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Desert Creature
Boof boof, sproing!
Tue 16th Oct '07 10:31PM
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Something I was thinking about while doing a film review in the mini reviews section...



The sci-fi/fantasy genre of is full of nothing but kick-ass yet vulnerable and (of course) beautiful warrior-women at the moment. It has become a fetish. But despite this we aren't seeing any new Ripleys or Buffys and for some reason it seems like we're just back to being manipulated with sex by the money-MEN. I realise, of course, that sexuality is a key characteristic of both of the afore-mentioned heroines but in those cases it seems so much more positive and less cynical.



Do you agree and if so what do you think has gone wrong?
  

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Tue 16th Oct '07 11:25PM
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I find the cheesy kick ass warrior woman archetype such a turn off that I haven't seen any of the recent films. You can see why they do it though, they don't have to choose between violence and boobs in any given scene.

That said Samus Aran is kick ass!
    

Diziet
optical moose
Wed 17th Oct '07 5:38PM
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i think film makers need to look to books for refreshing heroines.

my personal list of heroines i'd like to see on the big screen are:

Jennifer Government (from Jennifer Government by Max Barry)

Nell (from The Diamond Age by Neal Stephenson)

Eliza (from The Baroque Cycle, also by Neal. he creates damn fine heroines)

and, of course, Rasd-Codurersa Diziet Embless Sma da' Marenhide (from various Culture novels by Iain M Banks)


film makers don't go far enough with heroines. i agree that sexuality mixed with vulnerability is a key characteristic in these movie heroines, mainly because men like a woman in films to be kick-ass but also helpless to some extent.

i'd love to see Diziet Sma in a Resident Evil movie. she'd probably just nuke the entire Earth and resolve the problem that way. then she'd bugger off to talk intergalatic espionage with a 50 mile wide dirigible. now thats a cool chick!

General*
Windows Bob - the best!
Wed 17th Oct '07 9:39PM
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Eliza would make an awesome film heroine, but you know they would dumb her down to two dimensions.
I kind of hope they don't make any Neil Stephenson films as they would have to over simplify them to the point that they would almost cease to exist.
    

Desert Creature
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Wed 17th Oct '07 10:01PM
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Can't say that I enjoyed the only Iain M Banks book I've read (Use of Weapons) but I agree that Sma is an extremely interesting character although not exactly a heroine.

It has been a decade or more since I last read a diskworld book but I seem to remember that the ones I enjoyed most had great female characters.

Anyway. Do we think it's just another example of dumbing down? Have attention spans have become so short that character developement is impossible? If so then how come films are soo long these days. 12 hours of LOTR and Arwen and Eowyn are still just animated pre-raphaelite paintings. Bleugh!
  

Diziet
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Wed 17th Oct '07 10:07PM
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Desert Creature was bold enough to comment:

I agree that Sma is an extremely interesting character although not exactly a heroine.




yes, she is a heroine.

i never actually said she was 'extremely interesting' so who are you agreeing with exactely?

you didn't like Use Of Weapons? whats wrong with you?

Desert Creature
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Wed 17th Oct '07 10:23PM
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Diziet was bold enough to comment:



i never actually said she was 'extremely interesting' so who are you agreeing with exactely?


You're right you didn't say that. My apologies.



yes, she is a heroine.


Didn't see it that way but can't remember enough about it to argue the point.



you didn't like Use Of Weapons?


No.



whats wrong with you?


I don't know!
  

Gertrude
Landy Dirtlady
Wed 17th Oct '07 10:51PM
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The friend I went to see Smokin Aces with came out incensed because one of the lesbian snipers ended up being rescued and snogged by a bloke. In retrospect I completely agree with her, it seemed that the tough sexy lesbians were just there to titillate, and obviously their relationship was lacking in the penis department so they had to bring in a big strapping man. They couldn't be heroines (well, I suppose it's more that they couldn't be sex objects) without the intervention of a man. And they certainly couldn't carry the day themselves, because pretty little girlies always need rescuing. Gah!

I wish I hadn't got so carried away with enjoying all the shooting and exploding that I didn't even notice this until said friend exploded. Although I think I probably enjoyed the film more than she did!

(apologies if this is incoherent. My head feels like it is full of fluff).
 

Desert Creature
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Thu 18th Oct '07 12:11AM
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Gertrude was bold enough to comment:
it seemed that the tough sexy lesbians were just there to titillate


A film like Smokin' Aces is all about titillation with sex, drugs, violence, bad language etc. I wonder why it's the treatment of sex that bothers me more than anything else?

I hope I'm not coming across like a sad bloke trying to patronisingly fly the flag for feminism. Thing is, I want the titillation and the fantasy, that's what most films are about after all. I just feel short changed by one dimentional female characters.

But I guess there is another way of loooking at it if I wanted to be really cruel to myself...
Surely the desire for a more complex and realistic fantasy is all about adding an emotional layer. Isn't feeling the need for a pretend emotional life more sad than indulging in a bit of cheap, entirely sexual, silicone exagerated, mutual exploitation with Hollywood every now and then?
  

Mrsham
I lost my toes in a game of blackjack
Thu 18th Oct '07 9:04AM
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Desert Creature was bold enough to comment:
12 hours of LOTR and Arwen and Eowyn are still just animated pre-raphaelite paintings. Bleugh!



To be fair, this does reflect the source material quite well (much as I love the big JRRT, he isn't known for his strong female leads ... or indeed his characterisation in general!)



Isn't feeling the need for a pretend emotional life more sad than indulging in a bit of cheap, entirely sexual, silicone exagerated, mutual exploitation with Hollywood every now and then?



Nope, if by "pretend emotional life" you mean a need for a good story with some realistic characters who you can relate and get involved with. Perhaps going off at a tangent, the imagination seems to be somewhat underrated these days (feel free to disagree). 'Escapism' is a word thrown around a lot, implying childishness or weakness. Sod that I say. Imagination is for adults, it's how you learn stuff about yourself and the world.

Coming back to the point, the 2d female characters of whom you speak show a lack of imagination more than anything else. Don't get me wrong, I like a bit of moving wallpaper now and then, but I need real stories and real characters too.

(Oh, and Granny Weatherwax (Discworld) has got to be one of the most kickass anti-heroines the world has ever seen.)

EDIT: To clarify, I think crappy female non-characters are basically the writer falling back on pre-defined gender stereotypes that they think "work" when they can't be bothered, don't have time or aren't moved to come up with anything better. That's what I meant by lack of imagination. You also get plenty of prefab male characters of course, but they're usually less offensive.
 

General*
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Thu 18th Oct '07 1:12PM
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Desert Creature was bold enough to comment:

Anyway. Do we think it's just another example of dumbing down?

Have attention spans have become so short that character developement is impossible?



For it to be an example of dumbing down we would have to have examples in the past where things were better, but not many spring to mind.

It is always a valid decision to have two dimensional characters in films and books. This is especially true if the focus of the film is on escapist action. The films Charlies Angels and Tomb Raider are examples of this. The directors of both films openly explained that the films were conceived to contain no character development and a minimum of plot leaving maximum screen time for action scenes. I think Tranformers and the second two Matrix films could have been much improved by cutting out a lot of the character development and plot exposition scenes and having a shorter more action packed film.
    

Mrsham
I lost my toes in a game of blackjack
Thu 18th Oct '07 3:59PM
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I think Tranformers and the second two Matrix films could have been much improved by cutting out a lot of the character development and plot exposition scenes and having a shorter more action packed film.



Agreed - no point trying to wedge in some character development for the sake of it, then getting it all wrong - although sometimes there's unintentional comedy value in that! (I'm thinking about the love scenes in one of the later Star Wars films here, which were most lol-worthy) That said, Des's example of Aliens shows that, given the right film/director/budget combination, it's not impossible to have great sci fi action, plot and characterisation all at once, but I guess that's always going to be the exception rather than the rule.

So I was probably way off in saying the 2-d character is due to lack of imagination - more often a calculated choice of emphasis then (Note to self: don't imply Tolkien lacks imagination ). It's the stock character traits that people reach for that rankle I guess. I suppose in that respect the (beautiful and vulnerable) warrior woman character is at least an improvement on the (beautiful and defenceless) damsel in distress character.
 

Desert Creature
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Thu 18th Oct '07 10:04PM
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Mrsham was bold enough to comment:
Imagination is for adults, it's how you learn stuff about yourself and the world.


Thank you Mrsham. That makes me feel better.
  

Demian*
Oh Lordy, Plegaleggole
Sat 20th Oct '07 9:56AM
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All debate aside, Rose McGowan kicked some serious ass in Grindhouse
  

Spanners*
Misses his big brother :(
Sat 20th Oct '07 10:11AM
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I think there's very much a divide in modern film - the big blockbuster action films appeal much more to the primeval bit of the brain with a thirst for carnage and looking at meek sexy ladies who need saving by big strong man. It's an unfortunate by-product of the human condition but these are always going to be big money-makers.
On the other side though you have films like Blood Diamond where Jennifer Connely's character (a journalist in Sierra Leone during the war there in the 90s) totally deserves to be called a heroine in the truest sense. In fact I'd say the same about her character in Labyrinth.
True heroines are out there, it just a case of where you look
    

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