Does Your Favorite Sci-fi Movie Do Right by Its Female Characters?

by John Scalzi for Film Critic

Have you ever heard of the Bechdel test? It’s a test, popularized by cartoonist Alison Bechdel, that asks three questions of movies:

1. Are there at least two women characters in the film?
2. Who talk to each other?
3. About something other than a man?

If a film fulfills all three, then it passes the Bechdel test. If it doesn’t, then it doesn’t. The point of the Bechdel test, among other things, is to note that even here, in the twenty-first century, the role of women in film is very often to be support for the male roles or to keep the story and audience focused on the male protagonist. Whether that means something to you or not is really up to you, but, as a creative person myself, I do find it an interesting test to apply to my own work.

I was curious to see how some of the most popular science-fiction films of the last decade fared when the Bechdel test is applied to them. Below, for your conversational delight, are the results.

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Sucker Punch Packs a… Punch: Big Pics and Trailer.

by Captain at Sci Fi TV

There were many winners and losers (mostly winners) to emerge from this years San Diego Comic-Con, but one of the most interesting trailers that’s come out of the event has people scratching their heads. There’s just SO MUCH going on in Zack Snyder’s Sucker Punch that it’s hard to make heads or tails of it.

The film’s story is very simple. It’s “Alice in Wonderland, with guns”. Of course!

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Zack Snyder’s New Movie Sucker Punch Looks Insane, But Very Familiar

by Zach Oat at Television Without Pity
Fans and detractors of director Zack Snyder have long been looking forward to seeing what the geeky auteur can do when he’s not adapting other people’s material. He successfully updated Dawn of the Dead, faithfully re-created the comic-book worlds of 300 and Watchmen, and even his upcoming animated owl picture Legend of the Guardians is based on a children’s book, so the idea of an original Zack Snyder joint had fans salivating and haters waiting. Well, the wait is over, and the first trailer for Zack Snyder’s self-penned Sucker Punch has been released, and while it certainly is eye-catching, it doesn’t look terribly original. It looks like he took a dozen existing movies, put them in a blender and hit “Puree.” Granted, it still looks pretty tasty to a movie freak like me, but the film’s tag line, “You will be unprepared”? If you’ve seen any of these movies, you just might be prepared after all.

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First Look: A Pirates Peek at Penélope Cruz!

by Peter Gicas at E! Online
Well look what just rolled in with the tide!

We were actually starting to think that we were going to have to wait until Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides opened next May to catch a glimpse of Penélope Cruz doing her thing with costar Johnny Depp.

So imagine our delight when this new photo popped up from the film’s set in Hawaii showing Cruz walking—hand-in-hand, no less—with Depp.

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Rihanna joins ‘Battleship’ board game movie

via Baltimore Sun

She sunk your battleship! “Umbrella” singer Rihanna plans to make her Hollywood debut in “Battleship,” Variety reports. The movie concept puts a sci-fi spin on the classic board game, pitting naval officers and their ships against alien invaders. Taylor Kitsch and “True Blood” star Alexander Skarsgard already were attached to star.

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Brandon Routh Would Be More Than Happy To Return As Superman

By Eric Eisenberg at Cinema Blend
The script for the next Superman film has been written and there is talk that Jonathan Nolan is on top of a list to direct it, but rumors have not yet been flying as to who will play the Man of Steel. Fans have made suggestions ranging from Jon Hamm to Tom Welling for the role, but there are many out there that want to see Brandon Routh, who played the role in Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns, come back to the role, and the actor can be counted amongst them.

“I certainly would [love to play Superman again]. As much as I say I’m working to shake that off or shake it up, I certainly don’t want to extinguish or get rid of it because it was a great honor and I would love to be able to return as that character.”

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The Bechdel test is really interesting, although the pass/fail margin really sucks. In the comments someone suggested that Sci Fi TV shows would fare better, and that’s true. Vampire Diaries, SGU, and V all pass. There are a lot of movies that portray women in a positive light, but don’t pass because there’s only one woman. Unfortunately, movie companies still see “male, 18-34” as their target audience. Which means they’re ignoring a large and growing fanbase. On a related note (as in, movie full of strong women that’s looks badass) I don’t want to wait until March to see Sucker Punch. The article saying it’s similar to other movies had a few goods points, but most of them were stretching for something. Saying Sucker Punch looks like Inglorious Bastards is like saying it looks like it looks like Patton. Because there’s, you know, war. And blood. There are so many things wrong with a Battleship movie. I think I’ll skip it just to protest.

What do you think of Brandon Routh returning as Superman? Do you want to see Sucker Punch?