By Maeve Kelly
Recently I ventured into the unknown. A place I swore I was too sophisticated to even contemplate enjoying, I went to see a kid’s film. After months of hearing my self-respecting twenty something year old friends let loose to the sounds of “Let it go” I gave in.
For this baptism of fire I opted for “Inside Out”, the latest Disney Pixar offering starring the queen of comedy Amy Poehler and was more than pleasantly surprised. Just like Amy herself the film was spunky and sweet, infectiously imaginative and more intellectual that I would ever be prepared to admit. All in all I really enjoyed it.
This then got me to thinking; could kids movies have progressed from their Cinderella hay day fashioned out of false expectations and anti-feminist principles? I mean when I was a tot the closest we got to an empowered female role-model was a token doctor Barbie, seemingly unaware of her unnatural waist size and impossible proportions. Granted Pocahontas gave it her best shot, but even she succumbed to the breadth of John’s masculine shoulders.
Despite myself thus I began to reconsider my position conceding that maybe, just maybe kiddie’s films have come along way. It seems that the much out-dated damsel in distress desperately in search of her happily ever after (which she would always get by the way) has been replaced with a more inspired message.
“Inside Out” is not the first of its kind and Disney Pixar has been taking a decidedly different approach to childhood cinema for some time now. Not only are they choosing to carve strong, independent women they too have adopted a renewed focus on relationships other than the romantic.
“Toy Story” brought us Jessie; fierce feisty and in no way overpowered by her male comrades. “Finding Nemo” taught us the importance of family and the unbreakable bond between parent and child. The heart-warming “Up” presented us with the positive that can blossom between the young and the old whilst also proving that you don’t have to be young fit or handsome (no offence to the oh so cute Carl) to be a marvelous male lead!
“Brave” instilled in us the importance of being true to you with fiery Merida bucking all of the trends deifying tradition and pursuing a path more conventionally kept for the knights in shining armour; archery. “Tangled” not only featured the first female lead sporting a cropped cut but also reversed the gender roles with Rapunzel taking her male counterpart captive! Brave and ballsy, I like her!
“Frozen” (despite my earlier protestations) has been one of the most bracing of all. Not only is the central character a fearless female, she is also her own hero taking on the task of saving her kingdom all by herself. She’s gutsy, energetic and damn can she sing! All this is teaching little girls everywhere that you can own it, you can do it and you sure as hell don’t need a man to help you.