Saturday, July 10, 2010

Punch-worthy Heroines

A. I don't really want to punch anyone. I'm talking figuratively here, so let it go.
B. I know heroines is passe. Heroes is now gender neutral. But I'm speaking specifically about female heroes. So, again, let it go.

This will be a short one, so you don't even need to sit down.

I'm watching "Percy Jackson" with my 13yo. Last night, I watched it with my 11yo. No, it's not that I love the movie so much I want to watch it twice, it's that I love my sons enough that I'll happily sit here with each of them as they watch it. I've folded the laundry. I've cleaned the room. I'm trying to be productive and good company. It's somewhat do-able.

But I have to interrupt with my own little commercial of how I can't stand female characters that are there solely for the purpose of being saved.

Disclaimer (call it point 'C' if you'd like): I've never read these books. So I'm going only on the movie here.

Percy's mother is annoying the ever-living daylights out of me. First, she runs off to the camp with him and Grover. Why? So she can drive? Uh... unnecessary. Are the boys worried about getting pulled over by the police, or are they worried about the minotaur? Because, really, I'd leave Mom at home and get a head start on the mythological monster. And she can't go into the camp, which is how she ends up hanging out with Hades for a few days. "No, Percy. Go without me. Go." So she didn't go with the boys so she could drive, right? She went so she could get captured.

(And the fact that we meet her while she is IRONING HER ABUSIVE HUSBAND'S SHIRT just adds to my irritation.)

And then Percy rescues her from Hades. Good son. Well done. It's what you should have done. I won't argue with you there. But you end up at the elevator leading to Mt. Olympus, and ... shocker! ... she can't go with you. She dials in the pass code (which she could have given you WITHOUT having to go with you) and send you on your way. "No. Percy. Go without me. Go." (And only moments before, she was lying on the ground saying almost the exact same thing, wasn't she?)

I'll give her credit at the end for kicking the husband out. Well done. And 'phew.'

But Percy still has to finish things off with Medusa's head in the fridge.

My point: Writers? Screenwriters or novelists? Don't. Do. This. Please please please stop. It's 2010. Either leave the maiden in need of rescue at home with the load of ironing, or give her a sword and let her do some fighting herself. But don't drag her around simply so she can either (a) get into trouble or (b) stand out of breath and the door saying, "No. Go without me. Go." Give us someone we want to cheer--not someone we want to scream at.

That is all.

Now, back to your regularly scheduled programming.

1 comment:

Brigid Kemmerer said...

The mom in the movie drove me nuts, too. In the book, Percy is 12 years old, so she has to drive him to camp, and it's more appropriate. The angst between Percy and his abusive stepfather is more real, too. (My disclaimer: I only read half the book.) I actually wasn't a fan of the movie -- at all. Much like a lot of recent YA movies that are based on a book, the movie assumed you'd read it. Instead of being an original adaptation, it looks like a cheap reproduction of each scene, like something a bunch of sixth graders would put together with a home video camera.

But I know I'm missing the point of your post. I'm also tired of the stock damsel-in-distress. Why didn't Percy's mom try to fight the Minotaur with him? If some Minotaur came after Nick or Jonathan, I would have locked the kids in the car and went at it myself.

Didn't the screenwriter know how moms work?