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Rating: PG
Run Time:
Released: 2015
Director: Tim Johnson

 Cultural Rating: pawpawpawpaw

Overall this film does an excellent job at challenging traditional gender roles regarding femininity and depicts people of color in a positive manner. Additionally, the characters challenge ideal body types. Further, the film subtly addresses notions of Othering and its detrimental consequences.

Summary: An unlikely pair, an alien and a young girl, must pair up to save the Boov and planet Earth.


Ratings

Language: poo

  • Demeaning language- “native savages,” “maniac,” “idiot,” “lying fart face,” “dumb,” “stupid,” “curse you,” “horrible,” “frog face”
  • Threatening language- Threat to use eye lasers, threat to explode heads

Violence: poo

  • Slapstick violence (kicking, shoving, punching, hitting on the head with a stick)
  • Alien gun is regularly pointed at the Boov
  • Explosion
  • Oh is duct taped to a seat by Tip
  • Car crash

Sex: 0 poos

Drugs and Alcohol: poo

  • Visible bottles of alcohol and glasses used for alcohol

Cultural Analysis

Pros:

Gender:

  • Tip challenges traditional gender roles regarding femininity in many ways. Tip is very active as she takes care of herself after she is separated from her mother, teaches herself to drive a car, and is determined to find her mother. Additionally, Tip is very intelligent as she earned an “A” in geometry and creates an escape route filled with booby-traps. Further, Tip is depicted as a complex and emotionally mature character as she is brave, caring, and tough.
  • Oh challenges the traditionally masculine hero (stoic, muscular, suave, very intelligent) as he is cowardly, irritating to other Boov, and eccentric. For example, he is not well liked by the other Boov and almost destroys the entire Boov species by accidentally revealing their location to an enemy. However, by the end of the film, Oh’s eccentric behavior is valued by the Boov, and he is made Commander.

Race:

  • Tip is of color (from Barbados and voiced by Rihanna) and is depicted in a non-stereotypical, positive manner. She is also one of the lead characters in the film. Tip’s mother (voiced by Jennifer Lopez) also appears to be a person of color. In addition, crowd shots include people who appear to be racially and ethnically diverse. This is important because people of color are often either completely absent or depicted in a stereotypical manner in the media.
  • In the film, the Boov are afraid of the Gorg and dislike humans because they are different from them. This is an example of Othering based on appearance. The Gorg are Othered because of their appearance (spikes, skulls, bones, large in stature) and their superior technology. The humans are Othered because they are thought to be an inferior species. This Othering of humans by the Boov justifies their colonization of Earth.

Sexual Orientation: N/A

Disability: N/A

Body:

  • Tip challenges body ideals. For example, Tip is not exceptionally thin, wears her hair naturally curly, and is not overly concerned with her appearance. She is also not sexualized.
  • Lucy, Tip’s mom, is also not exceptionally thin or sexualized.

Cons:

Gender: N/A

Race: N/A

Sexual Orientation:

Disability:

Body: N/A

Suggested talking points

  • Families can be composed in a number of ways. For example, Tip’s family consists of her mother and her cat, Pig. Although we usually see families composed of a mother and a father in the media, families take many forms (two mothers, two fathers, grandparents, etc.).
  • One of the main themes in the film is that sometimes people make mistakes, but it is important to take responsibility for your mistakes and try to correct them. For example, Oh accidentally gives away the Boov’s location to the Gorg. Throughout the film Oh is determined to stop the e-mail from reaching the Gorg before it is too late.
  • In the beginning of the film, Captain Smek calls human beings “native savages.” This terminology that constructs the Other as inferior (less intelligent, uncivilized) has been used throughout history to “justify” discrimination against marginalized identities. The film promotes the notion of accepting others’ differences and not judging people based on their appearance.

Image

Keywords: Home, tip, family, animated, dreamworks, 4 paws, four paws, gender, race, body, positive,

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