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October 25, 2015


In a countryside town bordering on a magical land, Tristan Thorn makes a promise to his beloved, Victoria, that he’ll retrieve a fallen star by venturing into the magical realm. Of Stormhold. To his surprise, the star in question is not a lump of rock but a maiden, Yvaine, who does not take kindly to being kidnapped. Soon Tristan and Yvaine are on the run from three witches who want Yvaine’s heart to make them young; and, the sons of the dead King of Stormhold who want her because she holds a ruby that will give one of them title to the throne.

Billed simply as Star Trek, this is the eleventh film in the series. The film begins when the USS Kelvin experiences a strange phenomenon in space before coming under attack from an advanced alien vessel. It is the Romulan ship Narada, which, under the command of Captain Nero (Eric Bana), has travelled back in time on a mission of revenge. When the Kelvin is disabled and its captain murdered by Nero, George Kirk assumes command and orders the evacuation of the ship.

When the autopilot fails, Kirk makes the choice to crash the ship manually into the Narada, buying time for his crew to escape but at the cost of his life. In an escaping shuttle, Kirk’s wife gives birth to his son whom they name James Tiberius Kirk.

Jumping forward a number of years, we then see something of the development of James Kirk and of a Vulcan named Spock, first as young boys and then as young men. Kirk and Spock are two very different individuals. When they meet at Starfleet, they have little regard for each other but they eventually forge a deep mutual respect and friendship.

During their time at Starfleet Academy, the phenomenon that preceded the destruction of the USS Kelvin reappears and the USS Enterprise, under the command of Captain Christopher Pike, is sent to investigate. Nero has returned in the Narada, intent on wreaking havoc on the planets of the Federation. In the future from which he has travelled, his home planet Romulus was destroyed when its sun went supernova. Incorrectly, he blames the Spock of his day for his world’s destruction. Spock was, in fact, on a mission to inject ‘red matter’ into the supernova and thereby save Romulus but he could not get there in time.

The ensuing roller-coaster of action and excitement includes: Nero’s destruction of Vulcan and his attempt to destroy Earth; conflict aboard the Enterprise between Kirk and Spock; Kirk’s escape from an alien creature on a frozen planet; and the eventual defeat of Nero. Star Trek is, however, more than a special effects-driven film.

There are good storylines, even if the concept of time travel creates unfathomable holes in the plot, and the character development is good. There is even a role for the original Spock who meets not only the younger version of Kirk, the man with whom he served on the Enterprise for many years, but also his own younger self. For established fans, all the familiar figures are here. For those new to the world of Star Trek, it is a chance to meet them for the first time in what will surely not be their last adventure together.

Themes: risk, endurance, purpose, transformation

Sacrifice – A theme that occurs in a number of places throughout the film. For example: the acting captain of the USS Kelvin, George Kirk, sacrifices his life for the sake of his ship and his family; and Spock risks his own life in a desperate attempt to save the elders of Vulcan. These heroic acts portrayed on screen are reflections of an essential human quality: the willingness to sacrifice self for the sake of others even at the cost of one’s life.

Emotion – In both the Star Trek television series and the films, Kirk and Spock are presented as opposites. As this film fills in the back story, showing a young, rebellious Kirk, the contrast is sharpened. Kirk is passionate, intuitive, and always ready to go with his gut feelings. The half-human, half-Vulcan Spock is detached, rational, and constantly strives to suppress the emotions that he sees as enemies of the logical reasoning by which he seeks to live. Emotions are, of course, neither good nor bad in themselves. The challenge is in how we respond to emotions and allow them to influence our actions.

Revenge – Nero is driven by an all-consuming desire for revenge against Spock, the one he (wrongly) blames for the destruction of his home planet. Nero’s hatred is so intense that he is blind to the obscenity of his actions in destroying Spock’s planet, Vulcan, as payback. The urge to get even with those who have wronged us is not uncommon; some might even say it is part of the human condition. But, when acted upon, it is rarely a measured response and threatens to create an increasing cycle of tit-for-tat actions.

Faced with the overwhelming firepower of the alien vessel and following the murder of his captain by Nero, George Kirk makes the decision to give his own life to buy time and enable the crew of the USS Kelvin to escape.

Kirk’s sacrificial act enabled 800 crew members – including his wife and newborn son – to escape from the doomed ship and live. While not an everyday occurrence it is not unusual to hear about selfless acts where a person gives his/her life to save others.

These early episodes from the lives of Kirk and Spock reflect a recurring theme in which human emotions are contrasted with the Vulcan emphasis on detached logic. In Kirk and Spock these qualities are writ large and accentuated in Spock’s struggle to quell his emotions.

Kirk and Spock each bring different qualities to a situation. Kirk often goes with his gut feelings and acts spontaneously; Spock works with percentages and probabilities, always bringing logic to bear.

The tragedy that befell Nero’s planet was not a deliberate act. But Nero refuses to consider that possibility and is consumed by the need to wreak revenge not only on the one he holds responsible but also on the whole Federation. The Spock of the film’s ‘present’ and the Spock of Nero’s future each witness the destruction of Vulcan.

Revenge can happen in ways both large and small. It can be exacted by one nation upon another for a real or perceived wrong; it can also be a poison between individuals.

Nero was clearly acting on the assumption that the destruction of his planet was a deliberate act. Could Nero have argued that the punishment inflicted on Spock’s planet fitted the crime that he believed Spock committed against Romulus? Would this be the expression of the adage ‘an eye for an eye’, 2002).

Pedant alert – why does the bishop have V –necked pullover under his cope?

And the unicorn is so Jim Cotter!

Yvaine: You know when I said I knew little about love? That wasn’t true. I know a lot about love. I’ve seen it, centuries and centuries of it, and it was the only thing that made watching your world bearable. All those wars. Pain, lies, hate… It made me want to turn away and never look down again. But when I see the way that mankind loves… You could search to the furthest reaches of the universe and never find anything more beautiful. So yes, I know that love is unconditional. But I also know that it can be unpredictable, unexpected, uncontrollable, unbearable and strangely easy to mistake for loathing, and… What I’m trying to say, Tristan is… I think I love you. Is this love, Tristan? I never imagined I’d know it for myself. My heart… It feels like my chest can barely contain it. Like it’s trying to escape because it doesn’t belong to me any more. It belongs to you. And if you wanted it, I’d wish for nothing in exchange – no gifts. No goods. No demonstrations of devotion. Nothing but knowing you loved me too. Just your heart, in exchange for mine.

[first lines] Narrator: A philosopher once asked, “Are we human because we gaze at the stars, or do we gaze at them because we are human?” Pointless, really… “Do the stars gaze back?” Now *that’s* a question.

[Yvaine is having a bath and Tristan surprises her] Tristan: Excuse me.

Yvaine: [surprised] Oh!

Tristan: I think you’re in my bath.

Yvaine: Close your eyes!

Tristan: [turns around and laughs] Honestly I’m not looking. Here, I’ll turn away. [he laughs]

Yvaine: [with a towel on] Right, you can open them now.

Tristan: Did you really mean what you said in the caravan?

Yvaine: What I…? But… You were a mouse! You were a mouse… you wanted cheese! You didn’t… I asked you to give me a sign!

Tristan: And risk you being too embarrassed to keep saying such lovely things? [he kisses her forehead] You want to know what the Captain really whispered to me that day? [Yvaine nods] He told me that my true love… [Yvaine begins to glow] …was right in front of my eyes. And he was right. [they kiss]

[repeated line] Yvaine: What do stars do? They shine.

Tristan: You know you sort of – glitter sometimes. I’ve just noticed it. Is it… Is it normal?

Yvaine: Let’s see if you can work it out for yourself. What do stars do?

Tristan: Hmm… Attract trouble? [Yvaine pushes him, amused] [grinning] All right, I’m sorry. Let me… Do I get another guess? Is it: Do they know exactly how to annoy a boy called Tristan Thorn?

Yvaine: Are you tempted?

Tristan: Tempted, by what?

Yvaine: Immortality. Let’s say it wasn’t *my* heart. Not me. Just a star you didn’t know.

Tristan: You seriously think I could kill anyone? [Yvaine giggles] I mean, even if I could… Everlasting life? I imagine it would be kind of lonely. Well, maybe if you had someone to share it with. Someone you loved. Then it might be different.

Tristan: [practicing in front of a mirror] Father, I lost my job. Father, I… I lost my job, I’m sorry. Father…

Dunstan Thorn: [behind him, completing his sentence] You lost your job.

[Tristan and Yvaine are imprisoned in the pirate ship] Yvaine: They’re going to kill us, aren’t they?

Tristan: I don’t know.

Yvaine: You know, it’s funny. I used to watch… I used to watch people having adventures. I envied them.

Tristan: You ever heard the expression “Be careful of what you wish for”?

Yvaine: What, so ending up with my heart cut out – that will serve me right?

Tristan: No, I didn’t mean it like that. Look, I admire you dreaming. A shop boy like me… I could never have imagined an adventure this big in order to wish for it. I just thought I’d find some lump of celestial rock, take it home and that would be it.

Yvaine: And you got me. [they both begin to laugh] If there’s one thing I’ve learned about all my years watching Earth, is that people aren’t what they may seem. There are shop boys, and there are boys who just happen to work in a shop for the time being. And trust me Tristan, you’re no shop boy. You saved my life. Thank you. [Yvaine takes Tristan’s hand]

[last lines] Narrator: They ruled for 80 years. But no man can live forever, except he who possesses the heart of a star, and Yvaine had given hers to Tristan completely. When their children and grandchildren were grown, it was time to light the Babylon Candle. [there is a flash of light from inside the royal quarters, the camera then pans up to the sky where two brighter stars have appeared] And they still live happily ever after.

Young Dunstan Thorn: Do you see another world out there? No, you see a field. Do you see anything non-human? No. And you know why? Because it’s a field!

Guard: Hundreds of years this wall’s been here. Hundreds of years this gap’s been under a twenty-four-hour guard.

Young Dunstan Thorn: Well… [the guard interrupts him]

Guard: One more word, and I’ll have you up in front of the village council!

Young Dunstan Thorn: Well that… that sounds rather final… I suppose I’d better just go home then…

Guard: Right then. Night, Dunstan. [Dunstan begins to walk away] Give my best to your father. [Suddenly Dunstan turns around and runs and crosses the wall] Stop! Stop! [Dunstan keeps running]

Tristan: Don’t you ever sleep?

Yvaine: Not at night. May have escaped your notice, genius, but that’s when the stars have rather better things to do. They’re coming out, shining, that sort of thing.

Tristan: Yeah, well, it may have escaped yours, but you’re not in the sky anymore. Coming out is off the agenda. Shining has been suspended until further notice. Oh, and sleeping during the day is O-U-T. Unless you have some magical ability to sleep while you’re walking.

Yvaine: Have you not got it into your thick head yet? I’m not walking anywhere!

Primus: [pointing at his penis] They say it’s the biggest in all the kingdom.

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From → Film

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