I almost wept upon reading Kaufman's statement about wanting to take ST movies in an adult direction that dealt with big questions and wonders and sexuality, because that's what ST was supposed to be all along. I regret that the studio forced TMP to be G-rated and that the sequels ended up being more in the lowbrow action-adventure vein. I would've loved to instead have an ST film franchise that was acclaimed for its sophisticated, thought-provoking, adult-oriented storytelling.
However, there's a disconnect between Kaufman's stated ambition and the summaries of Kaufman's script. That doesn't sound particularly adult or intelligent at all -- more like a cheesy '70s B-movie.
Yep...I totally agree with both parts of your post. He had the right idea, just not the right way to do it.