Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Do Chareidim Have An Influence Over Pixar?

When it comes to animated movies, there are very few major players. The most well known, of course, is Disney. The next two (in no particular order) are Dreamworks and Pixar (which is owned by Disney).

Walt Disney has never shied away from having female lead characters. Their very first full-length animated movie was Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. Over the intervening years, they also produced Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and many others. Of more recent vintage, there are Disney movies where the main character is not only a female, but also a strong character. The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, Pocahontas, Hercules, Mulan and even Lilo and Stitch all had very strong female main characters.

Pixar, on the other hand, is very light on strong, female lead characters. In some movies (Toy Story, Bug's Life, Cars) there are no strong female characters at all. In Finding Nemo, Dory is important, but not because she's a female -- her character could just as easily have been male. The same goes for Boo in Monsters, Inc. Collette's character in Ratatoullie is a minor one. I'm not quite sure how female Eve is in WALL-E.

Pixar does get points for Elastigirl (and, to a lesser extent Violet) in The Incredibles and Jesse in Toy Story 2. However, that's about it. Pixar, up to this point, has been more or less completely male dominated, which makes me wonder -- are they doing it for tznius reasons? Is there a "frum" element at work at Pixar? Have the chareidim infiltrated Pixar headquarters?

The Wolf

Hat tip: Vast Public Indifference (not a J-blogger)

8 comments:

justajew said...

I'm thinking it's more of a marketing / demographic issue. Boys might be more drawn to computer animated movies than girls. Can you think of ANY computer animation film with a female lead? How did it perform at the box office?

BrooklynWolf said...

Shrek did very well with a strong female main character.

The Wolf

justajew said...

She was a secondary character at best. The name of the movie wasn't "Fiona."

BrooklynWolf said...

I've got to disagree with you there justajew. Fiona was far more than "just a secondary character" in Shrek.

In any event, I'm not sure that I see why traditional animation vs. computer animation would make that big a deal. I would think the gender of attendees at a movie would be based more on the characters and story rather than what materials were used to produce the drawings.

The Wolf

Joseph said...

>In some movies (Toy Story, Bug's Life, Cars) there are no strong female characters at all. In Finding Nemo, Dory is important, but not because she's a female -- her character could just as easily have been male. The same goes for Boo in Monsters, Inc. Collette's character in Ratatoullie is a minor one. I'm not quite sure how female Eve is in WALL-E<

Methinks the Wolf has too much time on his hands! what about getting a head-start on Pesach-cleaning?!

Izgad said...

In general girls are much better than boys at relating to characters of the opposite gender. I guess this is because there is no stigma attached to girls liking guy stuff. So from an economics perspective it makes sense to have mostly male lead characters. It would take a strong push from feminist ideologues to do otherwise.
I personally have no problem with strong female leads. Two of my favorite works of fantasy, Abhorsen and His Dark Material have women as the main characters.

Ezzie said...

I think it's easier for a little girl to identify with a fun male lead in these than a boy to identify with a female lead. Even in Shrek (which is the only one I can think of), the boys were identifying with Shrek, with the donkey, later on with the cat... and even Fiona was this tough chick who doesn't even end up your classic Princessy type. (Same obviously true of the Incredibles.)

A little boy simply does not want to be associating himself with some dainty princess. The classics worked and still work as classic fairy tale types, but if you're creating something new, you are going to for something people will identify with - adults included.

Garnel Ironheart said...

You also have to remember how these strong Disney female characters are portrayed.

Ariel spends most of her movie in her bikini (except for the cut scene where she's shown pretty much naked after getting her legs). Jasmine spends her movie in lingerie. Mulan has to pretend to be a guy to get ahead in the world.
Snow White is a permanent victim. Cinderella reacts but only initiates once and does a pretty pathetic job when she does. Sleeping Beauties sleeps through her role. Lilo is a tomboy who shies away from anything girlish. And Pocohontas is a walking add for pushup bra's. Even Tinkerbell recently evolved from that little glowing thing in the corner of the screen to a skank.
So many Disney has lots of main roles for women but what does the studio think of them?