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sword
tiger_spot
Just got back from seeing Up. Two things:

1. Best movie in the history of movies.

2. Ow, my heartstrings.

(Okay, also 3. Pixar, can we have a little talk about gender? Thanks.)

But. Totally awesome.
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I've heard good-ish things about Up. I think I'll take Mike this week, if we can find it playing anywhere.

We were crying in the first 10 minutes and then couldn't breathe we were laughing so hard later on. Great movie.

What about gender -- I'm curious?

Too many boys. Let me do a little table here:





























































Film

Protagonists (male)

Protagonists (female)

Major Supporting Characters (male)

Major Supporting Characters (female)

Toy Story

Woody, Buzz


Mr. Potatohead, Slinky Dog, Rex, Hamm

Bo Peep

A Bug's Life

Flik, all the circus bugs


or maybe the circus bugs go here

I think there was a princess

Toy Story 2

Woody

Jessie

Buzz


Monsters, Inc.

Sully, Mike


Randall, the boss

Boo

Finding Nemo

Nemo, Nemo's dad


the sharks, the sea turtle

Dory

The Incredibles

Mr. Incredible

Mrs. Incredible

Dash, the baby, Frozone

Violet, the costume designer

Cars

Lightning McQueen


Mater


Ratatouille

Remy


Emile, Remy's father, Gusteau, Alfredo, Anton Ego

Collette

WALL-E

WALL-E


the captain

EVE

Up

Carl


Russel, Dug, Muntz

Ellie, Kevin


My evaluation of what counts as a major supporting character is basically "do I remember this character", so it's fairly subjective. Some of the dual protagonists are arguable, too; Nemo and Mike in particular may be better considered supporting characters. I have only seen part of Cars, so I might be leaving characters out of that one.

The formatting on your table seems off- there's a LOT of white space between words and table. And the troubleshooter in me checked this on two browsers ;)

Yeah, I know. I can't figure out what's causing that. I sure didn't put it in.

Regarding gender: were you thinking something like this?

Along those lines. And also, on this one in particular -- (warning, here there be vaguely spoilery things if you care a whole lot about finding out plot details at the exact rate they are revealed in the film) statistically speaking, there are a lot more old women outliving their husbands than the other way around. A swap to Carla and Eddie wouldn't have hurt the film one tiny little bit. And where were the female supporting characters? Kevin, okay, but all the dogs were male, all the construction workers, the lead suit, both nursing home attendants, the villain... Russell's mom appears very briefly and doesn't have any lines, and there's a female police officer early on who has one line, and that's it. And the only reason Kevin's female is so she can get back to her babies. It's a little overwhelming.

There must have been some female dogs, right? Dogs don't live for decades. And he had more dogs in modern day than he had when he left. Those dogs had to come from somewhere.

I think that Munz just set all their voice synthesizers to male, because he's a chauvinist.


(But I get the point. And I will avoid nitpicking the subjective chart.)

There must have been some female dogs, right? Dogs don't live for decades.

Yeah, and Muntz had a mother too. That doesn't mean she was in the movie.

I think that Munz just set all their voice synthesizers to male, because he's a chauvinist.

A possibility. It's not like Pixar's going to draw testicles on a cartoon dog, so it's hard to say for certain.

I was more annoyed about the rats in Ratatouille, because Remy's size and activity level are much more likely for a female rat than a male. (Emile, his brother, was a much more realistic male.)

Yeah, and Muntz had a mother too. That doesn't mean she was in the movie.

I was saying some of the dogs in the movie were in fact female, and you just couldn't tell (as with Kevin). Not that that would excuse anything, as it leads to a related problem: Not being able to identify the active female characters is as bad or almost as bad as not having active female characters.

(Similarly, two of the circus bugs in A Bug's Life were female; that was one of my quibbles with the chart. But if this was forgotten by someone who watched the movie, how major a part of the movie was their gender?)

two of the circus bugs in A Bug's Life were female

Oh, were they? Let's see what I remember --

ladybug (male)
caterpillar (male)
two doodlebugs/pillbugs/these-guys-have-a-lot-of-common-names (male)
there was a... stag beetle, I think, pulling the cart; I'm not sure if that had an assigned gender and personality or if it was more treated as a draft animal

Checking wikipedia, I see I'm leaving out a walking stick (male), a praying mantis (male), a moth (female), and a spider (female). Also, the big beetle is male and considered a person.

Having been reminded, I vaguely remember that the spider's web is important to part of the plot, but the other three I don't remember at all.

If you'd like to create an objective chart, based on minutes of screen time or number of spoken lines or what have you, go for it. I like data.

Eh, my experience with little old men and little old women leads me to believe that the movie wouldn't have worked at all with Carl's character as a female.

I agree that Pixar needs more female characters that young girls can look up to (no reason why Nemo had to be a boy except the name kinda implies male...) but I can't see Up working with any of the main characters' genders swapped around. Kevin had to be female for the plot to work, Doug had to be male or else it would be seen as insulting to females... This is one where the genders didn't bother me. Ratatouille, on the other hand, could have used a few stronger female characters.

Eh, my experience with little old men and little old women leads me to believe that the movie wouldn't have worked at all with Carl's character as a female.

As a couple, Carl and Ellie remind me of my dad's parents (who did quite a bit of world traveling in their time). Grandpa's definitely the talkative one in that pair. Grandma's never been quite as grumpy as Carl is when the plot kicks in, but I could see that set of grandparents starring in the gender-reversed alternate universe version.

Old women do tend not to wind up quite so bitter and isolated after their spouses pass on. Is that the sort of thing you were thinking of, or what about the reversed genders would seem off to you?

Exactly. The sort of lost and bitter and isolated thing seems to be much more common among old men. Old women have more of a tendancy to go out and be social, bake stuff for church, that sort of thing. Maybe once our generation grows up the differences will be less obvious thanks to our much less gender-divided society. I have no idea. But I just don't see that reversal working out.

And a little girl flying off with a lonely old man just reeks of creepiness.

"And a little girl flying off with a lonely old man just reeks of creepiness."

Which is why Doctor Who has a granddaughter.

We saw the "early" (11 am) showing of it yesterday, since it's been sold out EVERY OTHER TIME we've tried to see it. Good stuff.

I've had a small mad-on about Pixar and gender since the release of Cars or thereabouts. I tried explaining it to my reading list only to have people argue that supporting characters count so I should quit worrying and love the sexism.

Pixar has a Christmas-release movie planned for 2011 that will both be the first female-lead film and woman-directed film for the studio. It's called The Bear and the Bow, about a princess who tries to become an archer instead. It's also a woman-written script, drawing from fairy tales and her love for her young daughter. I wish it were their big summer release, but I think that's going to be Newt that year. Newt has a female protagonist to match the male one, however, so it may be more of a sign of change to come that both films are planned. I hope so. Seems ironic that Miyazaki's studio is the only major player that does female-lead movies on a regular basis, and only one was about a princess (but Mononoke is no Disney flower, bless her).

Unfortunately, we have to wait another 3 years for a female lead. Boo.

I got a little fidgety around Finding Nemo, but then The Incredibles was pretty well balanced and I took it as a promising sign of change. Got squinty again at Ratatouille and am actually fairly cranky by now.

Sure, supporting characters count. There are way more male supporting characters, too (see chart in comment above), so I'm not sure what point your commenters were trying to make....

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