Captain Mike wrote:
I just don't understand some peoples idea that Starfleet is "punishing" Kirk by giving him and his crew another Constitution refit. Hell in TVH, most everybody that was on the shuttle in Spacedock were unsure of their fate. Even McCoy stated: "The bureaucratic mentality is the only constant in the universe, we'll get a freighter.".
Also as stated in GENERATIONS, Kirk and the crew were distinguished as "living legends", and that was a short span of time between TVH and then. so why this notion of "punishment" eludes me.
I'm totally with you. Until I read posts on this thread, the idea of them being fobbed off or punished never ever dawned on me in 26 years of seeing this movie on and off.
STIV is a feelgood movie and my take on the end was that we were seeing the crew getting their reward, that we were going to see them back out having adventures in the flagship where they belong. To my mind, the idea that they're being given a hand-me-down as a PR exercise is totally at odds with the cheerful, almost triumphant ending of the movie. It's like 'here's the bad news Kirk, you're being demoted. Now here's the good news....' The 'demotion' is really a blessing in disguise, returning him to his rightful destiny.
I never got the idea that the ship he was given was a second piece of bad news. His last line is 'We've come home', for goodness' sake.