Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Indiewire logo

Abrams' New "Star Trek" Loaded with Political Parallels: Kirk as Obama

ReelPolitik By Anthony Kaufman | ReelPolitik May 14, 2013 at 8:14PM

Oops, Hollywood did it again. It seems every big-ticket summer movie these days gets loaded with overt political content. First, it was "Iron Man 3"; now it's the latest "Star Trek" installment. You people sometimes think I make this shit up. But judging from the early reviews, "Into Darkness" is the most obvious popcorn appropriation of international geopolitics since, well, "Iron Man."
8

Oops, Hollywood did it again. It seems every big-ticket summer movie these days gets loaded with overt political content. First, it was "Iron Man 3"; now it's the latest "Star Trek" installment from JJ Abrams. You people sometimes think I make this shit up. But judging from the early reviews, "Into Darkness" is the most obvious popcorn appropriation of international geopolitics since, well, "Iron Man."

kirk obama


As L.A. Weekly critic Amy Nicholson writes: "In the opening minutes, Khan terrorizes London, then makes like Osama and flees to the mountains of an enemy planet, causing Starfleet Admiral Marcus (Peter Weller — welcome back, RoboCop!) to make like Dubya and order his assassination, sans trial. Picture Zero Dark Thirty with bright pullovers and laser guns and you'll have Darkness, whose heavy-handed political parallels just might feel smart in a summer of Vin Diesel crashing cars."

"Instead of Jessica Chastain's overrated ice queen, vengeance here will be served by the blubbering James T. Kirk (Chris Pine), who so bleeds his humanity across the Enterprise's deck that it's a wonder Chekhov (Anton Yelchin) doesn't slip. Again, the central conflict is between the captain's swaggering impetuousness and the cold-blooded logic of First Mate Spock (Zachary Quinto)."

According to the Socialist Worker, "Kirk talks about going back to 'who we once were and who we must be again.' It almost feels like he’s replying to the recent Batman and Transformers films that made a virtue out of torture and militarism.."

The review even goes so far to compare Kirk to President Obama. "To make Kirk relevant again Abrams has reinvented him as what he wishes Obama could be. Kirk is an Obama trying to lead a recovery from a time of darkness and defeats."

And if you think critics are over-stating the case, even star Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays the evil Khan, said the film explicitly takes on recent American politics. The British actor told the BBC, “It’s no spoiler I think to say that there’s a huge backbone in this film that’s a comment on recent U.S. interventionist overseas policy from the Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld era.”


Follow us

E-Mail Updates



Recent Comments

By Tony: I saw this with my girlfriend. She was completely taken in by it. This movie is no better than a soap opera. Absolute drivel, pandering to…

Can Tearjerking Doc "The Hunting Ground" Change Colleges' Sexual Assault Policies?

Jan 28th, 2015 1:03am

By Joe Britz: While rape is a horrible crime, it doesn't mean we simply toss Blackstone out the window. The foundation of our justice system is innocent…

Can Tearjerking Doc "The Hunting Ground" Change Colleges' Sexual Assault Policies?

Jan 28th, 2015 12:31am

By Amelia: It reminds me of the Dark Ages, where people would accuse a woman of being a Witch and everybody would simply believe the accusation because…

Can Tearjerking Doc "The Hunting Ground" Change Colleges' Sexual Assault Policies?

Jan 27th, 2015 3:25pm

By Joe: There is no rape culture. Rape is a sickening and illegal act but apparently there are some who want to return to the old fashioned lynch mob…

Can Tearjerking Doc "The Hunting Ground" Change Colleges' Sexual Assault Policies?

Jan 27th, 2015 1:31pm

By roosevelto: I think that this movie is many things, one of those is political. Even if we suppose that it wasn't Afflec's intention, when has become…

"Argo" Reconsidered: Ben Affleck is a Right-Wing Propagandist

Jan 16th, 2015 5:08pm

By roosevelto: I watched the movie with the most naive eyes possible. I said to myself, don't care about facts, don't care about propaganda, don't care abou…

"Argo" Reconsidered: Ben Affleck is a Right-Wing Propagandist

Jan 16th, 2015 4:53pm

By Anthony Kaufman: "The Look of Silence" will definitely be on next year's list! It hasn't opened in the U.S. yet.

The Top 12 Documentaries of 2014

Jan 3rd, 2015 1:09pm