Kate Orman (kateorman) wrote,
Kate Orman

Grumpy old trout, part one; or, Invisibility

In the past week we've seen the new Trek and the Wolverine flick and I've enjoyed them both: well-made, well-acted movies with plenty of pace and laughs. And yet I find myself oddly unmoved by either of them. Is it the brain chemicals? I've been having depression symptoms - terminal insomnia (fantastic name for waking up at 4 am) and teariness - so my shrink and I are inching up my dose. Is it a jaded palate? Is it the recycling of increasingly threadbare ideas - mad widower with superweapon bent on revenge, time travel paradox, mutant oppression, etc? Or is it that the only roles for women in both films are Mom and Girlfriend?

I enjoy all the What It Is To Be A Man stuff the boys get to do - struggle with their Feelings, their Daddy Issues, their Propensity for Violence, their wardrobes, etc. But despite the grafting of Skillz and Tude onto Uhura, her role is to amusingly prefer Spock to Kirk, provide emotional support to the former, and take her clothes off in front of the latter. The job of Spock and Kirk's mums, and wossname's missus, Mrs Romulan, whatever, is to die tragically. Even if changing the sex of, say, Chekov or Sulu would've caused a fannish uproar which might've split the Earth's crust, there's no reason the mad widower couldn't have been a mad widow, or that Sarek could've fallen off a cliff instead of Amanda.

Similarly, the long history of epically powerful women in the X-Men is forgotten in the Wolverine flick, which is overwhelmingly male. The few women are almost entirely passive victims: his cipher mother, his they-made-me-do-it girlfriend with her wimpy power and pointless self-sacrifice. Even the mean Queen herself, Emma Frost, is reduced to a human shield.

These are very outdated Hollywood ideas: chicks are there as love interests, to look pretty and motivate their menfolk, generally by dropping dead. It's distancing, alienating, like you're watching a movie which has nothing do with you. There's always the danger of SPFX-and-action-packed movies to turn into video games someone else is playing: marginalising the female characters only leads in that my-eyes-glaze-over direction.
Tags: comics, feh muh nist, health: mental elf, movies, tv: star trek
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