Friday, July 26, 2013

"Star Trek Into Darkness": The REAL exploitation of Alice Eve

     Star Trek: Into Darkness opened on May 17, and -- as I type this on July 26 -- some critics/cultural observers/bloggers are still upset (most recently here) about the scene in which Alice Eve as Dr. Carol Marcus strips to her underwear prior to getting into a spacesuit. Usually this umbrage is accompanied by a still photo of Alice Eve in her underwear.
     Does this strike anyone else as ironic or cynical or disingenuous?
     The first I knew of the now infamous scene was in a trailer for the film where the image appeared, without context. I remember thinking that this was probably Dr. Carol Marcus, whom the earlier film Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan revealed was a past lover of Capt. James Kirk. I assumed this was a scene from their ... courtship, let's say. Instead it's a throwaway scene which the director has confessed he now regrets. I still think this is a tempest in a teapot, and all the faux outrage is much more exploitative than the scene in the film itself.
     Firstly, the shot of Alice Eve is extremely brief. If it lasted more than 5 seconds, I'd be surprised. It's a perfect illustration of the expression, "Take a picture; it'll last longer." That's what all these critics have done by running that still: made it last longer.
     (As I said above, at best it's ironic -- they don't know that they are doing the very thing they are decrying -- or cynical -- they don't care if they are doing the very thing they are decrying -- or, worst,  disingenuous -- they know they are doing the very thing they are decrying.)
     Secondly, in the context of the film, I assumed it was a jokey reference (there were a number of such in-jokes to other science fiction) to the scene in Alien where Sigourney Weaver's Ellen Ripley strips down to her underwear before getting into a space suit and zapping the alien out of the escape pod. That was a much longer scene, but I don't recall as much negative reaction.
     Thirdly, the underwear was more akin to a bikini than sexy lingerie. Really, it wasn't that revealing or exploitative. I was more concerned by all the destruction of property -- and, though we didn't see it, presumably lives -- caused by the crashing of a starship into a densely populated Earth city. I guess Americans are still more upset by nudity and sexuality than violence, destruction and death. That's the real exploitation.


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