iOS app Android app More

Melissa Silverstein

Melissa Silverstein

Posted May 12, 2009 | 05:25 PM (EST)

Star Trek's Gender Problem


I went to see Star Trek last night here in LA on a big screen in Culver City. Personally, I prefer to see the big blockbusters during the week cause I hate the crowds. Everywhere I was yesterday in LA people were talking about the movie. It really is a company town.

I was very excited to see the film because I was a trekkie growing up. I think The Wrath of Khan is one of the scariest films ever and I pretty partial to Star Trek IV - The Voyage Home where Captain Kirk (William Shatner) falls in love with the whale researcher played by Catherine Hicks.

I was excited to see it because it was directed by JJ Abrams who did Alias which I still miss, and the film's writers also are the guardians of Fringe which I am addicted to.

JJ's a good director. The pace was fast, there were good effects but I found the story lacking. How many times in one movie can we see Chris Pine as the young Kirk attempt to get strangled. It looked like his eyes were going to pop out.

But I think the film missed a huge opportunity with its women. Maybe I'm spoiled from Battlestar Galactica and I know TV is different from films, but I think they blew a big opportunity by stereotyping women's roles. What I loved about Battlestar Galactica was that gender didn't matter and in this film it clearly did. There were a lot of women in miniskirts just walking around. Star Trek has lots of inter-planetary diversity, including Kirk's relationship with an all green woman, yet it still can't get over the gender stereotypes.

The three female characters of significance were insignificant -- one gave birth, one was a mother, and one was a girlfriend.

Jennifer Morrison -- Cameron from House -- played Kirk's mother and her part consisted of her giving birth to the future Captain Kirk.

Winona Ryder played young Spock's mom (Zachary Quinto) and they had to give her a ton of wrinkles because in real life she is only 6 years old than him. Winona has not even hit 40 and she is already playing a mom. That's Hollywood.

Zoe Saldana had the biggest female part playing the young Lt. Uhura a gifted linguistic specialist who discovers an important signal yet is relegated to window dressing. Why couldn't they give her something cool to do that showed off her skills? The way they handled the Scotty character was great. Why couldn't they have handled Uhura better?

I thought it was interesting that they had her character in a relationship with Spock but at times that relationship seemed so out of place and it felt like it was just thrown in to placate women.

The film is a hit. The reviews are stellar. According to the statistics, women bought 40% of the tickets on opening weekend. But, I'm disappointed with JJ and his crew. They usually have so much more respect for women.

Originally Posted at Women & Hollywood