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Trek Literature "...Good words. That's where ideas begin."

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Old November 6 2013, 07:07 PM   #76
Christopher
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Re: Khan #1 Review

"Genocidal madman?" "Space Seed" made it clear that there were no massacres under Khan's rule, that he was the least brutal of the "supermen" who seized power. And the only time he was ever portrayed as a madman was in TWOK, as a result of 15-plus years of desperate hardship and the loss of his wife. Both SS and STID portray Khan as a very sane, intelligent, calculating antagonist; it's only the climactic ship-crash sequence that he's portrayed as vengeance-crazed (yet another reason I feel the film would've been better without that sequence). Other than that, I felt the film portrayed Khan rather sympathetically -- an aspiring conqueror with a ruthless streak, yes, but genuinely caring about his people and acting in the name of their survival and freedom.
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Old November 6 2013, 08:11 PM   #77
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Re: Khan #1 Review

Spock was quite surprised that anyone could admire Khan in "Space Seed" and described him as a "Ruthless Dictator". Whether or not Scotty was accurate to say there were "no massacres" or that McCoy was right about there being "no wars of aggression" is up to interpretation. People say things like that about everyone from Alexander to Bonaparte, but they're only half-true. What Alexander did to Thebes for example, or Bonaparte's treatment of the slave rebellions in the Caribbean are by our standards today genocidal. That they're not described as such often speaks more of their historical romanticism inherit in European narratives of their leaders than the reality. I'm pretty sure there's an element of that lurking in what the human members of the Enterprise crew were saying.

The evidence we see from Augments and the horrors of the Eugenics Wars as described in every episode, like Spock noting that whole populations were bombed out of existence, and that Khan himself was going to be tried for war crimes.

And being "the least brutal" of a group of aggressive genetically engineered dictators isn't much of a qualifier. I'm inclined to trust Spock's word on his description as a dictator and a ruthless one at that, over that of the fawning humans.
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Old November 6 2013, 08:35 PM   #78
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Re: Khan #1 Review

But the point is, Khan was not written as a "madman" in either "Space Seed" or STID. The intent was not to portray him as some one-dimensional monster. He was clearly written as a nuanced villain with sympathetic motivations. Of the two main villains in the film, Khan was shown to warrant more of our sympathy than Marcus was. So I don't agree in the least that the film portrayed him as a "genocidal madman." Marcus was the one who was trying to start a war that could kill billions. Khan was trying to save his family, essentially, albeit willing to go to extreme measures to do so. Both were bad guys, to be sure, but Khan was the more sympathetic one.
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Old November 6 2013, 08:45 PM   #79
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Re: Khan #1 Review

That's fair enough. My point was more that I think "Starfleet super agent held hostage by Marcus" thing would've made for a more sympathetic character if he weren't a former dictator. I admit that "genocidal madman" is hyperbole.
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Old November 6 2013, 09:02 PM   #80
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Re: Khan #1 Review

Oh, I agree -- I would've been happier if he hadn't been Khan. But there's some consolation in that this is the one canonical Khan story that I think made the best use of the character.
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Old November 6 2013, 10:05 PM   #81
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Re: Khan #1 Review

Lindelof's statement about budgets and how you have to be saving the world if you spend more than $100m doesn't really hold water at all. Fast & Furious 6 spent almost as much as StiD did ($160 million) and did $786 million at the box office (well over what STiD managed IIRC), without blowing up much more than a parking garage. It does sound kind of hacky and defensive... although it also sounds like the conditions born of external pressure, and I could certainly believe that people at Paramount and CBS (perhaps with international focus group statistics in hand) could be the source of that kind of reasoning and priority-setting.

Having said all that, the "disaster porn" complaint leveled at STiD seems too easy to me, and off the mark. STiD was actually quite restrained in terms of property destruction, and insofar as a 9-11 parallel existed it was more in terms of there being some form and flavour of domestic threat at all and terrorism-as-part-of-the-equation at all. "Disaster porn" -- which IMO is much more about the apocalypse-anxiety of our times than about 9-11 -- is a much more relevant term to a film like Man of Steel (whose urban throwdown apparently should have caused $2 trillion in damage, left almost 400,000 people dead or missing and more than twice that number injured) or Pacific Rim (which was specifically apocalyptic-stakes science fantasy).
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Old November 6 2013, 10:18 PM   #82
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Re: Khan #1 Review

Oh, don't get me wrong -- I found STID's use of city devastation gratuitous and superficial, but it was a minor problem in the film, nothing compared to the offensive excess and shallowness of Man of Steel's climax. I'm certainly not saying they're on a par. MoS's city-wrecking orgy ruined the film for me, but STID's more restrained use of the trope was just a minor annoyance.

As for Pacific Rim, I haven't actually seen it yet, but from what I know, it's different because it's a pastiche of a genre that's all about that kind of destruction (Godzilla/daikaiju films), and because the filmmakers made a point of establishing that the cities were evacuated first, so it didn't have MoS's sheer obliviousness toward civilian casualties.
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Old November 6 2013, 10:19 PM   #83
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Re: Khan #1 Review

Christopher wrote: View Post
But the point is, Khan was not written as a "madman" in either "Space Seed" or STID. The intent was not to portray him as some one-dimensional monster. He was clearly written as a nuanced villain with sympathetic motivations. Of the two main villains in the film, Khan was shown to warrant more of our sympathy than Marcus was. So I don't agree in the least that the film portrayed him as a "genocidal madman." Marcus was the one who was trying to start a war that could kill billions. Khan was trying to save his family, essentially, albeit willing to go to extreme measures to do so. Both were bad guys, to be sure, but Khan was the more sympathetic one.
I found nothing sympathetic about Khan. He was taking Enterprise senior officers and threatening to kill them if they didn't help him, he held a blade to McCoy's neck and didn't seem too sympathetic towards the security officers he pummeled in "Space Seed".

He also was going to have no issue killing all five-hundred people on the Enterprise if he didn't get his way.

As far as the "no massacres under his rule": what qualifies as a massacre? Plus, with the "Records of that period are fragmentary, however." comment, how are they certain that Khan wasn't some kind of homicidal monster? I'm certain a quarter of the Earth didn't just lay down their arms and decide it best to follow Khan.
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Old November 6 2013, 11:35 PM   #84
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Re: Khan #1 Review

BillJ wrote: View Post
Christopher wrote: View Post
But the point is, Khan was not written as a "madman" in either "Space Seed" or STID. The intent was not to portray him as some one-dimensional monster. He was clearly written as a nuanced villain with sympathetic motivations. Of the two main villains in the film, Khan was shown to warrant more of our sympathy than Marcus was. So I don't agree in the least that the film portrayed him as a "genocidal madman." Marcus was the one who was trying to start a war that could kill billions. Khan was trying to save his family, essentially, albeit willing to go to extreme measures to do so. Both were bad guys, to be sure, but Khan was the more sympathetic one.
I found nothing sympathetic about Khan. He was taking Enterprise senior officers and threatening to kill them if they didn't help him, he held a blade to McCoy's neck and didn't seem too sympathetic towards the security officers he pummeled in "Space Seed".

He also was going to have no issue killing all five-hundred people on the Enterprise if he didn't get his way.

As far as the "no massacres under his rule": what qualifies as a massacre? Plus, with the "Records of that period are fragmentary, however." comment, how are they certain that Khan wasn't some kind of homicidal monster? I'm certain a quarter of the Earth didn't just lay down their arms and decide it best to follow Khan.
I think he means STID Khan, not Space Seed Khan.
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Old November 6 2013, 11:41 PM   #85
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Re: Khan #1 Review

Ovation wrote: View Post
I think he means STID Khan, not Space Seed Khan.
Yes. I did say "the film," not "the episode." And there was nobody named "Marcus" in "Space Seed."
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Old November 7 2013, 07:41 AM   #86
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Re: Khan #1 Review

^ Meh. Khan is Khan, whether it be from episode or film. The STID Khan was the same one we saw in TOS. He's not suddenly a stand-up guy just because we get to see him cry crocodile tears over his "family".

Christopher wrote: View Post
"Genocidal madman?" "Space Seed" made it clear that there were no massacres under Khan's rule, that he was the least brutal of the "supermen" who seized power. And the only time he was ever portrayed as a madman was in TWOK, as a result of 15-plus years of desperate hardship and the loss of his wife. Both SS and STID portray Khan as a very sane, intelligent, calculating antagonist; it's only the climactic ship-crash sequence that he's portrayed as vengeance-crazed (yet another reason I feel the film would've been better without that sequence). Other than that, I felt the film portrayed Khan rather sympathetically -- an aspiring conqueror with a ruthless streak, yes, but genuinely caring about his people and acting in the name of their survival and freedom.
You almost sound like you'd enjoy living under Khan's rule. Are you sure you want to be judged that way?
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Old November 7 2013, 10:49 PM   #87
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Re: Khan #1 Review

Christopher wrote: View Post
MoS's city-wrecking orgy ruined the film for me, [...] so it didn't have MoS's sheer obliviousness toward civilian casualties.
Shocking that those bad Kryptonians were the cause of much death. In a superhero-movie, no less. Who'd have ever thought this could happen?
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Old November 9 2013, 01:28 AM   #88
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Re: Khan #1 Review

Christopher wrote: View Post
that's what was completely and utterly missing from Man of Steel.
I agree. I'm afraid I was bored witless.
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Old November 9 2013, 02:18 AM   #89
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Re: Khan #1 Review

I do kinda find it silly to compare a Kaiju movie's destruction of city-scapes (given that the genre basically requires it) and that of a Star Trek movie (which doesn't).
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Old November 10 2013, 06:44 AM   #90
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Re: Khan #1 Review

I found it odd that NuSPock had to be goaded by NuKirk into showing emotion over the destruction of Vulcan and the death of his mother and yet he totally lost it and went into a homicidal rage over the "death" of one person that he's known for about a year. Sort of puts the destruction of Vulcan into perspective, right up there with the Death Star blowing up Alderaan in Star Wars. Obi Wan feels a disturbance in the force and then it's never mentioned again.
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