Monday, July 27, 2009

STbtM 030: Kobayashi Maru Begins


Previous: Roommates
Gaila is not happy that Uhura has started stripping in front of Kirk, hidden under the bed, and actress Ms. Nichols responds to Uhura's clothes removal and simultaneous story of the klingon distress calls with a perfectly deadpan "Oh no." "Yeah! A klingon armada was destroyed – 47 ships." "So, [nervously] you're not going back to the lab tonight?" "Gaila, who is he?" "Who's who?" "The mouth breather hiding under your bed."
Kirk jumps up and asks, "You can hear me breathing?" "You!?" As Kirk grabs his clothes in a bunch, he says in as serious a tone as he can "Big day tomorrow." "You're gonna fail," Uhura hisses, throwing some clothes at him with "Get out!" followed by pushing and all of it resonated authenticity of real dorm experience.
Kirk blurts out to Gaila "I'll see ya around…" at which she smiles like an imp and nods enthusiastically as Kirk stumbles backward looking at Uhura, and asks "If I pass, will you tell me your first name?" "No! Goodnight."
"I think the fact that you found that you picked up a transmission is very interesting!" as Uhura pushes him to the door and closes it in his face. This is the best comedy moment in the film, only marred by continuing a disgraceful media trend that admittedly is a sin of omission. Part of what I loved about Star Trek was that it tried to provide entertainment that uplifts our spirits, fires our minds, inspires our imagination, and moves our emotions. Roddenberry did not want to choose from the media options available to creators at the time. He did not want to have weak women, subservient Africans, conniving Japanese, evil Russians, and others augmenting a cast dominated by strong, intelligent white men who prevailed in endless barfights, gang fights, gladiator fights, space fights, gunfights, showdowns, and fights with fists, poisons, knives, swords, guns, bombs, and every other imaginable instrument of harm. All of them heroic victories over evil – just the kind of show advertisers prefer for "conditioning audiences" to look upon their product favorably, and war tends to be very profitable, as Adam Smith and notable others like Smedley Darlington Butler observed.
We cut to a closup of Uhura on the bridge simulator, "We are receiving a distress signal from the USS Kobayashi Maru, the ship has lost power and is stranded. StarFleet Command has ordered us to rescue them." Now, some purists voiced the objection that in the previous simulation from the movie, the captain could decide whether to attempt a rescue or not. I have no problem with this version however, since it is presumably an earlier version, and it seems reasonable that a later simulation would have more decision options built into it.
Kirk turns from her com station aft, to the forward viewscreen and corrects her with "StarFleet has ordered us to rescue them…Captain." McCoy, who is at the helm rolls his eyes and says "Two klingon vessels have entered the Neutral Zone and are locking weapons on us." The "skipper" smirks back at him: "That's OK." "That's OK?" "Yeah, don't worry about it." In the observation room, we see one male sim technician ask, "Did he say don't worry about it?" and another male asks: "Is he not taking this simulation seriously?" Back on the sim bridge, McCoy announces "three more klingon warbirds decloaking and targeting our ship. I don't suppose this a problem either?"
Kirk has no chance to respond as a crewman announces "They're firing Captain!"

9 comments:

Steamblade said...

Not that I think Kirk is stalking Uhura or anything, but in three years at SFA he might have been curious and looked at something akin to a cadet directory. Something tells me there aren't too many Uhuras at the Academy. Not to mention she's a member of his simulation crew. Nevermind, I forgot how simple logic would ruin the joke later in the movie by our heroic writers.

BurntSynapse said...

I don't recall the joke, (maybe I it was during the time I walked out...) but I just chalked it up to his not really caring about her at all, which is in character.

Steamblade said...

The joke is when she kisses Spock on the transporter pad before he and Kirk beam to the Narada. Spock calls her Nyota. Kirk says somthing like "So, that's her name." Spock responds "I have no further comment on the matter."

muser said...

Now at the point Uhura says that she picked up a signal from a Klingon prison planet, the writers are making reference to the crew of the Narada having been on Rura Pente for the 24 years or so that they've been out of circulation, as mentioned in the (non-Canon) "Countdown" comic. So in a way that objection is sort-a kind-a addressed. Also, hate to nitpick, but McCoy "rolls" his eyes, as he plays his role. :)

BurntSynapse said...

Oops! Thanks for the spelling correction.

How is the Romulan crew deciding to "wait" a quarter century on Rura Pente death planet explained as a reasonable decision on their part? Couldn't they do their mourning on Risa?

muser said...

I think in the graphic novel (I haven't got a copy unfortunately) the crew were captured after being disabled by the Kelvin ramming them, and this is why a point is (kind of) made of the Narada being near the Klingon Neutral Zone. I haven't actually been able to read the thing though so now I'm out on a limb that might be cut out from under me. I'm just trying to give the writers the benefit of the doubt on this point, which perhaps is being too charitable.

BurntSynapse said...

Like I said, these guys went far beyond any possible slack I can provide in suspending disbelief. They did not have anything worthwhile to say, while pandering to violence, sexist and xenophobic stereotypes, and violating their own story premises time and again while using nonsensical dialog interspersed with profound ignorance of science and logic.

Blech!

Flashman85 said...

In addition to Adam Smith and Smedley Darlington Butler, it's worth noting that the Ferengi also observed that war is good for business (Rule of Acquisition 34).

BurntSynapse said...

Ooooh, good call. As I remember, "Peace is good for business" is in there as well.

So many great quotes!

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