Primitive Culture 40: On Screen! / by Trek fm

2001: A Space Odyssey and Star Trek: The Motion Picture.


Running Time: 1 hour 34 minutes 12 seconds
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When Captain Kirk and the crew of the USS Enterprise boldly went into cinemas in 1979, languid art-house pacing, an elegant orchestral score, and an encounter with things unfashionably alien led to a transformative, almost religious experience. Star Trek: The Motion Picture took its cue not so much from the colorful action extravaganza of Star Wars, which premiered two years earlier, but from 2001: A Space Odyssey, a film dating back more than a decade to a time when The Original Series was still on the air.

In this episode of Primitive Culture, recorded live in London at the University of Greenwich, host Duncan Barrett is joined by film lecturer Chris Nunn and Tony Robinson of Continuing Mission for a look at the ties that bind these two mystical, complex, and sometimes problematic films. Taking a cue from another podcast, Missing Frames, we begin by screening 2001 for Duncan—who had never seen it—in order to contrast his raw first impressions with the insights of Tony—who has been obsessively rewatching it his entire life—and Chris, for whom it is a cornerstone of his teaching. We then move on to look at the ways in which this peculiar SF classic helped reinvent Star Trek for cinema, as well as some of the themes the two films share—from technology run amok to the birth of new life forms—and why Trek’s next cinematic outing, The Wrath of Khan, represents such an extreme course correction.


Intro (00:00:00)
Great Expectations (00:03:41)
Duncan Meets the Monolith (00:14:30)
First Impressions of Time and Space (00:15:55)
Douglas Trumbull, Master of the Universe (00:27:03)
Tech Wars (00:38:58)
Music of the Stars (00:51:28)
Auteur on the Bridge (00:59:38)
Encountering the Divine (01:09:03)
Star Wars and the 1970s’ Trek Refit (01:13:18)
Final Thoughts (01:24:23)


Duncan Barrett


Chris Nunn and Tony Robinson


Tom Whelan (Editor) Duncan Barrett (Producer) C Bryan Jones (Executive Producer) Matthew Rushing (Executive Producer) Ken Tripp (Executive Producer) Norman C. Lao (Associate Producer) Amy Nelson (Associate Producer) Tony Black (Associate Producer) Richard Marquez (Production Manager) Brandon-Shea Mutala (Patreon Manager)