initial shot we got of the matte, I dislike the view of the cloud city from the ground.

To quote Senator Vreenak:

“It’s a FAAAAAKE!”

33. Andy Patterson - July 14, 2008

30

I would have to agree. Jeff has lots little insights of a true fan that I enjoy. I especially enjoy his care and interest in the details like the music. I just bought your book by the way Jeff. Good reading through the late nights feeding my new son who just arrived Friday..

34. sean - July 14, 2008

Too bad they couldn’t ‘remaster’ the dialogue into something decent. It could have used an overhaul, including that silly inner monologue from Spock.

35. sean - July 14, 2008

“One thing that I liked about this episode was that, since this planet was already a member of the Federation, They could help them out without having to worry about the Prime Directive.”

That’s what actually makes the story even worse! How on earth could this planet have been admitted to the Federation and they don’t know that they practice slavery on a planetary scale?

36. Ford79 - July 14, 2008

One thing really bothers me about this episode. Ardana is a full-fledged member of the Federation, a body that is made out to be composed of progessive, peaceful societies. Yet it’s pretty much run by a dictator who freely uses torture, unilaterally orders the execution of a Starfleet captain, etc. A planet like this is in the Federation? I don’t think so.

Don’t mind me. I’m overdue for my Droxine treatment.

37. ByGeorge - July 14, 2008

This is the kind of Trek story I dislike the most. There is little story because the writers were more intent on promoting a social or political idea than writing a good story line which would keep us entertained. I don’t mind stories that raise ethical questions but the situation and events of the story should lead to ethical, social or political questions. In this episode, the authors first desire is to promote certain social or political ideologies so they write a story/script around the idea they are trying to promote. Those stories are usually the most boring, uneventful, contrived and disjointed.

The story should raise the ethical questions rather than the ethical questions create the story. The later is too contrived, simplistic and insulting.

38. Tango - July 14, 2008

Maybe they’ll start remastering TAS next.

I also liked Jeff’s review. Perhaps we should start reviews of the reviewers.

When watching this episode, my take on Spock talking about Pon Farr is that because he is half human, he tended to take things a little too the extreme to “prove” his Vulcanity (if that is a word). This episode, to me, showed that he was starting to get more confortable with his human side, believing that it could be an asset–being less uptight, if you will. He was trying to convince Dramamine–or whatever her name–of the error of her ways, and was using tools of The Arts and Beauty and sexuality to do it.

39. Engon - July 14, 2008

The Enterprise is awfully big. Imagine how much grief they could avoid if they just set aside the closet space to keep, oh, say, 5 canisters of Zenite, a baggie full of Ryetalin and a few spare Dilithium crystals on hand.

Get your Zenite here…

http://www2.dupont.com/Automotive/en_US/products_services/engineeringPlastics/zeniteLCP.html

40. JR - July 14, 2008

… and another thing… Did you notice that the class M planet was NOT too EARTH-LIKE. They CAN do it and keept the sky color correct!

41. SteveinSF - July 14, 2008

Jeff , your comment about Spock’s bizzaro comment about Droxine was priceless!

42. richr - July 14, 2008

Did anyone else feel that a special little “warp streak” effect (in honor of the end of the YOS remastering effort) would have been in order in the last sequence of this ep?

Check it out…the Enterprise is supposedly warping out at high speed to bring the cure to the botanical plague planet…with the clock ticking. I thought a special little warp streak would have tied this nicely into what would come later in the movies…but maybe I was hoping for a bit too much.

Oh well…

43. richr - July 14, 2008

Not for nothing…but am I the only person who was left wondering how a full member of the Federation could be getting away with essentially apartheid-like policies (if not outright slavery) without causing alarm bells to start ringing back in San Francisco’s Federal Council Chamber?!?

Or was that Zienite crap so important to establishing new colonies that a whole group of high ranking Federation somebodies were turning a blind eye?!? I ask because Kirk even stated that he had previously visited the planet…and he didn’t notice anything odd about their society?!?

44. Orvo - July 14, 2008

The toleration of Ardanan slavery by the rest of the Federation simply mirrors a situation found much too often in real life: ANY parties with a (virtual) monopoly on something desperately needed get away with ANYTHING. Consider, for instance, the stranglehold that the oil-exporting nations and the oil companies have on the economy (as in the high fuel prices)

45. Buckaroohawk - July 14, 2008

Here are some thoughts about the “caste” system in this episode and why the Federation would permit such a thing on one of it’s member worlds. This is, of course, pure speculation, but I’ll run with it nonetheless.

It is implied in this episode (though not specifically stated) that the troubles with the troglytes was a fairly recent development. My guess is that Vanna probably had a lot to do with it, since she seemed to be in charge of the Disruptors. Her time away from the mines allowed her intellect to develop and when she realized how unjustly her people were being treated, she began to take action. Since no one on the planet’s surface had apparently raised a fuss before, there was no reason to believe anything was wrong.

It’s stated that the troglytes were believed to be “mentally inferior.” This is, of course, due to their exposure to the gas in the mines. The thing is, no one knew that until Dr. McCoy figured it out. Before that, the troglytes were simply thought of as “slow” (for lack of a better term). Even advanced civilizations have a history of exploiting those who seem to be of limited intellect as manual labor, and again, since no one knew there was a problem, no one asked any questions. As a side note, just how exactly did McCoy get a sample of Zenite for his tests when Kirk was having a devil of a time obtaining the exact same ore? And what leap of logic made him test the stuff in the first place, since he hadn’t been present at any of the discussions on the surface or on Stratos?

Finally, it’s fairly obvious from the episode that the ruling governance of the planet worked very hard to keep any perceived “human rights violations” strictly on the down-low. Since most of the planet’s areas of interest were located on Stratos (and perhaps other floating cities as well), and since the troglyte’s access to Stratos was heavily restricted, there would be few ocassions for off-worlders to even notice them or their plight. I’m also betting they had a fairly well-structured propaganda machine in place to keep a positive spin on things. This is not so very far-fetched, as it happens in this day and age all the time.

Like I said, all purely speculative, but not so hard to believe, given the limited glimpse of daily life we were exposed to in the episode. Feel free to discuss, debate, etc.

46. Scott Gammans - July 14, 2008

Too bad they couldn’t do anything about the glaring continuity error that occurs when Kirk and Vanna escape to the mines at the end of the third act. Twenty quatloos to the first trekmovie.com visitor who correctly answers what I’m talking about :)

47. ster j - July 14, 2008

34. I’m with you, Sean! Not only is Spock’s meditative thoughts weird, then he goes and LIES to Droxine! He said, “Your movements awakened me.” He was obviously NOT asleep. Liar, liar, Vulcan pants on fire!

Uh…Pass me a dose of Droxine, please. No, the PILLS. Sheesh!

48. Sean4000 - July 14, 2008

46: Scott, I have been meaning to contact you for some time now. I have to talk to you about YOUR digital enterprise model!

49. Captain Doritos - July 14, 2008

any one see Droxine’s MySpace page. My girlfriend gave my that WTF look because I was laughing so hard… all I had to say was “Star Trek” and she new not to ask. But check it out. The song actualy sounds to me like something she would say.

http://profile.myspace.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=user.viewprofile&friendid=143661510

50. Frank - July 14, 2008

That over the shoulder shot of the city is HORRIBLE. Wow. How that got approved I will never know. Serious lack of quality control.

51. DGill - July 15, 2008

To be honest, I thought this was one of the worst episodes of the third season. It was so boring even with the newly updated effects. At one point I got up to do dishes because I was falling asleep. Aside from a couple of gems, this season was a major dud.

52. Billy Bobby - July 15, 2008

Good effects, bad episode. Fred Freiberger listed The Cloud Minders, The Way to Eden, That Which Survives, and Spock’s Brain as the worst four episodes of the Third Season. It is amazing that Jeff Bond likes this episode so much. This episode is God awful…

53. neonknights - July 15, 2008

Nice concept badly executed. At least Jeff Corey was nice.

54. Iowagirl - July 15, 2008

#30 Agreed.

#33 Congratulations on your Friday’s Child! :)

Yes, there are some weird moments in this ep (Spock talking about Pon Farr as if he’s talking about the average rainfall p. a., etc.), but I’ve always liked and admired this episode for its comment on apartheid policies. And as a kid, I was mesmerized by the castle in the cloud. I’m afraid I still am…;)

55. Cafe 5 - July 15, 2008

Matt Jefferies designs are great, the new matte paintings are nice, but the POV shots showing the city are …well flat and dull. The original showed more detail. I was expecting more from CBS Digital after seeing the earlier shots of the city. Such potential wasted again…too bad.

56. Eagles Nest - July 15, 2008

If I may offer a correction, the closing music tag in “Cloud Minders” is not from “Catspaw” or the second season at all but is from Courage’s score for “Plato’s Stepchildren” (the last orignial score in TOS). It was heard in its entirety in that episode (where Kirk prepares to beam up with Alexander and ENT leaves orbit). The tag was reused, at least in part, in several other latter Season 3 episodes, including “Wink of an Eye” and “The Savage Curtain.”

The closing tag in “Catspaw” was a mucked-up reprise of the opening credits cue composed by Fried for that episode, the first original score for the first episode filmed in Season 2. That opening cue became one of the most re-used ever in TOS, being heard in “Amok Time,” “I, Mudd” and “Wolf in the Fold” among others. The tag version used in “Catspaw”, however, was used only that one time, and it sounds as though someone simply interrupted the opening cue with an insipid chord. I wonder if Fried had composed something else for the end that was not used, or whether someone in production had to get something onto the film quickly, because that tag is one of the worst of all time. Courage’s “Plato’s” tag, however, I would agree is one of the all time best.

57. Holger - July 15, 2008

The original Stratos model looks like a random assemblage of packaging materials sprayed gray. What I really love about the remastering is that they managed to stay true to the basic shape, but turned that ugly hulk into a beautiful Cloud City. Remarkable artistic achievement, hats off!

58. richr - July 15, 2008

I still say that we needed a special “we’re done remastering this series” warp streak to accompany the special musical tag…and to top off that entended orbital departure sequence

59. Andy Patterson - July 15, 2008

54

Thank you. Sleepless nights. And just a week away from my 42nd birthday I think this is it. Getting too old for this.

On another note….concerning Jeff bond and his entertaining, insightful reviews….Anthony Daniels goes around and does appearances with different symphonies in a series of shows that features an evening of all Star Wars music. He has a little script he reads as C3PO as Erich Kunzel conducts and it’s a big draw for the common man who likes the Star Wars music. It’s another way the symphonies are trying to pull in patrons.

I propose Jeff get such a deal together where he appears at, and gives insights as symphony orchestras play the music from the original series. Great scores like “Doomsday Machine”, “Amok Time”,”Shore Leave”, “Naked Time” and others like “The Empath”, and “I Mudd”, could get new life and be introduced to a whole new audience. He’d be very entertaining and educational at the same time. Just like he is here. It may sound like I’m trying to think of new and additional career paths for Jeff but I’m more selfish than that. I’d like to see it. I’d pay for that. ( I want a cut Jeff as your agent. Or a flat fee for the idea.)

60. DJ Koloth - July 15, 2008

Speaking of soundtracks… I’d love to see GNP Cresendo release a *complete* TOS boxed set with ALL recorded music from the series…

But that’s just me!

61. Andy Patterson - July 15, 2008

60

That’d be great too. Won’t happen because it’s a good idea.

62. eagle219406 - July 15, 2008

#47. You obviously took that literally. He wasn’t lying, he was speaking metaphorically. He meant that He was thinking hard about things, and she snapped him out of it. Haven’t you ever daydreamed? You start staring into space and are almost unaware of what is around you. Then you hear somebody say, “Wake Up,” and it snaps you out of it. You weren’t asleep, but you were out of focus.

Can somebody point out Droxine on the balcony in that city shot? They keep saying she is there but I’ve looked time and again, and I can’t see her.

“One thing that I liked about this episode was that, since this planet was already a member of the Federation, They could help them out without having to worry about the Prime Directive.”

That’s what actually makes the story even worse! How on earth could this planet have been admitted to the Federation and they don’t know that they practice slavery on a planetary scale”

WHo knows? Although If you read about it, they were planning an episode of Enterprise that dealt with how the met the people of this planet. Unfortunately the show was cancelled before they could produce it. Maybe it would have explained it. But one thing that they pointed out in this episode was that they Believed that the Trogglytes weren’t as smart as the Stratos dwellers, and until this episode, they had no reason to believe otherwise. There was scientific proof of it. It wasn’t until later that they realized it was because of the gas.

63. Captain Doritos - July 15, 2008

lol, I dont know what I was thinking when I was typing that last post (49) but it should have ended like this “The song actualy sounds to me like something she would choose.”

Thought I would clear that up.

64. DJ Koloth - July 15, 2008

Andy,
I guess we’ll have to write a stern letter to Niel Norman. :)

Maybe we should offer to produce it…

65. Izbot - July 15, 2008

Reading a lot on this thread about how this planet would “never” be admitted membership to the Federation and I thing that’s assuming too much. It assumes the Federation is more of a government that can step in and interfere with its’ member planets whenever they step out of line. I don’t see the Federation as being like that. It also assumes the Federation knows all about the goings on on it’s member planets which, given the distance and varying degrees of isolation that some of these planets must enjoy also seems unlikely. I think the Federation is more like a cooperative body that provides defense, trade and a free exchange of culture and technology amongst its constituent planets. I think the Federation President governs the Federation Council, not the totality of its member planets. And we don’t know how long Ardana has had this caste system. Ardana could’ve (like we might’ve had verified on that proposed season 5 ENT episode) joined the Federation early in its infancy when it was welcoming as many members as possible in the wake of the first Romulan War. Certainly the leaders of Ardana were not going around advertising their dark secret hidden beneath the planet’s surface. And the mining set-up could’ve developed after joining the Federation. To assume that all Federation member planets do not enjoy local sovreignity and autonomy but conform to a set of laws that is uniform across their region of the galaxy is a little far-fetched. I would not expect Andorian ethics, for example, to be the same as human ethics so those planets each have their own laws, their own planetwide and local systems of government that work best for them. The Federation would have to allow its member planets to govern their own people.

66. Izbot - July 15, 2008

62. eagle219406
“Can somebody point out Droxine on the balcony in that city shot? They keep saying she is there but I’ve looked time and again, and I can’t see her.”

Don’t bother trying to see her, you can’t. Not even on the biggest HD screen can you see her. Don’t know why they even bothered, you can see Picard in the observation lounge better in the opening credits of TNG than you can see Droxine in the matte painting.

67. Billy Bobby - July 15, 2008

62

Go to the pictures posted on the preview images page. She is in the tower on the left. She is located in the top right of that building towards the top on the right side of the building. You can see the balcony jut out of the building. You won’t be able to see it on this page.

68. Billy Bobby - July 15, 2008

***She is located in the top right of that building. She is on the side of the building that is facing us.*** You can see the balcony jutting out of the building. However, you won’t be able to see it on this page.

69. Billy Bobby - July 15, 2008

I can’t believe how bad The Cloud Minders is. When Kirk is doing his log entry, it seems like we are going to have a solid show. However, right after Shatner is done with his log, he fumbles his lines like nothing else. It’s like damn Ozzy Osbourne, get it together. There were more fumbles in Shatner’s dialog than in a Washington Redskins football game. However, things get back on the road once we get to the surface. However, things go bad when Droxine arrives. Right when she shows up, Spock starts thinking with the other head. He was so out of it that he took Plasus’ joke seriously (Nor I a work of art)! Then Spock can’t figure out why the Troglytes would destroy art. Hum, maybe this is their way of commenting on the social system Spock. Then, we go to Spock’s awful thought processes (The name Droxine seems appropriate for her). And if that wasn’t bad enough (Can she retain such purity by knowing the suffering of the Troglytes)? Unfortunately it gets much worse. Spock goes out and talks to Droxine. When Leonard Nimoy found out he had to say this love crap, he protested to Fred Freiberger with little avail. Spock openly admits the Vulcan mating cycle with an outworlder. Rewind exactly 40 episodes and we see Spock dying from Pon Farr and unwillingly to tell his closest friend in the universe. When Spock reenters the resting chamber, he says (Am I intruding Captain)? Oh boy. Then Spock just stands there when Droxine says that Vanna is not accustomed to light and logic. This provokes Kirk to defend the Troglytes while Spock just stands their. This makes Kirk look like an egghead. Then we come to the awful torture-the-babe scene. This was so cheesy, even more so with the special effects. When Kirk stops the torture, Spock hardly says anything to condemn it. He just leaves it up to Kirk to defend Vanna and appear like an egghead. It is no wonder that Plasus wants Kirk shot on sight if he returns. Then the episode takes it’s biggest hit, the zenite gas. This is the biggest cop out I have ever seen in the series. And the way it is first presented is horrible. McCoy says that it won’t be easy dealing with the Troglytes because they are mentally retarded and inferior. He then casually mentions that the gas is causing it. When Plasus refuses to use the masks, Kirk becomes a barbarian and starts violating many rules. First, he beams down against government orders. Then he abducts Plasus to show him the existence of the zenite gas. After they are all affected by the gas, we are treated to the lamest fight scene in the series. First of all, Jeff Correy is too old. Second, Plasus has not done an hour of manual labor in his life. Therefore, he should be one of Kirk’s weakest opponents. After the lame fight is over, we go back to Stratos where Kirk blathers something about a Bureau of Industrialization and leaves Vanna behind, unprotected in Stratos. We all know that the second Kirk and Spock materialize on the Enterprise, Vanna is going back to the torture booth. It is a real pity that this is one of the worst episodes in the series because I think it had the potential to be in the Top 10. I like how in David Gerrold’s original story that is ended on a deliberately ambiguous note, with the only “triumph” being that Kirk finally managed to establish a dialogue between the groups. When the zenite gas was put in the story, David Gerrold said, “And if we can just get them troglytes to wear gas masks, then they’ll be happy little darkies and they’ll pick all the cotton we need.”

70. Andy Patterson - July 15, 2008

64

Let’s go. I’m there.

69

“There were more fumbles in Shatner’s dialog than in a Washington Redskins football game.”

That’s a good line

71. Closettrekker - July 15, 2008

#43—“Slavery” on Ardana is very subtle and well-disguised. It would likely have remained so if not for the terrorists (“Disruptors”), er..uh…freedom fighters.

I don’t like the all-too neat ending though. I think Plassus and the rest of Ardana’s government would have alot more to answer for from the Federation (torture, etc.).

However, this WAS the infamous third season, and it is difficult to wrap up such a story into a neat little package in under an hour without killing Plassus.

72. Billy Bobby - July 15, 2008

70

Thank you. I can’t watch that scene without turning away. I’m surprised the director didn’t yell cut.

73. drlondon - July 15, 2008

If Droxine had a sister, would her name be Tetra Hydrozaline?

74. Jeff Bond - July 15, 2008

Regarding the last music cue, the cue sheets bear this out–it is “Little Visitor” from Plato’s Stepchildren–but the last cue of Catspaw is credited as the library cue “Ship in Orbit” by Courage. It really seems to me this is the same music and more in Courage’s style than Fried’s–but in fact a number of arrangements of Courage’s music were done for the second season and since Courage did no work for Trek in that period they would have to have been recorded by Fred Steiner–cues like the fight music in “Mirror, Mirror” called “Fight on Captain’s theme” which was credited to Courage but never heard until the second season. I would love to have been there for the library cue sessions to see exactly what went on there…

75. Engon - July 15, 2008

I believe Droxine’s sister was Visine.

76. Andy Patterson - July 15, 2008

So Jeff,

What do you think of my idea of you going on the symphony tour circuit; getting this music performed again and educating the largely uneducated masses?

77. Andy Patterson - July 15, 2008

Hmmm…..just got my film score monthly on line. Guess I’m either prophetic or just speak too soon. Or both. You still should be on the tour. I even got the Kunzel part right.

78. Engon - July 15, 2008

Droxine: You only take a mate once every seven years?

Spock: The seven-year cycle is biologically inherent in all Vulcan’s. At that time, the mating drive outweighs all other motivations. Here. It’s all in this handy pamphlet.

Droxine: “Vulcan Mating Rituals – What Every Outsider Should Know.”

79. Dark_Lord_Prime - July 15, 2008

“she probably sports the finest abs ever displayed by an actress on the series”

They are very fine, but let us not forget about Uhura in “Mirror, Mirror”… :)

80. Andy Patterson - July 15, 2008

77

Guess I didn’t speak too soon. Looks like Kunzel hasn’t programmed anything new I spoke of earlier.

81. Jeff Bond - July 15, 2008

I’ll happily go on the concert lecture circuit the moment they offer me the big bucks to do so…

I appreciate the nice feedback from people, especially considering everything I got wrong in that review!

82. Sean4000 - July 15, 2008

SSP, please contact me. I think we need to talk. AIM: embryoniccineon

83. krikzil - July 15, 2008

Engon — Funny.

That Spock/Droxine scene was a Jump-the-Shark, Nuke the Frig moment before such terms were coined. I was a kid the first time I saw it and was sitting there going HUH?!

84. Billy Bobby - July 15, 2008

83

I think that the Spock/Droxine scene had the potential to be a Jump-the-Shark moment. However, the series truly Jumped-the-Shark in The Way to Eden. That episode makes The Cloud Minders look like a damn masterpiece.

85. Andy Patterson - July 16, 2008

Jeff,

Is there an E-mail I can reach you at? I have a Trek related piece of music I wanted to share with you.

I can be reached at assignmentearth@gmail.com

86. Kirk's Toupee - July 16, 2008

City reminds me of Captain Scarlet and the Mysteron’s, “Cloudbase”. I think that Gerry Anderson’s “flying city” in this series beat Star Trek by a couple of years……………

There are indeed some stinkers in season III, can’t remember this one too well though, so I guess it’s pretty poor (sorry posting from Europe, so not seen any of these US CBS-D remastered)………….

87. Billy Bobby - July 16, 2008

Even though Season Three had some of the series biggest stinkers, I still prefer it over Season Two. Of course, nothing can beat Season One.

88. WARIO - July 16, 2008

I can not understand how losing opportunities to do a great job of improving in sequences in which is by far the city.
The scene restored seems to me very simple.
The close-ups of the city I like, but the sky seems to me unreal.
The scenes where they are on land are very ugly, and with an atmosphere so unreal as in most episodes made in the study.
A pity that if a restoration would need to do well, not partial, I do not understand because it is so difficult to add a few clouds to a sky so simple to fix, as seen in most episodes would feel greatness and not be ridiculous.
The original episodes will always be available, I do not think anything happens by trying to improve the planets and give the series to the grandeur it deserves.

89. FredCFO - July 16, 2008

Another 3rd season episode where the scripts stray from the characters.

As pointed out before, Kirk had to drag the Pon Farr out of Spock in “Amok Time”. Droxine gets Spock to give it up right away with her debatable feminine charms.

“The Clouded Minders”, C- at best.

90. krikzil - July 16, 2008

“However, the series truly Jumped-the-Shark in The Way to Eden. That episode makes The Cloud Minders look like a damn masterpiece.”

When you’re right, you’re right, Billy Bob. THAT episode was so bad, it wasn’t good.

91. c - July 16, 2008

I think that the artists or the producers are morons. How hard is it to make the planet more realistic? The sky looks very red with not enough clouds or depth.

The city doesn’t have to be sitting on a cloud either. Geez.

I wish these morons didn’t bother if they aren’t going to do a good job. Partial improvements are stupid.

And I still don’t understand why they didn’t have more different starships fly around in the episodes that counted especially in the klingon federaton episode where they signed a treaty, It could have the fleet leaving during the credits. Geez…these producers are crappy at their job. Is like they dont listen to their fans.

92. Anthony Pascale - July 16, 2008

C,
warning for flaming

93. Sean4000 - July 16, 2008

C, I feel your pain.

Talk to me. I can help you out.

94. wiseone - July 17, 2008

Hey C, it sounds like Anthony and Sean read too much into your statement. I believe they are over reacting.

Some people are overly sensitive and sometimes they tend to misread something that was written by putting their emotions into the “words”. And on other occassions it’s possible some people like to point some people lapse in judgement to make themselves feel better. (you know as though they don’t ever say something that sounds flaming.

95. wiseone - July 17, 2008

Actually Wiseone I kind of agree.

“C, warning for flaming” could be construed as a “threat”. But technically we all know that it was a poor choice of words that were typed at the time that Anthony didn’t think sounded that bad.

But technically he could have said something like…”Hey C, when you describe things don’t use certain words because some people might misinterpret them…”

By the way, the city could have been bigger with more clouds and a sky could have been redone.

96. harry - July 17, 2008

Since the series is basically over…I like to add that they could have done it far better.

More ships should have been intoduced even briefily surrounding starbases. During the computer controlled enterprise was another missed opportunity. Enterprise went to and from a starbase. They could have a different ship passing enterprise on the way in.

I think in 40 more years..they will remastered this remaster again but far better then the current artists and producers.

In a way maybe they just didn’t have the talent. It’s not their fault.

97. CK - July 17, 2008

I like to apologize if anyone misinterpreted anything. my bad.

C

98. Billy Bobby - July 18, 2008

You are very wise wiseone.

99. joe - July 18, 2008

I think Wiseone was right on the money. I think Anthony himself could have chosen better words. Anthony…warning for your flaming too.

100. Engon - July 18, 2008

“I fail to see the purpose of this continued criticism.” – Plasus

101. Jerry the Man - July 20, 2008

In a way…Engon..you are also kind of adding to the continued critcism.

If you typed a comment about Star Trek instead of jotting down your opinion…well…I hope you can see where you added to it. If you ignore a childish discussion…people tend to get bored and drop it but instead you went ahead and jotted down an opinion. Besides…this whole blog is based on critisicm.

But you tried to be cool or mature…but ultimately failed. No biggie.

But watch a pro…lets change the topic to Star Trek. Let’s just talk about Star Trek and nothing else. I’m glad they remastered it. I wish they did more things with it but I guess they didn’t have enough time and money to do a better job. But they still made better improvements then the original.

102. Jerry the Man - July 20, 2008

hey engon..thought about it..and you had the best of intentions. Take care. Keep up the good work.

103. Engon - July 20, 2008

“I will tolerate absolutely no interference!” – Plasus

:-)

104. Governor Rocknar - July 27, 2009

The absolute WORST TOS episode is “And The Children Shall Lead”!

It’s SO BAD, you can find a review of it on The Agony Booth website!

“Hail, hail, fire and snow…”

TrekMovie.com is represented by Gorilla Nation. Please contact Gorilla Nation for ad rates, packages and general advertising information.