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Parker Garcia
Parker Garcia

Star Trek: Il Film

Star Trek: The Motion Picture is a 1979 American science fiction film directed by Robert Wise and based on the television series Star Trek created by Gene Roddenberry, who also served as its producer. It is the first installment in the Star Trek film series, and stars the cast of the original television series. In the film, set in the 2270s, a mysterious and immensely powerful alien cloud known as V'Ger approaches Earth, destroying everything in its path. Admiral James T. Kirk (William Shatner) assumes command of the recently refitted Starship USS Enterprise, to lead it on a mission to save the planet and determine V'Ger's origins.

Star Trek: Il Film

When the original television series was canceled in 1969, Roddenberry lobbied Paramount Pictures to continue the franchise through a feature film. The success of the series in syndication convinced the studio to begin work on the film in 1975. A series of writers attempted to craft a "suitably epic" script, but the attempts did not satisfy Paramount, and in 1977, the project was scrapped. Instead, Paramount planned on returning the franchise to its roots, with a new television series titled Star Trek: Phase II. The box office success of Close Encounters of the Third Kind, however, convinced Paramount that science fiction films other than Star Wars could do well, so the studio canceled production of Phase II and resumed its attempts at making a Star Trek film.

In March 1978, Paramount assembled the largest press conference held at the studio since the 1950s to announce that Wise would direct a $15 million film adaptation of the original television series. Filming began that August and concluded the following January. With the cancellation of Phase II, writers rushed to adapt its planned pilot episode, "In Thy Image", into a film script. Constant revisions to the story and the shooting script continued to the extent of hourly script updates on shooting dates. The Enterprise was modified inside and out, costume designer Robert Fletcher provided new uniforms, and production designer Harold Michelson fabricated new sets. Jerry Goldsmith composed the film's score, beginning an association with Star Trek that would continue until 2002. When the original contractors for the optical effects proved unable to complete their tasks in time, effects supervisor Douglas Trumbull was asked to meet the film's December 1979 release date. Wise took the just-completed film to its Washington, D.C., opening, but always felt that the final theatrical version was a rough cut of the film he wanted to make.

Released in North America on December 7, 1979, Star Trek: The Motion Picture received mixed reviews, many of which faulted it for a lack of action scenes and over-reliance on special effects. Its final production cost ballooned to approximately $44 million, and it earned $139 million worldwide, short of studio expectations but enough for Paramount to propose a less expensive sequel. Roddenberry was forced out of creative control for the sequel, Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982). In 2001, Wise oversaw a director's cut for a special DVD release of the film, with remastered audio, tightened and added scenes, and new computer-generated effects.

In the 23rd century, a Starfleet monitoring station, Epsilon Nine, detects an alien entity, hidden in a massive cloud of energy, moving through space toward Earth. The cloud easily destroys three Klingon warships and Epsilon Nine on its course. On Earth, the starship Enterprise is undergoing a major refit; its former commanding officer, James T. Kirk, has been promoted to Admiral. Starfleet Command assigns Enterprise to intercept the cloud entity, as the ship is the only one within range, requiring its new systems to be tested in transit.

On October 8, 1976, Bryant and Scott delivered a 20-page treatment, Planet of the Titans, which executives Barry Diller, Jeffrey Katzenberg and Michael Eisner liked. In it, Kirk and his crew encounter beings they believe to be the mythical Titans and travel back millions of years in time, accidentally teaching early man to make fire. Planet of the Titans also explored the concept of the third eye.[8] With the studio's acceptance of this treatment, Roddenberry immediately stopped work on other projects to refocus on Star Trek, and the screenwriters and Isenberg were deluged with grateful fan mail. Isenberg began scouting filming locations and hired designers and illustrators. Key among these were famed production designer Ken Adam, who said, "I was approached by Gene Roddenberry and we got on like a house on fire"; he was employed to design the film. Adam hired artist Ralph McQuarrie, fresh off the yet to be released Star Wars. They worked on designs for planets, planetary and asteroid bases, a black hole "shroud", a crystalline "super brain", and new concepts for the Enterprise, including interiors that Adam later revisited for the film Moonraker and a flat-hulled starship design (frequently credited to McQuarrie, but which McQuarrie's own book identifies as an Adam design[22]). McQuarrie wrote that "there was no script" and that much of the work was "winging it".[22] When that film folded after three months for Adam and "a month and a half" for McQuarrie,[23] their concepts were shelved, although a handful of them were revisited in later productions.[24]

Koenig described the state of the script at the start of filming as a three-act screenplay without a third act.[9] Because of likely changes, actors were at first told to not memorize the last third of the script,[28] which received constant input from actors and producers. Shatner noted, for example, that Kirk would say "Mr. Sulu, take the conn", while Nimoy visited Livingston's home each night to discuss the next day's script. Scenes were rewritten so often it became necessary to note on script pages the hour of the revision. Povill credited Nimoy with the single tear scene, and the discussion of V'Ger's need to evolve.[9]

After the redesign of the Enterprise sets was complete, Michelson turned his attention to creating the original sets needed for the film. The recreation deck occupied an entire sound-stage, dwarfing the small room built for the planned television series; this was the largest interior in the film. The set was 24 feet (7.3 m) high, decorated with 107 pieces of custom-designed furniture, and packed with 300 people for filming. Below a large viewing screen on one end of the set was a series of art panels containing illustrations of previous ships bearing the name Enterprise. One of the ships was NASA's own Enterprise, added per Roddenberry's request:

Post-production was so late that Paramount obtained an entire MGM sound stage to store 3,000 large metal containers for each theater around the country. Each final film reel was taken while wet from the film studio and put into a container with other reels, then taken to airplanes waiting on tarmacs.[9] By the time The Motion Picture was finished, $26 million was spent on the film itself, while $18 million had been spent on sets for the undeveloped Phase II series, much of which were not used for the film itself, which brought the total cost of the movie to $44 million.[36]

The score for Star Trek: The Motion Picture was predominantly written by Jerry Goldsmith, beginning a long association with scoring Star Trek film and television.[38][39] Gene Roddenberry had originally wanted Goldsmith to score Star Trek's pilot episode, "The Cage", but he was unavailable.[40] When Wise signed on to direct, Paramount asked if he had any objection to using Goldsmith. Wise, who had worked with Goldsmith on The Sand Pebbles, replied "Hell, no. He's great!" Wise later considered his work with Goldsmith one of the best relationships he ever had with a composer.[41]

The score to Star Trek: The Motion Picture went on to garner Goldsmith nominations for the Oscars, Golden Globe and Saturn awards.[51] It is often regarded as one of the composer's greatest scores,[52][53] and was also one of the American Film Institute's 250 nominated scores for their top 25 American film scores.[54] reviewer Dan Persons noted the film features a number of characters on their own voyages of self discovery, with each defining their concept of fulfillment differently. Persons notes that the result of individual pursuits of fulfillment are damaging or pyrrhic; meaning is only satisfactorily found through interpersonal relationships.[59]

In 1983, an extended cut premiered on the ABC television network.[71] It added roughly 12 minutes to the film.[48] The added footage was largely unfinished, and cobbled together for the network premiere; Wise had not wanted some of the footage to be included in the final cut of the film.[72] This "Special Longer Version" was released on VHS, Betamax and LaserDisc by Paramount in 1983.[73][74]

Two members of Wise's production company, David C. Fein and Michael Matessino, approached Wise and Paramount and persuaded them to release a revised version of the film on video; Paramount released the updated Director's Edition of the film on VHS and DVD on November 6, 2001.[75] Wise, who had considered the theatrical presentation of the film a "rough cut", was given the opportunity to re-edit the film to be more consistent with his original vision. The production team used the original script, surviving sequence storyboards, memos, and the director's recollections. In addition to cuts in some sequences, 90 new and redesigned computer-generated images were created.[76] Care was taken that the effects meshed seamlessly with the old footage.[48] The edition runs 136 minutes, about four minutes longer than the original release.[77] Included among the special features are the deleted scenes which had been part of the television cut.[72] 041b061a72




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