Sunday, June 23, 2013

Forgotten Themes

It seems like lots of recent dumb shows have themes or "morals" that the character is supposed to deal with, or learn about, but that never come to fruition. It's as though the staff has heard of things like "growing old", or "learning about responsibility", but don't know what they are, so they just mention it.

In Star Trek (This One Has Khan Too), Kirk is told he has to learn about the responsibilities of command, he has to learn to make tough decisions, and follow the rules. It's mentioned several times, but he never once has to deal with the consequence of anything. He repeatedly and dramatically violates the Prime Directive, and is "penalized" by losing control of Enterprise while it's in port. There's no time when the ship is flying that Kirk has lost any authority. Kirk even dies and is immediately resurrected. I'd say that's a spoiler, but his resurrection is so obviously telegraphed, you can't miss it. (As others have pointed out, apparently Tribbles have human blood?)

In Batman (This One Has Mumbly Bane) and Skyfall, the protagonist is told he has to deal with the fact that he's not as young and able as he once was. He has to learn how to act in a new way, admit his weaknesses and find new strengths. This is done to perfection in The Dark Knight Returns. Batman can't fight like a young quick man; he has to slow the fight down and use his wisdom and more sophisticated fighting style to tear down the enemy boss. In the less sophisticated movies, Bond and Batman learn NOTHING. Instead of developing and changing, the characters simply return to their old level of ability at the climax. Batman is actually better at fighting at the end of the movie than at the beginning, despite having a broken back. Bond's inaccurate shooting is a symbol of his fading ability; at the end of the movie he can shoot perfectly again. Why? No reason.

In Superman, (This One Has Zod Too), Superman is repeatedly told that he can't let the world know that aliens exist because everyone would go crazy. By the end of the movie, an alien has commandeered all media on Earth to tell them that he was planning on killing everyone on the planet, and there's never a real panic. People don't even seem to concerned when fight between Superman and Zod destroys dozens of skyscrapers. I think that if a death ray was annihilating the city and two aliens were killing hundreds of thousands of people, there would be a general evacuation. Instead, we see that people are just hanging out. (This was true in Star Trek, too. If these shows were made before 9/11, I'd understand this unrealistic reaction, but we know what happens with massive destruction on this scale. People run away, they don't just hang out. It's surreal to see people walking calmly within eyeshot of massive skyscrapers collapsing.)