bob orci

On George Kirk and the Problem of Legacies

The placement of George Kirk’s death and the use of legacies as motivation is something I’ve struggled with in the new films.  On the one hand, George Kirk’s death allows for Kirk, as a character, to have variances in behavior from his TOS counterpart with a relatively simple explanation.  It also allows for the formation of mentor/father-son bonds with other characters (such as Christopher Pike and even Admiral Marcus attempts this).

But it also has some rather negative aspects as well, in my opinion.  In Star Trek TOS, we never learned much about James T. Kirk’s family.  When we met his brother Sam, he was already dead and pieces from Jim’s past never gave us much detail about his parents.  Ironically, the 2009 film gave us far more information – it is here that we learn that TOS Kirk’s father survived to see his become Captain and that Kirk credited his father with his decision to join Starfleet.

And, in some ways, that’s exactly the problem.  The original James T. Kirk wasn’t defined by his parents – he wasn’t the son of a hero – he attended Starfleet Academy, earned awards, and became the youngest captain in Starfleet history through his own hard work and merit with nary a mention of his heritage beyond the fact that he was from Iowa.

The 2009 film, however, sets up George Kirk’s heroism as something Kirk must live up to.  It makes Jim’s father an almost mythical figure whose deeds are what motivate him to finally get his life in order – the challenge of surpassing his father.

In and of itself, this gives Chris Pine some material to work with in giving Kirk emotional complexity.  But it becomes problematic, in some respects, because it muddles the message the film is sending.  And this gets more complicated when you factor in Christopher Pike.  I love Pike, in large part because Bruce Greenwood is a wonderful actor that can portray warmth and humanity while being determined and grounded.  However, the fact that he takes so much interest in Kirk as a result of his father bothers me.  When Kirk asks “Who am I, Captain Pike?”, Pike replies – “your father’s son.”  And this isn’t just Pike’s opinion, this is how the movie wants to frame and introduce adult Jim.  It wants us to see him as someone who is living in his father’s shadow and must “do great deeds” to live up to the name.  This is flat-out stated in Pike’s dialogue – “I dare you to do better.”

And then, later, this problem is compounded when Pike makes Kirk (someone who shouldn’t even be on his ship) First Officer – bypassing everyone else, with our only evidence for why this is being Kirk’s “off the charts” aptitude tests and his position as George Kirk’s son.  But we’ve never seen Jim actually do anything that indicates that he’s ready for this kind of responsibility.  Instead, the film positions him as a leader because he was seemingly born to be one – he has the natural abilities and supposedly inherent qualities of a leader (just like his father) and that’s why the audience is expected to just go with it.

And that’s really problematic.  From a writing standpoint, James T. Kirk from TOS was a wonderful character (in my opinion) because he could be any of us.  The show made it a point to emphasize that it was things he had done – his work ethic – that had gotten him where he was.  He was a stack of book with legs, he had earned many commendations, he had worked his way up through the ranks.

James T. Kirk, in the reboot films, is presented as special.  He has a “DESTINY” and a legacy to live up to.  He has “off the charts” aptitude test scores, is literally described as a genius, with a hero father.  And while, dramatically, that can certainly create some interesting character conflicts and internal turmoil, it also feels very reactionary.  Kirk becomes a hero because his father was a hero.  Because Pike gave him opportunities that the film in no way justifies.

Now, I love Jim.  I love both incarnations and I love both actors’ portrayals.  I think Chris Pine does a fantastic job in giving Kirk subtleties and frailties as a character that aren’t necessarily apparent when one reads the script.

The problem (as usual) is in the writing.  How do Orci and Kurtzman frame this character?  That’s my issue.

And it’s an issue for me because it seems to reflect the values of Bad Robot in the real world as well.  Orci and Kurtzman are long time friends since high school who worked as writing collaborators.  When Kurtzman and Lindelof left (along with Abrams’ diminishing role as producer) what did Bad Robot do?  Did they offer the job of director to another person?  A fresh face?  No, instead they lobbied for Orci to direct.  And the new writers they hired – JD Payne and Patrick McKay – also met in high school and have been writing together since those early days.  Their relationship eerily mirrors that of Orci and Kurtzman and it feels (to me) as though legacies are once more coming into play – Bad Robot isn’t branching out and looking for new people.  Instead, it’s looking for exactly the same type of people as before.  Offering people who have a certain set of characteristics opportunities.  And that’s troubling to me.  Because we see that the values held in such high regard in the 2009 film are playing out in real life.  Jim Kirk had done nothing to earn the position of First Officer and had no experience as a Captain but because of his legacy, we are supposed to believe that this justifies his jumps in rank.  Likewise, Orci has done nothing to earn the director’s chair – he has zero experience – and yet his relationship with Bad Robot and knowing the right people have gotten him a position that he isn’t qualified for.  Legacies and connections, in other words, will trump hard work and relevant experience.  And I don’t think it’s the kind of thing that Star Trek, as a franchise, has ever encouraged or held at the core of its values.  In fact, in my opinion, it is antithetical to its progressive spirit.

anonymous asked:

Hey can you explain the #stoporci2014 thing and why the Trek fandom is so against him? I'm pretty neutral at the moment because I've never heard of this guy. Thanks! :)

OH YES.

So Bob Orci is one of the writers for the Reboot, and the only writer from the first two films still attached to XIII. Now he wants to direct XIII.

Bob Orci has a history of being a jackass to the fans.

raktajino-hot has a pretty good list of all of the things that the creative team behind the Reboot has said: http://raktajino-hot.tumblr.com/post/51171585205/jj-is-not-of-the-body-a-link-collection

Additionally you can find more here: http://yagamie.tumblr.com/post/51981917969/please-stop-talking-a-masterpost

After criticism started coming out about STID, Orci got defensive over the movie. He defended the convoluted plot. He defended the whitewashing.

But the TrekMovie (which had been completely nuTrek positive up to this point) ran an article about how Trek needed to go back to its roots, to television. The article was called “Star Trek is Broken - Here are Ideas on How to Fix It”. You can read it, it’s actually rather kind to nuTrek in my opinion, and basically says that the movies have done well but Star Trek is a television franchise primarily and that is where it should be.

Bob Orci decided to comment on the article under the username boborci. He has commented on other TrekMovie articles under this username, so seeing comments from him on the site wasn’t surprising. What he wrote was:

I think the article above is akin to a child acting out against his parents. Makes it tough for some to listen, but since I am a loving parent, I read these comments without anger or resentment, no matter how misguided.

Having said that, two biggest Star Treks in a row with best reviews is hardly a description of “broken.” And frankly, your tone and attidude make it hard for me to listen to what might otherwise be decent notions to pursue in the future. Sorry, Joseph. As I love to say, there is a reason why I get to write the movies, and you don’t.

Respect all opinions, always, nonetheless.

It got progressively worse after that, culminating in this exchange between a fan

@ 309. boborci – September 2, 2013

“You think action and thinking are mutually exclusive.”

No, we can have a movie with both action & brain, case in point Inception & Indiana Jones movies. What I’m saying that STID was a movie that has lot more action & explosions than a coherent story or character developments.

“Ok, then. Pitch me Into Darkness. Pitch me the plot, and let’s comapre it to other pitches. Go ahead. Let’s see if you actually understood the movie. Tell me what happened?”

I’m sorry but what plot ? Khan was found & used by Section 31 & then he put his own people in the torpedo to save them or whatever & the rest of the movie follow in the same illogical way.

No disrespect to you guys, STID made tons of money but it was worse than ST09 in many aspects.

And Orci’s response:

312 Shitty Dodge. STID has infinetly more social commentary than Raiders in every Universe, and I say that with Harrison Ford being a friend. You lose credibility big time when you don’t honestly engage with the FUCKING WRITER OF THE MOVIE ASKING YOU AN HONEST QUESTION. You prove the cliche of shitty fans. And rude in the process. So, as Simon Pegg would say: FUCK OFF!

After this exchange, Orci took to twitter where he promptly issued a non-apology about how “twice a year I explode at the morons.

Then he deleted his twitter account afterward.

As far as honestly engaging with his audience, his interactions with people who participated in #KhanWeTalk? (which aimed to open a dialogue between the creative team and fans about the whitewashing of Khan) were generally rude and condescending.

In short, Bob Orci is a sack of shit. He doesn’t like Star Trek. He doesn’t like the fans. He was instrumental in transforming Kirk into a womanizing douchebro. He helped hollow out the Trek franchise and transformed it into just another stupid summer action movie. Then he insulted the fans for not loving it.

Now he is angling to direct XIII. In my opinion, he’s done enough damage already.

The Bajorans are, well, they’re like my children, I suppose. And like any father, I want only what’s best for them… Bad manners are the fault of the parent, not the child. My weakness is I’m too generous, too forgiving. My heart is too big. 

–Gul Dukat.

I think the article above is akin to a child acting out against his parents. Makes it tough for some to listen, but since I am a loving parent, I read these comments without anger or resentment, no matter how misguided.

–Roberto Orci.

Now, I’m not saying that Bob Orci is an egomaniacal, power-mad, Cardassian dictator…but at the same time, I can’t prove that he’s not.

Space. The Final Frontier.
These are the Voyages of DudeBro Kirk (AKA Bob Orci.)
His Continuing Mission: To Explore Strange New Ways of Being More Insensitive than the 1960s.
To Seek Out New Ways of Offending Everybody.
To Boldly Blow like No Film has Blown Before.
—  Bob Orci’s True Vision for NuTrek 3.
youtube

THR Interview with Sleepy Hollow Cast and Producers where Tom answers the Star Wars vs Star Trek question a little too fast, considering he’s sitting right next to ALEX KURTZMAN.

hollywoodreporter.com
Why 'Star Trek' Fans Are Wrong and Roberto Orci Is Right (Opinion)

Star Trek Into Darkness screenwriter Roberto Orci earned some bad press last week over a series of profanity-laced comments leveled at Star Trek fans on the site TrekMovie.com. The site ran an article calling the franchise “broken” and noted that many fans despise the sequel, which Orci co-wrote with Alex Kurtzman and Damon Lindelof.

Um, yeah.  These films are TOS brought up to date, with all the foibles of a 1960s show for better or for worse (I think for the better, personally).  Mr. Orci should have maintained his cool.  But I was there for that chat, and I can tell you the loudmouths who pushed him were rude assholes hiding behind the anonymity of the internet.  Here someone who is only responsible for one aspect of the film-the script-is willing to be the face of the production.  Willing to interact regularly with fans, and certain fans treat him like dirt.  This shows first of all that those fans don’t understand the film process and how little a screenwriter is actually involved once the movie goes into production in creative decisions (though I hope Mr. Orci gets more say, as he certainly knows his Trek minutia).  Secondly it shows that as much as they seem to want to cite high minded commentary and lessons in Star Trek, none of the common human decency that should be inherent in that seems to have stuck.

I am not talking about everyone who disliked the film; you have every right to do so.  However, there’s a big difference between pointing out flaws you found and discussing the creative process that led to them and damning a person’s very livelihood because you didn’t like a movie.  If you don’t like STID, don’t watch it.  When asked, say what you didn’t like about it.  Don’t pursue conflict with the creators of the film, it’s just rude and is NOT going to change how a studio does business.  You know what changes how a studio does business?  Lack of sales.  I bet by Tuesday we see STID as the top selling Blu-Ray/DVD.  It’s already the highest box office gross for a Trek film.  

Mr. Orci, you should be more polite.  But we broke that relationship first.  I am sorry.

youtube

SDCC 2013 Interview: Gavin Hood, Bob Orci, Hailee Steinfeld & Asa Butterfield on Ender’s Game

Basically, as we went through the casting process and we began honing in on the themes of the movie, it became uncomfortable for me to support demonizing anyone of color, particularly any one of Middle Eastern descent or anyone evoking that. One of the points of the movie is that we must be careful about the villain within US, not some other race.
— 

Bob Orci on casting Benedict Cumberbatch as Khan in STID

Okay, but like … what you’re implying here is that no other race than Anglo-Saxon whites will be watching your film, and that people of color are this totally separate entity, and not that any single human being regardless of race is capable of both good and evil, and that maybe the solution to this would be to have more characters of color getting screen time and doing badass and nobel things to balance out one canonically Indian villain acting ignobly, to show that these morals apply to all humans and not just whites, and thus being inclusive and not white-washing an iconic villain?