* S O U N D T R E K K E R \' S B L U R B *
The eons have passed, and what has been written has come about. You are most welcome, my beloved downloaders - your torrents await you!
(Captain Soundtrekker, paraphrasing Apollo)
Today, it's time for the next remastered episode: WHO MOURNS FOR ADONAIS?
(The title is taken from "Adonais: An Elegy on the Death of John Keats" by Percy Bysshe Shelley. Line 415 reads with "Who mourns for Adonais?". Shelley's Adonais is derived from Adonis, a male figure of Greek mythology associated with fertility. It has also been noted that the name approaches Adonai, a Hebrew term for God in the Judeo-Christian tradition. A such, Adonais, on a mythological level, may refer both to fertile beauty and lordship.)
The Enterprise is literally snared by the hand of the Greek god Apollo, who has decided that the time has come for mankind to worship him again. Kirk must use the force of the starship as well as crew woman Caroly Palamas, who has a crush on Apollo, to combat his awesome powers and gain their freedom. Finally realizing that the species cannot be forced to worship anything, Apollo moves to a spiritual plane, joining the other gods who had long ago realized that their time had come and gone.
In this story, one-time trek author Gilbert Ralston uses an interesting premise, but the execution in his script (with the help of Gene L. Coon) is done in a rather mediocre way, with some cheesy,comic-style effects, making this episode one of the more forgettable of the second season. It has its moments, particulary in terms of crew interaction, and I doubt anyone who has ever seen it forgets the giant hand floating in space and grabbing the Enterprise, but the premise is extremely thin. The compelling idea that the gods of ancient Greece were in fact powerful alien humanoids has merit, but the writers don't take it anywhere . Many background informations about this spacefaring alien race are left unanswered.
About the genesis of this story, Ralston revealed: "Immodestly, I'm an expert in Grecian history, and I got interested in some of the characters tucked away in my various textbooks. Using Apollo just seemed like a good idea, and Gene Coon liked it very much. I liked Star Trek because of Gene [Coon] and some of the people who originally worked on it. Their conception was highly intellectual and very sophisticated, and it was fun to write because they were apparently very demanding in so far as literary quality was concerned. Shows like that were always a pleasure. It was a PEOPLE show, without an emphasis on stunts and special effects. It was about people, and the fact that one had funny ears didn't make any difference. They were not afraid to emotionalizewhat they did and, in its own peculiar way, it had a kind of reality which I think was very important. I think Star Trek will continue as a kind of quasi-classic for a long time to come."
How very true, indeed!
THE GUEST ACTORS - THE PERFORMANCE
Michael Forest, starring as Apollo, does a fine job with his role: moments of rage, resignation, and sensitivity are all well acted. Throughout the entire episode, Forest uses just the right amount of egotism to convince his audience that they are experiencing an adventure with a character who is more than human.
Guest starring as Lt. Caroly Palamas is the lovely Leslie Parrish. The Greek-style gown created by William Theiss, is a legend among "Star Trek" fans. Evidence suggests that the top was supported by actress Leslie Parrish's willpower and natural resources, but it seems likely that hidden threads helped to avoid a wardrobe accident that would never have been permitted on the air.
There is a startling moment in this episode where Carolyn Palamas, played by the lovely Leslie Parrish, rejects Apollo's love (despite her feelings to do otherwise) and she is ravaged by a storm of Apollo's making. If you watch this scene, you can't help but get the feeling that he is raping her (and indeed, he may have!), and it is amazing that the scene was permitted to be shown on network television in 1967! There WAS a bit of censorship here, though. The first draft script for this episode ended with Dr. McCoy pronouncing Carolyn pregnant with Apollo's child! In fact, James Blish used this ending in book 7 of his tv show adaptations, released in the late 60ies/early 70ies.
Trek veteran director Marc Daniels did a most effective job, routinely guiding the lead actors to highlight the well-known crew interaction, which had somewhat established itself after roughly 30 episodes.
Fred Steiner's original score for this episode is among the strongest in the entire series. Some cues are very reminiscent of his earlier scores for "The Corbomite Maneuver" and "Charlie X", and the melody for Lt. Palamas was heard before in Steiner's score for "Mudd's Women", but other than that, he creates many exceptionally crafted new cues for Apollo, with beautiful melodies as they may have sounded in the ancient times of Greece, much in a way done by other composers in classic monumental movies from the 50ies and 60ies! Some cues underscore Apollo's emotional state of mind when he reminiscences about the old times on Earth, and his desperation and sorrow in the final scenes, just before he "spreads himself upon the wind", is underscored in a most powerful and moving way!
The digital team just recreated the old effects, so now we have a digital green hand, which is quivering more than the original, suggesting that it"s really a force field and not a giant hand of flesh. That's quite okay with me, but they could have made the scenes more interesting, changing the perspectives more often and adding some dynamic to it - instead, they always show the same position!
On the positive side, this time the planet Pollux IV is always added to the scene, something sorely missing in the original!
Other than that (besides the digital starship, of course), only the color of the phaser beam destroying the temple of Apollo was changed from orange to blue.
Okay, then, that's all for today, except to remind you to keep seeding after download, or I will threaten you like one of those ancient Greek gods, and stop giving you new remastered episodes for a few weeks. Instead, you will gather laurel leaves! Light the ancient fires! Kill a deer! Make your sacrifices to me! SOUNDTREKKER HAS SPOKEN!
"Let the Be Your Last Battlefield" - several space shots of the Enterprise, a new shuttlecraft on the mainscreen and landing in the hangar bay, two new planets with the Enterprise approaching and orbiting them - hopefully some new, interesting things from the digital team of CBS!