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Why we sometimes like or dislike the silly film - The Ex-Communicator

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May 15th, 2009


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04:34 pm - Why we sometimes like or dislike the silly film
That funny list, and the increasing spread of opinion about the new Star Trek film, has made me think about how sometimes, and without any apparent logic, it's easy to enjoy a silly film. But on other occasions a film that your friends seem all to be enjoying leaves a nasty taste, or irritates you beyond belief.

I didn't enjoy Iron Man for example, though I do like Robert Downey Junior a great deal. Yet so many on my f-list thought it was great - and I have no idea why it didn't work for me. OK, of course I could give sensible reasons why, but they would probably apply to other films which thrilled me to the core.

Abigail at Asking the Wrong Questions gives a critical view which nevertheless I can really go along with here, although my overall conclusion is much more positive, and she has an accompanying round-up of critical opinion here. Both links are well worth following for those who are interested in the spread of opinion.*

If I had to sum up why I like this film it is because it accurately reflects - miniskirts and Kirk being a dick and all - a series which I loved as a child, and this time round I am able to maintain some distance but still feel the thrill of being seven and watching starships on telly.

*ETA and do read the comments too, for instance Jonathan M who says 'I thought it tapped perfectly into this image... that Kirk was some kind of primal fury; a barely controlled collection of instincts and passions that forced him again and again to take absurd risks with his own life and that of those around him.'

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From:dfordoom
Date:May 15th, 2009 03:46 pm (UTC)
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The thing about silly films (and my list of favourite movies includes lots of films widely regarded as beng very silly indeed) is that there's such a fine line between silliness that is inspired and fun and silliness that is merely annoying. It's like comedy. If it misses the target by even a millimetre then it fails completely.
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From:communicator
Date:May 15th, 2009 03:47 pm (UTC)
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Yes, also sexiness
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From:dfordoom
Date:May 15th, 2009 04:09 pm (UTC)
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Exactly. Nothing is more subjective than humour or sexual attractiveness, and it's absolutely impossible to explain one's own tastes in either area. And when you enjoy a silly movie it's often because you find it funny and/or sexy. Or you enjoy it as camp, which is another taste that is difficult to explain to anyone who doesn't share it. My housemate just doesn't get camp at all.
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From:archbishopm
Date:May 15th, 2009 05:56 pm (UTC)
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I think I am more inclined to respond overly enthusiastically to Star Trek/Star Wars/Superhero kinda movies when I see them in the theatre 'cause they allow or encourage me to participate in that cliquey social bonding scene all the kids are so keen on these days. Nerd pheremones or something.

Didn't save X-Men III mind you...
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From:communicator
Date:May 15th, 2009 07:15 pm (UTC)
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Yes, and also it can put me off a film if I am with people who detest it. I saw Sin City with H who hated it.
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From:espresso_addict
Date:May 16th, 2009 01:57 am (UTC)
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Thanks for the links, I was beginning to think I was alone in the universe. I do wonder if one of the reasons I didn't like it is that I first encountered Trek as an adult, so I'm lacking that 'aw, bless' nostalgia that seems to be carrying a lot of fen along.
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From:communicator
Date:May 16th, 2009 10:12 am (UTC)
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Yes, possibly. I do think original star trek was something quite special. It's ssomething I was trying to capture in that poem I wrote about the phrase 'to boldly go.. etc.' It has an accidental magical quality, who knows where from.
From:abigail_n
Date:May 16th, 2009 01:23 pm (UTC)
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If you haven't seen it yet, Adam Roberts really captures an aspect of Star Trek that the film completely missed.
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From:communicator
Date:May 16th, 2009 02:45 pm (UTC)
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It's a valid critique, and of course I agree with him about Deadwood and The Wire. I literally can't believe my luck in being able to see them.

However, I don't think the point of the film is to convey an ideal society, although Rodenberry wanted to. Instead I think the film and the original series convey an adolescent society, emerging from a damaged planet, and that we are not a very nice species. I think original Star Trek was almost (and of course unwittingly) Mad Men in space: it was vigorous and dumb.

So, one might like it, not as one likes Deadwood, but as one likes Swearengen. Look at the cavemen go.

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