Many people complain about the females in Walt Disney Animation Studios, though no one acknowledges the other studios, and focuses all of their attention on Disney. I already did Pixar, so DreamWorks is the next option.
I was not impressed with her in the movie, and for someone who was supposed to subvert the Disney Princesses, she ended up being more stereotypical than them all. She wants to go out and have fun, have her own path, and to not be stuck in this engagement she is in, growing a liking to Z. After the first act, all of her likability goes out of the window, and she becomes the whiny, bratty princess/damsel in distress, and she only gets worse throughout the entire film. Princess Bala is poorly executed, and severely unlikable.
Azteca is a good friend to Z, and seems to balance him out. Other than that, she has a very dirty and raunchy relationship with Weaver, which is refreshing compared to the clean cut relationships in animation. More likable than Bala, but has a small role in the film.
The Prince of Egypt
I really liked her. She enters the film as a kidnapped concubine for the Prince of Egypt, and is angered after being humiliated by the brothers. Tzipphorah is able to escape the castle on her own merits, and ends up enjoying Moses’ humiliation when they meet up later on in the film. Her people takes him into the tribe, and she ends up growing a relationship with Moses, to the point of marriage. After this, she is severely downgraded in the film, and is put on the side, where she would briefly interact with his siblings. Her best moments are in the first act.
Miriam’s role in the film is to connect Moses to his roots and upbringing. She observes him reach the castle safely when they are little, and reunites with him in the middle of the second act. She is very nice, sweet, supportive, and wants better for her people, but she is barely in the film, and does not have much to do.
The Road to El Dorado
Chel is just as crafty and deceptive as the other men in the film, as she is the one who realizes that they are pretending to be gods, and is instrumental in them being able to continue pulling it off (since she knows the culture). Outside of this, her strongest characteristic is her sexuality, which she uses to seduce Tulio, and starting a relationship with him. Not the best character, but she is for sure more interesting than everyone else in the film. Does more than all of the other women up until this point.
Ginger is a great character. She is as developed as a chicken can get without being too human. She is smart, a planner, selfless, a team player, and determined. She wants her entire farm to escape being slaughtered, and is a very likable character; probably the most likable character in the movie. There is not too much else to her, but she is an enjoyable character, and is responsible for a lot of the plot. She is a good guy, but not a typical, generic one.
Fiona is the very blatant first example of the “self-congratulatory” female characters archetype that DreamWorks tends to have. What I mean by this, is that their badassery is overtly exaggerated, and everyone comments on how “tough” they are.
In the first film, Fiona is shown to have many different layers of depth to her, which involves her curse, her martial arts skills, resourcefulness, and being a lot more gross than expected. In the second film, we learn a lot more about her background, as the film is set in her kingdom. We see her childhood room, and all of the typical fairytale mindset that she had in the first film is all over the room, and she struggles with wanting to reunite with her parents, and to support her husband.
In the third film, her role is much more reduced, as she is pregnant throughout the film, and is stuck with her mother and the other Disney Princess knockoffs. Fiona is supposed to subvert a lot of these ideals, and while I do believe she is a strong character, they often rely on typical storytelling, which forces her to be the damsel in a few scenarios. In the fourth film, her alternate self is the angry, overtly tough woman who escaped the castle, because she got fed up with waiting to be saved.
Spirit: Stallion of the Cimmaron
Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas
Marina is like Fiona in the fact that both are very “self-congratulatory” with how the writers and others react to them in the film. She is an ambassador in the film, and despite having little to no experience on the sea, she takes charge, and saves the men a lot in various points, to the point that everyone on the ship prefers her over Sinbad. While she is probably the best character in the film, it was a bit annoying how she got dragged in a love triangle. Despite that, she has a sort of sincere likability, and still retains her feminine traits, which I do like.
Queen Lillian is Fiona’s mother, and she honestly did not have much focus in the second film, as she was desperate to do anything to reunite with her daughter, and to prevent her husband from screwing it up. After losing her husband, we see that she becomes a lot tougher and aggressive, which might have been a way to handle her own grief.
Honestly, throughout the three Madagascar films, Gloria is not given much to do. She is often nurturing to the other three, but can be stern when she needs to, so there is a personality there. I think it’s because she is given the least plot out of the four of them. In Escape 2 Africa, she mentions that her biological clock is ticking, so she needs to settle down in a relationship and quickly. The opportunity arises for Gloria to get with a male hippo, but all of this was only so Gloria and Melman could become a couple. In the third film, her and Melman’s dialogue mostly involve one another, as they have to perform a circus act together.
Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit
Over the Hedge
Shrek the Third
Kung Fu Panda
Tigress is very cold, as she had to learn to be tougher than everyone else, and she was the best before Po came around. We do see in the first sequel that she is a lot more vulnerable, and there is more to her than what meets the eye. Her and Po become equals, which is nice. In the third movie, she does take a backseat, and does not do much. She is one of the better characters to come from DreamWorks, as she is tough, but has her softer moments, and does not have to talk down to others to make her look better than the other characters.
Madagascar Escape 2 Africa
Monsters vs Aliens
How to Train Your Dragon
I have heard people compare her to Marina and Fiona, and a bit of Tigress as well. Astrid is very tough, and is the best of her group, but is overshadowed by the nerdy Hiccup, who does things in an nontraditional way. What bothers me about her is that she ends up in a rushed romance with Hiccup that came out of nowhere from her perspective. She’s still very fun to watch, and in the sequel, she is a bit softer, but still helps Hiccup side by side. I am hoping she does more in the third film, and is not just reduced to a love interest, since there’s a lot of potential with her.
Puss in Boots
Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
Rise of the Guardians
Eep is the faux-protagonist, as it is her vision that causes the plot of the film, though she doesn’t learn anything. Honestly, she is one of the weaker characters in DreamWorks because not only does she not learn anything, but has little to no redeeming qualities that has not been done to death, or offers a different execution. She’s just boring and whiny without anything interesting to keep interest.
Mr. Peabody and Sherman
How to Train Your Dragon 2
Tip is our first black main character to come from DreamWorks, and I am glad that they didn`t make it a big deal. She pretty much has her childhood taken from her when her mother goes missing, so she ends up having to kind of grow up through the film. She is decent otherwise, but I feel like her character is defined by her being voiced by Rihanna, so I don`t see her much like a character. Not irritating, but not a well-written character, since her plotline was mishandled.
Overall, it is rare for a female character to be the main character, or even the deuteragonist in their perspective films, so there definitely needs to be an improvement there. Despite that, female characters are either written as very strong, or almost irrelevant in their films. I mentioned in the Pixar part that it mostly has to do with the business consisting of mostly men.
Many of the earlier female characters are “badass” quote-on-quote, but the issue is, they make that their only trait, so it falls flat, and you can tell they only made the women like that to rub it in. Examples of this are Tzipphoral, Marina, and Fiona. There are countless other characters who are literally defined by their gender, and are given nothing to do, outside being the girl or the love interest.
I also noticed that unlike many of the Pixar female characters, not many of the DreamWorks ladies are comedic. The better characters to come from this canon are Tigress, Astrid, and even Roxanne, since they are a mix of feminine traits, without the need to rub it in that they are female, and have complex character traits. I just wished they did it for more of their female characters. There are a decent amount of characters that are very likable and easy to support from these females, and I think they are starting to slowly improve. We want female characters like that, instead of many of the forgettable ones above.
It took me 6 months to write this, because it was tiring going through the list of these females, and to create writeups for them, while also going through several tech issues with WordPress thus far this year. There WILL be posts about the WDAS females, and the male counterparts from all three studios, but I will have to be more specific, since there are way too many male characters. Thank you for reading.