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Review

Riddick Me This: What’s Sexism Got to Do With Monsters?


It may surprise readers to learn this, but when I go to the movies, I still hold out hope that I will get what is advertised, whether it be an entertaining escape, a learning experience, a meaningful message, or enough explosives (or Kyrptonians) to take down a major city. But Hollywood continues to trip my internal alarms with its third installment of the Riddick series (if we are not including his forays into animated shorts or video games), starring the gravel-voiced Vin Diesel. What could have – and should have – been a good time with monsters, mercenaries, and R-rated gore is instead a motherload of sexist tropes and a weary third act. Tired yet? We’ve only just begun.

Riddick (full name Richard B. Riddick, which indeed sounds like a goofy school photo is hidden somewhere in his past) is having a bad day. Dumped on a backwater planet and left for dead by the antagonists from a previous film (the Necromongers), Riddick fights for survival and to find a way off the desert rock. The film does itself no favors with an opening half hour of its buff-and-tough big guy fighting creatures hand-to hand, amassing leather for clothing, and, no exaggeration, training a canine-like beast to be his loyal guard dog. The worst of the opening is probably the fact that this savage domesticity keeps better time than later sequences, which lack the tension of watching a protagonist down on his luck in the most extreme ways.

After chancing upon an empty way station for bounty hunters, Riddick activates the distress beacon to get ships to come to him. Undeterred by the reputation of the man they’re hunting, two mercenary crews show up armed to the teeth, and argue over who gets the chance to pull in the big catch. But everyone, including Riddick, has bigger problems coming, as an ominous raincloud moving overhead foretells danger for all.

The movie does little work to endear Riddick to watchers, despite his early, very literal, save the dog moment. Riddick may be an animalistic scoundrel, but he’s also the main character, and the movie needed to do more to actually make us root for his side. Riddick is utterly in control in the movie’s second half, playing a deadly game of hide-and-seek with the mercenaries and picking them off one by one. He’s so ruthlessly competent that it makes you feel a little sorry for the more upstanding merc team, even though they’re only here as creature bait. There were moments where I simply forgot who I was rooting for at all.

But I know precisely where Riddick lost me. At the near halfway point, the just-arrived mercenaries cut lose a female prisoner from their hold, citing an overage of weight if Riddick is captured. After implying physical abuse by the crew in her dialogue, she runs out of the ship, only to be gunned down by the nasty mercenary leader, Santana. He sneers that he’d gotten rather attached to her. An adult-rated villain who isn’t a closet rapist would be a stretch for Hollywood at this point, for the convention has reared its head in two of the last three recent releases I’ve seen.

There are other ways to make us dislike a bad guy, and the constant use of violence against women as emotional leverage for the audience is a cheap trick. Furthermore, in a film like Riddick, is narratively unnecessary. This isn’t forest spirits fighting Lady Eboshi, or even the X-Men fighting the Brotherhood of Mutants. Riddick isn’t going to Freaky Friday body swap with Head Evil Mercenary until they both learn a valuable lesson about seeing things from the other person’s perspective. We already know going in that the good guys are going to be good, and the bad guys are going to be bad. We’ve already been shown that these are evil bounty hunters who want to kill our hero and mistreat their prisoners. We don’t need rape and rape threats to be added to the equation, and when they are all that it really communicates to an audience is that women should expect to be raped and threatened with rape regardless of whether they are secondary characters or main character ass-kicking badasses. To put it another way: no matter how many skills or qualities you share with male heroes, the fact of your gender will always loom larger in the eyes of your opponents and cause them to think you are a sex toy.

Which brings me to how the introduction of Santana neatly coincided with the beginning of a steady stream of sexist commentary regarding Katee Sackhoff’s character. Sackhoff’s inclusion in the mix, as a tough mercenary (from a different group) named Dahl (unfortunately, it makes it sound like everyone is calling her “doll”), was a large reason I leapt at the chance to do this review. However, the constant negative references to her gender (even if they are by the “bad mercenaries,” as explained above) not to mention a specialty feature I will get to in a moment, started to make me wish she wasn’t there at all. The commentary – and in one instance, a physical assault, which the camera cuts away from so the viewer is unsure as to what has happened at first – includes direct and vague rape threats and aggressive, sexualized barbs, several of them delivered by Riddick himself.

And speaking of Dahl and Riddick’s interactions, though she all but declares that she’s a lesbian at the midway mark of her appearance, a detail that was as fascinating as it was curious, any points the movie gains for this revelation are rescinded as events play out. For, after enduring sexualized threats to her person for the whole of the film, Dahl has a moment at the end where she practically invites Riddick to bed, as per his crude prediction. Because a guy systematically and mercilessly killing off the team you are on is enough to turn any lesbian to him, right? As nonsensical as it is blatantly offensive, this piece of juvenile imagining doesn’t need to be there, yet somehow is.

Exercising these offensive tropes has zero to do with the plot, or the action of Riddick. It adds nothing, and distracts from the otherwise somewhat interesting, sometimes darkly humorous, goings-on. This means that the movie, like so many others, is going out of its way to lay down bad track. It expressively tells an entire section of viewers that this is not for them to enjoy, and never was. Riddick aims hard for its perceived young male demographic, outlining a snarling power fantasy that lacks real legs. In doing so, it misses an opportunity to be a fun, bloody mess that all fans of the genre could enjoy. Those sexist comments, like Sackhoff’s “turn”, are there because someone – the writer, a producer, the director – thought they should be there, that it would contribute something to the general proceedings. Instead, in a movie where people get eviscerated onscreen for our viewing pleasure, the moment that Dahl hits on Riddick during the weird, warm-hearted sendoff at film’s close, was the thing that had me recoiling in disgust.

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  • http://www.snipe.net snipe

    “I leapt at the change to do this review” should probably be ” I leapt at the chance to do this review”. (You can delete this comment – just wanted to let you know about the typo.)

  • Samuel

    I had been hoping that Dahl’s question to Riddick would be “Do you have a sister?”
    I am disappoint.

  • Kamil Kukowski

    So… not only we get a step-beck in eents to Pitch black, but we also get plot-irrelevant rape and sexism? good thing I wasn’t able to go to the mvoies last week

  • Jen Roberts

    Thank you for summing it all up better than I could possibly have. I just told all my friends that it was crap. Most of my conversation with my husband on the way out of the theater was, “Y’know what I hated the most? X.” followed by, two minutes later, “No, no, what I hated most was Y.” over and over again. There were so many things to dislike about this movie, and I say this as someone who enjoyed the previous two movies.

  • Anonymous

    Not the first time I’m saying this, unfortunately but it seems that Sackhoff needs to learn how to pick her parts better. Starbucks turned on her wing, sure, but first the terrible Longmire and now this? Sometimes being a woman running around with guns is just not good enough.

  • Carly Hunter

    So sad pitch black is one of my fav movies guess ill leave off watching it until it comes out on video

  • Ancientharp

    Guh. Why are they even releasing crap like this? Is the lowest common denominator that prevalent and endowed with cash that it’s a great way to make money? Really? I’m not going to bother going to see anything until I see a review. Heck. I might just skip going to theatres entirely.

  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    Spoilers.

    A known and cheap device (in movies, books, etc.) used to illustrate how a bad guy is REAL BAD GUY, is that the bad guy will kill a dog. Santana does this twice… only the first “dog” wasn’t a dog, but a woman, and a sex slave at that. Her sole purpose in the flick was to show us just how bad a guy Santana was.

    And to make matters worse, the ACTUAL DOG Santana kills, Riddick’s dog, was given a little doggie character arc for the first third of the movie, where we see the dog’s personality, the dog bonds with Riddick, etc., while the woman got only a couple lines of exposition before being gunned down. So not only was a woman reduced to the role and purpose of a dead dog, the actual dog in the movie got a better writing than she did.

  • Anonymous

    That’s god awful writing indeed. It seems to me, from the trailer that this was pretty much a rehashing of Pitch Black, was it?

  • Elizabeth Briggs

    Agreed, the sexism in this movie killed it for me. It’s like that “strong woman” article recently. This movie kept trying to shove it in our face that Dahl (the token female character) was a “strong” woman, like they were so proud of themselves for having one that they needed to remind us of it constantly. Then they give her a pointless nude scene, have our hero sexually harass her nonstop, and have her fall for him for no reason at all. Disgusting.

  • Pomfelo

    I agree 100% with everything said in this review. What worries me is that the strong opening weekend will lead to more Riddick films (and the like).

  • Samuel

    The dog deserved better than to be a sacrifice to give Riddick a revenge-boner. If they were gonna kill the dog, dog shoulda died heroically taking out one or more of the monsters.

  • Jen Roberts

    It was, pretty much. It reminded me of well-written but poorly plotted and executed (and needlessly sexist) Pitch Black fanfiction.
    And I loved Pitch Black, but I was kind of hoping for something else. Pitch Black gave us sci-fi horror, Chronicles of Riddick was Conan in Spaaaaaaaaaaace; I would’ve liked to have seen this been another variant/combo genre. Ideally, since they bookend this film with mentions of it, a nice quest film as Riddick searches for Furya, his homeworld.

    But no, instead we got Pitch Black 2: Sexist Boogaloo.

  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    Pitch Black was a great movie. Radha Mitchell’s character Carolyn, was a whole character with her own arc neatly intertwined with Riddick’s, just as interesting, and in my opinion, more important than Riddick’s. This movie was all Riddick… but based on the Riddick we saw in Pitch Black (and even Chronicles), they got Riddick all wrong.

    They tried to take us back to some savage planet, missing the point of why it worked so well in Pitch Black. They messily did away with all the events of Chronicles (am I supposed to believe that Riddick would blindly shuttled off to some random planet with no insurance against Vaako?), and then gave us a couple hours of tired tropes and called it a movie.

    So yeah, I was a bit disappointed.

  • Anonymous

    I was a little bewildered why they set up such an interesting sci-fi universe in Chronicles, only to go back to the planet survival thing in this movie. It’s not just sexist, it’s boring. Uncreative.

  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    Perhaps the only thing they got right was by having just a little taste of the whole “Conan in Space” angle. Johns’ mercs were all wearing very Roman Empire-esque body armor, which worked perfectly. It looked great! Shame about the rest of the movie being shit, though.

  • Lauren CR

    I agree and I am so disappointed by all these things as I loved the first 2 Riddick films. Ividia Kt, I also thought that, as per the 2 previous films, Riddick would never hurt women and children, so to hear him being sexually aggressive towards Dahl was a bit upsetting. I’ve always seen Riddick as a kind of big friendly giant- sorts out the bad guys but protects the vulnerable and innocent.

    What disturbs me more however is that, as I understand it, Vin Diesel was heavily involved in the production of this film so I’m thinking why did he allow all this crap to get in?! Don’t like to think of Vin as the kind of person that would think that sexist rubbish is ok :(

  • https://twitter.com/adamhowardcross Adam Cross

    I’m glad I read this before having to watch it myself. As much as it pains me as a man, as much as I hate sinking into my seat and covering my eyes and cringing on behalf of everyone in the theatre, I can’t imagine what it’s like for a women to have to sit through this kind of garbage. And the Riddick franchise has always had such promise to me, it has the potential to be huge – yet they bring it down to “dumped on planet, fights bad guys, sexism, misogyny, violent threats and inferred rape, turns lesbian”. I am disappointed as a man, I’m disappointed as a lover of sci-fi and overall cinephile. just, disappointed.

  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    I’m not a big fan of Chronicles, compared to Pitch Black. I preferred Riddick as an “out-for-himself” anti-hero where Chronicles seemed determined to make him a do-good champion. It doesn’t fit, I think… but Chronicles was still decent. The setting doesn’t matter to me as much as the characters, and they’ve totally dismantled everything that made Riddick great.

  • Jen Roberts

    It kinda felt to me like they decided they needed Pitch Black 2 but they’d saddled Riddick with ruling the Necromongers in the last film, so they had to deal with that real quick and get it out of the way so they could go back to Pitch Black.
    And, like I said, I loved Pitch Black, but… well, I don’t think this is an instance where you can dip into that well twice. Part of what worked really well in Pitch Black was that Riddick was an unknown entity to pretty much everyone except Johns who turned out to be something of an unreliable source himself. And now we know Riddick (or we thought we did – as you mentioned above, this Riddick seems a lot different from the one we’ve come to know) so the formula breaks down.

  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    It’s as if Diesel and Twohy never really understood what made Pitch Black so good. I understand how some elements are serendipitous, but how do you not learn from that? It’s incredibly frustrating.

  • Anonymous

    There were a couple of interesting things going on in this movie that just got cut off by the third act in the most utterly unsatisfying ways.

    1–Riddick’s voiceover at the beginning very carefully omits explaining exactly how he got too civilized for the savagery, i.e., growing attached to Kyra and losing her. Obviously meant to be a subtext where he’s supposed to be trying to forget her, and trying to get away from being a good guy. Right there is an interesting theme. But by the middle of the second act there’s not even a bit of internal struggle with how he’s going to handle this, so that gets lost.

    2–The big plot twist in the second act–the ‘vengeful ____ chasing Riddick.’ (no spoilers, but it’s kinda dumb, guys) You can do interesting things here, because it’s arguable that Riddick’s decision to kill ____ in the first place was the point where he started to get civilized. You can tie that back into 1, and you can show that. THERE’S INTERESTING INTERNAL CONFLICT HERE. But that gets thrown aside in favor of smudging more dirt on that nice pretty looking badge, and going with the ‘you civilized people are actually the ones with no souls.’

    3–Dahl. OMG, all they needed to make that last scene work was for her to dead-pan at him, ‘well, two out of three predictions ain’t bad.’ For real, that was the line I was hoping for. So in my head that weird ending note is obviously her mocking him in a subtle way that he doesn’t get.

  • Lowprices

    I’m still reeling from the shock that anyone saw The Chronicles of Riddick and thought: “Yes. The world needs more of this crap.” The fact that it’s an irredeemable bag of shite does not surprise me at all. It’s a shame, because Pitch Black was a pretty good film. Really wish they’d just left it at that.

  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    I’m convinced Riddick’s intro voiceover was essentially reciting the pitch they submitted to the studio. In fact, I can see it all now…

    “Ya see, Riddick is this real savage guy but then he got a little too soft in Chronicles, so now we’re gonna take him back to the brutality!”
    “I like it. I always thought Riddick should have a dog. Can we get a dog in there?”
    “Sure, like a space dog? Ok. But you know, we’ve got a lot of really cool characters in here. We’re kinda mirroring Pitch Black the way that Lucas did with the prequels. It rhymes you know? We’ve got the dad of the bounty hunter from Pitch Black, we got this real ball-breaker chick, kinda like Radha Mitchell but tougher–”
    “Like a butch lesbian-type? I like it. Make her sexy, though.”

  • Jen Roberts

    “And make sure we see her tits at least once.”

  • Joanna

    It was like 3 teenage boys each collaborated their fan fictions to make this film. Fucking awful cinema. 1/10.

  • Anonymous

    Hey, hey. I’d like to think that my teenaged fan fictions are a little better than that. :( (spoiler: they aren’t)

  • Anonymous

    “Non-negotiable” — Twohy’s description of said nudity to Katee Sackhoff.

    (where’s an appropriately murderous frowny emoticon?)

  • Anonymous

    I’m worried that she got stuck in Typecasting hell. Oh, you played a Strong Woman once? With guns and fights? Well, guess what kind of movies you’re stuck in forever!

  • Jen Roberts

    Oh god. This inspired me to check out the Trivia on IMDB for this movie, which has this lovely bit:

    Keri Hilson auditioned for the role of Dahl. The role went to Katee Sackhoff but David Twohy was so impressed with Hilson’s charisma that wrote a small role for her in the film.

    In other words, “you’re sexy, I’ll put you into my movie as a raped prisoner who gets shot!” I’m sure she was thrilled.

  • Electrical Rat

    I was looking forward to this film so much, but this review pretty much killed any interest in it. What the fuck? I could deal with rape thretas from other guys, that’s okay, but despite Riddick being the friendly asshole, we learned from the two previous movies that it’s the kind of territory he’d never venture in.

    It’s sad, but well, I should’ve known things’d go bad the moment they abandonend the whole Underverse thing and went with Pitch Black 2.0. Could still have been fun, but noooo. :p
    So I guess it’s best to just do a rewatch of PB, Dark Fury and Chronicles instead of starting to hate a much beloved character because no one thought to say “Hey, what the fuck are you doing?”

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I liked the chance for the series to redeem itself after Chronicles, even though I loved it.

  • Anonymous

    In my anecdata I went to see it with two guys and two girls. (and at least one other girl and one other guy had expressed interest in it)

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I’m headwanking it that since the women Riddick tends to care about die, he’s now decided he will hate all women, so they can stay alive.

  • Anonymous

    “Ya see, Riddick is this real savage guy but then he got a little too
    soft in Chronicles, so now we’re gonna take him back to the brutality!”

    The more I think about this, the more I realize that’s the takeaway they got from the poor reception of Chronicles.

    Never mind that they did a genre-shift that was bound to alienate a lot of fans of the first movie. Never mind that they did things with beloved secondary characters that could be charitably interpreted as ‘fridging.’ No, it was because Riddick wasn’t brutal enough! That’s it!

  • Anonymous

    I admit that I liked the movie more than the reviewer and yet, there are very few things I disagree with in the review. I think my expectations were low enough for me to enjoy the film as a B-Movie.

    I have to add my voice to those who have been disappointed by Katee Sackhoff’s role in the film, thought. This seems more of a case of bad execution than a case of wrong intent, but it doesn’t change much to the end result. There were definitely attempts at making Dahl look badass but they were mostly just her beating up the would-be rapist. One, it was repetitive. Two, as previously mentionned, it’s been done way too many times before. You’re on a planet with a bunch of dangerous creatures, make her kill a goddamn monster! Also, that sexualisation of her was just wrong. For some characters, like Catwoman*, being sexy and badass works hand in hand but for others, like Ripley or FemShep, the least sexualised they are presented, the tougher they look. Sackhoff is made to play FemShep, not Catwoman.

    *Note: Nudity in a Catwoman film wouldn’t necessarily be a good idea either.

  • Patrick Holt

    Not sure how long ago it was broadcast, but she does a good job in the decent Western-ish police procedural series Longmire. She’s introduced as a strong, smart character, and the show doesn’t to obtusely remind us of that fact for no good reason. She just is, and that’s that; proceed with story. I think she’d do well to pursue a version of that character (regardless of genre), to the extent she has any influence over what she’s offered.

  • Samuel

    Well, Riddick was also wrong about Johns Sr. folding, so, technically Riddick was only right about one thing, Santana would die ten seconds after they took the chains off. Except as Dahl commented “that was 5 seconds.” Riddick’s just wrong on all counts.

  • Anonymous

    In all fairness, she’s probably not in a position to be that picky. For all its flaws, Riddick is the rare movie she made that managed to have a significant presence in theaters.

  • http://www.commonplacebook.com electrasteph

    Most of the “corrective rape” anti-gay violence directed at lesbians is fueled directly by this sort of “but I’m so awesome I can turn them” mindset that is constantly, repeatedly reinforced onscreen, so it doesn’t surprise me to see it again in a mainstream movie, although as always, it’s very disappointing. This was the mindset of they guy who raped me 18 years ago – sad to see nothing has changed.

    Who are the writers of this dreck? I want to know whose work to avoid in the future.

  • Anonymous

    Liking your point. Hating the culture that makes it mainstream.

  • rtuko

    What I wrote in my own review after I saw this movie: “Would be 1000% better with more Karl Urban and if 90% of dialogue involving Katee Sackhoff wasn’t about either raping her or having sex with her.”

  • Ryan Colson

    I’m not a Riddixpert… but isn’t he a bad guy?

  • Anonymous

    Dear guys: Your penis is not a magic wand, and it will never be sufficient to turn lesbians into lusty straight women with a sudden love of make-up and tight dresses. If you need convincing, please go to the garden, hollow a hole in a pumpkin, and start magicking away. If you can change that into a lusty straight woman, I’ll consider amending my claim.

  • Anonymous

    You know, that brings up a question I have. Why don’t more straight men protest depictions like this? If the baddie had been raping and threatening to rape another male character, LGBT folks would quite rightly complain that, since we have few depictions in media anyway, we shouldn’t be demonized in that way. Do straight men have so many depictions in pop culture that they don’t feel the pressure to fight against such representation?

  • LifeLessons

    Thanks for this wonderful review!! I will link to it when I write about Riddick in my blog Chick Flicking Reviews. Everything was spot on and you said better than I could.
    For me the real disappointment was that in Pitch Black the women were INTERESTING. They had character arcs and motivations beyond just being the women in the movie. So cool! I although thought it was amazingly gutsy to have menstruation be a character’s plot arc. A bold choice.
    Which is why, again, I was so disappointed in “Riddick” even if parts of it were fun.

  • Anonymous

    Don’t forget, in some zombie movies women can get raped by the zombies! And then also eaten by zombies.

    At least Firefly’s raping flesh-eating monsters seemed to rape men and women equally.

  • http://runt.org/ Adrian

    Yep. That’s privilege, in a nutshell.

  • Anonymous

    :((( I was so excited to see this.

  • Anonymous

    Some days I could just weep for American culture. Hurry up, end times, because I don’t know how much more I can take!

  • Samuel

    She also did well in Season 8 of 24, good character, despite being that season’s mole (there’s always a mole *rolls eyes*)

  • http://www.commonplacebook.com electrasteph

    Ugh, though. That’s such a stereotype, too, that all lesbians want to be mommies, or want guys for their sperms. Believe me, if artificial insemination and adoption were not options, I would just not have kids. Because I would not go to bed with a guy even for that. Kinsey 6, here.

  • Lauren CR

    His SISTER let him put that shit in one of his films?! Dam, if I was his sister he’d be getting a talking to just for suggesting it…

  • Samuel

    There you go. Riddick should have hit on Johns and/or Santana the whole time. (Rule 34/35 Riddick/Johns Sr. Slash-fiction just became a reality).

    But basically, yeah, Riddick kinda lost it for me in this one, but there’s other straight white cis male characters out there that I can identify with that aren’t dicks to women.

  • Anonymous

    I think they assume it has no bearing on how they’re perceived.

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, see, no, actually.

    It was kinda-sorta the point of the whole first movie. And the whole second movie.

  • Jen Roberts

    …okay now I kinda want to read Riddick/Johns Sr. slash fic… DO YOU SEE WHAT YOU’VE DONE?!

  • Samuel

    I feel as if I am in the same boat as you, except I watched it first screening opening night, in IMAX.
    I got to cringe through a lot of the sexist garbage, and cringe even more as the 3/4′s male audience laughed and thought it was awesome. FFS
    =(

  • Mariah Huehner

    The thing is, while the role is problematically written, the film was #1. Which elevates Sackhoff’s profile which means she has more bankability, which offers better roles. The unfortunate thing in Hollywood is that, especially for women, unless you’re in films that are financially successful, it’s difficult to even be considered for the better roles. And if you want any kind of sustainable career you need to be visible in “big” films. So regardless of the issues with the film and character, career wise this was a completely justifiable move. Film and TV are extremely fickle, so roles that pay well and offer you high visibility are sometimes the smarter choice, even if the character is troped out. It’s a matter of practicality and wanting to be around for awhile.

    Plus, although I love Sackhoff, she isn’t a “conventional” female lead type for Hollywood. Which I consider a plus, but in that business, can be really difficult when it comes to what you’re offered.

  • Samuel

    I’m sure it wouldn’t take much in the way of creative editing to turn Riddick’s prediction around to be about being him and Johns with Dahl watching/filming. “Because she asked to, all sweet like.”

  • Samuel

    Another little bit of poor writing, Vaako shuttled off Riddick so that he could be Lord Marshall, but Chrome (or w/e his name is) got the kill on Riddick so technically Chrome is Lord Marshall, not Vaako.

  • Ruby Dynamite

    Exactly. This. All of this.

    Weirdly, even though Riddick was very much on the anti-hero side of the fence in the first two movies, he did have a very equanimitable way of looking at things. Because, like you said, he did go after *everybody* equally — he had no problems fighting the bounty hunter or even giving Fry a good body slam at one point in Pitch Black and holding a knife to her throat. Riddick didn’t care what kinda parts you had — if you threw a punch at him, he was going to defend himself — and him defending himself was what it was all about. He was very amoral and animalistic in that sense — pure id, looking to protect itself at all costs.

    I know a lot of people didn’t care for Chronicles, but I absolutely adored it. I don’t really get why people are all ‘space opera? dfq?’ about it – I mean, the entire universe is set in a future where there are other inhabited planets and humans do have interaction with the inhabitants of those planets. I really loved getting a chance to find out more about Riddick’s Furyan upbringing and really would like to see more of that in the next one. But, as mentioned, with Kyra — much like with Fry, he cared about her deeply and, in Riddick’s mind, that caring manifests itself as protection. Whether that protection comes in the form of helping Fry get through the pyramidhead pterodactyl thingies gauntlet or dropping Jack off on a safe planet somewhere. As long as they were away from him, he figured, they’d be okay, but not everybody has Riddick’s ingrained sense of survival. Kyra learned, but she learned the hard way.

    In the first two films, Riddick always struck me as very equal-opportunity ass-kicker. He’d beat your ass whether you were a woman or a man, BUT — if he happened to be fighting a woman, the violence wouldn’t be sexualized or more/less intense just because he was fighting a woman. Because, to be honest, violence has always been portrayed as a sort of modified sensuality for Riddick. Just look at his encounter with Kyra in Chronicles, where he pins her against the wall and she nicks his cheek with the razor blade held between her teeth. That’s her showing off some classic Riddick moves, right there — not enough to do permanent damage, but just enough to leave a mark, however temporary. Sort of like when Riddick cuts off a lock of Fry’s hair in the first movie and sniffs it. Basically harmless, but with a weird sort of perverse playfulness and curiosity to it.

    But yeah, after loving the first two movies so much and seeing so much hay being made about the sexism in this one, I’m almost afraid to go and see it. I’ve heard people saying that the film is camping it up for the fans, but like the article itself said – douchebros and teenage boys aren’t the only ones who love Riddick. I’ve been fascinated with his character ever since Pitch Black and it’s really disappointing to hear about what they’ve done to him in this one. :/

  • Anonymous

    You may be right in your opinion. The movie might be sexist. But who knows maybe it’s not the movies but only the characters? And maybe she’s smart enough to tell herself, that she may better go into bed with him when he kills off the men in her team than ending like them? ;-9 Well, it definitely isn’t a film that had female viewers as it’s target audience.

    And yeah, it probably is a crude juvenile male fantasy for under-age boys. But I just wonder how your review for “Goldfinger” (1964) would read? ;-9

  • Anonymous

    “Friendly asshole”? Well, from the first film I do remember he was labelled a “serial killer”? They must have toned him down (but it already started in the second film).

  • Anonymous

    Well, no one notices that Dahl is actually the first major female character surviving a Riddick movie? I know it’s only a very small step forward but… ;-9

  • Jen Roberts

    One step forward and a LOT of steps back. Also, Jack survived the first one. And, frankly, I’d rather be Fry than Dahl after seeing how the movies treat them.

  • Anonymous

    Actually, if you look more closely he was until around the middle of the second film portrayed as a complete arrogant egotist who used to help others only mainly because it served his own interests. Watch the films again, your memory is obviously cheating you.

  • Anonymous

    Jack wasn’t the major female character in the first movie.

  • Jen Roberts

    Not *the* major female character but she was a major female character, especially given how much Riddick seemed to care about her. And the fact that Dahl survives isn’t as important as the way the movie treats her.

  • Anonymous

    In one of the articles I read about this film, Katee actually said that Dahl actually just pretends to be a lesbian so that she’s taken seriously and that there was a history between her and Johns. Not that this excuses a single thing about the movie, and in fact makes some things worse, but I thought that was an interesting point.

  • Anonymous

    Read my first sentence again. I wrote “the” not “a”.

    My point is that (and actually I hate to explain things that with a little bit of thinking are absolutely self-explanatory): These films are per se sexist because they don’t allow the strong female main character to survive. Because these films are mainly a Vin Diesel “you shall admire no other than me” macho show very much like most of Schwarzenegger macho shows of the 80s.

    And your last sentence indicates that you didn’t understood why I used a smiley after “step”. These films don’t really care for equal-righted presentation. Only in a fake manner by having the only woman who might be a female equivalent / competitor / partner for Riddick dying in the end.

    I really hate it to explain a smiley. Really. And no, Dahl surviving is NO step at all in any direction. Therefore the smiley. That’s called irony. Expect her to die in the next movie. I’m serious.

    The Riddick films (all of them) are in my opinion more or less enjoyable garbage. And no, they are political not correct. Who say’s they have to? Neither were (random pick) “Goldfinger”, “The silence of the lambs” or “Basic Instinct”. Those expecting that should rather avoid movies like “Riddick”.

    That being said I can understand those who saw and loved Katee Sackhoff in “Battlestar Galactica” where she was allowed to play such a free-spirited independent character and is now reduced to this. But you know, it’s not really that they forced her with a gun on her head to play in this movie (at least I hope not! ;-9).

    In anyway, maybe this movie opens up other better roles for her in the future. I would wish her that.

  • Jen Roberts

    Sorry – to me that smiley looks like it’s licking its lips, which seems an odd emotion to relay.

    Your argument is that she survives and that’s a step forward. MY argument is that it’s far more sexist to treat her the way she is treated; that both “the major female character” and Riddick himself are reduced by this movie; that simply surviving IS NOT ENOUGH. You’re not addressing my argument at all, simply restating yours.

    No one says a movie has to be political or correct. But no one says I have to enjoy it when it’s this bad. And I agree that that people who would rather see female characters well written and well treated should avoid Riddick entirely.

  • Ana KH

    Yes to #1 and #2 – I enjoyed the movie but they left a whole lot of potential untapped, storywise.

    As for #3… I was primed going in to see the movie by reviews to expect a “convert the lesbian” gross storyline. The final scene and comment seemed to be the moment everyone was talking about, but as I was complaining about it in the parking lot the person I’d seen the movie with, who hadn’t been exposed to any reviews or spoilers, disagreed with me and had interpreted that entire final bit as her mocking him while she saved his ass – their interpretation was that Dahl and Riddick somewhat understood each other by the end but that nothing sexual or romantic actually happened between them.

    Just adding some evidence that the end you wished for may have been intended, just not communicated clearly enough.

  • Anonymous

    “Your argument is that she survives and that’s a step forward.” NO! This is exactly not my argument. Therefore the smiley. There’s no step forward at all in these films. Do I really have to explain the concept of irony. These films don’t move forward in the representation of women. There attitude is terribly backwards and they definitely refuse to develop at all.

    I didn’t address your argument as it didn’t contradict my opinion at all. But if you want my opinion: Yes, of course the presentation of a female character in a genre film matters. But I already scratched my head at the misogyny of the two previous movies of killing the most interesting female characters. In a way that’s just like in these old (or not so old) Bond movies where people where talking of female roles as the “obligatory sacrificial lamb”. Is a misguided treatment of a female character worse than killing her of? I don’t know. I don’t value that. Actually, I’m not interested in Vin Diesel at all. I would have prefered to see a Sci-Fi actioner with Katee Sackhoff as THE leading character and the only reason to watch this garbage is for me her being in it.

    In a year where there were (differently to 2011 and 2012) no action films with a female lead at all, one lowers his personal expectations and sits through films like this, “Man of Steel” or “Percy Jackson 2″ because they were so friendly to include a female character at all. Doesn’t speak so well for the Hollywood of 2013.

  • rtuko

    what even is this illogical response?

    1. These are FICTIONAL characters and thus all hidden motivations and thought processes can only be hypothesized, and must be taken at face value as written. And it was badly written, and Dahl’s entire function was to serve as a sexual object. And even if the target audience was not female (which I’d argue with) that does not excuse the rampant sexism and threats of rape prevalent throughout the entire movie.

    2. ….I can’t believe this has to be said, but a movie made in 1964 has VERY different ideas about women and female empowerment than a movie made in 2013, no matter who the target audience is. And I question that you seem to think that sexism and rape is okay in certain contexts, with certain groups of people.

  • Anonymous

    In favor of that interpretation–’keep it warm for me,’ indicating they haven’t actually done the deed.

    I want to believe that it was a mocking, playful bit.

    But it’s hard to read it that way with everything else that went down. (specifically, since Riddick was present for the rape attempt on Dahl, him going straight to ‘balls-deep’ is so, so, so very wrong)

  • Anonymous

    1. Agree mainly. But a film can be anything. It does not have to excuse for anything. It does not even have to have sympathetic characters. Or attitudes one agrees with. It can be an absolute insult for a thinking liberale democratic being. Audiences today are too much accustemed that a films is made to be liked because it provides attitudes one agrees with or serve main characters one like to identify with. (Actually, I would be very concerned with someone who identifies with Riddick.)

    2. Actually, people complained about the sexism in “Goldfinger” in 1964. But sensitivities are today stronger that they used to be in the 60s to the end of the 80s, I agree with that.

    And yes, I do think “that sexism and rape is okay in certain contexts” for example in films such as “The girl with the dragon tattoo” or “Irreversible” who have an intended socio-critical or psychological theme or aspect. I don’t think they are “okay” for “entertainment purposes” if that is what you were intending to indicate.

  • Ana KH

    I really feel like we were cheated by them cutting away from the rape attempt. We know how it started, and we know how it ended (lots and lots of Santana’s blood on the floor) but without seeing what Riddick saw in hiding we’re left assuming the worst with regard to context for his comment.

    The comment could be interpreted as a dig at Santana, if Riddick watched Dahl easily beat the everloving crap out of him – basically saying, “I’m more of a man than you because SHE will ask ME”, but again the dialogue and delivery doesn’t make it clear, and we’re left assuming the worst based on what we weren’t shown.

  • Anonymous

    My big problem with Longmire is that she always ends up being in a position to be saved or to passively stand around while the old white dude does everything.

    And she’s the love interest in the book so…

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    Kyrptonians.

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    The good ones are more outraged at the sexism, and the bad ones just think it’s cool.

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    What is “headwanking?” Is that… like, just the tip?

  • Anonymous

    Thank you for writing this review. I saw Riddick yesterday super pissed they turned Starbuck into a walking, talking rape joke through the whole movie.

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    Was Kruger threatening to rape Frey? I thought the come-ons were just his delusional idea of courtship?

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    Eents?

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    Well said. What’s the solution, though? To humanize and normalize rapist characters? Or to never mention rape in fiction?

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    Please title your review: “Riddick Pulls Sick Trick That Makes Chicks Go ‘Ick.’ What a Dick.”

  • http://wrongsirwrong.blogspot.com/ Magic Xylophone

    Well, the guy who thought that was the star of the movie, so you can see where he’s coming from.

  • Carmen Sandiego

    It was a definite threat.

  • Erin Treat

    Exactly. Same here. This cliche is everywhere in pop culture. Even as we have better lesbian representation in terms of numbers, we don’t necessarily have less of the tropes and stereotypes. The Chicago Fire Leslie Shay baby storyline is a good recent example.

    The best lesbian/bi representation on US TV right now is Pretty Little Liars and then The Fosters both on ABC Family amazingly enough. But most other shows elsewhere are still very hit and miss.

  • Alissa Knyazeva

    Even if HE wasn’t, his buddy certainly did – quite explicitly. Just so we could give Matt Damon a reason to get angry.

  • Erin Treat

    Interesting. But if all these people could watch it and miss that about her then it doesn’t really work I don’t think. That may have been how she justified it in her head, but if it’s not something that’s clear in the movie then it doesn’t count for anything and the damage is still done.

  • Foxfire

    Shopping List – 10 Pumpkins.

    (It might take some practice to get the spell right).

    [This post made purely for the hilarious image of the look on the store persons face when I tell them why I need so many pumpkins. I wholeheartedly apologise if I get the wrong tone and it comes off as offensive as it's not meant to be.]

  • Ashe

    I’ll be right back. I need to go vomit violently all over the producers of this movie.

  • Ashe

    Lesbians aren’t ACTUALLY lesbians: they just need a good screw by the RIGHT man.

    And every single man thinks they’re the RIGHT man.

    And that sexuality can be ‘fixed’ by their magical penis.

    And…headdesk.

  • Anonymous

    I SO dislike this reviewer’s take on “Riddick”, not so much of her critique of the film itself, but rather her desire to nitpick the tropes presented as a round-about criticism of the film’s inherent sexism. As a film goer, my role is to observe how the plot unfolds, as depicted by the producers of the film. If the film fails, it may be because of the “out-of-character” nature of the characters presented, or if there are plot holes based upon elements that are not resolved at the conclusion of the story. I would rather have the film reviewer not project herself as a “female reviewer”, since that, to me, is a form of sexism (or “anti-sexism”?), implying that the film producers went out of their way to purposely produce a sexist film. Granted, this website is geared towards the “fangirl” community, but film reviews should not assume that the readers of these reviews are only fangirls.

  • Anonymous

    I SO dislike this reviewer’s take on “Riddick”, not so much of her critique of the film itself, but rather her desire to nitpick the tropes presented as a round-about criticism of the film’s inherent sexism. As a film goer, my role is to observe how the plot unfolds, as depicted by the producers of the film. If the film fails, it may be because of the “out-of-character” nature of the characters presented, or if there are plot holes based upon elements that are not resolved at the conclusion of the story. I would rather have the film reviewer not project herself as a “female reviewer”, since that, to me, is a form of sexism (or “anti-sexism”?), implying that the film producers went out of their way to purposely produce a sexist film. Granted, this website is geared towards the “fangirl” community, but film reviews should not assume that the readers of these reviews are only fangirls.

  • Lien

    You made a comment complaining the author focuses her anger on the sexist trope… on an article whose main subject is about the sexist trope, where the first paragraph explain she is here just to talk only about the sexist trope, in a website that always pointed out sexist tropes and by an author who is respected by this website’s community for pointing out sexist tropes… then you act surprised the entire review is about the trope and called her article a “form of sexism” while lecturing her on how to make a proper review so she won’t offend people who aren’t “fangirls”.

    I’m guessing you must be new here.

  • Lien

    Still though, lesbian or not, it still rubs me in the wrong way that a character who had no motivation to sleep with anyone, ended up sleeping with the protagonist cause… well i’m guessing, he’s too awesome for her not to go snoo snoo with him.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    That is making up your own story to fit the holes in a story.

    Also called fanwank.

  • Anonymous

    “Granted, this website is geared towards the “fangirl” community, but
    film reviews should not assume that the readers of these reviews are
    only fangirls.”

    Hmm. There’s something in there, some assumption… what could it be… some assumption about the average watcher, and the wealth of reviews available that are catering to the male view/male gaze… it’s teasing at my mind, but I just can’t quite put my finger on it…

    That’s okay. Still way closer to the point than you got.

  • Patrick Holt

    Ah — I guess I’m only about halfway through the series (TV, not book), so I don’t really know what I’m talking about. Still, those first few episodes did right by her, hooray! Or something.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Yeah, the legions of women fans(I know more women that are fans than men) who were attracted to incredible well rounded characters like Fry and Jack/Kyra, and fun villains like Dame Vaako(she was one dimensional, but she was fun), can just go stuff it.

  • Anonymous

    It’s a power fantasy. “Be the hero, get the girl”.

    The girl’s wishes have nothing to do with it.

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    *sighs* The OP is so wrong on this I fear she was watching a completely different movie in her head.

    Yes the “Woman suffers to establish male villain’s evilness” trope is WAY overused, and generally needs to be given a rest, but like ANY problematic trope is not automatically wrong or bad just because it was used AT ALL. And given that pretty much NO ONE not ALREADY a Riddick fan is going to go see this, they didn’t need to establish his character. 95% of this movie’s audience already knows it.

    And that audience knows Riddick has a very special distaste for men who hurt women. So while the trope itself is tired, problematic, and overused, it’s use HERE actually works effectively. Straw feminists who decry something SOLELY because it exists at all do a disservice to the discussion of WHY something is problematic and needs to change or evolve. Sexism is a far more complex subject than the reviewer here is making it out to be, and if the movie lost her solely because it employed a trope that DOES in fact work effectively as a plot device IF IT IS DONE RIGHT, as it was here? Then I feel sorry for her inability to look past a flaw to see the bigger picture.

    The reason this trope exists to begin with is because it’s REAL. It’s PALPABLE. It ACTUALLY HAPPENS. I’m a rape survivor. When the trope is played badly and just seems gratuitous, yes, that will annoy me. When it’s done right? It’s visceral, and it draws me in and makes me just want to see that villain suffer more.

    In my own personal case, I’m a survivor of a particularly brutal gang rape followed by three months of nightly rape. Suffice it to say it fucked my head up for the past two plus decades, and I am VERY sensitive to the the subject of rape. I’ve had ragefests about Daniel Tosh and Robin Thicke and their gutless promotion of Rape Culture, that I happily and readily call out Rape Culture and Rape Jokes wherever I see them.

    So with that in mind, consider the weight of my words as I say this; No, Riddick
    did NOT make a Rape joke/threat towards Katie Sackhoff’s character Dahl in this movie, nor was the movie sexist or promoting Rape Culture.

    Allow me to explain why.

    Yes, taken out of context, there are three moments in the final act of the film that could be construed as problematic. Two that I can understand could easily be seen as rape culture, and one that could be seen as heterosexist. But ONLY out of context.

    IN context they are nothing of the kind. I’ll dissect them one by one.

    Spoilers Ahoy.

    First of all, anyone familiar with the character of Riddick himself knows the character is pretty much asexual. He’s never shown any real sexual interest in any gender, aside of psyching people out to get under their skin. And he’s been an equal opportunity psycher outer, but never overtly sexual. With Riddick it’s always just getting close enough to make someone uncomfortable then saying something intentionally unnerving to put them off-balance. Then a sly charming smile as he backs off to go fuck with someone else’s head. Keep this in mind as I dissect the three moments.

    1) The shower scene.

    It’s perfectly reasonable to assume a man secretly watching a woman shower is an example of rape culture, of him violating her privacy, violating her boundaries. If I was unfamiliar with the character and saw this scene out of context that’s exactly what I would assume was going on here. But IN context, this is not a woman to Riddick. This is just another member of two crews of mercenaries here to capture or kill him.

    And she’s not the only one he spies on. He waits til each of them are alone
    and watches from the shadows to gauge what he’s dealing with, and in Dahl’s case, get something he needs; her compact mirror. He tests to see how alert each one is, measures them up, figures out how much of a threat they are. Once he had her mirror he left, and she never even knew he was there. Granted the fact that she was naked in the shower males the scene more uncomfortable, but from Riddick’s viewpoint he doesn’t care that it’s a naked woman, only that she’s alone and distracted and easier to access as a potential threat. Out of context? Creepy as fuck. IN context? Strategic tactics.

    2) The “Rape Threat”.

    Riddick, now captured and in chains, starts the psychological warfare. He starts winding up the Mercs, mostly by being honest and funny. He smiles, cracks jokes, and matter-of-factly tells the character who killed his dog how and when he’s going to kill him. But what he says to Dahl is what the reviewer takes issue with. But she is flat out wrong. He looks at her and smiles and says in a joking tone, “Who knows, maybe I’ll even end up balls deep in Dahl over there.” This is NOT a threat to rape her. He clearly doesn’t say it as a threat to harm her. He says it in an intentionally standoffish joking tone to let her know he IS no threat to her if she respects him. When she laughs and replies she’s not going to straddle him in front of the other mercs, he smiles again and asks her “What if I kill them all first?”. Again, out of context this might appear as him saying “I’ll kill everyone else then fuck you against your will”, but the dialogue as written has him CLEARLY posing it as a hypothetical “If there’s no audience would you like to?” His wording never once implies any threat or joke about forcing himself upon her. He’s already seen her beat up one character for ACTUALLY TRYING to rape her, (Something the reviewr neglects to mention, though despite the fact that the attempted rapist is the ONLY merc who gives her any grief I’m puzzled by her claim of Dahl getting verbal abuse from EVERYONE. Projecting a bit methinks), he respects her, he knows she’s strong and tough and he respects that. He’s not cracking a joke or making a threat that he will force sex upon her, he’s letting her know she’s respected by cracking a joke about impressing HER to the point that she might ALLOW it. He never intones that they WILL have sex whether she likes it or not, NEVER
    tells her he’ll take her by force, and NEVER suggests she has no agency in the matter. Hell, he never even says it WILL happen in the way he says Santana WILL die. All he does is let HER know she’s not on his shit list by making her laugh, because he knows she knows how a rapist ACTUALLY behaves. IN the context of what has already happened in the movie so far, he’s telling her in a way he knows she’ll understand, “I like you, you’ve got balls, if you don’t fuck with me, I won’t kill you.”

    3) The Straddle

    At the end, the surviving Mercs keep their word and rescue Riddick, via Dahl being lowered from a dropship on a cable to retrieve Riddick from a cliff. This is the other big “Oh this sexism moment ruined the movie WAAAH!” moment the reviewer is decrying.

    Ever seen a hiker or mountain climber rescued by helicopter in real life? Yeah, the straddling is the default physical action for making sure the rescue target is secure before pulling them up. It allows the rescuER to keep them stable while they attach the ropes or cables or harness to the one they’re rescuing.

    I’ve read some folks getting upset because they think this scene is saying “Riddick is so manly he woo’d the lesbian”. There are two problems with that.

    One is that while it’s heavily hinted at, it’s never outright confirmed that Dahl is a lesbian. She rebuffs the advances of other Mercs by saying “I don’t fuck
    men. I sometimes fuck them UP, but I don’t fuck them”. This doesn’t necessarily mean she’s a lesbian though. She could be celibate, or she could be blowing off the creepy guy’s advances with a not so thinly veiled threat. Or she could indeed be a lesbian, but it’s never confirmed, or even really focused on. It’s one line out of her entire performance directed at a creep making sleazy comments towards her.

    Secondly, when she’s straddling Riddick to attach the rescue cable and get him off the cliff, she never says or does anything sexual towards him. She’s openly laughing at the irony that his joking prediction came true and she did in fact end up straddling him. Neither make any move to kiss each other, they both just share a laugh over the sheer black comedy of the moment. He only even puts a hand on her hip to steady himself when she pulls him back up to the ship. There’s nothing at all sexual about their interaction here. He’s impressed her on a sheer level of earning badass respect as she previously had to him, and this moment is a show of mutual respect, not sexual tension. Riddick is, again, asexual and without any noticeable gender bias. Everyone is equal to him until they do something to either show they’re a potential threat to be respected and dealt with carefully, or to be no threat at all and dispatched or ignored. Neither character shows any real attraction to one another, only mutual respect.

    I’m sure some folks (and the OP) will disagree or argue my points. But I’m speaking from the position of a rape survivor who fights Rape Culture and sexism every single day. I can safely consider myself a reasonable expert about the subject. And I honestly think that the moments in Riddick that I admit I myself would see as supporting Rape Culture out of context? IN context it just doesn’t hold up. IN the context of THIS movie, the character involved, the mythology of the movie’s universe, and the backstory of the main character, no, there is no Sexism or Rape Culture promotion here. Not in my educated informed opinion. Not IN context. And that’s what the OP is missing; Context. Context matters and it DOES make a difference.

    There IS however one moment in the movie that DOES truly upset me. One cardinal rule of filmmaking this movie breaks.

    NEVER KILL THE DOG.

  • Lien

    And the saddest thing? I don’t recall that happening in pitch black, like ever! Why is Riddick the guy who “gets the girl in the end” all of a sudden? It’s like Zoe pointed it out in the article, was it REALLY needed?

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    “they don’t allow the strong female main character to survive”

    This is not a strike against them, IMO, and it doesn’t make them sexist. It’s understandable that strong capable women who face extra terrestrial monsters may die. None of the men have survived either. Holding women to this extra special standard of survival IS sexist, not women understandably dying while all the men are also dropping like flies.

    That’s WHY this films have such a wide(but apparently OVERLOOKED) women fan base, because it created believable women characters who acted like women, and didn’t treat them ANY different.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Ugh, that’s true but don’t get me started on that horrible idea they had for an episode where Inara when she’s kidnapped by Reavers, and she takes that rape poison you saw her contemplating when Early came aboard. They rescue her to find all the Reavers are dead. Also, afterwards, Mal actually starts treating her with some decency.

    *puke*

  • Mon

    The draw of fiction is enjoyable escapism. To never mention rape fits that bill. “But that’s not realistic!” . . . as if any of the physics or situations in these films are realistic; that’s rather the point. Rape as plot and as character development is lazy fucking writing.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I’m not going to discount your opinion of the movie, or how you’ve chosen to interpret it, but A) but don’t discount others opinions, they are no less valid, there is no ONE TRUE INTERPRETATION, and most of all B), don’t be disparaging, which is exactly what you’ve done to the reviewer here.

    You didn’t agree with the points of the article, and that was fine, but things like the “projection much?” and some of the other crap you directed to the reviewer personally is just as bad coming from a survivor as coming from a rape apologist,

  • Kamil Kukowski

    events

  • Kamil Kukowski

    well, the fact you cared more about a dog, than a tormented human being shows there is something wrong on both ends of the movie screen…

  • Kamil Kukowski

    for starters you should listen to this http://www.blogtalkradio.com/avoiceformen/2013/09/06/honey-badger-radio-rape-as-political-currency because that’s what you’re perpatrating. I don’t know about your personal opinion (let’s put your agenda aside) but in the media, I see a rapist as less than the lowliest of minions (and that’s as far as he could advance in the evil hierarchy); and let’s not blame the clothing choice (since the robe does not make the monk)… instead of typecasting the average male as a potential/active rapist, blame the indulgent authoritities unable to guarantee the enforcement of laws and punishments

  • Anonymous

    “Do you even go to this school?”
    “No… I just have a lot of feelings…”

  • Kamil Kukowski

    I understand the necromongers’ creed was “whatever you kill it’s yours” but that doesn’t explain the change in Riddick, unless he got rid of the Rid.

  • athenia45

    Reminds me of the Star Trek: Into the Darkness fisaco—they clearly removed the swear words, yet kept in the lady scientist in her underwear. Horrifying, indeed.

  • Jenna

    Spoilers…. that I’d feel bad about if the whole movie didn’t turn out to be a spoiler for the series for me. I doubt I’ll ever want anything to do with the series again.

    Left at the 3/4 mark because I just couldn’t deal with how overwhelmingly disappointed in the whole shebang I was. Held out through the terrible pacing. Gritted my teeth at the ‘let’s make the first shock kill be a woman who is portrayed as someone who has been repeated raped while chained (that was a biggie for me – fine, make folks REALLY hate the baddie. Ended up hating pretty much everyone. Pretty boy gets no pass for being horrified at the killing, he had a gun, if he thought it was awful, shoot the asshat before he rapes her on the ship. Don’t shoot – you deserve to die, no sympathy. And frankly? Kinda made me hate Riddick. The woman drops at his feet, dying but not dead. Yeah, he can’t save her… but he could reach her and stay safe. Stare at her, let her know she is gonna die alone… the whole POINT of Riddick is him constantly being ‘betrayed’ by his humanity, he needs to be the animal, but every time, the animal does the right thing. Standing there coldly and letting her die scared? No longer all that caring about his story.) and hoped it would mean a turn for Riddick to kick ass and rise above.

    Then Katee. If there was ever a sexual orientation version of blackface, she was it. All her character needed was a flannel shirt and a trucker hat to be “Lesbian in a box, collect all 4!” More teeth gritting. I hung in there (had to walk out for a moment, I’m a rape survivor, so yeah… a bit of a trigger there) when they decided to pull out the cheap lazy writer’s “Strong Woman’s Moment” ala the attempted rape. Don’t care she kicked his ass. It’s dear god the worn out crap all over again. I’m sick to death of rape being the go-to card for female characters.

    But the dog. The dog… what? No kids to kill? The dog was the bridge too far. The real issue is just overwhelming disappointment in Vin D. This was his passion project. He moved heaven and earth to get this made. This was his focus and his baby. And it is so cheaply written, so lazily paced… I’m honest to god disappointed in the man. The R-rating? What was it for? The ability to say the F-bomb (don’t get me wrong, I’m all for the well placed use of it, but here… just sloppy and desperate) and show Katee’s tits. It felt like a bunch of 12 year olds stole a 6-pack of wine coolers and a stack of their dad’s old Playboys and are up in their treehouse trying to prove how desperately ‘cool’ and ‘tough’ they are. All that results is them vomiting all over themselves and some intensely awkward giggles.

    It’s depressing. It’s cheaply done. It’s poorly written. And worst of all, an actor I really admire and have always loved for being an unabashed nerd and goober (I got to meet him twice at cons I worked, which makes this worse. He’s a sweetheart you can’t help but like.) turned in a lazily smashed together movie that bordered on, in my mind anyway, torture porn. “How crappy can we make/show these people” isn’t a good enough reason to make a movie.

    I walked out when I realized I really didn’t care about ANYONE in the movie. If the planet blew up, I would cheer. Even Riddick could die, I’d be cool with it. An hour and 35 minutes out of 1:59. Maybe something miraculous happens in those 24 minutes… but I’ll never know. He fought over a decade to get this made – which makes this all the more depressing.

  • Anonymous

    It’s the sort of thing that shows up in horrible 1970s zombsploitation flicks. And a recent compilation of short stories, along with the reverse. Apparently some authors think guys are just lining up to stick their penises into anything, even if they have to stuff it full of desiccant and pull all its teeth to prevent zombification as an STD.

  • Anonymous

    I personally am far more amused than offended by the thought of someone pumping…er….pumpkining away in the hopes of some Disney magic.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I’m guessing the fact that she paints her nails is supposed to be the giveaway that she’s faking her lesbianism.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    I like them, don’t get me wrong, but Aeron isn’t really a character, IMO, more of a convenient way to deliver exposition, and Aziza didn’t get any development, she just represents the innocence that is supposed to move Riddick.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Yeah, A Voice for Men, a group of rape apologists who harrass and dox feminist activists, THAT’S where I’m gonna go for a reasoned rebuttal to brainmist’s incredible comment about the normalization of rape.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    He does bad things, but he isn’t human, and doesn’t reason as a human does. He doesn’t assign moral value the way we do, he’s a predator who acts as a predator does. He acts on instincts not a moral or ethical code.
    It’s very well established that he cannot fit into human ethical systems.

    But that doesn’t mean he isn’t capable of kindness or compassion.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    The continuity between the first two fields is messed up. PB has all low tech sci-fi(like hibernation travel), these were all people travelling from Earth.

    By Chronicles, that’s out the window, it’s hi tech sci fi, with faster than light travel. So what it meant for Riddick to be a serial killer in PB, has a different meaning in Chronicles. By then, it’s more implied that it’s not that he’s deliberately evil, but that he is incapable of functioning with human society, because he’s not human, he’s more like an animal than man.

  • Anonymous

    I don’t know. I don’t have a solution. Maybe it’s to make it clear to guys that, like the combat scenes they see, the rape scenes or implications in escapist fantasy are scripted, improbable, and purely good vs evil. It’s fine to watch that, but they need to understand that this isn’t reality; that probably, in the same was as they know women (and maybe some men) who’ve been raped, they also know men who have raped. They may have even heard a guy brag about rape. They may have laughed because that’s the sort of stuff guys brag and laugh about in our culture. Someday they may have daughters, and laughing will come back and haunt them forever, especially if their daughter has just shamefacedly admitted to being raped, as if it was her fault. Bu that’s a grim conversation to have.

    I have a baby brother who had many feisty, bad-tempered older sisters who, even one he outgrew us, didn’t take crap. When he started getting huge, I had a talk with him about the fact that his sheer size could be taken as a coercive threat, that he couldn’t presume that just because a sister might tell him off, that other women would. It was an awkward talk; he was about 14, and I worked a rape counseling hotline. But if it kept him from misreading social cues completely at odds with those he grew up with, and becoming a rapist because he assumed silence was consent, not fear, it was well worth it for all parties.

  • Anonymous

    It is lazy writing….a lot of escapist fiction is.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, seriously?

    In good news, AvFM appears to have taken down the open call to terrorism they’ve been hosting for years. So there’s that.

    On the other hand, FUCK.

  • Anonymous

    But all the women I know who were raped (and it’s at least 1/3) were raped by average males that they knew, and most thought they knew well, and trusted. Some were family friends, some were boyfriends. I worked a rape crisis line and some of the callers weren’t even sure if they’d been raped; there’s a lot of area kept gray by a culture that says ‘sometimes women want it, and men should be Real Men”.

    The young college coed whose friends found her unconscious, pants gone, bleeding on the floor of a bathroom at a frat party? That seems pretty obvious to me, but they didn’t bring themselves to say it, even though they’d called a rape crisis line to find out what to do. It’s hard for women to admit guys that their friends know are raping them; one of my friends stayed with her boyfriend/ rapist for a long time because she was ashamed of herself and thought we would all reject her. I don’t know what it’s like for guys to look back at youthful shenanigans and wonder if they committed rape. For the ‘good’ guys, especially the ones with daughters, I imagine it’s pretty brutal. And how can they ever hope to fix it?

    I don’t have an agenda, because I don’t have answers to push; I have awareness of some of the people in my life who’ve been raped, and some of the people who’ve raped them, and everyone was, or seemed like, a very normal person. Some were religious, most were well-educated, most were ‘good’ girls and ‘good’ boys. It’s cute that you’ve decided rape is only a thing the lowliest of minions could do (and thanks for illustrating my point beautifully), but that entire category is a one-dimensional fiction. The reality is pervasive, and insidiously well hidden in every day life by our own refusal to examine it.

    There are no “lowliest of minions”. There are people, raised in cultures that tell them stupid things, and sometimes they do horrible, stupid things. Maybe if they’d stop themselves and put themselves in the shoes of the person they’re about to do horrible, stupid things to, they wouldn’t do it. Maybe if they looked at James Bond or any other ‘hero’ and said “That seems like coercive rape, and it’s revolting!” they wouldn’t do it. But they have to start thinking first, and that will include occasionally asking themselves “If I do this, am I a rapist?” And the answer to that question is never “Nope, because I’m not a lowlife, and I don’t dress like one!”

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    And what really bugs me about the death of Kyra, was it was a missed opportunity to explore WHY she was able to break out of the Necromonger programming.

  • kat

    Michelle Rodriguez has gone on record saying pretty much exactly that happened to her. She wouldn’t play the girlfriend who had to be rescued or who stands in the background while the men fight, so now she’s the tough chick who gets killed off.

  • kat

    Michelle Rodriguez has gone on record saying pretty much exactly that happened to her. She wouldn’t play the girlfriend who had to be rescued or who stands in the background while the men fight, so now she’s the tough chick who gets killed off.

  • Emily Rence

    I was going to post my feelings, but you beat me to it. Well done. :)

    However, I will add this: I saw the movie early at a screening and the only thing that pissed me off more than the movie’s treatment of women (and dogs) was the overwhelmingly positive reviews people (mostly men, but surprisingly some women) were giving as they left. I wanted to scream and shake them and mourn our society. Instead I took what was left of my popcorn, and my hope for a decent depiction of women in film, and went home to read my Buffy comics. All that could comfort me was some feminist raging with my girlfriend and Joss Whedon.

  • Jenna

    I think I understand where you are trying to go with this, and as the lone gal on my dad’s side of the family – so I grew up around mainly boys, have been blessed to have a lot of both blood and chosen awesome male ‘family’ and am married to a truly amazing guy – I understand how much of a horror show it can be for one of the GOOD guys to get lumped in with the monster. I’ve also had guy friends who were accused of being a rapist by some seriously messed up girls who either wanted their attention or found themselves in the place of “Crap, my dad found out and ‘good’ girls wait…. HE FORCED ME DADDY!” so I know how soul crushing being lumped in or worse accused of being the lowest of the low when they aren’t.

    But the thing is – more men need to understand that is how women are forced to view men. Good guys don’t get forehead tattoos guaranteeing their goodness. And no matter how much we might like to fool ourselves and claim this statement is a betrayal of the ‘fight for equality’ – pound for pound, men are stronger then women. Women have more to fear, on average. More to lose too. At the far extreme of the line, take it to say war situations – men fear death. Maiming. Capture. Torture. But being dragged out and gangraped by every enemy soldier in the camp over and over again? Possibly having their rapists child? Usually not in the top few concerns. (it happens, I’m not making light of that. But not AS much.) Worse case for men, death. Worst case for women… not dying.

    Because men are usually stronger, are taught to strive for ‘top dog’ status, because if the fight lasts more than a few minutes, a woman’s chances go down FAST (I’m 6’2, raised by a Marine/FBI agent. I was taught to fight, to fight dirty. I still was drugged, dragged out behind a building, raped repeatedly, and when I started to come around had my skull bashed in with a rock so they could finish is peace. If my Amazonian TRAINED butt went down, how good are the chances of the average 22 year old 5’4 120lb teacher? Because of that – women HAVE to view all men as guilty until proven guilty. And men have to understand that we have heard “I would never!” a lot of times by men who lied. It sucks. It isn’t fair. But while rapists might be viewed as lowest of the low in prison – before prison they are just the banker walking to his car, the store clerk at the corner. They aren’t labeled. They aren’t reviled and easily located.

    It’s not typecasting. It’s sucky, it’s miserable to deal with, it’s even pretty unfair. But 10,000 years of being property, chattel, and lower on the totem pole of value then a good horse means women HAVE to for their own safety and the safety of their kids, view unknown men as potential hostiles. A couple of decades of still struggling towards semi-equality doesn’t erase that hardwiring.

    As for the media? As the case of the Youngstown girl who was drunk at a party then raped repeatedly, sodomized, urinated and tortured while the boys involved not only bragged but FILMED it and put it on Facebook to brag about would show, we’re not really in a media frame yet that really DOES view rapists as the lowest of the low. Only when the victims are children, pretty virgins from good families, or noble women of gold plated character and pasts does the monster title come out. Still too often the question of “Why was she wearing that” and “Well she was drinking, asking for it nearly” are aired. The entire town tried to make the victim the guilty party. People are still horrified and talk about how the boys lives are RUINED for ‘just a mistake at a party’ and how they won’t be allowed to play sports, their hopes at scholarships are dashed. ADULTS – even teachers told the girl she should kill herself. The media finally turned against the town… but the boys are still viewed by many as misunderstood youths.

    I don’t think all men are rapists. I don’t think all men are evil. But I do think there are more monsters striding about smiling then we like to think about and I do think there is still a blame the victim, it was just lads being lads view. And I also think there are a lot of folks who are willing to stand around and watch with the thought that girls should dress/walk/talk/act somehow better and while they wouldn’t ever dream of doing it themselves, they understand sometimes it must be hard to resist.

  • Kamil Kukowski

    I apologise for my outrage, but I hapopen to have female relatives and friends I’m worried about every freakin day, and all i can do is prey it won’t happen to any of them. Knowing the threat could come from anywhere (I’m afraid i might, myself, misread the signals) so am i entitled to hope for fictional villains that don’t need to use rape as their villaincard? at least in fiction

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    No I was not disparaging or insulting and don’t you dare even offhandedly compare me to an apologist! What I was was bluntly critical of her straw feminist review, which deserved to be dissected for the harm that attitude does to the conversation.

    I’m irritated by real life straw feminists who decry sexist characters existing in TV or movies purely because sexism is bad. The “Hide it and maybe it will go away” approach does a huge disservice to the discussion about WHY sexism is bad. Sexist assholes exist in real life, as do rapists. Portraying a character as such is not in and of itself automatically a bad thing. These are things we have to deal with in real life and seeing it onscreen is something we can relate to. Personally I’m much more invested in seeing a villain get his if he’s doing something that resonates with me and makes me despise the character. It’s only when it’s done badly or comes of as sympathetic to what should be a reviled character trait that it becomes problematic.

    And Santana, the ONLY character in this movie who displays these traits, is anything but sympathic. And as the movie shows him punished pretty brutally for his repulsiveness, the MOVIE ITSELF discounts her opinion. Especially as her review includes a blatant lie. The ONLY character who gives Dahl ANY sexist grief IS Santana, not everyone there. So yes, she IS projecting, and her review of the movie is more problematic than what is imagining the movie is, and that kind of reactionary bs hurts the discussion. Bad things will never get better if you just ignore them.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    ‘real life straw feminists”

    MRA term.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    ‘real life straw feminists”

    MRA term.

  • Eric Xin

    First, disclaimer: I didn’t see any other Riddick movies. I only went because my sci-fi-girl-friend (not to mistaken with girlfriend, who dislike violent film) wanted to see another Van Diesel film.

    After watching the movie, it felt like one giant, pardon the pun, “Mary Sue” character where Van went around dicing Mercs and Monsters alike and acting “I am so tough.”

    If I wrote this story and post it online, people would lambast me as a 14 years old with a terrible imagination.

  • Anonymous

    Of course you’re entitled to prefer your escapist fiction as you prefer it. And if you prefer to watch the fantasy of “rape is only the vicious bad guy” or “no rape at all”, these are certainly valid preferences with the understanding that it’s not reality. Heck, I wouldn’t have liked Pacific Rim anywhere near as much if they’d included one of the various Jaeger pilots coercing sex out of an awestruck young groupie or somesuch. We go to escapist films to escape, after all.

    I’m just trying to provide one possible explanation for why it is that writers and producers keep overusing the evil rapey rapist trope, and then defending it with an apparent lack of comprehension of why some people find it objectionable.

    (and apology accepted/ not needed)

  • Anonymous

    Good grief! Another “gay character turns straight narrative?” Geez!!!!! See that’s what I don’t understand about these writers of these films. What the hell is the point on making the characters “gay” if they’re not even going to actually stay that way? I don’t get it! What’s the point? It makes no damn sense at all! Just keep them straight or bi!
    I’m glad this was mentioned in the post, and I really liked the sarcasm used on how ridiculous that trope is. Although there could have been more emphasis on how that disgusting trope would NEVER happen in real life since obviously gay women are NOT attracted to men at all. The sarcasm made it seem like lesbians only like “good” men, when of course that’s completely wrong. Homosexual people are not into the opposite sex at all.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    (I’m afraid i might, myself, misread the signals)

    WHEN IN DOUBT, ASK!!

    FTFY

  • Kamil Kukowski

    it’s not that I demand a rape-free escapism… damn, if that was the case I would never be able to play neverwinter nights and read outlander; what bothers me is when they use it for shock value( whithout any impact on the story). after all 9those who watched riddick, may give the most accurate answer? how did that one prosioner impact on the other characters and the whole story?

  • Kamil Kukowski

    “when in doubt, wait for a detailed and explicit demand”

  • Lien

    I don’t think she realize what that term means or even less that a straw feminist is by definition, imaginary. Should i quote inigo montoya or does anyone else want to do it?

  • Anonymous

    Your experience…Ugh. Just….ugh.

    I think the most insidious facet of rape may be that a lot of guys genuinely do not know/ understand that what they’ve done was rape. It may be willful, or unconscious denial, it may be just a deep acceptance of a cultural framework that regularly depicts behaviors which are rape as behaviors which are humorous or successful seduction. But they go about their lives, quite sincerely decrying rapists (whom they see as those clear-cut stranger-assaults), and never realize that somewhere out there is a woman who doesn’t remember a great night, but an unexpected rape from someone she liked.

    We all do horrible things without realizing that they were horrible to the person on the receiving end. Not all the monsters know that they are monsters.

  • Anonymous

    (To be fair, a lot of us REALLY love dogs.)

  • Kamil Kukowski

    I’m really thankfull for the fact you shared your experience, it was really eye-opening

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    Nice try but no. That term predates MRA stupidity by a couple decades. Good attempt at trolling due to lack of a credible counterpoint though.

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    No, I know exactly what the term means and it does indeed apply to the reviewer. That your best rebuttal is a weak attempt to snark me with a meme that doesn’t actually apply here only strengthens my point.

  • http://www.thenerdybird.com/ Jill Pantozzi

    I have to intercede here. I know Zoe and she’s not a “straw feminist.” You may think her review comes off in that way because you yourself saw the film differently but please do not accuse one of our writers of that without actual evidence to back it up. If you had seen a pattern in Zoe’s reviews that reflected your statement that would be different but you seem to be basing your claim on her words in this review, which she believes. She’s not saying she saw sexism where there isn’t any, she actually saw sexism in the film and wrote about it.

    It’s perfectly fine to disagree but calling someone a straw feminist, especially on this site, is very strong language. Please be more considerate before using it again.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    “Real life straw feminist” is an oxymoron.

    Straw feminists don’t exist, that’s they whole point of the word. To claim someone is a “real life straw feminist” is to say someone is a “real life unicorn”.

    I didn’t try to counter your point, because I NEVER tried to counter your point. Your point is valid, JUST AS ZOE’S IS!

    That’s what you fail to comprehend, and what I called you on.

    Don’t wanna be compared to MRAs and Rape Apologists, don’t act like one. You’re survivor status doesn’t get you a free pass to be an asshole.

  • Kamil Kukowski

    “your”
    FTFY

  • Skye

    What a depressing comments section. I learned it’s better to be a dog than a woman, because at least men expect to have meaningful friendships with dogs. A man does not have society telling him that man and dog are enemies from birth because of their differing body parts. A dog can have friendly interactions with a man without the man assuming it’s flirtation. A dog wanders around stark naked without being raped and told it was asking for it by being naked. A man who rapes a dog is the lowest monster, while rapes on drunk women are shrugged off as “normal” and even the victims’ faults. You can’t prove a dog enjoys being violated by humans, so why would anyone think they can say “Oh, she actually wanted/enjoyed it” as a valid excuse to harm a woman? It’s so fucking casual how movies slip male-on-female rape in (also see Kick Ass 2) where harming dogs is seen as the apex of evil, and bestiality would be unthinkable.
    I know it’s extreme to say “You wouldn’t rape a dog, so don’t rape a human” but it seems we have to be this clear about it. I just don’t understand the mindset of people who don’t recognize intoxication, coercion, underage partners, forced marital sex, and inability to consent because of impaired mental status as rape.

  • Jenna

    It’s weirdly been coming up a lot lately, and since I am one of the ones who got the ‘survivor’ end of the stick I guess I feel responsible to talk about it. I’m one of the lucky ones. I wasn’t killed and beyond a few hazy horrible flashes that I have no desire to rummage about too hard an remember, there is a huge void in my memory of the specifics. Perhaps because I lucked out and don’t have the blow by blow recall of everything, I can distance myself more and talk about it easier. Because of that… I feel almost obligated to put a light on it, and to be honest and open about everything. As surreal as it sounds, the part that is the hardest for me to deal with sometimes are the physical reminders. I think a lot of people believe that rape is a in the moment act. The evil is in that moment, and beyond PTSD it is a singular separate thing – except in my case, I tend to get it dumped into my head everyday. Whatever the drugs were I got hit with (the doctors say that at least part of the ‘cocktail’ was engine degreaser and what looked like traces of antifreeze. It SHOULD have killed me. But I’m apparently too damn stubborn to stay down when told (which likely helped ‘earn’ the bricks to the head during) which I should be grateful for. Except it DID damage my heart and scar up a few other internal bits – so every time I get overheated, every time overdo… the dratted things starts wonking out on me. I’ve been told that this is just the way it is, I’m not a good candidate for surgical fixes, so I can’t ever really get the attack out of my head. It’s just as hard for my husband and friends – each time I go white and dizzy, each time they suddenly realize I’m a few feet behind them trying to not fall over… WHY it’s happening is right there in front of them.

    I try really hard to believe things happen for a reason. That something good can come out of almost anything eventually. Pollyanna nonsense probably, but it keeps me moving forward and dealing so I’ll keep my delusions. As things roll forward I am starting to think that the ‘good’ is me talking about it. Being the loud mouth in the middle of the room baldly stating my experiences, and forcing the issue to come up to the light. It’s the main reason I left the movie – I know it’s fiction. It’s supposed to be escapist. It doesn’t HAVE to have a moral or a thesis; blowing things up and quipping while killing things should be enough. But as Vin D chose to use the sexual abuse tropes, as he’s the one who decided the appropriate plot points should be the same worn out gotta do SOMETHING with the girl rape scenes, he opened the door and he made the choices.

    And MY choice needs to be to get my butt to bed, dear heavens I’m being wordy. Sorry, this has just completely riled my lizard brain and it’s hard to control (to be honest, I don’t ~have~ a lizard back brain… my inner Amazon clubbed it to death and wear it as a natty hide skirt, but she tends to be just as instinct driven!) so things just drop out of my keyboard! Still, I should know better then to type while swaying from sleeping pills. Time for me to serious shut up and go to bed.

  • Gwathdring

    Basically, yes. Some of us still get pissed off about it but … we can still pick and choose a bit more. On top of that, empowerment means you don’t have to look at a bad stereotype and feel threatened by them and privilege leaves you more likely to feel empowered.

    Most representations are pretty bland. There’s one of those cute, named Internet laws about it, but whatever–that’s unavoidable. This isn’t bad on it’s own just like objectification (sexual or more generic) techniques have many perfectly reasonable applications in media. The trouble is, of course, imbalance that reinforces broader social problems. Especially in science fiction, there’s such better accessibility to male protagonists (or non-protagonist subject roles), that men can pick characters they can relate to fairly easily. It’s a matter of attrition. Arnold might play the same awful, boring sci-fi cartoon men over and over again … but I can also watch Back to the Future and enjoy the utterly different Marty McFly. I can play the same game with female action sci-fi characters, too, but I have to dive deeper and deeper below the surface of popular film to do so and that’s a BIG part of the problem. Even then … how many of those films have an almost entirely female cast? Because men get a LOT of mostly-male ensembles which means we can pick-and-choose within a single FILM. It’s super shitty that people watching for women in films can’t do the same. :(

    I think getting more leading ladies into these genres would make a substantial difference, but this has been the way of things for so long that when they finally slide into a sci-fi or action flick as the lead role, women tend to be faced with an otherwise entirely male cast and extremely clingy outfits whether or not sexualization fits the character or even the tone of the film.

    One danger here is in ignoring how much of male ignorance here isn’t just privilege, but a result of successfully instilled and mutually dangerous gender roles. Gender binaries and shitty socialization schema cut both ways; that men are given positions of privilege as a result of their inappropriate gender roles gives them more flexibility to get out (accidentally or not) and it puts more of the burden of backing off and not being oppressive on their shoulders … but it’s a problem for men, too. It’s not a problem that increases the chances of sexual assault or lowers your salary, but it’s a problem nonetheless. Men are taught to be a rather distressing form of masculine and failing to live up to that ideal can get you into sticky situations–our media representations of men are very much a part of that. That men aren’t outraged about this sort of thing isn’t JUST a sign that men don’t can afford not to care but also that men who would otherwise care are pressured to fall in line and just enjoy the film and the conception of manliness and vengence and RARR it portrays. MRAs drag up suicide rates and educational mismatches and prison statistics to make all kinds of disgusting arguments, but we should never forget that privilege is very much in the abstract; that not only are people always part of more than one social class, but that overly-dogmatic gender socialization fucks up men, too.

    Sorry. That’s a wild tangent there, but I’m new to the site and late to the review so there’s a lot I’m sort of swimming in the comments page a little bit lost but I wanted to say all of that SOMEWHERE in this discussion.

  • Anonymous

    That’s the real crapsack aspect of patriarchy. While you can argue that all men benefit some of the time, only some men benefit all of the time. There’s a huge social apparatus we hardly ever see because we’re inside it that relentlessly polices gender (among other things), denying men emotional health even as it denies many women physical safety. The apparatus really only benefits a subset of the people it appears to serve — the folks at the very top of all the ladders, if you will. Race, gender, orientation, economic class, etc. all come into play.

  • http://www.theepicadventurer.com/ Julia

    “No I was not disparaging or insulting”

    Not actually your call.

  • Ryan Colson

    Yeah, but I think he just didn’t feel it was kind time in part 3 very often. I pretty much like Pitch Black but don’t care for the other three films (two + anime) in the franchise.

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    Yes, straw feminists DO exist, and I’ve already explained how the reviewer was being one. I have yet to see any of you trolls actually do anything insult, accuse and belittle me, or actually attempt a counter-argument to my dissection of her review. So I have reason to to take your bullshit seriously. And that’s what it is. Because NOTHING I’ve said is rape apologism nor even remotely like an MRA argument. YOU are throwing out hurtful and baseless ad hominem personal attacks on me because you don’t like what I said, but have yet to offer ANY mature intelligent logical counterargument. MY being a rape survivor gives me better insight into rape. I have ONCE acted like an asshole. THAT is YOUR territory. You are the one being the asshole here, attacking and insulting someone you disagree with but unable or unwilling to provide a mature adult rebuttal of any substance.

    And I have better things to do than humour insulting arrogant children having a hissy because another woman didn’t fall in lockstep to blindly agree with an unfair inaccurate review. And my disagreeing, politely, logically and intelligently, does not make me an MRA or a Rape Apologist. It ONLY MAKES ME A WOMAN WHO CAN THINK FOR MY EFFING SELF!!!

    With that, I’m done humouring you and your need to insult and ridicule me because you didn’t like what I thought.
    Good day children. Talk to me when you grow up.

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    Yes, it is.

  • http://www.thechildhealthsite.com/clickToGive/home.faces?siteId=1 Edcedc8

    well, I’m protesting the shit out of it.

    I won’t be buying a ticket to guardians of the galaxy, or ANY twohy movie ever again. I am phucking incensed that the ‘writers’ of this garbage would have her WANTING to get sexed by mr potato head riddick, its like something from a rejected austin powers script.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    Again, I’ve told you, I have no substantial disagreement with your argument about the movie, I don’t need to say anything against it.

    YOUR OPINION IS VALID!!

    But so is the reviewer’s, and you’re PERSONAL attacks on her were and are out of line.

    Your “rape ranking” yourself is out of line, especially to THIS survivor. Being a survivor does not give you the final say on how all other victims should address their own experiences. Richard Dawkins just pulled this shit, you should learn better.

    I never ONCE said you were an apologist OR an MRA, I said you were associating yourself with them, by throwing nasty personal asides and attacks about the reviewer’s mental state in your comment.

    And no, again, STRAW feminists don’t exist. You may be think “FAUX feminists”, but STRAW feminists don’t exist.

  • Penny Marie Sautereau

    No, I did NOT engage in any personal attacks. I questioned her basis for viewing it as she did, and I did so validly. YOU however HAVE engaged in perrsonal attacks and now you are clearly backpedalling in order to save face and not have to own it. I never ONCE claimed or behaved as if (as YOU are doing NOW) that my own rapes make me the end all be all expert. You are however now using YOUR rapes to dismiss me and to deny your own animus. You damn well DID compare me to MRA’s and apologists, (I quote; “Don’t wanna be compared to MRAs and Rape Apologists, don’t act like one.”). And “Projecting Much” was NOT a “nasty personal aside”, it was a VALID CRITICISM of her particularly aggressive and vindictive review.

    And yes, Straw FEminists DO exist, I deal with them CONSTANTLY. You might know them better as RadFems. nThe term by definition FITS.

    Now stop trolling me. I have clearly refuted every bullshit attack you’ve lobbed at me, I will NEVER relent to it, and you will clearly never show the maturity to acknowledge your own animus. So JUST STOP. Because I refuse to humour your ad hominem and severely misinformed abuse any further. If you MUST be so childish as to get the last word and call me a meany-head go nuts, I refuse to respond to your attacks again.

    GOOD DAY.

  • http://www.aeryllou.tumblr.com/ Aeryl

    “I fear she was watching a completely different movie in her head.”

    You implied reviewer was delusional.

    “Then I feel sorry for her inability”

    You invoke a faux attempt at pity that’s pretty transparent to ANYONE who’s spent an hour on the internet.

    “But ONLY out of context.”

    Assertion of a ONE TRUE VALID VIEWPOINT

    “Projecting a bit methinks),”

    AGAIN, implying the reviewer has mental issues.

    These are the things you did that were asshole-ish. Those were the only things I ever had a problem with in your comment.

    And yes your graphic description of your own attack to establish YOUR credibility is a pretty rank action, IMO. It was establishing that your attack was pretty much the worst thing ever, so NO ONE can contradict your interpretation in re the presence or absence of rape culture. And just no.

    Also RadFems are RadFems NOT Straw Feminist. Again, it’s a term by it’s very words (STRAW) that states flat out it’s talking about something that doesn’t exist.

  • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com/ heartbot

    It is very campy, and I thought it was a lot of fun. If it hadn’t been for the overblown misogyny, I would have loved it.

  • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com/ heartbot

    That’s a terrible reason to hate women.

  • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com/ heartbot

    I was the one who dragged my husband to see this movie, and I wanted to see it mostly because of Katee Sackhoff. I feel like I was lured in to the theatres on the promise of Sackhoff kicking ass all so the dudebros who made this movie could score $20 and then give me the finger, like some cool guy who asks a nerdy girl to prom just so he and his friends can laugh at her when she gets all dressed up and waits for him to show up. It was so offensive, it felt like it was done on purpose just to make ladies in the audience feel uncomfortable, like some giant, “YOU DON’T DESERVE TO BE HERE, BUT WE’LL STILL TAKE YOUR MONEY” flashing neon sign.

  • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com/ heartbot

    You could try to depict rape and rapists as more like they are in real life. You don’t have to “normalize” them–rape is already pretty normalized in our society, actually–but you can show that rape isn’t always the uber violent act of an unambiguously awful and evil human being. More often than not, it’s a coercive and manipulative act by someone who looks totally normal.

  • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com/ heartbot

    Try *being* a woman and living in a world where you don’t get the privilege of hoping that rapists will advertise themselves as clearly as movie villains.

  • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com/ heartbot

    You’re assuming there are plenty of interesting parts for women to go around in Hollywood. I don’t blame Sackhoff for her part in this. It was a big role for her, a role where she got a lot of publicity, and I understand a girl has to eat, and I really hope she can parlay this crap into something better.

  • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com/ heartbot

    I was trying so hard to figure out why that scene was in there. It added absolutely nothing to the story line, just to the overall sense of ickiness surrounding the movie. Now I know. Ugh.

  • http://robot-heart.tumblr.com/ heartbot

    I don’t think you understand how commercial cinema works. Studios don’t spend millions of dollars making movies with the intention of nobody liking them, because they’d go broke if they did. The entire Hollywood apparatus is built around making movies people will not only like, but drop lots of money to see, to buy related gear for, and to come back to see sequels/prequels of later.

    Protagonists are explicitly written to be identified with, even anti-heroes. The idea is that while you may not agree with all of their actions, you at the very least understand their motivation. If audiences didn’t identify with these characters, they wouldn’t care what happened to them, and they wouldn’t show up to theatres to watch their movies.

    This movie was made to be liked. It was made to draw millions of viewers so the studio could make millions of dollars on this film, on merchandise, and on sequels. This story employs numerous standard tropes and conventions of the genre in order to maximize its likability, including pulling in and marketing bankable stars like Vin Diesel, fresh off another big summer movie, to get bodies in seats. It went least common denominator on a number of these conventions, including its sexist treatment of women, to draw as many viewers as humanly possible. A movie *can* be anything it wants without any concern at all for its audience, but this is not one of those movies.

    Regardless, just because a movie isn’t made to be liked doesn’t exempt it from criticism. Just because the movie makers say to themselves, “Let’s give women the old school treatment because we think it will sell better than treating them like full human beings,” doesn’t mean that people in the audience have to go, “Welp. The filmmakers clearly wanted to treat women like warm fuck holes for macho man cocks. Guess I can’t criticize that if that’s what they wanted to do.” That’s not how anything in this life works. You do something shitballs stupid, you open yourself up to criticism.

    The treatment of women in this movie was gross and insulting, and if the humanity of women isn’t important enough to you, it was also completely unnecessary and added nothing to the story line. There were other choices the filmmakers could have made that would have made the movie better, more interesting, and also less creepy. The way women were treated was a poor filmmaking choice, in addition to being a poor humanity choice, and it deserves to be criticized.

  • Anonymous

    Not saying there are a lot of interesting parts for women in Hollywood at all, and I certainly don’t blame her for it but it’s so easy to get pigeon-holed these days, she should pick more carefully. There are plenty indie movies that offer better parts and she would get a chance to showcase her acting in a different context.

  • toplel

    fuck feminism

  • Anonymous

    You’re all a bunch of uptight, liberal, feminists, who are always on the lookout for something to cry victim over. Your constant searching for “injustice” is really just looking for an excuse to complain. I respect women, and I am no chauvinist, but you feminists disgust me. Especially ‘male’ feminists. Why can’t people stop trying to read political “correctness” into everything? I’m sure you’d be much happier people, if you weren’t always ‘outraged’. Cheers

  • CatHeader

    …wow. Okay. You think the pretty skinny blonde woman with toenails painted pink and makeup is ‘too stereotypically butch’? I’d hate to think what you’d say about any ACTUAL butch lesbians, like me.

    Despite the supposed ‘stereotype’ of the butch lesbian, 99% of queer women in movies are really, really femme. So when you shit on one of the few scraps of representation butch lesbian women ever get, while hiding behind the ‘omg it’s a stereotype’ excuse, it kinds of makes me ill.

  • CatHeader

    Drown in a well, worthless little straight boy. We’ll fish you out and gnaw on your bones. :)