Romantic Geek Girl

Danielle Monsch takes you through the softer side of geek

Archive for the tag “Benedict Cumberbatch”

Another Star Trek Into Darkness Trailer – and oh look, it’s a nearly naked woman!

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?

Dammit, Jim, why are you making me see Star Trek Into Darkness?

To be fair, let’s place blame where blame is warranted. Ever since I’ve gotten into fangirl mode over BBC’s Sherlock – and yes, Benedict Cumberbatch (There, I’ve admitted it!) – I must now search out and find all shows that feature the aforementioned Mr. Cumberbatch.

Problem is, most of the films BC has done are period pieces or other types of films I have no interest in seeing, not even for the chance of hearing his voice once again (Have I always been this lowbrow? Umm, probably.) I’d rather just rewatch Sherlock. So the chance to see him in a film that I might have a tiny bit of interest in is not something I’m willing to pass up.

I did not enjoy the original Star Trek reboot – that was surprising. Going into it, I figured I’d really enjoy and hubby (who is not a trekkie, but does truly love the original series) would be meh on it. The opposite was what occurred. So this time around I figured I’d usher hubby out the door with his friends for a Star Trek day while I stayed with the kids. That way, he’d have a good time with the guys, I’d have pizza day with my girls AND have hubby owe me some “mommy” time later… win-win, right?

Instead, Benedict Cumberbatch ruined that plan for me. Now I need to find a babysitter and sit through Chris Pine’s portrayal of Kirk.

The problems of a fangirl.

Movie Review – The Hobbit

Hobbit-Bilbo Of course I went to see The Hobbit. Me and hubby went on a Friday afternoon peoples. Friday afternoon! And we have two kids under the age of five! Do you have any clue how difficult the babysitter situation is on a weekday afternoon? That tells you how much we wanted to see this movie.

Hubby is a long time fan who has read all the books and has discussed the intricacies of Middle Earth often with his D&D game. Me, I have not read any of the books, either LOTR or The Hobbit (I know, I need to be kicked out of any reputable Comic-Con!) However, I did see that old Bass-Rankin cartoon… Do yinz remember that, from the same people responsible for the old Rudolph and Frosty cartoons? It’s been so many years I don’t remember many details, except I thought the elves were scary and I was not very impressed with Smaug’s voice. But I digress. No, I haven’t read The Hobbit, but the Lord of the Rings trilogy is easily in my top ten movie slots and I never read those books either. And I’m a huge fan of fantasy in general.

So with great joy, mild trepidation, and a well-compensated babysitter at the house, hubby and I saw The Hobbit.

Mr. Bilbo Baggins is a Hobbit, a race that despises all adventure. In fact, when he first meets the wizard Gandalf and discovers Gandalf is looking for someone to be part of an adventuring party, Bilbo says, “We are plain quiet folk and have no use for adventures. Nasty disturbing uncomfortable things! Make you late for dinner!”

And yet Gandalf for some reason won’t take no for an answer. Later that night, Gandalf and a band of Dwarves make themselves at home in Bilbo’s dining room, causing mayhem and eating everything from the well-stocked pantry. And just when Bilbo looks to explode, in walks Thorin Oakenshield, the great deposed Dwarven king, and finally the details of this adventure are discussed. Thorin is setting out to reclaim the Dwarven kingdom of Erebor from the dragon Smaug, and though the dwarves are determined to make this journey, all of them know the chances of succeeding are slim.

Thorin and the other dwarves are dismayed that Gandalf wants to bring Bilbo. Bilbo is rather dismayed as well. But Gandalf is insistent, and the next day Bilbo is indeed travelling with the dwarves. However the path is treacherous, and on their way they encounter trolls, orcs, and a creature called Gollum, who has a very interesting ring…

A little meta data here. It has already been announced that The Hobbit is going to be split up into three movies, so you knew going in there wasn’t going to be a resolution, more like the end of Act 1. First problem, because as soon as I heard this I got a twinge in my stomach, that “Really?” gut reaction to head-scratching news. See, while J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle Earth is a vast and intricate place (and why LOTR genuinely needed three movies to work) The Hobbit is actually a fairly straight-forward adventure story with little of the reams of history and backstory that categorize LOTR and other Tolkien writings (The Hobbit really is a kid’s book, around that 10+ age where kids are in love with fantasy and adventure.) Does such a story really need three movies to work?

I can’t answer that completely without seeing what the next two movies offer, but at this point, I’m going with no. While I never actively looked at my watch waiting for a scene to be over, the movie could easily have lost a half-hour and it wouldn’t have changed the flavor one bit.

If you’re a Hobbit purist you will have problems with the story, because not only does Jackson take parts from other Tolkien writings and place them in the movie, he also creates an entirely new subplot and enemy for the dwarves to fight which was not in the book (this knowledge given to me compliments of hubby). That story arc is unresolved so I can’t tell yet if it will stand up to scrutiny overall. The parts I saw I enjoyed, though the creature did come across just a little too CGI in a couple of scenes.

I guess I can’t talk about purists without mentioning the appearance of the dwarves. Jackson went in a different direction than the usual, making the dwarves look… well… not dwarvish, with only a couple exceptions (Gloin being one of those, and any LOTR fan gets that name).


Let me admit here and now, Thorin Oakenshield is a hotty – and when is the last time you heard that about a dwarf? Thoughts on the dwarves looks is decidedly split. Personally, I loved it. It made following the storytelling much easier, the dwarves personalities came through in their looks, and really, why should elves get all the good press in the looks department? Bravo I say, bravo.

The scenery and the world is spectacular, just as you would expect from Jackson. It’s quite stunning to see onscreen. But it does suffer from a little bit of the “Been here, seen that” syndrome, because anyone who has watched LOTR has already oohed and ahhed over it. Same thing with the score from Howard Shore, which reminds you quite often, “Hey, this movie is connected to LOTR! Don’t forget!” Same with Gandalf, and Galadriel, and Gollum, and kind of everything. The panoramic views and the chase scenes and the fights – all of them are reminiscent of LOTR, and The Hobbit just can’t escape the comparisons. They are well done – don’t get me wrong – but there is none of the wonder that accompanied watching LOTR. It’s old hat now. For that sense of wonder to make an appearance again I’m counting on Smaug and expect Jackson to hit it out of the park (Smaug is not in this with the exception of a small teaser, a quick shot of his eye at the end of the movie.) Seeing a DRAGON?! And he’s voiced by Benedict Cumberbatch?! OMG!!!

But in all honesty none of the above bothered me too much (can’t say the same for hubby, but I’m the one writing this review.) I do see the flaws, but the magic of the movie made glossing them over easy to do. The scenery is beautiful, and the acting is top-notch. I enjoy these characters tremendously. But that’s not to say there wasn’t the One Big Problem for me, and that was this – Why did Bilbo join the dwarves to begin with? This was an incredibly dangerous journey, Bilbo loved his creature comforts, and he had no personal stake in the outcome. So why would he go? There were some Gandalf ramblings about how Bilbo used to be so brave and comes from a line that includes some of the bravest hobbits, but the speech felt forced. It was up to Martin Freeman to sell me on Bilbo going (of his own free will mind, no blackmail or magical inducement.) I hate to say it, especially since I’m currently enjoying watching Freeman in the series Sherlock, but he never did. That was the main sticking point for me enjoying the movie, because I never believed for one moment this character would leave his hobbit hole for this adventure. Now, maybe once I’ve seen the other films and the complete character arc for Bilbo I’ll be more comfortable with this decision and buy it, but that doesn’t help me now with only this movie under my belt.

Bottom line – It’s hard to give a bottom line for The Hobbit, because the list for both what worked AND what didn’t are quite decently sized. So I’ll end it with this. I enjoyed the movie a lot. I’ll buy the DVD when it comes out, watch it occasionally at home after the little girls are asleep, and rewind and rewatch a couple favorite scenes.  But it’s not a go-to movie. It’s not a movie I’ll always be in the mood for. It’s a movie I’ll use the forwarding button on because really, that scene wasn’t needed. And it’s a movie that when talking to someone about Jackson’s take on Middle Earth, I’ll say, “That scene in Fellowship, wasn’t that awesome? And in the Two Towers, I still get chills seeing the March of the Ents. What? The Hobbit? Yeah, that was a pretty good movie too, glad Jackson was finally able to make it.”

My final Grade? B




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