Mickey Smith (Dr Who) helps Sherlock Take On Starfleet… And it’s just wrong…

Posted by on May 28, 2013

I’ve been rather disappointed by recent movies in my favorite genre(s). I’m a Sci Fi and Fantasy fan. I like superhero movies and comics, games and RPGs (more Cyberpunk than D&D) and MTG. They’ve always been dominated by the cisgendered, straight, white and male crowd. I’ve been used to that. But, I’ve also been inspired – not only by how SF&F has been used to call out the worst bits of our society (X-Men), but also by the desire of people to make a change and to start making art that more accurately represents our very diverse world. I’m in the works of writing up my Norwescon experiences separately already, so I’ll leave that one at that.

Back to the recent movies — Iron Man 3, Star Trek: Into Darkness, and the upcoming Lone Ranger. Please note that I’m not even addressing the gaping plot holes and missing pieces and the like.

Let’s go chronologically and start with Iron Man 3 (IM3). This was very much a mixed movie for me. We start out with one of my favorite actors – Sir Ben Kingsley. I adore him as an actor. He’s gone from Ghandi to Sweeny Todd. He’s talented and wonderful. He did make the character that he was given in IM3 richer. However, the storyline took a person of color (POC – a Chinese POC at that) character with a full background and turned him into a different race POC character who was a front for the now-able bodied, cisgendered, genius, white male character. Despite other issues, I did like super-Pepper stepping up and saving the day and lives including that of Tony Stark. I call this one a bit of wash, but overall on the “Meh” side.

Star Trek: Into Darkness (STID) really gets into the race-bending issues. It started out with me being a bit on the fascinated side as it mashed together actors from such a wide variety of fandom (hence, the title of this post). But, then, there was Khan Noonien Singh who is genetically engineered to be the best that human genetics has to offer. In both the TV episode that introduced the character and the first movie with this character, Khan was played by Mexican actor Ricardo Montalban. Now, ostensibly, Khan was a Sikh Indian. But, considering the time (1967), it was still a big deal to have major characters played by actual POCs. In STID, there was great character development of Khan and I thought Benedict Cumberbatch was great in the role. But, the fact that Khan is genetically engineered made the white-washing of the character even more egregious. I know that Kal Penn has been busy working for the White House. But, I think he might’ve made a great Khan with a similar mashup issue (Mickey helps Kumar fight against Harold and Starfleet).

Now, for the Lone Ranger. Now, I have to say this is, as yet, unreleased. So, this a pre-viewing set of statements. I’ve heard a lot of concern about the white-washing of Tonto. However, I have to give some credit to the casting. Tonto was not quite white-washed. Johnny Depp, while seemingly predominantly white and ostensibly a rather small part Native American, does not fully pass as being white and he at least had the good sense to consult Comanche tribal members on his role. Still, not good. But, it just goes to show that the idea that we Indians are not good enough to play ourselves when it comes to major roles is still alive and kickin’. We’re OK as “background” Indians, though. This seems to have become a common enough theme (think Twilight). Why not someone like Adam Beach or if you wanted someone who might “pass” better – Tahmoh Penikett? Actually, I think Tahmoh passes better for white than Johnny. Maybe Tahmoh should’ve been the Lone Ranger? That would’ve been fun!

Nonetheless, I have been disappointed of late with my favorite genre(s) – particularly given that it’s 2013 and not 1983 or 1993.

Last modified on May 28, 2013

Categories: Social Justice
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