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Pony Queen Jace

The Myth, The Legend: The Strong Female Character

19 posts in this topic

Is it just me, or does James Cameron kind of get it?

Seriously, as an artist. I don't give half a fuck about his personal life, but in on screen presentations of independent and complex humans with ladyparts.

I mean think about it.

Sarah Connor

Ripley

Sigourney Weaver in Avatar

Even the blue one is ok in Avatar

True Lies

Vasquez

Michelle Rodriguez in Avatar

Fuck, even Rose was pretty well rounded considering.

They're not all perfect characters or even role models, but damn if they aren't actual characters instead of talkative scenery.

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There's also Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio's character in The Abyss, although it's possible she might have been the only female character in the film (it's been a while since I've seen it).

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2 minutes ago, williamjm said:

There's also Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio's character in The Abyss, although it's possible she might have been the only female character in the film (it's been a while since I've seen it).

One of the undersea drillers is a black woman as well, which is pretty notable since there were only like six people on the undersea rig.

Just FYI, Leigh Butler at Tor beat you to it, she had this article back in March.

Quote

And just as his technological innovations paved the way for later SFX brilliance, I believe, his Ellen Ripley and Sarah Connor and Lindsey Brigman led the way for characters like Trinity and Rey and Furiosa, and the many more female action heroines that have gloriously sprung up over the past decade or so. I do not say they are all entirely owed to him, any more than I say they are all perfect, but I do say that James Cameron has, and had, the agency and the power and the will to speak to an overwhelmingly masculine and exclusionary genre of film, and tell it, “no, I have a better idea, let’s include women,” in a time when almost no one else was bothering to do so, and the result has changed the face of action/sci-fi films forever—for the better.

 

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Yeah but he said something bad about Wonder Woman so he is now the enemy of all females, or something.

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If there is a phrase I hate more in entertainment jargon than "strong female character" I can't think of it right now. It's such a meaningless term.

Arguably in most cases where the term is used it's referencing a woman who is embodying various traditionally masculine expressions of strength. So are they really a strong female character, or are they a strong masculine character who is female?

But, I don't think James Cameron handled the Wonder Woman situation very gracefully and he came off looking like he had sour grapes. This was possibly mostly because people were going all gaga over Wonder Woman as if she was the first female character to really carry an action movie. And in many ways it's fair for Cameron to feel a little put out by that sentiment. But he didn't need to be quite so pissy about it.

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Well from what I remember he made the initial Wonder Woman comment when he was out doing press for T23D and a reporter kept bugging him about WW. But Cameron has always been a bit of an ass, it's his thing.

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3 hours ago, Darth Richard II said:

Well from what I remember he made the initial Wonder Woman comment when he was out doing press for T23D and a reporter kept bugging him about WW. But Cameron has always been a bit of an ass, it's his thing.

WW wasn't even that good.

It was like a B+ Marvel movie. I finally got around to seeing it and it was just ok.

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Just now, Darth Richard II said:

I haven't seen it. I could not give less fucks about D.C.

Totally mediocre. Some good performances, a genuinely epic Superhero Reveal lifts an otherwise kind of boring and poorly paced story.

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James Cameron doesn't highlight James Cameron-written female characters in James Cameron movies for James Cameron.  James Cameron gifts the world with James Cameron heroines simply because he's James Cameron.

In all seriousness, yes, Sarah Connor and Ellen Ripley are inarguably trailblazing characters (although let's remember he inherited the latter).  And Cameron should definitely be credited for being a forerunner in that regard.  But he's still a pompous ass, and while I haven't seen it, it was still a dick move acting all superior to Wonder Woman which he knew would undercut Patty Jenkins.  And while that may just be typical Cameron, that doesn't help women in Hollywood, and in fact works against them.

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6 minutes ago, Darth Richard II said:

So he should have said nothing when asked about it?

Yes.  It's really, really not that hard.  Or even better, put aside his ego and offer faint praise.  Also really not that hard.

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Not sure how answering a question at a Q&A session has anything to do with his ego.

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It most certainly does when the A involves putting down another's work and in the process promoting why his own female character is superior in comparison.

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4 hours ago, Pony Queen Jace said:

Totally mediocre. Some good performances, a genuinely epic Superhero Reveal lifts an otherwise kind of boring and poorly paced story.

See I totally agree with you on this. I thought it was an ok movie at best. Pretty much the same as the other DC movies, nothing special but as a popcorn action movie it was ok. Then there was this big commotion about it being the greatest movie, great female lead, great woman power etc.. I was thinking I missed it, or because I am a man I just didn't see it for what it was???

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8 hours ago, dmc515 said:

It most certainly does when the A involves putting down another's work and in the process promoting why his own female character is superior in comparison.

But his characters are superior. Just like the criminally underused Black Widow is a superior character to WW. Again, I don't care about his personal life. The guy clearly understands how to put engaging women on the screen and I would actually prefer to hear his real opinion.

5 hours ago, dbunting said:

See I totally agree with you on this. I thought it was an ok movie at best. Pretty much the same as the other DC movies, nothing special but as a popcorn action movie it was ok. Then there was this big commotion about it being the greatest movie, great female lead, great woman power etc.. I was thinking I missed it, or because I am a man I just didn't see it for what it was???

Yeah, I watched it with a friend who was so totally about it and I felt pressure to smile and make impressed noises at what were otherwise random moments.

Again, it was a fun movie. I wouldn't argue calling it 'good', but some new standard?

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I liked what he said about there not being enough (or at all) older women in action roles, like there are men. It's something I've thought about it in the last couple of years, what with at least one action Tom Cruise movie being released year by year. What happened to Sharon Stone, Michelle Pfeiffer, Catherine Zeta-Jones etc.? Sure, some of these women may have chosen to go on different paths as they aged; they got busy raising kids, and were happy with just doing smaller roles, but I wonder how many of them would want to still be the star of an action movie.

The oldest actress I can think of who has come out strongly in action roles recently is Charlize Theron, and she's only 42. Robin Wright kicked some ass in Wonder Woman, but her role is ultimately small. Meanwhile, vampire Tom Cruise and others keep starring in action roles, alongside young actresses, of course, even when they shouldn't... cough... The Mummy... cough.

So I like that Cameron is thinking of bringing back Linda Hamilton in an action role, and I think she expressed interest.

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14 hours ago, Pony Queen Jace said:

WW wasn't even that good.

It was like a B+ Marvel movie. I finally got around to seeing it and it was just ok.

:agree:  Except for the parts on the island.  :wub:

 

But I dislike comix flix.  I saw this because I felt obliged as so many kept asking me what I thought.  I thought it was almost entirely like other comix flix, except a woman (still wearing totally revealing clothing including bustier) was front and center.  Shrug.

Though with all of WW declarations that it is love that cleanses and heals the world, she could have been Eleanor Roosevelt, who loved using that word too.  Though ER was a real person who really did stuff, including a lot for the persecuted European Jews.  I'd probably like a film about her and her friends in WWII better?

Edited by Zorral

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Cameron has the right to say whatever he thinks, but his criticism IMO is a bit silly. He said WW wasn't "groundbreaking" - well, even if she isn't, so what? - and that basically she's not the right kind of 'strong female character' because she wears sexy clothes. That's nonsense. So women can't be strong and worthwhile if they like dressing sexy? It also comes off as Cameron acting like the high authority of what female characters are allowed to be in order to be "strong", and arguing that there's just one type of "strong female character" - instead of being happy that there are a lot different kinds of well-written female protagonists out there in the movies, as it should be. Patty Jenkins' reply to him was on point:

https://twitter.com/PattyJenks/status/900917648015405062/photo/1?ref_src=twsrc^tfw&ref_url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.theguardian.com%2Ffilm%2F2017%2Fsep%2F27%2Fjames-cameron-defends-wonder-woman-criticism

Is Wonder Woman the greatest superhero movie of our time? No. I wouldn't even put it in top 5. But it's a rather good DC superhero movie with a really likable and well portrayed protagonist - which makes it unique in the new DC cinematic universe. It's also the first decent comic book movie with a female lead, and the first one that was successful at the box office, which certainly makes it unique. (There have been very few superhero movies with a female lead ever, and all of the previous ones - like Catwoman and Elektra - have failed, which was used as an excuse to conclude that 'audiences don't want female superheroes', instead of the actual reason, which was that those movies were awful.) Marvel has scheduled the Captain Marvel movie and has announced that they're finally making a Black Widow movie, but they won't be out for a couple more years.

Those are two of the three reasons that people have praised it so much. The third is that many people have been fed up with the grimdark and the idea that every "strong female character" - or every "strong" male character, for that matter - must be hard, gloomy, cynical, angry and trigger happy/murderous, and that this is the only way to have "badass" characters and a "serious" movie.  Not all current screen superheroes are like that - but Zack Snyder's DC movies have certainly suffered from that problem (which is all the bigger problem because Snyder's movies aren't one of the quality dark superhero movies - they come off as a very bad attempt to be dark, serious and philosophical). Batman v Superman was the culmination of that trend. One review was titled "Batman v Superman will make you hate Batman, Superman and the Justice League". A lot of people singled out Wonder Woman as a breath of fresh air in the movie, which made everyone even more pumped for her solo movie. And I'm sure a lot of people wanted  DC to finally have a successful movie after a long time (successful in the sense of being good and well liked rather than just making money). 

So Wonder Woman being a 1) movie with a female lead (and about arguably the most famous female comic book superhero), which was also pretty good, 2) finally one decent DC movie in a long time, and 3) a movie about a superhero who is idealistic, optimistic and caring/compassionate (which is not unique among current superhero movies, there's Captain America, of course, but still stands out, especially in the new DC universe), made people praise WW so much, even if objectively it's just a decent superhero flick. 

Heck, tehre are lots of people who go ga-ga over Supergirl - a cheesy CW show that ranges from terrible to mediocre - just because it's light, optimistic show with an idealistic female superhero. Of course a lot more people were going to go go ga-ga over the Wonder Woman movie.

Edited by Annara Snow

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