For a while now I've wanted to watch old cartoons that I may have missed as a child, and present my thoughts of them here on my blog. I always figured I'd start with something in my wheel house of interest. Maybe 'Voltron', or 'Thundercats', something with a great deal of impact on geek culture... Instead I'm beginning with 'Rainbow Brite'.

Not only is 'Rainbow Brite' a girls cartoon, its a 'Hallmark' cartoon. Most cartoons in the 80's were actually half hour long commercials directed towards kids to sell toys. Rainbow Brite didn't start as a toy though, her roots were in greeting and gift cards.
Originally intended to combat the American Greetings franchise 'Strawberry Shortcake', 'Rainbow Brite' quickly found its own footing, developing a following among young girls, and people who love painfully cutesy shit.
Naturally success meant they had to expand with merchandising. Clothing, toys, live road shows, and a god damn television special, all got spewed out. Syndicated television is where I come in. There was 13 episodes of the Rainbow Brite cartoon. That's right, only 13! And thats including the television specials. But when I was searching up popular 80's cartoons, Rainbow Brite was all over the place. People loved that colourful little tart.
Being the curious guy I am, I had to check it out. I began with episodes 4-5. Since they are actually first when it comes to the continuity of 'Rainbow Brite'... Though I imagine 'Rainbow Brite' isn't exactly heavy when it comes to plot.

The story starts off terrifyingly... Not like real terrifying, but like... Disney terrifying. Its dark and gloomy, thunder echos through the land, when out of nowhere teleported to this land of darkness is Rainbow Brite.
Shes been sent there by God? I'm not sure who sends her there, but it certainly seems like God did it. Her quest is to find the sphere of light, so she can bring, “Colour and happiness” to all. She quickly realizes that not everyone in this land is interested in, “Colour and happiness”. And after a encounter with the rape trees from 'The Evil Dead', she runs into Twinky the sprite.
Question. Why do sprites/faeries and pixies always have to have such emasculating names? I'm 98% sure that Twinky is a dude. Maybe its a 'A Boy Named Sue' type situation. Like his Father wanted to toughen him up, so he named him Twinky. If that is the case, it didn't work, cause Twinky screeches in terror every second he gets.
They band together, as Rainbow Brite forces Twinky to risk his life for her, by constantly reminding him, “ITS MY QUEST!”, “BUT ITS MY QUEST TWINKY!”, “CALL QUEST TWINKY TO MEET HOT SINGLES!”

I feel like a slut for posting that... If only I was getting paid for it...

Anyway, Twinky and Rainbow, bumble through the horrors of this land without colour, and discover a bunch of frozen sprites, and a horse. Since little girls love horses, and Rainbow is a girl, shes naturally attracted to the animal.
The duo is attacked by a crazy ass vulture and for some unexplainable reason, the horse is resurrected and thawed. I'm just assuming that whenever something like this happens in Rainbow Brite God did it.
The horse of course can speak. Which surprises Rainbow. She wasn't surprised by the fuzzy sprite named after a hostess treat, or the talking trees that grabbed at her, but a talking horse? GET OUT OF HERE! Horses cant talk. That is of course, unless that horse is the famous Mr. Ed.

The horse is named Starlight and he does a better job then I could ever do describing himself. “I'm Starlight! The most wonderful Horse in the universe! Of course I can talk!”
Starlight, aside from telling us all how awesome he is all the time, informs us that Rainbow Brite needs to have the Colour Belt if she plans on defeating the evil King of Shadows and collecting the light sphere. This is where the plot gets so contrived it may as well be a video game. You have to collect this, to get this, to do this, and collect that, so you can open the door to that other thing so you can beat the final boss.
This is when we're introduced to the mandatory bumbling villain’s, Murk and Lurk. I have no idea which one is which. All I know is I like the one that looks like Snufflopicus. They are bumbling morons, who I think technically are mentally retarded. They attempt to stop the Rainbow crew but they screw it up... and by chance they stop the Rainbow crew... Huh? Yeah. They fail upward, by forcing Starlight the most awesome horse in the world, Twinky and Rainbow Brite into a river, full of piranha, towards some rapids.
It seems like they're about to A: drown, B: be smashed against rocks, or C: get eaten by fish. And after watching this episode four times now, I have to say, I'm hoping for 'all of the above' . What happens instead is they reach the shore and discover a baby wrapped in a cloth. They take this baby to a cave for shelter... This part concerns me. We have a child being taken care of by a little girl, a sprite named Twinky and a horse. It was scary enough when it was Tom Selleck, Steve Gutenberg, and Ted Danson.
Of course, the hand of god also placed the Colour belt in this random cave they chose to hide in. And thus episode four of Rainbow Brite Ends...

PART TWO

 

So hunger games has opened, and is a huge success among fans and general audience alike. To many its no surprise, the popularity of the book was a sure fired, tested property. They could have made a completely shit movie and called it ‘Hunger Games’ and it would have still made its dime.
Some people are surprised though. Since female lead ‘action movies’ don’t have the best box office records. Which brings me to today’s subject. Female action heroes.
I was originally going to do two list, one of excellently developed female heroes, and one listing the shitty side of the coin. But I realized that the majority of the strong female protagonist all have certain things in common, and so do the shitty ones. Which is why I’ve decided to simply voice my opinions, on what makes one good, and another shit.

First, I want to talk about suspension of disbelief.  When you see a talking dog in a movie and you go, “Pfff, Dog’s can’t talk.” Not only are you right about dogs not being able to talk, but your also not suspending your beliefs at all.
Movies are not reality, we all know this. But every film, book, and comic defines its own reality. NO, in reality dogs cannot talk. But in Narnia they can, since the reality of Narnia is animals talk. Now I could wax philosophical and talk about how we all define our own reality,  through beliefs and ideals, but that’s not what I’m getting at. What I’m getting at is, most people, (probably mostly men) don’t like female action heroes because they aren’t realistic.
The fact of the matter is, in reality, if Natalie Portman comes at Dolph Lundgren like a bro, and he cracks her one in the face, her neck would snap. BUT watching them throw down in a movie? Its very possible Portman can pull out a win, because it’s a movie.  
This is actually a double standard, since, news flash, men in action movies do unrealistic things all the time. Its honestly slightly misogynistic to say, that its more believable for a man to dodge an explosion then it is for a woman. Its fiction, there are NO limits, and its asinine as a viewer to be setting them.  
Anyway, allow me to get back on point. What makes a good female action hero, what makes a shitty female action hero.


THE GOOD

A quality female action hero, should be, you know… FEMALE. I’m going to hit you up with a little movie trivia. The roles in the film ‘Alien’ were never gender specific. They decided the characters genders during casting. That’s right Riply could have been a dude. And it shows in the first film, there is nothing Gender specific in ‘Alien’ as far as Riply is concerned, but by the sequel, she’s all woman, and all bad ass!
Her, Sarah Connor, Sue Richards (Aka: Invisible Woman) are all uniquely XX chromosome, because they all bring something to the table that no male action hero can… except for Arnold Schwarznegger… They’re all MOTHERS.  
The amount of ‘Fantastic Four’ I've read, is honestly limited. But everything I read depicts Sue Richards as a being a mama bear, with big ass fucking claws! In one comic, a brain washed Wolverine invades the Baxter building to kill the ‘FF’. And who is it that stops the hairy little killing machine? Not Reed! Not the Human Torch! Not the ever love’n blue eye’d Thing! But Sue!
Nice, polite, pretty and petite, she’d never kill… Unless her family is in danger, in which case she’ll put a bubble around your lungs and suffocate you.  Ouch!
These mother action heroes are AMAZING. Not because they are physically imposing, but because their motivation is so strong, and primal. Protect your young at any cost. Sarah Connor and Ellen Riply especially, since there is a transformation between films, from victim, to hero.
Stepping away from mothers, let’s talk about single lady characters. Like teenage Buffy Summers, Kitty Pryde, and bachelorette Black Widow. These characters aren’t mothers. But they are uniquely female, and exhibit famine attributes in their personality. They like typical girl things. They enjoy shopping, and going dancing. When Kitty Pryde and Buffy Summers were teenage heroes, they’d get crushes and experience mood swings, they were self conscious about their body and appearance. They were TEENAGE GIRLS. Fuck, Kitty Pryde was constantly indecisive about what here super hero name and costume would actually be, which screams teenage girl to me.
I’m not saying that we should enforce gender stereotypes with female action heroes. I’m just saying a female action hero should generally be unique to the gender. Otherwise you have what a I consider a shitty female action hero.  

THE BAD

Unique to the gender, is what makes a good female action hero. What makes a shitty female action hero is a woman, defined by her boobs. I’ve only seen two of the Resident Evil movies, but you perform a double mastectomy on Milla Jovovich , and shape her vagina into a cock, and her character hasn’t changed a bit.
A shitty female action hero, has a personality that may as well be a mans. She is a hard as nails, stone faced, bad ass. And NO there is nothing wrong with this archetype, its just boring, and kind of offensive to woman, since essentially they’re fan fair.
Typical action movies have your bad ass male lead, with a sexy female love interest. ‘Resident Evil’, ‘Aeon Flux’, ‘Tomb Raider’ cut corners by fusing these characters together. Their stories could play out the exact same if they were dudes. This actually goes both ways, since obviously male stories can play out the same with female leads. But when one in ten action movies, stars a woman, then why not make it worth it? Give the girls out there a respectable hero instead of a sexual vessel.
I also hate the wardrobe of shitty female action heroes. If its a sword and sorcery story, the female fighter is wearing chainmail on, and only on, her lady parts. Like a woman's breast a labia are their only vital organs.
Then their is female super heroes. How does showing off your mid drift help you fight crime? Is running in those heels make you faster or something? Does your thong dig in much?   
Even worse though, is this archetypical female action hero who is defined by the fact that she ISN’T a man. We see this character all the time. My first thought of this Eyown from ‘Lord of the Rings’. She’s as good a fighter as ANY man, but she can’t go to battle! She’s a girl! Actually what is her big line? You know at her triumph? Oh yeah “I AM NO MAN!”
God has that story arch run dry or what? “I’m just as good as a boy!”
“No you aren’t!”
Achieves X goal (becomes a warrior, joins the boys wrestling team, bowls a perfect game ect.)
“See!”
“You’re right! You’re our equal!”
The end.   
That story arch doesn’t need to die, I’m fine with it. But those female protagonist only claim to being a woman, is the fact that they aren’t a man... Which is retarded. A character needs more depth than  being defined by what they aren’t. Give them some substance for crying out loud. 


In the end, when trying to think of female action heroes I liked,  and ones I hated, I noticed how small the pool really is in general. But when you look at the movies coming out, you can see there is an upwards trend of ladies who kick ass. And for me, I’m interested in this, as long as the characters are of substance.
I have no opinion of the lead of ‘The Hunger Games’ since I haven’t seen the movie, or read the book. And I don’t really plan to. Not because it has a female at the helm, or because I’m attempting to step away from the popularity of it, but because I just don’t have an interest. The premise just doesn’t grab me. I’ll probably catch it later on, when it’s on DVD, but not right now.
Right now, I’m just happy to see that there is female action hero who can grab an audience’s, attention. Maybe when I finally watch it, I’ll be happy to see that she has some depth, and is uniquely female.