The Cage Remastered: Give Me Back My Film Grain!

Posted by Michael Pinto on Apr 23, 2009 in Star Trek |

Captain PikeThe first weekend in May they’ll be airing a remastered version of the Cage. The only problem I have with these remastered versions is that the Enterprise looks very CGI — what I’d rather see instead is to have them make the special effects look like a feature film from the 60s. The problem is that the CGI contrasts so much with the look of the original series that it’s distracting to the eye, you spend too much time looking at the animation and not the action. Also the CGI looks too clean, it needs some film grain and texture to match the original show:

By the way instead of showing new special effects, why not get the surviving cast or folks involved with the show to do a commentary? Here’s some nice footage of Gene Roddenberry in 1986 talking about the Cage when it was first shown:

Frankly part of the problem is trying force the original show to be something new — there’s a real Quentin Tarantino charm to just how crude the show was, so why try and make it slick? For example the Orion slave girl character is very 50s — it’s as sexist and as dated as you can get, but at the same time that cheesy quality makes it unique and lovable. And by the way it clear that George Lucas owes something to this scene when he had Princess Leia in her slave bikini:

Vina appears as an Orion slave girl

And take this scene where Pike and Vina enjoy an illusory picnic outside Mojave — when was the last time you found a horse in a science fiction story? This sort of thing harkens back to all of the westerns that were so popular on TV during that era — so fixing it up defeats the point, if anything it should look like a borrowed set from Gunsmoke:

Pike and Vina enjoy an illusory picnic outside Mojave

Lastly you’ve got the Talosians — part of what makes them so creepy is the fact that they’re so crudely done. They’re scary in the same way that old Twilight Zone monsters are scary — it’s not about the bad makeup, it’s all about the script and the writing.


I mean you can redo every shot with the Talosians and “get it right” — but why? What made the original Star Treks so great wasn’t the special effects — it was the writing. That show had real honest-to-goodness science fiction writers doing the scripts, making the show one notch above everything else that has been done before or since. And that’s what a rebroadcast of the show should be focused on — highlighting a series that had a high IQ for a change. Re-rendering the Enterprise is just missing the entire point…

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