Discuss: The Kirk/"Sabotage" Connection - We Are Movie Geeks


Discuss: The Kirk/”Sabotage” Connection

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Editor’s note:   This is not something I came up with on my own.   I’m kicking myself in the ass that I didn’t, but, once it was brought to my attention, I felt I had to comment on it.

One of the questions fans and dissident’s of J.J. Abrams’ ‘Star Trek’ film alike have been asking themselves (and others) is why, oh why, would a Beastie Boys’ song be included on the soundtrack?   For those who have not seen the film, and don’t have a problem with a little, tiny spoilage, the first time we see James T. Kirk as an adolescent (12 years old, to be exact), he has stolen his stepfather’s antique car.   He clicks on the futuristic radio, complete with touch-screen, and “Sabotage” kicks in.

Many have commented on how this introduction of such a popular, modern song takes them out of the film.   Personally, it put a smile on my face, as, evidently, Beastie Boys’ popularity is still strong hundreds of years in the future.   Kirk’s stepdad must have it programmed to some futuristic NPR station where they play influential classics from a bygone era.

It’s a fun, little scene, and the sound of a modern, rhythmic beat makes it all the more fun, but who knew there might, actually have been a deeper meaning.   Why did Abrams choose that song?   Some people have said that, if they had to use a Beastie Boys’ song (they didn’t have to), “Intergalactic” would have been a much more appropriate choice.   This isn’t necessarily true.

Why?   Well, let me answer that question with another question.   Did you know that William Shatner has a minor issue with the way he says the word “sabotage”?   If you listen to Howard Stern, surely you’ve heard the clip of Shatner berating the director of a recording for a Star Trek audio book.   Shatner says, “Spock, sabo-taj the system.”

The director corrects him.   Shatner responds with, “I don’t say sabotage.   I say sabo-taj.”

Just listen for yourself, and see other examples of Shatner’s complete butchering of one of the most basic of words:

I mean, he’s William Shatner.   He can say whatever the hell he wants, right?   After that little recording session, that audio director fell into obscurity.   Shatner went on to win Emmies, Golden Globes, and Razzies.

Well, now comes the really hard question.   Did J.J. Abrams, or even Roberto Orci or Alex Kurtzman, for that matter, use Sabotage as a deliberate nod to William Shatner’s stubborness on this matter.   With all of the other Easter eggs that seem to be strewn throughout ‘Star Trek,’ you certainly can’t put it past the people behind the film to throw this little nod in, as well.   It’s a little more buried and subtle than most.

However, if it is deliberate, it could be one of the more ingenius references seen recently.   It’s certainly a helluva much better Easter egg than seeing Deadpool reach for his disembodied head.   Sorry, that was another spoiler, but I’m not too worried about it.

Source: Topless Robot


  1. Michelle

    May 12, 2009 at 4:46 pm

    Good catch! The whole Shatner/Sabotage nod is slick! Wow, what a hardcore Easter Egg…Thats what these guys do all the time with their ever brilliant ‘Lost’

  2. Heath

    May 13, 2009 at 12:51 am

    Hee hee, he actually reaches for his disembodied head? Just when you think that movie couldn’t get more lame.

    To be fair, Cuse and Lindelof (primarily) and J.J. come up with the awesomeness that is LOST. Orci and Kurtzman are on Fringe and in my opinion it’s the best (and most coherent) storytelling they’ve done (Transformers doesn’t count and Star Trek is as good as it is because of it’s direction and cast).

    Anyways, sabo-taj? That’s weird Denny Crane.

    • bob

      July 10, 2011 at 6:43 am

      It’s a french word. He’s from Montreal and canadian.

      Shatner says it correctly and properly.

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