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Mon Aug 19, 2013, 09:08 AM

The Mako Mori Test: 'Pacific Rim' inspires a Bechdel Test alternative

Fans of feminist film, or any lovers of media with strong female characters, might have a hard time justifying why they love certain movies. But the Mako Mori test, named after a Pacific Rim character at the center of a controversy, is attempting to change the conversation about what constitutes "strong women" in film.

It's no secret that Pacific Rim, Guillermo del Toro's $200 million love song to Japanese pop culture, was a risky venture from the start. With a multicultural cast, Hong Kong used as the main setting instead of New York or L.A., the only real star being a Black Brit many Americans had never heard of, and a storyline full of borrowed tropes that many anime fans felt were ripoffs rather than homages, the sci-fi action flick has fought an uphill battle to draw attention.


The Mako Mori test is passed if the movie has: a) at least one female character; b) who gets her own narrative arc; c) that is not about supporting a man’s story. I think this is about as indicative of “feminism” (that is, minimally indicative, a pretty low bar) as the Bechdel test. It is a pretty basic test for the representation of women, as is the Bechdel test. It does not make a movie automatically feminist.

The application of this test might enable interesting discussions of feminism surrounding films which typically seem to be steamrollered by their failure to pass Bechdel. For instance, while Avengers barely managed to have two women on screen at the same time, much less conversant with each other, it had a female character, Black Widow, whose narrative arc was a major driving force of the plot. Using the Mako Mori Test as a measurement of whether Avengers is a feminist film or not points the focus away from the film's small quantity of women and towards the way Black Widow is demonstrably capable of commanding her own storyline.


http://www.dailydot.com/fandom/mako-mori-test-bechdel-pacific-rim/

I don't love a lot of movies; and when I do they tend to be Tarantino or Rodriquez or even Kevin Smith flicks; or ironic films like "Cabin in the Woods" or my recent favorite "God Bless America" I have come NOT to expect a feminist perspective and when it occurs I'm simply pleasantly surprised. I don't apply a 'test' -- Kill Bill is one of my favorite movies of all time, and while it passes Bechdal, it's a cartoon like revenge flick.

This dialogue from God Bless America --which doesn't pass Bechdal--blew my mind:

Frank: Oh, I get, and I am offended. Not because I've got a problem with bitter, predictable, whiny, millionaire disk jockeys complaining about celebrities or how tough their life is, while I live in an apartment with paper-thin walls next to a couple of Neanderthals who, instead of a baby, decided to give birth to some kind of nocturnal civil defense air-raid siren that goes off every fuckin' night like it's Pearl Harbor. I'm not offended that they act like it's my responsibility to protect their rights to pick on the weak like pack animals, or that we're supposed to support their freedom of speech when they don't give a fuck about yours or mine.

Office Worker: So, you're against free speech now? That's in the Bill of Rights, man.

Frank: I would defend their freedom of speech if I thought it was in jeopardy. I would defend their freedom of speech to tell uninspired, bigoted, blowjob, gay-bashing, racist and rape jokes all under the guise of being edgy, but that's not the edge. That's what sells. They couldn't possibly pander any harder or be more commercially mainstream, because this is the "Oh no, you didn't say that!" generation, where a shocking comment has more weight than the truth. No one has any shame anymore, and we're supposed to celebrate it. I saw a woman throw a used tampon at another woman last night on network television, a network that bills itself as "Today's Woman's Channel". Kids beat each other blind and post it on Youtube. I mean, do you remember when eating rats and maggots on Survivor was shocking? It all seems so quaint now. I'm sure the girls from "2 Girls 1 Cup" are gonna have their own dating show on VH-1 any day now. I mean, why have a civilization anymore if we no longer are interested in being civilized?


And that's the stuff I truly love; the unapologetic calling out of bullshit culture and shallow values. The insistence that cruelty is being "anti PC" when it's just being cruel and thoughtless and boring

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Reply The Mako Mori Test: 'Pacific Rim' inspires a Bechdel Test alternative (Original post)
ismnotwasm Aug 2013 OP
DetlefK Aug 2013 #1
Starry Messenger Aug 2013 #3
seabeyond Aug 2013 #5
redqueen Aug 2013 #6
DetlefK Aug 2013 #7
seabeyond Aug 2013 #8
ismnotwasm Aug 2013 #9
Stargazer09 Aug 2013 #2
seabeyond Aug 2013 #4

Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Mon Aug 19, 2013, 09:39 AM

1. A male perspective: The love-story in Pacific Rim sucked. Mako Mori is in no way a strong woman.

What's-his-name walks out of helicopter. You can see by the way she looks at him and by the way her breath changes that she's immediately smitten.
-> Woman falls in love with man she has met 1 second ago.

Then they argue inside his "apartment". She runs off but he forgets to close his door before undressing and she sees his well-shaped body while peeping through her spyhole.
-> Woman leering creepily at guy she can't stop thinking about.

And then she's no Jaeger-pilot because her adoptive father won't let her and it would be bad manners to confront him on that.
-> Woman is obedient and polite daughter because tradition says so.



I really doubt that any action-movie with a female lead that's 1. not super-hot and 2. who doesn't give a fuck about what men think about her would even get made.
I don't think that men who prefer this kind of violence-porn over other genres can handle the sight of a strong woman emotionally.


EDIT: You know what would have been funnier ending?
They make it out alive with their escape-pods. She screams that he should wake up. He wakes up and tries to kiss her. She: "Listen, you are cute but I've hid a secret from you: I'm in a long-distance relationship and we promised each other to marry when the war is over. What we had was great while it lasted but now we both have to move on."

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #1)

Mon Aug 19, 2013, 10:32 AM

3. Kind of darkly ironic, no?

"I don't think that men who prefer this kind of violence-porn over other genres can handle the sight of a strong woman emotionally."

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #1)

Mon Aug 19, 2013, 11:27 AM

5. point. excellent. i reviewed a book.

 

the first story the woman was independent. strong. fun. able. i LUVED it. i went out and bought the second story. it was the one where she was meeting the man "she falls in love" with. they kept stating how strong and capable she was. but, all of a sudden she is crying about shit, cant do shit and the man has to do it for her, cringing, weeping, weak.

it was pathetic. i had a lot of people agree with my....

what the hell happened to rio.

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #1)

Mon Aug 19, 2013, 11:43 AM

6. Well, he was a hero, so she had a celebrity crush kinda thing for him...

so she wasn't really 'in love' with him. I agree with everything else you said though.

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Response to redqueen (Reply #6)

Mon Aug 19, 2013, 05:10 PM

7. Want to see something interesting? Switch their gender-roles:

He's the young geek, she's an experienced older woman and a decorated veteran.
1. First time he sees her in person, he turns from a professional analyst into a nervous mess.
2. He watches her change her clothes by peeping through a spyhole.
3. His dominating father is keeping him from joining the war, even though he has talent, and he doesn't dare to speak up.

Does that sound like a strong character to you?

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #7)

Mon Aug 19, 2013, 05:17 PM

8. High five... Nt

 

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Response to DetlefK (Reply #7)

Tue Aug 20, 2013, 12:11 AM

9. Heh!

Nice.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Mon Aug 19, 2013, 09:54 AM

2. Interesting

I will rent the movie and see it for myself.

Thank you for posting this.

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Response to ismnotwasm (Original post)

Mon Aug 19, 2013, 11:24 AM

4. this quote

 

Frank: I would defend their freedom of speech if I thought it was in jeopardy. I would defend their freedom of speech to tell uninspired, bigoted, blowjob, gay-bashing, racist and rape jokes all under the guise of being edgy, but that's not the edge. That's what sells. They couldn't possibly pander any harder or be more commercially mainstream, because this is the "Oh no, you didn't say that!" generation, where a shocking comment has more weight than the truth. No one has any shame anymore, and we're supposed to celebrate it. I saw a woman throw a used tampon at another woman last night on network television, a network that bills itself as "Today's Woman's Channel". Kids beat each other blind and post it on Youtube. I mean, do you remember when eating rats and maggots on Survivor was shocking? It all seems so quaint now. I'm sure the girls from "2 Girls 1 Cup" are gonna have their own dating show on VH-1 any day now. I mean, why have a civilization anymore if we no longer are interested in being civilized?


repeat repeat repeat. can i put all this in a sig line.

avengers. that was interesting. i was catching bits and pieces the other night as teh boys watched. the black widow. where the center of the story seems to be on her, true. and i ask about her. i am told there really is not much to her. she really isnt that special. she is a side bar. and i am saying... but, the movie seems to be drawing to her. and yet she is readily dismissed. but then....

it was kinda surreal but then i wasnt really watching the movie.

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