As with previous posts in this category, I’m assuming if you’re reading you’ll understand why these things are a problem and I don’t need to explain male gaze, objectification, gender stereotypes, etc., these posts are just a way of acknowledging/noting these issues within kids’ films. And also that if you do want to leave a comment saying I’m taking it too seriously, I should get a life/sense of humour/hobby, etc., I’m just gonna go ahead and ignore you.
HERE BE SPOILERS!
Well first of all there’s the fact that it’s another film with – and named for – a main male character, but I actually found Vanellope to be the star. Love her. I groaned when she’s discovered to be a princess, but almost cheered when she rejects this with the line “I’m thinking more along the lines of a constitutional democracy. President Vanellope Von Schweetz. Has a nice ring to it, don’cha think?”
The main thing that bugged me was the character of Calhoun, who is a sergeant in Hero’s Duty. She’s described in the Disney Wiki as “the tough-as-nails, take-charge leader who fights for humanity’s freedom.” Until, that is, Fix-It Felix rescues them both from a swamp and she’s suddenly making, as the film calls it “goo-goo eyes” at him. (It reminds me of a bit in Journey 2: The Mysterious Island when Josh Hutcherson’s character rescues the previously uninterested Vanessa Hudgins – when she falls off a giant bumblebee, no really – and you see her suddenly start to see him in A New Light.) Later, Felix calls Calhoun a “dynamite gal” and she flashes back to her previous lover calling her the same before their wedding is interrupted by a Cy-Bug.
“On the day of their wedding, Calhoun was too distracted by her ceremony to complete one of her highly important perimeter checks. The neglect caused one of the Cy-Bugs to break into the wedding chapel and devour Brad, killing him. The story left Calhoun with a hard heart until Felix came into her life and showed her the brighter side of things.”