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. Admiral Buzzkill

    Admiral Buzzkill Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Mar 8, 2001

    TOS was never a so-called "ensemble show," and there's no reason that the new producers would turn it into one now.
  2. mos6507

    mos6507 Commodore Commodore

    Dec 22, 2010
    Wrong. The role of the ship's doctor in Trek has traditionally been that of the confidant, all the way back to The Cage. Kirk often has heart-to-heart talks with McCoy, like the one in Khan where McCoy tells Kirk to get his command back before he really does get old. Spock can not provide that same sort of worldly advice because he can not relate as closely to human wants and needs. There's an understanding there between Bones and Kirk that is unique to them. I think pop culture's sense of the importance Bones has eroded a great deal because DeForest Kelley avoided the limelight and he was the first of the main cast to die, whereas Nimoy and Shatner have remained ubiquitous and continue to riff on their roles.

    McCoy's role was supplanted by Pike in JJ Trek, where Pike acted like the surrogate father. Maybe this was because they retconned McCoy to be about the same age as Kirk when he was older than Kirk in TOS. So apparently when the timeline split, McCoy magically got born later than in Prime continuity.
  3. King Daniel Beyond

    King Daniel Beyond Admiral Admiral

    Nov 5, 2008
    King Daniel Beyond
    McCoy's age was changed during the run of TOS, to make him a contemporary of Kirk rather than a mentor-figure as Boyce and Piper were. "Encounter at Farpoint" canonized McCoy's age as 137 in 2364, putting his birth year in 2227 (Kirk was born six years later, in 2233)
  4. BillJ

    BillJ Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jan 30, 2001
    I don't give a flying f*ck about the Bechdel test. I just want an entertaining movie.
  5. Ovation

    Ovation Vice Admiral Admiral

    Still a secondary role compared to Kirk and Spock. An important one, but not equal to the others. So, the Kirk and Spock show. And McCoy was no older in TOS, relative to Kirk, than he is in the Abrams' films (nothing suggests more than half a decade or so difference between them in either case).
  6. KittyDuran

    KittyDuran Lieutenant Commander Red Shirt

    Jul 15, 2009
    Hungry (like the wolf)
    IIRC, Uhura and Marcus don't exactly talk to each other... but when Scotty and Kirk bring Marcus to sickbay, Uhura is there and I believe she's the one that says (as her and nurse take a hold of Marcus) "Dr. Marcus". I could be wrong (might have to see it again!). :techman:
    Too bad as Carol was transporting and running towards the airlock doors of the bridge she didn't say something to Uhura right before she disappeared. Or at the end of movie (it looks as though she is around the same area as Uhura's communications section)...
  7. Ryan8bit

    Ryan8bit Commodore Commodore

    Oct 22, 2004
    St. Paul, MN
    I'd say that McCoy was as secondary to Spock as Spock was secondary to Kirk. And I'd probably say just the same of Scotty being secondary to McCoy.

    Anyways, yeah, I don't know if I care so much about the Bechdel test. I'm just more interested in seeing the women be more involved in things, and I thought Uhura had a decent amount to do. I'd love to see more like Chapel or Rand, but the cast is already a bit too big already. You probably couldn't have those without sacrificing Chekov or Sulu.
  8. JarodRussell

    JarodRussell Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jul 2, 2009
    It is extremely funny that Star Trek: Insurrection passes the Bechdel test by having:
    1. Crusher and Troi
    2. talk to each other
    3. about their boobs getting firm.

    You can bet all your vital organs that Uhura will be bitching about Spock and Marcus will be bitching about Kirk in all scenes they share together. While they are in underwear or in extremely tight clothes of course.
  9. Shaka Zulu

    Shaka Zulu Commodore Commodore

    Mar 28, 2013
    Bulawayo Military Krral
    Speaking as a man, a woman villain MIGHT be good, but I want to see a movie that deals with exploring and encountering the unknown instead, like The Motion Picture, or as I mentioned before the novel The Galactic Whirlpool. I also think that Uhura & Marcus should be able to do something beyond what they did (substantial as it was for Uhura in this movie) the next time around (no near-naked anything of any of the ladies-maybe have a near naked Spock, Kirk, McCoy, Chekov, Scott, or Sulu being peeked at by Uhura or Marcus! :lol:)

    BTW, this discussion (and others like it) reminds me of these pictures:

    [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG] [​IMG]
  10. Franklin

    Franklin Vice Admiral Admiral

    Aug 22, 2006
    I'd say in the movies they kind of do treat it like an ensemble, and have been in Trek movies since TSFS. The "everyone has to have something important to do" thing. But yeah, TOS wasn't an ensemble cast. Just watch the opening credits and count the lines in the scripts.

    Kirk and Spock share a bond that comes from sharing the burden of command, even if Spock doesn't wear command gold and denies any ambitions in the area. Things revolve around them because they are the primary decision makers.

    McCoy is important to both as a sounding board. In his own way, he keeps both on an even keel. He was never Kirk's mentor (that's silly). His job was to keep his friend sane, and he'd be a better wingman on shore leave than Spock, too.

    Probably. But if they do it in their underwear, it makes it at least something to look forward to. ;)
  11. Spock/Uhura Fan

    Spock/Uhura Fan Captain Captain

    Aug 20, 2012
    Where It's At.
    So this is why we disagree. Thank you.
  12. Cinema Geekly

    Cinema Geekly Commander Red Shirt

    Dec 1, 2012
    Actually Id say the new movies are far more of ensemble cast then the show ever was. Large chunks of episodes would go by with Urhura doing nothing, or Sulu doing nothing ect ect.

    Both of the JJTrek films have found moments for everyone, which is more than TOS could ever say. Personally the JJ crew feels more together than the TOS crew ever did. Well outside of cheating, they were together for a long time on the big and little screen so just because of time it felt that way but on screen? Not really until the movies did it ever really feel that way and Bad Robot did it in two movies.
  13. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jan 20, 2007
    inside teacake
    The movies will be more ensemble than a 60's tv show was ever going to be, yes. But the core story will still be Kirk and Spock. Despite being able to do more of an ensemble story JJ has really only used the rest of them as decoration. This is one element of why so many original TOS fans (including myself) have found JJ's Trek such a satisfying reboot of Star Trek. It feels like TOS because it is still primarily about the relationship that TOS built so much around.
  14. The Mighty Monkey of Mim

    The Mighty Monkey of Mim Commodore Commodore

    Jul 22, 2001
    Third Planet of the Black Hole
    While they are of course the lead roles, I don't think TOS is really about Kirk and Spock as characters. They, like the supporting cast, were really only there as vehicles for moving the stories along and debating the moral dilemmas those stories brought about. It was not a primarily character-driven show, but a plot-driven one.

    Without making any kind of judgment about which is "better," I will say that this stands in contrast to most of the movies including the two Abrams efforts, where the plot basically exists to develop the characters and give them something to do, and that's about it. They involve stories designed to tell us about certain characters, rather than characters designed to tell us stories. Not that this goes without exception for either the movies or the show, or in many ways isn't simply the natural result of changing conventions and of the characters becoming more familiar after decades of seeing them in action, but I think it's a generally important trend to recognize.

    If you watch the television show Star Trek, you probably will get a good sense of the characters of Kirk and Spock, but to characterize the show as being about little or nothing more than these two characters and everything else as window dressing to showcase them is to misconstrue things a bit IMO. The show was an exploration of human nature, culture, and conflict, and the characters including Kirk and Spock were just there to bring us into the stories and keep us from getting out of our depth as they went along.
  15. gabby_j

    gabby_j Ensign Newbie

    Jun 4, 2013
    I really do hope that if they interact it's not just about Kirk/Spock. I don't mind the couples, but please don't reduce the girls relationship to just that!
  16. newtontomato539

    newtontomato539 Commander Red Shirt

    Oct 22, 2010
    "JJ Abrams is Sexist!" :scream:



    Try again.
  17. Count Zero

    Count Zero Make our planet great again! Moderator

    Mar 19, 2005
    European Union
    Which is why one movie passing or not passing the Bechdel Test isn't significant at all. Taking the passing or failing of the test as a verdict on the movie's stand on feminism is missing the point of the test.
    There may be good reasons for a movie to fail the test (e.g. it plays in an environment that's almost exclusively male like the army before women were allowed to serve). In this case it's the fact that the TOS main characters are all male with the exception of Uhura. I bet TOS doesn't pass the Bechdel Test, either (at least not the version where the dialogue between the two women has to be longer than a couple of words).
    A feminist movie might fail the Bechdel Test, e.g. one showing a pioneering woman in a male-dominated field, while movies or TV shows might pass the test that aren't very feminist, e.g. teenage girls talking about make-up and shopping.
    The point of the Bechdel Test is that like 80% of Hollywood's annual output doesn't pass it which shows quite well how women are generally portrayed in the movies, namely as accesories to the male characters.
    The inventor of the test explained all this when she invented the test so it's annoying that people still use failing the Bechdel Test (or not passing it quickly enough in the case of a TV show) as a way to denounce said movie or TV show as sexist or not very progressive.
  18. GMDreia

    GMDreia Commander Red Shirt

    Mar 30, 2007
    SF Bay Area
    I follow a lot of the feminist critique of pop culture and agree with a lot of it but... but but but... I don't feel the Bechdel Test is the end-all be-all. Furthermore, I feel people are overlooking what STID got right because of two things it got wrong (Bechdel test failure, gratuitous lingerie shots).

    What it got right that is even progressive by today's standards:

    Lt. Darwin - the shaven-headed, powerfully built bridge officer does not conform to the rigid standards of femininity we usually see in the movies. I'd like to see more of her!

    Lt. Uhura - is not at any point in the film a "damsel in distress". Is a key part of the crew and her role is indispensable and irreplaceable.

    Dr. Marcus - a competent scientist who has no love story at any point in the film, she's there completely for her own reasons. She is never fridged. She becomes a crew member at the end of the film.

    The Bechdel test isn't reliable to me because it's too shallow a marker; plenty of films do great on it but fail in other ways.
  19. teacake

    teacake Fleet Admiral Admiral

    Jan 20, 2007
    inside teacake
    Except we all know the only reason the character of Dr. Marcus exists is because she had Kirk's baby in the prime universe.

    I was absolutely thrilled with Lt. Darwin.

    In some of the older TOS movies, TMP in particular, there are people of ALL ages and weights (not a Shatner jest) on the ship. Many people seemingly at least 60 and not Hollywood 60 either. It's such a shock to see because age and weight diversity have been erased from Star Trek unless the whole point of the character is that they are old or a fat stereotype (Klingon cook in DS0, Opera singer in TNG).
  20. Tosk

    Tosk Vice Admiral Admiral

    Jan 7, 2001
    On the run.
    I doubt anyone does, except maybe Alison Bechdel herself. :)

    For most people, it's really only used to show the gender bias of a film. I don't really see people citing it as a guide to judge whether a film is good or not.

    It's always funny though to see people get defensive when a film they like fails the test. (For the record, I'm sure most of my favorite movies of all time fail it.)
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2013
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