Star Trek to Receive CGI Makeover

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Title: Star Trek to Receive CGI Makeover
Creator: Randall Landers
Date(s): September 6, 2006
Medium: print
Fandom: Star Trek
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Star Trek to Receive CGI Makeover is an essay/article by Randall Landers.


It was printed in hard copy, but was likely posted to the Orion Press website as well. It is in response to "a report on E!Online by Natlie Finn."

Topics Discussed


CBS Paramount, the new folks in charge of the Star Trek franchise, announced on Thursday, August 31 st, that "all 79 episodes of the original Star Trek are being digitally remastered and will be heading into syndication next month for the first time in 16 years in honor of the sci-fi classic's 40th anniversary." The visual effects of the original series will be completely redone in HD CGI in an attempt to appeal to the Modern Trek fans who have been unable to get past what were, 40 years ago, state-of-the-art award-winning special effects. In a George Lucas-like move, the visual effects (spaceships, alien landscapes, space battles, etc.) will be redone in order to appeal to the fan-boys. And sadly, after viewing those special effects in their first effort, I was far from impressed. The fan films like Starship Exeter and Star Trek: New Voyages have better special effects.
This isn't the first time a Star Trek product has been madeover. Fans will recall how they were promised that the re-imaged Star Trek: The Motion Picture would simply be more truer to the concept Gene Roddenberry and Robert Wise had intended. Instead, they were treated to the nonsensical removal of certain sound effects, visual effects at less-than-impressive quality levels, and even wholesale changes in dialogue. Sadly, the ABC-TV edited version with the extra footage {sans special effects in some scenes-anyone remember seeing the set and the wires as Kirk leaves the Enterprise!) remains the superior version of the film. In addition to this, the model of the Enterprise at the Smithsonian was "restored" in a highly fan-boy manner, complete with wholesale changes to the original painting scheme. Fans cannot help but be concerned about what might be done with this makeover of their favorite episodes. I was concerned that Wah Chung's beautiful Romulan bird-of-prey be fan-boyed into a post-TNG styled Romulan warbird, complete with glowing lights, doodads and other atrocities. Fortunately, that didn't happen, but I was really disappointed with the renderings. I think the original model just cannot be digitally replicated with its beautiful fiery bird of prey on its underside.
"We're taking great pains to respect the integrity and style of the original, "Michael Okuda, a scenic-art supervisor on the Star Trek films and spinoffs for the past 18 years," told "Our goal is to always ask ourselves: What would Roddenberry have done with today's technology?" The problem we fans have to ask ourselves is "Is this what should be done with the original series?" Are they going to CGI wholesale changes akin to the scene in Star Wars where Han Solo now shoots Greedo in self-defense (after artfully dodging a laser beam) instead of as in the original, without warning? Are they going to change the canon of the episodes with their efforts?
Lastly, the episodes are not being "improved" in production order nor in the order in which they originally were aired. Instead, Okuda, his wife Denise, and producer David Rossi chose to unveil the revamped series starting with what they perceive as the fans' favorites. And the reason behind these changes? No doubt about it: it's to appeal to the fanboys, and to try to get Classic fans to buy yet another copy of each DVD or HD-DVD. Don't buy into it, folks. Trust me, if "Balance of Terror" is the example, it ain't gonna be worth it. They're just trying to milk the cow again.