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Heroine Content Links #26: Machete, Resident Evil, Scott Pilgrim

This post was originally published on Heroine Content, a feminist and anti-racist movie blog that ran from July 2006 to May 2012.

I saw Resident Evil: Afterlife 3D but I was so bored that I have not been able to write a review. All my husband came up with was "There wasn't much T&A for a Milla Jovovich movie" and "The black guy sure lived for a long time." Both of these were considered good things. My thoughts were "The 3D effects were less annoying than the ones in Step Up 3D" and "Three white people saved everyone. How novel." Also, "If there are only a few dozen people left on the planet, should you really kill several hundred of them at a time? Where is the genetic diversity going to come from?" When I start worrying about logistical issues, that's a bad sign.

It's a shame, really, because the Resident Evil franchise is the only ongoing action series starring a woman. I was hoping Rhona Mitra might make a go of something after Doomsday, but instead she was fridged in Underworld 3 and then disappeared off my radar. So Milla's all we've got.

Some links for your enjoyment:

Machete: Class Warrior by Maryann Johanson at FlickFilosopher:

Oh yes, there is revolutionary rage in Machete, and Glenn Beck and Bill O'Reilly and the "we're not racist, honestly" Tea Partiers are right to be afraid that this not-so-silly silly movie may touch a nerve among audiences. And not just among Hispanic moviegoers, either. Yeah, it's delightful to see so many Hispanic faces onscreen here -- I can't remember the last mainstream movie that featured so many Latinos in all the major good-guy roles, including not one but, miraculously, two women! [...] Rodriguez -- a Mexican-American who lives and works in Austin and surely has been confronting this bullshit all his life -- has smartly made a movie that welcomes anyone angered by injustice and a lack of compassion without having to sacrifice the lovely nonwhite cast of his, you know, cast.


Resident Evil: A Female Centric Film Series
on Tiny Heroes:

When we stood in line behind the mother/daughter combo to purchase our ticket, I blindly assumed they were going to re-release of Twilight. I dunno why. I make assumptions. But when we spotted them in our theatre, I felt a nice little toe tingle thinking that there are at least two other ladies in the world anxious to see Alice kick ass.

Irony of the day: Video game movies a safe haven for female action stars by Scott Mendelson at Mendelson's Memos:

In an era where the idea of Angelina Jolie simply playing a spy in a generic action thriller gets oodles of punditry from all circles, where a live-action Wonder Woman can't seem to get off the ground, and where Noomi Rapace's reward for headlining The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (and two sequels) is to star as 'the token girl' in Sherlock Holmes 2, it's good to see one genre, however marginalized, that embraces female action heroes not as a sign of progress, but as a matter of course.

No, it's not "Twilight for Boys." Scott Pilgrim and the Bizarre Comparisons by Rebecca Henely on Chicks Who Kill Things:

I hope what I'm getting at is coming through - this is a franchise that isn't perfect, but it has a lot to offer to female geeks in its characters. So it's mystifying, and somewhat frustrating, to see this "Twilight for Boys" comparison to come up. [...] It irritates me because even if you go by the basest, broadest stereotypes of what male and female readers like in comics, Scott Pilgrim is for boys AND girls.

Scott Pilgrim vs. The Box Office at Tiny Heroes:

Pretty much every female was a win for me - Mary Elizabeth Winstead was perfect - she had the right amount of bulging cartoon eyes and dead-pan to carry off her role. Ellen Wong was brilliant as Knives Chau and, as with the book, really felt like the heart and soul of the film.

The comments thread to the post on Tiny Heroes is also chock full of excellent, you should read it too. it led me to Scott Pilgrim vs. The World by Abigail Nussbaum at Asking the Wrong Questions:

So, assuming that I'm not simply a Bad Feminist, what is it about Scott Pilgrim vs. the World that made it so easy for me to ignore the shitty way it treats its female characters?

Exactly the same question I was asking myself after commenters here on HC weighed in! I love this post, and the comments section is also worth a read despite an outbreak of mansplaining. For example, this comment by the post's author in response to another commenter is choice:

I think the very fact that Wright took what, by all accounts, is a deliberately anti-misogynistic work, a story that takes the trappings of a very familiar and very toxic story and turns them inside out, and transformed it into a film that is that familiar and toxic story, is telling. It reveals just how deeply ingrained the misogynistic instinct is in our culture.

Knives Chau vs. Bad Character Development by Arturo R. GarcĂ­a at Racialicious:

[...] other [Asian-Canadian] characters fare a lot worse: Tamara Chen (Chantelle Chung), Knives' best friend, is on-screen for maybe a minute, tops; the first of Ramona's League of Evil Exes, Matthew Patel (Satya Bhabha)*** gets turned into a Bollywood joke during his fight sequence; Trisha Ha (Abigail Chu), though it's funny at first to watch her glower at Scott's band, seems to suffer from Quiet Asian Syndrome; and the Katayanagi Twins (Shora and Keita Saito) go from being tech-savvy villains in the comic (they lure Scott into battle by kidnapping yet another ex of his) to their own QAS Daft Punk pastiche, complete with (ugh) dragons shooting out of their turntables.

Girls on Film: Is 'Scott Pilgrim' Misogynistic? by Monika Bartyzel at Cinematical:

There is, of course, a problem with the fact that these sorts of stories aren't getting written with female protagonists, but something tells me that might change over the next few years as we're continually offered an Up scenario where the supporting cast deserve the spotlight. I can't knock a male writer for creating a world that has a male protagonist, especially when these are the most dressed women a comic/video game movie has ever seen.

Likeable Jerks and Passive Women: The Gender Politics of Scott Pilgrim vs. the World by Carrie Polansky at Gender Across Borders:

Had the source material contained one-dimensional caricatures of women, I might have understood why the film followed suit. But it appears that is far from the case. The Scott Pilgrim novels feature fully developed female characters, meaning that Edgar Wright and Michael Bacall specifically chose to minimize those characters. This isn't the first time an adaptation of a graphic novel has completely watered down a crucial female character [...], and it isn't surprising that the filmmakers made the choices that they did, but the results are still unfortunate and leave much to be desired.

2 Comments

the best review i've seen of RE: Afterlife so far, courtesy of my housemate:

look at me
now look at your zombie
now back at me. I've just killed it.
now I'm flying a plane
now I'm in silent hill
now I'm in the matrix
sequel ending!

I don't think Scott Pilgrim vs. the World is really misogynistic...

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