Did the Kelvin movies sometimes lean too close to parody?

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies: Kelvin Universe' started by RedDwarf, May 9, 2018.

  1. RedDwarf

    RedDwarf Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    When discussing the success of infinity War, The Guardian wrote about why other Hollywood franchises might want to treat the core conceits of their franchises respectfully:

    ...comedy is fine ... but lampooning those aspects of a much-loved saga that made fans fall in love with it in the first place is probably best left to others...

    ...when comedy descends into lampoonery, the last laugh is ultimately on studios. Infinity War looks likely to become one of the top five movies of all time at the global box office by the time it leaves cinemas, thanks to impressive word of mouth...

    ...while Marvel has at times been content to chuckle at the sillier sides to all these superheroes, the studio has always been carefully to retain our sense of awe at the MCU’s essential machinery.

    There is a danger for the film-maker, it seems, in too much postmodern mickey-taking.
    They were favourably saying that Marvel does not do too much piss taking of the core ideas. Did you feel there were perhaps a couple of times in 2009's Star Trek when comedy came a bit too close to satire? I personally felt this was a tendency in the recent movies, as good as they otherwise were.
     
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  2. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    < Skipping the rest... >
    Satire? No. Which couple of times did you have in mind?

    Do you think you could elaborate — so that we have something of substance to begin on, rather than with a somewhat vague and open-ended question which gives no firm sense of premise or of intended direction?

    Also: just the 2009 movie, or all of the Kelvin films?

    What do you feel are examples of satire in STID or Beyond?

    Or was that parody instead?

    I think this topic might have more potential if it were defined more clearly. Right now, its title and its various parts seem not all to agree.
     
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

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    With the exception of Spock's godawful "Khaaaaaaan!" (which I don't believe was intended as parody), no.
     
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  4. RedDwarf

    RedDwarf Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    @M'Sharak - Okay, I'll try my best to elaborate:

    Say in Galaxy Quest, which is usually considered to be a parody or satire of Star Trek, I recall there is a famous scene when the ship's engineering section inexplicably has an area of dangerous blade-like machinery for the characters to pass through like an episode of Takeshi's Castle. This is explained to be due to the alien's faithful replication of Earth sci-fi shows. It was meant to be lampoon of some science fiction's tendency to conjure up inexplicable 19th-century-style gears/pistons and other elements of archaic machinery as sources of physical peril (although I can't recall Star Trek ever particularly being a bad offender).

    Then in Star Trek where Scotty is accidentally beamed into some kind of water pipe, I was 70% sure this was a direct reference to that well-known scene in Galaxy Quest. The way the camera focused in on the inexplicable bladed-churning-machine, and Scotty was acting comically.

    So, that would be an example of lampoonery perhaps. There were other moments too, such as lampooning Kirk's sexual mores, lampooning Scotty's technical explanations, but that one just stuck out in my mind. As King Daniel Beyond pointed out, the Spock Khaaaaaan thing was pretty egregious too.

    On warp speeds: Did they break with "maintaining a sense of awe", when for example interstellar travel was treated as a post-modern "speed of plot" device? Star Trek always did that of course, but never embraced it as a source of meta-self-reference; it was instead a core conceit that space was vast, just as long-distance walks are a core conceit of Tolkien, or mutants being able to walk through walls is a core conceit of the X-Men.

    There was a quote ages ago by author China Meiville on the 2009 Star Trek movie, explaining why he thought it felt slightly cynical to him, where he generally thought Joss Whedon's treatment of geek culture felt more reverent. That quote articulated a faint feeling I had about the films, personally speaking, because while they are enjoyable, and I am by no means discounting their value, which I accept for what they are, I always felt some of the comedy was a little off; less "laughing with", than "laughing at". It's kind of like how Buddhists sometimes distinguish between comedy that celebrates our existence, and comedy that demeans it. I'm not going to claim that the movie was bad, but I always did get a faint feeling from the first two Kelvin movies that they were not quite on-board with everything Star Trek accepted as a core conceit (such as somewhat-plausible techno-babble). The Guardian article again brought this point into focus, with it's observations about how Marvel never crosses the line into unpleasant mockery.

    I think as a franchise, Star Trek is very very funny (i.e. Data or Seven's observations on humanity), but never really Spielberg/Indiana Jones physical-comedy funny. Perhaps JJ Abrams being a Spielberg fan, felt it could do with more of that style, and we are mistaking it for lampoonery because it was at times so heavy-handed compared to TNG's humour (Khaaaaaaan!). But I sense it was more post-modern inability to accept the earnestness of the material at times, and I feel that is always a mistake when reviving a popular franchise; you should faithfully accept it's tenets I feel.
     
    Last edited: May 9, 2018
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  5. Smellmet

    Smellmet Commodore Commodore

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    I would say they are 99% homages, nods, and winks. Some were trying a bit too hard. I think the Spock scream was the only thing that was really pushing things into parody territory personally, but nothing else.
     
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  6. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Star Trek 2009 - no parody, unless you count getting to Vulcan in five minutes
    Into Darkness - the Khaaaaann moment, accidental parody on their part
    Beyond - Kirk losing his shirt...again, and having a closet full of indentical shirts, none of them uniforms, yep definite parody
     
  7. Noname Given

    Noname Given Vice Admiral Admiral

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    ^^^
    Sorry 100% not parody as across the entire franchise Star Trek ships have always traveled at the speed of plot

    ^^^
    No parody and not accidental on their part at all. More a homage, and if you recall the dialogue of Spock to Uhura where he relates his experience as Spock mind-melded with Captain Pike at the moment of Pike's death, Spock's reaction is in character and hardly parody on any level.

    ^^^
    Again, it's a homage to TOS first season Kirk. ;)
     
  8. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Nope, no parody.
     
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  9. Dales

    Dales Captain Captain

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    Compared to Marvel. this star trek is fine. marvel movies are complete parody. its usually painful to watch.
     
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  10. seigezunt

    seigezunt Vice Admiral Admiral

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    I'm okay with movies about guys in spandex beating each other up not taking themselves too seriously. My favorites of the Marvel films seem to be the ones considered the most jokey.

    The Kelvinverse movies never approached parody IMO. There was some humor, and a ton of fan service / homage, but none of it felt like parody. STID had a number of missteps in terms of taking an homage too far (Khaaaan!!) but it never felt like parody.
     
  11. Serveaux

    Serveaux The Wind Premium Member

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  12. Galileo7

    Galileo7 Commodore Commodore

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  13. Kor

    Kor Admiral Admiral

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    There were a couple aspects that got a little silly, IMO: Spock's "KHAAAAAAAN" yell in ST:ID, and the use of Beastie Boys music to destroy the swarm in ST:B.

    Other than that, these movies have been just fine.

    Kor
     
  14. Laura Cynthia Chambers

    Laura Cynthia Chambers Commodore Commodore

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    Using that same song shows that while Kirk's grown up somewhat, he's still got the same taste in music (a little bit of the same fun-loving, bad boy Jim left over)
     
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  15. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    Trek XI definitely indulged in too much slapstick, particularly Kirk's stumbling around the Enterprise with a numb tongue and swollen hands.
     
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  16. fireproof78

    fireproof78 Vice Admiral Admiral

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    Too much? It was one scene? That and Scotty's transporter accident and I'm at a loss for how much slapstick is too much in this context. :shrug:
     
  17. RedDwarf

    RedDwarf Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Okay, I had a look at a definition of satire, just to try to expand on this:

    "the use of humour, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices"

    Did you feel Kirk waking up in bed with two alien women, being found by Uhura under her Orion room-mate's bed, mistaking one Orion woman for another, trying to chat up Uhura, gawking at Carol Marcus, etc, kinda fit into this? Exaggeration of his supposed tendency of womanising. In 2009, when I watched the movie, I largely enjoyed the film as entertainment, but there were scenes that did feel jarring, and this felt more like an unloving reference to the public's "idea" of Kirk, than Kirk - we never saw him disloyal to women or dismissive of one in pursuit of another in TOS.

    ...but never dismissed in a post-modern way (I know, lets just have Khan beam to other planets), it was usually treated as a core conceit, with Picard or someone saying "after three days travel at high warp we have arrived at Spongebob VIII"... ...both 2009 and DSC began to treat distance as a stupid irrelevance, rather than an in-universe illusion to maintain judiciously, to create an immersive setting.

    Yeah, for sure. Also Keenser seemed to be there for kids to laugh at because of what he is, which felt off in a franchise that once argued a sentient mineral-based life-form deserved equal consideration to a human.

    So, the article in The Guardian is pointing out that the effect of not being fully onboard with a franchise's core elements is now 'bad business' as well as bad art. Marvel are fully onboard with the spirit of the comics; so advocacy of their films is strong. Infinity War was more-or-less faithful to a story written in 1991 in a comic book, that nobody ever expected would become a film. Star Trek 2009 felt it had to apologise or parody it's material at times for audiences to accept it, rather than treating it in earnest as something with self-evident appeal. It's not a surprise then perhaps that it has seen falling interest, and less solid advocacy.
     
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  18. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    They tried a homage, it came across as a parody, it was very cringeworthy. Which part of 'Kirk and Spock are best buddies' was part of the plot, up to that moment there was no bromance. Spock breaks down at Kirk's death because......?????
     
  19. Nyotarules

    Nyotarules Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    You mean like bad boys today listen to 300 year old music to past the time?
     
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  20. The Wormhole

    The Wormhole Admiral Admiral

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    It was still badly done.