TMP: The return of main characters - questions and thoughts

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies I-X' started by mendelin, Mar 31, 2014.

  1. mendelin

    mendelin Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I have watched The Motion Picture several times and I really like this gorgeous movie.

    There were some changes due the time gap, that's why one of the challenges was to get together familiar characters and to introduce some background history. But some explanations weren't enough convincing and plausible (IMO).

    I know about the Lost Years books, but let's pretend, they are not exist (it's not a canon and were written after TMP, anyway).

    Question #1:
    why Kirk accepted the promotion to admiral?

    I guess, there was no alternative. If you are on duty, you have to accept rules. According TMP Kirk is not happy with his promotion, but he can live with it, if there is a hope to return Enterprise. So, admiral Nogura had manipulated Kirk right from the end of five year mission. But this explanation is not quite sufficient due the Kirk's strong character and his beliefs. More likely he will simply retire from the Starfleet to save his freedom. Or am I wrong?

    Question #2:
    Why Spock resigned from Starfleet and started the Kolinahr?
    There should be a very strong reason to do it. Not simply "I'm tired of my dual nature, I want to be a true Vulcan".

    I guess, there are parallels between V'Ger and Spock storylines. Spock rejects his human side (feelings, emotions), and V'Ger never experienced human feelings. They both need human part and they both have to understand it.
    But it seems to be very odd, that V'Ger touched exactly Spock's mind. It is not very plausible, the probability of this case is very low.

    Please, any thoughts!
     
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2014
  2. OpenMaw

    OpenMaw Captain Captain

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    For Kirk, I could see him accepting the promotion, if the Five Year Mission took it's toll on him. Remember, Decker does point out that when he took over, Kirk wanted a command again someday. I could see Kirk accepting it as his next logical course, and then regretting being stuck there. He was probably convinced he was the right person for the job given his experience.

    Spock was a singular mind on a world of billions that were distinctly different. I think it was *Spock* not V'ger that did the sensing. As is said during the ceremony "it touches(calls to?) your human half, Spock."
     
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    While the rest of the crew's promotions felt like natural steps, it always seemed so sad to me that Spock left in an attempt to rid himself of his human half, like he considered his time on the Enterprise a failure.
    Some of The Lost Years is based on backstory from Gene Roddenberry's novelization of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, which was written concurrent to the film's production. It's a fascinating read, to see how the man himself imagined his characters and universe.
     
  4. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    It always seemed to me that Kirk accepted the promotion to admiral because it was forced on him by Starfleet. He may not have wanted to leave the Enterprise, but the pre-TWOK Kirk was more of a team player with Starfleet than not, IMO. But hindsight is always 20-20 and Kirk learned soon enough that he had made a big mistake (something that both Spock and McCoy pointed out). It actually adds dimension to Kirk that he wasn't infallible.

    And I do think Spock's reason for leaving Starfleet was as simple as his desire to become a true Vulcan (or at the very least, rid himself of his inner conflict with his Human half). In real life, people have left jobs for totally personal reasons too.

    But we're also forgetting that McCoy left Starfleet too. His rationale for leaving--and going "native"--might have been due to being fed up with Starfleet life after TOS and wanting to live like a regular person. In the TMP novelization, it was implied that McCoy resigned due to resentment over Starfleet politics, namely the removal of Kirk from starship command.
     
  5. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I see no indication Kirk didn't originally want to become an Admiral so highly positioned that his epaulets would create back problems. He just didn't realize how dull and unsatisfactory this would be, not back then. Who knows, perhaps he is actually dissatisfied with the fact that he is still mere Rear Admiral in TMP, rather than Vice Admiral already?

    As for characters leaving in general, it could be that none of them really wanted a career in Starfleet. They just signed up on the five-year mission for the excellent salary (necessary for drafting people for what is essentially aggravated suicide), and not all of them became infatuated with their uniforms in the course of the mission.

    At least this could work for McCoy, who could well be a senior officer without much background in Starfleet, as his high rank could be due to his medical training seniority.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  6. Khan 2.0

    Khan 2.0 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    earth...but when?...spock?
    i wonder why they felt they had to set it so soon after TOS? Why not 10 years as in real time to account for the actors aging and radical redesigning..?

    they got it right for TWOK moving forward a few years...(as did VI i think)

    (similarly STID was also surprisingly soon after ST09 yet had the 2nd longest gap inbetween films)
     
  7. J.T.B.

    J.T.B. Rear Admiral Premium Member

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    That's one of those things you just have to accept because movies/shows need a stable status quo, and they act like this great aversion to higher responsibility is a normal thing (especially TNG). But it's not how real people at the top of their profession act. Kirk's career goal would always have been the very top, and he would know that there would be periods of staff duty as well as command in space. And staff duty is also important work, a chance for Kirk to use his experience to benefit Starfleet in a different way than commanding a starship. Kirk wanting to stay in starship command is effectively saying he's not up to new challenges, he wants to stay in his comfort zone, and other captains are better suited to being his boss than the other way round.

    But ultimately "it's only a movie." Kirk needed to get his mojo back, which for purposes of the film was becoming captain of Enterprise again.

    How sure can we be about how much time has passed? IIRC the only timeline clue in the movie is Kirk saying he served two and a half years as chief of Starfleet operations, but there's no way to know when that assignment started.
     
  8. mendelin

    mendelin Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    I have read TMP-book. It's quite short and very close to movie.
    But, again, I didn't find any explanation for Spock's decision to reject his human half.

    As for McCoy, he resigned from StarFleet due to his protest against Kirk's promotion. It's very good explanation.

    In TMP Spock acts as a child, if he has no strong reasons to start Kolinahr.
    This procedure is very similar to self-murder (he kills his half). And it's very similar to betrayal (towards his mother).
     
  9. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    I'd agree that the movie was always supposed to take place about a decade after TOS - or more exactly, it was written following the idea that Star Trek takes place exactly 300 years after the respective episodes and movies, an idea adopted in the fandom soon after TOS folded. This is why e.g. the Voyager probe was launched "more than 300 years ago" - it's 2279 "now", while the first Voyagers launched in 1977 for real.

    Modern references force us to adjust that ever-so-slightly, in that we know (from TNG "Cause and Effect") of a different type of uniform being in use in 2278 already, aboard a ship that already has the "modern" engines of the Enterprise and thus makes it less plausible that Kirk would have so much trouble with them at a later date. But 2277 or so ain't a bad date for ST:TMP.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  10. Armored Saint

    Armored Saint Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Was it stated in the novel that Spock wanted to purge his human nature? Because in fact, Kolinahr is about Vulcan nature. Vulcans are naturally emotionnal, so they eliminate a Vulcan part of them by Kolinahr.

    Spock left Starfleet to find his real place, to finally realised this place wasn't in Vulcan society, but in Starfleet and later in Diplomatic corps. It's not a betrayal if he felt more Vulcan than Human, he grew up in Vulcan society.

    My Mom is Greek, but I never really considered myself as Greek and I don't see this a betrayal toward her.

    I also suppose that most of people don't pass their whole adult life in Starfleet and that's pretty common to see resignations after ten or fifteen years.
     
  11. drt

    drt Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Kirk also says to Decker, "five years out there dealing with unknowns like this", which would indicate there was only a single five-year mission. However, that doesn't preclude Kirk and the Enterprise having an additional mission which perhaps wasn't an exploratory mission (so no dealing with "unknowns", as during the five-year mission). Maybe they functioned as the Enterprise-D seemed to do much more often, as a diplomatic/policing vessel flying the flag of the Federation to various events.

    [Note: this just postulates soley from the events of TMP, prior to "Cause and Effect" retconning the red jackets to 2278]
     
  12. C.E. Evans

    C.E. Evans Admiral Admiral

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    An explanation was given almost as soon as Spock appeared in the book--he was having personal issues at the time and he blamed it (or his inability to reconcile it) on his Human half.
    Spock left Starfleet to do something else. That's a very good explanation too.
    Well, in that sense, McCoy also acted like a child by leaving Starfleet just because they ignored his advice about Kirk.
    Not at all. The Kolinahr is simply a discipline, not too unlike joining a special order. Amanda would still be Spock's mother and it would actually be illogical for him to deny it even if he hadn't failed.
     
  13. Hober Mallow

    Hober Mallow Commodore Commodore

    He quit because Kirk got a promotion? That's a terrible explanation. Does his entire world revolve around Kirk?
     
  14. trevanian

    trevanian Rear Admiral

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    I haven't read it in awhile, but McCoy's losing argument was that Kirk is that unique quarterdeck breed and admiralcy is the wrongest call possible -- pretty much what Spock sez in TWOK.

    I think the idea is that he finds it reprehensible that they're doing this, that they convinced Kirk, and that resignation was the only form of protest left to him. In fact, the novel PRIME DIRECTIVE may have drawn on some of this, with McCoy doing more than just bitch at an admiral - he actually slugs him over the mistreatment of Kirk & co regarding their part in a planet having a nuclear war while they were in orbit. (the admiral in PD is a lot more interesting than Nogura in GR's TMP.)
     
  15. Lance

    Lance Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Re: the issue of Kirk taking the promotion, IIRC the original 'Phase II' version of the script took a slightly different tack: everybody onboard the Enterprise could see that he made the wrong decision in accepting the promotion except for Kirk himself. It's only when he's back in the center chair (at Admiral Nogura's insistence) that Kirk finally remembers his true calling, to command a starship.

    Recalling from memory: there's an early scene in that first draft script where Kirk meets McCoy again on Earth (now a freelance physician), before his meeting with Nogura, and Bones urges Kirk towards starship command again. Then in the meeting about the threat, Nogura himself has to damn near order Kirk to take personal command of the Enterprise again, as Kirk keeps recommending other options except the 'obvious' one. But once he's there, Kirk begins to remember what he loved about starship duty, and only then does he realize everybody was right but him, and that accepting the promotion was a mistake.

    The final version as seen in TMP is in some ways more dramatically pleasing, but it does rather show Kirk to be somewhat ruthlessly pursuing starship command again at the expense of other officers. Notable is that McCoy's perspective does a complete flip from what it was in the early draft: instead of urging Kirk to go back to what he was best at, he instead recognizes Kirk's "true" reason for taking Enterprise back from Decker, and admonishes him accordingly.
     
  16. Timo

    Timo Fleet Admiral Admiral

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    Another thing this doesn't preclude is that the crew dispersed after the five-year mission: Kirk got a desk job, Uhura became the communications officer of USS Pompous, Chekov attended the Security and Tactical Training School and took a tour of duty at the Ggressivite front, Sulu took a six-year leave of absence to be with his family, Scotty joined a team planning for the big refit, and Kyle became a barber but, having finally perfected his mustache, decided to re-enlist.

    I agree that the ultimate TMP take on how Kirk came back is dramatically more satisfactory than the early versions. It's delightful to have the hero reintroduced to us as the villain! Of course, unlike with M:I and other exploiters of this character twist, the movie is supposed to make Kirk the hero again by the time of the end credits - but whether it succeeds there is debatable.

    Timo Saloniemi
     
  17. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    I don't think it succeeded at all. If you ask me, Kirk's behavior throughout the films is an illustration of his leadership by arrogance approach to starship command.

    The Motion Picture: Kirk takes command of Enterprise away from Decker despite knowing almost nothing about the ship's new capabilities. He nearly destroys the ship after flying it into a wormhole caused by premature activation of the warp engines. Decker correctly points out a flaw in Kirk's choice of phaser fire to destroy an asteroid in the wormhole, for which Kirk drags him to his quarters with the intention of chewing him out. It's only after McCoy chews him out that Kirk realizes he's going about everything all wrong.

    The Wrath of Khan: Kirk accepts command of the Enterprise from Spock and almost immediately places the ship in jeopardy by ignoring the advice of a competent junior officer, who advises him to raise shields upon the approach of another vessel. He defeats Khan only by virtue of his superior experience--which apparently amounts to him realizing that a starship can fly up or down instead of merely horizontal.

    The Search for Spock: Kirk ignores the warning of a superior officer and takes a broken-down Enterprise back to Genesis to retrieve Spock. His desire to help his friends is commendable, but his blatant disregard for Starfleet protocol nearly gets his friends killed--first in battle and later on the Genesis planet. Kirk lucks out when Kruge manages to wander onto the wrong side of a land mass that's about to come apart, and later benefits from his crew taking over a Klingon ship in his absence. Spock is saved, but countless others die due to a chain of events initiated by Kirk's carelessness.

    The Voyage Home: Kirk and company decide to return to Earth to face the consequences of their actions during the previous film. Along the way, Kirk decides to once again trample on Starfleet regulations and travel back in time to find humpback whales capable of answering the strange probe threatening Earth in the twenty third century. Earth is saved, and Kirk gets his captaincy back. All he had to do was fuck up the timeline.

    Of note, I don't blame Kirk for Chekov's stupidity during this film. I always laugh during the scene in which Chekov falls from the aircraft carrier, not because it's funny, but because it's exactly the kind of situation he almost always finds himself in. People ask why Chekov never got his own ship. I say, "Have you seen all the stupid things he did? How can someone who acts like that possibly succeed in the big chair?"

    --Sran
     
  18. LMFAOschwarz

    LMFAOschwarz Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Funny you should bring up Chekov, I was thinking about him recently. On the tv series, Chekov was presented as sort of a "student of Spock", often taking over at the science station, or dong odd specific tasks for Spock, theoretically grooming him for a Science Officer career of his own one day.

    Well, "one day" finally comes in The Motion Picture, and Chekov is, of all things, Security Chief. Did he not like the science position after all, and switched disciplines, or did he go around making too many Russian jokes, which ended up hurting his credibility as a scientist? :lol:
     
  19. Captain Clark Terrell

    Captain Clark Terrell Commodore Commodore

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    Good point! I can surmise only that Kirk and Spock were impressed with his bravery during the infamous brawl aboard Space Station K7 and decided security was a better fit.

    On a more serious note, it may be that a posting in security was projected to be the only opening aboard the Enterprise once the refit was finished. It's never made clear who Decker wanted for his senior staff. At least a few of the spots were filled by people Kirk handpicked. Maybe Decker and Chekov didn't hit it off, and the former decided early-on in the refit that he wanted another science officer.

    --Sran
     
  20. Unicron

    Unicron Continuity Spackle Moderator

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    You should check out IDW's comic Mission's End. It addresses both Kirk and Spock, as well as McCoy.