Alice Eve’s Underwear Shot in Star Trek Into Darkness
It was such an unnecessary scene that the writer of the movie felt the need to apologise later.
Some context: In the scene, Eve’s character, Carol Marcus, and Captain Kirk are talking about disarming a torpedo, and suddenly, Marcus decides a change of clothing is necessary. She asks Kirk to turn around, which he does but he takes a peek anyway, and we see Marcus in her underwear.
JJ Abrams, the director, then holds on that shot for a bit too long and the way it’s been framed is also a dead giveaway of the scene’s intention – to cater to the majorly male Star Trek fandom. The shot was used in the trailer as well.
The movie’s costume director, Michael Kaplan concurs:
Last time, Zoe needed to wear underwear, and this time it was Alice Eve’s turn. You know, it’s a rather large male fanbase, and JJ wanted to appeal to that.
Let’s be clear, this sort of thing happens all the time, and it’s something we’re accustomed to, particularity in movies with a male target audience. The problem was how it was done in Into Darkness; it was entirely out of place and took the audience out of the movie.
There was much negative chatter online surrounding the scene and Damon Lindelof, who wrote the movie, issued an apology while also somewhat justifying the scene:
I copped to the fact that we should have done a better job of not being gratuitous in our representation of a barely clothed actress. We also had Kirk shirtless in underpants in both movies, but I do not want to make light of something that some construe as misogynistic. What I’m saying is I hear you, I take responsibility and will be more mindful in the future.
By and large, the objectification of men and women in movies is still mostly disproportionate. Now, a pre-emptive strike for the people who are going to point out that Chris Hemsworth and Chris Pine are sexualised in Thor and Wonder Woman – Yes they are, but here’s the thing:
One could make the argument that since Thor is a God, it is somewhat relevant to reinforce his strength and physical prowess. As for Pine, that scene was pivotal to the story. It was the first time Diana had seen a man undressed and it helped build the sexual tension between the two characters. Moreover, that scene also served as subversive take on women objectification in blockbuster movies. Whereas in Into Darkness, Eve is reduced to an object for no good reason, other than to appeal to the male gaze.
There was unquestionably no need for this scene. It wasn’t relevant to the story in any way whatsoever. But it’s heartening to hear Lindelof’s words.
The bottom line is, they do this because it works. How many of you clicked on this answer because of the image? And if done right, it can be entertaining (as it was in Wonder Woman), but it certainly wasn’t done right in Into Darkness.