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Tokei-ihto
Fri, May 24, 2013, 6:00pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

> I think I read the scene slightly differently to you [...] made me see the scene as more innocent and non-sexual than you.

And that's fine. As long as people who feel that way don't deride others that take serious issue with that scene because they see it as an example of the casual sexism that Hollywood is oftentimes guilty of indulging, there's nothing wrong with that sentiment. And, of course, audience members (like myself) who have a problem with this kind of depiction shouldn't insinuate that everyone who doesn't take offense at that scene is a insensitive chauvinistic jerk oblivious to the (perceived) problematic nature of the whole thing.

Sometimes a little mutual respect can go a long way.


@Leif:

Yeah, unfortunately that's just one of many instances were the movie violates its own established rules to further the plot.

What's so annoying about this particular scene is that it could have been easily fixed if the writes just bothered to do their job. Not only have we already seen that fast moving objects can be beamed up (for instance in Star Trek 2009), but they could just have the transporter temporarily malfunction due to the damage the Enterprise took during the battle and its uncontrolled plummet through the atmosphere afterwards, so that Spock has to take a shuttle to San Fransisco before Scotty can fix the damage in order for Uhura to eventually beam down. Of course, this still wouldn't explain why they didn't could just beam Spock and Khan up to the Enterprise the moment the transporter works again.

But then I just made up this alternative course of events in a minute. The writers had almost three years to figure this sh*t out and they still failed at the most fundamental level.

Never mind that the idea of Uhura just materializing behind Khan and knocking him out is a hugely anticlimactic resolution to that what is supposed to be the culminating action scene of the movie anyway. They probably realized that Uhura was incredibly underwritten this time around and tried to give her something to do. Thematically it's also an unsatisfying denouement to the (rather unconvincing) Spock-Uhura relationship arc.

Oh well ...
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Tokei-ihto
Thu, May 23, 2013, 7:46pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

@Maestro:

No problem. And I don't want to reduce this discussion to that one scene, especially since the movie quite clearly has other, arguably more glaring issues.

It's just that the underwear shot, in many ways, is an amalgamation of the problems that ultimately bog down Star Trek 2013, even if the scene itself it's not the worst offender.

There's not only no reason for her to strip down, but the movie doesn't even bother to come up with one single flimsy explanation for why Carol Marcus gets undressed. Even the most ridiculous exploitation and slasher flicks, whose sole purpose and key-motivation is titillation, offer up at least some kind of contrived reason for its female cast to get rid of their clothes. Not so this movie.

Also, Kirk's reputation as a ladies' man has already been firmly established by the threesome scene earlier in the movie on which I commented in my previous post, making Carol Marcus' striptease all the more redundant.

And as I already explained, for all its carefree depiction of skin and near nudity, TOS' women were never just objects to be ogled at but had an actual agenda and, furthermore, demonstrated an amount of self-confidence about their sexuality that is lacking from Star Trek 2013*. Here, Carol Marcus, as Tim has repeatedly pointed out, is clearly not enjoying Kirk's lustful glances, deeming it, at the very lest, unprofessional and inappropriate given the current situation and the task (defusing the torpedoes*) at hand.

I'm also not comfortable with the implication for Kirk's character here. That he sneaks a peek at Marcus although she unambiguously told him not to paints him not as a confident womanizer but as a lecherous frat boy. And while I'm aware that this new version is still an inexperienced young man whose lack of a father figure as a guiding presence in his life had an impact on his development, his inconsiderate and downright immature behaviour throughout the movie is in stark contrast to Shatner's Kirk who, for all his bravado, gung-go attitude and sexual appetite, actually was someone with a strong moral code and honour, someone who always displayed a huge respect for the opposite sex, never violating a woman's privacy or making advances against her wishes. The original Kirk also never acted out of spite and, in fact, almost always proceeded with caution, using his brains before engaging in a potentially dangerous situation.

It's one thing to have the protagonist of your story evolve and mature of the course of the movie, it's something else to change the fundamental virtues that once characterized him and made him such an outstanding and endearing icon in the first place.


*Besides, not only is Carol Marcus a painfully thin character whose relationship to the big baddie is the most prominent feature about her, basically reducing her to a plot device, as if being blatantly sexualized wasn't enough, but the screenwriters even have the nerve to make her incompetent at her job, too! After all, she totally botches the disarming of the torpedo, only surviving thanks to sheer luck (and an action movie cliche) and the fact that the torpedo wasn't carrying a warhead.


But okay, enough of this.
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Tokei-ihto
Wed, May 22, 2013, 9:26pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

@Jason:

Fair enough. But it has to be said, even though certain female characters were sexualized to a certain degree and definitely acted as eye-candy for the audience, Seven of Nine in her tight fitting cat suit springs to mind, they never were REDUCED to their looks. While I wouldn't call someone like Deanna Troi necessarily a strong female character, most women on Trek were depicted as professional and capable officers. Seven, for instance, became one of the most complex, intriguing and multi-faceted characters on Voyager next to B'Elanna Torres and Janeway. DS9 had Kira who was a genuine strong, albeit conflicted woman. And while Jadzia Dax unfortunately wasn't as well drawn, she was a confident and self-assured woman in absolute CONTROL of her sexuality.

And the TOS comparison is somewhat flawed since the show was produced at the height of the sexual revolution when wearing mini skirts and, generally, showing skin was seen as a sign of sexual liberation, feminism and empowerment. You also have to bare in mind just how reactionary and uptight the TV landscape was back then and how this situation dictated the limits of how faithful Roddenberry's utopian vision could be translated to the screen.

Now, Trek admittedly had its fair share of questionable moments when it comes to the gender equality, but overall it seldom succumbed to outright pandering to the male crowd*, making its female characters PASSIVE victims of the male gaze for no reason but pure titillation.

And that's the main issue here, when audiences leave the cinema the only memorable thing about Carol Marcus' appearance that will stick with them will be that gratuitous underwear shot - because the character is basically a blank slate that only exists to serve the clumsy plot.


*But even IF Trek had one of the worst track records in this respect, hypothetically speaking, it wouldn't excuse the new Star Trek's shortcomings in this area. "XY has always been/is known for ..." is a poor and through and through depressing argument.
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Tokei-ihto
Wed, May 22, 2013, 6:29pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

> As an aside, I think people are over-reacting to the silly lightwieght "underwear" scene. If it had been Kirk in his underwear and Carol sneaking a peak, I bet no one would have batted an eyelid. To say its offensive is pollitical correctness gone haywire [...]

It's not political correctness, it's a real issue. It's objectifying, reducing an already paper-thin character to a PASSIVE sex object to be goggled at. Worse, the movie forces the audience to adept Kirk's voyeuristic viewpoint during that scene. It doesn't help that there's no reason for her strip down to her panties in the first place. Even if she has to change her wardrobe, showing her in a state of undress is unnecessary and serves no narrative purpose. It neither has bearing on the following events nor does it in any discernable way add something substantial to her character. After all, we didn't get a look of Bones in his undies although he helped Carol Marcus with the torpedo defusing, did we?

Couple this with Uhura's de-emphasized role and the fact that she is now basically defined by her relationship to Spock, and Star Trek 2013 suddenly appears in an almost reactionary light that is in stark contrast to Trek's usual reputation as one of the more progressive and emancipated franchises.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that including that scene is proof of its creator's overly misogynistic and chauvinistic mindset, but it reveals a casual kind of sexism that is nonetheless worrisome.

See while Kirk is also shown sans shirt at one point during the movie, his semi-nude display is at least appropriate for the scene. He's engaging in a threesome, it makes sense for him to remove his clothes*. Furthermore, he takes on an ACTIVE role during that moment. He's obviously enjoying himself. Living out a teenage boy's fantasy, as someone above aptly described it. While it's extremely cliched and bordering on caricature, this scene, as redundant as it is in the greater context of the movie, informs the audience that Kirk's a carefree and charismatic guy who likes to indulge in his, how to put this delicately, ... more animalistic instincts, therefore offering a bit of characterisation that helps to illuminate who exactly this new Kirk is.

And I bet if there had been a role reversal and Carol Marcus had sneaked a peek at Kirk in the buff, I'm sure he would have enjoyed the moment, thus taking control of the situation. That's the difference.


*The reason nobody leveled a complain against the scantily clad green-skinned Space Babe™ with whom Kirk had a tête-à-tête in Star Trek 2009.
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Tokei-ihto
Tue, May 21, 2013, 5:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

>> that was directed by Joss Whedon. ;-)

> Oh, now THAT would be awesome.

Yes, indeed. That would be a dream come true. Although I would already be content if the powers that be could hire someone who has a genuine affection for the property, or at least respects it enough to not turn it into the copycat of another well-known franchise.

I gotta say, compared to Star Trek 2013 even last year's rightly maligned Prometheus suddenly looks like a paragon of cohesive, tight writing. Abrams Star Trek sequel violates so many basic rules of storytelling 101, it's not even funny anymore. And while his first foray into Roddenberry's universe also featured plot holes and inconsistencies en masse, the swift pacing and compelling portrayals of the young cast swept you off your feat before you could level a complain against the porous narrative and carried you along for the ride until the closing credits rolled. This movie unfortunately lacks the momentum of its predecessor, giving you enough time to become painfully aware of the staggering amount of deficiencies and shortcomings* that others here have already pointed out.

I'd imagine in years to come Trek 2013 could serve as a fine example of what not to do when crafting a compelling character-driven and structurally sound movie.

But since the actors are by far the best and imho only redeeming part of the movie, I cling to the hope, somewhat illusory I fear, that third time's the charm.


*And obviously that's not completely lost on the people involved. Damon Lindelof just apologised for Carol Marcus' knickers scene, admitting that it was gratuitous and objectifying. Go figure.
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Tokei-ihto
Tue, May 21, 2013, 3:51pm (UTC -6)
Re: Star Trek Into Darkness

To borrow a line from the great, unfortunately recently deceased Roger Ebert:

"I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it."

This movie is the equivalent to a lobotomy. Good Lord, what a ridiculous mess.
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