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Default Original Sci-Fi that's also pure comedy?

October 11th, 2015, 05:56
I saw Sleeper the other day. Woody Allen's funniest and most beloved movie got me thinking as to why movies like this stand out so much: How many Sci-Fi movies are actually purely original Sci-Fi concepts (as oppose to kind-of unoriginal parody of existing Sci-Fi, like Spaceballs or Brazil) which are comedies?

Is Sleeper the only movie which completely generates it's own Sci-Fi world but then plays it all for the laughs?
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October 11th, 2015, 12:33
Well, I wouldn't put it exactly like that, but "Red Dwarf" tv series( british?) was damn hilarious to watch.
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October 11th, 2015, 13:37
Not to nitpik but that's a tv show. Also, put what like what, lol?
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October 11th, 2015, 14:51
Hmmm … did some searching and there really isn't much - things like Back to the Future or Bill & Ted involving time travel out of the current year, but really not much else.

Love Sleeper … not my favorite Woody Allen, but an incredible movie
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October 11th, 2015, 17:35
Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy
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October 11th, 2015, 17:43
In a sense, that it wasn't a sci-fi with some comedy..it was a comedy entirely making fun of sci-fi, with cubicle head sanitation droid(a.k.a "smeg head") being the sanest of the bunch.
Here is an example of Rimmer making Gandhi do push ups.. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0INpj__GCbI

And, of course the "Rimmer world… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=py3u3P9OpBE
Last edited by BoboTheMighty; October 11th, 2015 at 18:00.
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October 11th, 2015, 17:44
Originally Posted by Caddy View Post
Hitchhikers guide to the galaxy
I was thinking that - but it is based on a book and better left that way (i.e. the movie is mediocre)
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October 11th, 2015, 18:03
The World's End
Paul
Barbarella
Mars Attacks
Galaxy Quest
Evolution
Slither
Earth Girls Are Easy
Repo Man
Dark Star
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October 11th, 2015, 19:39
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
Mars Attacks
Galaxy Quest
These two are discounted by the rules of the thread as they are primarily parodies of one specific entity, so fail the originality check.

As Bobo points out, comedy Sci-Fi is often a general parody of all Sci-Fi cliches, but for things like Red Dwarf the universe is completely original. It could exist without the removal of one single other Sci-Fi entity.

Galaxy Quest couldn't and wouldn't exist without Star Trek and Mars Attacks couldn't and likely wouldn't exist without War of the Worlds. I did think about Mars Attacks a lot and but it's not really in its own universe if you know what I mean.
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October 11th, 2015, 19:42
Originally Posted by txa1265 View Post
I was thinking that - but it is based on a book and better left that way (i.e. the movie is mediocre)
Even more than that, it was most popularly received as, firstly a Radio serial and then a Television Series. Converted books are allowed, but I think the Hitchhiker's Guide doesn't fit well into the single movie mold. It does fit the criteria of the thread though.
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October 11th, 2015, 19:46
Sleeper parodies multiple films very overtly. They even had the guy that voiced HAL in 2001 to voice the evil computer.
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October 11th, 2015, 19:55
I answered that in the post you responded to…
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October 11th, 2015, 20:14
I don't think that distinction makes much sense. There are any number of films that involve marshian invasion - Mars Attacks is not a direct parody of War of the Worlds. Galaxy Quest parodies science fiction shows and their conventions quite generally, in the same way that Sleeper does with various movies.

Spaceballs, I would say is a very direct parody of Star Wars, and I could see the distinction, but the other two are much more general parodies of the genre, just like Sleeper.
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October 11th, 2015, 20:41
They wear Star Trek uniforms, carry phasers and attend fanboy conventions… yes, they chuck in some other stuff, but it's Star Trek's universe. I repeat, the movie wouldn't exist if one single entity didn't exist - Star Trek. Like Airplane is a parody of Airport, but, yes, they chuck in other stuff.

I think the distinction is pretty obvious. Without getting into the semantics of there being no such thing as an original idea, the concept of something existing in its own world and being it's own universe is quite clear cut and I believe I've explained it quite clearly for those that might have blurred edges. Sleeper is not like any other existent product in its universe. Just as Red Dwarf isn't. Obviously they take swipes at some common memes/cliches of the times, but it's going to be osmosis, not carpet parody of one entity.

Will this be the five minute argument or the full half hour?
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October 11th, 2015, 21:00
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
They wear Star Trek uniforms, carry phasers and attend fanboy conventions… yes, they chuck in some other stuff, but it's Star Trek's universe. I repeat, the movie wouldn't exist if one single entity didn't exist - Star Trek. Like Airplane is a parody of Airport, but, yes, they chuck in other stuff.

I think the distinction is pretty obvious. Without getting into the semantics of there being no such thing as an original idea, the concept of something existing in its own world and being it's own universe is quite clear cut and I believe I've explained it quite clearly for those that might have blurred edges. Sleeper is not like any other existent product in its universe. Just as Red Dwarf isn't. Obviously they take swipes at some common memes/cliches of the times, but it's going to be osmosis, not carpet parody of one entity.

Will this be the five minute argument or the full half hour?
There is a distinction, I would say, between films which heavily rely on parody (like Galaxy Quest, Sleeper, and Spaceballs), and original comedy films that happen to involve a sci fi setting. Of the parody films, one could always say they would not exist were it not for their comic targets.

It would make sense to draw a distinction between those, and non-parody sci fi, like Repo Man, Barbarella, and World's End.
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October 11th, 2015, 21:05
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
There is a distinction, I would say, between films which heavily rely on parody (like Galaxy Quest, Sleeper, and Spaceballs), and original comedy films that happen to involve a sci fi setting. Of the parody films, one could always say they would not exist were it not for their comic targets.

It would make sense to draw a distinction between those, and non-parody sci fi, like Repo Man, Barbarella, and World's End.
Are you just 'trolling' now? What specific movie does Sleeper parody? In what way is it not of it's own world?

*finger twitches towards the ignore button*
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October 11th, 2015, 21:17
Originally Posted by lackblogger View Post
Are you just 'trolling' now? What specific movie does Sleeper parody? In what way is it not of it's own world?

*finger twitches towards the ignore button*
It specifically parodies James Bond, 2001, Modern Times, A Streetcar Named Desire, 1984, and probably several others. The title and the plot are a direct parody of H.G. Wells sci fi story "The Sleeper Awakes".

I'm just trying to have a conversation with you. Please do put me on ignore to prevent any future risk of this occurring.
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October 11th, 2015, 21:37
No, you're fine. You make some good points. The point of pedantry here is that The Sleeper Awakes is a novel. A previously unfilmed novel. Sleeper is the only version on film. And, as I said, book adaptations are allowed. Further, it's not a carpet parody of anything, not even the raw material to any great extent and as the Wiki states, Allen was mostly making a tribute to Groucho Marx and Bob Hope, of which influences are much stronger than the Sci-Fi influences.

If someone said to you "I want to watch a movie that parodies James Bond" they would be given Austin Powers - because that's an obvious blanket parody.

A movie which has one or two gags pointed towards the Bond series is not a blanket parody of the Bond movies.

So, again, to avoid 'semantics', the differentiation should be obvious between a general comedy in its own universe and a movie which is just a comedic mirror to one specific already existing entity (which might have some other gags alongside for the ride).
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October 11th, 2015, 21:52
Originally Posted by Ripper View Post
(like Galaxy Quest, Sleeper, and Spaceballs).
Seeing the three of these listed together makes me weep … one is very average and forgettable, one was tiresome at release but got a decent second wind with the prequels, and the other is one of the absolute classic masterpieces of comedy.



That aside I think that the point I see is there is never such a clear 'black & white' line, because a movie like Blazing Saddles parodies TONS of stuff, but isn't nearly as derivative as Spaceballs, which is very small-concept like most of Brook's later stuff. Similarly Allen brings in loads of things into Sleeper, so you can't immediately say 'this = that, but comedy' … but you CAN see many impacts.

The best comedy is almost always referential, like the Marx brothers stuff was of what was going on around them.
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October 11th, 2015, 21:55
Yes, I understand that. I still think that Spaceballs is the only one here that really falls into that "mirror parody" category - matching scenes, characters, and names directly. Mars Attacks is certainly not similar in that degree (I'm not sure it's exactly a parody at all), and though Galaxy Quest hits a few obvious touchstones of Star Trek, I don't think it's a mirrored world in the same way. Those cheesy sci fi series and their fandom go way beyond Star Trek.
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