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Movie Mom

Pixar Discovers Girls

posted by Nell Minow

Pixar is the most successful movie studio in history, with every one of its 10 films a critical and box office success. But not one of those ten films has featured a female lead. There have been memorable girls and women in films like “The Incredibles,” “Finding Nemo,” and “A Bug’s Life,” but the main action has gone to the male characters — in “Up” the only female other than the main character’s late wife, who never speaks, is a bird. That will change with two of Pixar’s upcoming releases, according to Willa Paskin on Slate sister site Double XX.

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.

Paskin wonders whether we really need another princess story, and I see her point. But I look forward to meeting these characters and to the reactions from girls — and their brothers — to seeing stories where girls get to take the lead.

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