Monday, February 29, 2016
Ask JKM a Question: Star Trek Re-mastering?
A reader named Jason writes:
"I noticed in your Star Trek reviews this year that you haven't been using images from the digital re-mastering. Is that an oversight, or was it intentional?
Do you dislike the remastering of the series for some reason?"
Jason, that's a great question, and a point worth writing about.
It is true that I have, in my 50th anniversary Star Trek blogging, been seeking out title cards and original special effects shots, prior to the 2005 digital re-mastering.
I suppose that I made this choice because I want to honor the original presentation of Star Trek, which existed from 1966-2005, something like 39 years.
Those special effects held up remarkably well. for a long, long time. And then they stopped holding up.
I wanted to feature, for lack of a better description, the Star Trek that I grew up with. That's my reason for featuring shots from the original series, pre-2005.
Now, I like the re-mastering quite a bit. In virtually every way, the new fx have improved the series, giving the episodes a greater sense of scope, and smoothing out inconsistencies in visualizations.
For example, Tantalus in "Dagger of the Mind" is now no longer the lithium cracking station from "Where No Man Has Gone Before." It's a new design, and one that seems more appropriate for an underground, isolated penal colony.
Now, when we're supposed to see a Klingon ship, for example, we get a Klingon ship, instead of a glowing light ("Friday's Child.")
And an effects-heavy episode, like "The Doomsday Machine" is all the more effective now with improved special effects (and the subtracting of an AMT model kit from the final cut...).
So, actually, I wholeheartedly endorse the digital re-mastering of Star Trek. I believe the new effects grant the series fresh life, especially for younger and new fans. Even on a basic level, the effects are improvements. The planets encountered by the Enterprise look more like we know planets should look.
By the same token, I suppose I see the remastering as an additional "chapter" to the legend, not the original chapter.
Like I said, I grew up with a whole different set of effects and visuals. Even though many of those effects and visuals have aged substantially, the original artists worked long and hard to create them under difficult conditions. They had to produce complex effects, and produce them on a deadline.
Their work shouldn't be entirely erased from history, I feel.
So by featuring "original" Trek, I'm not trying to diss the digital remastering. In fact, I will readily acknowledge that the digital remastering is superior in so many ways.
And yet, I grew up with analog Star Trek, and wanted, for this 50th anniversary, go back to that beginning, in terms of the images I choose. Perhaps I should offer, where it is warranted, side-by-side comparisons?
Don't forget to ask me your questions at Muirbusiness@yahoo.com