In the world of animation, female characters and indeed female led films are slowly but surely on the rise. A few standout examples in recent years have come from Disney, who gave us Rapunzel from Tangled back in 2010, Merida from Brave in 2012 and of course, Anna and Elsa from Frozen last year in 2013. Here were women who were strong, independent and not afraid to stand their ground and fight for what they believe in.
When The Lego Movie came along at the end of last year, not only was everything awesome, but the film’s characters were awesome too. The movie starred the voice of Chris Pratt as Emmett Brickowski, and his love interest (and that of Batman as well), was Wyldestyle, voiced by Elizabeth Banks. She was certainly strong and a great freedom fighter too, but there was only really one female character at the centre of the film.
Now Christopher Miller and Phil Lord, writers and directors of The Lego Movie have promised more female characters for the sequel which they will also write and direct, to be released in 2018.
The Lego toy company has already paved the way for this by releasing a set of three female scientists back in August; a palaeontologist, an astronomer and a chemist, but it has also come under fire for its Lego Friends range, with critics saying the predominantly pink line aimed at girls is too sexist.
I’m not entirely sure why it being pink means it is either aimed at girls or sexist? Lego is Lego. Boys like Lego, girls like Lego, boys like pink, girls like pink. It is society that tells us pink things must be aimed at girls. Lego Friends sets are predominantly sets which feature friends in social settings, for example at a cafe or shopping mall, or walking their dogs together. The packaging might be pink and the writing floral but actually no one is saying those toys are aimed at girls.
Miller wouldn’t reveal whether the central character in the Lego Movie sequel would be female, but he did promise “more female characters and more female stuff,” whatever that might mean.
“You can feel that the whole movie culture is now starting to wake up to the fact that half the audience are women,” Phil Lord said. “Frozen is reflective of that – and I think we are all going to find a great flourishing of women film makers and subject matter in the future.”
Miller added: “There’s been a real shortage of [female protagonists] in recent years and I think that the near future will be very different.”
I am all for an equal balance and equal representation in films such as this one; it presents a great example to young children and encourages young girls to go on and achieve great things, however, I do hope Lord and Miller only add female roles that serve the film well, and don’t compromise the quality of their work just to satisfy the critics.
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