The astonishingly talented Daren R. Dochterman, whose work I have personally respected for years, has himself a hobby at the moment. This hobby may seem a tad peculiar to some, but to a die hard mega-Geek like me, his efforts make perfect sense. And my guess is it might to many of you, too. So I thought I'd share this.
Backing up a little for context...
Dochterman is production illustrator, concept artist, storyboardist, etc. on a number of very high profile films: THE CHRONICELS OF RIDDICK, TRON LEGACY, SE7EN, G.I. JOE: THE RISE OF COBRA, and IRON MAN 2 are among his credits.
He's also a visual effects artist.
In what is perhaps his crowning achievement to date (in the VFX field), Dochterman served as Visual Effects Supervisor for 2001's amazing "Director's Edition" of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE. This under appreciated gem, which has gone unrecognized by many to this day, visited a tremendous number of changes onto director Robert Wise's 1979 film - countless editorial tweaks (often very minute), some re-jiggering of sound, some re-visitation of previously flawed FX shots, and the apparently seamless integration of several new effects shots. This isn't a "Special Edition" in the clumsier, George Lucas sense. This is an exercise in subtlety - sometimes so much so that you might not even notice such augmentations that are afoot. It may well be the best "Special Edition" undertaking of its kind ever realized. If it isn't, it certainly ranks him among them.
The result? It's still STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, but it more or less completed a process director Wise didn't have time to see through when the film was rushed to release back in December '79. The result is a breezier, richer, and in many regards more complete narrative experience - which was, by the way, realized under guidance from Wise himself. 22 years after the fact, Wise (along with Dochterman, producer David C. Fein, restoration supervisor Mike Matessino, and a posse of damn talented crafts people) finally gave us a movie much closer to the picture he had in mind so long ago. The picture, and audiences, and posterity, are better for it.
So there's the background, and Dochterman loves STAR TREK. Despite the breadth of his accomplishments, TREK never seems to be far from his view. For example, he recently undertook re-creating the original STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE television spots, none of which are in true HD on the Blu-ray (the original version of the film is the only version released on Blu-ray - the Director's Edition is not). He's essentially pulling the equivalent footage off of the Blus, and re-assembling the spots using the discs HD source material. These spots have never before been seen with such visual crispness, or depth of color. And they're pretty amazing.
For all of STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE's admitted imperfections, these spots...are something magical. There's an elegance here...a poetry...a grandeur which I'm not sure any other television promotion for a film has equaled since. Which is somehow appropriate, because STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE was also the last, epic space saga to bring us Kubrickian wonder - for better or worse. I remember, so vividly, seeing the second video - titled "Challenge" here - before being hauled off to sing at a school choir performance. I was in such awe, and so moved by its music and imagery, that I literally forgot the words to every song I was supposed to sing that night. Good thing I was in a choir - I moved my mouth so no one would notice. Although I suspect someone did.
Here are Dochterman's slavishly precise reconstructions of the STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE television spots, and more are apparently on the way. Keep you eye on THIS playlist for new additions as they come around. Behold what may be the last truly wondrous television spots created for any film, for the last truly grand "experiential" space adventure brought to screens. There have been other space-centric movies to be sure, but have any of them closely paralled the vibe and scope of TREK: TMP? Whose closest archetype was 2001 elevn years earlier? I can't think of a single one at the moment. And that's too bad. It's a shame mainstream Science Fiction films grew afraid to be heady - maybe someday they'll make a return. Until they do, at least we still have this.
STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE is important. If for no other reason than because Orson Welles is telling us so. Enjoy!
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