I’m not saying there aren’t multiple themes running through it or that some aspects of it are not positive (because some aspects of it are positive), but I don’t think multiple themes means that what I was saying isn’t there, since I don’t see it as very debatable. That’s the problem at the very heart of the thing- is that ugly v. beautiful, fat v. skinny is always used to show the “importance” of recognizing inner beauty in movies and tv shows. It ends up reducing identities to mere tools filmmakers use over and over again to tell us something that is fairly obvious and redundant anyway.
If people were truly concerned about imparting on their audiences that inner beauty is what composes a person, and that appearance is not the main deal, they don’t need complicated plotlines that span the entire film and require the use of magazine-impossibly-beautiful-people turning “ugly” or visa versa. You don’t need the mind tricks a la Shallow Hal.
All you need to do is show average, normal (in the sense that they aren’t physically impossibly beautiful/thin/whatever if it’s animation) people as leads, and not make the entire movie about how “”ugly”” they are or how they aren’t totally beautiful but in the end they get the hot intelligent girl because she sees their inner beauty because that is the important thing! That’s all you need to do. Just let them be people and don’t make their appearance into some big after-school special about how real happiness and beauty is on the inside. Any other route ends up fixing an inordinate amount of the audience’s attention on appearance and figuring out who is “pretty” and “ugly” even if that isn’t the point. And along the way it reinforces a bunch of ideas of what is “beauty”, as mentioned before about Shrek, even if that wasn’t supposed to be the “point.”
And I mean even in the Shrek movies, my memory of them is sort of fuzzy now but the sequels don’t really involve them suddenly being comfortable with whom they are. Isn’t that much of the plot of the second movie… that they have to again come to the conclusion that beauty isn’t the important thing in how/why they love each other/life/whatever?
This has not been the most well written reply because the kid I watch is coming home soon haha and I’m trying to wrap it up quick :P