‘Escape From Planet Earth’ humiliates working woman

Can I express how much I hate “Escape From Planet Earth” in one post?

My daughter’s preschool had a staff development today and thus, we had three options for films showing in theaters: “Oz, the Great and Powerful,” “Jack, the Giant Slayer,” and “Escape From Planet Earth.” I picked the movie with no male in the title with the hope of seeing strong female characters. Also, my daughter is 3, so “Escape” is supposedly the best movie for her age group. This is my issue with the MPAA, by the way. This movie is terrible for kids. Note to MPAA: If you are going to make a movie about a desperate, bitter working woman vs a heroic, fulfilled stay-at-home mom, warn us. You could do what I do and slap on an ‘S’ for stereotyping.

First things first. The protagonists of “Escape” are two brothers. That’s right, brothers.


If that’s not enough of a male paradigm for you, one brother has a son, Kip.



Kip rescues his father at the end of the movie. “Escape,” like so many animated movies for kids, is a father-son story.

The evil guy of the movie, the one who wants to destroy the universe, is of course, also, a guy.


The possy of aliens that surround him include just one Minority Feisty, the one-eyed Lo.


I loved Lo, and I wish this had been her movie. There was a group of triplet aliens who didn’t speak for most of the movie. I thought they might be mute females. But, at the end of the movie, when they rescue the brothers, they talk. All three are male. We spend most of “Escape” in the company of all of these aliens and the evil guy.

OK, want to know about 3 more girl parts? After multiple characters and scenes, the first female speaking part enters into the movie. She’s our protagonist’s boss. Cool right? Except turns out Lena Thackleman is a bitter shrew. She’s furiously resentful of the central Minority Feisty, Kira Supernova, who is Gary’s wife and Kip’s mom (that’s right, wife and mom.) Kira left her job to be a stay-at-home mom where she is fulfilled and happy.

In spite of her power position, Lena is desperate, unhappy, and alone. To make matters worse for her, Lena has fallen in love with the movie’s villain who she met on-line dating. The villain doesn’t even love her, he’s using her to get material he needs to blow up the universe. How is that for humiliating? Just to rub it in, when Kira punches Lena out, she says triumphantly: “Just because a chick had a baby, doesn’t mean she can’t belt it out.” GAG. Is there anything worse than a sexist narrative marketed as a feminist one? Oh yeah, a sexist narrative marketed as a feminist one in a movie for kids.

Sexist lines continue throughout. When Kira is carrying her husband, flying through the air with her rocket boots, he says: “I feel emasculated.” Why screw up a cool scene like that? One reason I liked “Wreck-It, Ralph” is because when female characters showed their skill, they were admired by the male characters. It’s crucial to show kids that females acting strong is cool and beautiful. “Escape” communicates the opposite.

When guards are watching over Kira and Kip, one says: “A lady and a kid? What is this, daycare?” Hollywood, why put sexist jokes in your movies for children? How are girls supposed to feel when they see women laughed at for being weak and ineffectual? if it happened once in a while, that would be one thing, but its a dominating, repetitive theme in children’s movies.

Just to conclude, the final Minority Feisty is the sex-pot news reporter in love with one of the brothers. Guess who plays her? Sofia Vergara. Can you see the part now? Making it worse, if possible, the movie ends with her wedding. Isn’t that happy?

Watching “Escape From Planet Earth,” I felt like I was watching some kind of sick parody of my blog, like someone was making a joke about what a sexist movie made for kids would really look like. I can’t believe Hollywood put out this awful propaganda. Who green-lighted this? Who could possibly think these caricatured gender stereotypes are good for little kids?

Reel Girl rates “Escape From Planet Earth” ***SSS***


Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing From Children’s Movies in 2013

In 2012, I waited until the last possible minute. It wasn’t until December that I posted Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing from Children’s Movies in 2012. Even though in the age of the internet, the facts were impossible to miss, I kept hoping that, somehow, I’d overlooked something.

This year, I’m going to face the upcoming year of multi-million dollar sexism marketed directly at my three daughters– ages 3, 6, and 9– head on, in January.

Of the 21 movie posters for young kids pictured below, only 4 appear to feature a female protagonist; 16 seem to feature a male protagonist and 10 are named for that male star. In one case, “Peabody and Mr. Sherman,” the movie is titled for its 2 male protagonists.

Of the 4 movies starring females, just two are titled for the star. It’s the small budget 7 million film from Moscow, “Snow Queen,” that was brave enough to name its film after a female. “Frozen” is the title chosen for Disney’s version, the same movie studio that changed “Rapunzel” to “Tangled,” to obscure its female star. Fittingly, in the poster for “Frozen,” the woman’s image also fades into the background.

Both “Dorothy” and “Epic,” buffer the female on the poster with males, Epic with a constellation of them and “Dorothy” by listing no less than 7 famous male actors.

The poster for “Planes” may look mysterious, but it comes from the producers of “Cars,” a movie which had many more male than female characters. Tellingly, the preview for “Planes” doesn’t show a single female character.

From the position of characters on the poster in “Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs 2,” it looks like the male is the star, but maybe, hopefully I’m wrong. When you look at the poster, try to imagine a gender flip, the female in front and the male’s legs and hip in the female’s red-carpet-ready pose. That image will make you laugh.

If you are going to argue that there could be strong females in all of these movies, even if they are not the star of the movie, that’s not the same. Please read The curse of the Minority Feisty in kid’s movies.

“Saving Mr. Banks” is coming out in 2013 but does not have a poster yet. On imdb.com, it’s described:

Author P.L. Travers travels from London to Hollywood as Walt Disney Pictures adapts her novel Mary Poppins for the big screen.

That movie could be really cool. But why, why, why is the movie called: “Saving Mr. Banks?” If there is a female protagonist in this film, could she be concealed any more?  I know the androgynous “P.L. Travers” is how the writer’s name is shown on her books, but Mary Poppins came out in 1934. The writer had to use the initials to sell her book. Of course, J.K. Rowling opted for the same tactic years later, but hasn’t her success done anything for women writers? The year is 2013. When are writers going to be able to come out as women? Finally, and I hate writing this, and I hope that I’m wrong: From what I see on the internet it looks like the protagonist of the movie is, in fact, Walt Disney played by Tom Hanks.

There’s a movie I’ve heard of with no poster and I’m not sure if it’s coming out: an indie, English dubbed release of the French movie “Ernest and Celestine”

I have not yet seen any of these movies. As I’ve written about a lot on Reel Girl, movie posters are their own media. Even if a kid doesn’t see the movie, she sees the ads drive by her on the sides of buses or loom above her pasted on walls. She hears the movie titles. Not to mention, she sees the protagonists on TV, cereal boxes, diapers, clothing, toys, sheets, and in video games.

The posters below are found from Google images. There are multiple posters, and I chose the one I’m predicting that I’ll see around town. Whenever I see a movie poster on a bus or wall with a female character solo, front and center who is not surrounded by multiple male characters, or when multiple female characters are shown, I rush to post the sighting on Reel Girl.

As you look at the posters below, ask yourself: Who looks like the star/ leader/ protagonist of this movie? What would this poster look like if the positions, number of male characters, and title references were switched to female characters? Why are females, half of the kid population, presented as a minority in children’s films? Why is the imaginary world, a place where anything should be possible, sexist at all?

So here we go.

Reel Girl’s Gallery of Girls Gone Missing from Children’s Movies in 2013

Monsters University



Despicable Me


Smurfs 2

Chapter 14 smurfs-2

Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters

Percy Jackson 2 Sea of Monsters


Leo the Lion


Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2


Mr. Peabody and Sherman




The Hobbit: There and Back Again


Escape From Planet Earth


Jack the Giant Slayer


Oz the Great and Powerful


The Croods




From Up on Poppy Hill



The Snow Queen





Turbo Movie Poster

Batman The Dark Night Returns