Saturday, March 24, 2012

Promisorry Notice

Life gallops on, with or without blog-worthy thoughts. Thoughts, I've had a few; but then again, too few to mention.

The most stellar of them gravitate, as they are so prone to do, around Star Trek. Every so often, in the midst of that gooey cheese fondue that passes for space opera, there are a few lines that really sing. Or maybe they just settle in my consciousness like grit inside an oyster.

Or maybe they beckon like pearls before a swine.

"I don't like where this is going..."
Alright, enough of the metaphors. The line I've been mulling over, from time to time these last few days, occurs late in the sixth Star Trek movie, The Undiscovered Country. Spock, discovering that his disciple (played by a pre-Sex Kim Cattrall) has, under the sway of a peculiar strain of logic, betrayed him, his ship and his beloved Federation, declares (rather angrily): "Logic is the beginning of wisdom — not the end of it."

Ah, but that makes the old heart goes pitter-pat. For one thing, any peek behind his impassive mien, and his devotion to Vulcan principles, is welcome. More than that, it's hard not to get goosed by the script-writer's ballsy, and very conscious tweaking of the Judeo-Christian code: "The fear of The Lord is the beginning of wisdom" (from Psalm 111:10 and Proverbs 9:10). It's also a very pointed tip of the hat to Gene Roddenberry, that Great, determinedly Humanist, Bird who got the whole (*cough*) enterprise going.

There are nuances and ironies aplenty to explore — but not tonight. Too much on my plate, my friend. Content yourself, if you can, on previous provocations. I'll be back.


Joel said...

One of my favourite movies as well.

Had no idea what you were talking about with a "pre-sex Kim Cattral" until I checked wikipedia to find out she was in Sex and the City. I guess you stay ignorant of a certain amount of these things when you don't live with women.
Interesting to find out how old she was. I guess the movie was 20 years ago now though, but still I thought she was playing a young novice character.
another interesting tidbit from wikipedia:
"Near the end of filming, Cattrall had a photographer shoot a roll of film on the Enterprise bridge set, in which she wore nothing but her Vulcan ears. After finding out about the unauthorized photo session, Leonard Nimoy had the film destroyed"

Also via wikipedia, interesting to note how much Roddenberry hated the script.

And that Kim Cattrall's character was original supposed to be Saavik, but Roddenberry objected. What do you think, would the movie have been better if we had been more shocked by Saavik's betrayal instead of just a random new character?

Whisky Prajer said...

IF there's any truth to the Cattrall photo-shoot, then I'd say Nimoy destroyed the film out of jealousy. This is not a guy who's prudish when it comes to taking photos. Nor has he demonstrated much by way of protectiveness toward the franchise, beyond refusing to appear in the execrable "Generations" movie. My suspicion is this is just another variety of Trekkie fan-fic. (Yeah, that's how much authority I give to Cinefantastique.)

Saavik as turncoat would have been an interesting, and plausible, twist. She would have had added motivation in revenging her lover's death. Although it could also be that she was Spock's lover in Search For Spock (Pon Far, and all that). I think, finally, that the new acolyte was a sounder narrative choice. It suggests Spock is fully recovered and back on his game, while avoiding the gratuitous turns that Roddenberry was probably objecting to.

Whisky Prajer said...

Well, on second thought ...

I've been reading Shatner's ST Movie Memories, and Nimoy, as interviewed, has no lack of opinions to share when it comes to maintaining franchise integrity (it becomes a little off-putting, after a while). "Shatner" also interviews the various directors and producers of these movies, and what quickly becomes clear is that Roddenberry himself frequently posed the biggest threat to the franchise. The first movie was a Roddenberry baby. Its production was tense and fractious to the day of its release, and the final result was a tedious slog that looked dated from the get-go. When Paramount green-lighted the second movie, one of the first things they did was exile Roddenberry as "executive consultant," a way to denude him of creative power while keeping him on the payroll. Shatner has said in later interviews that Nimoy, with his death scene, made a power-play that took astute advantage of Roddenberry's absence. Just how self-aware Nimoy was about this move is cause for speculation, but its effect is certainly evident in the movies.

Back to Cattrall: I'm still sceptical about the story, even if I concede Nimoy's fetish for franchise integrity. For all her willingness to indulge in scripted sexual shenanigans, Cattrall has proven herself to be a coy subject for the camera, as a quick Google Image search will ... uh ... "reveal"