Friday, June 4, 2010

Sci Fi Heroines Who Are Way Better Than Megan Fox

While watching Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen some months ago, I was moved by various emotions. Not strong ones mind you – I did not feel any strong pathos or excitement or delight while watching this movie. In fact at one point I actually zoned out for a while. Sorry Transformers fans!

What I did feel was a mild annoyance with Megan Fox. Understand me I don’t know Megan Fox. She could be a very nice person. I have never seen her in anything else but Transformers movies, so she may be Academy award calibre in all her other roles (thought I doubt it). I also feel sorry for her because she’s one of the people some of the media don’t like, and when the media don’t like you whoa ho ho! However I don’t have any fond memories of Megan Fox in the first movie, and I wasn’t too pleased with Miss Fox in the second one. Again I didn’t have any strong feelings for her – it just wasn’t that kind of movie – but Megan was so obviously supposed to be eye candy and nothing else it got tiresome. She worked in a garage dressed in skimpy clothes which no self respecting mechanic would wear for fear of severe burns, cuts and other damage. Her makeup and body language was terribly obvious and pinup style, prompting one reviewer to comment that she never seemed to close her mouth. The heroes dragged her around by her hand or arm whenever they were dashing from place to place. In short, she seemed to have been designed to mildly annoy me.

I’m glad that in general the critics seemed to feel the same as I do. I would be worried that people would try to hold her up as a candidate for the Sci Fi Woman Hall of Fame. That would have brought on some strong emotion from me! Despite the fact that science fiction can be a bit of a boy’s club, there are some great female science fiction characters out there, and thankfully no one is making any concerted efforts to try to elevate Megan Fox up there with the sci fi female greats who have gone before her.

However, I am afraid for the rabid fans who think Megan Fox scored in that movie because she was just so hot and – ugh – kick ass. To this I would reply, huh?! Surely those who think this have forgotten (or never knew) that there have been female characters in the past who have been strong, well acted, admirable, feminine and have made you feel for them and actually care what happened to them. At the same time, they didn’t need their attractiveness to be hyped up to obnoxious proportions, their characters shone through and enlivened their appearance or at least that’s not all you remembered about them. Just in case some of these excitable people have forgotten the true stars of the female sci fi universe, I have put inordinate amounts of time into compiling a list of the ladies I have admired in sci fi movie and television over the years. Just in case you weren’t paying attention.

Don’t forget, despite my aspirations to geekdom, I’m not versed in every sci fi show out there, so of course I won’t mention every great female out there. That’s what my comment section is for. As usual my blog is slanted to my preferences. These are the ladies that inspired me, and I’ll try to make you see why as best I can. Feel free to disagree.

Nyota Uhura

If you read my blog posts, you may have noticed that I am a leetle obsessed with the new Star Trek movie. (No you haven’t noticed? Really?) My love for the newest movie rekindled my interest in the character, but I’ve always liked Uhura. Culturally, the character is a role model for many. At the time of the Star Trek original series, it was unusual seeing a black woman playing a character like this.

Ironically (though not suprisinginly) Uhura did not get a lot of chances to shine, but in retrospect the character has many admirable qualities which have been explored in books and later movies. Uhura is intelligent! There is no question. She has an unmatched mastery of many complicated languages. In one of my Star Trek books, she takes some time off to serve on another ship because they need someone with her level of expertise. She is one of the few female officers serving on the bridge. In the new movie, her determination and ambition is made very clear.

There is no doubt that Uhura has evolved over the years. She even moves up through the ranks in the series timeline, going from Lieutenant to Commander! Whether she is Nichelle Nichols or Zoe Saldana, we now know her as a formidable member of the Enterprise bridge crew and the character has bypassed any notion of her being a mere prop...unlike some people we know....

Leia Organa
Much is made of how in Star Wars: A New Hope Princess Leia basically took over her own rescue, and I too applaud her resourcefulness. The importance of her role in the movies was vital I think. Her courage was amazing. I liked how she was so clearly a member of the specialized squad which comprised of Han Solo, Luke Skywalker and Lando Calrissian. Particularly in the final movie, she goes into Jabba’s Palace alone. Later she is part of the plan to infiltrate the Empire on Endor. They cannot do without Leia.

Luke cannot do without her. One of the strongest draws of the series to me is the bond that grows and exists between the twins. She quickly becomes a steadying core in the hearts of those she is closest too. I imagine if Han Solo had any conscious thoughts while trapped for all that time in carbonite, it was thoughts of Leia that kept him from going mad. When Luke was at his lowest moment, he thought of Leia and knew she would save him. She steadied him when he was conflicted later about what he should do about the threat of their father. Not surprisingly when he thought he would lose her later, it was what made him snap.

I cannot imagine Megan Fox playing such a regal, resilient, powerful person. Not at all.

Queen Amidala/Padme Naberrie

No wonder Anakin Skywalker is fascinated and entranced by the Queen of Naboo. Padme Naberrie is the youngest elected official on her planet and we can see why. She is poised. She is regal. She is determined. She is smart. She works tirelessly to save her people. You can see where the Skywalker twins have inherited resilience and honour and nobility.

I have to say that I feel George Lucas did Amidala a disservice in the final episode when her leadership and strength is diluted and overshadowed by Anakin’s story and her own pregnancy! However, I feel even during these problematic plot twists, her nobility shines through, and her potential doesn’t waver in my mind. Lucas had created such a strong character she could not be extinguished in my mind. There are books to be written about this character if need be to explore all of her intricacies. I’d like to see Ms Fox manage to breath any life into such a character.

Ellen Ripley

I’ve only watched one “Alien” movie and that was Aliens. That was all I needed to know that Ellen Ripley is a great sci fi warrior. Sigourney Weaver is a leading player in the sci fi genre, and this movie showcases it well. For me, it’s because as Ripley, she can be fierce and determined, but at the same time vulnerable in her manner that hurts your heart a little. You know she may be wounded. You know she feels strong emotions and can be afraid. By this, she surpasses a lot of heroines I see these days who are so steelly, they’re unbelieveable. Some of the suspense is lost at once. They’re practically invulnerable right? So who cares?

In Aliens, you can fear for Ripley, but you have faith in her because she has the strength at her core that can help her get the job done. And of course she rewards our trust in her, and shows that she cannot be brought down. All the elements I love come to the fore in the classic scene when she faces the Mother Alien. That one moment is unforgettable kind of like the time when Megan Fox

See what I mean in the link below.

Eowyn, Shield Maiden of Rohan

No matter what incarnation you find her in, you have to be fascinated by J.R.R. Tolkien’s shieldmaiden of Rohan. While Arwen Evenstar is a princess in an ivory tower, Eowyn is a princess of the trenches. When her people are called to war, she sets to work. When she finds she cannot bear to be left behind, she goes into battle.

I don’t mean that you can’t feel for Arwen, but I feel that many people feel more connected to Eowyn. Her feelings of pain when it comes to unrequited love are something we have all experienced. Her hopelessness is real. Her troubles are real. And we see her desperately take her fate into her own hands to try to do something.

In Peter Jackson's superior movie Mirando Otto does a wonderful job as Eowyn, and like many of the other ladies I have mentioned, her scenes are memorable. Just take a look at one of her greatest scenes here.

So as I have mentioned, I do not want to deprive Megan Fox of a paycheck. (I admit I could not help smiling rather evilly when I heard she was dropped from Transformers 3 recently, but she's in Jonah Hex soon, so you see... don't worry about her.)I just want to be sure that anyone who thinks she may be a superior science fiction heroine thinks carefully before they make that distinction. The standards in this category are very high, and I really don't think Ms. Fox will ever attain them. Though I could be wrong! Feel free to agree or disagree in my comments and let me know who I've missed from my list!


Shari said...

I'm glad you said that about Megan in Transformers, I thought I was the only one who thought her character was just plain ridiculous. And even though I am not a big fan of Sci-fi I did admire the same women you mention.

Uhuru was fun to watch in the new Star Trek and I loved that she by passed Kurt and liked Spock. I was also pleasantly surprised when I watched Star Wars and they first met Princess Leia because she was nothing like what u expected, and I always remember snickering when she said "Can someone move this walking carpet out of my way" or something like that to Chewy, who is a rather scary looking thing.

And then I always admired Padme for being the voice of reason in her relationship with Anakin who I always thought acted like a spoilt brat during the whole thing. He was so willing to just so easily throw everything important in his life away, when she was at least trying to think rationally.

I have not seen Megan Fox in many things but I don't think I take her very seriously at all, and because of that I can't imagine her in something like the new "Jonah Hex" movie. *shrugs* Maybe she might prove us wrong and show some better acting skill too. We shall see

mackenzie said...

Totally agree with your comments about Ms. Fox. She never grabbed me in the first movie - I thought her character as well as some of the others for that matter to be a bit one dimensional. Then the second movie came along and I am SOOO sorry to all the Transformers fans but that was 2 1/2 hours of explosions, slow mo action shots and Megan Fox running around screaming like a helpless hapless female with lips parted and boobs heaving. She wasn't even one dimensional anymore - she had no dimensions! The only time she stepped up to show some gumption was to imprison a little cussbud of a robot who later just solidified her part in the film as the sex symbol by humping her leg!

I also agree with the heroines you have chosen. Though my only comment about Padme is that she too became a weak simpering female probably cause she was pregnant and had hormones raging. I didn't like her character in that film at all. Ripley, Eowyn and and Leia were all kickass.

Here's who you forgot - Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton) from The Terminator. She grew from being a confused scared woman running for her life to an empowered, gun toting, muscled chick who would stop at nothing to protect her son and kill the cyborg.

Eva from Wall-E: ok so not a human character but still bad ass chick (robot?). She definitely portrayed more emotion than Ms. Fox in her movie roles. You felt her strength and sense of purpose when she landed on Earth, and then was swept along on the journey of love with her when she started to get to know Wall-E. ANd man she could sure as hell fire a weapon with perfect aim.

Trinity from the Matrix: Now here was a sex symbol done well!!! the woman looked good in tight leather and shades! And fought like a demon! But her heartfelt love and feelings for Neo were so real. Yeah I kinda deride the later two movies - but it's not her fault - I just hated the plot and where it went. But Ms. Carrie-Ann Moss was stellar as Trinity showing that a woman could be a strong independent figure as well as a woman who had a big heart.

Dana Scully The X-Files: I wasn't sure if your list was exclusive to Movies only or if I could include one of my favorite TV heroines as well - then again there were two movies made so there's a loophole! HA! Dana Scully as played by Gillian Anderson was intelligent - a doctor and specialist in the field of forensics she was superb at her work as an FBI Agent. She was strong and provided the perfect foil for Fox Mulder's crazy theories and shenanigan's always trying to keep him grounded and remind him of what was really important.

Clarice Starling (Jodie Foster) from The Silence of the Lambs. She stood up to Hannibal Lecter and caught Buffalo Bill. Need I say more? Her character is also smart, wickedly cool and perceptive. Her interaction with Hannibal is key to solving the case and she has the knowledge to play him as much as he plays her.

Alexa Woods (Sanaa Lathan) from Alien v Predator - another kick ass heroine who went toe to toe with both the Aliens and The Predators and survived, even earning the respect of the Predator species as a top notch Warrior!

I'm sure there are more that I left out but these are some cool chicks that truly stand out in my mind at the moment!

Dixie-Ann said...

Good point about Padme being Anakin's rock Shari. Too bad she couldn't save him.

Good suggestions mackenzie! I remember now that I had wanted to add EVE to that list. I've done her a great disservice. She definitely applies. She beats many living breathing heroines by miles.

I don't love Trinity's personality, but that's a totally personal response. She does deserve an honourable mention.

I am not very familiar with Sarah Connor or Dana Scully, but I have great respect for the latter from the little I have seen of her. Had no idea Sanaa Lathan was in "Aliens vs Predator". Only know her from "Something New" which is an excellent movie, but definitely has nothing to do with SciFi.

Speaking of which does Silence of the Lambs count as sci fi/fantasy?

(Yes I'm not versed in every aspect of geekdom. It's sad.)

Rita said...

I LOVE your blog Dixie-Ann. It's so full of my own memories, feelings and opinions, we are indeed joined by the Force! You also suggest new films/shows for me to look forward to and I know I'll enjoy them because we share such similar taste : ) On this post, I agree with Mackenzie on Sarah Conner and Dana Scully - two more superb female sci-fi icons, I hope you get a chance to "meet" them one day! xoxo

Dixie-Ann said...

Thanks so much Rita! You're the kind of person I blog for. :) Read away and let me know what you think of whichever of my posts interests you! :) The one ep of XFiles I saw all the way through was so chilling,don't know if I'll ever watch that show, but going to watch Terminator 2 next time it's one fo sho!