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TrekToday - Richard Taylor Talks TMP's FX Saga

Richard Taylor Talks TMP's FX Saga

By Caillan
July 17, 2001 - 11:12 AM

It was the film that revived the adventures of the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise after a ten-year absence, but the production of 'Star Trek: The Motion Picture' was fraught with difficulties.

"The film needed a clear vision and it was being created by committee," Richard Taylor, who worked on the film under the banner of effects house Robert Abel & Associates, told Cinepixel. "I really respect [director] Robert Wise but this whole project seemed to overwhelm him. And I think he was just worn out by the politics, indecision and change."

Acknowledging that the final product didn't confirm to his original vision of the film, Robert Wise has just completed his new director's cut, which will be released as a special edition DVD. The DVD will include enhanced special effects shots, as well as all-new imagery.

Despite Robert Abel & Associates being responsible for a large part of the film's preliminary visual effects work, when the $8 million budget grew to $12 million they were removed from the project. "It was disappointing when the plug was pulled and there was a lot of politics involved which I won't get into," Taylor said of his departure from the film. "In a sense I was relieved because it was such a reactionistic out of control way to make a movie."

However, by taking the project out of the hands of Robert Abel & Associates, the cost of the film's effects ballooned to $20 million. To rub salt in the wound, the effects house received minimal credit on the finished film. "The fact is we had done most of the preliminary design work and had solved lots of complex production and design problems," Taylor continued. "We had created an awesome car and they pretty much just needed to put in the key and drive away."

Taylor was determined to ensure that the contribution of his colleagues was not forgotten. "I consented to this interview in hopes that the Abel Studios and all the talented folks who worked there might receive at least some small recognition for the work they created for the film," he said. "So, hopefully some of the people who created so much of the Star Trek legacy can be appreciated and receive some of the credit they deserve."

The full interview, in which Taylor also talked in detail about his conceptual designs for the film, can be found here.

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