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-   -   NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass (http://www.trekbbs.com/showthread.php?t=236308)

Brutal Strudel January 23 2014 10:50 PM

NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
I want to preface this by saying I really like the last two Trek movies--they are in the the 3 and 4 slots after TMP and TWoK. And, while I don't view them as anything other than complete reboots, with more in common with the off-Trek of my childhood--the Gold Key Comics, the Peter Pan story records--I don't find any of the elements that depart from TOS to be a potential deal-breaker. Any but one, that is.

In Star Trek, when Nero has been defeated and the Narada crippled, Kirk offers assistance, just as he would in TOS. Nero, for obvious reasons, tells him to go fuck himself. So far, so good--Mark Lenard's Romulan Commander did pretty much the same in "Balance of Terror," though he was much more gentlemanly about it. But then, with the Narada not firing off a single weapon, Kirk unloads on her, sticking around just long enough to get caught in the red matter black hole's gravity well.

Uh, no. Not only did it make Kirk look petty and vicious (and I've heard the argument that Kirk couldn't risk letting even a wounded Narada pop out somewhere in the past; be nice if he or Spock said as much), it dropped the chance for a much better dramatic moment: Kirk makes his offer, Nero refuses then locks a tractor beam or--better still--shoots harpoons trailing chains of rilistrongium alloy into Enterprise. Kirk's fussilade would then have been an act of self defense. He could even have echoed his alterna-self's line from the last time we saw an adversary opt for attempted murder-suicide rather than accept help as he wearily mutters, "Nero, I've had enough of you."

Into Darkness has the same problem. Spock, pushed past his breaking point, is clearly trying to murder Khan, not apprehend him. That makes sense, actually, and it's a reminder of the pre-Surakian savagery that lurks in all Vulcans, not just he half-human ones. It also underscores just how deep his brotherly love for Kirk runs and just how fragile watching his mother and his home planet die has left him, a year or so on. And then, before he can take it too far and cross a line he would have a tough time living with himself for crossing, Uhura stops him. Again, so far so good.

But her rationale? "He's our only chance to save Kirk!" (And why couldn't any of the other superpopsicles--products of the same gene manipulation and selective breeding--have done the same?) Pretty selfish, you ask me. How about: "Spock, stop! This is not you! This isn't Vulcan! This isn't your mother, it isn't Kirk!" Dramatically, I'd have saved the miracle blood reveal until after they had Khan in custody.

This stuff really bugs me. If our heroes are moral only until it affects them personally, they fail to be heroes, like their TOS counterparts. Heroes do the right hings for the right reasons. If I want selfish, brutal killers as protagonists, I'll watch The Sopranos or Breaking Bad (and I did and do watch them--they are two of my favorite shows; The Sopranos vies with TOS for my all-time favorite). I expect better of Kirk and Spock and I expect better of those writing for them.

J. Allen January 23 2014 11:19 PM

Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
In the case of ST09, I figure it's an attempt to prevent Nero from screwing up someone else's reality. If he escapes into another reality (or their own), who knows what damage he could do.

In the case of STiD, Uhura used the words that would get through to Spock, nothing more.

BillJ January 23 2014 11:20 PM

Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
Quote:

Brutal Strudel wrote: (Post 9159886)

In Star Trek, when Nero has been defeated and the Narada crippled, Kirk offers assistance, just as he would in TOS. Nero, for obvious reasons, tells him to go fuck himself. So far, so good--Mark Lenard's Romulan Commander did pretty much the same in "Balance of Terror," though he was much more gentlemanly about it. But then, with the Narada not firing off a single weapon, Kirk unloads on her, sticking around just long enough to get caught in the red matter black hole's gravity well.

But do you want to chance that part of the Narada and her crew survives the fall through the black hole to wreck havoc on some other part of the timeline?

BigJake January 23 2014 11:21 PM

Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
Quote:

Brutal Strudel wrote: (Post 9159886)
"He's our only chance to save Kirk!" (And why couldn't any of the other superpopsicles--products of the same gene manipulation and selective breeding--have done the same?)

In fairness, this is sort of explained: Kirk's neural patterns are supposed to be breaking down too quickly for them to have time to thaw out one of Khan's crewmembers, that's why they need Khan specifically. (It's still kind of ehhhh, granted, but at least they don't totally ignore this question.)

Hartzilla2007 January 23 2014 11:35 PM

Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
Quote:

BigJake wrote: (Post 9160057)
Quote:

Brutal Strudel wrote: (Post 9159886)
"He's our only chance to save Kirk!" (And why couldn't any of the other superpopsicles--products of the same gene manipulation and selective breeding--have done the same?)

In fairness, this is sort of explained: Kirk's neural patterns are supposed to be breaking down too quickly for them to have time to thaw out one of Khan's crewmembers, that's why they need Khan specifically. (It's still kind of ehhhh, granted, but at least they don't totally ignore this question.)

Plus while they knew Khan's blood had the regenerative abilities they didn't know for sure if any of the other augments' blood also had those abilities.

J. Allen January 23 2014 11:48 PM

Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
Quote:

Hartzilla2007 wrote: (Post 9160123)
Quote:

BigJake wrote: (Post 9160057)
Quote:

Brutal Strudel wrote: (Post 9159886)
"He's our only chance to save Kirk!" (And why couldn't any of the other superpopsicles--products of the same gene manipulation and selective breeding--have done the same?)

In fairness, this is sort of explained: Kirk's neural patterns are supposed to be breaking down too quickly for them to have time to thaw out one of Khan's crewmembers, that's why they need Khan specifically. (It's still kind of ehhhh, granted, but at least they don't totally ignore this question.)

Plus while they knew Khan's blood had the regenerative abilities they didn't know for sure if any of the other augments' blood also had those abilities.

Good point. It's assumed, generally, that Khan has the best genes, since he's the Alpha of the bunch. In an emergency, you go first with what has been tried and tested.

The Stig January 24 2014 03:58 PM

Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
Quote:

BillJ wrote: (Post 9160051)
Quote:

Brutal Strudel wrote: (Post 9159886)

In Star Trek, when Nero has been defeated and the Narada crippled, Kirk offers assistance, just as he would in TOS. Nero, for obvious reasons, tells him to go fuck himself. So far, so good--Mark Lenard's Romulan Commander did pretty much the same in "Balance of Terror," though he was much more gentlemanly about it. But then, with the Narada not firing off a single weapon, Kirk unloads on her, sticking around just long enough to get caught in the red matter black hole's gravity well.

But do you want to chance that part of the Narada and her crew survives the fall through the black hole to wreck havoc on some other part of the timeline?

That makes sense, of course, but he film does a piss-poor job of telling us why Kirk decides to flat-out murder Nero and his crew. It's a clear symptom of the writers strike and the filmmakers have mentioned more than once that they would have gone back to tweak that scene, if they could.

As for STiD, that film is dripping with moral lessons and does a damn sight better at dealing with 'the issues' than many installments of oldTrek. There are faults of plotting in STiD but its moral compass is pointing in exactly the right direction.

Ryan8bit January 24 2014 05:17 PM

Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
Quote:

BillJ wrote: (Post 9160051)
But do you want to chance that part of the Narada and her crew survives the fall through the black hole to wreck havoc on some other part of the timeline?

I realize we're talking about magical black holes that work to suit the plot here, but how is it that the Narada was supposed to actually travel through this black hole when it was pretty much inside of it? I guess magic.

CorporalCaptain January 24 2014 05:31 PM

Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
Quote:

Ryan8bit wrote: (Post 9163225)
Quote:

BillJ wrote: (Post 9160051)
But do you want to chance that part of the Narada and her crew survives the fall through the black hole to wreck havoc on some other part of the timeline?

I realize we're talking about magical black holes that work to suit the plot here, but how is it that the Narada was supposed to actually travel through this black hole when it was pretty much inside of it? I guess magic.

During his mind meld with nuKirk, Spock Prime said that the Narada had fallen through a black hole created by red matter and gone back in time to the Kelvin. Spock Prime had fallen through that same black hole, too. It's not like it wasn't already explained earlier in the movie what the danger was.

Ryan8bit January 24 2014 05:36 PM

Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
Quote:

CorporalCaptain wrote: (Post 9163258)
Quote:

Ryan8bit wrote: (Post 9163225)
Quote:

BillJ wrote: (Post 9160051)
But do you want to chance that part of the Narada and her crew survives the fall through the black hole to wreck havoc on some other part of the timeline?

I realize we're talking about magical black holes that work to suit the plot here, but how is it that the Narada was supposed to actually travel through this black hole when it was pretty much inside of it? I guess magic.

During his mind meld with nuKirk, Spock Prime said that the Narada had fallen through a black hole created by red matter and gone back in time to the Kelvin. Spock Prime had fallen through that same black hole, too. It's not like it wasn't already explained earlier in the movie what the danger was.

Uh, yeah, that's so painfully obvious, and you clearly missed the point.

CorporalCaptain January 24 2014 05:38 PM

Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
Quote:

Ryan8bit wrote: (Post 9163291)
Quote:

CorporalCaptain wrote: (Post 9163258)
Quote:

Ryan8bit wrote: (Post 9163225)

I realize we're talking about magical black holes that work to suit the plot here, but how is it that the Narada was supposed to actually travel through this black hole when it was pretty much inside of it? I guess magic.

During his mind meld with nuKirk, Spock Prime said that the Narada had fallen through a black hole created by red matter and gone back in time to the Kelvin. Spock Prime had fallen through that same black hole, too. It's not like it wasn't already explained earlier in the movie what the danger was.

Uh, yeah, that's so painfully obvious, and you clearly missed the point.

So, if that was painfully obvious, then what was the point?

Ryan8bit January 24 2014 05:46 PM

Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
Black holes work how they want them to, without any logic, and certainly not like how we actually know black holes to work. If they want them to make time travel, they do that. If they want them to make things implode, they do that.

We're given the impression that if a black hole forms inside something (like Vulcan) it will implode. But we also see ships travel through them from outside. But somehow if one forms inside of a ship it's still going to travel through it? It's bad enough that the science is terrible, but that's not even internally consistent with the fantasy universe.

iguana_tonante January 24 2014 05:47 PM

Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
Quote:

The Stig wrote: (Post 9163048)
the film does a piss-poor job of telling us why Kirk decides to flat-out murder Nero and his crew. It's a clear symptom of the writers strike and the filmmakers have mentioned more than once that they would have gone back to tweak that scene, if they could.

Ah, thank you for the info. Do you remember a link to some interview? I'd love to read it. I understand the purpose of the scene and what they were trying to do, but yeah, I agree they actually didn't a very good job of it. The first time I saw the scene, I cringed. It got better on following views, but it's still a bit jarring.

Quote:

The Stig wrote: (Post 9163048)
As for STiD, that film is dripping with moral lessons and does a damn sight better at dealing with 'the issues' than many installments of oldTrek. There are faults of plotting in STiD but its moral compass is pointing in exactly the right direction.

Spot on.

Franklin January 24 2014 05:50 PM

Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
The problem I had with the scene in question in ST09 was Spock's response to Kirk's offer to Nero. As emotionally compromised as Spock was, and staring the butcher of his mother and almost his entire race in the face, imagine how "Trek-like" it would've been if Spock had agreed with Kirk that something should be done to try to rescue Nero and his men. I'm sorry, I can't give Spock a pass on that no matter what he'd been through. Allowing what amounted to cold-blooded vengeance wasn't going to bring anyone back, and I doubt it made Spock feel any better. Indeed, I'd be bothered if it did. It was the sentiment of a thug, not a Starfleet officer. It was a low point for the character of Spock.

As far as STID goes, I didn't have a problem with what Uhura said. That wasn't the time nor place for long explanations. She also seemed genuinely shocked at Spock's cruelty and just wanted it to stop.

CorporalCaptain January 24 2014 05:59 PM

Re: NuTrek's Faulty Moral Compass
 
Quote:

Ryan8bit wrote: (Post 9163354)
Black holes work how they want them to, without any logic, and certainly not like how we actually know black holes to work. If they want them to make time travel, they do that. If they want them to make things implode, they do that.

We're given the impression that if a black hole forms inside something (like Vulcan) it will implode. But we also see ships travel through them from outside. But somehow if one forms inside of a ship it's still going to travel through it? It's bad enough that the science is terrible, but that's not even internally consistent with the fantasy universe.

Since photon torpedoes can either blow up a ship or open up a temporal rift, depending on the episode, I'm not really seeing the problem here. Or, are you one of the fans I've yet to run across who hates Yesterday's Enterprise?


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