Failing Bechdel, Passing Mako and Hollywood’s Standard of Stupid

Transformers: Age of Extinction came across my Netflix screen. I missed this in theaters, not for the more obivious reason that it was a solid B movie; I just didn’t have time. As a fan of the original Transformers cartoon, I really love the Michael Bay movies. They are irreverent, full of robot battles, homages to the cartoon and Optimus Prime speeches in all their cheesy glory. Michael Bay didn’t ruin my childhood, but sends me right back to it.

This is my guilty pleasure. Age of Extinction was not exception but not my favorite movie of the four. However, something stood out. Something that movies just don’t do.

Age of Extinction passed the Bechdel Test.

The Bechdel test isn’t hard to pass. All two woman have to do in a movie is say “Hi” to one another. However this doesn’t happen. It just doesn’t and the more you notice it the more you realize it seems silly that passing the test doesn’t happen more often.

There is a scene where the corporate executives are transporting what amounts to a bomb in the company vehicle. The boss is in the back and the two women, Dary Tirrel and Su Yueming are in front with Su driving. When it is revealed that they are transporting a bomb the women start talking about the bomb to each other. The conversation is short but it happens.

The movie passes the Mako test as well though barely, Su is only a barely realized character but she comes close.

So when you get a movie like Avengers: Age of Ultron (the age theme is getting a little silly but whatever), it becomes startling how fantastic they fail. Now look, I love Age of Ultron. I think it is the most awesome movie ever. I’ve seen it twice and I plan to buy it. But have you ever been to a party where the woman only talk to the men and not to each other? Ever? No, you haven’t.

I don’t throw out movies for not passing the test. However, damn it was so glaring in Age of Ultron that I wonder where the friggin cut scene is? There has to be one. Like Wil Smith sex scenes, it’ll be on the disk. At least I hope so.

What is this Standard of Stupid that A+ movies are held to? Why can B movies pass simple things like the Betchdel test and have POC in relationships with each other when blockbusters cannot? It got me wondering of some unspoken standard. Do producers sit around and have discussions about being biased in order to sell movies? Age of Ultron merchandise has gotten a lot of flack for not having female toys and there has been some mention of boys movies. Why are we segregating in big movies when Debbie Gibson/Tiffany vehicles have Asian male leads that get to tumble the girl but Bullet Proof Monk has to remain austere?

Age of Extinction isn’t SyFy channel Saturday night but it’s not Age of Ultron either. Michael Bay clearly doesn’t care what people think and maybe that’s why he doesn’t have to hold his movies to this Standard of Stupid.


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