|Why is this a good image for the film as a whole? The insignia of the Starfleet is created in the "negative space," amidst the rubble, and that's how it usually happens when there are tragedies: we discover who we are and what we are when there is a void that has disrupted order (we should get used to seeing destruction, because Godzilla is coming out next year). As we saw in Iron Man 3, Captain Kirk knows--like Tony Stark--that hardships, as much as we dislike them, forces us into the fullness of our ability and potential in ways we would not know if not for those trials (not that anyone enjoys going through things like that). The landscape we see is futuristic London, and we have all ready discussed the ambiguous role of England and its entitlement programs (discussed fully below) so seeing "John Harrison," i.e., Khan (Benedict Cumberbatch) surveying a wreck (that he caused) in London provides us with the first important clue regarding the message about who he symbolizes STID wants to convey to audiences. Regarding the title, Into Darkness, we have to ask, what darkness? "Darkness" contains a high degree of instability in its meaning: what is that darkness and who is going into it? What "vehicle" will allow this someone to enter the darkness and why are they going? Is it a choice or is it happening because of a lack of choice? "Darkness" plays an important role in the upcoming Thor the Dark World film (as Odin narrates, "darkness" was the original state of creation that is still with us). It's easy to see how we can "deconstruct" "darkness" presented to us because there is no stable meaning with which to anchor "darkness" in: is the darkness the destruction caused by Khan? Is Kirk's reckless mistakes the darkness because he displays an absence of illumination in making good, wise decisions? Is it the "darkness" created within Kirk by the death of Pike? Is it the "darkness" of Admiral Marcus' betrayal to Starfleet? Is it the "darkness" of death Kirk experiences after his radiation exposure? Is it the "darkness" of outer space? For Uhara, the darkness would be Spock's lack of humanity; for Spock, the "darkness" might be losing Kirk or Spock's own inner darkness over not experiencing the way he sees Admiral Pike experience it. Is the film illumination and we, the audience, are going "into darkness," not just in the theater where we are watching the film (the literal darkness) but metaphorically "in the dark" about the film's meaning and message (well, you and I aren't, but "audience" in a general sense)? This is the hallmark trait of "deconstruction," that there is no stable meaning of a word (in this case, "darkness"), even though we think we know what it means when we first encounter it and we fill in "the gap" of meaning but, in the poster above, it's precisely "the gap" where the insignia of Starfleet is, so perhaps we shouldn't "fill in the darkness," rather, look to what the darkness is signaling (like the "darkness" across America with the increasing fear of our own government). There is a purpose to this ambiguity in "darkness," a deeper, cultural truth it reflects: who else has used language publicly that we thought we knew what he meant, but it turns out, he didn't mean that at all, and intentionally exploited the inherent ambiguity of words like "hope" and "change" for his own agenda?|
The two most recent westerns--Django Unchained and The Lone Ranger--are competing with far more space films (Oblivion, Prometheus, Star Trek Into Darkness, Europa Report, Ender's Game, Gravity, The Black Hole) and the reason why one aesthetic (the sci-fi) has been chosen over another aesthetic (the western) hints at a cultural mania or even neurosis. Something we can definitely say about the space genre is that--like the Old West--it's part of our Manifest Destiny, a part of American history derisively mentioned in the anti-capitalist Gangster Squad. At the close of STID, we hear Kirk reciting the famed and iconic opening of the TV series: Space: the final frontier. These are the voyages of the starship Enterprise. Its five-year mission: to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before. It's important because, in 1958, the White House did a study in which it examined the rational for going into space and its conclusion is what the Star Trek series centered its manifesto up (please see Trailers: Star Trek Into Darkness #3 for more on this discussion). Cleverly putting--what has traditionally been the opening at the ending--means it's the last impression upon the audience, begging the question of why Obama cut NASA missions in favor of archiving Islam contributions to science instead?
Star Trek II: Wrath Of Khan. Why go back to that one for inspiration? Simply put, because of the year Wrath Of Khan was made: we are facing the same evils as we were in 1982, a year during the Cold War.
|The exploding volcano on the planet of Nibiru. Of all the things that could have been employed as a potential destructive force against the natives of Nibiru, why a volcano? Well, we have seen a destructive volcano all ready threatening a place similar to Nibiru: Atlantis. In Journey 2 Mysterious Island, when Atlantis is discovered, and it's quite beautiful, the island is sinking and can't stay afloat, just like a socialist economy sinking under its own weight (please see The Socialist Utopia: Journey 2 the Mysterious Island for more; Atlantis is also referenced in Ice Age 4: Continental Drift at the end when Scrat, a parody of a capitalist controlled by his appetites, sinks the island filled with the superior intellects of socialists as he chases after his nut; please see Drifting Waaaaay Left: Ice Age 4 Continental Drift for more). This isn't the only reason we can say Nibiru provides one of three examples of socialism in STID (those are discussed more fully below), but Nibiru was actually rumored to be on a collision course with earth and tied to many fears of an apocalypse. Of all the planets that could have been fabricated, why Nibiru? Because we fictitiously feared the planet instead of what the planet (in STID) symbolizes, the encroaching socialism taking over America. We can say the planet itself is a symbol of socialism because it's red all over. In and of itself, that wouldn't mean anything in particular, but taken with the natives themselves, the re-creation of the same color palette when Kahn attacks the admirals' meeting (discussed below in another caption) and the structure of the film, the phrase "Red Scare" certainly applies to the inhabitants.|
But that's not all,...
|Yellow symbolizes royalty because it's the color of gold (which only royalty can afford to own) but it can also symbolize cowardice because a king (a royal) should be the bravest of all the people and if he isn't brave, he's a coward. Who else in the film wears yellow? Kirk. As we have mentioned before, it would have been easy for film makers to update the Enterprise's wardrobe, but they chose to keep that ugly color he wears instead; why? It's the color of gold that has not yet been refined. The trials and hardships Kirk goes through--like his death in STID--each work to purify his bad traits (which get plenty of attention) while strengthening his good traits. This might seem a minor point, but as socialists intentionally wage a war that tells us suffering is bad, and hardship is inflicted upon us--do all you can to avoid suffering (and no one wants to suffer or go through trials and hardships, but we recognize that good can come from them) and let the government take care of you so you don't have to suffer or go through hardship because that's all bad--for film makers to be reminding audiences of "character development" and personal integrity, honor and morality is, well, counter-cultural. The yellow then, the natives wear, conflicts with Kirk's gold uniform, because socialists have both made themselves superior (kings) to everyone else and we see this exhibited in Kahn telling Kirk that he's better "at everything" and when Spock relays that Kahn and his crew are intent on destroying everyone to whom they are superior, the way socialists want to destroy capitalists (if you haven't been tortured by a self-proclaimed liberal deity, please visit the comment section on my post Trapeze Americano: Madagascar 3 & the Capitalist Circus where you can be treated to everything they think). On a different note, we should take note that their white and black make-up anticipates Tonto's (Johnn Depp) in the upcoming The Lone Ranger which, I am confident, will be pro-socialist. What does the white make-up do? Socialists present themselves as not only being superior to everyone else, but specifically being "innocent" of all the crimes and sins committed by others. The white make-up covers up their skin, acting to "mask" the person beneath the make-up but, more importantly, making us think of "white washing," or what someone does when they have told a lie and try erasing the effects of it or covering it up to make it look not so bad (and they lie because they don't believe in character or moral integrity, just like the Clintons). Why would STID make their characters so closely resemble Tonto? The last year has seen a trickle of films advancing the thesis that we should throw in the towel and go back to living like "savages," i.e., the natives, and both the inhabitants of Nibiru and Tonto would fit this proposal (such films include Moonrise Kingdom, Savages and The Apparition; these films mirror films of the early 1970's promoting the "mountain man" aesthetic, like Little Big Man, Jeremiah Johnson, A Man Called Horse, etc.). We can see then how this simple scene provides us with a highly popular form of socialism and taking the intangible--this movement's ideas--and making them tangible in the home and appearance of the inhabitants.|
Now, let's see what Spock is doing.
In the picture below, on the right side, we see Kirk in his wet suit (which was underneath the gray linen he wore on the island while being chased by the inhabitants). If you look closely, there is a smooth part of the suit--like covering the chest--and then a "scaly" part, mimicking reptile skin, correlating to the sea monster Scottie sees in the window. There are also two bands of gold going over and under the shoulders. In this outfit, we can see Kirk being compared to the sea monster symbolizing Spock because of the blue color (like the water) and the "scaly" material is usually reptilian, as well as it being a wet suit for water wear. The bands of gold, however, tell us that--whereas Spock exhibits the negative characteristics of the sea monster--Kirk exhibits the positives. Because the bands of gold highlight Kirk's shoulders, we know he has the strength to break the directive and the strength not to be enslaved to it the way Bones tells Kirk Spock would be in letting Kirk die if the situation were reversed. The purpose of all this opening act is to contrast Kirk with Kahn in the second act, so it's time to go to London.
Of all the places in the world, why stage an attack in London? At least two reasons. First, we have previously noted why London has been getting blown up so much so recently, and the shift that has been made with films like Oblivion, GI Joe Retaliation and (possibly) Red 2: the entitlement programs have "destroyed" England through bankruptcy and civil unrest (the last couple of years have seen protest marches against "austerity measures"). The scene that plays out with Thomas Harewood, his wife and sick daughter validates this reading (and we will analyze this scene in a moment) but what about the second reason for an attack on what appears to be the Starfleet Data Archives (the British Archives)? Because there is something in the British Archives.
Barack Hussein Obama's real birth certificate.
|Here is an important detail: pictured above are the cryogenic pods holding the 72 member-crew of Khan he desperately wants to save so they can go through the universe, destroying everyone who is their inferior. When Bones examines them, he tells Kirk they are 300 years old; the film takes place in the year 2259, so, if we subtract 300 from 2259, we come up with the year which "gave birth" to Khan and his crew: 1959. What happened in 1959? Several things, including Fidel Castro and Che Guevara taking over Cuba in a socialist revolution; the Kitchen Debate between USSR leader Nikita Khruschev and Vice President Richard Nixon take place, but, I think what might be the real "birth" event for Khan and his crew is another birth event: the birth of the Workers World Party in America, i.e., a socialist/communist organization whose official color is, yes, you guessed it, red. We can say that the WWP (although they have been active since their founding) is Obama's crew still sleeping because they have not yet started the kind of totalitarian dictatorship they have supported and defended, like the Slobodan Milosevic, Saddam Hussein, Kim Jong-il, as well as their support of the Chinese government when they cracked down on democratic protests at Tiananmen Square protests in 1989 (remember that picture of the blindfolded man, holding a suitcase, standing in front of an oncoming tank? Yea, that was Tiananmen Square and the WWP sided with the government, not the protesters). Just as Khan is the only one of his crew awakened in STID, so Obama has not yet awakened the kinds of totalitarian practices supported by the WWP but that doesn't mean he won't when the time is ripe. On a different note, we have seen cryogenic pods just used in Oblivion: Jack (Tom Cruise) finds his real wife, Julia Ruskokova (Olga Kurylenko) after she was placed in cryogenic sleep for 60+ years during which time, Jack was living with Victoria (from Great Britain). Oblivion introduces the theme of what will happen to the US if we stay "in a relationship" with Great Britain and follow them in becoming increasingly socialist when, in fact, we should be in a relationship with the Russians because they are more committed to capitalism; we will be visiting this theme again (for more, please see A Tale Of Two Jacks: Oblivion & Facing Fearful Odds).|
This is the first reason why I think London was attacked.
|Thomas Harewood in Section 31 where he works, about to drop the ring Kahn gave him into (what appears to be) a glass of water which will set off the explosion and destroy the building. We have discussed the "hare" part of Harewood, but what of the "wood" part? Please recall the great number of times God is invoked throughout the film, especially by Bones. "Wood," then, not only refers to the Cross of Christianity, (in conjunction with the "hare" and girl's toy invoking Easter and the Cross) but what the Cross means (none of us can escape suffering, even children but through suffering, we can all hope for eternal life). Now, why does Kahn give him a ring? Why does a ring in water set off a deadly explosion? Remember, this is an exchange: Kahn gives Harewood a vial of Kahn's genetically modified blood in exchange for the ring (and Thomas' life) that will explode Section 31. The ring is Khan's Starfleet ring (because he had been a member of Starfleet, so it's like a high school ring; the Starfleet insignia references NASA's logo for the Apollo program) and rings are usually signs of covenants: when you have made an oath or a vow to uphold/protect/defend something, you wear a ring as a sign the bond of your oath, in this case, to act as an officer of Starfleet. The ring "dissolving" in the water before it explodes is symbolic of Khan's vows dissolving (he cleanses himself of Starfleet) and the repercussions (the explosion) it entails. Kahn, then, is not going to use his skills and talents for the good of Starfleet, but for the downfall of Starfleet.|
So, what about Marcus?
|This was handled skillfully. Kirk, having decided he will trust Kahn enough to board the Vengeance, tells Spock, "The enemy of my enemy is my friend," to which Spock replies that it was an Arab prince who said that and was beheaded by his "friend." Forrest Wickman has done a marvellous job researching the proverb, "The enemy of my enemy," and its history; while he ascertains that Spock has misspoken, I would like to disagree with him; Spock tells us the viewers exactly what the film makers want us to know (I won't go into all of it here, political correctness forbids it). The person who compromises their own moral integrity to join forces with one whom they would normally not be aligned with (in this case, Kahn) becomes weakened by this compromise so they are then vulnerable to the attacks of the one who would normally also be an enemy; in other words, joining Kahn strengthens Kahn (Kirk tells Scotty, "I think we're helping him," not Kahn helping us) but weakens Kirk morally and this is revealed in the warp core being damaged and Kirk having to be the one to fix it. He fixes it with both feet (the feet symbolize our will and the path we want to take in life) so Kirk has to try again and again to use his will power to straighten out the core (his purpose and being) so the ship can be saved because the Enterprise and Starfleet are only as virtuous as the people who are in it. This interpretation is also supported by Spock's observation that the man who said "The enemy of my enemy," was beheaded by his "friend," when Khan goes to kill Kirk and the crew of the Enterprise. So, why put this discussion with the images above, with Kirk in his space jump suit and Kahn jumping through a sheet of glass? When Kirk and Kahn make the space jump to board the Vengeance, the glass visor over his face cracks during the journey; why is this important? Glass and mirrors symbolize "reflection," and Kirk is all ready realizing (in his reflecting on what he is doing) that he has made a bad decision in trusting Kahn. Even though Kahn appears trustworthy in helping and even saving Kirk during this jump, Kirk knows it's only for Kahn's own purpose. Kirk, on the other hand, has only the purpose of justice for both Kahn and Marcus in mind, nothing else. In the image above, on the right, Kahn jumps through glass, shattering it, as Spock chases him after Kirk has died. Why does this happen? Again, glass symbolizes "reflection" because--we see our physical self in glass--just as we see our spiritual and psychological self when we meditate and reflect. Kahn, too, sees himself in a more damaging way, probably that Kirk and Spock were more of a challenge than he anticipated and regardless of Kahn's superior intellect, he should not have underestimated them and Kahn's own feeling of superiority to Kirk and Spock is being shattered just as Kirk's visor shield.|
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