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Zoolander Analysis

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Nathaniel Song

on 5 May 2014

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Transcript of Zoolander Analysis

Zoolander Analysis
Summary
Zoolander
is about the world's top fashion model, Derek Zoolander, a person of good nature characterized by his cluelessness and lack of intelligence.
At first, Derek lives a superficial lifestyle caring only about his fame and appearance, until he loses his title as top fashion model to rising celebrity, Hansel.
This causes Derek to ponder his purpose in life, especially after his reputation is ruined by a Time magazine article written by Matilda.
Planning to take advantage of Derek's stupidity, fashion designer, Mugatu attempts to brainwash Derek to kill the prime minister of Malaysia for his own nefarious purposes.
Derek Zoolander Character Analysis
Initially, Derek is characterized by his vanity and ignorance, having let the fame go to his head.
However, when Hansel's success threatens his own popularity this causes a great transition from arrogance to confusion about his existence.
Derek symbolizes innocence as he is good-willed yet naive when it comes to what is really important in life as opposed to superficial desires.
The greatest shift in his character is shown by his desire to create The Derek Zoolander Center for Kids Who Can't Read Good, exemplifying his growing consideration in the form of philanthropic desires.
Hansel Character Analysis
Hansel, Derek's fashion rival, demonstrates many of the same characteristics as Derek including lack of intelligence, vanity, and passion for fashion.
Throughout the movie, the relationship (and rivalry) between Derek and Hansel is one of the more important character foils in the film.
At first, an intense rivalry is shown between the two as they see each other as competitors in the fashion industry.
However, later they recognize this as a misunderstanding, marking the transition from a petty rivalry to a companionship to stop Mugatu's sinister plot.
Directed by: Ben Stiller
Nathaniel Song & Christopher Bautista

Mugatu Character Analysis
The fashion designer, Mugatu is the antagonist of the film and he is characterized by his greed and immorality as exemplified by his exploitation of children in Malaysia for cheap labor.
Throughout the film, Mugatu is a flat character experiencing no changes as a result of his purely manipulative and ill-willed personality.
Mugatu symbolizes corruption and his propaganda to brainwash Derek shows this manipulative nature as he will do anything to attain what he wants.
While the Malaysian child labor aspect seems like a fairly insignificant plot element, it suggests that there are serious political implications tied to his character.
Theme Analysis
Throughout the movie, a theme concerning the morality of modeling is discussed as it is implied that models make people feel insecure about themselves and cause a loss of self-worth, setting unreasonable standards for people.
Models are unappreciative towards all forms of beauty and people (portrays people as skinny alone)
Reflection towards bettering oneself physically to look like the models they admire.
Another theme covered is that there is more to life than just appearances as shown by Zoolander's realization that he was unhappy with his superficial desires.
Fashion will never end (always growing in stranger ways)

Satire Analysis: Model Stereotypes
The film itself is one big satirical work portraying the inner workings of the fashion industry in a ridiculing manner.
Stiller takes advantage of stereotypes that models are unintelligent as shown by the manner he portrays Derek, Hansel, and other models. This is prevalent throughout the movie as Stiller incorporates traits of simplicity and misguided beliefs.
Another characteristic that Stiller exemplifies in the fashion model characters is a feminine manner of behavior and appearance.
The models are shown to have very
unmanly mannerisms going against
the usual gender roles within society's
norms.
Satire Analysis: Exaggeration of Fashion
The movie is a parody mocking the manner in which fashion is depicted as demonstrated by Zoolander's vibrant, multicolored clothing.
The exaggerated clothing emphasizes the absurdity within the fashion industry displayed by the peculiar elements within the advertisements. Fashion is portrayed as flamboyant and seen to demonstrates many different societal aspects in the form of comedic advertisements emphasizing it's high regard.
Overall, the whole fashion scene is becoming bizarre as time progresses. The general population and media is noticeably clueless to how outrageous fashion has become.
Fashion is on a whole new level of popularity in pop culture (e.g. Sports, Pop Culture, Advertisements)
Full transcript