Saturday, July 21, 2012

Brave Review

Last week, I went to see Disney-Pixar's Brave with some family visiting from Texas, and overall, I enjoyed the storyline. However, I did notice some underlying threads that disappointed me.

What I loved
The broken relationship that Merida and her mother Eleanor must work to mend is a beautiful picture of repentance, forgiveness and love. Their comical struggle to communicate and work together after Eleanor’s transformation will make you laugh, while the price that their foolish pride could have cost them both teaches a valuable lesson.

I also appreciated that the resolution to the problem is not to simply marry off the princess – as in almost every other Disney-Pixar princess movie. She and her mother grow closer through the conflict, and the conclusion implies that Merida is now free to choose her own husband – when and if she decides to do so.
What made me frown

Disney-Pixar is known for having magic in their princess movies – There always seems to be an enchantress, a witch, a sorcerer, etc. So characteristically, there is a witch in this story.
However, the movie presents her as a whimsical old woman and is not clear whether she plays a good or bad part. Her role helps propel the plot but never identifies her as a villain. I dislike when entertainment waters down right from wrong – and blurs the lines between good and evil.  

What also made me frown was how the movie presents men and fathers. They handle themselves like buffoons, always quarreling and fighting. Merida and her mother constantly have to put them in their places. Granted, the men do not lack bravery – jumping to defend the women against the demon bear – but in general, they act like children.
One last note

Due to the violence and scary scenes, I would not recommend this movie for small children. For older children and families, though, it makes for a good story, a discussable plot – and I should not fail to mention the beautiful Celtic soundtrack.

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