In a recent ShatnerVision, The Shat Talks about how it came to be that Kirk died in Generations. Shatner Responds: The Death Of Captain Kirk
Feature Films (TMP-NEM)
Leonard Nimoy has had a long and successful career and now says he can trace much of that success back to Star Trek. In a new interview with FatFreeFilms he talks about how Trek opened up many opportunities for him to both act and direct. After directing Star Trek III, Nimoy went on to direct a number of films including the hit comedy 3 Men and a Baby. Regarding humor, the man who portrayed the original emotionless Vulcan talks about why he wanted Star Trek IV to have a sense of humor: when we developed Star Trek IV I said going in "this film has to lighten up". We have been dealing with death and destruction in these Star Trek movies and we have had enough of that. Spock died and Kirk’s son died and the Klingons were all being killed, and I said "Enough – lets find a way to have a lighter tone. In spite of the fact that Earth is being jeopardized we have got to find some humor." And I think we did.
In the latest issue of Star Trek Magazine, Brent Spiner (Data) talks about the last Trek movie, Star Trek Nemesis. Not only did Spiner star in Nemesis, but he co-wrote the story (along with screenwriter John Logan). Spiner on why the film failed We worked on the story with the intention of making it for the fans. With every Star Trek movie prior to that we tried to find a way to bridge the gap between the fans and the general public. Even reading the latest quotes from J.J. Abrams about the next movie, it makes sense for the movie to be as inclusive as possible. With Nemesis we said, ‘Forget that! Lets make a movie for the fans, because that’s the people who actually go to see the films.’ And what happened? They didn’t go! Usually the films opened big, even if they had a lot of competition, but Nemesis didn’t even do that. This was a message from the fans that they were done with us.
It looks like 2007 may be the year we start seeing Star Trek on High Definition media. Both The Hollywood Reporter and Home Media Retailing quote CBS Home Entertainment head Ken Ross as saying that Star Trek: The Original Series is going to be released on DVD/HD-DVD Combo format at the end of 2007. "The reason we chose to do that is to give us the ability to make high-definition transfers of the show available to people who don’t yet have high-definition players," Ross says in the interview. However the same piece also notes that while a Blu-ray Disc release hasn’t yet been scheduled, CBS will support both formats like Paramount does. So, to cut through all the hype, this likely means that while the HD-DVD camp can probably accurately say that The Original Series will be an HD-DVD exclusive in 2007, the release almost certainly won’t happen until the very end of the year (simply due to the fact that it’s going to take that long to finish at least a season’s worth of remastered episodes) and a Blu-ray Disc release probably won’t be far behind. There is also movement on the movie side as well. Exepct to see at least one of the Trek films on HD-DVD by the end of the year, with Blu-ray likely to follow.
There have been some reports that Trek Remastered may be released on HD DVD as early as this year. Last we heard they wouldn’t be finished with all the episodes until next year. TrekMovie is looking into this and will report back when we get it all sorted out. Of course HD versions of TOS-R are showing up on XBox Live already if you cannot wait. Babylon 5’s Claudia Christian claims that William Shatner made some unwanted advances on her when she was a guest star on T.J. Hooker. In an interview with retroCRUSH the actress says the Shat tried to ‘shove his tongue’ down her throat. She also says she wished she punched him in his corset.
part 3 of our series reviewing past Trek movies In the wake of 1982’s enormously successful The Wrath of Khan, and particularly before the universally despised Star Trek V: The Final Frontier, Leonard Nimoy’s directorial debut, Star Trek III, was the whipping boy of the burgeoning Star Trek movie franchise. On the face of it the movie was a success—feverishly anticipated, given extra buzz by Nimoy’s presence behind the camera, the mystery of the fate of Spock after his death in Trek II, and the “final mission of the starship Enterprise” tagline that teased the movie’s shocking destruction of the beloved space vessel at the movie’s climax. Reviews were good, if not as glowing as the ones for Nicholas Meyer’s Wrath of Khan (one of the few Trek movies to garner non-condescending raves from the mainstream press), and box office business was brisk.
This is the second of our series of looking back to past Trek films and seeing what they can teach us about how to make Trek work again on the big screen. In the wake of Star Trek: The Motion Picture (TMP), which did solid business but was very expensive, Trek’s future remained uncertain. At one point there was even a rumor (reported in the New York Times) that Trek would return to the small screen with a new series involving all the leads. In the end Paramount decided to keep going with feature films, but make some big personnel changes. They bought out Roddenberry’s remaining interest in the Trek property, and handed the reins over to veteran TV producer Harve Bennett (best known for producing The Mod Squad, The Six Million Dollar Man, and The Bionic Woman). Bennett tells the story about how Gulf+Western CEO Charles Bluhdorn gave him marching orders “to make a movie that isn’t boring for less than 45 f—ing million dollars.” Coming from the low budget world of TV, Bennett assured Bluhdorn he could make 3 movies for that amount, and he just about did. Bennett then set off to learn everything about Trek and got to work on what would be the first of a trilogy of successful Trek films.
IGN Filmforce have been counting down the top 25 film franchises and Star Trek ended up as #5. Eric Moro, IGN Editor in Chief sums Trek up thusly: Ever since The Original Series debuted on NBC back in 1966, there’s been a steady stream of Trek within the pop culture zeitgeist. Sure, I can spew off franchise facts like six TV series, 10 feature films (with an 11th currently in development from J.J. Abrams), tons of videogames, action figures, novels, comic books and two Las Vegas themed attractions. But perhaps more impressive is the impact the property has made on fandom itself—I’m talking the fan fiction, the fan films (most found on the Internet) and the yearly conventions. Even more impressive still is the impact these fans have made on the mainstream. One of many examples: After a massive letter writing campaign, NASA names the first space shuttle the Enterprise. Now that’s a powerhouse franchise!
For weeks without TOS-R episodes to review, TrekMovie.com will instead review a Trek film to see where it went right and where it went wrong, and what Trek XI can learn from it. The year: 1979. Ten years had passed since NBC cancelled “Star Trek” and in that time it had become a hit in syndicated reruns. A growing fan base began holding conventions and were continually teased with the posibility of a return of their heroes from the 23rd century. After a short lived animated series in the early 70s, Paramount Paramount greenlit a low-budget “Trek” film entitled “Planet of the Titans.” About two weeks before “Star Wars” exploded onto American movie screens in May 1977, Paramount pulled the plug and then a few months later committed to bringing back “Star Trek” as a TV show. “Star Trek II” (which would have included all the original stars except for Leonard Nimoy) would be the cornerstone of a new ‘Paramount Network’. No sooner did Paramount move on that project then they did a complete about-face, killing the new network, canceling “Phase II,” and transforming its two-hour pilot script “In Thy Image” into a big-budget motion picture. The script was heavily rewritten, Nimoy came back to the fold, and legendary Oscar-winning director Robert Wise took the helm. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Today is the 15th anniversary of the release of Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. STVI is in my top 3, and some days is my favorite Trek film. At a recent event I attended, director Nicholas Meyer said of the three Trek films he worked on (II, IV and VI) Star Trek VI was also his favorite. The site with the best Trek artwork, TrekCore.com has put up a nice gallery of rare images to honor the last film for the original crew. Click here to see the TrekCore STVI Gallery If you don’t own Star Trek VI…BUY IT!!
Harve Bennett was the producer for the golden age of Star Trek films back in the 1980s. After the lackluster performance of Star Trek V in 1989, Bennett (along with writer David Laurie) developed a script called ‘Star Trek: The Academy Years’ which was to reboot the franchise with younger actors playing Kirk and Spock at Starfleet Academy. In the end the studio decided to give the original cast one more go and Bennett left the franchise. Earlier this year when Variety broke the first news about Trek XI and used the word ‘Academy’ in their brief plot outline many thought that Bennett’s script was back. Even after J.J. Abrams called the Variety article ‘not entirely accurate’ many still speculated there was some link, including Mr. Bennett himself.
In ‘Shatner is Kirk’ news: UPI reports that William Shatner told the crowd at the St. Louis Jewish Book Festival that ‘there is a part of me in him…and Kirk in me’. The original Kirk also told the Massachusetts Republican that he is not going to retire anytime soon, saying "ss I shakily take my last breath, maybe that’s when I will whisper, ‘I quit.’"…did he just paraphrase Khan’s last words? Want to see classic Trek without all that Remastering and CGI?…well TV Land has got you covered.The home of retro TV starts airing the classic show later this month and have already started offering full episodes on their new Star Trek website (for one week only). The site offers a number of other Trek related video features and will host a live chat with Original Series stars Walter Koenig, Nichelle Nichols and George Takei on Nov. 19th. Oh My.
Our friends at TwitchGuru sat down with ST:II (& ST:VI) director Nick Meyer to talk a little Khan. Although the interview doesn’t get around to JJ Abrams or Star Trek XI, there are some interesting comments from the last guy to save the Star Trek franchise. On the issue of Trek’s sacred continuity Meyer draws a parallel with the work of Arthur Conan Doyle who often ‘forgot’ various details between his various Holmes stories. I suppose my attitude towards fidelity to the Star Trek material as if it were holy writ is similarly: "Alright, we’re in the ballpark but we don’t have to be 100%."
In the last week a new DirecTV commercial has shown up that features William Shatner playing a movie era Captain Kirk. The commercial is part of DirectTV’s new ‘fourth wall’ campaign were they show scenes from popular films re-edited to have some of the actors talk to camera about the clairty of DirectTV. Previuos commercials featured Vern Troyer from ‘Austin Powers’ and Ben Stein in ‘Ferris Bueller’s Day Off’. The new Trek commercial uses footage from Star Trek VI. Walter Koenig and Leonard Nimoy are also featured, but it appears their footage is taken from the original film. And here it is… download wmv
SciFi Pulse has a couple of magazine excerpts up from TNG stars Brent Spiner and Marina Sirtis. Spiner talked to Dreamwatch magazine about the idea for Star Trek XI that he and Star Trek Nemesis story co-writer John Logan had:: the next film would have been was a Justice League of Star Trek. Something would bring all the great Star Trek villains together, from Khan to Shinzon, and Picard is the only person who could stop them and he actually has to go through time and pluck out the people he needs to help him. He goes back to the moment before Data blows up and takes him back to get Kirk and Spock, and go even further back and get Scott Bakula’s character Archer. The only problem Spiner saw with that idea was the cost…TrekMovie suggests he looks a little harder
A week ago HDNet began showing Star Trek: Enterprise in HD. This makes it the sole source for any Star Trek TV in HD, as the new Trek Remastered is not being broadcast in HD (story). Since they currently have a monopoly on Trek in HD, TrekMovie.com contacted HDNet to see what is next and owner Mark Cuban himself answered our questions about the future of Trek on HDNet. Cuban tells TrekMovie.com that HDNet has spoken to CBS Paramount about the new Star Trek Remastered in HD but they are not interested in the show presently. Cuban did say he was open to HD version of other Trek series (like TNG) in HD if they become available, telling TrekMovie.com "It depends on the response to this series. If we find a lot of people are subscribing to HDNet to see Enterprise, we will of course look for more." But for the 10 Trek feature films in HD, Cuban is ready to go, telling TrekMovie "we are in discussions about them." Cuban and HDNet did not give any further details on when we might see the feature films in HD and our sources within Paramount and CBS are still trying to figure out where in the vast former Viacom empire deals with HDNet are struck.
When word of Star Trek Remastered hit the web last week, very often discussion mented the name Daren Dochterman. It was a reasonable to speculate that Dochterman was inovled in the new project since he was the digital effects supervisor for ‘Director’s Edition’ of Star Trek: The Motion Picture and had recently launced TrekEnhanced a site dedicated to the notion of adding CGI effects to the original series. The speculation of his involvement was so rampant that after the official announcement from CBS, Dochterman issued an official statement to tell fans that although he had pitched, he wasn’t involved. TrekMovie.com decided to give Daren a ring and talk to him about his history with Trek and the new Trek Remastered project.
Variety first announced Star Trek XI with this sentence “J.J. Abrams is becoming the next Gene Roddenberry.”, referring to the late creator of Star Trek and Star Trek: The Next Generation as well as producer and co-writer of the first Trek feature film Star Trek: The Motion Picture. In the recently reported debate, Free Enterprise producers (and big time Trekkies) Rob Burnett and Mark Altman agreed on one thing: Paramount did the right thing by bringing in a new team headed by JJ Abrams. Burnett went on to say that Abrams and his team “bring Star Trek creative blood not seen since Nicholas Meyer“. Meyer is the writer and/or director of the Trek classics Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home and Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country. So which is he…the new Roddenberry or the new Meyer?
Some Star Trek XI numbers 2…ranking of ‘TOS’ for preferred setting of STXI on new SciFi Wire poll (#1 ‘something new’) 2…ranking of ‘Matt Damon’ for the preferred new Kirk in a StarTrek.com poll (#1 ‘total unknown’) 5 (out of 5)… STXI’s level on Cinemablend ‘excite-o-meter’. 7…ranking of STXI on Cinescape top 10 movies in development Did someone mention Matt Damon? According to Moviehole, he has pulled out playing the title role in the Lance Armstrong biopic, to be replaced by Jake Gyllenhall. The reason given is ‘his busy schedule’. Matt will be filming Ocean’s Thirteen and The Bourne Ultimatum through the winter. Leaving his spring wide open…JJ Will Paramount bring back the Star Trek spoof Galaxy Quest at the same time its bringing back Trek itself? Tim Allen tells the SciFi Wire that a sequel idea has been presented to Dreamworks (now part of Paramount). Never give up, never surrender Tim.
Now it’s Michael Dorn’s turn to let us know how he really feels. Dorn (Lt. Worf) talked to the Houston Chronicle as part of the release of the new ‘Star Trek Fan Collective: Klingon’ set of DVDs. Regarding the possibility of Star Trek XI being a TOS prequel he says “I think that would be a mistake…you dont go backwards in Star Trek”. Like Sirtis, Dorn also takes a swipe at the Trek TV Shows made after Star Trek: The Next Generation, “I don’t think he would have done any of those shows” Dorn said, referring to the late Gene Roddenberry (creator of the Trek franchise). Presumably Dorn’s comments are limited to Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: Enterprise being that Dorn was on the Paramount payroll for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for 5 years. Dorn who has the distinction of appearing in more Star Trek episodes than any other actor believes that Paramount has ‘milked the cashcow almost dry’, but would he play Lt. Worf again? “I’m smart enough to never say never”.
Earlier this year after it appeared Rick Berman and Eric Jenderson‘s script for Star Trek: The Beginning (which was to have a whole new cast set 100 years before the time of Kirk) was going no where, Patrick Stewart got some ‘one more TNG film’ buzz going. Stewart told an online magazine in March that he had ‘got some calls from some money people’ regarding reprising his role as Jean Luc Picard. Since that time word of Abrams being signed and a likely TOS era plot have come out. Stewart has continued to be very noncommittal on whether he would even want to be in another film In todays Daily Telagraph Stewart discusses the idea So could he ever be seduced by Hollywood again? Another Star Trek movie? “I have such mixed feelings about Star Trek. It’s like a romantic relationship that’s over. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but I haven’t ruled it out…