There seems to be more than a few complaints about JJ Abrams‘ use of the Beastie Boys‘ track Sabotage in the new Star Trek film. But it isn’t at all random, and not just inserted twenith centry pop culture. First off, the sequence in question is when 13-year-old James T Kirk steals his step-father’s antique convertable and drives it off a cliff.
I must give screenwriters Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci credit on this one. I believe this scene to be a multi-layed metaphor, and the choice of music might be a call back to William Shatner, who played the James T Kirk in the original series. Deconstruction and video after the jump.
As I have written previously, this sequence is constructed to get a specific reaction: “This doesn’t look like any Star Trek movie I’ve ever seen before.” But Kirk could have been driving a car from any decade in history — the 2000′s, the 1990′s, the 1980′s, or the 1970′s, but for one reason or another, Abrams chose a 1960s Corvette. Some reports even say it’s a 1966 Corvette, the same year that Gene Roddenberry’s television series began to air.
Could it be that the corvette represents something more than just a fast car? I believe that by throwing the 1960′s era car off a cliff, Abrams was making a statement – “this is not your father’s Star Trek movie” – we’re throwing all that stuff away, off a cliff no less. This is the new Star Trek.” It’s worth noting that my theory originally appeared on the site in November 2008 with the same exact wording, “not your father’s Star Trek movie”, before that line was made the focus of the film’s television campaign.
As for the choice of music. Sabatoge works, even though “Intergalactic” might seem like a better fit for a sci-fi space film, because it not only expresses the character’s mood at that moment in the story, but as Topless Robot points out, it is a call back to Shatner, and his long history of mispronouncing the word sabotage as “sabo-taj.” Check out the clip below.