I’ve made it no secret that I am going to see the new Star Trek movie for one reason and one only – Benedict Cumberbatch as the film’s antagonist. My fangirling of BC has not diminished these last several months since I first caught him in Sherlock and it shows no signs of slowing down anytime soon.
Otherwise, I wouldn’t bother. I found the first film full of ridiculous (Sure, any Cadet just out of school goes on to Captain a Starship – awesome!) Beyond the plotholes and the fact Vulcan’s are as good as extinct as a race, I also didn’t agree with the reboots of the characters. Neither the new Kirk or Spock embody the complexities that made the characters so fascinating in the original series. While I like a good summer blockbuster as much as the next person, I thought they could have done more. In my mind, they capitalized on the Star Trek brand without respecting what made it so nifty in the first place.
But again, Benedict Cumberbatch, so I’ve probably watched the trailers more than would be considered normal. And the more I watched, the more some things imprinted in my brain – namely the way women are portrayed.
In the first trailer (you can find it in a previous post of mine) you saw two instances of women. One was Uhura kissing Spock (we see her face and only the back of his head – probably wouldn’t know it was Spock if you weren’t familiar with the first movie and knew they were put together romantically in it), and the other was a blonde woman screaming. All the other scenes were men doing manly things like firing guns and jumping off skyscrapers and cliffs and looking very determined.
Now here comes the newest trailer (at the end of this post for your enjoyment) and I was curious. How were the women going to be portrayed now? By this time I’ve seen a few articles, and the actress who plays Uhura has made a statement that she gets to fire guns and be tough and proactive – would I see any of that here?
What I saw – Uhura talking about how they were all going to be killed and in general being a wet blanket to all these manly men who wanted to shoot things and get vengeance…
… and we see the blonde woman in her underwear.
This is how women are portrayed in the second trailer.
The blond woman, BTW, is Dr. Carol Marcus. Carol Marcus was originally introduced in The Wrath of Khan as a former lover of Kirk, yes, but also the scientist behind the creation of the Genesis project – you know, that little project that essentially can BRING A DEAD PLANET BACK TO LIFE. So it’s not like the woman is smart or anything.
Look, I get it. I know showing somebody is smart is tough in a 2 minute trailer. I get that she’s Kirk’s love interest in this movie. I get it that it’s a summer blockbuster.
But this is still wrong. If there had been one quick-cut of a woman which was not either love interest, helpless bystander, or nagging worrier I wouldn’t feel this heavy WTF sensation. This is a universe where women are supposed to be strong, and the fanbase, while I don’t doubt it skews male, is far-and-away from predominantly male. And why do women like Star Trek? Because it has shown itself to have strong female characters.
Though you wouldn’t know it from these trailers – and honestly, that was one of my problems with the first movie too. Uhura was under-developed spectacularly and most came into play as Spock’s girlfriend.
But hey, enjoy Benedict Cumberbatch as the villain. Any other BC fangirls out there?