Saturday, May 23, 2009

So, on the topic of the new Star Trek movie raised by previously by Sharon, I must say I wasn't blown away. From the perspective of a lifelong Trekkie, I felt slightly cheated. In one fell swoop they have re-written the entire timeline and made all those hours of watching and re-watching countless episodes on Spike (with their obnoxious "you're a guy so you must like beer and boobies" commercial slant) for naught, since now none of it ever happened. Temporal disturbances can do that, I guess.
But, from a feminist perspective I must say I was not surprised. The whole movie was based from the original series, which, although groundbreaking in it's portrayal of interracial sexual scenarios (another thing the new movie ruined!) it was nonetheless sadly lacking in strong female characters. Nichelle Nichols was not there for her brains, she was there for her gorgeous legs.
Of course, later Start Trek series corrected this flaw, and admirably. I have no complaints on the strength of characters like Dr. Beverley Crusher (a single working mom with a doctorate and a overacheiving son? Awesome!) who in the Next Generation finale is shown as the captain of her own medical ship, after marrying and apparently divorcing Jean-Luc Picard because, despite his sexy accent, he's just another womanizing cad.
Nor can I find much fault in Captain Kathryn Janeway of Voyager, a character who spends seven seasons showing us how she balances compassion with authority (a necessary skill for any woman contemplating motherhood) yet manages to hold to her own moral standards despite the pressure she is under to acheive her ultimate goal of getting her ship and it's crew back to Earth safely.
However, none of these themes exploring femininity were apparent in the original series, nor in the new movie. The original reviewer was absolutely correct in her statement that all women in the movie are two dimensional hoes, mamas or bitches. They tried to round out Uhura's character but only made her seem like a caracature of a strong black woman, like the person everyone wants to reduce Michelle Obama to being (why are we all drawing parallels between the first lady and Ms. Uhura?). In the end they seem to want to make sure we understand that although she is intelligent, dedicated and ambitious, more importantly she's pretty, can make polite conversation and Spock has the hots for her.
So, although entertaining enough in it's own right, I must say the movie only gets a B from me.

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