The Making of Star Trek The Motion Picture by Susan Sackett

A couple of months back I posted about finding out that there was “making of” book about Star Trek II The Wrath of Khan when I had always assumed there had never been such a book published. (http://www.monobrowze.co.uk/the-making-of-star-trek-ii-the-wrath-of-khan-by-allan-asherman/) Finding that volume prompted me to go looking for “making ofs” for the other original series movies and I quickly discovered that a similar book was published for Star Trek The Motion Picture. Eventually I found a copy of the online and after a long wait it arrived.

The authors are credited as Susan Sackett and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry, although inside the book it is made clear that Sacket did the actual writing given that Roddenberry was a bit busy what with making the actual movie at the time.

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This book is slightly larger than the one that followed for the second movie as can be seen in this photo.

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Also the book for TWOK was written after the fact and featured interviews with cast and crew of that movie some time after production had finished and the movie released. This earlier book however gives a much more hands-on approach to the making of TMP and it is clear that the author was actually present during the production.

One surprising thing is that the book doesn’t shy away from recounting the convoluted and torturous process of writing the script for the movie based on pilot episode script for the cancelled Star Trek Phase II series, even admitting that the script had no ending when they started production. These days that fact is common knowledge but I am surprised that an official Paramount-authorised book would admit such a thing in 1980.

The date of publication is given as March 1980.

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And here’s an idea of the contents.

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Also of note is the inclusion of 16 pages of colour images, something the book for TWOK didn’t have.

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There’s a lot of reading in this book and I can imagine how Star Trek fans would have gobbled it up after a decade with no new live-action shows.

As a final note I will mention that it does not appear that such a book was produced for The Search for Spock. But I’ll keep looking just in case.

Star Trek Starships Partwork #1 – Enterprise-D revisited

Back on 23 August 2012 (in other words a year ago, almost to the day) I posted about issue 1 of the Star Trek Starships Collection. I had subscribed to the pilot series of this part-work that in the end only lasted three issues. If I recall correctly I actually received my issues in reverse order. You can read my original post here: http://www.monobrowze.co.uk/star-trek-starships-partwork-1-enterprise-d/

Issue 1 was the Enterprise-D from Star Trek The Next Generation and now, one year on, the series has finally appeared nationwide across the UK with a release also promised for the USA later in the year.

Given that issue 1 is just £1.99 I thought I’d buy it again to compare and contrast with last year’s version. In the meantime here are a couple of quick photos

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In theory my subscription should pick up with issue 4 but I have a funny suspicion it will take numerous emails and phone calls to chase it up when the time comes.

Also my model with issue 2 (The refit Enterprise from Star Trek The Motion Picture) arrived broken last year so I’ve been patiently waiting for a replacement. That will probably require chasing up as well. You can see that post at http://www.monobrowze.co.uk/star-trek-starships-partwork-2-enterprise-refit/

I thought I would put this news on here as I have noticed that my posts on the first three issues in 2012 are among the most popular posts on my blog. I will attempt to keep posting some photos of the models as they become available.

The promised subscription gifts will still apparently include a light-up Borg cube and an Enterprise dedication plaque.

Oblivion blu ray movie review

oblivion_ver2Last night I finally got to see the newly released Oblivion on blu ray after missing it on its cinema release. It was a “blind buy” but I thought it was worth taking a chance on as I am a big fan of director Joseph Kosinski’s Tron Legacy. I was not disappointed and enjoyed the movie very much.

Tom Cruise narrates an opening bit of exposition. It is 2077 and the Earth is (officially) uninhabited after a war with alien invaders. The aliens smashed up Earth’s moon and the resulting shifts in gravity messed everything up. Now after vanquishing the alien invaders humanity is leaving the ruins of Earth and is migrating to Saturn’s moon Titan. Cruise’s character Jack Harper and his wife Victoria, played by Andrea Riseborough, are overseeing maintenance of some drones. The drones in turn watch over big water sucking behemoths that are draining Earth’s oceans for the raw materials that will make the trip to Titan possible.

We first see Cruise and his wife live on a gravity-defying house miles above the Earth’s surface and then see Cruise flying around in his nifty little bubble plane. I did initially wonder at how humanity was supposed to gain such high-tech hardware in the relatively near future. But in the end it all made sense. But that would be telling…

We are quickly launched into a visually stunning world as Cruise goes on patrol of the ruins of Earth. I actually hate typing “visually stunning” as it is such a cliché but I can’t think how else to describe how this movie looks. The words visually stunning were invented for this movie.

Later on Cruise finds the wreck of a human space craft from the NASA era with its crew still in suspended animation. One of the aggressive drones starts shooting the life pods and Cruise has to intervene to prevent the last pod being destroyed. Just as well he did because the pod contains Olga Kurylenko’s astronaut character Julia and more to the point she remembers being married to Cruise back before the aliens invaded. And confusingly Cruise has fragments of memory of meeting her on top of the Empire State Building decades ago.

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Also in the mix are a bunch of human survivors led by Morgan Freeman who appear to want to capture Cruise for their own purposes.

Without giving too much away it is apparent that something is not quite right with Cruise’s world and he goes on a journey to discover what the truth is. It’s perhaps no accident that the NASA spacecraft that Julia was on was called Odyssey.

There are some nice little plot twists. Some I semi-predicted but one in particular took me by surprise and I enjoyed very much.

I’m not the biggest Tom Cruise fan in the world but I have to admit that he is very good at what he does. (I was also tremendously entertained by his Jack Reacher despite myself.) It’s also always nice to see Olga Kurylenko appear in a new movie and transcend her Bond origins. (I like Olga, she’s pretty.)

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But the big surprise for me was Andrea Riseborough. I somehow have not seen her in anything yet and I thought she was pretty damn good. Her role was possibly the trickiest to pull off and she did very well. I shall presently be checking out her back-catalog of movies.

I’m quite keen for Joseph Kosinski to get stuck into Tron 3, or even the rumoured The Black Hole remake, but if he turns out other movies of this quality in between then I won’t be complaining.

Interesting (or not) piece of trivia. Olga Kurylenko has also made a movie called Land of Oblivion about the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.

Hayley Atwell in Agent Carter short movie on Iron Man 3 blu ray

OK, I must be a slow learner as I just discovered this last night.

Basically there is a new Marvel “One Shot” short movie as an extra on the forthcoming Iron Man 3 Blu Ray titled Agent Carter. It features the improbably lovely Hayley Atwell as Agent Peggy Carter, last seen in the Captain America movie (and in a file photo in The Avengers).

In fact this new short seems to be a period piece and is therefore a little sequel to Captain America. It appears that news of this was announced last month but I’m only seeing it now.

Here’s a clip:

The folks at Marvel have also gone to the bother of producing a pulp magazine-style poster design to accompany the short film. When I saw it last night it had me squeeling like a teenage girl at a boy band concert.

(OK, really it didn’t. but I metaphorically felt like squeeling like a teenage girl at a boy band concert…)

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Damn, I need that poster. I like Hayley. She’s pretty!

So it’s an extra reason to buy that Iron Man 3 Blu Ray which is out on 9 September, at least in the UK. And perhaps Hayley will turn up in Captain America 2 next year…

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The Prisoner title sequence location visit

Recently I was in London for the first time in many years. I decided to take the opportunity to look for a location that appears in the opening credits of the 1960s TV show The Prisoner. In the show Patrick McGoohan’s unnamed secret agent Number Six is kidnapped from his London home after he resigns from his employers.

I always wondered where his London home was and I discovered that the address is 1 Buckingham Place and it was very close to where I was going to be getting off my train at Victoria Station.

So here is the location as filmed in 1967 and as it appears in the opening credits…

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And here it is in August 2013…

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I was very excited to see the red post box was still there!

Later in the sequence Number Six gets gassed and there is a “woozy” effect of the tower blocks outside as he goes under…

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I took a quick snap of the surviving tower block across the street. I decided not to simulate any woozy effects. But go ahead and tilt your head back and forth if you feel like you want to.

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Here is Buckingham Place on a Google Map in case you are interested in going there yourself.


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And now enjoy the opening credits in full accompanied by the wonderful Ron Grainer theme tune.

Star Wars themed Battlestar Galactica comic cover

I thought this was quite fun.

Dynamite Comics are currently publishing a classic Battlestar Galactica story. Alex Ross is doing the main covers for the issues and the art for issue three looks a little familiar as it’s a homage to the Star Wars poster art variants by Tom Jung and the Hildebrandt brothers back in the the 1970s.

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All very appropriate as Battlestar was clearly inspired by the success of Star Wars.

Anyway, it’s a cool piece of art. I particularly like the squadron of Vipers in the style of the X-Wings. It’s also nice to see Maren Jensen’s Athena appearing on these covers. (I like Athena, She’s pretty.)

Hopefully if the series continues we will see an Empire Strikes Back homage…