View Single Post
Old July 30 2012, 05:25 PM   #329
Paper Moon
Re: TP: Raise the Dawn by DRGIII Review Thread (Spoilers!)

Christopher wrote: View Post
I see your point; you've moved the goal posts slightly, but I digress.
No, I'm clarifying where my goalposts were set all along, which is different from where yours were. We were talking past each other a bit, so I made it clearer how I'm defining the problem. As a writer, I tend to think about stories more in terms of the creators' decision processes than the characters'. I can't blame characters for what I consider to be the writers' or directors' bad decisions. I blame Nicholas Meyer and the people working with him for choosing to put in that mind-meld scene and play it in that particular way. I think they were making the character of Spock do something that I don't believe Spock would do, just as I think they made Kirk exhibit racism that I (and Shatner) don't believe he would feel, and made Uhura and McCoy far more incompetent when it came to Klingon language and medicine, respectively, than I believe they would be.
Fair points. (Well, I find McCoy's ignorance of Klingon anatomy more believable than Uhura's ignorance of Klingonese, but those are beside the point.)

And if I thought that was how the scene was actually directed, I'd agree. But it didn't feel like that to me. There was no sense that Spock regretted what he did or that any other character in the scene perceived it as a moral compromise. It can be retconned in that way, as Cast No Shadow did, but Meyer's own choices in directing that scene don't convey the impression that he thought of it in those terms.

I grant that that's a valid way of interpreting the scene, but I don't feel it was the original intent. I read his dismay as simply being "Oh no, we still don't know where the peace conference is so we can't stop the bad guys."
I recall significant shots of both Scotty and Uhura, suggesting that they were horrified at this terrible thing that was happening in front of them. Combine that with Spock's own horrified look (which could be both dismay at the potential failure of the mission, and dismay at what he's done), and I think you've got the sense that the characters perceive this as a moral compromise.

But I can see your point. There were probably better, but still equally dramatic, ways to move the story along there.

Except that immediately afterward they contact Excelsior so Sulu can give them the coordinates, which means they could've done that in the first damn place and the whole invasive mind meld was completely unnecessary! I just now realized that.
Except that the meld was done to get the names of the conspirators (which Excelsior would not have had), and it was only once they were in that Kirk decided to go for broke, and try to extract the location of the peace conference.

But David's death was 7 years earlier. So that sounds like a contradictory position to me.
I figured that the death of the son he never knew he had and was clearly looking forward to getting to know was a bigger emotional event than most anything else, affecting his interactions with Klingons both retroactively and going forward. And his grief over David might reasonably have taken time to crystallize.

Besides, we haven't seen every event in Kirk's life. If he had those interactions with the Klingons, it's likely he had others. Since we're in the Trek Literature forum, presumably we accept that at least a percentage of the novels and comics "really" happened, and a lot of those have Kirk interacting with Klingons. And the usual way Kirk has been portrayed in fiction is as a tolerant man who opposes the Klingons' military actions but does not feel bigotry or hate toward them, because that's just not the kind of person he is. There have been multiple novels and comics, at least before TUC and sometimes afterward, that have shown him as willing to work with Klingons and strive for peace with them when he had the opportunity.
Mm, that's a fair point. To be honest, I've never read any of the movie era comics, so I'll have to take your word about that. Thanks for mentioning that comic DVD earlier, by the way. Definitely gonna get that.

Oh, Kirk is very fallible. TOS gave us abundant evidence of that. But that's just it. I'm assessing who Kirk is as a character based on all the evidence that TOS gave us. And TUC is a data point that doesn't fit with the rest of the evidence.

I think people today don't realize just what a huge retcon it was when TUC came along and suddenly painted Kirk as this virulent racist. He'd never, ever been interpreted that way before, not in over a quarter of a century. (Okay, there was his "You Klingon bastard" line in TSFS, but that doesn't prove a pattern.) The movies have a disproportionate influence on people's perception of TOS and Kirk in particular. The simple fact is, TUC changed his character for the convenience of its glasnost allegory. They added this big abiding hatred toward Klingons that had never been part of his character before, so that he'd need to overcome that hatred and thereby have an arc through the story that would symbolize the topical message of letting go of past enmities. And yet everyone since then has forgotten what a massive retcon it was and accepted this single work, this exception to the rule, as the authoritative word on Kirk's feelings toward Klingons. And that's just weird, to embrace the outlier and ignore the otherwise consistent pattern.
You've convinced me that it was out of character. As to why people embrace the outlier, I would say because it shows Kirk the furthest along in the development of his character. We assume that the latest iteration of the character is the most fully developed. Not necessarily the best policy, but I think it's understandable.

It surprised me, though, that, while Dillard provided a further explanation for Kirk's hatred, she did not do so for the other crew of the Enterprise; in fact, if anything, she intensified their bigotry (with the exception of Uhura). Chekov was particularly bad, as I recall. I didn't like that at all. Not that they're perfect in the film, but still.
I don't think that came from her. My understanding is that the original script showed the whole crew reacting with stronger bigotry, but the actors pushed for it to be toned down. Since novelizations are generally not based on the final draft of the script or the final edit of the film, her source material wouldn't have reflected those changes made on the set.
I agree that it's probably due to her writing from an earlier draft of the script. Other things, including the inclusion of the munitions salesperson, and the exclusion of Colonel West, support that theory. Still, it is surprising that she didn't end up doing the same thing the actors did (tone it down) independently.
Paper Moon is offline   Reply With Quote