I finally saw Star Trek Into Darkness! Yes, I know it took me a shamefully long time to see it (it’s debatable whether I should still be allowed to call myself a Trekkie), but work and family got in the way. So I just saw it and I loved it, even though I will admit I’m a pretty easy audience – seeing the ship and watching Spock act logically is enough to make me happy. I also have to announce that I am now a huge fan of Benedict Cumberbatch (once again, I’m behind the times but I am going to watch Sherlock immediately).
On the other hand, it’s hard to watch Star Trek without cringing a little at the lack of female characters. A friend sent me a link to an article last week about a controversy over a woman in the movie, although I refused to click on that link until today (I didn’t want any spoilers). I was actually surprised to see that the article dealt with Alice Eve’s (completely gratuitous) underwear scene in the movie because that scene didn’t bother me. Sex (and sexy stuff) has always been part of science fiction and I don’t mind that tradition continuing – so long as it goes both ways. I would have liked a gratuitous scene involving Kirk or Cumberbatch without a shirt on (more than just a glimpse) – and they had that scene but then cut it. Why?!
No, what bothered me about the movie – and it’s an issue that comes up a lot for me as a sci fi geek – is the lack of strong female characters in the movie. Zoe Saldana is tough and smart and she gets some action, which is great, but she’s the only strong woman in this movie. Alice Eve is supposed to be a brilliant physicist/weapons expert but most of her time on screen involves her being the sexy blonde damsel in distress. And besides the two of them there’s not a woman of note in the entire movie. There are some women you see briefly but the rest of the first and second tier characters are all men.
Yes, I know they’re trying to stay true to the original cast, where Uhuru was the only woman among the primary characters. But why not have more of the Starfleet command be women? Or even more of the Enterprise crew? As a geeky girl, it’s frustrating to see so few women in prominent roles in sci fi movies (and many of my sci fi books). And is it too much to ask for more women in leading roles?
Women can be the lead – look at some of the fantasy-based movies like Resident Evil and Underworld. And there’s always the incredibly awesome Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But on the science fiction side, I can’t think of many good examples. I love Princess Leia and Uhura, and I appreciate them upgrading Dejah Thoris for the John Carter movie, but I would really like a future where there’s not just one strong female per science fiction movie. As a geeky girl, I ask you to help me, future sci fi screenwriters of the world…you’re my only hope!