Kirk’s Pain

Here’s a little video I pieced together, imagining Sybok’s attack on Kirk.

Sybok converted each of the Enterprise’s crewmembers by aggravating painful memories. We don’t see what he did to the four supporting players, but we do witness his attacks on McCoy and Spock. Just as Sybok is about to dig into Kirk’s memories, the captain stops it short. Kirk’s resistance may have been more impressive if Sybok had tried and failed, rather than not even getting the chance to try.

If Sybok was allowed to dig a little bit, the painful memories from Kirk’s past that he probably would have played on include the death of David, the hurt that Kirk felt at the death of Spock, and the tragedy of the transporter accident from Star Trek: The Motion Picture. That may seem like an odd story to include. But one of those people is meant to be Lori Ciana, with whom Kirk fell in love, revealed in the novel The Lost Years.

The scenes from the TV show don’t fit very well visually, because of the unfortunate discrepancies in aspect ratio. I could have adjusted it, but that would reduce the image quality of the clips from the show, which already are of a lower quality from the films. For a two-minute fan compilation, I can afford to shrug that one off.

From the show, I’ve included a shot of Kodos the Executioner, playing on Kirk’s childhood trauma which was explored in Shatner’s novel Collision Course, a shot of Kirk’s old friend Gary Mithchell in his last lucid moment, Kirk discovering the dead body of his brother, and the death of his father. This bit is non-canonical, and doesn’t make any sense to include in this timeline. But it’s cool, so I threw it in there. The greatest pain in Kirk’s life may have been the death of Edith Keeler. He loved her, but he’s loved other people who have died. The real pain associated with Edith is the terrible choice he was forced to make. Captain Kirk is a man who always finds a way out, even if the situation is grim and the odds are against him. (Okay, so he didn’t find a way out of that one either.) The death of Edith marks the first time Kirk was forced to face his own limitations. He lost a woman he loved, which is painful enough. But being forced to allow her death hits at the deepest insecurities the character has.

But of course, it was that experience that strengthened him for the challenges ahead. Steeling his will to bring justice to the frontier, nothing could scare him. If his pain was taken away then he might not have the courage to confront the evil God-imposter, or to surrender his prejudice against the Klingons.

The music is taken from the episode “The City on the Edge of Forever.” Since I believe Kirk’s pain finds it home in the events chronicled in that story, it makes sense that all of his pains would be scored likewise.

My favorite Star Trek movies. 11th choice!

2nd to last!

Star Trek V: The Final Frontier

I defended this one for years, based on a viewing from a very young age. Then I watched it again, in my twenties.

My reasons for defending it to that point had expired. Sulu’s docking maneuver was not cool anymore. The big questions about God and what makes us human were revealed to be petty and thoughtlessly answered. I did pick up a few good pieces from this later viewing. “What does God need with a starship?” tops any list of good things in crappy Star Trek shows. I like the opening scene too. A lot of mystery and danger is conjured in that scene. Sadly, the story quickly shifts to the antics of the supposed crew of the Enterprise. I say supposed, because they look the same and their names are all the same, but otherwise these characters bare little resemblance to the real Kirk, Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Uhura, Sulu, and Chekov.

Sybok’s attempt to lure McCoy and Spock away from Kirk are very well-done. Okay, maybe a bit burnt. But you can scrape off the worst of it and still enjoy it. The cinematography and lighting is quite good in this movie, particularly evident in the opening scene and in the temptations of McCoy and Spock sequence. One truly has the sense of going into McCoy’s memories. While the actual events of that scene might bug some, and the outcome might bug some more, it must be admitted that this sequence is technically superior. It’s frightening, arresting, and memorable.

But the conclusion of that scene speaks to the larger problem the whole movie suffers by. The scene ends with Kirk saying, “I don’t want my pain taken away. I need my pain!” That’s a great line, delivered expertly by Shatner. But just before that, Kirk says, “Dammit, Bones, you’re a doctor!” And…okay, I get why Kirk says this, and it fits with the scene. But it just makes Shatner’s ego look hungry. He has to take McCoy’s catchphrase?

The music is good. Goldsmith returned. Though this is the least of his Star Trek scores, it is still of a higher quality than the movie deserved.

I do have some sentimental attachment to this bad movie. I had the poster hanging in my room for years and years and years. I also had cardboard cut-outs of William Shatner and Leonard Nimoy, nearly life-sized, stuck to my walls as a kid. Shatner was holding up a copy of the VHS for this movie. I would change out the cover with covers of other Star Trek movies or Batman pictures.

I also had this: 

This movie also restarted the adventures of the Enterprise crew in DC Comics. While I prefer the first series produced by DC, this second one is full of great Trek adventures. I just wish that DC, or whoever is allowed to, would make trade paperbacks collecting all the Star Trek comics published by DC. Titan Books, out of the UK, have made a few. But, like William Shatner, I want it all!


The list so far:

The Wrath of Khan

The Undiscovered Country

The Voyage Home

The Search for Spock

The Motion Picture

First Contact


Star Trek

Insurrection

Into Darkness

Generations

The Final Frontier