Dramaturgery: Star Trek Into Darkness

Posted: May 26, 2013 in Braak, Threat Quality
Tags: , , , , ,
braak

There’s really no colon there, huh?  So it’s not like, “Into Darkness is a Story of Star Trek,” it’s like, “darkness is where my trek through the stars is taking me.”  Okay, man, sure.

I just watched this movie, and it made me think of this article I read about how snack companies hired a bunch of snack food engineers to manufacture the perfect snack, one that provided maximum oral stimulation and minimal nutritional satisfaction so that people would constantly munch on it without thinking, and how the perfect expression of that snack food was Cheetos.

That’s what this movie, this movie is Cheetos.

And that said, what the fuck am I supposed to write about?  Who writes criticism of Cheetos?  Who bothers to mount a defense of Cheetos?  What is there even to SAY?  “The problem with this is that it’s a completely cynical product manufactured to provide pleasurable stimulation with no substantive value and is only interesting at all because of its vague resemblance to something else.”  That’s the only thing about Cheetos!  If Cheetos weren’t that, they wouldn’t even exist!

“These Cheetos should have more actual cheese in them!”

“These Cheetos have no nutritional value at all!”

Whatever, man, they’re fucking Cheetos.

Ugh, except I guess I’ve got a kind of a responsibility here, because I already wrote the title, and if you’re going to title a post “Dramaturgery”, you can’t spend the whole time bitching about how you live in a culture that literally does not even give a shit about human fucking morality or the meaning of words as long as there is a fist-fight on a space car.  PUNCH!

The Three Things Theory

So, before I get into this, I’m going to get into a theory that I’ve got; I can’t prove it just yet, but maybe in ten years we’ll see if it pans out.  I’m going to say this:  “in a good movie, everything that happens in the movie is actually not one thing, but THREE things.”  And I’m going to say that those three things are: 

1. a plot action

2. a character beat

3. a thematic element

So, I know what you’re thinking, it’s probably something like, “Well, Chris, you’re already wrong because just phrasing the blog the way you have, I can tell you’re going to say that Star TrekIntoDarkness isn’t a good movie, BUT I liked that movie and it made a million billion dollars, et cetera.”  Well shut up motherfucker, because a lot of people like Cheetos, but that doesn’t make them a food.  I am willing to bet that in ten years you aren’t going to remember thirty consecutive seconds of this fucking movie; hell, I just watched it and I barely remember anything that happened.

Let me just say my piece here.  I’m going to use Star Trek II:  The Wrath of Khan as an example; not because I am trying to make comparisons between old Trek and new Trek (I actually legitimately don’t care how much new Trek looks like old Trek, it is not even pertinent at all) — even though this movie, every fifteen minutes or so, practically BEGS me to — I’m using it because I figure most all of us know what happened in it, and it’s got some good examples.

Look at the end of Star Trek II, when they’re flying around in that nebula cloud trying to shoot each other, and Spock says

“He is intelligent, but not experienced. His pattern indicates two-dimensional thinking.”

And then they come at him at a 90-degree angle from above and shoot Khan’s ship like hell.  Well, so, you see the three things that happen here:  1. plot event:  Question: “What is going to happen?” Answer:  “Kirk will attack Khan in a way that he is unprepared for (and that comes as a surprise to the audience, which is key to good dramatic tension).”  2. Character beat:  Question:  “What does it reveal about the person doing it?”  Answer:  “Kirk is a devious tactician, whose experience is valuable (an ongoing personal question Kirk has had to face throughout the movie).”  3.  Thematic element.  Question:  “So, what does it mean?”  Answer:  “Khan’s 20th century way of thinking — aggressive, conquering, ruthless — is archaic and obsolete in the future of the Federation.”

See?  Three things.  And that actually comes up through this whole climax.  Khan decides to blow up his ship rather than let Kirk get away, which is 1. a suspenseful event, 2. revelatory about Khan’s character, and 3. representative of how ultimately self-destructive that kind of militarism is.  Spock later sacrifices his life to protect the ship; that is 1. a suspenseful event; 2. revelatory about Spock’s character, and 3. shows how the future — in which people sacrifice themselves to protect others — is better than the past — in which people sacrificed themselves to destroy others.

You can kind of see how Star TrekIntoDarkness is ostensibly supposed to confirm the Three Things theory.  JJ Abrams first thinks of a bunch of plot events — I assume that he’s got just a pile of Silverian spreadsheets that say things like:

Running down a hall  56% nerd interest

Enterprise is shot with torpedoes 75% nerd interest

Some chick and her tits  85% interest

Staff comes apart to become two martial arts blasters 10% nerd interest

Cameo from Old Spock 90% nerd interest

“Khaaaaan!”  90% nerd interest

JJ Abrams hires Orci and Kurtzman to take those spreadsheets and hammer them into something that loosely involves “characters” and “narrative continuity.”  Finally, Damon Lindelof is brought on to put a kind of a polish of “overtures to things that might matter to people.”

And of course, because Orci and Kurtzman are genuinely lazy, mediocre writers, the script is basically nothing but character shorthand, the dialogue is basically nothing but either cliches, exposition, or awkward, ham-handed justifications for stuff that they had to squeeze in.

“Why are there people in the torpedoes?”  “Khan:  I was smuggling them out of Section 31”  “But, wait, why would THAT be a good idea?  Was Section 31 going to give you a ship?  Or was the idea that you would just put 72 experimental photon torpedoes on a train or something and drive away –”  “A GUY SAID A REASON, IT WAS EXPLAINED.”

“So, how come you didn’t just zap Peter Weller as soon as you got onto the bridge?”  Kirk:  “I don’t want to stun you in front of your daughter.”  “What?  Why would that even matter?”  “A GUY SAID A REASON, IT WAS EXPLAINED.”

“Help me out here.  If the province on Kronos where Khan is hiding is uninhabited, what are those fucking Klingons doing there?”  Uhura:  “It must be a random patrol.”  “What?  A random patrol in an area of a planet that’s uninhabited?  While we’re on that subject, if the area is uninhabited, why is it full of gigantic factories–”  “SHE SAID A REASON, JUST SHUT UP AND WATCH THE SHOOTING.”

Whatever.  Then, of course, Damon Lindelof comes on to write the stuff about meaning, and because Damon LIndelof does not know about or understand anything, it all comes out like, “BLAAAAGHLEWAGGHLEARGLE.”

“Sometimes you need to break the rules in order to do the most good!”  “Okay, but Kirk’s defense for breaking the Prime Directive is just that he wanted to rescue Spock; isn’t the actual moral position that he was trying to save the lives of a billion aliens?” “BLAAAAGHLEWAGGHLEARGLE.” 

“This movie is about how we create our own terror threats!”  “Yeah, but we don’t do it like THAT, it’s not like we just hire a lone terrorist to design us some guns or something, it’s a complex political action that has far-reaching social implications–”  “BLAAAAGHLEWAGGHLEARGLE.”

“Militarism is bad!”  “Sure, but I mean, DON’T the Klingons want a war?  In the context of this movie, isn’t militarism actually GOOD?  And does one rogue admiral who stole a giant spaceship even COUNT as militarism?  Wouldn’t a much bigger and more accurate problem be dealing with a pervasive cultural attitude of xenophobia–” “BLAAAAGHLEWAGGHLEARGLE.”

Lindelof is really the one who drops the ball in this movie, I think.  You get to the climax of the movie, where Spock Punches Khan a Bunch of Times, and sure, there’s a great First Thing, in the sense that a Fist-Fight on a Space-Car is suspenseful.  And there’s even a kind of strong Second Thing, an emotional beat here, where we discover that Spock is in love with Kirk.

(Before I continue, I just want to stop and address that part, because Kirk and Spock’s sublimated homosexual attraction is actually the only consistent emotional arc in the entire movie, from Spock being unable to emotionally connect with Uhura, to Kirk unable to form serious emotional attachments to the women in his life, Spock being obviously jealous of Kirk’s interest in Carol Marcus, Kirk expressing peculiar interest in Spock and Uhura’s relationship, all the way to Spock literally brushing Uhura aside when he thinks Kirk is in trouble.  I don’t principally have a problem with this, except for the fact that Orci and Kurtzman are otherwise so patently incompetent at emotional or narrative consistency that I have a hard time believing they did it on purpose, and so it reads instead as a bizarrely interesting accident.)

But aside from that, the Fist-Fight on the Space-Car doesn’t mean anything.  Why is it that Spock has to fight Khan?  Why is Spock embracing his emotions important to beating Khan?  Why are they on a Space-Car instead of, I don’t know, in the wreck of that big spaceship that crashed, or on top of a building, or in the sewers?  So, who cares?  You could switch out this climactic fight with pretty much anything that’s roughly similar, and it’d be the same movie.

Why does it even matter that it was Khan in this movie?  He doesn’t do anything genocidal, he’s not a master strategist.  He doesn’t even represent that sort of fascinating challenge to notions of the comfort of Western Hegemony by being a Brown Person who is more capable than everyone in Starfleet, because now he’s played by Benedict Cumberbatch, who couldn’t be any more fucking English if his name were Benedict Cumberbatch.

I guess at one point, the Enterpise faces off against that other ship that is twice as big as the Enterprise, and also BLACK, so it’s like an evil twin of the Enterprise, and that would maybe say something about military technology as the flipside of scientific advancement if that scene weren’t completely hilarious.

“Hahaha, Enterprise!  Even you cannot stand against the power of…Evil Enterprise!”

Dramaturgery

Like I said, I’m not even sure what to write about here, because everything I’d say is like arguing that they should put real cheese in Cheetos.  Nobody even WANTS that.  And the thing about the plot is that it’s lazy and stupid and basically generic (in fact, I feel like about half of it is cribbed from the first movie); what would even be the point of tinkering with the plot?  What, am I just going to switch out a couple OTHER action movie cliches?  What are we even doing here?

On the other hand, there is maybe something of interest here.

My big problem with this movie is that it’s about Kirk and Spock foiling the plot of a jingoistic military leader who is trying to engineer a war with the Klingons so that he can take over Starfleet with a military junta, and for some reason, that guy ISN’T Khan.  Khan Noonien Singh, master strategist, the guy who conquered the world — you’re going to put him in this movie and then make him a weapons designer?  (Also 1) being good at strategy isn’t the same thing as being good at designing weapons, and 2) what did he design, exactly?  Starfleet already HAS photon torpedoes.)

As it stands, the idea of Khan as a resurrected element of Earth’s savage past (brought back to do Starfleet’s dirty work, apparently) doesn’t have any bearing on this movie at all, because the guy who’s performing that role in the narrative is some other guy.

The question is, could you make this movie more sort of thematically interesting if Khan was in charge of Section 31 the whole time?  If Starfleet had brought him out of cryostasis and set him up to do their black ops, they figure they’ve got him under control.  Khan is supposed to help them maintain peace by doing targeted assassinations that are under the radar. 

But obviously, Khan as a long-term plan, and his long-term plan is to assassinate the Joint Chiefs of Starfleet and pin it on some patsy in a way that results in a war with the Klingons so that he can seize control of the Federation by declaring martial law. 

Khan (we’ll call him Commander Singh in this version of the story — it both hints that maybe he’s Khan Khan, and also makes more sense than a guy with a whole name identifying himself by just his first name, and ALSO maybe suggests that in this timeline Khan has actually become a productive, valuable member of Starfleet.  The idea that Khan is maybe going to betray you all is much less interesting when the first thing we see him do is murder, like, a hundred people) has been nurturing terrorist cells on Earth (and hey, let’s figure that instead of extorting them into terrorism — though that’s okay, I don’t necessarily have a problem with that — what he’s really been doing is finding people who are terrified that the Klingons are going to strike first and sending them to attack Starfleet to send a message that no one on Earth is safe).

We can even keep generally the same opening, right?  Because now what happens is that Khan wants to recruit Kirk and make the Enterprise crew part of Section 31 — Khan likes Kirk, because Kirk is the sort of guy who’ll break the rules when he has to.  What he doesn’t understand about Kirk is that he breaks the rules for the greater good, and as far as Khan is concerned, there is no greater goodKHAN is the greater good.  This gives us a nice parallel, starting with the Needs of the Many idea in the opening gambit — right now, it’s weirdly amoral, because Kirk talks about saving the life of ONE GUY who is his FRIEND, as opposed to saving the lives of billions of sapient creatures.  Breaking the rules for your own selfish reasons is the kind of thing that Khan would do, so that’s the reason that he assumed Kirk would do it.

So then we can take the Enterprise on a capture and recover mission to bring this guy back from Kronos.  And while the part where they fly a ship around some space trash being chased by other Klingon ships is good…is that really the BEST way to do this? 

Hm.  I was going to say, maybe there needed to be some tense negotiations in which the Enterprise tries to get the guy back, since it makes a million times more sense than the Enterprise just zipping into Klingon territory and threatening to bombard the Klingon Homeworld with torpedoes (“They’re long-range invisible torpedoes!  A GUY SAID IT, IT’S EXPLAINED).  Maybe a better way for that scene to work is that Uhura engages in negotiations with the Klingons while Kirk and Spock and those guys try to sneak onto the planet to get the guy back.

(Maybe also it isn’t Kronos.  Maybe it’s another planet that the Klingons have seized, maybe even one that Section 31 had been stirring up trouble on, themselves breaking the Prime Directive in order to keep the Klingons out — shades of the US in Afghanistan during the Russian occupation.)

Anyway, if most of this is going to be generic plot filler, I guess you can keep the giant-super-ship and maybe even the weird torpedoes?  I don’t know, it’s hard to care whether or not those are in the plot.  I think the idea that the guy that they bring back is a patsy, maybe he’s got some kind of poison in his system that goes off when he’s captured so he can’t talk, but Bones is a really good doctor so manages to keep him alive (will he recover?  We don’t know.)

I kind of like the idea of the Enterprise trying to extricate itself from Klingon space without revealing themselves to the Klingons. 

I especially like the idea that maybe this was all futile. That they stop the Dreadnought from firing on the Klingon ships around this planet — or they defend themselves from the Dreadnought that wanted to eliminate the witnesses — only the Klingons declare war anyway, Khan takes over Starfleet and unveils an entire fleet of Dreadnought class ships.  (Or, I dunno, five.)  The movie ends with the implication that Kirk and the Enterprise are going to have to be rebels AGAINST Starfleet, in order to preserve the ideals that Starfleet is meant to stand for.

(It’s kind of a downer of an ending, but remember how the GI Joe movie had the basic daring to assassinate the president and then replace him with a doppelganger?  Should we expect any less from Star Trek?)

But that’s the thing about all this.  Space politics?  Space mysteries?  Tense duels that are like submarine battles? Allegories for the US Imperial project?  Reflections on the merits of the war on terror?

Fuck that.  Nobody wants cheese in their Cheetos.

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Comments
  1. braak says:

    Related: “First Officer” is not a rank, it’s a position in the chain of command, so when Spock addresses Kirk as “captain,” it doesn’t make sense for Kirk to correct him by saying, “First Officer.”

    “Fore” and “aft” mean “front” and “back.” The nacelles are the two things on the sides of the ship that stick out. When Khan says “the life support system behind the aft nacelle”, he is either speaking nonsense, or else the Enterprise has been flying sideways this whole time.

    Look, I am not saying this is a bad movie because those details are wrong. I am saying that Kurtzman, Orci, and Lindelof are bad writers because they don’t bother getting the details right.

    (EVEN THOUGH ALL YOU WOULD HAVE TO DO IS READ THE WIKIPEDIA ENTRY ON “BOAT”)

  2. Sebastian says:

    Lindelof looks and writes like a douchy Mr. Show David Cross character.

    And the amount of damage he’s done to science fiction and good writing is quite impressive.

    It’s not like you aren’t allowed to make a big budget summer movie that ALSO has a good story.

  3. TheUnnamed says:

    You can make a big budget summer blockbuster with a good story, it’s just that there are too few people who will pay to see it to cover the cost of the thing. Thinking is hard, where’s my Cheetos?

  4. braak says:

    Ooops, wait, there it is. Khan is Commander Singh, under the direct authority of Admiral Peter Weller. Admiral Peter Weller has given Commander Singh his cover identity and everything, and then they go out in the Dreadnought. Peter Weller takes the ship thinking he’s going to rescue the Enterprise after it gets attacked by the Klingons, but gets cold feet about the whole deal when he realizes that Kirk didn’t kill the guy, they brought him on alive, the game is over.

    Khan, who has smuggled his seventy-two guys onto the ship in photon torpedoes, opens them up and actually takes over the ship, killing the only person (Admiral Peter Weller) who knew that his identity was a fake identity, tries to blow up the Enterpise, returns to Earth to seize control in a military junta.

    This way, all that dumb exposition stuff (Peter Weller hired Khan to do his jobs, Khan put guys in the torpedoes) actually happens on screen. The difference is clear between Peter Weller — a good guy who was legitimately scared of a serious threat, but who ultimately couldn’t condone mass slaughter — and Khan, who not only will straight up kill anyone in his way, but specifically planned this whole operation with the intention of murdering everybody. It also becomes a good moral parable about the sort of people that you place your trust in when you’re in charge (which, in turn, makes the Weller-Khan relationship a good, inverted parallel to the Kirk-Spock relationship).

  5. Daniel says:

    I think my main problem with it is how they end up defeating Khan. Not through any lessons learned throughout the film or some suddenly-dawns-on-them weakness. Basically:

    They meet Khan. They punch him in the face sixteen times. He doesn’t go down. An hour or so later, they meet Khan, they punch him in the face seventeen times. He goes down.

    Really? That was it? REALLY?

  6. John Jackson says:

    They break his arm first.

  7. braak says:

    I like how they go so far as to call the old movie on the phone and actually straight up ask how to beat Khan. The scene cuts off before Old Spock explains, so I guess he must have said, “I dunno, punch him a bunch of times, I guess?”

    The part where he gets Khan with the Vulcan nerve pinch was pretty good, though.

  8. braak says:

    Actually, now I think on it, that COULD have been a really interesting way to beat Khan. Earlier on, Kirk tries to beat Khan by just whaling on him, and maybe that’s the thing — you can’t beat Khan by being more ferocious than him, which is why the idea that Spock just loses it and lets his EMOTIONS take over doesn’t make a lot of sense.

    But what if the way to beat Khan WASN’T by getting riled up, but by being the hyper-rational logician that Spock is — I mean, fighting in a way that represents self-mastery and discipline and control, as embodied by the Vulcan nerve pinch?

    Of course, it could never happen that way, because the set of values in all major movies is the same, and one of those values is that FEELINGS = GOOD. And moreover, this movie shies away from the basic thing that Khan is there for, which is to say: “The past is savage and brutal and full of assholes; the future will be better.” I assume that’s because a movie like this can’t really make a comment about our modern values.

    You could have had a bit with Spock early on — during the Uhura negotiations, maybe — where he has to duel with a Klingon and he just Sherlock Holmeses that fight up; later, during the fight with Khan, Khan can still be tougher and more powerful than Spock, but we can see him using his super-brain to take him down.

  9. braak says:

    (Also, how hilarious is it that Spock is Punching Khan on the space-car, and Uhura is like, “Can you beam someone down?” And they send her down with a phaser. Well, smart guys, if you could beam ONE person down, couldn’t you beam FIVE people down? Like, maybe a whole security team, instead of the linguist?)

  10. Daniel says:

    “Hi, yeah, it’s me again. Er … long story … seem to have found ourselves in 1986. Did this happen to you? Not really sure what … um … give me a call when you get this message.”

  11. TheUnnamed says:

    Quick question, when Kahn attacks the most important gathering of Starfleet officers on the planet in the worst guarded building in the city, (seriously, no anti aircraft weapons at all? and isnt that a whole level of similar flying craft two floors above the meeting?) but to escape Kahn BEAMS TO KRONOS? If i want to start a war with another empire and I had a terrorist to blame things on and a device I could use to beam items to their home world, sounds like a quick way to set off any number of conflicts.

  12. braak says:

    Also, remember how he has a bomb the size of a ring that you set off with a glass of water, and which explodes an entire building?

    If only he had some way to transport a bomb like that directly onto their desk, or something.

  13. braak says:

    Wait, actually — was Khan’s plan to start a war with the Klingons? Because if it was, relying on the fact that Scotty would (for some utterly inexplicable reason) be investigating the wreckage of his ship and find the transwarp…thingie…seems like a less than ideal strategy.

  14. braak says:

    I do really like his coat, though, I wonder where I can get a coat like that?

    (The future.)

  15. TheUnnamed says:

    Kahn’s plan – save his friends by switching thier tubes for the payloads in super advanced topedos and reprogram them to land? All while hoping noone opens one. Escape, then pissoff StarFleet enough that when he hides “beyond their reach” they have no choice but to use the super torpedos. But when all of those steps work flawlessly he gives up? Or was he trying to escape, with 72 secret weapons and, surprisingly failed?

    Neither of these sounds like the ideas of an advanced intelligence. Was there something I missed to indicate a different plan?

  16. braak says:

    He was definitely surprised when they came after him with the torpedoes, though, right?

    Or was the plan 1) attack Starfleet, so they would 2) come after him with the people in the torpedoes, 3) surrender and get on the ship so he can get the torpedoes out?

    Except THAT doesn’t make any sense, because the only reason they didn’t just shoot the torpedoes AT him was because Kirk specifically disobeyed his orders on the fly.

    ALSO ALSO, he didn’t switch the tubes with the PAYLOADS in the torpedoes (remember, they could still arm and detonate them); they were switched with the FUEL in torpedoes, so they couldn’t even have shot them anyway?

    He seems, in that speech to Kirk, to indicate that putting the people in the torpedoes was part of a different plan that didn’t work, and that Peter Weller just decided to shoot them at him out of spite, but obviously we can’t trust that, maybe he’s lying.

  17. TheUnnamed says:

    The problem with representing the plans of an advanced intelligence in movies is that they only seem really good to a bunch of people who couldn’t come up with anything better before some studio exec says “that’s awesome, i would have never thought of that, now shoot it before next summer!”

  18. braak says:

    I guess you don’t want to get plot advice from the dudes who greenlit Grumpy Cat: The Movie.

  19. Jesse says:

    I think Khan’s plan just makes absolutely no sense — I watched it twice hoping to get it more the second time, and it seems to just be:

    1. Somehow rescue his people by hiding them in torpedoes and “smuggling them to safety”

    2. Assume Adm. Peter Weller killed them (I love that part: “I had to assume he killed them” Why? Why exactly were you absolutely forced to assume that above all other theories including the correct one which was that he DIDN’T kill them and had no plans to?”)

    3. Get revenge and move to Kronos to live out his days in sadness until Sulu tells him they’re alive, thereby kicking off Act 2

    That was why I haunted this site waiting for dramaturgery instead of seeing it thrice.

    I think the rest of the plot points do make sense although they do revolve around people making bad choices. But essentially, Khan tries to get his people to safety, then switches to revenge again when he thinks they’re dead (again), Kirk tries to protect his crew and learn how to be a better captain, Spock keeps trying to “not feel” but fails t the right time, Adm. Weller tries to protect Starfleet from a serious threat (and himself from not be unable to continue doing so) (I actually sympathized with him.)

  20. Joseph says:

    Look you can all make a movie the way you want to. So untill it is your ass on the line and your money is paying for the Actors, producers and all everything in between I would suggets stop complaining and go make your own movie…………………They did what they thought they had to do to make Star Trek a profit;if the market is Cheetos eaters then so be it. You dont like Cheetos then stop buying them and get real food.

  21. braak says:

    Hey, fuck you, you simpering lickshit. “Wanting to be rich” is no excuse for being a venal moron, and no bulwark against criticism. If you don’t like it, make your own fucking blog where you can cram your face up JJ Abrams’ ass all you like, and leave your brainless, bullshit opinions somewhere there’s no danger that decent people might see them by accident.

    “Ass on the line”, sweet fucking CHRIST.

  22. […] look, that isn’t always what happens.  When you look at something like Star Trek Into Darkness, and you say, “Why does Spock have a fist-fight with Khan on a space-car?”  The Plot Why […]

  23. Nony says:

    your slash goggles are showing here. For the ones that watched the movie Spock is actually unable to emotionally connect with both Uhura and Kirk because of the loss of his planet and mother, not because he’s secretly gay for Kirk.

    Actually, he had more difficulties connecting and understanding Kirk than his girlfriend because he doesn’t get why Kirk wants to be his friend (he might have a point because I didn’t get it either) and why he saved him. He does connect with Uhura emotionally when she challenges him to discuss his feelings and the fact that he might be a bit suicidal (see accident in the volcano) and he essentially tells her that he loves her and if he sometimes shuts down his feelings it’s because he cares too much that he can’t bear it, not because he doesn’t care. (the point of the vulcan race btw)

    “Kirk unable to form serious emotional attachments to the women in his life”

    with who? he’s a latin lover who likes to have flings but to say that he is unable to form serious emotional attachments to the women in his life is a stretch. He has no women in his life up this point, beside his mom. Yet, he seems to be friends with Uhura and care about her. Their friendship actually rivals the Kirk/Spock one, along with his friendship with McCoy. There also seems to be some spark for Carol. Anyway, I don’t think he particularly needs Spock the way you’re implying here or that if he doesn’t have a girlfriend it’s because of Spock.

    “Spock being obviously jealous of Kirk’s interest in Carol Marcus”

    or Spock being obviously suspicious of this new science officer suddenly showing up right after Kirk got the ship back and without Kirk requesting her and right when they have got the torpedoes from admiral Marcus.. and she conveniently is specialized in advanced weaponry.
    But who I’m to question your so in character interpretation of the scene in which logical vulcan Spock must be jealous of a vagina getting in the way of his gay luv story with Kirk. That makes much more sense indeed.

    ” Kirk expressing peculiar interest in Spock and Uhura’s relationship”

    I don’t see an interest from his part, even less one that was ‘peculiar’ . Just a friend being a bit concerned about his friends and crew members having issues. It was more on Uhura’s behalf than his anyway especially when he told Spock that his reply to her rant wasn’t a love song.

    “all the way to Spock literally brushing Uhura aside when he thinks Kirk is in trouble”

    reading too much into it like anything else in your comment. I don’t think that with how fast he was running, he’d stop and notice anyone, not even his girlfriend. Probably, the only reason why Uhura is even in the scene is, narrative-vise, because she hadn’t been on the bridge prior that point (she was in sick bay with McCoy) and thus they needed to give the audience a pretext to justify how she could know that Spock was down there (she followed him because from his reaction something bad was obviously happening) and why she was there when Kirk died too.

    Still, before he went on a rampage to capture and possibly kill (the slash in your review must have influenced me because I almost wrote ‘kiss’) Khan, he firstly looked at Uhura to ask her permission to go.
    I seem to remember, also, that when the uss vengeance is about to blow up the enterprise and kill everyone, it’s Uhura that Spock instinctively walks to from his science officer station to the side of the bridge where the girl was standing. That seemed a protective gesture from his part and if I translate his body language well, he obviously intended to be beside her at the moment of his, their, demise in the hands of admiral Marcus.

    In short, it’s not all about the men only and perhaps you don’t give a shit about the women but these men do and it’s disingenuous to pretend that there is no obvious emotional connection between the members of the opposite sex.

  24. braak says:

    “In short, it’s not all about the men only and perhaps you don’t give a shit about the women but these men do and it’s disingenuous to pretend that there is no obvious emotional connection between the members of the opposite sex.”

    Uh-huh. So, you write half a hundred words trying to refute a parenthetical aside that has nothing to do with the principle thrust of the article just to make it super clear that Spock and Kirk are TOTALLY NOT GAY YOU GUYS, and I’m the secret misogynist for noting that the female characters in this hackneyed piece of shit are so under-developed that the only genuine emotional relationships read like sublimated homosexuality?

    Get out of here, kid. You are not a serious person.

  25. […] technical fulfillment of specific historic requirements for “good storytelling.” If you look at Star Trek Into Darkness, for example, the entire problem I have with it is that it’s simply formally good (well, for the […]

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