ciaan: (the same river twice)
Title: Who Found Mr. Fabulous?
Vidder: [personal profile] kuwdora
Fandom: Star Trek Reboot
Commentary By: [personal profile] ciaan
Warnings: Spoilers for the movie, 97 screencaps, sucky screencaps, a handful of swear words, multi-ship innuendo, sci-fi violence, semi-nude people in only underwear

You've watched the vid? Yes? Okay, great, now we can move on to the commentary.

I'm a little nervous here. I haven't done much like this before.

I learned things about this vid through the process of writing this commentary. Watching it in slow-mo to get screencaps showed me some transitions and content that I hadn't noticed before, and reading the lyrics gave me a better sense of what the song is about on its own.

Which is good, because the reason I chose this vid to comment on is the fact that my response to it now is very different from what my response was the first time I watched it, and I was hoping to figure out more about why that happened. I hardly ever reread fic, but I rewatch vids over and over and over and over. And generally, a vid that's happy and fun the first time through stays that way, and a vid that's sad the first time stays that way. But the way I felt the first time I watched this one, and the way I feel now after frequent viewings, that feeling has evolved a lot.

The first time, my emotional response was basically like, "EVERYBODY EVERYBODY EVERYBODY they're all there yay team!" Now it's more like, "oh, poor everybody!"

I had never heard the song before watching this vid, and I know nothing about the band. (Which, actually, I find vids generally work best for me when they are either totally fresh songs or ones I utterly know and love. Songs that I've heard before but am not intimately and devotedly familiar with are the ones that tend to fall more flat.) I also don't think I had seen anything by [personal profile] kuwdora before.

This vid is part of a tendency I've noticed in STXI vids of using frothy sparkly dance pop songs to highlight actual trenchant and even poignant insights on the movie. The editing on the vid is very very fast and there are lots of cuts and overlays (which is why I have so many screencaps). It's a general vid without a fixed POV: there is no single character who is always the "I" in the song. Instead, our focus travels around to lots of characters and situations, with various people playing the "I" and "you" and etc of the song at various points.

The vid is a celebration of pretty much all parts of the movie, but a lot of what's going on in it is also: This is an AU, yo! Everyone's shit is different here!

(Quoted lyrics were taken from the vidder's post with additions from

So we start with some explosive credits that mimic the red matter explosion occurring beneath them (the red matter that was the cause of the whole timeline split to begin with).

Then we have a very neat and succinct summary of the plot: Nero shows up, he's looking for Spock (floaty question mark is a great way to show that), but Spock isn't there because it's the wrong time and thus eventually the wrong universe, oops.

I came down to take you out

It always amuses me how the phrase "take you out" must have originally been meaning something like "go for a drive around town" in the song and then in the vid it becomes "totally destroy and kill you."

You were nowhere to be found
I searched this city in and out
I combed this entire town

Looking for this guy?

Sorry, you've replaced him with this guy, instead.

So yes, here lyrics about a guy's hot car and hot date and missing car or whatever is turned into Nero trying to find and kill Spock in revenge for the destruction of his planet.

Yeah, I would do what I have to do just to hear that purring sound

I'd been hearing this line as "that girlish sound" - reading the lyrics is very educational (that was when I realized the song was really about his car)! Girlish made a wrongitywrong sort of sense for a woman screaming in childbirth. Purring is more like the little baby.

And George Kirk does what he has to do and sacrifices himself to save his wife and child and everyone else.

(Because the editing is so fast and many of the scenes are overlaid, I tried to get a bunch of screencaps that included those overlays, and a lot of them look very weird that way. Um. There were also some technical difficulties leaving the caps rather blurry and low-res and with those awful messed up pixels in them. Sorry.)

One wheel and some thrusting steel

Lots of focus on vehicles and vessels. If the song is about the car, the car is ultimately the Enterprise.

We are introduced to baby Jim Kirk in a great little sequence where the explosion fades into the stolen car, the stolen car breaks apart itself, and the father's face is overlaid on the son's over the car.

You've never let me down

However, since the guy died and history was changed and his kid grew up angsty, I think there was actually some letting down.

I lost what you gave me
I lost what you gave me... help me!

And now baby Spock. First he loses his calm and the teachings of Vulcan... Then he loses his whole planet. :(

Then a great transition sequence of the Enterprise flying away from the ashes of Vulcan toward us, the motion segueing into the stolen car driving toward us, to baby Kirk's face, then to Kirk getting on the shuttle to Starfleet Academy with a bright grin. Vehicles and vessels, honey.

Who found mister fabulous?

Not me, not me!

James Tiberius Kirk, he so fabulous. And slutty. He wants everybody and they can all have him.

(If they're interested.)

Who got miss contagious?

A possible connection between Kirk's sluttiness and how often Bones hypos him? All that contagion, you know. Or maybe hypoing is a kinky sex act of its own.


As I said, my first response to the vid was "EVERYBODY! \o/"

Put your fine in my windshield and take me right to jail

So Kirk and Spock, they supposed to be friends, right? NOPE. Not here. Fight, fight, fight! Go for the kill.

(but don't you throw away the key)

...Oh wait, maybe that's actually flirting.

Sell your friend's champagne corvette

But luckily Kirk still has Bones. And the Enterprise.

Then come and post my bail

Or not, since Spock kicks him off. At least this way he can rescue Scotty from exile and then the water conduits.

Now I hope they treat you well wherever you may be
(just don't let them hurt you)

Too late. The whole universe has already been fractured.

If they only knew the felonies that were spread across those seats

This line I keep hearing as "across those sheets" but well, hey, the actual lyric doesn't really have much less sexual innuendo.

Security pursuing Kirk and Scotty through the ship - a very literal representation of felony.

But there's more to it.

Because so much has been done on this ship. But that was in another universe, which is unknown so far to these people. If they only knew what they themselves had done on their own ship, in that other timeline. And now here comes the knowledge.

Another transition I love, with the mind-meld and then the rushing warp-speed stars and then there we are, back to the alternate future for a clearer explanation of all these felonies.

I came down to take you out
You were nowhere to be found

Again the lyrics are working on multiple levels, because Spock came down to take out the supernova, but he was late and it was nowhere to be found... So then Romulus was nowhere to be found. And we're back to Nero, who wants to kill Spock because Spock was nowhere to be found and thus Nero's planet got exploded.

I searched this city in and out
I combed this entire town

So now Nero has come to take Spock out and in the end Vulcan is nowhere to be found.

The repeating/moving squares on the "ah ah ah ah" like Spock is shattering and fragmenting and beside himself with grief. Both an emotional effect and another reference to the AU.

Who found mister fabulous?
Not me, not me!
Who got miss contagious?
Who found sister steering wheel?

(Sulu did.)

Got me, got me!

Now our whole beloved crew (go team!) is together on the ship (see, EVERYBODY EVERYBODY!!!). And we get another flash of George Kirk to Jim Kirk as he becomes captain.

Who got mrs. raw deal?

But... They're together in a war. And the whole freaking Starfleet got a raw deal and got blowed up. Yow. (Poor everybody!) Life. It can be fun but it also kinda sucks.

Shall we detail the ways they start out handicapped in this new game universe?

As we all know, Spock ends up on the ship because the Vulcan Science Academy said yo mama even after he excelled and Kirk ends up there because Pike said yo daddy after a drunken bar brawl. Bones is a paranoiac, Sulu can’t drive, Chekov is still jailbait, and we already saw that Scotty was in disgrace. Uhura rocks from the get-go, though, even if she does have to put up with losers hitting on her.

Why would you wanna sit at home tonight
When your ride is sitting right outside?
It's not very hard to find

Okay, I have apparently been getting these lines totally wrong and hearing them as "Oh, do you wanna stay home tonight, do you wanna stay wrapped tight, it's not very hard to find" but even with the actual lyrics it doesn't change the way this portion makes me feel.

And damn, did I mention how impressively fast the editing is?

So here's EVERYBODY again, and what have we got? Lots of action shots. Running and fighting and falling and being in danger.

Who found mister fabulous?
Not me, not me!
Who got miss contagious?
Who found sister steering wheel?
Got me, got me!
Who got mrs. raw deal?


And there are some particular juxtapositions I want to point out.

Kirk riding away from his life to join Starfleet, and Spock beaming down to the surface of an exploding Vulcan to rescue his parents. More shots of George Kirk fading into Jim Kirk. Home, family, leaving, arriving, gaining, losing, preserving, safety, adventure, danger. Trying to figure out who you really are and where you really belong.

The bar brawl next to the battle on Nero's ship. The differences or not between violence as a pointless and destructive activity and violence for a noble cause.

In perfectly parallel lines, Spock racing up the stairs to rescue his parents and Kirk racing to jump off the edge of the platform and save Sulu.

Spock's family and the transporter and falling, Kirk and Sulu and the transporter and falling.

One time the transporter saved, one time it didn't.

The broken mining platform falling down, Uhura comforting Spock. Again, one world saved, one destroyed.

Kirk and Sulu safe after their fall overlapped by the speedometer of the stolen car. Then the same speedometer and the Enterprise going way faster than 70mph. Vessels better than vehicles, baby. The fine line between excitement and danger, between recreational risk (also known as "self-destructiveness") and productive risk. Between jumping off a cliff for kicks or to act out, and jumping off a cliff to save someone.

They defeat Nero and save the day.

They have definitely left Mrs. Raw Deal now and found Mr. Fabulous. They are fabulous. Everybody.

Why would you wanna sit at home tonight
When your ride is sitting right outside?
It's not very hard to find

They didn't sit at home tonight, in two major separate ways.

One is that they didn't stay in the same universe. They are now in a new universe. And this universe, despite the shiny lens flare, is darker and more dangerous somehow, with the extra war preparations and the dead parents and the juvenile delinquency and the exploding planets.

Two, they didn't sit at home because they joined Starfleet. They joined Starfleet so now they are in more personal danger than they might have been, traveling in their new ride, not safe and sound and wrapped tight at home as they might wish to be. But because they are out there in danger, almost getting killed so many times, they also manage to save the Earth and the Federation, and if they had just sat at home? Probably so many fewer people would have had a home or a life at all, in the end. The Enterprise crew are heroes and heroes have to suffer to triumph.

Then we are back at the mind-meld and we can see how tough it is to know these things about your world. What is real? What matters most?

There's a trippy little ending collage that shows flashes of TOS and Reboot all mixed up. Lots of negative colors and wavering and images doubling and repeating. The whole AU idea and what it means is really messed up and sad and tragic when I actually think about it. But the AU-ness is also one of the main things I and many other people loved about the movie. Everything has its price.

And thus it is that a shiny dance song about a car becomes a vid that makes me tear up whenever I watch it.

Yet also still fills me with squee, because, you know, EVERYBODY.

I'm probably reading too much into some things and missing other blatantly obvious things, but there you have it, my response.

Peace out.
Mood:: tired


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