Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Mean Girls and The Dark Knight

Today, in my AP -AP, mind you - Psychology class, we watched the Tina Fey/Lindsey Lohan movie "Mean Girls." Now, without going into a full-on review of this movie, I can safely say that it was better than I had expected. Witty, funny...not amazing, but fun to watch. Not a horrible film.
However, while watching, I began to notice certain similarities to one of the best movies of the decade: The Dark Knight. Yes. Active parallels between the twain.
I'll try to explain.
The villianess, Regina George, follows a fascinatingly Harvey Dent-esque pattern of control transitioning to anarchy. As the movie starts, she is the leader of "the Plastics," the clique of popular and ruthless girls at the top of the social food chain. This parallels Dent's role as the golden boy, the leader by the favor of the people. The direct foil to Regina's strict rules and social codes is Janis Ian, a social outcast who wants only to see Regina's destruction. Janis, fittingly enough to her name, plays a two-faced parallel: she is part the Batman, the seeker of justice and vengeance both. On the other hand, she is a bit of Joker; her desire to create social anarchy in order to take down Regina is at times frightening.
However, Janis pales in comparison to Cady, Lindsey Lohan's character. Cady enters the school as a formerly-home-schooled student, awkward and looking for friends. She takes on the role of Janis's companion, helping her infiltrate the Plastics and create social anarchy. However, she is the catalyst for the evolution of the characters into their archetypes come the climax. Cady demonstrates something similar to Stockholm Syndrome, in which she becomes like her "captors," the Plastics, and, in time, comes to replace Regina George.
Regina George devolves from the Harvey Dent of the beginning into the Harvey Dent after his accident: essentially insane and bent only on creating anarchy. In this way, Regina begins to resemble the Joker; perhaps the ultimate evolution of Harvey Dent. Taking her place is Cady, whose desire to take down the evil she saw in Regina has only caused her to become Regina; in a way, she is the Harvey Dent to Regina's Joker.

On the side of good, there are similar parallels. Tina Fey's teacher is the Batman of the day. After the climax of the movie, in which Regina spreads anarchy throughout the school, which descends into a massive brawl and riot., Tina Fey is the character who takes order over the girls and demonstrates to them how their fighting was silly, etc. The main idea is that Fey fights the anarchy that threatens her school - or, from a Batman analogy, her city. The principal, in his own way, symbolizes the police in The Dark Knight: while supposedly the voice of reason and justice, he is unable to hold control over the forces of chaos. The baseball bat that he carries symbolizes the brute-force technique for regulation that is so ineffective against so nebulous a threat. Additionally, the cast on his right hand is symbolic of his being crippled literally and metaphorically, unable to hold back the tide. The only true order comes from Tina Fey, who stands out as the true voice of strength.

There are, certainly, other parallels; however, I haven't seen The Dark Knight in a while, and my knowledge is a little rusty. This seems to cover the main points, though.

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