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Old March 13 2013, 12:32 AM   #211
yousirname
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Re: Levar Burton aka Geordi La Forge criticizes Star Trek 2009

mos6507 wrote: View Post
"Moral value" is not all that Trek should be. There is more going on than that. Trek IV operated on multiple levels. By that point Trek had built up a history, and pop culture in the 80s was reevaluating the hippie days. It takes about 20 years for society to really digest things and whether certain things were a passing fad or deserved a second look. That's why Trek was particularly important in the 80s, as with it came a sort of second-wind to 60s ideals in the otherwise right-leaning Reagan era.
I really feel like you're reading a lot into TVH that simply isn't there.

So Trek IV was very much an exploration of what relevance the 60s counter-culture had in the Reagan era, and the fact that it was a comedy was tipping its hat to the idea that wide-eyed idealism was not popular then. "Save the whales" had become a catch-phrase. THAT is why the plot revolves around the whales. The crew of the Enterprise were supposed to be from the future, but they were actually ambassadors of 60s counter-culture. Gene's utopian vision of a world without the need for money clashing with the need to pay bus fare.
The same 'still using money' bit is done in City on the Edge. It's not like it was brought in as some novelty. Even if I grant that your read of the film is correct (and I'm really not sure it is) I don't for a second believe that that played any role at all in the film's success. I'm pretty sure it was the aforementioned hi-jinks.

There's no way to judge the movie without understanding the era in which it was created. The same is true of Trek VI although the well it pulls from is more varied.
The full significance of the "nuclear wessels" gag is likely lost on anyone who's unaware of the global political climate of the time. But all it is is a gag not packing quite the same punch as it did at the time, because times change.

I'm really not seeing any thematic unity to the humour in the film beyond very standard fish-out-of-water tropes adapted to the fact that the crew are from the Trek future and are in then-present-day USA. What aspect of '60s idealism and/or its questionable relevance is explored by Scott and McCoy's wrangling the whale tank, for example? Or the hospital scene?

And assuming the truth of your interpretation, what thematic resolution is achieved in the film's denouement? That Gillian agrees to come with them? She was already an overworked and underpaid marine biologist dedicated to saving the whales - what resolution is achieved by her coming to believe Kirk/accept the 'vision' of the '60s? How can that possibly be any kind of payoff?

Whereas under my interpretation of the film, it's not trying to do or be anything other than good, silly fun, and so no such payoff is necessary. Gill makes a leap of faith in Kirk because she's nice, and we like nice people, so welcome to the future, Gillian. Roll credits.
A similar thing was going on, but less successful, in Superman Returns. It was meant to be a thought experiment about whether the world needs or is capable of believing in boy-scout style heroes in a cynical post-911 world. That's why it is so closely tied to the Donnerverse, because that represented an earlier, more innocent concept of the superhero vs. your Batman Begins style.
9/11 gets everywhere, sure. It's even possible to read ST09 through that lens - the greater militarism (or at least, greater military prowess) of the alternate reality's Federation, resulting as it does from Nero's destruction of the Kelvin can be read in light of post-9/11 US foreign policy. Nero's rage at Spock and the Federation can reflect jihadists' rhetoric about Western malfeasance in the ME prior to 9/11, etc.

Trek IV never singificantly altered the Trek vision to suit the era. However, it had to acknowledge that it was operating within a new cultural era. JJ Trek goes about it the other way, remaking Trek to be more fashionable to society as it is now, which is one that wants a thrill-ride and doesn't really want to think.
'Thinking' has never been popular among movie-going audiences. By and large, they prefer being made to feel something to being made to think about something. Rocky IV is as dumb as a sack of hammers, but at the time, it made people feel something. Casablanca's about as plausible as Days of Our Lives, but it succeeded - still succeeds - in making people feel for the characters. That - not thematic intricacy or strained political analogies - is what has typically determined the success of a movie.
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