Star Trek Movies

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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Cutebutpsycho on Fri May 24, 2013 7:55 pm

I know, and it was my initial idea that sparked the discussion. I was tossing around names that would work better than Cumberbatch. And you have to admit they weren't a stickler for accuracy also, given that they were talking Benicio Del Toro.
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Kiran on Fri May 24, 2013 7:58 pm

Right? All this is doing is making me side eye JJ Abrams.

I remember hearing that John Cho also asked Takei if it was okay with him if he took the role.
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Cutebutpsycho on Fri May 24, 2013 8:19 pm

I thought I had heard somewhere that JJ was agonizing about Cho taking on the Sulu part. But I don't know if I'm remembering something correctly or not. There's been something that I read about how they decided to do the switch at the last minute while they were filming, as like an Easter Egg.

Way to fuck up a character.
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Binky on Fri May 24, 2013 10:24 pm

Kiran wrote:

I remember hearing that John Cho also asked Takei if it was okay with him if he took the role.

Cho did ask Takei for permission, and Takei 'granted' it, and said that he considered Sulu to be a pan-Asian representative. Which makes sense given the original cast, really.

I do think that's probably debatable on other lines, but it's definitely different than casting Ferretface to play a character of color who was also played by an actor of color (even if different ethnicities). Like, Benicio Del Toro would have probably also caused an outcry but certainly would have had a degree of matching tradition. Also, I find Oded Fehr freaking delicious.

That said, Ferretface was really good.

My quality not ideological issue was the really shitty dialogue flying all over the place and the plot holes that could swallow Vulcan (if it still existed).

And the gratuitous nekkid Blonde lady scene was irksome. All they would have had to do is nekkid up Kirk at the same time and it would have been equal.

All in all, I much preferred the first movie, infested with lensflares as it was.
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  laddical on Fri May 24, 2013 10:44 pm

said that he considered Sulu to be a pan-Asian representative

Sulu was born in San Francisco, so he's never been particularly tied to his ethnicity anyway aside from his name. And "ethnic" names are crossing over lines all the time nowadays, so aside from the fact that they originally cast a Japanese-American to play a Japanese-American character, there's not really anything hard and fast saying that Sulu is "pure" Japanese in his heritage.

And I can't help thinking that the whole thing with Cumberbatch would have been a little more palatable - not much, but a little - if they had just addressed it "in universe". They changed his name - why not change his appearance, too? He's roughly as famous historically in the 23rd century as Hitler, Columbus, Caesar, or Ramses II are for us. But since he's from the late 20th century, they could conceivably have high-res images of him, which means that not only would his name be recognizable, but his face as well - moreso than the face of the last three names in my list would be to us. Now, the random person on the street might not recognize his face, but they'd recognize his name. So they changed the name as a matter of course... and changed his face as a "just in case". Simple. It makes sense. It still stinks that they took a role that could have been one of the few available to a minority and whitewashed it, but at least they would acknowledge it in a way that made some logical sense to the story.
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Kiran on Fri May 24, 2013 11:39 pm

I think part of my issue is I am the exact same cultural background that Khan is supposed to be, and I don't know that I think Del Toro would have been any better in that way. Khan is identified as having a very specific racial and ethnic background. Casting Del Toro and going well at least hes a person of color is dismissive and wrong, just like casting BC was. What it says to me is "LOL, well at least hes not white, are you ethnics happy now?" I don't think it necessarily would have been any better than the casting that did occur. Just insulting to my people in a different way. I mean at least casting RM in the early 1960s was very much a product of its time. A time that included casting Mickey Rooney as an Asian man. But in 2013? By JJ Abrams, who prides himself on being so racially diverse in his work? Its a slap in the face either way.

That being said I don't blame the actors. Apparently BC wasn't even told who he was playing till he signed a contract. I doubt Del Toro knew either when he was in talks. And God knows John Cho seems infuriated by all of this.

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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  PrincessCleo on Fri May 24, 2013 11:55 pm

I just cannot understand on a fundamental level what they were thinking. Why even hide the villain's real name? It was impossible to keep secret, and then tons of less-versed viewers didn't have time to go "Huh, let me watch this Wrath of Khan movie if that's who it's going to be." They just so could have made the expectation of Khan work for them (particularly since they switched up a couple of major things anyway) without this "SHHHH, IT'S A SEKRIT" "LOL EASTER EGG" mess that didn't even work.
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Binky on Fri May 24, 2013 11:59 pm

Kiran wrote:
That being said I don't blame the actors. Apparently BC wasn't even told who he was playing till he signed a contract. I doubt Del Toro knew either when he was in talks.

Wow, really? I thought the stupid little song and dance about "not telling" who BC was playing in all promotional material was an (blatant, stupid) effort to side step the inevitable questions, but not telling the actor BEFORE HAND (and, like Cho, giving him the opportunity to decide if he was okay with it)...that's like a shockingly offensive level of manipulation.

If they'd cast a Latino actor, they could have at least claimed a it as a tribute to Montalban, rather than a continuation of the racial dynamics of the casting a the time (though it would be). And the new movie, aside from the name, didn't offer any other insight into the character's ethnicity unless I missed something.

I think they were counting on the audience that has no knowledge of the original Khan/actor (since frankly they trimmed as much Trek as they possibly could from the movie as a whole), just going "that white dude has a weird name" and going with it. And BC's performance is good enough that it's not like anyone can wish he was recast on that basis. It's just really icky.


Last edited by Binky on Sat May 25, 2013 12:08 am; edited 2 times in total
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Kiran on Sat May 25, 2013 12:05 am

I think hes a great actor, but frankly no actor is that good that they need to white wash that blatantly imo. Also I get the feeling they cast the whitest actor ever to keep their secret and that is disgusting to me. Its such a stupid fucking reason. So dismissive of real concerns.

I also think because Khan is supposed to be of a superior, master race its especially morally reprehensible that they decided he had to be white. Add in the continuing and ongoing emasculation of and refusal to view Asian men as sexual and or virile in the media and its just a whole pile of what the fuck is this.
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  PrincessCleo on Sat May 25, 2013 12:11 am

That's why the "secret" thing seems so particularly stupid, yeah. Why not get a hugely popular Indian actor, if they were so worried about overseas box office? Instead, they just went with Secret White Khan, and the audience either went "Yeah, we know" or "Who?" I just really do not understand why this seemed like such a vital thing to do.
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Kiran on Sat May 25, 2013 12:13 am

That is another thing. India has the world's biggest movie industry. There are Indian actors ALL OVER hollywood, albeit being underused 90% of the time. They exist. JJ Abrams himself cast Naveen Andrews in a role. Hes a great actor. Massively underused. Why not just call him up?

Its not like he was trying to cast a Mayan character.
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Bob Genghis Khan on Sat May 25, 2013 7:10 am

I figure if they were HELL-BENT on casting Cumberbatch, the least they could have done would have been to throw something in about Khan being genetically engineered to look white (given how historically super-racist eugenics has been, this doesn't seem particularly far-fetched?) And then it could have been, like, a commentary on racism instead of just...racism (
Spoiler:
see: Iron Man 3
). (This, of course, still does not address the whole avoiding POC casting thing, which is bullshit.)

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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Cynara on Sat May 25, 2013 12:11 pm

In addition to all these excellent points, I was kind of disappointed that the "new timeline Evil (...OR IS HE) Picard" theory wasn't right, because, hello, THAT would have made perfect sense for Cumberbatch, as well as being roughly 5823% of an improvement purely from a storytelling standpoint.

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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  RiverThames on Sat May 25, 2013 12:20 pm

It totally would have worked better.

I mean, consider: the maybe-evil-maybe-not Picard could have HATED Kirk, and why? Because from his perspective, Kirk is one of history's greatest villains, because he's the one who started an unprovoked war with the Klingons that still rages on in the 24th Century...
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Binky on Sat May 25, 2013 12:35 pm

RiverThames wrote:It totally would have worked better.

I mean, consider: the maybe-evil-maybe-not Picard could have HATED Kirk, and why? Because from his perspective, Kirk is one of history's greatest villains, because he's the one who started an unprovoked war with the Klingons that still rages on in the 24th Century...

Except for hitting my "DO NOT MESS WITH PICARD" button, that could have been so awesome. BC looks sort of like a facially-mashed Patrick Stewart. And they still could have had a Khan, just not BC.

What they actually went for, in comparison, is SO dumb.
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  queenofdenile on Sat May 25, 2013 1:11 pm

I saw a comment that summed up the whole whitewashed casting debacle really well: "Naveen Andrews could have and should have been cast as Khan. But I guess J.J. Abrams has never heard of him." BOOM! Roasted.
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  bbridges on Sat May 25, 2013 9:05 pm

I've seen this strange thing in some defenses where people say, "But he says his name is John Harrison" as if it would be completely inconceivable that someone of Indian descent could possibly be named John Harrison.

I've been thinking about previous Trek films and BC would make a far better Young Picard than Tom Hardy.
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Coneycat on Mon May 27, 2013 9:29 am

Thanks to the vagaries of flying in Canada, I had a five-hour layover in Calgary this weekend, so my sister picked me up and we went to the movies. I have therefore seen Star Trek.

I haven't seen a bunch of the original movies, so I wasn't up to speed on most of the elements of the recent controversy. However, it turned out
Spoiler:
I would have been a buttload more uneasy if I had been watching a person of colour spewing about how he was a naturally vicious "savage." Everyone has their squicks, and that was one of mine, and it turns out that overrode my "fuck, why is this guy white?" instinct.

Saw it in 3-D, which added nothing, but it was the only showing that worked with my connecting flight.

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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Kiran on Mon May 27, 2013 12:42 pm

I feel like it probably would have been better to just...change that then hire the whitest guy ever, but that is just me.

Again I like Benedict Cumberbatch but I will never be okay with this casting.
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Melk on Mon May 27, 2013 1:13 pm

My feelings towards this film are strange. I enjoyed it at the cinema, and I'd probably enjoy it again, but the more I think about the misogyny and the whitewashing, the more annoyed about it I get.

Also the more I consider it, the more I think Abrams!Kirk is an immature idiot. I like the character, he sure is a charismatic immature idiot, but I'm not sure I buy that he ought to be in charge of a hamburger stand, let alone a starship.

Reboot Picard! That would be so amazing. Unquestionably the superior captain of the Enterprise (Sorry Kirk, both incarnations of).
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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Cynara on Mon May 27, 2013 2:31 pm

I saw it again (this time in IMAX) and it held together better than I thought it would, weirdly, but man, some of the dialogue is freshman-seminar clunky. Chris Pine actually gives an excellent performance, I have to say (dude looks rough in super high def) and so do Zachary Quinto and Simon Pegg, but really...so many questions. Why is Alice Eve British when she can do a fine American accent? Why didn't John Cho and Anton Yelchin (and pretty much everyone else, come to think of it) get to do anything? Where did they dig up Peter Weller? Just to start.

As regards The Big Thing...Cumberbatch totally sells it; I mean, he is fucking terrifying (I noticed it more this time because I already knew what was going to happen). But there is literally no reason he can't be a genetically engineered savage genius named...John Harrison, end of story.

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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Binky on Mon May 27, 2013 2:41 pm

Cynara wrote:I saw it again (this time in IMAX) and it held together better than I thought it would, weirdly, but man, some of the dialogue is freshman-seminar clunky. Chris Pine actually gives an excellent performance...

The dialogue was astoundingly awful. There were points where I was questioning if Pine was giving a terrible performance or if he just trying to sell the most ridiculous, nonsensical dialogue ever. It was the latter, and he did a good job, but UGH. And this is in contrast to first movie, where the dialogue was really snappy. What happened?!

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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  Agent Sculder on Mon May 27, 2013 6:25 pm

I just saw it this afternoon and I absolutely LOVED it (probably because of all the fan service moments), but I understand why SOOOO many people are pissed. I loved Benedict Cumberbatch's performance (along with everyone else) but
Spoiler:
they should have cast a different actor to play Khan or otherwise make some attempt to explain WHY a guy with a clearly Indian name is so damn WHITE. I swear to Jesus they made BC even more pasty than he is in real life!

It's a good, super entertaining movie, but J.J. Abrams made a pretty terri-bad decision there. Which is a HUGE shame because that's going to follow him around for a LONG time. And I feel bad for BC because he's being blamed too. I suppose he could have quit after he found out, but that's asking a lot of any actor.

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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  whatthedeuce on Mon May 27, 2013 8:14 pm

Is this latest movie hard to follow if you haven't seen the first Abrams Star Trek?

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Re: Star Trek Movies

Post  laddical on Mon May 27, 2013 8:20 pm

Not at all. If you're familiar with Trek in general, there might be a few things that throw you off - why is Pike not all scarred up in a wheelchair, what the hell happened to Vulcan - but nothing in the first film is actually a prereq for this one.
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Re: Star Trek Movies

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