Having never read Here Be Monsters, the book this animated film was based on, I can make no comment on similarities to the original tale. So, this review will only be looking at the movie itself.Growing up, I was a huge fan or Roald Dahl. But there is something about the grim, exaggerated nastiness of the villains paired with strange sometimes violent humor and plucky child protagonists that seems to be difficult to translate well into visual story telling. The Fantastic Mr. Fox, by Wes Anderson, managed to make that jump and The Boxtrolls follows suit. It takes this genre, and makes a movie that manages to capture the heart of these kind of strange tales.
Thursday, October 9, 2014
Friday, September 26, 2014
Thursday, September 25, 2014
“The message is clear. Boys are the norm, girls the variation; boys are central, girls peripheral; boys are individuals, girls types. Boys define the group, its story and its code of values. Girls exist only in relation to boys.”
Nostalgia Chick has a fabulous video that gives an overview of this phenomenon. As I’ve blogged about in more detail HERE, the 80s became a spread of marketing based animated shows. The cartoons also became decidedly gendered, with shows like Transformers for young boys, and My Little Ponies for girls. In the nineties, shows became less product based, and less gendered in their marketing. Cartoon’s became more inclusive for viewers. But as the Nostalgia Chick points out, the result was that in the shows themselves, the majority of protagonists were male. Token female characters would be a part of ensemble casts, but primary female character who carried a show were rare.
Looking at television cartoons produced by Toon Disney during the 1990s gives a good look at animated female characters during this time. Of the 25 cartoons that aired:
9 had an ensemble cast with a male majority
Adventures of the Gummi Bears (1985-1991) 4M 2F, DuckTales (1987-1990) 4M, Goof Troop (1992-1993) 2M, Gargoyles (1994-1997) 6M 2F, The Mighty Ducks (1996-1997) 4M 2F, Jungle Cubs (1996-1998) 5M 1F, Quack Pack (1996) 4M, 101 Dalmatians (1997-1998) 3M 1F, Recess (1997-2001) 4M 2F,
1 had an ensemble cast with a female majority
PB&J Otter (1998-2000) 2F 1M *unlike the other shows on this list, it targeted preschoolers
9 had a primary male protagonist (often with supporting ensemble casts)
The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1988-1991), TaleSpin (1990-1991), Darkwing Duck (1991-1992), Marsupilami (1993), Bonkers (1993-1994), Aladdin (1994-1995), Disney’s Doug (1996-1999), Nightmare Ned (1997), Hercules: The Animated Series (1998-2000)
3 had a primary female protagonist
The Little Mermaid (1992-1994), Pepper Ann (1997-2001), Sabrina, the Animated Series (1999-2000),
3 had two primary male protagonists as a duo
21 of the 25 shows featured either an ensemble cast with a male majority, or had a male primary protagonist. 4 shows had a primary female protagonist, or featured an ensemble cast with a female majority. Or to put it another way, only 16% of the cartoon series Disney produced from 1990-1999 featured a female driven narrative. Of the nine cartoons with a male majority ensemble cast, male characters on average outnumbered female characters 4:1. The single show that featured a female majority ensemble cast was targeting preschoolers, and the second female character in this triad was a baby who couldn't speak in complete sentences.
And Disney was leading the pack. It wasn’t until 1998 that Nickelodeon featured a cartoon with a primary protagonist who was female, The Wild Thornberrys. Similarly, 1998 was the year that Cartoon Network first featured a show with primary female protagonists, with an ensemble cast, The Powerpuff Girls.
It’s probably not surprising then, that while on the rare occasion male/female comedy duos appear, female/female comedy duos don’t. Rarely are there enough female characters to make a comedic duo. Even when there are, female characters are more likely to be daughters, love interests, or sisters to a male character. There is little room for female characters to have a female partner and carry a show, the way male duos did in large numbers during the 90s.
Friday, August 22, 2014
My post Fact Check: Only 13 Female Protagonists was used as a reference for this wonderful web comic about gender representation.
It is by the funny and fabulous French artist Mirion Malle. Click HERE to check it out.