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#1 Chris D Walker

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 02:24 PM

Digital Content Producer's sister magazine Millimeter (read by registration only) has an interesting piece about the new Star Trek film which I'll be seeing tomorrow (May 7). It describes how they had two guys with flashlights on both sides of the frame deliberately shining flares into the lens and how ILM had to fashion software to create realistic artificial flares for entirely CG shots. DP Dan Mindel also apparently pleaded for the film to be anamorphic to give it that 'big movie' feel.

Anyone here going to see it? If so, is there a hint of excitement or a casual shrug of the shoulders?

As someone who enjoys the occasional Star Trek episode but neither Cloverfield nor M:I:3, produced and directed by Abrams respectively, I'm a little weary about how good it's going to turn out. Someone made a joke to me the other day that they can't remember the last time I enjoyed a film I had seen at the cinema; I can't remember either.

Tech Specs:
Kodak Vision2 5212 200T, Vision2 5218 500T (I read Vision3 500T somewhere but it wasn't in their piece),
Panavision Primo anamorphic primes, AWZ2 & ATZ anamorphic zooms,
DI (2K) at FotoKem.
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 02:37 PM

Am I excited? Let's see -- I bought the new Blu-Ray box set of Season One of the Original Series and have been watching an episode each night, I'm reading a Star Trek novel right now, I just bought the soundtrack CD, and I'm disappointed that there seems to be no "Making Of" books planned... and on my desk at home, I have a replica phaser and communicator, plus a model of the original Enterprise.

So you could say I'm mildly interested.
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#3 Phil Rhodes

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 03:34 PM

I saw it at a Paramount press screening last week.

Sorry to channel the Marvin, but... it's rubbish.

P
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#4 Chris Durham

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 03:59 PM

I'll be at the first screening tomorrow.

In Uniform.

And I'm certainly wary. Star Trek AS action doesn't do much to impress me. Star Trek WITH action might do the trick. This is supposed to be a shot in the arm for the franchise, but I'm the kind of guy who believes a flu shot might make you sick, so we'll have to see.

I wonder why they didn't take a note from Sunshine and shoot the flares for comping. Digital flares rarely live up.
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#5 Richard Davis

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 04:37 PM

I've just been to see it on Imax and I was blown away by it! I've never been a fan of Star Trek previously, but it felt like the concept has really been reinvented in this new film. The characters seemed fresh and the story was of a far higher standard than the majority of new films.

The cinematography was pretty cool. There were very few moments when it felt lacking and was rarely overly cooked, most moments of such coming from the mentioned flashes, which could be a bit over powering on the huge Imax screen.

Overall massively impressed though.
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#6 Paul Bruening

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Posted 06 May 2009 - 05:00 PM

Got tickets to an IMAX in Buford, GA for 10.00 AM, this Saturday. I've never done a movie in the morning. I guess I'll be breaking all my little rules in life from this slippery slope. Hmmm, cocktails before lunch? Damn you, Kirk!
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#7 Tom Lowe

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 04:49 PM

I'm heading out tonight to see it! Very excited, because there are so few good sci-fi flicks that ever get made.

I'm not a Star Trek fan, but I'm really looking forward to this.

May the Force be wi... oh wait. Never mind.
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#8 Chris D Walker

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Posted 07 May 2009 - 05:03 PM

I've been. I've seen. It was pretty cool.

I don't do spoilers, however there will be things in the movie that purists won't like. I personally didn't like 'the mascot'. The rest was great; it had that balance of action and trek-talk for those new to the story and familiars alike.

I can now remember going to the cinema and enjoying what I've saw, cause it was only a few hours ago. To add to my good mood, when I got back home and read the listings in the cinema for next week I found there's a local screening of Barry Lyndon on. Sweetness.
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#9 Tom Lowe

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 12:25 AM

Good movie. I enjoyed it. I read no spoilers before seeing it, so there was one casting surprise for me -- a very happy one!

Okay, so now that the gang is all introduced, let's get some new movies from this franchise with big ideas and grand, epic plots and adventures.
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#10 Matt Frank

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 09:00 AM

I really enjoyed it as well. I thought it looked great, the FX were perfect, and the camera movement really enhanced the action rather than obscuring it. I love flares too so any film with that many is going to be a winner in my book.

Edited by Matt Frank, 08 May 2009 - 09:01 AM.

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#11 Tom Lowe

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 09:33 AM

I thought, visually, that the film took a few cues from Revenge of the Sith. Which is a good thing.

Revenge of the Sith is a visually stunning film.
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#12 Chris Durham

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 09:44 AM

I love flares too so any film with that many is going to be a winner in my book.


It's a matter of taste I suppose, but I think that the flares were really overdone, and that's the only complaint I have about the movie. They looked artificial. I love lens flares but there were just too many of them and I found it more distracting than beautiful. I loved the camera movement though and thought the overall look was very good.

As a fan I was very pleased. They got it right.
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#13 Christian Appelt

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 12:29 PM

In my opinion, STAR TREK delivers all a fan could wish for.
Good script, excellent casting, respect for the rules & connections established by 40 years of Star Trek tv & movie stuff. B)

I felt they made the right decisions in almost all creative departments from set design to costumes and props, and I felt well entertained.

Personally, I do not like this particular style of directing and cinematography because I am willing to see the movie when I sit down in a theatre, this is not TV where fast editing, constant motion and big closeups are needed to keep viewers from changing the channel.

The special look of the anamorphic process was reduced to its mere artifacts, and I hated how they put these lens flares into almost every shot, even when there was no light source in the picture which would create a flare in classic anamorphic filming. Creating depth and interesting wide angle views would have given moire of a "big movie feeling" to me.

I found most physical action scenes staged disappointingly because it was all Shakycam and fast editing. Since STAR TREK is about the characters, this doesn't really hurt the movie, but does this really feel exciting to anyone?
Noticed a number of rather unpleasant out-of-focus shots, like during Captain Pike's interrogation or when Spocks speaks to his younger self.

In some cases the director's "keep-it-moving-all-the-time" style weakens the moment, like in the court scene when Spock and Kirk face each other, separated by the width of the format. The shot is IMHO spoiled by the usual side tracking movement.

But most of these points are a matter of taste, I suppose, and to me the new STAR TREK film feels a lot better than almost any of the previous theatrical entries (except the space dock scenes from the Robert Wise movie, of course...).

Edited by Christian Appelt, 08 May 2009 - 12:34 PM.

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#14 Chris Durham

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 12:58 PM

Well, apparently most of the flares weren't artificial. They just seemed that way because they all look so alike, but according to JJ...

JJ Talks Lens Flares
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#15 Christian Appelt

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 02:05 PM

Chris, thank you for pointing to the article/interview!

Nice to hear that Mr Abrams does realize he was carried away a bit. :)

Nothing wrong about things looking cool, but in this case I felt the permanent use of a technical gimmick came between me and the qualities of the movie (actors and what they did).

I find nothing wrong with "visual shorthands" like strange filtered skies à la CSI, rack focus shots with long lenses and rough zoom shots centering in on a detail when I watch TV, but it certainly does not add anything on the big silver screen, just distracts. This may be a professional deformation, but I have noticed that movie audiences often start to talk and lose contact during sequences which are done that way, while they usually focus and keep quieter when there is a well composed static shot that allows you to watch the actors doing what they do best. Of course this requires a good script and great actors, otherwise you will need constant motion to keep the audience from falling asleep.

Mr Abrams has achieved to breathe new life into STAR TREK, and maybe he will change to a more classic style in the next installation(s).
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#16 Tim Partridge

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 02:45 PM

I find nothing wrong with "visual shorthands" like strange filtered skies à la CSI, rack focus shots with long lenses and rough zoom shots centering in on a detail when I watch TV, but it certainly does not add anything on the big silver screen, just distracts.



This is exactly how I feel when I watch a Ridley Scott film. All those gimmicks you mention do wonders for thirty seconds on a TV screen, but on the big screen, I find it just erodes the cinematic...
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#17 Jonathan Bowerbank

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Posted 08 May 2009 - 11:47 PM

Just saw it, and really really really enjoyed it. It was more about reintroducing the characters than pushing the story along, but I believe it when people say it's a shot in the arm for the franchise.

It was fun, funny, and really had a lot of moments where I was gripping my seat. And I especially liked the contemporary renditions of all the classic characters we're all familiar with. I felt the actor playing Bones McCoy really nailed it, and managed to get a lot of gitty chuckles out of me, as Bones has always been my favorite Trek character.

Highly recommend it to all my SciFi philes

:)
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#18 David Rosenblum

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 12:44 AM

I immensely enjoyed the movie. I grew up loving Star Trek, but was never ever into The Original Series, so I didn't expect to be as into this movie as some of the other ones featuring later casts.

Anyway, it was great. I raised my eyebrows in wonder and disbelief a few times and definitely laughed a lot.

I did, however, hate the flares. I read the above article with Abrams and am usually a huge fan of well placed flares, but a director of his stature and a DP like Mindel, should've known better. It was almost treated like a student film, where they just wanted to do something cool to take notice. What really bothered me was that there would be huge blinding flares in one shot of a scene and then nothing at all in the reverse. By Abram's logic, should the "bright future" be present off-camera regardless of where the camera is?

Other than that (and a couple points where the plot tripped me up - no spoilers though), the movie was spot-on, great cinematography and story, and very entertaining.
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#19 John Allen

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 08:46 AM

Am I excited? Let's see -- I bought the new Blu-Ray box set of Season One of the Original Series and have been watching an episode each night, I'm reading a Star Trek novel right now, I just bought the soundtrack CD, and I'm disappointed that there seems to be no "Making Of" books planned... and on my desk at home, I have a replica phaser and communicator, plus a model of the original Enterprise.

So you could say I'm mildly interested.


So from the sound of it I'm guessing if they asked you to shoot the new Star Trek film, I bet you'd be glad to shoot it for free? :D
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#20 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 09 May 2009 - 01:24 PM

The Onion has a video news clip on the fan reaction to the Trek movie:
http://www.theonion....e=most_pop_dugg

Unrelated, I liked this news item:
http://www.theonion....ource=a-section

Vindictive Movie Studio Threatens To Make 'Coyote Ugly' Sequel
BURBANK, CA—Telling the movie-going public that it had "better start falling in line," executives at Touchstone Pictures announced Monday that if they do not immediately see a significant increase in box-office receipts they will not hesitate to produce a sequel to the 2000 film Coyote Ugly.

The whole article is a hoot.
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