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Special Effects Lessons From JJ Abrams' Star Trek

timothy posted more than 5 years ago | from the know-where-the-release-valves-are dept.

Movies 461

brumgrunt writes "JJ Abram's hugely successful — on many levels — reboot of Star Trek has, for Den Of Geek, brought to the fore a lesson about special effects that many movie makers have been missing. Surely it's time now that special effects were actually used properly?" (The new film is not without some goofs, though only a few of the ones listed by Movie Mistakes' nitpickers are sciency.)

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461 comments

pervyj nah (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28010883)

pervyj nah

summarizing the article for you... (5, Interesting)

Yold (473518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28010941)

don't rely on special effects for content

Some movies are made to entertain people between the ages of 4 and 70 (i.e. spiderman). The wider the age range, the less room there is for typical plot elements, because younger audiences get bored quickly. Some movies are pretty good just because of their CGI alone. I might be risking my geek-card here, but none of the new Star Wars were actually that boring due to all the big-budget CGI/effects.

Re:summarizing the article for you... (5, Insightful)

slim (1652) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011141)

none of the new Star Wars were actually that boring due to all the big-budget CGI/effects.

Yes, it was the script and the acting that made them ponderously boring.

Re:summarizing the article for you... (5, Insightful)

xouumalperxe (815707) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011229)

I might be risking my geek-card here, but none of the new Star Wars were actually that boring due to all the big-budget CGI/effects.

Boring? No. But I haven't watched any of them a second time, whereas I still watch the original trilogy every once in a while.

Re:summarizing the article for you... (5, Insightful)

Shakrai (717556) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011237)

don't rely on special effects for content

Why not? The special effects were the only thing that kept me going. The storyline pissed me off both as a Trekker (destruction of Vulcan, Kirk as a whiny bitch, Spock and Uhura as an item) and as a normal movie goer (3rd year cadet gets command of the flagship at the end of the movie? yeah, right....).

The effects saved the movie for me. From the little touches (ships don't always share the same z-axis, the Arcologies [wikipedia.org] in Iowa) to the re-imagined ships, engineering with actual engineering components (save the stupid water pipe scene) and a bridge that looked every bit as crowded and chaotic as you'd expect for controlling a starship with a crew of a thousand.

If it wasn't for the well done effects I would have walked out in disgust. The storyline wasn't as bad as some of the treknobabble particle-of-the-week plots that we've seen in the past but it was no Wrath of Khan or Pale Moonlight [wikipedia.org] either. If I had to rank it with the other movies I'd put it behind Khan, Voyage Home, Undiscovered County, Generations and First Contact.

Re:summarizing the article for you... (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28011499)

The beauty of the movie was despite the changes the basic relationships of the group are intact. Remember this story is about the people before we originally met them in the Original Series. I think it was great because it make Star Trek available to a new and larger audience. I am a Trekkie and always have and will be. I was surprised at the destruction of Vulcan but if only the fact of how kirk got into StarFleet was changed by the Spock /Nero events the story would have seemed more crazy. In a way this will make Spock more interesting because he can go to the new Vulcan planet in future movies and deal with his race more in flux. Spock and Uhura (instead of Spock and Nurse Chapel sort of), make things more interesting. I appreciated all of the tributes to other Treks :the "Ceti" Eel and Captain Pike, the enterprise rising out of the gas giant ala Wrath of Khan. Bones was great. Gives people another reason as to why he is Bones McCoy, not just that he is a doctor. John Cho was great as Sulu.
Simon Peggy as Scotty (Jimmy Doohan would be proud). Th effects were not the big thing for me because with Star Trek the effects were never the big thing. It was about stories and relationships and Space and the unknown. Space Battles were fun but it that is what you really want watch Star Wars and be happy.

He could have been captain of a bucket (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28011685)

The first captaincy could be in a smaller ship, more scout-level than Constitution.

Then the next could either be him and a few of the others (all?) going about their own business and going on up the ladder to bigger and better ships, or it could be five years later when Kirk finally gets his first Constitution class starship captaincy.

That's how it works (somewhat) in the real navy. When you get your first captain, you're given a small ship, maybe just a refueller or ASW platform. Then if you show good, you get a Frigate. Then a Destroyer or Point Defence. Then you get to the real top dog: nuclear battleship or carrier (maybe even captain of the carrier group!).

Getting "Captain" is the START not the end.

Re:He could have been captain of a bucket (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011773)

There's a lot of whining about Kirk's battlefield commission but
there was already well established precedent for this:

      This is not far off on how Picard got his first command.

On the one hand it's a a reboot. On the other hand it also can
exploit established history and mistakes.

If you were looking for the US Navy you were in the wrong theater
and always have been. That ship sailed a long time ago.

Re:summarizing the article for you... (4, Insightful)

odourpreventer (898853) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011255)

> Some movies are pretty good just because of their CGI alone

I see your Star Wars ante and raise you Transformers, Lost in space, Speed racer. Lots of CGI, still a waste of time and money.

Re:summarizing the article for you... (2, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011363)

I might be risking my geek-card here, but none of the new Star Wars were actually that boring due to all the big-budget CGI/effects.

True enough. OTOH, it doesn't say anything good about the movie when it's more enjoyable by fast-forwarding through 2/3rds of it.

Enough Shakey Cam! (5, Insightful)

MCSEBear (907831) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011529)

The thing that annoyed me the most about the new Trek was the abundance of 'shaking the camera during filming' shots I was subjected to. Can we give that a rest?

Re:summarizing the article for you... (5, Insightful)

sunderland56 (621843) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011625)

don't rely on special effects for content

Or to put it another way: if your viewers realize that they are watching special effects, you're doing it wrong.

One of the biggest successful CGI movies ever was Forrest Gump - because nobody was thinking "cool special effects", everyone was concentrating on the plot of the movie. And the plot, after all, is the main point.

I watched it last night : (-1, Offtopic)

Smidge207 (1278042) | more than 5 years ago | (#28010947)

"My daddy ate my eyes."

=Smidge=

Wasn't that long ago... (5, Insightful)

hal2814 (725639) | more than 5 years ago | (#28010955)

FTA: "when was the last time we had a blockbuster summer movie of any genre as downright entertaining as this one?" Iron Man last year. IMHO, Iron Man spent a bit too much time focused on taking on and off the suit. Other than that, the special effects were great and fit in with the movie. I especially loved him getting out of captivity using the original suit.

Re:Wasn't that long ago... (1)

Colonel Korn (1258968) | more than 5 years ago | (#28010981)

FTA: "when was the last time we had a blockbuster summer movie of any genre as downright entertaining as this one?"

Iron Man last year. IMHO, Iron Man spent a bit too much time focused on taking on and off the suit. Other than that, the special effects were great and fit in with the movie. I especially loved him getting out of captivity using the original suit.

Ironman had nice special effects, but the lack of an interesting character hurt its overall appeal. Special effects alone can't make a boring movie interesting, at least not for those

Re:Wasn't that long ago... (2, Insightful)

lucifig (255388) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011157)

I found Tony Stark to be one of (if not the most) developed and interesting characters in any comic movie yet.

I think the main reason Iron Man was so successful was the interesting characters. I mean, if you think about it, the actual suit really wasn't in the movie that much.

Re:Wasn't that long ago... (1, Informative)

Sandbags (964742) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011287)

Hurt it's appeal??? For Chirsts sake it's the second most moneymaking movie of all time and broke more than a dozen box office recrords!!!

Re:Wasn't that long ago... (1)

MistrBlank (1183469) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011437)

I think you watched a different movie than I did. Iron Man isn't the second most moneymaking movie of all time...

Re:Wasn't that long ago... (4, Informative)

gstoddart (321705) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011463)

Hurt it's appeal??? For Chirsts sake it's the second most moneymaking movie of all time and broke more than a dozen box office recrords!!!

Iron Man did make money, but it's nowhere near the second highest grossing film of all time.

Domestically, that's Dark Knight [boxofficemojo.com] , with Iron Man in 21st place. Worldwide, Iron Man is in 48th overall [boxofficemojo.com] -- -- it is the second highest grossing for 2008 [boxofficemojo.com] .

It did well, but not quite as well as you suggest. You are, however, correct in saying it certainly doesn't seem that the character in Iron Man hurt it's appeal to movie-goers.

Cheers

Re:Wasn't that long ago... (1)

Theoboley (1226542) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011531)

apparently parent wanted more out of the movie.. I cannot seem to figure out what, but i thought the movie was rather good.

Re:Wasn't that long ago... (1)

perryizgr8 (1370173) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011425)

what i loved about iron man was this sentence: "i am iron man." seriously, why do all the superheroes have to be secret?

What I learned (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28010961)

Even in a black hole there are too many lens flares.

Re:What I learned (4, Insightful)

struppi (576767) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011259)

Yes, exactly. And in the close-up fighting scenes (of which the film has way too much) the camera is shaking so much that you can't see anything. And that scene with the huge predators on the ice planet remided me of Star Wars Episode 1 ("There is always a bigger fish"). Otherwise a nice movie, but not a masterpiece IMHO.

Re:What I learned (3, Interesting)

Mopatop (690958) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011321)

Amen - the shaky camera ruined it for me, and makes it unwatchable on IMAX.

Re:What I learned (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28011607)

Amen - the shaky camera ruined it for me, and makes it unwatchable on IMAX.

Michael J. Fox's residual check isn't cutting it so he got a job doing camera work. Cut the guy a break.

Re:What I learned (4, Interesting)

PMuse (320639) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011797)

What I learned:

  • After an artificial black hole is created, things nearby fall into it very, very slowly.
  • A warp core will get you further faster if you detonate it outside the ship rather than run it inside the ship.
  • Vulcans are very bad at calculating the velocities caused by supernovae.

Two words (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28010991)

Lens flair.

Re:Two words (5, Funny)

Anubis350 (772791) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011021)

better than "lens cap"! :-p

Re:Two words (5, Funny)

stjobe (78285) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011271)

What's that then, when you move your lens in a particularly talented way?

Or did you mean flare?

Re:Two words (5, Funny)

schon (31600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011449)

What's that then, when you move your lens in a particularly talented way?

No, no, no. Lens Flair is the stuff you put on your lens to express yourself. I believe the minimum is 18 pieces.

Re:Two words (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011741)

Uwe Boll had pieces of lens flair he made his actors wear.

Connection? (4, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#28010993)

Um... What exactly is TFA about, other than being a gushing fanboi ode?

Re:Connection? (5, Informative)

henrypijames (669281) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011135)

BTW, the author of TFA is the submitter of this "story" (email address matches byline).

Re:Connection? (1)

The Monster (227884) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011813)

That might explain the lack of editorial review: "JJ Abram's hugely successful â" on many levels â" reboot of Star Trek" Who is "JJ Abram"? Seriously, people. Learn how to use a fracking apostrophe.

Re:Connection? (4, Insightful)

N1AK (864906) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011349)

Granted, there were lots of special effects in the film, but each had a purpose in the greater scheme of things, and at no point did I get the impression that someone was playing a videogame before my eyes, or showing me what their computer could do.

His point appears to be that good films use special effects to enhance good story etc not just provide eye-candy without relation to the rest of the film.

* *SPOILERS * * Am I the only person who can't see 'the purpose' of the scene with Kirk getting chased by progressively larger beasts on the ice world other than to show off (and try and gloss over the fact the entire story relies on him bumping into future Spock). You could at least argue that the sequence with Scotty teleporting into the Enterprises water cooling system was character building (I don't see how) or that the sky-diving onto the drilling platform emphasised Kirk's willingness to take risks (when it wasn't his idea) but the beast scene was there entirely as special effects porn.

Re:Connection? (1)

Aqualung812 (959532) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011471)

Am I the only person who can't see 'the purpose' of the scene with Kirk getting chased by progressively larger beasts...

No, you have support.

...beast scene was there entirely as special effects porn.

Dead-on right.

Re:Connection? (1)

DrLang21 (900992) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011687)

His point appears to be that good films use special effects to enhance good story etc not just provide eye-candy without relation to the rest of the film.

Interesting that he would make that point when the story was really quite lacking as far as Trek stories go. There was excessive use of comic relief and old Trek references in attempt to cover up the mediocre plot.

Re:Connection? (4, Insightful)

flyingsquid (813711) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011811)

Am I the only person who can't see 'the purpose' of the scene with Kirk getting chased by progressively larger beasts on the ice world other than to show off

I gotta agree 110% on this one. This scene didn't advance the plot, it didn't develop the characters. It introduced a new conflict (Kirk trying to not get eaten) which was supposed to be scary but it completely distracts from the existing conflicts between Kirk and Spock, and between the Enterprise and the other ship. This was more annoying than anything... it's like, 'aw, crap, I gotta sit through a bunch of special effects before I can get back to the story'. If you cut it out, you'd have a better movie.

The one place where the special effects made me think 'aw, yeah!' was the scene where the Enterprise warps into the upper atmosphere of Titan and then slowly emerges out of the clouds. Not because it was visually appealing, but because it was *emotionally* satisfying... in the same way that it's emotionally satisfying when you see the Enterprise slowly rise up behing the Reliant in the Mutara Nebula, or when you see the Millennium Falcon pull that immelman turn and come barreling back towards Cloud City to rescue Luke.

Re:Connection? (1)

woozlewuzzle (532172) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011815)

I also wonder why the second beast was bright red. Seems odd for a planet encased in ice and snow.

Re:Connection? (1)

dreemernj (859414) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011827)

Sky-diving to the drilling platform also emphasized that even in the re-imagined Star Trek universe, you don't want to be the red shirt on the away mission.

torrent (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28011047)

Anyone got a torrent link to a good version and wants to annoy slashdot admins?

This movie is empty (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28011057)

I went to the theater and the movie left me empty. I wasted time and money there and got nothing of value in return. This movie is so shallow you couldn't get your fingertips wet in it. If it were at least funnier or something. Instead you get scenes passing by with light speed while you sit there wondering: did I miss something? I must have, I haven't seen anything important yet. Half the movie in and it still feels like it hasn't started yet.

If you haven't seen it yet, don't. Download a pirate version first and if you like it, only then go to the cinema.

Re:This movie is empty (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011567)

Nonsense. I pirate lots of stuff, and this movie was well worth paying to see in an IMAX. In fact, if you're not going to see it on a big screen, it's probably not worth watching at all.

Re:This movie is empty (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28011581)

If you haven't seen it yet, don't. Download a pirate version first and if you like it, only then go to the cinema.

Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Wrong! Paying to see a movie that is still being exclusively shown in theaters is not an optional "tip" that you give to show that you liked the movie. You either pay for the movie and take the risk that you don't like it, or you wait until you can rent it or watch it for free on T.V.

Your subjective response to a movie is not a factor in the price. If you don't like the movie, then the price you paid subsidies the price paid by others who did like the movie. If you did like the movie, then the price paid by others subsidies the price you paid. On average, it tends to balance itself out.

Re:This movie is empty (1)

Cowmonaut (989226) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011633)

Well I liked it. The guy who did McCoy did a great job in my opinion. Kirk and Spock's characters were a little different, but then different things happened to them. My one pet peeve is the 'sidekick' Scotty had and how he didn't seem to be a 'serious engineer' that was funny because he was scottish rather than being a bit of a goof. All in all, I thought it was well done and one of the better Star Trek movies since the Undiscovered Country.

Should have told those who made the trailers then (3, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011059)

I specifically DIDN'T go see this movie because all the trailers made it look like a CGI-driven action-fest (a la Michael Bay). I hate those kind of movies. If this movie is NOT that, then its trailers did it a grave disservice.

Re:Should have told those who made the trailers th (3, Informative)

Aranykai (1053846) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011165)

I have to agree with the author here, it was quite tasteful. I was turned off by several movies this last year due to liberal application of CG where it wasn't needed, but I never once had that feeling with this movie. I also have to comment on the fact this didn't suffer from the 'prequel' syndrome that Lucas's movies did. The art departments did an excellent job of recreating "period" technology that fit right into the setting.

Re:Should have told those who made the trailers th (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011465)

The art departments did an excellent job of recreating "period" technology that fit right into the setting.

I really really wish, though, that they didn't cover the entire ship wigh freaking gun turrets. Was that really necessary, beyond "sexing-up" the Enterprise?

Point defense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28011765)

The Vulcan cannon, point defenses. The old Enterprise (even all the later ones never improved it) didn't have any point defenses. It was either use the big honking main gun (overkill and limited ROF) or pretend it wasn't a problem.

But this one had a better tactical feel.

Re:Should have told those who made the trailers th (4, Insightful)

BlitzTech (1386589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011223)

They had to be like that, to attract people who otherwise revile Star Trek for being a nerd's pastime. How else are you supposed to draw in the masses and make a killing?

It was great, and definitely worth seeing. There's a lot of action that you seem to not be interested in, but the plot & acting are excellent.

Re:Should have told those who made the trailers th (1)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011393)

Just as long as it didn't have a car chase scene. That's the dead giveaway of a shitty sci-fi action movie--that it has to resort to a old action movie cliche that doesn't even make sense in a science fiction movie (the nonsensical car chases in "Star Trek Insurrection" and "Serenity" are great examples).

Re:Should have told those who made the trailers th (1)

BlitzTech (1386589) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011513)

Ahh... umm.. well... er...

Yeah. It did. Not really plot-related.

I have nothing more to say on this subject =(

Re:Should have told those who made the trailers th (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28011615)

This movie does have a car chase scene when young kirk steals his, presumably, step-fathers car.

Re:Should have told those who made the trailers th (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011401)

While I generally enjoyed the movie, they need to drop the Oliver Stone camera work, and this post [slashdot.org] summed up my problems with the plot quite well.

Entertaining, yes. Has potential? Perhaps. I would only call the plot excellent, though, if by "excellent" you mean "painfully contrived".

I'm sick (0, Troll)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011101)

I'm sick of people calling this a "successful reboot of the Star Trek franchise". They made one cotton-picking movie, for crying out loud. You can call it a successful reboot after they've made maybe a couple of movies, or gotten a second highly rated season of TV out of it. Until then, it is just marketing hype.

Re:I'm sick (3, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011149)

I would say I've successfully rebooted my computer when it comes back up and everything looks like it's working. The work I do on my computer once it's back up may not be worth anything, but it would have still rebooted successfully.

Re:I'm sick (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011497)

I think GPs point is that one movie compared to the whole of "Star Trek" is much the same as saying "Well, your RAM checks out in the POST"

Re:I'm sick (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28011191)

Success is measured by the box office returns unfortunately. Kudos to JJ for the the consolization of the franchise.

Re:I'm sick (1)

rpillala (583965) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011327)

No, no, it's break the ball in the handle of her cane!

I remember the line but I don't remember what it's from. A Jim Henson work, but which one?

Re:I'm sick (1)

Povno (1460131) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011597)

It's from The Frog Prince [wikia.com] circa 1971.

Re:I'm sick (1)

camperdave (969942) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011723)

I remember the line but I don't remember what it's from. A Jim Henson work, but which one?

Yes, it's from the 1971 Muppet movie The Frog Prince [wikipedia.org] .

Re:I'm sick (2, Insightful)

master_p (608214) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011331)

You are right.

Although the movie is incredibly bad, people go see it.

It's because it has the names Kirk and Spock in the titles. The exact same movie with Picard and Data would be labeled as boring and as bad as Nemesis.

Re:I'm sick (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011343)

While I agree it's a -bit- soon to be calling the reboot of the franchise a 'success', they have proven that it's possible. All they have to do is keep doing what they did.

Of course, I make that sound much simpler than it actually is, even assuming they really -know- why it's so successful. I've seen many franchises that get the first one spot-on, but then don't understand why. (Matrix, I'm looking at you!)

Re:I'm sick (1)

Opportunist (166417) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011413)

Absolutely correct. A reboot is something I do after doing changes to a working system's core to make these changes come to life, and I expect a working system to appear after the reboot is done.

This is essentially what's happening after you tinkered and toyed with the system 'til it was so fubar'ed that nothing short of a miracle could restore it to a working state.

Thus I'd call that a reinstall.

Re:I'm sick (1)

MadJeff451 (841329) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011561)

I'm sick of people calling this a "successful reboot of the Star Trek franchise". They made one cotton-picking movie, for crying out loud. You can call it a successful reboot after they've made maybe a couple of movies, or gotten a second highly rated season of TV out of it. Until then, it is just marketing hype

I'm sick of people endlessly making sequels. I watched Rambo: First Blood a couple of months ago and was shocked at how good it was.

'Story' is pure fluff (4, Insightful)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011129)

The article gushes about how the efffects were not overdone, and only put in to enhance the story. The problem is, the story itself is the screenwriting equivalent of the overzealous effects producers the article complains about.

Don't get me wrong, the movie was awesome. It was a masterpiece, but it wasn't in any way morally superior to the Star Wars prequels - they just did the special effects right.

It just didn't live up to the older Star Treks, where the focus was on the sheer joy of discovery and the strength of the human spirit. There was a bit of the latter, but it was mostly just standard action-movie fare.

Re:'Story' is pure fluff (1)

Ogive17 (691899) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011629)

It just didn't live up to the older Star Treks, where the focus was on the sheer joy of discovery and the strength of the human spirit. There was a bit of the latter, but it was mostly just standard action-movie fare.

Give the new crew a chance to make an impact. Although a bit far fetched, I enjoyed how the story showed the key players getting aboard the Enterprise. To me at least, this movie was just the groundwork for future movies/series using the same cast.

Re:'Story' is pure fluff (1)

Hatta (162192) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011793)

It just didn't live up to the older Star Treks, where the focus was on the sheer joy of discovery and the strength of the human spirit. There was a bit of the latter, but it was mostly just standard action-movie fare.

Indeed. It seems like what JJ Abrams thought was wrong with Star Trek is that it's not Star Wars.

it's just like hill street blues (1)

MrSaxonite (1521355) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011203)

and i really liked that show.... which is why I reallky like the new star wars, opps, star trek! Oh and like the batman movies the enemys are really evil!

I could not see the special effects well enough... (1)

Gunstick (312804) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011279)

I could not see the special effects well enough
because there was way too much camera shake in some shots.

Do we really need to have camera shake to make action look like action?
Are the effects so bad that they need to get hidden behind motion blur?

wow man (1)

djupedal (584558) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011303)

I thought the roll of duct tape sitting on the console shot in the trailer set the bar a bit high for the rest of the movie...oh well.

Underwhelmed (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28011305)

After all the reviews I guess maybe my expectations were too high, but personally I thought this movie was actually pretty cheesy. The whole series of coincidences and bad acting starting with meeting Spock on the planet's surface was just ridiculous. Also, if you have this "red matter" that can create a black hole, why bother to drill to the center of the planet? Hell, you could drop off a black hole around Pluto and still easily destroy the Earth depending on it's size, but at the very least just putting it right next to the Earth would certainly do the job. This movie was more of a shoot-em-up and didn't show any of Kirk's ingenuity like we see in the Wrath of Khan, which I think will probably always stand as the best Star Trek movie ever made. I had always imagined Kirk was much more subtle with his "rigging" of the kobayashi maru test and I was really disappointed to see such a blatant and brainless resetting of the entire program as opposed to a small alteration that gave him just enough of an edge to win somehow.

Re:Underwhelmed (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011643)

I had always imagined Kirk was much more subtle with his "rigging" of the kobayashi maru test and I was really disappointed to see such a blatant and brainless resetting of the entire program as opposed to a small alteration that gave him just enough of an edge to win somehow.

Yeah, come to think of it that was rather disappointing, wasn't it?

Re:Underwhelmed (2, Insightful)

Trip Ericson (864747) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011695)

Remember that this was an "alternate timeline" (I rolled my eyes too) so while THIS Kirk might have been stupid and arrogant about it, the original timeline was probably like what you imagined, and I happen to agree with you on it.

Re:Underwhelmed (2, Interesting)

Protocron (611778) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011715)

I agree with you about the kobayashi maru test, but in a sense I disagree with you.
The way that the test was exploited seems almost like a modern exploit. Look at exploits to run code on modern gaming platforms:
- The PSP: Uses a tiff exploit. You get it to show a bad picture, it reboots and runs a custom firmware (if I understand that right)
- The Wii: Exploits a save game. You save an exploited save game, you play the game, you walk up to a character and the system reboots loading a custom firmware.
And Kirk isn't very subtle. At least not in the Star Trek I have watched. He's a tactician, he takes risks, and at times he is very brazen. But subtle? No. Not Kirk.

I just love the fact... (1)

mdm-adph (1030332) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011317)

...that even though it wasn't consistent, there was actually a effort to make certain of the sudden "space action" scenes silent.

Re:I just love the fact... (1)

Gotung (571984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011703)

I could be wrong, but the only sound I noticed in space were explosions. Wouldn't a nearby explosion still have a "shockwave"? Not a compressed wall of air like in atmosphere, but at the very least the gases and fragments from the explosion itself would be speeding out. And when that collided with your space suit, or space shit, wouldn't it create a "sound" inside said space suit/ship? The muffled sound they gave to the explosions might not be accurate, but if some explodes near enough to you, even in a vacuum, a human is going to hear something.

Re:I just love the fact... (1)

Gotung (571984) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011721)

Lol, space shit, what a wonderful typo.

Lens flare and screen whiteouts /= good effects (5, Interesting)

lordsegan (637315) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011339)

This is a movie that was practically ruined by lens flare and/or screen whiteouts in almost every scene. The cinematographer also insisted on having camera shake in at least 50% of the scenes, even if the ship was moving relatively smoothly though space. If there wasn't camera shake, the camera angle was coming up from the actor's feet at a 35 degree tilt. In sum, the cinematography was distracting and truely, genuinely, terrible.

Camera shake is not "cool", it's annoying. (1)

Digital_Quartz (75366) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011683)

I'm with you on that one.

When Kirk and Pike were in the bar, on earth, there was camera shake. The Earth certainly wasn't shaking too much. My friend-who-suffers-from-motion-sickness had to leave the theater long before they made it into space.

It makes me want to write a piece of software that goes through a movie and lines up all the frames.

Science errors (spoilers) (5, Interesting)

Digital_Quartz (75366) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011371)

The new film is not without some goofs, though only a few of the ones listed by Movie Mistakes' nitpickers are sciency.

Uhh... What Star Trek movie were you watching?

Because in the one *I* watched, they traveled through the event horizon of a black hole, and came back out again (although, this is actually an interesting question over in Trek-land; warp engines let you travel FTL, so could you escape a black hole? I mean, after the tidal forces ripped your puny ship into it's component atoms, of course...)

Or, how about the "space dive", where they leaped out of a shuttlecraft and suddenly lost all their inertia? How about re-entering the atmosphere in a space-suit without any worries about friction or heat?

Or how about that giant drill? Why did it fall when they cut it off the ship? If the ship was in geosynchronous orbit, then the drill must have been traveling slightly slower than geo-synchronous orbital speed; it should have very gently drifted eastwards.

Re:Science errors (spoilers) (2, Insightful)

Grizzley9 (1407005) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011617)

Why would they need to lower the drill at all? Why do they need 3 cubic feet of red matter if it only takes one drop to cause a "black hole", let alone keeping it all in one small ship? Why not teleport a photon torpedo to their bridge? Why was older spock out of focus the whole last 10 minutes of the movie? Why, why why. It is a show, for entertainment. If you can't suspend disbelief for a few minutes when talking about interstellar space ships, time travel, and black holes, then I imagine you lead a pretty frustrating life.

It *was* a good movie (1)

Digital_Quartz (75366) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011753)

Oh, don't get me wrong, I very much enjoyed the movie. It was a lot of fun, and I'd recommend it to anyone (except my friend-who-suffers-from-motion-sickness). I'm hoping they make it into another series.

But, to claim it was largely free of science errors? No.

Re:Science errors (spoilers) (1)

rrohbeck (944847) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011619)

The worst one was how the black hole developed a strong gravitational field all of a sudden. Where did all the mass come from?
Yeah, and they were outside the event horizon, so the escape velocity was lower than light speed, so why would they have trouble escaping with the warp drive?
Oh and where were the optical effects of the event horizon? No color shift and no light bending? Meh.

Re:Science errors (spoilers) (1)

yincrash (854885) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011641)

if the drill was stationed directly above drill point and was not moving relative to it, then it would fall at 1g toward the drill point when it disconnected from the ship. it's not very complicated.

Re:Science errors (spoilers) (1)

weiserfireman (917228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011711)

Or, how about the "space dive", where they leaped out of a shuttlecraft and suddenly lost all their inertia? How about re-entering the atmosphere in a space-suit without any worries about friction or heat?

The loss of inertia thing was a little distracting, but the basic concept was still workable.

USAF proved the basic concept over 40 years about when a guy jumped from a balloon from the edge of space.

I would postulate that the basic problem with reentry heat is from slowing down from 18,000 mph to a reasonable speed for landing, the kinetic energy gets turned into heat. Now if Star Trek had someway to remove the inertia from the jumpers so that they were entering the atmosphere with little to no forward velocity, I can easily imagine that heat wouldn't be a serious problem. I can even imagine a system that launches the jumpers in the opposite direction of the orbit to kill their velocity.

But this is not the first Star Trek episode that seemed to ignore the basic rules of orbital mechanics.

All that said, how cool would that free fall be....

Re:Science errors (spoilers) (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28011725)

Or my favorite: Why drill to the middle of the planet if you're about to create a black hole? Just make the black hole and let it do the rest.

(I suppose if all you have is a mining ship, every problem starts to seem like a drilling issue?)

Re:Science errors (spoilers) (4, Interesting)

ceejayoz (567949) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011777)

Or, how about the "space dive", where they leaped out of a shuttlecraft and suddenly lost all their inertia? How about re-entering the atmosphere in a space-suit without any worries about friction or heat?

Or how about that giant drill? Why did it fall when they cut it off the ship? If the ship was in geosynchronous orbit, then the drill must have been traveling slightly slower than geo-synchronous orbital speed; it should have very gently drifted eastwards.

The Bad Astronomer covered this [discovermagazine.com] .

First off, something they got right once I thought about it some. The shuttle left Enterprise to go to the Romulan ship. At first I thought both ships were in orbit, but thatâ(TM)s not true! The Romulan ship had lowered the mining drill from above the atmosphere, but it had to be hovering above the ground to do that, not orbiting the planet, or else they wouldnâ(TM)t be stationary over one spot (true, there is a geosynchronous orbit that keeps you over one spot, but itâ(TM)s tens of thousands of kilometers over the surface, and the ships were clearly just above Vulcanâ(TM)s atmosphere).

So when the trio jump from the shuttle, my first thought was that theyâ(TM)d still be in orbit; to deorbit means theyâ(TM)d need to change their velocity by several km/sec, which is clearly not possible. But they werenâ(TM)t in orbit, so they just fell. OK, +1 internets for the movie.

They would fall fast. And they did! Their speed was a little less than a kilometer per second, which sounds about right. At their altitude there wouldnâ(TM)t be much if any air to slow them, so theyâ(TM)d free fall; as they plunged deeper air resistance would slow them down. At first I thought theyâ(TM)d actually burn like meteors, but in reality (ha! Reality!) they werenâ(TM)t going that fast.

Crap, plastic crap. (2, Insightful)

12357bd (686909) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011399)

I am tired of films made for all the audience. The plot so simple as to be ridiculous. The players pathetic, (not his fault, just an horrible history that should ever been ever filmed to start with). The effects and sound over-emphasized. And the result, well, if you have 8 years it's a great movie.

But that's not SF, that's CRAP.

The weapon effects irked me. (1)

taxman_10m (41083) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011457)

They were much to frenetic for Star Trek and looked more like Star Wars. I couldn't really tell the difference between phasers and photon torpedos. And I swear I even heard Star Wars sound effects a few times, particularly when Spock's ship was firing at the drill.

The gist of the problem (4, Insightful)

bigmaddog (184845) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011505)

It seems to me that we're still experiencing special effects giddiness as many of the industry people that started in the 70s and 80s when things were hard and you had to build intricate models and crazy sets and sometimes colour things in with crayons are now the old coots in charge and leading some of these works of wonder out there, and literally can't control the power they have. It's not even that you couldn't do some things without CG but it was just too expensive and no one in their right mind would do it.

Just look at the Gungan/droid battle at the end of SW Episode 1; it adds virtually nothing to the story but does show a total lack of imagination by those in charge. They took great pains to construct an encounter that, for all its lasers, aliens, droids and tanks, is essentially a medieval skirmish where large formations clash at close quarters. 20 years ago you'd have to dress up a few hundred guys, build faux tanks and giant beasts, and many of those things in miniature as well, and then use a lot of clever editing to pull all of it together. It would have likely never happened because of the sheer physical effort involved, or they'd do a different style of battle instead because it'd be easier to show a few people on the screen at one time. George is not the only one succumbing to this, though he certainly is our favourite example.

The current state of CG in movies is almost what would happen if new Lamborghinis were suddenly being sold for $20k - many of the people who wanted one as a kid would probably get one, and then your roads would be packed with impractical but cool-looking two-seaters, and it would take some time before people came to their senses.

good movie *Spoilers* (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28011563)

I think the cinematography, which includes the special effects, made this movie. The story line was passable, the acting alright, better than Cloverfield at least. But the emotions that JJ was able to evoke when George Kirk sacrificed himself to save the rest of the crew was powerful. Or when Kirk and the rest of them dived from orbit and was silhouetted against the sun was impressive. Sure a lot of it was obviously plot devices to be used, but it worked.

Another lesson... (4, Interesting)

afabbro (33948) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011595)

Those antipiracy dots are really annoying. Especially when you try to sneak them into a half-second of a special effects burst. Saw a couple in Star Trek, and at least four in Angels & Demons. In each case, there was an explosion or other high-contrast light and they tried to sneak in a few frames of antipiracy dots.

Although I think that technology is lame and unnecessary, there are a zillion less obvious places to put it...

Demographics? (1, Troll)

hyades1 (1149581) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011601)

I assume this movie was made for your basic young adult male, since that's supposed to be the most desirable segment of the audience, especially for this genre. Abrams and company obviously believe such people are lobotomized morons, since that's the level they pitched the movie to. Most of the young people I know are brighter than that. They might turn out for this movie, but I doubt very much whether they'll be back en masse for the sequel.

Michael Baysplosions!!! (2, Insightful)

Spy Hunter (317220) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011637)

Personally, I knew JJ Abrams was no Michael Bay [youtube.com] when the orbital drill, after being destroyed, fell into San Francisco Bay *right next* to the Golden Gate bridge, but somehow missed subjecting us to a gratuitous and cliched effects sequence of the destruction of San Francisco's most famous landmark, preferring instead to get on with the story.

some of those goofs are goofy (3, Insightful)

pohl (872) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011639)

One of the "goofs" doesn't make sense to me:

The first shots of the Enterprise in space show it docked at the massive space station with the bridge facing the center of the station. When they show Spock entering the bridge for the first time (when the ship is still docked) you can see the view out of the front viewscreen/window. You should be able to see the huge space station, but all you see is empty space.
Submitted by BocaDavie

Isn't it possible that people in that century have figured out that you can have a camera facing backwards and put it on a video screen on a wall facing the other direction?

Effects have gotten worse (4, Interesting)

Kokuyo (549451) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011689)

Perhaps it's just me, but I think special effects have gotten worse, not more impressive, over time.

A good example would be the scene where Wolverine is playing with his new adamantium claws in front of a mirror in the latest X-Men movie. You can't miss the fact that they have been added to the movie with a computer.

What gives? In the first movie, I believe, they used props. They looked real enough.

What about the first Hulk movie? I haven't seen the movie, I'll admit. But from the trailer it was obvious the CGI did not fit into the movie at all. Remember Jurassic Park? How fricking old is that movie? How can it be that it looked more realistic than newer movies?

Is this just a matter of using the computer too much? Is it a lack of care or skill? I don't know. I just know that these things didn't jump at me, figuratively speaking, so much five to ten years ago...

I liked it (3, Interesting)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 5 years ago | (#28011763)

I can break the movie down into 10 words: I'm Captain Kirk and I'm going to kick your ass.

Star Trek was not a thought provoking movie. It didn't raise many of the ethical and moral questions that TOS and TNG did - in fact, it went so far as to shit all over that idea (one of the last scenes with Nero, Kirk chooses violence over peace). It also wasn't a deep movie - beyond the story of the TOS crew meeting each other there really isn't much there.

To me this wasn't a problem. It was an entertaining TOS-type movie (not to be confused with the TOS crew in a Roddenberry movie, ala ST1-4), with corny action movies, dead red shirts, the classic theme, the classic voiceover, and Kirk being a badass ("I've got your gun").

Overall it was a fun movie. It's no Godfather II, but it's certainly not a pile of shit like Twilight. Artistically, it's bunk. Entertainment wise, it fits the bill, and gives the Star Trek series the new legs that, in my opinion, it so desperately needed.

(And if you don't think Star Trek needed new legs, I'll say this: The later episodes of DS9 and Voyager sucked. Warp 10 being "everywhere at once"? The magical anti-borg shielding? Don't even get me started on the Enterprise episodes, or the three movies prior to this one)

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