Thursday, May 30, 2013

Adoption Movie Guide: Star Trek Into Darkness

In the most recent installation in the Star Trek franchise, the new renditions of the Original Series crew (Kirk, Spock, Scotty, McCoy, Sulu, Uhura, Checkov and others), revisit some old faces, and some universal themes. Kirk has lost a dear friend due to a villain’s actions, and has his mind set on revenge. But teens in adoptive or foster homes might connect most with Spock. Spock’s seeming lack of emotions causes strife in some of his close personal relationships - but it's not that Spock exactly lacks emotions... he just wants to lack them. And, of course, an old villain returns intent on wiping humanity out of the universe.

How is This Relevant to Adoption?
Kirk has a strong mentor in Admiral Pike.
Some kids who have experienced adoption or foster care may resonate with Spock’s desire (and choice) to not feel loss (or fear, confusion, and anger), again.

Strong Points
A young Captain Kirk makes a bold decision to break a main law in order to save a crewmember. Although he is demoted for his action (or perhaps, rather, for lying about it), a trusted mentor comes alongside him with encouragement and grace, “I believe in you. If anyone deserves a second chance, it’s James Kirk.”
Spock’s highly rational thinking provides for some amusing and insightful dialogue. When one character, frustrated with argument, insults him, Spock responds, “Reverting to name calling suggests you’re defensive, which suggests you see the validity of my point.”
Kirk shows admirable loyalty to his crew, and demonstrates his willingness to sacrifice his good for theirs.
Spock is given the opportunity to gain insight from an older version of himself. It grasps the imagination – what would you ask of an older you? What insight would you hope for?
Spock is accused of being emotionless. He isn’t. He explains that at a difficult point in his life, he felt fear, confusion, and anger, and decided not to feel that way again. He explains that, when faced with loss, “I care, but choose not to feel.” Spock acknowledges that, in spite of his choice – he sometimes fails and does feel painful emotions. Many kids will relate to Spock’s desire not to feel, as well as his inability to fulfill that desire. 

Weak Points
There’s a lot of violence in the film. Two characters watch trusted friends die.

Star Trek Into Darkness has a lot of action for a sci-fi film, and teenagers might buy into it. The ones who’d probably get the most out of it are those who’d connect with Spock – they’ve gone through pain, and try and fail to keep their emotions hidden, even from themselves. This could be a good family movie night for families with teenagers – teenagers might find comfort in seeing a competent adult explaining why he tries to control his emotions, and admitting that he can’t always do it.

Questions for Discussion After the Film
What would you ask a future version of yourself?
What advice would you give a younger version of yourself?

Is there a difference between “caring” and “feeling?” 

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