Quick hit 1: 2014 Sci-Fi movies - Edge of Tomorrow and Autómata

I have always loved movies, and when I was younger I would
watch anything. But with age I have become more selective,
mainly because through the decades some things still haven't changed.
Along with Horror, Sci-Fi is my favorite genre but, for all its forward thinking,
like any other movie genre, Sci-Fi movies generally has one or many
male protagonist, but only one or no female protagonists at all.

Even when Sci-Fi movies strive to promote a more equal mind-set (because
that is what we imagine the future will be like) basically no movie ever
reaches the 50-50% gender ratio, and men always get more screen time.
 So even when I really enjoy a Sci-Fi movie, it will always to some degree
also piss me off. That's why I have decided to split my Quick Hit
reviews into two parts; Entertainment and Equal opportunity facts

 Edge of Tomorrow

Tom Cruise is Lt. Col. Cage, a weak character desperately trying
to get out of a seemingly doomed battle against aliens attacking earth.
As punishment he is sent to fight at the front line, part of a team
of the toughest soldiers in Exo suits, lead by Rita Vrataski (Emily Blunt).

In the chaotic war zone Cage dies almost immediately,
only to find himself brought back to life a few moments
before his demise, in just enough time to alter the situation.
I'm stopping here, to avoid any spoilers.

Though the plot isn't ground breaking I would recommend this movie.
I found it enjoyable to watch Tom Cruise for once in the role of
(initially) a coward and a failure. The CGI scenes were pretty
and Emily Blunt is always great, whatever she does.

Equal opportunity facts:
 Main protagonist: Male
Passing the Bechdel test: No
Age difference between actors playing partners/spouses:
21 years (man older).

The fact that women in media, but especially in Hollywood, are discarded
after the age of 35, while men go on to star as both action man lead
and main love interest well into their 50's and 60 is just plain pathetic.
 Both movies reviewed here cast men more then 20 years their female
partner's senior, and most movie goers barely react to that, because on average
in movies, the male lead is 15 years older than the female lead.

Autómata (Spanish production, English spoken.)

Antonio Banderas is Jacq Vaucan, an investigative insurance agent
in a dystopian future set sometime after radioactive warfare has laid waste
to most of the land. Humans live in a city regularly cleansed from radiation
by artificial rains, and where robot "slaves" are part of the society.

As in I, Robot (2004) the robots have two main protocols; To never hurt
a human being, or alter or hurt themselves. An incident involving a robot
setting itself on fire pulls Vaucan into an investigation to find out if someone
is making robots self aware.

There have been quite a few movies and TV shows with this setup
(including the critically acclaimed Swedish TV series Äkta Människor
(Real Humans) (2012-)) over the last decade, so although Autómata was
enjoyable, it is pretty much a dime a dozen kind of sci-fi movie.

Equal opportunity facts:
 Main protagonist: Male
Passing the Bechdel test: No
Age difference between actors playing partners/spouses:
22 years (man older).

Ever heard of the Bechdel test? It's a revealing test that tells us
that even if a movie has a female lead or shared lead, the supporting actors,
the side kicks or the team are still mostly made up of men.

Remember the last war movie, political movie, action movie or Movie of the Year
  you watched? Remember that there were several scenes with guys talking
(yelling) to each other about really important things? Whereas the only
real conversation a woman had was with one of those really important men.


Thank you Kelley, Asti, Leanne and Rinn for hosting this fun challenge
in the middle of the grayest, most depressing month
- and thereby giving us all something else to focus on!

I will be back in a few days with Quick Hits part 2, with two more 2014
Sci-Fi movie reviews, and a list of my top 2013 Sci-Fi movies.


22 kommentarer:

  1. A really nice post! :D I love that you point out the annoying and depressing sexism in film industry and also reflect other aspects of the films like how similar the speculative technology is compared to other sci-fi movies and series.

    1. Thank you very much, Jade! It's always tricky choosing how much politics to include in a post - still not everyone is comfortable with feminism.

  2. Men då rekommenderar jag Gravity där Sandra Bullock är huvudpersonen och inte i något kärleksförhållande med någon. Synd bara att birollen inte också är en kvinna.

    1. Japp, den var bra, även om den var lite blek. Den är med på min Sci-Fi-favoritlista från 2013!

  3. I like that you included the Bechedel test in this review!

    I started watching Edge of Tomorrow but gave up not that long in, before Tom Cruise died I was already wishing for him to die and NOT come back! He was such a smug annoying character!!!

    1. I'm glad you liked it!
      You know, I really enjoyed seeing his smug character getting blown up over and over :) And his character learns and grows as the movie goes along.

  4. Like you, after horror/thriller my favorite genre is SF and my favorite author is Peter Hamilton (an SF author). Yes, it annoys me that 90% of horror, thrillers, and SF have male protagonists and the women are either stupid or dictatorial bitches. But that's not the writers/producers' fault. Those are male targeted genres because males buy/read/see them. Women buy/read/see romances, Hallmark movies, 3-handkerchief type dramas, and trash like Twilight and 50 Shades -- except for the very few of us who are smarter than the average cow. There are simply too few truly intelligent and independent women to make up a decent portion of consumers, so no one makes things for us. *shrug* What can you do?

    1. Wow, you really don't have high opinions of the female gender...
      I disagree with you, I think women would watch and enjoy other genres more if the content also catered to their view of things, making them the subjects (like men always are) instead of the objects. I absolutely believe that the patriarchal film industry (including writers and producers) are to blame for what stereotypes and influences are shoved down our throats.

    2. Hm, this...I don't agree with all of Lexa's points, but I share her opinion on the genre; I'm absolutely not interested in romances and Hallmark flicks, mostly because they're as surreal as it gets...but for the same reason, I dislike female leads in sci - fi and action movies as well: 80% of the time, they look completely out of place and ridiculous...Dunno if it's the writers' fault, or the actress', but they still seem to be unable to write or to portray the 'strong woman' archetype right; mostly it comes across as they're trying too hard to promote equal rights at the wrong places. Because hey, we're of equal value to men, but we're not men. We are not to fill typically manly roles without their typically manly feats that they possess and we don't...like they're not - ever - going to be able to do 'female stuff'. And putting a pretty, skinny, blonde girl into some armor with a raygun in her hand is...surreal. Moreover, at this point, she is just an eye candy, the typical 'sexy tough chick' that geek guys dream about...it's a very funny way of objectification. So, I'd prefer if they'd stick to male or well built, capable female actors...but that doesn't mean I don't have high opinions on the female gender or pretty, fragile blonde girls. Moreover, I liked Edge of Tomorrow and its female lead very much, actually. :)

    3. Since I am a radical and queer feminist I will never agree that there are some things for men (to do and be) and some (other) things for women. Saying that men have "other feats" and are never going to be able to do "female stuff" (and vice versa) goes against everything I believe in.

    4. Why? What about things, that require a man's physique, for example? Ehh, don't take me wrong, I respect your opinion and I don't want to argue with you, I'm just curious; It's not often, that a feminist, who claims to be radical would care to elaborate on her beliefs, or convictions, whichever you prefer. :)

    5. It's true, we spend so much of our time debating and explaining, that we grow tired of it. But for instance; there have been studies recently that say that men and women would actually be the same size if parents and society treated and fed them the same, and if we encouraged girls to do physical things (climb trees, sports etc) like we do boys. I think the concept is really interesting.

      And I think that judging and limiting ones entire gender, and then saying "but I'M not like that, I'M smarter, I'M different" is very much a contradiction and should tell you something about what an actually unnatural role we force women into.

  5. Edge Of Tomorrow is pretty good. Still have to watch Automata. I'll check out what the sci-fi month is all about.

    1. Unfortunately there are few movie reviews/posts in Sci-Fi month so far, but I'm hoping that there will be more next year. It did start out as a book event.

  6. Jag älskar också film, skulle kunna ligga en hel daaaag och bara se film efter film (vilket jag faktiskt gör ibland när lägenheten är nystädad för då känner jag mig lugn xD) Tack för recensionen om Edge of Tomorrow, vi har den hemma men har inte kommit oss för att se den, den är mer min mans typ av film än min :P

    1. Det gör jag/vi också rätt så ofta! Idag t.ex. vilar jag efter mitt lilla ingrepp imorse, och har tittat på 3 filmer i sträck :)

  7. Oh yes, I have heard of Bechdel test before and find it quite interesting. I think they should add a sub-clause to the third point, as I frequently notice women are always "fighting" for men in commercial movies, which is... well, not very realistic.
    Also, I generally agree with you about Edge of Tomorrow appreciations. Nonetheless, I think there is a good thing about this movie, which is that the female is as hard as the man and does not represent the classic "lady in trouble" role.

    I cannot provide an opinion about Autómata, since I haven´t watched yet. It might be the next movie on my list :)

    Thank you so much for this post series! I am already enjoying!

    1. Oh, agreed! What woman do you know in real life who embarrasses herself over men, like in the movies? What woman is clueless as to when to stop pursuing someone? What woman "steps up her game" when the man is obviously seeing someone else? Completely unrealistic for sure!

  8. It was definitely interesting to see Tom Cruise starting in a role where the character starts off as unlikable and weak!

    1. That, and the strong female character, made the movie for me actually, I'm so sick and tired of Tom Cruise being cast as the flawless action man - he's 52 for goodness sake!

  9. The Bechdel test, that is very interesting! I struggle watching films that have only or mostly men in them. I don't know what it is, I think they are just not relatable to me!

    1. It is exactly that, the audience needs to identify with the protagonist/subject of the story, but our entire gender i most often used as decor/a prize/object in movies.


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