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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Turbo trailer: dude snail racing

Maybe the most fun part of this is that while DreamWorks has no problem figuring that audiences will be able to identify with a small garden snail who dreams of being a race car, DreamWorks imagines it would be a step too far for us if the garden snail who dreams of being a car were female.

Or that any of the ordinary garden snails scooped up by humans for their own amusement might be female.

Hollywood simply cannot conceive of characters who are female unless they have to be stereotypically female, like “sexy” or “mom.” Once you notice this shocking lack of vision, you can’t unsee it.

US/Canada release date: Jul 17 2013 | UK release date: Oct 18 2013
official site | IMDb

  • PJK

    Since most land snails are hermaphrodites, applying the term male or female to them is problematic in itself since they are in essence both.

  • bronxbee

    okay… i’d love to see a movie about a character who you cannot determine the gender (and no, “Pat” doesn’t count). but just someone living their life and looking at the world from their point of view where sex or gender is not part of it. i have read books with genderless characters and always enjoy the sort of pretzel knot it leaves in your idea of the protagonist.

  • PJK

    I’d love to see a movie based on one of the Culture novels by Iain M. Banks (may he rest in peace) and see how they would handle the Minds (cybernetic beings that are full citizens of the Culture, a humanoid/cybernetic star-faring post-scarcity society, usually running the spaceships and orbitals that make up most of the living space of the Culture).

    Since the Minds don’t have gender, it would be very interesting to see how a movie would handle them as characters in their own right.

  • LaSargenta


  • englerp

    It’s also worth mentioning that changing gender is a rather trivial operation for a Culture citizen. (Although that applies to quite a few post-transhuman societies in scifi. Stross’ Glasshouse comes to mind).

  • I told my mother about the premise of this movie and she went “look at that S-car-go”. And now I’m pretty sure that joke was actually the genesis for this entire film.

  • LaSargenta

    That’s great. And I think you are right.

  • Ah. So that’s why all the snail characters here have male voices. Got it.

  • Another movie that I know exactly how the whole thing will go just from the trailers. No need to see it at all.

  • PJK

    I can imagine that the pool of hermaphrodite voice actors in Hollywood is fairly limited, if it exists at all.

    If DreamWorks had any interest in being more authentic they could have researched what hermaphrodites sound like and then applied audio post processing to the actors voices (after casting both female and male voice talent for the snails).

    But as the trailer features a snail getting essentially a superpower after passing through a racing engine/racing fuel, an experience which would most likely kill any snail, authenticity doesn’t seem that important to them. And that is ignoring the fact that snails most likely don’t communicate vocally at all!

    I can only guess at the reason the snails all got male voices, but it was probably studio execs thinking something along the lines of “Boys like racing, girls don’t, characters got be male to pull in boy audience”, which reeks of the typical shallow thinking that seems to apply to Hollywood execs.

    There are plenty of female racing enthusiasts out there as well as aspiring and successful female racing drivers (past and present => http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Female_racing_drivers ) to prove that this line of thinking is a crock of fecal matter.

  • Arthur

    My guess would be that, just like the traditional default pronoun in English is male, a genderless Mind would be male. If the voice actor was female, that would mean the Mind was female, not genderless, at least for my ingrained cinematic reflexes.

  • RogerBW

    ObHollywoodExec: “The experience of being chewed up and spat out by a highly-tuned engine, then gaining superpowers as a result, is of course a quintessentially male one. Chicks get superpowers from, I dunno, knitting or something.”

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