Outrage Watch: 'Jurassic World' can't outrun sexism charges
Welcome to Outrage Watch, HitFix's (almost) daily rundown of entertainment-related kerfuffles. Not anxious enough already? Get your fix of righteous indignation below, and stay posted for outrage updates throughout the week.
Joss Whedon famously called a pre-release clip of "Jurassic World" "'70s era sexist" on Twitter. Hey, even "Jurassic World" director Colin Trevorrow agreed! While Whedon later apologized for voicing the sentiment (without actually backpedaling), his criticism is now being echoed by Daily Beast reviewer Marlow Stern, who calls the film a "Big, Dumb, Sexist Mess" in his headline before going on to write:
"'Jurassic World' is not about corporate greed, anti-militarization, crass commerciality, disrupting the food chain, or dinos eating the shit out of people. No. It’s about a woman’s 'evolution' from an icy-cold, selfish corporate shill into a considerate wife and mother."
Stern is referring here to Bryce Dallas "Not Jessica Chastain" Howard's character Claire Dearing, who over the course of the film develops warm maternal feelings for her two young nephews (Ty Simpkins and Nick Robinson) despite starting out the film as a seemingly unfeeling operations manager. Continues Stern:
"As Claire and [Chris Pratt's character] Owen travel through the dino-infested rainforests in search of the missing children, he begins to loosen her up through good ol’ fashioned sweet-talkin’. For God knows what reason, Claire is still sporting her work blouse and heels and is very much the distressed damsel, but what do you know, after a few witty barbs he convinces her to roll up her sleeves and tie her shirt in a bow. More sweaty forest shenanigans, and she loses the shirt. And then the heels. Once they’ve emerged from woods, and after avoiding certain death several times, she’s born again: a sweaty, humorous, maternal woman who’s severed her ties to her job and is only concerned with saving her two boys. Oh, and she’s got a man, too.
"There is even more evidence of this strange narrative, although revealing more would ruin the ending, so we’ll spare the spoilers. Suffice it to say the climax and conclusion of the film really hammers home the unsettling 'path to motherhood' journey."
Over at the Guardian, meanwhile, Claire has scored a not-great 5/10 on the site's "Sexismometer" -- markedly higher than murderous super-dino Indominus Rex (scoring a 1/10) but lower, at least, than Judy Greer's character Karen (8/10), who apparently spends the majority of the film sobbing over a phone. Here's Guardian contributor Catherine Shoard to explain:
"...as the film progresses and crisis worsens, Claire sheds her inhibitions as well as her clothes. She softens towards Owen as species survival becomes more critical, and towards her nephews as her own inadequacy as an aunt (as well as a potential mother) is exposed. Although she largely cowers behind a man when in danger, on a couple of key occasions she takes the lead, to impressive effect. She also wears six-inch stilettos throughout."
If the arguments against the film feel like a stretch, you're not alone. Here's a sampling of contrary responses on Twitter (though to be fair, none of these folks have seen the actual movie yet):
And the 'Jurassic World is Sexist!' think pieces begin. It's a movie about angry dinosaurs. Either go to have fun or don't go at all.— John Squires (@FreddyInSpace) June 10, 2015
Sonofa....can't you just enjoy a movie anymore without looking for a message? Sheesh. http://t.co/ApibfeL1gI— Big Head Sports (@BigHeadSports) June 10, 2015
If you were wondering who would be the first beta douche to write a "Jurassic World is sexist" think piece, the answer is @MarlowNYC.— neontaster (@neontaster) June 10, 2015
Stop your watches. We have our first ‘Why Jurassic World is sexist’ thinkpiece http://t.co/HE5dJcN6CP— Stuart Heritage (@stuheritage) June 10, 2015
So if I have this correct, Jurassic World is sexist because the female lead has a character arc?— John Ekdahl (@JohnEkdahl) June 10, 2015
Just in case you were wondering where her political affiliations lie, @AllAmericanGirl's profile image is a bikini holster.
You can check out our own Drew McWeeny's review of the film here.