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Up!

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Just saw Up.

Lovely movie. Thoroughly charming. Contains a zeppelin. Made me cry, made me laugh.

Too sleepy (and have too much still to do tonight) to write a real review.

But I do have one semi-spoilery criticism (spoiler in the sense that it indirectly reveals various things that don't happen in the movie):

It sure would be nice if there were, oh, I dunno, more than one female character with a speaking part. (Though that one character is pretty darn awesome.)

My concerns about the gender stuff in this movie actually go a bit deeper than that (and relate in complicated ways to the way gender is handled in many other movies), but details would go into significant spoiler territory, so I'll stop here for now.

Still, I can set that aside, and that might be the only significant flaw in the movie for me; it really is a quite wonderful movie.

Note: Comments thread contains spoilers.

3 Comments

* spoiler alert *

I dunno, I think Kevin almost has a speaking role. She certainly gets the last word. I kind of liked the fact that they kept calling her Kevin, too. Made it kind of gender-bending. Though I could see arguments in the other direction, as well.

That certainly doesn't in any way tip the ballance of speaking roles, I just wanted to point out there was more than one female one. And she isn't even passive in her own rescue, which is also good.



(This comments thread will contain spoilers)

Yeah, I waffled about how or whether to mention Kevin. She certainly has a prominent role, and I don't want to undervalue that. But I think the question of speech per se is played with in so many ways in this movie that it seems legitimate to me to note that Kevin doesn't actually get to speak in English. The dogs all do, and their voices all sound male to me. (I was sort of hoping that at some point Kevin would get a speech collar.) Carl finds himself speechless at various times (especially in the opening sequence), but later finds a voice. And there's a whole long part of the opening sequence that conveys a lot of emotional content and plot with no dialogue at all. So speech is definitely complicated in this movie, in interesting ways. But the only major character who doesn't get to speak English at all is Kevin; and it's unfortunate that she's one of only two prominent female characters in the movie.

I did like that they continued to call her Kevin. (But I know a female Kevin in real life, too.)

Anyway, yes, good point about Kevin not being passive. (I kind of thought for a while that they were doing a Road Runner reworking....) So the handling of female characters is not as simple as I was making it sound.

But the flip side of that is that the gender issue I was most bothered by in the movie was the fact that Ellie doesn't get to have the adventures she wanted. It's nice that because of her, and in memory of her adventurous spirit, Carl ends up having more adventures than he otherwise would have; but movies are full of men who are inspired by women, and women who don't go out adventuring, and I was disappointed that this movie, too, despite starting out so strong in that regard, ended up showing us (a relatively nice variation on) that familiar story.


As I have said many times before about the name Kevin: Beats me why many parents want to give their boys grief by christening them with an obviously female name.


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