Star Trek Into Darkness & The Bechdel Test

Discussion in 'Star Trek Movies: Kelvin Universe' started by Shaka Zulu, Jun 6, 2013.

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  1. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    Why? Can you not imagine it? Does everything have to be explicitly presented? That would make for a seriously dull film (in any case, not just Trek).



    The filmmakers DID imagine something and DID exclude people. You just don't want to accept that which was excluded (a greater female presence)--which was their choice. One cannot have it both ways. Either they chose to populate the film with exactly what we got and you are disappointed (the precise kind of artistic choice I have defended in terms of artistic rights--independent of endorsing such choices) OR they are subconsciously, rather than explicitly, acting on sexist impulses of which they seem unaware and so the resulting gender imbalance is NOT an artistic choice (a POV repeated ad nauseam by another poster in this thread who is taking up the mantle of demanding more gender balance in Trek).

    This would have made me want to leave the cinema before the film was over. Turning Trek into a soap opera is not my idea of entertainment. However, even if they had chosen to do this in the film, as much as I would have personally found it, well, dull and uninteresting, I would still vociferously defend their right to make that artistic choice.

    And I would have found it horrible. Different strokes…
     
  2. Spock/Uhura Fan

    Spock/Uhura Fan Captain Captain

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    If your audience has to do your work for you, then you’ve already failed as a writer/producer. Everything doesn’t have to be explicitly presented, but showing is the format they’ve chosen. They don’t show enough of what matters in terms of growth, as individuals or as a team, in this film, but you are free to like it and think that they have. I could also ask why show most of the things that happened in the film. They could all sit around after the fact, mentioning it, and, well, couldn’t you just imagine it? Makes for a pretty bad film in my view.

    Yep, yes, siree, they made choices. Oh, and please don’t tell me what I do and don’t want to accept. I know they made choices, and I also know that these choices are ones that I cannot support, and so I will not. That’s simple enough, don’t you think?

    However, I do think that they both made conscious choices, like to make a more male dominated/leaning film (I think one of the actors, Simon Pegg I want to say, said that JJ wanted to make a more male-centric film than ST09, and I’ll definitely agree that he succeeded), and perhaps subconscious choices, like how they used the couple of women that did have roles of some significance in an effort to “cater” to men. Honestly, I think that as they were rushing to get a script out, and they were pressed for time, they fell back on stereotypes that are somewhat or completely based on sexist and/or misogynistic views.

    I went into detail on this earlier in this thread:

    http://www.trekbbs.com/showpost.php?p=8220391&postcount=57

    If we are merely talking about “rights,” well then I must agree. They should have and do have every right to make artistic choices that the studio/production company also have a say in because it’s their money that is making these films, but the writers still have some choice as to how they write them and they should.

    I also have the right to say that I don’t like it and why, and so does anyone else. You have the right to say that you support it if you do. So, as far as “rights” are concerned, I think we’re all doing pretty well.

    If they want to make the next movie another Kirk/Spock bromance love story or if they want to make it about the “triumvirate,” then that is completely up to them. People that want to see that will, and I won’t have to worry about wanting to walk out of the theater because I won’t walk in. My only issue is that if this is where they wanted to go, then they should have made that clear with the first film, because that’s not the impression I got from it. I’m guessing I’m not alone considering the number of complaints I’ve read around the web about this last film. I guess that’s what happens when they set expectations by making a more inclusive, team oriented, first film.

    I don’t think realistic drama = soap opera. That’s a major problem with STID in my view. This film skips over dealing with things in a natural way, and it doesn’t make sense. And I’m not just talking about relationships, either.

    Yes, I guess so because as anything other than a forgettable Summertime action-action-action flick, STID is horrible to me, and since I don’t like watching action for the sake of action, I honestly could have passed. Different strokes indeed.
     
  3. Maurice

    Maurice Vice Admiral Admiral

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    According to IMDB:

     
  4. Pauln6

    Pauln6 Rear Admiral Rear Admiral

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    Unnecessarily rude but I digress.

    What this sounds like is that it's acceptable for Kirk to promote his mates rather than than someone he doesn't know as well. Don't get me wrong, this is exactly how the Old Boy network works in the UK with public schoolboys scratching each other's backs but it's not generally viewed as an acceptable practice whether the guy who is better qualified to do the job is a male or female. Don't forget, Chekov is an ensign, who has been qualified as a navigator for a year, and shadowing the chief engineer for only part of his post qualification duty. In no way is hre better qualified than someone who has been qualified for years and works alongside Scotty on a full time basis.

    I agree it would have been better for Chekov to act as an assistant to the new chief engineer and he could still have acted as the mouthpiece to the bridge while the new chief got on with fixing stuff. The scenes play out the same pretty much but less silly.

    Mind you, they did the same thing with Kirk in the first movie.

    And before you look to defend either decision too strenuously, they parodied this sort of thing in the Simpsons when the admiral promotes Homer because he likes the cut of his jib.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
  5. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    You assume I followed BSG beyond hearing that Starbuck and Boomer were now female.

    I am definitely having a hard time picturing Kirk in a barroom brawl with a female security team defending Uhura's honor.

    C'mon, I can hear you screaming "foul" that the Janice chosen for STiD gets replaced by a leading lady when her scenes in a sequel script get pumped up.

    That example is exactly what happened in my "Prisoner" example. But it worked for Meaney because TNG was a series, not a movie. And he had proven himself as a talented actor.

    And there was a blond Starfleet woman with a bun in "Star Trek" (2009). They even re-used the hairstyle for IDW's Rand in the comics.

    Absolutely not!

    If a film connects every dot we, the viewers, are left with absolutely nothing left to discuss (or even ponder in our own minds) other than "It was good/bad."
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
  6. KittyDuran

    KittyDuran Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Not to mention incredibly LONG movies... :p
     
  7. KittyDuran

    KittyDuran Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Sort of... functioning as a team but also there are certain players that the fans really love ... go to a game and count the jerseys/t-shirts with players names on the back. Kirk and Spock are those superstar players with McCoy, Uhura, Scotty, Sulu, Chekov ... then throw in Carol and Keenser, and there's the starting line-up. Khan and Adm Marcus are the opposing team's starting pitcher and clean-up hitter respectively.

    BTW, I really like baseball... :hugegrin:
     
  8. Therin of Andor

    Therin of Andor Admiral Admiral

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    Well, read the opening credits of Season One TOS. It's the Kirk and Spock show.

    If Bad Robot had been really strict to the beginnings of the 5YM, they might even have used Dr Piper (or "Bones" Boyce) in a supporting roll, not McCoy.
     
  9. beamMe

    beamMe Commodore

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    There is a short scene where Kirk ask Chekov about him following Scotty like a puppy for the last months.
    There, mission accomplished.
    The audience learned everything they need to know to accept Chekov in engineering.
     
  10. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    Pretty much (in terms of explaining why Chekov could do the job--whether he should be doing it is a little less convincing, to me, but I chalk it up to the standard "must use each of the main cast in at least one 'moment' onscreen" rule that has been a part of cinema for, oh, over a century).

    Ultimately, all this gnashing of teeth over how many women, how important they are, are they respected or not, etc. vs. there are enough/plenty/it doesn't matter seems to revolve around a fundamental difference of opinion over something that is not, at its heart, a gender issue--the Kirk/Spock show vs. the ensemble approach. Whatever side of the equation you fall on that issue appears largely (though not wholly) determinant in the overall debate on gender roles. I favour the Kirk/Spock show approach--they are, to me, the most important characters by far TOS (and its modern revision). If that approach is maintained, then any female character becomes secondary and, potentially, disappointing in terms of gender role or even role in general. The ensemble approach would at least imply, if not directly advocate, the importance of giving significant screen time, as well as significant character development, to all the "big seven". This would allow for far more well-developed female characters (Uhura and Marcus) in quality (as more than windowdressing--even though I think they were more than that already, clearly not everyone does). The quantity issue is harder to resolve in the absence of either changing genders of some of the "big seven" or simply omitting a few to replace them with female characters.

    I don't dislike ensemble approaches per se, but I do not favour that approach for TOS/Abrams Trek. For a host of reasons, I prefer the Kirk/Spock, McCoy, Scotty, Uhura/Chekov/Sulu hierarchical tier over the TNG-style ensemble--with those characters. I am fine with the ensemble approach to TNG characters and, if ever TNG is rebooted, I would like to see that tradition continue.
     
    Last edited: Jun 18, 2013
  11. KittyDuran

    KittyDuran Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    Absolutely... the exchange (IIRC)

    Kirk: Mr. Chekov, you've been shadowing Mr. Scott in Engineering (for the last few months?)?
    Chekov: Affirmative, Captain.
    Kirk: Good, you're my new chief. Now go put on a red shirt.
    Chekov: Aye, Captain.
     
  12. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    There are a series of Youtube clips that compress the plot of entire movies down to a minute or two. Here is the entire Godfather saga in three minutes. Is that your idea of a good time? I mean, is any amount of plot-compression too much? Just show a series of nonsensical explosions and call it a day?

    Into Darkness had an incredibly fast-moving plot as it is. An extra few minutes of character moments would only have helped.
     
  13. mos6507

    mos6507 Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    Then where do these pop-culture catch-phrases come from?

    "I'm a doctor, not a _fill_in_the_blanks_"

    "Beam me up Scotty"

    "Hailing frequencies open"

    "Nuclear wessels"

    Let alone the fact that George Takei is now the king of Facebook.
     
  14. KittyDuran

    KittyDuran Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

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    What prize do I get? :cool:
     
  15. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    Considering that among my five favourite films is Lawrence of Arabia, I have very little problem with the length of a movie. But even Lawrence (a cinematic masterpiece) does not explicitly show everything required to advance the story. There are moments when the viewer is expected to make the appropriate inferences to keep up. I prefer to let the director decide what is explicit and what is implicit. If I have trouble "keeping up" with the plot because I cannot logically infer what has not been explicitly presented, I complain about it. No iteration of Star Trek has ever been too difficult for me to "keep up". They aren't perfect (far from it) but they hardly present unresolvable puzzles that leave the audience completely confused for huge stretches.

    If you want an example of a movie that needed more explicit presentation of various plot points, watch the theatrical cut of Highlander 2. THAT is a movie with too much plot compression.
     
  16. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    An argument could probably be made that the potential for Chekov to take over at least temporarily for Scotty was being set up even during the first movie. Not all of the mirroring/symmetry going on there involved Kirk and Spock.
     
  17. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    True enough. But then, that would require people to carry over something from the previous film in order to better understand the new one. Can't be having that kind of nonsense. ;)
     
  18. The Mighty Monkey of Mim

    The Mighty Monkey of Mim Fleet Captain Fleet Captain

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    I'd bet there was one reason and one reason only why Chekov was written to take over for Scotty in this movie: it was a nod to the old fandom explanation for why Khan recognized Chekov in TWOK even though he wasn't on the show at the time of "Space Seed," namely that he was a member of the crew but was working in engineering at the time and thus not seen on the bridge. Nudge nudge, wink wink.
     
  19. M'Sharak

    M'Sharak Definitely Herbert. Maybe. Moderator

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    Ooo, sorry - you're right, of course. :o Just forget I ever mentioned it.

    [anncr]
    We apologize for the interruption, and now return you to our regularly-scheduled showing of "Star Trek Into Darkness Meets The Bechdel Test".
    [/anncr]
     
  20. Kruezerman

    Kruezerman Commodore Commodore

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    May I ask a question? Why should they pander to anybody? Why make it seem like they HAVE to put women into the movie because they HAVE to? When did telling a story with good characters and going on an adventure take a backseat to bureaucratic number crunching? Because as a minority that is more important to me, no, don't put "me" in there because you can or you have to, but because I fit in there. If I am truly equal, then it shouldn't matter if I am "represented" in a movie. Just take me away for a couple hours. Don't degrade me by making me a statistic that has to be put in.
     
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