Monday, March 13, 2017

I've Seen This Before....

Over the weekend, had a race! Just a 5K, but I raced it at my fastest 5K pace, and I did pretty well! I got a time of 23:55, which is an improvement from 26:11 last year, and my average mile pace was 7:43! I got 9th in my age/gender division (out of 561) and 145th out of everyone (about 1000).

I was pretty pleased. I also got to try the new running shirt out, and it's amazing! Will run in again.

Another thing I did over the weekend was get into an argument with my roommate over the movie Frozen. I don't think it's a fantastic movie (it's enjoyable and does some cool things that I liked, but it has some serious storytelling flaws, in my opinion), and she thinks it's pretty good. We disputed over a number of things, mainly Hans's villainous status. I think the bait-and-switch Hans-is-the-villain was a cheap, lazy writing move - and you can probably expect a future post about this - and she thinks it was brilliant.

Whatever. Agree to disagree.

Anyway, thinking about this got me thinking about Disney's recent movies, and as I was thinking about them, I noticed a character and plot pattern emerge in some of Disney's latest female-protagonist movies, namely, Tangled, Frozen, Zootopia, and Moana, other than the fact that all these titles are just one word (in contrast to Big Hero 6 or Wreck-It Ralph).

Check it out:

The movie's protagonist is an energetic (shall we say bubbly?), somewhat sheltered, young female person.


She has big dreams!

But her family doesn't understand or actively holds her back from achieving those dreams.

She sets out on a quest.

 Accompanied by a male character who is more cynical and world-wearied than she is (and usually of a lower social class than her).

They don't hit it off at first, but stick together because the female protagonist has leverage on the male companion.

But, as the movie progresses, they start to gain friendly affection (if not love) for each other.

 I'm going to stop here, since searching these pictures is time-consuming and you probably see what I mean. But I could keep going. Three of these four have help come from unexpected sources (thugs, talking snowman, gangster rodents) with a possible fourth in Moana's ancestor spirits. Also, three of the four have animal sidekicks (except for Judy, who is herself an animal).

Heck, we could get Brave in here too with 1) a single-word title, 2) family that doesn't understand the female protagonist's dreams, 3) going on a quest, and 4) struggling with a companion and growing to love that person (except it's her mom, not a male cynic).

These movies have a LOT in common.

I'm not saying this pattern is a bad thing or a good thing; I've enjoyed all these films to different degrees. All I want is a well-told story.

But, if Disney announces another single-word-title film with a female protagonist, I think I know how the story will basically unfold.

Here are the books debuting this week:

Middle Grade:
Ellie Terry - Forget Me Not (3/14)

Young Adult:
Katie Bayerl - A Psalm for Lost Girls (3/14)
Jennifer Park - The Shadows We Know By Hear (3/14)
Katherine Webber - Wing Jones (3/14)

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