Star Trek by the Minute 012
Senseless Destruction of Priceless Cultural Artifacts is Fun
Previous: Grand Theft Auto, Pubescent Trekstyle
This segment opens with the wicked step-father ranting over the cell phone to our delinquent hero joy-riding in a priceless 1965 Chevrolet Corvette C2 convertible roadster. In 2235, this car would be a 270 year old world cultural treasure. The rant continues with "You get your ass back home now! You live in my house buddy, you live in my house and that is my car. You get one scratch on that car and I'm gonna whip your ass." Clearly, this is the pubescent James Kirk, who again takes his eyes off the road at high speed to fiddle with the electronic controls on a Nokia® Iphone® wannabe. He actually ducks into the teakwood steering wheel (a $48 option in those days) to reach controls considered unsafe for drivers today, to hang up the phone and crank some rap.
Now some nitpickers would ask: why bring up a playlist on the screen and then start blaring music if no tracks or actions have been selected? Such people clearly don't understand corporate bribery… (ahem) Excuse me please - I mean to say: "product placement partnerships". A blast of the rap intro accompanies Kirk reaching up to release the shiny convertible roof locks, and the top goes sailing away. Apparently, despite decades of experience designing and testing to prevent this well known danger, neither the forward safety catches nor the boot fasteners offered any resistance to dramatic takeoff for the convertible soft top, which lands on the pavement as Kirk the Wildman screams with the lead singer of the Beastie Boys and heroically tears down the road at breakneck speed. We see a young hitchhiker with a book backpack walking along the road, and Kirk starts honking, and yells "Hey Tony!" It seems they are not friends, since Kirk doesn't give Tony a lift and appears to want to show up this somewhat older adolescent.
A policeman appears on a flying motorcycle, pulls up to Kirk and directs him to "Pull over." Kirk then skids off the main paved street to an unpaved side road, and the cop makes a cool aerial bank to follow. In an interview, JJ Abrams declared that the purpose of this scene was to show Kirk as a renegade. Not sure of exactly what his message was, I looked up "renegade" and found "outlaw", and "a disloyal person who betrays or deserts his cause or religion or political party or friend etc." JJ Abrams wanted to heroically portray not just illegal behavior, but perhaps actual disloyalty and betrayal? As a former corporate consultant with decades of experience, I realize that such treachery in service of the organization is how one most quickly earns trust and approval from superiors but this criticism should not be taken as an indictment of capitalism. The mafia, gangs, political parties and most other authority hierarchies have this defect simply as a result of hierarchial power and the fact that people make mistakes. However, I'm astounded to see this hallmark of totalitarianism so openly advocated in interviews and portrayed as admirable on the big screen. In the context of a character endangering himself and others while gleefully stealing and destroying other peoples work and most prized possessions? Amazing... JJ has some real chutzpah. He certainly has "reinvented" the optimism and morality of Roddenberry who, regardless of Savik's cuteness cannot be envisioned pairing Kirk or Picard (the captain Gene wanted) with lyrics like "So while you sit back and wonder why, I got this fucking thorn in my side, Oh my - It's a mirage, I'm telling y'all it's a sabotage". For some reason, I was reminded of Jennifer Garner in 13 Going on 30 saying: "we need to remember what used to be good because if we don't, we won't recognize it even if it hits us between the eyes". In JJ's words: "This is not your father's Star Trek!" No indeed JJ, what you created is not based in the old virtues of the past of honesty, patience, intelligence, wisdom, and empathy. As the "old" Spock said to McCoy: "Remember."
Next: Ban High-Speed Chases