Pixar’s making a movie about a girl! The animation company announced its schedule through 2012 and not one, but two of their films will feature females. Harping on Pixar for not having made a movie with a female heroine sooner, especially when I’m still high on Up! (just as Meghan is ), feels a little like ragging on Jackson Pollack for not painting straight lines. Still, it’s exciting news.
The first film, Newt , out in 2011, imagines “What happens when the last remaining male and female blue-footed newts on the planet are forced together by science to save the species, and they can’t stand each other?” This sounds like the animated version of It Happened One Night (plus a few action sequences), so, you know, sign me up. The second film, The Bear and The Bow , will be even more girlcentric, telling the tale of “the impetuous, tangle-haired Merida, [who] though a daughter of royalty, would prefer to make her mark as a great archer.” It’s also set to come out 2011 and will be voiced by Reese Witherspoon.
Not to harsh on Pixar too harshly, especially since I have all the faith in the world that The Bear and The Bow will be fantastic, but it’s slightly puzzling that Merida, their first female protagonist, is a princess. As Linda Holmes at NPR puts it, ” I have nothing against princesses . I have nothing against movies with princesses. But don’t the Disney princesses pretty much have us covered? [Pixar parent company Disney even has two more princess films, the controversial The Princess and The Frog and Rapunzel , coming out in the next year] If we had to wait for your thirteenth movie for you to make one with a girl at the center, couldn’t you have chosen something for her to be that could compete with plucky robots and adventurous space toys?” In other words, little girls already have lots of role models who wear tiaras and shiny pink dresses. Hopefully the new Pixar movies will show them a heroine who does other things. too.