Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Igor Trajkovski

Star Trek: Picard

Recommended Posts

Anybody watching?
 

 

 

Looks great.
 

Star Trek is getting stylistically and thematically darker.

As Ryan Arey from ScreenRant comented on his "Every Easter Egg in Episode 5 + Breakdown & Theories" YT video:
"OK... I guess this isn't my mom's Star Trek anymore.  People curse, they vape, and **** is probably hold up in her quarters with space heroin" :)

Somehow till this episode #5 i had the feeling of things are still "prepping" for the "upcoming" action.
Not that there wasn't any, far from it.
 
It comes i guess being used from STNG and Picard in it, where most of the episodes were self contained stories.
And here you wait for the next to see the resolution and the new cliffhanger, long story arc of Picard and the rest of the cast...
That's alright though.

To me the exterior space scenes/ships slightly hing toward the "electronic" look.
I might be hairsplitting here.

BTW i am not talking practicals vs. CGI here.  Just a wish for slight dose of "imperfection" maybe for added realism...



 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Honestly, it's an interesting series, but it's pretty poorly written, especially dialog wise. I'm dismayed with all the flashbacks, B and C stories they show multiple times in order to hammer home a point. They're not letting the audience do any discovery of their own, force feeding everything and as a consequence, they're for sure not catering to smart people. I'm unimpressed by the star trek futuristic sets, the ship they're on makes no sense layout wise and in the last episode they went to that bar and it was just a black room with lights dangling from the ceiling? I mean they're not even trying production design wise. Then they over-do it with some creature and costume design work, I'm like ok... that's interesting. 

You'd think by episode 5, they'd move the plot forward a lot, but they're revealing the plot so slowly, pealing it back like an orange and giving us little tidbits, the big reveal at the end is probably going to be 5 minutes long and leave us wondering why we bothered watching the prior 7 episodes. It reminds me a lot of what happened to Stranger Things, it turned into a simple plot surrounded by lots of dialog that means nothing. I don't know what's wrong with writers today, but it's clear to me that they're purposely reducing the amount of plot in episodes to keep people watching. 

Anyway, I'll keep watching Picard, but it's nothing special really. I'm glad to see Patrick Stewart back, but in my opinion, they've not created a memorable series in any way. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is very uneven to me. I think I've gotten too used to seeing tentpole streaming shows like some of the Fincher stuff be really well thought-through in terms of how it is presented.

The anamorphic photography is nice but also, perhaps a bit squandered with a lot of tight closeup handheld stuff shot on some very long lenses. There's also no real apparent rhyme or reason as to whether or not something is shot handheld or locked down. It almost has a CSI kind of feel to it. Large aspects of the show feel under-developed to me. It's all competent but that's it. Nothing really jumps out as being extraordinary. The two Jonathan Frakes-directed episodes looked noticeably more put-together but he's easily the most veteran director on staff though having now done TV since TNG's "The Offspring" in 1989. I probably would have made him the producing director on the show instead of Hanelle Culpepper who is great with actors, but I'm not sure is as good with establishing a consistent setting, mood and tone -- something I think a lot of TV directors struggle with because it just isn't asked of TV directors as commonly as with feature filmmakers who have to invent it all. This show sort of lacks a coherent visual point-of-view.

The production design is pretty good and they've updated some things nicely. If it were me, however, I would want the Borg reclamation cube to feel more menacing, like the Nostromo or something where there was real sense that bad things could happen there. The visual effects philosophy I'm not a fan of. I just personally don't like cartoony looking space shots. Especially in Star Trek because, again, those old model shots gave Star Trek a grounded realism that made it feel plausible. The Enterprise-D even 30 years later feels so much more "real." (especially compared to the Enterprise E in the movies). This feels too slick and over-produced to me. Too much like concept art, especially if you watch great representations of space like Interstellar, Gravity, or even the last two Ridley Scott Alien films, Prometheus and Covenant where you really get a sense of an actual vehicle in space. Picard has that over-set-extensioned Guardians of the Galaxy feel to me, which just isn't my cup of tea.

I agree with Tyler that this entire saga could've easily been told in a single two-hour movie as there's not 10 hours worth of narrative here to carry it. But the thing that takes me out of it is that the writers and producers seem to take the story-world a little too willy-nilly. When you're making a show like Picard which is a continuation of a story world that has been developed over generations you have to be careful with what you evolve because there are rules to this story world that have to be obeyed otherwise the narrative becomes nonsense and implausible according to the rules of that world. Not just the obvious stuff like what about Data's brother Lore or the fact that he has an android "mother" -- all things that were established in TNG. But things like the F-bombs and contemporary parlance can really kill it. Star Trek has a way of speaking that's almost Shakespearean, that was deliberately intended to place this universe in contrast with our own. When you have androids running around saying "Hell yea" or Admirals saying "shut the **(obscenity removed)** up!" it's jarring. it's as if Darth Vader started talking jive. It breaks the rules of the story world.

That to me is the problem I have with the show. It's competently produced (though not anything special when you put it up against something like Mindhunter or House of Cards or even The Mandalorian where the framing, design, acting, lighting are just exquisite), but the premise of the show defies the premise of Roddenberry's story-world. One of the complaints I hear over and over again is that "this doesn't feel like Star Trek," and that's what happens when the world of the film gets messed with in counterproductive ways. You can't have Albus Dumbeldore be exposed as a pedophile, even if that would make for a more interesting Hogwarts storyline, because that is a violation of the premise of the Harry Potter story-world. Similarly Star Trek is meant to show a world where people, while not perfect, have nonetheless figured some things out and managed to construct a better society (or at very least have pushed all the problematic people off to some other colony somewhere like Tasha's homeworld). It tells us that Earth's future can indeed be brighter than our present and past. When that premise is discarded and Starfleet/Federation is made the villains (and not just a wayward Admiral which can be dismissed as human foibles) and you have an Earth with people with drug and alcohol addictions, that might make for a compelling drama in the abstract, but that fundamentally isn't what Star Trek was trying to do. The point of Star Trek was to draw a contrast between our modern day and a potential better future, not make the future as bad as our modern day. The problem with Kurtzman-era Trek is that its filled with people who are basically unsavory in a world that, quite frankly, is just as messed up as our own. I mean the total destruction of Mars by androids is worse than the current pandemic we are facing. That's like Star Wars-level darkness. So much for a great big beautiful tomorrow. Say what you want about JJ/Kennedy-era Star Wars, they were very careful to not mess too much with the Star Wars story-world. Even though we may have issues with their narrative choices, the actions of the characters all feels correct. Rogue One feels like a plausible prequel to A New Hope whereas I'm not sure Picard really feels at home as a follow up to Berman-era Trek. The DP of Rogue One Greig Fisher said that for a franchise followup film to work they had call back to Star Wars not necessarily as it actually was but "as everyone remembers it," because it is the emotional connection people have that has allowed the story to endure. I think was a wise observation. Picard and Discovery clearly have a different philosophy.

Furthermore the antagonists of Star Trek were there to create situations for our characters to realize their better instincts. Where modern-day humans might've just hauled off and killed out of revenge, Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, at the end of the day always took the higher road, even if they didn't want to (which is the point of a film like Star Trek VI). Those characters and their crews had a nobility that this show seems to think is quaint, which just makes it cynical. I just re-watched The Best of Both Worlds the other night and the difference in maturity is striking. Who cares that the VFX (which by the way still hold up after 30 years) aren't what we would do today. The way the late Cliff Bole directed that with such simple moves like Picard walking in and out of frame waiting for the cube to show up or the shot of Guinan sitting in the dark staring out into space in Ten Forward give that episode more of a palpable sense of dread than anything I've seen on Picard so far.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Phil Jackson said:

It is very uneven to me. I think I've gotten too used to seeing tentpole streaming shows like some of the Fincher stuff be really well thought-through in terms of how it is presented.

The anamorphic photography is nice but also, perhaps a bit squandered with a lot of tight closeup handheld stuff shot on some very long lenses. There's also no real apparent rhyme or reason as to whether or not something is shot handheld or locked down. It almost has a CSI kind of feel to it. Large aspects of the show feel under-developed to me. It's all competent but that's it. Nothing really jumps out as being extraordinary. The two Jonathan Frakes-directed episodes looked noticeably more put-together but he's easily the most veteran director on staff though having now done TV since TNG's "The Offspring" in 1989. I probably would have made him the producing director on the show instead of Hanelle Culpepper who is great with actors, but I'm not sure is as good with establishing a consistent setting, mood and tone -- something I think a lot of TV directors struggle with because it just isn't asked of TV directors as commonly as with feature filmmakers who have to invent it all. This show sort of lacks a coherent visual point-of-view.

The production design is pretty good and they've updated some things nicely. If it were me, however, I would want the Borg reclamation cube to feel more menacing, like the Nostromo or something where there was real sense that bad things could happen there. The visual effects philosophy I'm not a fan of. I just personally don't like cartoony looking space shots. Especially in Star Trek because, again, those old model shots gave Star Trek a grounded realism that made it feel plausible. The Enterprise-D even 30 years later feels so much more "real." (especially compared to the Enterprise E in the movies). This feels too slick and over-produced to me. Too much like concept art, especially if you watch great representations of space like Interstellar, Gravity, or even the last two Ridley Scott Alien films, Prometheus and Covenant where you really get a sense of an actual vehicle in space. Picard has that over-set-extensioned Guardians of the Galaxy feel to me, which just isn't my cup of tea.

I agree with Tyler that this entire saga could've easily been told in a single two-hour movie as there's not 10 hours worth of narrative here to carry it. But the thing that takes me out of it is that the writers and producers seem to take the story-world a little too willy-nilly. When you're making a show like Picard which is a continuation of a story world that has been developed over generations you have to be careful with what you evolve because there are rules to this story world that have to be obeyed otherwise the narrative becomes nonsense and implausible according to the rules of that world. Not just the obvious stuff like what about Data's brother Lore or the fact that he has an android "mother" -- all things that were established in TNG. But things like the F-bombs and contemporary parlance can really kill it. Star Trek has a way of speaking that's almost Shakespearean, that was deliberately intended to place this universe in contrast with our own. When you have androids running around saying "Hell yea" or Admirals saying "shut the **(obscenity removed)** up!" it's jarring. it's as if Darth Vader started talking jive. It breaks the rules of the story world.

That to me is the problem I have with the show. It's competently produced (though not anything special when you put it up against something like Mindhunter or House of Cards or even The Mandalorian where the framing, design, acting, lighting are just exquisite), but the premise of the show defies the premise of Roddenberry's story-world. One of the complaints I hear over and over again is that "this doesn't feel like Star Trek," and that's what happens when the world of the film gets messed with in counterproductive ways. You can't have Albus Dumbeldore be exposed as a pedophile, even if that would make for a more interesting Hogwarts storyline, because that is a violation of the premise of the Harry Potter story-world. Similarly Star Trek is meant to show a world where people, while not perfect, have nonetheless figured some things out and managed to construct a better society (or at very least have pushed all the problematic people off to some other colony somewhere like Tasha's homeworld). It tells us that Earth's future can indeed be brighter than our present and past. When that premise is discarded and Starfleet/Federation is made the villains (and not just a wayward Admiral which can be dismissed as human foibles) and you have an Earth with people with drug and alcohol addictions, that might make for a compelling drama in the abstract, but that fundamentally isn't what Star Trek was trying to do. The point of Star Trek was to draw a contrast between our modern day and a potential better future, not make the future as bad as our modern day. The problem with Kurtzman-era Trek is that its filled with people who are basically unsavory in a world that, quite frankly, is just as messed up as our own. I mean the total destruction of Mars by androids is worse than the current pandemic we are facing. That's like Star Wars-level darkness. So much for a great big beautiful tomorrow. Say what you want about JJ/Kennedy-era Star Wars, they were very careful to not mess too much with the Star Wars story-world. Even though we may have issues with their narrative choices, the actions of the characters all feels correct. Rogue One feels like a plausible prequel to A New Hope whereas I'm not sure Picard really feels at home as a follow up to Berman-era Trek. The DP of Rogue One Greig Fisher said that for a franchise followup film to work they had call back to Star Wars not necessarily as it actually was but "as everyone remembers it," because it is the emotional connection people have that has allowed the story to endure. I think was a wise observation. Picard and Discovery clearly have a different philosophy.

Furthermore the antagonists of Star Trek were there to create situations for our characters to realize their better instincts. Where modern-day humans might've just hauled off and killed out of revenge, Kirk, Picard, Sisko, Janeway, at the end of the day always took the higher road, even if they didn't want to (which is the point of a film like Star Trek VI). Those characters and their crews had a nobility that this show seems to think is quaint, which just makes it cynical. I just re-watched The Best of Both Worlds the other night and the difference in maturity is striking. Who cares that the VFX (which by the way still hold up after 30 years) aren't what we would do today. The way the late Cliff Bole directed that with such simple moves like Picard walking in and out of frame waiting for the cube to show up or the shot of Guinan sitting in the dark staring out into space in Ten Forward give that episode more of a palpable sense of dread than anything I've seen on Picard so far.

Amazing analysis Phil! 
I'd love to read more of your thoughts on every tv show or movie you watch! 
 

Thanks for sharing it!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Sign in to follow this  


  • Tai Audio



    Serious Gear



    Broadcast Solutions Inc



    Abel Cine



    Wooden Camera



    Rig Wheels Passport



    Media Blackout - Custom Cables and AKS



    FJS International



    Ritter Battery



    Just Cinema Gear



    The Original Slider



    Metropolis Post



    New Pro Video - New and Used Equipment



    Glidecam



    G-Force Grips



    Paralinx LLC



    Visual Products



    Gamma Ray Digital Inc



    CineLab


    Cinematography Books and Gear
×
×
  • Create New...