Saturday, September 19, 2009

Nicholas Meyer's View From the Bridge

Nicholas Meyer's new book is a relatively short and breezy memoir that will probably have a few people wishing for more in-depth material. It could use a fact-check, too -- Meyer acknowledges this, sort of, by stating in the author's note that it's based on his memory, and then referring to the film Rashomon, a movie about the ways people remember a certain event. He gets the number of original series episodes wrong, and he says the Klingons in Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country had pink blood because he wanted some interesting weird colour, though as I recall other sources have said the Klingon blood was pink because red blood would have resulted in an R rating for the movie.

There's not much new revealed about the making of the movies, other than the fallings out between various people behind the scenes, and discussions of who actually wrote what, and why the WGA put certain people's names in the credits for certain movies.

If anything, the non-Trek material may be more interesting, because I basically knew Meyer as the guy who did a couple of Sherlock Holmes books (he talks about those a bit, but never mentions the third one) and a few Trek movies. I'd forgotten about his involvement with The Day After, and the chapter on that is fascinating reading.

Unfortunately, I don't think it's an absolutely essential book for Trek fans, but it was well enough written and didn't overstay its welcome. Meyer's authorial voice is engaging and entertaining. Anyone who's read the book but wants a bit more on the nuts and bolts of making the Trek movies Meyer discusses may want to hunt down copies of Allan Asherman's The Making of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, published by Pocket in 1982, and Charting The Undiscovered Country: The Making of Trek VI by Mark Altman, Ron Magid, and Edward Gross, published by Cinemaker in 1992, as well as past issues of magazines like Cinefex and Cinefantastique.


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