One surprise and disappointment about the ST:TMP soundtrack: There was no recreation of the famous original series theme which included bongos except for a few brief notes scattered throughout the film. Still, I wish they had made the original theme song more prominent, at least as a tribute to the series that made the film even possible, and a thank you to the fans who kept the franchise from fading away. The latter were already looking for the film to appear more like the original series, even though the s television sets, special effects, and uniforms probably would not have carried over well onto the big theatrical screens.
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Having the original scores could have been one type of bridge between the old and the new for the reasons stated above. In my research on the soundtrack for the first Star Trek film, I learned the following relevant items I would like to share here:. He said:. There are those who have said, and I happen to agree with, that science fiction and fantasy are our modern replacements for the ancient mythological stories about gods and their supernatural subordinates in a strongly Judeo-Christian one God modern culture.
Those Selfish Aliens
They are often deemed by certain folks as just another form of entertainment and escapism, after all. Not so much as for actual worship, please note, but rather to fill several key needs in our storytelling that having one omnipotent God who knows everything, can do anything, and is invulnerable tends to take away in terms of dramatic tension. Not only are many of these characters very much like the demigods of ancient Western mythology, they sometimes are those very beings and more think Thor, Son of Odin, from Norse mythology.
The old gods have not died off, they just went to the movies and occupy literary niches outside classical sacred texts. For all the claims of adherence to science and secularism in the Star Trek franchise, that universe has more than its share of beings which are just this side of the supernatural and mythological. Now one might reasonably argue that humans could find much more advanced alien species with their superior knowledge and technology, which may also have developed very differently from ours in the process, to be difficult to distinguish from actual deities existing in another realm dimension, plane, etc.
However, the behaviors and attitudes of such Star Trek species as the Q Continuum, with their seeming omnipotence and arrogant reactions towards any creatures they consider to be lower than themselves, strike me as very similar to the gods and goddesses of Greek and Roman mythology.
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Unlike the God of Judeo-Christian culture, who is beyond all human and material wants and needs as well as being all-knowing and wise, the ancient deities of Western culture were often much like humans in both our strengths and weaknesses. It moves through space at incredibly rapid speeds, traversing large swaths of the Milky Way galaxy in mere days. It does not respond to the inquiries of the comparably tiny creatures it encounters. The Federation and its chosen representative, the crew of the Enterprise , wrack their comparatively tiny organic minds trying to figure out what this alien intruder wants from them.
All others are the equivalent of insects on our scale and are to be treated as such when the situation calls for it. One might make a case to a certain degree for the parallels with the Judeo-Christian God creating a human representative to go among our species, in part to better understand this particular creation for purposes than remain a mystery until the end.
Its makeup and utterly logical machine mind do not allow it to cross certain boundaries both mental and physical. Until then, the alien cannot grasp the very things it has been seeking, the answers to who it is, why does it exist, and is there nothing more? It is quite interesting to see how the crew of the starship Enterprise deals with their powerful captor.
They attempt to use their technological tools of science, which they often find to be useless or even deactivated in the face of this alien superpower. Spock takes a somewhat different tack. This event may be all about acquiring rational and logical thinking, but it is also hard not to perceive this ritual as a form of religious ceremony or rite of passage, given the surroundings of where it takes place and the priest-like elders who are performing it.
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Spock was even about to receive a talisman in the form of a large and rather clunky necklace as a symbol of his new powers. Then they disappear altogether in the light, which begins to spread out and envelope everything it encounters. Now what about the xenomorph from Alien? At first, most of us living in the early Twenty-First Century would not even begin to consider this very visceral creature as any kind of a deity or otherwise supernatural being.
However, if one looks at the religions and spiritual trappings of cultures outside the Judeo-Christian one of Western society, it is easy to find societies that would at the very least have a deep respect for the obvious powers of this being, if not perhaps worshipping it altogether.
Many such societies have views on animals that make them more akin to spiritual brothers and sisters if not possessing even greater abilities than most humans. This particular alien, while undoubtedly being perceived as a terrifying creature in just about any human culture, might still garner a level of respect for the very behaviors and physical powers it possesses. This comes from a traditional awareness and acknowledgement for nature in all of its attributes, both creative and destructive.
This is especially true for those societies who live and work close to nature, something modern technological civilization is increasingly cutting itself off from with each passing day. Note how out of place the very organic and uncontrollable read uncivilized and unsocialized alien looked and felt inside the completely mechanical Nostromo : This would undoubtedly be an added measure of terror to those who spend most of their time inside artificial structures and are dependent upon an overwhelmingly artificial environment.
Not only would this apply to the human crew in the film, but the contemporary audience watching them as well. The alien might be regarded as a nature spirit brutally forced upon this metal and plastic world of Alien as represented by the commercial space vessel. Is the xenomorph here to teach the residents of this universe and ours a lesson? Or is its purpose simply to destroy them outright to reclaim the literally natural order of things? Even Ash, who is technically more advanced than the human crew in many respects, showed a measure of respect for the alien.
Once Ash was exposed as an artificial person and a Company plant and restrained by the surviving crew, he was accused of admiring the xenomorph as a whole. Despite being a programmed machine in many ways, or perhaps because of this, Ash had perspectives on the alien that the terrified average humans trapped in the ship could not because of the predicament they were put in. This does not necessarily put the Science Officer in the right, nor does it make the extraterrestrial intruder any less terrifying or deadly, but it does highlight the strong case for the universe of Alien being an indifferent and existential one.
In early story development plans for the alien, the filmmakers envisioned the Nostromo landing party finding the alien eggs not in a derelict spaceship, but a nearby pyramid-shaped building. That some unknown ETI would go to the effort and no doubt trouble of devoting their more major works to the alien indicate a measure of the respect I referred to before, with the strong possibility that the structure was a temple and its makers outright worshipped the xenomorph at the very least as a force of nature. Perhaps they were intrigued by the life cycle of the creature, comparing it to the other cycles in nature they undoubtedly observed around them.
Despite the fact that Alien and ST:TMP are two very different films with only the most basic elements in common science fiction, aliens, starships set in the future, and released to theaters in the same year , plus being made by two separate film production companies Twentieth Century Fox and Paramount, respectively , and were certainly not collaborating in any serious way so far as I can determine, I did find some interesting parallels when it came to their Science Officer characters. In that case, these two particular characters happened to be best suited for those roles.
Just the same, realizing that they had multiple similarities surprising, intriguing, and worthy of pointing out here. That Ash and Spock appear to have little in common at first glance are what make their later revealed parallels all the more interesting.
Robots on the Rise
Initially, you might not think there is much to compare with these two characters. Later on, it is revealed in dramatic and graphic fashion that Ash is not even human but rather an artificial person, programmed and planted aboard the Nostromo by the Company to secure the xenomorph for study.
Ash has no concern for the rest of the crew they are deemed expendable by his bosses and demonstrates this in a most violent manner before he is finally stopped in an even more violent way. In contrast, Spock is highly respected and beloved by the crew of the USS Enterprise , many of whom served with him during that famous five-year space mission as a bonus for his character, in our reality, Spock was adored by millions of Star Trek fans going back one decade earlier to the original series. His skills as a Starfleet Science Officer, combined with his Vulcan heritage and their devotion to logic and rationality, are both well-known and treasured.
At the end of the film, Spock rejoins Starfleet and the Enterprise and goes with his fellow officers and best friends, Kirk and McCoy, on new adventures into the Final Frontier. Nimoy was also unhappy with the fact that he had not received residuals from reruns of the original series in syndication. In response, the studio intended to replace Spock with another Vulcan named Xon. However, the children of Director Robert Wise informed their father that the presence of Spock was vital for the first Star Trek film to succeed with fans, so Nimoy was duly compensated and the franchise was saved.
Ash should have more than one name to pass as both a human and an employee of the Company, but none are ever revealed to the audience.
Could Alien Life Evolve Similarly to Earth on Other Planets?
He replaced Decker as Science Officer, who was given the position by Kirk after the original Science Officer, the Vulcan Sonak, was killed in that terrible transporter accident while trying to beam aboard the ship to report for duty. For Ash this is due to his being an artificial person with a programmed focus and ulterior motives. Director Ridley Scott did reveal in a later interview that Ash began to develop his own emotional responses in a way similar to the characters in another science fiction film Scott would direct, Blade Runner In that cinematic story, beings called Replicants were manufactured by a monolithic corporation for various servile functions in a future human society.
Being so similar in appearance and behavior to their masters, Replicants began to experience real emotions, which they often had great trouble dealing with. As for Spock, while there were some initial misgivings about his intentions and how they might affect the mission, particularly by Dr. McCoy, Spock ultimately balanced both needs and succeeded in the end, although at one point it could have cost him his own life.
Comparing the two Science Officers ultimately did more than just allow me to compare the two characters to reveal their common elements. It also allowed me to realize that there were more aliens than just the two main ones from each film. By this I am not just referring to the fact that Ash and Spock are not quite human compared to their respective crews, with Ash being an artificial person and Spock appearing and acting Vulcan, although he is half-human via his mother. I am also speaking about how they are thought of and treated by their human colleagues for being noticeably different at the very least in terms of their behavior and interactions with others.
In terms of the two films, we see that this struggle has yet to completely dissipate in their respective futures.
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Ash and his rather dystopian world are perhaps the most obvious about this otherness. Although the Science Officer looks and for the most part acts human and his crewmates believe he is a true member of their species, there are just enough differences about Ash to give the others an uncomfortable feeling in his presence.
We see this even before Ash begins to act oddly over the xenomorph. In contrast, the Star Trek universe has long touted itself as celebrating inclusiveness and welcoming differences in other species. We do see a number of extraterrestrials aboard the Enterprise throughout the film. We also already know their society of the United Federation of Planets consists of many species on many worlds throughout a large region of the Milky Way galaxy. Nevertheless, the aliens we do see are for the most part background characters with few speaking roles.
It is safe to say that humans dominate the starship crew in terms of sheer quantity and character interactions. I recognize that science fiction films are often reflections on contemporary society cloaked in the fantastical and that Alien and ST:TMP are no exceptions. One would hope that by the time we are expanding into deep space and encountering other places and presumably other intelligent beings, we will be far more tolerant and understanding of the various races and cultures of our own species. However, as discussed earlier, the whole point of Alien is that human beings will not be significantly changed by a change of scenery that includes the interstellar realm via more advanced technology.