Another deleted scene from Star Trek: The Motion Picture has been teased online, from the new super-special-edition home video release. (I wrote about a different one here.)
This is the demise of Security Guard Phillips, in the goofy Starfleet “red shirt” armor. We knew of this from the novelization and Marvel comic adaptation:
Unfortunately, and I hate to say this about Bob Wise...it just doesn’t seem to be shot right. It’s too abrupt and oblique.
There needed to be some emphasis of the threat of the security guard’s weapon—I had to watch this three times to see that the guard who got zapped had the phaser in his hand, pointed at the probe, as opposed to the other one whose phaser was on his belt.
And the disintegration happens so quickly, it’s like, huh? What just happened?
So it feels like there’s a shot missing.
If this was in the movie, it would change our dread about Ilia’s fate at the end of the scene from “What’s it going to do to her?” to “I hope it doesn’t zap her like that that other guy (we barely knew).” Or, worse, “Obviously, it’s going to zap her too, and oh yeah I wonder what happened to that other guy?”
So it would just dilute the tension, the suspense, the mystery, Ilia’s importance—everything.
In Wise’s defense, maybe they realized this wasn’t going to work, so they abandoned it before they could refine it. Although the VFX are in there, so it was probably a “final.” I dunno—the TMP restoration team would have a definitive answer, I am sure.
In any case, the filmmakers were right to cut it.
But it’s pretty cool to finally see it, 43 years later.