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Trekonomics Book
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Nimoy Memories From Friends and Family
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Old September 21 2008, 03:10 AM   #16
ancient
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Re: 'Star Trek XI' Henke Role

Sounds great. Obviously, there needs to be some point to showing Kirk's childhood. Sounds like they're really trying to ground Kirk's origin in something pretty relatable. I mean, is there anyone who DOESN'T have an unpleasant relative? (I mean in real life)

Kirk already has an established troubled past - the colony massacre, the vampire cloud, etc, so I don't see any problem adding a few layers to it.
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Old September 21 2008, 03:22 AM   #17
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Re: 'Star Trek XI' Henke Role

Star Treks wrote: View Post
Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Bleah, as a motive for little Jim Kirk to go to the Academy, that's pretty cliched. Why can't he just, you know, decide he wants to go? Why does everyone have to have a tragic frakkin' childhood?!?! Nobody in real life ever accomplished anything if they had a normal childhood?
I would venture that few people ever actually have "normal" childhoods. Or to put it another way, I think tragic childhood is pretty much normal.
Yet people manage to cope. And in my experience, what they do with their lives is not wholly or even largely determined by those experiences but by many other factors, including innate tendencies and motivations that cannot be traced easily to any source. To just chalk up Kirk's ambition to go to space to an abusive uncle is reductionist and takes away Kirk's individuality and identity. If he had a different uncle, he never would have wanted to go to space? Bullshit!

And "tragic" is certainly open to interpretation. Kids in Somalia whose village was murdered and they were left to fend for themselves from the age of five can say they had a "tragic" childhood. The stuff I hear people bitch about on a regular basis - sibling rivalry, parents didn't understand me, waa waa waa - doesn't even come remotely close.

I'm just fed up with being surrounded by frakkin whiners, I guess. It's okay if they wanna whine in real life, but I ain't paying ten bucks to watch them whine on the big screen. They should be paying me to listen to their bullshit. The people I pay money to see should be better than that, to prove they're worth my money.
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Old September 21 2008, 03:26 AM   #18
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Re: 'Star Trek XI' Henke Role

EyalM wrote: View Post
Temis the Vorta wrote: View Post
Bleah, as a motive for little Jim Kirk to go to the Academy, that's pretty cliched. Why can't he just, you know, decide he wants to go? Why does everyone have to have a tragic frakkin' childhood?!?! Nobody in real life ever accomplished anything if they had a normal childhood?
There is no drama in showing normal people in normal situations. When was the last time you saw a movie about people with no problems having a normal day?
I've seen movies about people with a strong sense of self achieving their goals despite great odds. But movies that are so reductionist that they can simplistically trace the origins of the protagonist's drives to a single event are poorly written. It's just not plausible - real people are far too complex for that.

Mostly, the examples I can think of have external problems to understand. Indiana Jones didn't have a tragic childhood, yet that doesn't stop Nazis and various crazies from fighting with him. He doesn't waste one minute of our time whining about how gramps sexually molested him or whatever. He just gets on with the job.

Why did Indy become an archeologist? Would it have improved the story for them to tell us it was because of gramps? Does it even matter?
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Old September 21 2008, 03:31 AM   #19
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Re: 'Star Trek XI' Henke Role

donners22 wrote: View Post
Perhaps the abuse is not only physical, and is used to explain Kirk's subsequent womanising ways?
THAT would make me violently ill.

Okay no more triple posting, tho in this forum, its inevitable. I think I've made my point: the ONE thing I definitely do not want them to do is try to win our sympathies for Kirk by turning him into an object of pity. BLERGH!

For an example of how to show a character who has an immensely horrible childhood, which really does warp him beyond belief, yet still fights through to achieve his own goals with good humor and optimism that seem impossible given the circumstances, I direct you to Dexter. Great example of the self-actualized protagonist and writers who never lower themselves to asking us to cry for their poor, poor abused little character. That is the kind of backbone I want to see from a character (particularly one who wants us to think of him as any sort of "hero") and from a story.

James T. Kirk has got to be at least as much of a hero as Dexter Morgan. Good frakking GOD! Really, am I asking too much here? Does "hero" even mean anything anymore?
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Old September 21 2008, 03:45 AM   #20
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Re: 'Star Trek XI' Henke Role

Well, Indy did have father issues. Not serious "I got beat up" father issues, but the fact that he got no real support at home could be considered his motive for becoming self-sufficient, going out and seeing the world and...adventuring.

Now, if we think about this situation as it's been described, I'm guessing this Uncle is a small part of a bigger picture. Why would a Uncle even be involved, I mean he has a mother and father, right?

If George is out of the picture, I'm guessing...here's another hypothetical: George dies or disappears in space, leaving Kirk to live with a pissy uncle. The Uncle's unpleasant manner may simply be the last straw, convincing Kirk to follow in his father's footsteps, or try to find him or whatnot. The uncle will probably be a part of a larger situation that makes Kirk choose to go into space like George did.

Maybe Kirk is discouraged from going to Starfleet by his father's death and his grumpy uncle gets the kid out of the house by enlisting him.

Anyway, the situation almost HAS to be more complicated than this scrap of information implies.

But movies that are so reductionist that they can simplistically trace the origins of the protagonist's drives to a single event are poorly written. It's just not plausible - real people are far too complex for that.
But keep in mind, a movie needs to establish a character's motives and background as clearly and quickly as possible so that it can move on and not spend 4 hours trying to do a complex background.

Example: Batman: Parents killed by a robber in front of him...jump-cut to him being Batman. Simple, powerful, and most importantly, it takes like 30 seconds of screen time. The best origins are sometimes the most straightforward.
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