Tuesday, October 23, 2012

So why the gender swap in Silent Hill?

You know when you are talking about gender long enough you get the urge to revisit things that you've looked at before but possibly from a different angle. Well all this talk about men and parenting (and a comment I someone made at GendErratic several months ago) makes me want to take a new look at a fairly old movie based on a ground breaking video game series.

Are you by chance familiar with Silent Hill?

The first game (which is what most of the movie was drawn from, well Pyramid Head is from Silent Hill 2) was centered around Harry Mason and his daughter Cheryl. While driving along a road one night with his daughter Harry swerves to avoid hitting a girl standing in the road, causing his car to crash. When he comes to he finds that he is in the town of Silent Hill and more importantly his daughter is missing. Without giving away the story the main point of the game is to find Cheryl.

A detail that didn't get quite as noticed as the psychological themes, hauntingly beautiful music, and relatively new concepts that made it the first in a series of hit titles was the fact that Harry Mason was a father who set out to find his missing child in some manner that did not center around blowing up everything in sight and killing all who stood before him.

Let's face it for most part when you have a setup such this what does the dad (or most men for that matter who set off to find a missing or kidnapped loved one) usually do? He beats up people, destroys massive amounts of property, and looks like a total heroic bad-ass while doing it. Not Harry. No he is an average non bad-ass looking guy that doesn't do well in direct confrontations and really doesn't blow stuff up while shooting off clever one liners. Which made him different.

You see unlike other leading men of similar games (::coughcoughChrisRedfieldcoughcoughLeonKennedycoughcough::) Mr. Mason wasn't be presented as what some may call a "real man". He was presented as a regular simple man that just wanted his daughter back. So now I'm left wondering one thing.

Why in the hell was Cheryl's dad changed to Cheryl's mom for the Silent Hill movie?

Okay so I'm not wondering too much.

I think that this is a matter of the makers of the movie deciding that Harry Mason wasn't "enough of a man" due to choosing to brave the horrors of Silent Hill without blowing the town off the map. Instead we get Rose.

Don't get me wrong there's nothing wrong with having a lead woman in a movie. I just don't think those leading woman roles should come at the cost of keeping men locked into a script that limits what we are able to do.

The idea of a dad that uses means other than wanton destruction to reunite with his family shouldn't be so foreign that he has to be swapped out for a mom.

Just a little something to keep in mind with the sequel, Silent Hill: Revelation, hitting theaters later this week.