You Don’t Need a Belt Buckle If You Don’t Have a Belt

Last night, Thrack and I watched Star Trek: The Motion Picture.  I haven’t seen it in so long that most of the details had faded into fuzzy notions of plot, so when I watched it again I could help but be struck by a few things.

The first is that the costuming and set design feel much older and jarring than I remember.  The later Star Trek films with the original series cast have costuming that feels very different and that stay fairly consistent over time.  Even though it came out in 1979, it feels like it could have been a few years earlier.  Space heels and wide collar sweater miniskirt are indescribably bad, but what is with all the open uniform shirts that appear and disappear without a lot of consistency?  Did the air conditioning go out and suddenly everyone needed to be in cool short sleeved shirts?

Thrack observed that it was clear that the ideas for the Next Generation series were already sort of tumbling around.  And looking at the way that the ship had been redesigned, I have to agree.  The engineering section has a lot of elements that carry over to the Next Generation ship design, although it didn’t start for almost another decade.

What I was almost shocked by was how simple the movie was.  As a kid it didn’t seem obvious to me that a good portion of the movie involved slow pan shots of what were super cool new visual effects at the time.  Often with people in space suits floating around freely, without any sense what the hell those people are doing or why they would just be chilling out in space.  It’s actually a kind of boring plot, and I believe I have the moral of the story now:

Never, ever build and send out probes, it will never go well.

Or alternatively:

Don’t build Brainaic.  He will come back and cause problems.

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